Not Enough Women

Amelia always watches in fascination as I read, and then gets angry when she can’t turn the thick cardboard pages of her own books.  This got me thinking that much of the literature I read is by male authors, and in the future, I will be wanting to introduce Amelia to a good blend of both men and women.

Winter reading with Amelia, she made sure I was pronouncing all the words correctly.

As most of my readers are of the female variety, this is where your expertise would be greatly appreciated.  I would love some recommendations for good authors, especially beyond the women who wrote the classics.  I have a bit of list of books gathered already but would love to add to it and have a richer reading list.

I am already a huge fan of Virginia Woolf, Irène Némirovsky as well as the recently read Marguerite Yournecar, and Daphne Du Maurier, and plan to read some more Barbara Kingsolver, Dava Sobel, Eowyn Ivey, and Enid Blyton. Continue reading “Not Enough Women”

A Blue Tale and Other Stories – Marguerite Yourcenar

Published to great acclaim in France in 1993, this collection is not only a delight for Marguerite Yourcenar fans but a welcome port of entry for any reader not yet familiar with the author’s lengthier, more demanding works. The sole published work of fiction by Yourcenar yet to be translated into English, this collection includes three stories written between 1927 and 1930 when the author was in her mid-twenties. These stories cover a range of themes, from an allegory on greed and a scene from the war of the sexes, to a witchhunt that obsessively creates its own quarry.

I admit to picking this up purely because I haven’t reviewed a book by an author whose last name begins with a ‘Y’.  The only other time I picked up a ‘Y’ author was when reading David Yallop‘s, How They Stole the Game, but the machinations of FIFA corruption isn’t to everyone’s interest so that shall be for another day.

A Blue Tale, the book’s title story is a strong start.  The colour blue is used as a simple description for many objects, which in turn allows the reader to visualise and appreciate the many hues of blue, this works both for the visual but also for the different emotional shades of tale.

When other colours are mentioned they gain a more pleasing vibrancy due to the blue saturation, this also helps bring out the geographic imagery of various places as well, as this story is told in the form of an adventure by merchants journeying to the east, with a desire for riches and the (un)expected adversities that this can bring. Continue reading “A Blue Tale and Other Stories – Marguerite Yourcenar”

The Wind Through the Keyhole – Stephen King

Although I reviewed this book back in the day (April 2012, to be exact, achieving a grand total of three likes), having read it again I have decided to update the review to bring it in line with the series written by older, present me.  It may come off as a bit of a weird mix now, but this reblog of a majority newly review just about sums up how I live life.

Book to the Future

” A person’s never to old for stories, Bill. Man and boy, girl and woman, never to old. We live for them.”

Although I reviewed this book back in the day, having read it again I have decided to update the review to bring it in line with the series written by older, present me.  It may come off as a bit of a weird mix now, but this reblog of a majority newly review just about sums up how I like life.

Never has a dust jacket made me feel so popular when reading in a public place.  People were taking an interest in my reading material for once, when I removed this out of the cheap plastic bag, within the better plastic bag, from out of my backpack, that kept the rain off its brand-new pages.  Interestingly the bags mirrored the structure of the book but that was mere coincidence.

The Wind Through the Keyhole is Dark Tower book…

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Get Yourself A Free Book

Everyone loves free stuff, and what can be better than a good book bargain to take your mind off whatever is on currently on it?

I have been informed by my good friend Estelle – who runs a blog for the books of Indrajit Garai – that The Bridge of Little Jeremy, is currently on a free giveway on Amazon, which you can find at the link here.

I have also read and reviewed Indrajit’s two short story volumes, The Sacrifice,  and The Eye Opener, which I enjoyed immensely. Both of which I can happily recommend to you.

Here’s the blurb for The Bridge of Little Jeremy, check it out and indulge yourself in a story about family, the changing face of Paris, and the meaning of beauty, for absolutely no pennies.

Jeremy’s mother is about to go to prison for their debt to the State. He is trying everything within his means to save her, but his options are running out fast.

Then Jeremy discovers a treasure under Paris.

