Friday, January 2, 2015

Changing reading patterns

My average reading per year for the past few years has been at least one book a week, more than 52 in a whole year but in 2014 I was under the 50 mark.
It was not for a lack of reading material more the depth of reading in each book. Of course it started in 2013 with The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton; 800 plus pages requiring close reading over an elongated period but the big books I read in 2014 were not fiction. Fiction has always been my preferred genre but recently I have found myself reading more memoirs and literary biography - from these I get an insight into both books and lives and the writing environment as well.

See my list of books read in the side panel and look out for a greater variety of titles in 2015.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Still life with bread crumbs

I really enjoyed Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen. Indeed I have enjoyed all her novels and essays.
Here is Carole from The Women's Bookshop introducing and recommending this novel of art, identity and friendship.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Luminaries

How wonderful that Eleanor Catton has won the Man Booker Prize2013 and with such a big book that reads like a puzzle unraveling itself. Every word, every action is significant and every character has many layers. A wonderful novel from a wonderful writer. Eleanor's speech at the awards was well written and well-delivered showing her amazing talent. She has now won two other awards and is on a world tour - we might have to wait some time for her next book.

Here is Carole from the Women's Bookshop reviewing The Luminaries when it was first published:

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Ladies' Litera-tea

At Raye Freedman Arts Centre, Epsom Girls' Grammar on Sunday 25 August from 1pm

Monday, June 24, 2013

Winter reading

A cold day outside, a warm spot inside, a hot chocolate and a good book - something engrossing and heart-warming? Try:

The Art of hearing heartbeats by Jan Phillip Sendker
Set in Burma this novel tells the story of a blind boy and a handicapped girl and their long-lasting love for each other. The story is told by Julia who travels from New York to Burma to find out the truth about her father and U Ba who knows the local history. Hearing heartbeats is a wonderful metaphor for understanding people. A different story in a different setting , it's captivating.

The Red Book by Deborah Copaken Kogan
A mix of gossip and anaysis makes lively reading in this novel about contemporary lives and personal circumstances. It's satirical, funny, ironic and by describing the lives of friends from one class reunion to the next charts the way we live today.

And also the novel I am reading right now that combines the realities family life with cooking and baking, Souffle by Asli Perker is perfect and will encourage you to bake something nice to go with that hot chocolate!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

May is Festival month

Auckland Writers and Readers Festival 2013 from Wednesday 15 May to Sunday 19 May promises readings, interviews and discussions to suit every taste. Everyone is invited to "think between the lines" and discover the best writers and thinkers who will be examining:
Faraway lands - Anita Desai (India), Sharad Paul (Tibet), Shehan Karunatilaka (Sri Lanka), John Sinclair (China) and Diego Marani (Finland)
Science and Reason - Dr Helena Popovic, Sir LLoyd Geering, Rebecca Priestley, Sylvia Nasar
Art, Music and Poetry - Jackie Kay, Ian Wedde, Fleur Adcock, Bill Manhire
There's examples of architecture, history, philosophy, ecology and food and plenty of fiction that I'm looking forward to the most - Life after life by Kate Atkinson, The writing class by Stephanie Johnson, The Crane wife by Patrick Ness, exciting new novels that really come to life when you hear the author talk about the ideas and characters they have created.

Join me there!

Monday, February 25, 2013

The country diary of a New Zealand lady

I'm impressed by Back to the land : a year of country gardening by Linda Hallinan, well known for her columns in New Zealand Gardener and The Sunday Times. Divided into the four seasons it is composed of diary entries about her life and her garden, including practical tips on cooking, preserving, keeping chickens, planting trees, raising plants, harvesting vegetables, cracking nuts and selling produce at the farmers' market. Along the way we are treated to insights into family life and rural living. Hallinane's writing is down-to-earth and amusing; she explains mistakes and disappointments but the beautiful photographs illustrate her many successes.
I've already made her "never fails to set" damson jam - it was easy and delicious. And I'm determined to get out to the Clevedon Farmers' Market some time soon.