Saturday, 9 May 2015

Catching up

I don't seem to have read so much this last winter as some years., certainly fewer novels than usual for me. Most of my reading has been from pot-luck visits to my local branch library, now in danger of being closed or offered to local community group to run.
Over the winter months we have been spending time tidying up the garden, MOH hacking back various overgrown trees and shrubs, to let in a bit more light and air.

 I have however enjoyed a few books in the last months, Taiye Selasi's Ghana Must Go being one of them. The descriptions of Ghana itself roused memories of my early childhood, which was largely spent in that country, where my father worked as a mining engineer. Taiye Selasi's writing switched from lyrical to staccato rapidly, but with meaning, and I thought beginning a story with an ending was intriguing.
I enjoyed several of the stories in Rose Tremain's short story collection The American Lover.  I rely on Rose Tremain's writings for interesting, engaging and well-written storytelling, and this didn't disappoint.
Another book of short stories was Hilary Mantel's The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher, some of these were qutie memorable, especially the title story and the story about an author visit to a book group in a provincial town. This last seemed to be an author's worst nightmare and had a definite ring of truth to it.  The book was widely reviewed in the press when it first came out, to not entirely complete approbation.
 I finally caught up with Susan Hill's The Woman in Black, one of her most famous and probably the most widely read of her ghost stories and thought it disturbing and unsettling as are some of her others I have  recently read.
I have struggled somewhat with Stefan Zweig's Beware of Pity, because I do not like the narrator/main character very much at all; I find him and his actions arrogant and self-centred, although the discussions by him with others about his behaviour are fascinating. I also find his constant referrals to Edith as being a child, when she seems to me to be a young woman with a mind of her own, irritating. As this book was lent to me by a friend, I am determined to finish it, but cannot find the impetus to read much of it at one sitting. But then not all books are to be read simply at one go, so to speak. Some are better for being read at a slower pace, thus being savoured more.

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