FEBRARY 2018 READING ROUND UP

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Ratings: 5* – Outstanding! 4*+ – Good to very good; 3* – average; 2* – run-of-the-mill; 1* – dismal; zero * – no comment. DNF – did not finish . NF – non-fiction

Two books with the word Mountains in the title. Two books which could not have been more dissimilar – one a beautifully written book about nature & landscape (reviewed on this blog) , the other a somewhat surreal novel set in Portugal. I wrote a review of Part One on this blog. The remainder of the book was surreal in parts – particularly Part Two – but the final Part Three was wonderful, culminating in one of the most dramatic endings I have ever read. I have already added the novel to my 2018 Best Books list, under the heading of Most Original Novel.
Another huge contrast: Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows – Balli Kaur Jasmal. Quite a read! Funny, shocking, erotic – plus – as a sub-plot, the solving of a murder. There’s also a romance on the go, so the book has plenty to offer. Those who dislike erotica should leave this book well alone!
I’m including a mention of a poetry book I read this month : The Heart of the Bitter Almond Hedge Sutra – Thanissara, but I haven’t star-rated it. It’s a wonderful epic poem – see review on this blog – and perhaps some of you may be encouraged to try it? At one point I read (and wrote) poetry, but not so much these days. So Thanissara’s poem made a refreshing change to my reading month.
I spent an enjoyable Quick Dip (QD) half hour with Maurice Kibel’s collection of Rhyme & Reason; another TBR bites the dust! At the opposite end of the Spectrum to the Bitter Almond Hedge collection – but there’s room in my life for a limerick and a smile, alongside the serious reads.

5* Mountains of the Mind – a History of Fascination – Robert Macfarlane. NF A wonderful rich read – spellbinding, actually. Reviewed on this blog.
5* The High Mountains of Portugal – Yann Martel. Dazzlingly original. A Must Read for me. Reviewed on GR: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2308999253

4* Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows – Balli Kaur Jasmal . Southall, London and the Punjabi widows with erotic stories to share; growing sisterhood and overturning prejudice. Reviewed on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/review/edit/32075853

3* The Right Way Up – Paige Nick. Light, fun read. Family drama at its breathless best. Reviewed on this blog.

The Heart of the Bitter Almond Hedge Sutra – Thanissara . Poetry, Buddhism, San stories and Buddhist Heart Sutra. Reviewed on this Blog.
General Tso’s Chicken and the 7 Deadly Sins : A Collection of Rhyme and Reason by Maurice Kibel. Limericks, light verse. Fun!
Continue reading “FEBRARY 2018 READING ROUND UP”

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THIS WAY UP

 

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The inimitable Paige Nick gives us the story of the Frankel family, beset by upheaval. Every body’s life is in turmoil. Consider this: youngest daughter rocketing around Europe on a gap year, adventure after adventure. Another sister announces her lesbian status. Eldest sister is besieged by three rambunctious children and a working life. Mom & Dad are in crisis mode after decades of marital bickering. Dad – a non-smoker- starts somnambulist smoking.

 
But its twins Lucy and Stella who provide the catalyst that turns the whole shebang upside down. Communications count. And when the comms chain breaks, misunderstandings multiply by the page. Goody-two-shoes starts to live her life for real instead of via her Agony Aunt column in a magazine . Read on! Its light, its fun and its Chick-lit.

 
I couldn’t put it down. Enjoy.

FATAL ATTRACTION

 

A swanky upmarket mall recently opened about 3 kms from my house.
I went for a look-see 2 weeks ago, marveled at the shiny newness, and wished for a skateboard to get around the vast complex. And then: I managed NOT to attend the Grand Opening of Exclusive Books’ new shop, despite a day of spectacular discounts. I was so proud of myself! I need more books like I need a hole in my head. Plus my credit card is emitting smoke and creaking ominously after repeated visits to the vet.

 
Today I had to go to my Bank to collect a new card. A legitimate visit to the Table Bay Mall, you will agree. Banking completed, I decided to have a quick coffee and go home. Oh dear. The coffee shop is diagonally opposite the magnificent Exclusive Books Store. My willpower is only so strong. I’ll just take a look, I WILL NOT buy anything, I promised myself.

 

How was I to know they would be offering recent novels at the unheard of price of R38.00 each ? It would have been a sin not to take advantage. I emerged with six books, two of which are Christmas gifts. That’s gotta be good, hasn’t it? A nice Christmas gift for under R40.00 ?
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My Murakami collection is missing The Elephant Vanishes, so that was a bargain. I’ve long wanted to read Yann Martel’s The High Mountains of Portugal. Paige Nick is one of my favourite South African authors – we should support local authors, right? This way up was a patriotic purchase. And I’ve recently discovered the joys of Ali Smith, so her award winning novel How to be Both was an excellent choice, don’t you agree? The two copies of Sally Andrews’ lively Tannie Maria Mystery should bring happy smiles on Christmas day.

All in all, a brilliant shopping expedition. I’m copacetic about the whole thing.