Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Wednesday morning tea and book thoughts...

What a clear, fresh, lovely Wednesday morning!  My tea is steaming in my beautiful mug, I'm listening to classical piano on CBC Radio Two, and I'm going to write about books - I'd say this is practically a perfect morning!

I finished listening to The Sleepwalkers by Paul Grossman last night, and as I mentioned in a previous entry, it's not uplifting at all.  In fact, the only positive aspect of this book I can think of is that we know WWII eventually ends (I feel I can safely say that without giving away any of the plot).  But I learned alot about pre-WWII Germany, I appreciated the work the author put into expressing his thoughts and creating a coherent story, and I discovered a new author.  In my mind, that is a win-win situation.

I'm reading The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas right now.  I'm about half-way through this rather thick trade paperback set in Australia about what happens to a group of friends when a man at a barbeque slaps a child who is not his own.  This Commonwealth Writers' Prize 2009 Best Book Winner is riveting to this reader because the situations, individuals and relationships that are explored in this novel are complex and all-too-real.  I enjoy books that present a situation in a character's life where, in an instant, his or her whole life changes forever.  I wonder how many of us have had instances like that in our lives, where one decision, one action, one choice affected the rest of our lives?  I can certainly think of a few choices I've made that have changed the entire course of my life.  Sometimes we wish we could go back to the moment before that act and change our action, sometimes we're happy we chose to act as we did.  I've read others that deal with these types of life-changing situations, but I can't think of any offhand - I'll have to go through the list of books that I've read to find other examples.  Anyways, The Slap is probably not going to be uplifting, either;  at least it's not uplifting so far.  But it is very interesting.  I haven't read many Australian authors - Bryce Courtenay and Peter Carey may be the only ones.  So Tsiolkas' novel is interesting on a number of levels, a glimpse into the lives of a group of average Australian people, relationships ,and dealing with the results of impulsive actions, to name a few.  I'm looking forward to finishing it.

And finally, my book group agreed on The Joy Luck Club for our August selection.  One member, who is a former high school English teacher, said she's read it quite a few times because her students often chose that novel for independent study projects, but she agreed to read it again for our next meeting.  I haven't read it for years, but think it's definitely a good book club selection, as it presents much that can be discussed.  And I think its themes are universal and timeless.  I hope they like it!

Time to go and read some more before getting ready for work.

Bye for now!
Julie

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