book pile

OK, I took a while to jump on this bandwagon

I wasn't overwhelmed by the start of E Lockhart’s The disreputable history of Frankie Landau-Banks, and kept reading with lowish expectations*. I think I was put off by the high school group cliches, of-course-every-hetero-girl-would-love-this-guy stuff. But then Frankie’s snarkiness and powers of observation starting showing, and I understood why so many people had raved about the book when it came out. I love the tributes to Wodehouse, and the musings about power, family relationships and gender. And it makes for a different type of boarding school story, one where the heroine is quite rational about the benefits and costs assocaited with attendance. If there is anyone left who hasn't read this, I recommend it!

*I seem to write this quite often. Maybe it’s a good thing as then I enjoy a good book more?
bromeliad flower

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I’m breaking into 2010 with the photos, here!

So, Greece, late 2009-early 2010. Collapse )

OK, sorry for all the floating monastery photos. Next up: back to the UK, which is after all where I live.

Wilbur does not want to be eaten!

I have finally followed up on my plan to re-read Charlotte's Web, and see why it's so popular in the USA. And yes, it's a good book. It combines a nice nostalgic rural childhood with a great animal cast, and lots of lovely moments of friendship and compassion. And I love the illustrations by Garth Williams.

But my lingering question after reading this is HOW IS YOUR COUNTRY NOT FULL OF VEGETARIANS?! The idea of Wilbur getting eaten is quite traumatic when reading this book. Do children give up meat after reading it?
book pile

Once was lost

Although I enjoyed Sarah Zarr’s first two books, I loved Once was lost. I didn’t expect this as the plot sounded a bit more melodramatic – drama in a small town, including an alcoholic mother. But I thought it was truthful and compelling. The characters were all very real. In particular, as lady_schrapnell has commented before, Zarr has the gift of creating believable parents. Recommended!
apple books

Return of the one paragraph book discussion

Although (unlike the other reviews I’m come across) I found Marilynn Robinson’s recent novel Home too depressing for my tastes, I liked her writing style. So when I saw Gilead at the library I picked it up. And I wasn’t disappointed – this was the book that other reviews seemed to be talking about when they wrote reviews of Home. It is told from the point of view of an old vicar who knows he is dying, and is reflecting on his life. This process is interupted by the unexpected return of his prodigal godson to the small town. Gilead is a quiet, contained story about ageing, reconciliation and hope. I loved it.