Friday, August 21, 2015

Before the Rains Come and more

Spring is almost here and I know for sure that when I get to Book Club this month there will have been a spring clean of our book bags. You just can't heave them all around so we are quite ruthless and the books that you bought when it was your turn to choose, get returned to you and some find the way into the Walmer Library, as donations. My attendance at book club is a bit sporadic with my travelling these but here is what I hear the ladies are enjoying:-

Leaving Before the Rains Come

Another book by one of our favourite authors was very welcome! Alexander Fuller's 'Don't lets go to the Dogs Tonight' and 'Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness' were memoirs of her childhood in Rhodesia and her eccentric mother. This book tells how she met Charlie Ross, an American adventurer in Africa whom she marries and has three children. They are attracted by their differences and their  marriage unravels over two continents when those differences become the reason not to be together, I really enjoy her writing, her use of language, her humour and admire the interesting life she has lived and I cant wait to get my hands on this.
Interestingly enough no one seems to talk about her second novel 'Scribbling the Cat' which I loved. Perhaps the topic is not as popular as it tells the story of a veteran of the Rhodesian bush war. I believe anything by Alexander Fuller will be a fantastic read.

I am Pilgrim

I remember the 70s and 80s when books where big, thick, epic stories usually family sagas set over generations. These days we don't have time to wade through all those pages any more so I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes is not for the faint hearted. Nearly 700 three pages long, its a spy thriller kicked off by a gruesome murder scene and its driven by the stories of a large number of interlocking and interweaving lives of the man Pilgrim and the narrator and man who is on a mission to catch him before he destroys the world. The plot twists and turns like a python in a sack and this fast paced turn pager is an astonishing debut novel which I believe will be on the big screen in no time. A second book is already due for release in May next year. Definitely on the popular list in our book club.

Life After Life

This is my best read this year. If I was forced to choose one author as my favourite, Kate Atkinson would be the one. I loved her 'Behind the Scenes in the Museum' and became to slave to her next book after each release. Her latest novel is her most ambitious to date and tells the story of the Todd family and in particular Ursula who is born during a snowstorm in England in 1911, and dies before she can take her first breath. In 1911 during a snowstorm Ursula is born again and this time lives and dies several times throughout her life. Complex I know, but its a story of 'what ifs' a little like the movie sliding doors which has multiple stories within stories all leading to different endings. Its challenging but addictive and so well written - a masterpiece really! The main part of the book is set during the war years, both first and second, and her characters brought to life as if they are relations of yours. It's a long time since I have wanted to get home so I can read and this book does that - I couldn't wait to spend time with Ursula and the Todds and find out what happens to them. Again there is a sequel - out now - which tells the story of her much loved brother, Teddy a fighter bomber pilot. This will be my holiday read as I visit England next month and as my dad and grandfather were RAF pilots I am really looking forward to it.

A Spool of Blue Thread

Anne Tyler is a popular choice with book club and her books are quiet observations of family life and relationships. This one is no different - its the story of three generations of Whitshanks and a family gathering to discuss what is to be done about Abby and Red, who are getting older and what is to happen to their beloved family home. Its a gentle book to climb into bed with a night but none the less beautifully written and a compelling tale that we can all relate to. I was reading it at the airport in Zimbabwe and an American tourist came to ask if I was enjoying it,  as Anne Tyler is one of her favourites - we spoke about books, reading and book clubs, families, Africa, travelling and the world in general  for over an hour while waiting to board, A book can really bring people together - if I had been reading it on Kindle I would not have had that interesting conversation!

Its book club on Tuesday and I am looking forward to catching up and hearing what else is being enjoyed. I will try not to leave my blog entry so long next time. Happy Reading!