Sunday, 27 September 2020

Speed-posting on a wildly windy morning...

It’s very windy and sunny and warm this morning, probably one of the last warm days of the year, so I’ve got laundry hanging out on the clothesline to take advantage of “nature’s dryer”.  I’m enjoying a steaming cup of chai and a yummy Date Bar while I think about all the things I still want to get done today.

Because I have three books to tell you about, I am going to use the method suggested in one of the books I listened to and describe each book in twenty-five words or less; then I can use as many words as I want to tell you how the book made me feel, what I liked or didn’t like about it, etc.  It seems a bit like speed dating, but I’ll give it a try.  Here goes:

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowly (audiobook):  Boy meets girl.  Boy meets another girl.  First girl moves away.  Boy loses second girl.  First girl moves back, but second girl wants boy back.  Will boy and girl find true love?   I think that was thirty words, but that was as brief as I could be.  This Young Adult novel set in Australia was an ode to used bookstores, love letters, and the joy of books and reading.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, despite the fairly typical plot line.

Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen:  Lonely crafter girl meets new boy, but both need to overcome guilt about tragic accidents in their past that have isolated them socially before they can form connections to others.  OK, once again this was thirty words, but it’s the best I could do.  Another Young Adult novel, this time from my school collection, was funny and sad and dealt with difficult topics with sensitivity.  It is sure to appeal to many of my students, especially those who have a creative flair.  I think I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t just read Tell Me Everything, which had similar themes but was much less humorous.

The Memory Police by Yōko Ogawa:  Things disappear on unnamed island and people just accept it and forget about these items. But some people remember and are tracked down by the Memory Police and taken away.  This novel, shortlisted for the Booker International Prize, was a cross between 1984, The Handmaid’s Tale and Never Let Me Go.  It focused on totalitarianism, acceptance and the difficulty of resistance.  It was moving and thought-provoking, and the story-within-the-story added a further dimension to the novel as a whole.  The words and phrases brought to mind vivid images, particularly of the rose petals in the river, and the text flowed smoothly despite being translated.  I would highly recommend this if you enjoy dystopian novels, but be warned that it is not uplifting at all. I know that I haven't done this excellent book justice here, so if you are interested in it, please read about it further online - here is the review from the Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/aug/23/the-memory-police-yoko-ogawa-review.

That’s all for today.  Get outside and enjoy the great weather!

Bye for now…
Julie

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