Sunday, 29 May 2011

Long overdue...

The Victoria day weekend threw me off schedule, so it feels like I haven't written in a long time.  I was planning on writing this morning, but we wanted to get out and enjoy the day before the rain began, so we headed to St Jacob's for a walk and a stroll through town.  I'm so glad that I waited to post, as I made a few purchases that might be of interest.

I'll start with my original post topics.  We discussed Timothy Findley's novel, Piano Man's Daughter, in my book discussion group on Friday, and everyone seemed to have enjoyed it.  That was a relief, as I'm always worried that my group members will not like a particular selection, especially if it's my selection.  What I've learned, though, is that the measure of a gook book club selection is not whether everyone likes it, but, rather, whether it's discussable.  It's just as interesting to talk about why we didn't enjoy a book as it is to discuss why we did enjoyed one.  We all agreed that Eliza was our favourite character, and that there were many interesting minor characters in the novel in addition to the main characters, Lily and Charlie Kilworth.  While Findley's novels are each very different, they often deal with issues of mental illness, identity and sexuality, and this novel is no exception.  His attention to historical detail is impressive and adds texture to this already complex novel.

I also finished listening to Trespass by Valerie Martin.  I think she is my new favourite author.  The novel dealt with what it means to "belong" and what is considered "foreign".  Who is trespassing on whose territory?  Who should be kept out and how?  How must these views change as we face new "enemies" and different wars in our changing political environment?  I don't pretend be historically- or politically-minded, so I'm sure I could have appreciated this novel much more if I understood the political references in greater depth.  Even with my slight understanding, though, this novel spoke to me, and the characters were real and three-dimensional.  I wanted to know more about the poacher, and how the relationships turned out (I'll leave this intentionally vague so I don't give anything away).  It was an excellent novel, and I felt the narrator captured the intentions of the author. 

It's hard to tell with an audiobook how much the narration adds to the enjoyment of the story.  I know that narration is an important aspect of the audiobook experience because I have stopped listening to a book due to narration that was annoying to me.  But no matter how much you may enjoy a particular narrator, the story still has to grab you.  I have downloaded an audiobook narrated by John Lee, my personal favourite, but the novel was not one that I was enjoying and so I stopped listening.  I conclude, then, that it must be a combination of good narrator AND good story to make it an enjoyable audiobook experience.  Speaking of enjoyable audiobook experiences and John Lee, I first heard him narrate White Tiger by Aravind Adiga, and it was amazing!  I'm not sure that I would have enjoyed reading it, but he really brought to book alive for me.  I loved it!

So the reason today's purchases may be of interest... I bought a new mug for my tea and two new novels.  The mug was handmade by a potter in St. Jacob's, and I always like  to support local artists and craftspeople.  I'm drinking my tea out of this mug right now!  The books that I purchased are:  The Female of the Species by Lionel Shriver and Attachment by Isabel Fonseca.  I would like to find another novel by Shriver that engages me enough to finish it, although I don't expect the same depth of experience as with We Need to Talk About Kevin.  I'm hoping this one will be the one.  I know nothing about Isabel Fonseca, but I'll admit I'm a pushover for new trade paperbacks, and for the price, I couldn't go wrong.  I guess we sometimes do judge a book by its cover, or in my case, its format.  I'll hope for the best with both of these novels, but even if I don't thoroughly enjoy them, I've supported a local bookseller, which is always a good thing.

And the rain held off all day, so we may be in for a wild thunderstorm tonight, but it's been a great day so far.

Bye for now!
Julie

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