I have a couple of small things I would like to mention today, and then I want to talk about our recent book club discussion of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude.
Last Sunday we went downtown to the Chriskindle Market, which we always enjoy. I’ve been on the lookout for some new mugs, and we found a lovely set at a place that is new to the downtown core, but it used to be in St. Jacob’s, Entertaining Elements. I love my new mugs, which are a cream colour with what looks like cinnamon swirls in the ceramic. I use these mugs for regular tea or soup, but for my special Masala Chai on Sunday mornings, only my handmade pottery mug from St Jacob’s will do - I actually think my tea tastes better from that mug on a Sunday morning! (maybe that’s because I associate it with writing my blog post).
I’ve nearly finished listening to Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy. I remember reading this book years ago, the first book I’d ever read by this author, who recently passed away. It tells the story of Benny and Eve, two girls who become friends in the small town of Knockglen, outside of Dublin, in the 1950s. The novel follows them as they move from schoolgirl friendship to university, and relates the changing relationships they have with various townspeople and their new friends and relationships in Dublin. It is a lovely story that explores what true friendship really means, and how friends remain loyal despite outside influences. I have about 15 minutes of listening time left, and am a bit sad to be reaching the end of the audio book. I like reading Binchy’s books periodically, as they are “gentle” books. They are not really gritty, and while they may offer situations or characters that are not necessarily pleasant (in Tara Road, the main character’s husband is having an affair and leaves her and the children, in Circle of Friends, Nan’s father is a verbally, and sometimes physically, abusive alcoholic man), there are no graphic details presented to the reader, nor does the author dwell on these situations. Rather, they are just part of the fabric of the story, along with the usually female main characters who develop unlikely friendships and grow stronger as the story progresses. I would recommend her books as a welcome change from heavier novels that may be grittier or more psychological.
We met on Thursday evening to discuss One Hundred Years of Solitude, If you recall, I may have mentioned in an earlier post that I was not going to read this novel, having tried to read it once before, and again when it was chosen for the group. I just don’t enjoy reading magic realism. Well, I was relieved to learn at the meeting that no one had finished reading the book, and that those who made it to the meeting did not really enjoy what they had read thus far. They had issues with the names of characters and keeping them straight (too many sons with the same name as their fathers). They also had trouble figuring out where the story was taking place, and during what time period (they thought it might be taking place at the beginning of time, and yet lawyers in top hats also turn up at one point, suggesting the 15th century or later). The one member who hadn’t finished the book but was actually enjoying it was unable to make it to the meeting, which was unfortunate. The other members decided that they were going to plug away at the novel and finish it, because it was a classic literary masterpiece and the author was a Nobel Prize winner. I felt no such personal inclination. If anyone asks about classic literature, I can say with confidence that I may not have read One Hundred Years but I have read Crime and Punishment, and not because I had to - it was a choice! This brings to mind that list I wrote about in one of my very early posts, a list presented in a novel by Milan Kundera of books that you feel you should read, books that you have heard so much about that you feel as if you have read it, books that you read so long ago you feel they should be reread, etc. Well, this was a book that I thought I should try to read and get through, but having given it a try twice, I think I can safely stroke it off my list of “Books I feel I should read”. After all, as an adult, I can make these choices and spend time reading books I really enjoy or want to read.
I’m about halfway through a Canadian novel right now, Stray Love by Kyo Maclear. I’ll write more about this book next week once I’ve finished reading it.
And that's all for today…
Bye for now!