Sunday, 31 May 2009

21. Jon McGregor - If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things

I was persuaded to read this book by two friends as we all wanted to discover the nature of the ‘terrible event’ alluded to on the back cover. However, I don’t feel I drew the short straw in having to do the actual reading - it was a breathless delight I would have hated to miss.

It’s a little difficult to tell you what the book is ‘about’ as few of the characters are named. Basically, there are two narrative strands. The first is tied to one street of a city on a hot, summer’s day. There’s an injured man caring for his daughter. Students are returning from a party. A young man reaches for eye-drops. A family gets breakfast. The characters are identified as ‘the man from number twenty-two’ and, at first, it was hard to remember who was who. I soon realised that who lived in what house wasn’t really important though and found my way through the text by virtue of each character’s unique identifier – age, moustache, illness.

The second strand visits one of the street’s residents at a point in the future. She has moved away. She’s lost touch with friends. She’s lost. And it’s really impossible to say more without spoiling your reading – and I do heartily recommend that you read this book for yourself.

Mr McGregor’s writing is beautiful and reminded me of Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient in tone and pacing. I seemed to float from one scene to the next, from one narrative to the next as he drew me inexorably onwards to that terrible conclusion. There is a ‘terrible event’. But you will have to find out about it for yourself.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

IB - Anne Graham - Womanhood Revisited

Title:  Womanhood Revisited
Author:  Anne Graham
Publisher:  Christian Focus
ISBN:  1857926854
Price: £7.99

The Back of the Book: Why do so many full-time mothers and homemakers feel inferior to career women?

Why do women feel they need to be more like men to be seen to be successful?

We have had over 35 years of feminism attempting to right the many wrongs of an immoral, patriarchal society. After a generation of discord and the removal of any preconceived gender roles the question has to be asked where are we now, and where are we going?

In her book Anne Graham suggests it is time to revisit the perfection of creation where woman was created for and from man - equal in value yet different in purpose, to live in co-operation and not competition.

This is a controversial book in the light of feminist teaching on the subject, but the author uses history, scripture and personal experience to make her case.

Why I Chose This Book:  I am intrigued to read something by Anne Graham having seen her much lauded by other authors whose work I've enjoyed.  To find her writing on the subject that interests me really sealed the deal - even though I don't like the cover!

Saturday, 2 May 2009

IB - Micca Campbell - An Untroubled Heart

Title:  An Untroubled Heart
Author:  Micca Campbell
Publisher:  David Cook
ISBN:  9781434767974
Price:  £9.99

The Back of the Book:  Replace your fear with faith.

Today's world is anything but secure. We live in unstable times filled with conflict, economic uncertainties, and moral collapse. And because life is so unpredictable, fear and anxiety can become a daily reality.

Micca Campbell knows all too well the unpredictable nature of life As the twenty-one-year-old mother of an infant son, her world was shattered when she lost her husband in a tragic accident. Reeling from her loss, Micca feared for her future and struggled to overcome her aching loneliness. Yet in her darkest moment, God began to teach her His remedy for our deepest fears.

Now Micca presents a woman's guide for living a carefree, worry-free life. Micca explors the anxieties of every woman's heart - from insecurities, to finances, to marital challenges, to raising healthy children. With her distinctive southern flair and casual humor, Micca shares remarkable insights for becoming free from fear. You'll be encouraged to lay down your worries, trust in your heavenly Father, and embrace a life marked by peace and joy.

Why I Chose This Book:  I battle anxiety on a daily basis so I'm always interested to try new ways of managing it.  Plus, I really liked the cover ...

IB - Tom Cox - Under the Paw

Title:  Under the Paw
Author:  Tom Cox
Publisher:  Pocket Books
ISBN:  9781847391834
Price:  £7.99

The Back of the Book:   For years, Tom Cox might have seemed like a regular sort of bloke - a lover of late nights, rock music and beer - but he had a dark, furry secret.  tom was a cat lover.  For a while, he kept his passion in check, but then he met Dee, his moggy-loving soulmate.  He left London and his job as a rock critic behind and he and Dee, her cat Janet and three new kittens moved to a remote part of Norfolk, thinking their cat madness had reached its limit.  They were wrong.

In Under the Paw, Tom records the chaos of owning seven of the most charismatic, idiotic and duplicitous cats in the country.  On call round the clock for multiple sets of whiskers, Tom encounters death, depression, flying fur and the first human sentence spoken by a feline.  And then there is the heartbreaking story of The Bear, his oldest cat:  a 'painfully sensitive' survivor moggy who may or may not be an evil genius.

Why I Chose This Book:  I was looking for the second book for the offer I took up yesterday and saw the cat on the cover.  What more can I say?

Friday, 1 May 2009

20. William Anderson -Laura Ingalls Wilder

This is the first biography of Laura that I have read and I have to confess to being a little apprehensive about it – I love the ‘Little House’ books and didn’t want to be disillusioned by another author telling me that they are fairy stories. But I’ve found out that they are not! In addition to filling in the gaps of Laura’s life, Mr Anderson explains that Laura wanted the books to be autobiographical and accurate in their retelling of historical facts.

Although parts of this book were very sad, it was still an enjoyable and formative read and, I think, a good bridge between the children’s books that Laura wrote and the more serious side of history.

IB - Andrea Busfield - Born Under a Million Shadows

Title:  Born Under a Million Shadows
Author:  Andrea Busfield
Publisher:  Transworld
ISBN:  9780552775632
Price:  £6.99

The Back of the Book:  The Taliban have disappeared from Kabul's streets, but the long shadows of their brutal regime remain ...
In his short life eleven-year-old Fawad has known more grief than most: his father and brother have been killed, his sister has been abducted, and Fawad and his mother, Mariya, must rely on the charity of family to eke out a hand-to-mouth existence. But despite their struggles, Fawad's love of life never fades. Then Mariya finds a position as housekeeper for a charismatic Western woman, Georgie, who Fawad discovers is caught up in a dangerous love affair with the infamous Afghan warlord Haji Khan. At first resentful of Haji Khan's presence, Fawad learns that love can move a man to behave in surprising ways. But even the powerful Haji Khan can't protect Fawad from the next tragedy to blight his young life, a tragedy so devastating that it threatens to destroy the one thing he thought he could never lose: his love for his country.

Why I Chose this Book: Quite simply, I needed cheering up and paperbacks were 2-for-£7 in ASDA. I chose this one because it presents itself similarly to The Kite Runner which I loved. I hope I won't be disappointed!