Sunday 15 December 2019

Quick Lit December 2019

Linking up with Modern Mrs Darcy as usual. After two moves and eighteen months in boxes, our books finally got to see the light of day! Here's a picture of our new fitted bookcase, ably made and installed by our friends, the Kutnar family. (No, those aren't all our books, but yes, we got rid of hundreds before moving abroad.)

T.S. Eliot - Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats
My short top pick for the month. All that controversy over the Cats movie trailer (which I haven't even watched), sent me scurrying to my (new!) bookshelf for the original inspiration for the musical, a short collection of comic poems on distinctive felines by the author who probably gave you headaches in literature class. If you want to add a short classic to your list, or to revise your view of Eliot, these fun, jaunty, and  - yes - musical poems might be just the thing. Even my four year-old enjoyed some of these.

I don't have this edition, but I think I'd like to

Octavia Butler - The Parable of the Sower
The second book I abandoned this year, but because it was so well-written, not because it was so awful. This is a novel set in a world where civilisation is slowly collapsing due to climate change and economic disparity (written in 1993 but set in the 2020s, gulp). While the adults around her seem to be clinging to hopes of returning to the old days, Lauren is quietly plotting a new way forward - spiritually and physically. However, the images of violence were just too disturbing for me. I read far more than I should have before I put it down. Only read if you have a strong stomach.

Jenny Colgan - The Bookshop on the Corner - US/ The Little Shop of Happy Ever After - UK
... But luckily, there was a Jenny Colgan novel sitting on my Kindle to get happier images into my head. Nina's job as a librarian is facing the axe, but she steps out of her comfort zone to chase her dream of running a bookshop. Unlike her dream, the bookshop turns out to be mobile, and her turf the Scottish highlands. And, of course, she finds an unexpected community -  and romance. Maybe it was just the contrast to my previous read, but I thought this was my favourite Jenny Colgan thus far. (P.S. I have no idea why the US title is so different, and misleading!)

Henrik Ibsen - An Enemy of the People [audio play from LA Theatre Works, full cast recording]
I needed something to help me get through sorting paperwork - this play is surprisingly topical: when a doctor wants to tell the truth about the contaminated water in his spa town, he finds himself the enemy of family and friends whose livelihood is threatened.

Daphne Du Maurier - The Du Mauriers
Daphne Du Maurier novelises her family history, focusing on the period when her English and French ancestors came together. Not in the same vein as her more famous works, but very engaging. If she is already a favourite author, you will probably enjoy learning more about her roots.

Anne Bogel - Reading People
Much as I love Modern Mrs Darcy, I gave this a miss when it first came out, since I wasn't that interested in the topic. However, the Kindle book was going so cheap, I gave it a go, and was surprised to find that I really enjoyed it. It's often touted as an introduction to personality frameworks, but I would say it is also a great read for those who don't want to go further, but also don't want to look ignorant the next time someone mentions Myers-Briggs or the Enneagram.

Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas, or whatever you celebrate in December, and a wonderful reading year ahead!