This discovery may save his mother, but it doesn’t come for free. And he has to ride over several obstacles for his plan to work.

Meanwhile, something else is limiting his time…

Under the Jaguar Sun – Italo Calvino

A couple on an epicurean journey across Mexico are excited by the idea of a particular ingredient, suggested by ancient rituals of human sacrifice. Precariously balanced on his throne, a king is able only to listen to the sounds around him – sure that any deviation from their normal progression would mean the uprising of the conspirators that surround him. And three different men search desperately for the beguiling scents of lost women, from a Count visiting Madame Odile’s perfumery, to a London drummer stepping over spent, naked bodies.

Once again Italo Calvino delights with a – sadly -never completed, but ultimately rewarding collection of short stories that explore the senses, taste, hearing, and smell. Just like his other books, most notably The Castle of Crossed Destinies and Invisible Cities, Calvino‘s love of symbolism and theme is thickly lavished throughout the prose.

Each story is a pleasure to read, and all are, unsurprisingly, totally different in their execution, nevertheless each tale is filled with intensity as well as both intoxicating and sometime repulsive imagery.  It is a feast for the eyes, so in a way that sense is indeed incorporated into the book and tells its own story through the reader.

“To be sure, the palace contains some so-called historic chambers, which you would like to see again, even though they have been redone from top to bottom, to give them back the antique aspect lost with the passing years.”

Different facets of each of the senses are explored, the differing perceptions and sensations, and the thought processes which logically follow in this world of magical realism. Continue reading “Under the Jaguar Sun – Italo Calvino”

The Flight of the Falcon – Daphne Du Maurier

Armino Fabbio leads a pleasant, if humdrum life — until he becomes circumstantially involved in the murder of an old peasant woman in Rome. The woman, he gradually comes to realise, was his family’s beloved servant many years ago, in his native town of Ruffano.

Over five hundred years before, the sinister Duke Claudio, known as The Falcon, lived his twisted, brutal life, preying on the people of Ruffano. Now it is the twentieth century, and the town seems to have forgotten its violent history. But have things really changed?

This is the first novel I’ve read by Daphne Du Maurier, which, considering they have been sat on my mum’s bookshelf for ages is some feat.  The Flight of the Falcon was a good choice for a starting point, whilst not an amazing literary work, and with a few too many coincidences for my liking (although not half as many as a Charles Dickens novel), it kept me interested to the end.

Part crime novel – although this is somewhat played down as the plot progresses – and part suspenseful thriller, Armino’s adventures are very arts focused.  As revelations are uncovered, rivalries seem to echo through history and reverberate around the town of Ruffano. It becomes clear the town is a stage for an encounter more intricate amd terrifying than Armino could have imagined.

The reader is treated to a story that oozes atmosphere, there is murder, secrets, obsession, a dark history, religious and mythical imagery and fervour, all of which is played out to a background tension that constantly ratchets up. Pleasingly and predictably all these plot points are woven around plenty of alcohol and food consumption. Continue reading “The Flight of the Falcon – Daphne Du Maurier”

SK’s Browning DTs

Apologies in advance for the attention that this blog is paying to the Dark Tower series but it has been taking up all my reading time of late as I don’t wish to leave it unfinished when I leave the hemisphere behind again.  And there are far too many other books that I want to take back with me instead of  a half finished series.

Today’s post is not just reading for those who have journeyed – or are so doing – through these books,  Robert Browning’s, Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came, is a fantastic read on its own, but as it inspired, together with spaghetti westerns and The Lord of the Rings, King’s monumental series its worth highlighting here.

I’ve posted the first six stanzas of the thirty-five that make up this epic poem, and it seems appropriate to leave a link to the complete poem from StephenKing.com.  Pleasurable reading and pleasant nights as always dear reader.

I.
My first thought was, he lied in every word,
That hoary cripple, with malicious eye
Askance to watch the workings of his lie
On mine, and mouth scarce able to afford
Suppression of the glee, that pursed and scored
Its edge, at one more victim gained thereby. Continue reading “SK’s Browning DTs”