Monday 9 August 2021

It's been a while...

It’s been almost three weeks since my last post, and I have three books to tell you about today as I sip my steeped chai and eat a bowl of delicious fresh Ontario fruit.  But this is going to be Speed Blogging, a bit like Speed Dating, as I have my friend (and biggest blog fan!) coming over for a visit in just over an hour.  So here goes…

The first book I read since my last post was The Stranger in the Mirror by Liv Constantine.  This book tells the story of Addison, a young photographer who is about to get married to a wonderful man, but she’s not as happy as she should be.  A few years ago, she was found bleeding by the side of the road and was taken in by a wonderful couple who helped her get back on her feet, but since then, she’s suffered from severe amnesia and can’t remember who she was before her rescue.  Julian is a psychiatrist who has been searching for his wife for over two years.  He has been telling his daughter daily that mommy will come home soon, but how will he find her? And who, of all the people in her life, can Addison trust?  A page-turner for sure, but not nearly as good as it could have been.  If you are looking for a thriller with this type of plot, I would recommend Before I Go To Sleep by S J Watson, a truly fantastic read.

Next I read Unsettled Ground by Irish author Claire Fuller, which was short-listed for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.  It focuses on twins Jeanie and Julius, fifty-one years old, both single and still living with their mother, Dot, in a run-down cottage on the fringes of a small village.  When their mother dies suddenly, they are left to their own devices and must try to make their way through life together using whatever skills they have.  As if this wasn’t frightening enough, as they try to forge a life from what they know, day by day this knowledge is shattered, and everything they have believed their whole lives is called into question.  This literary masterpiece was also a page-turner, but one that demanded attention to language and character development.  It was a fabulous book, tackling serious issues gracefully and with compassion.  I would highly recommend it and will seek out other novels by this author.

And last but not least, I read The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman.  This non-fiction title was the selection for my Volunteer Book Club, which met on Saturday morning.  This book details the lives of Jan and Antonina Zabinska, keepers of the Warsaw Zoo before and during WWII.  The lives they saved, the adventures they had, the creative ways they hid “Guests”, both legitimate and not, and the way they handled tricky situation made a serious impression on all the members of the group.  We thought Jan was “fearless, brave and clever”.  We were amazed at the complexity of the Underground.  We thought that, at that time, everyone had to make choices, and those choices were often between life and death.  We were horrified by the “cruel (psychological) games” some of the Nazis engaged in.  We thought it had so much detail and so many people that it was hard to keep track of everything and everyone, but that it was a worthwhile read if only to offer a “window into the Underground, the Resistance”.  We felt that it was called The Zookeeper’s Wife because up until recently, war stories have mainly focused on the actions of men, and the many and varied roles of women have been largely forgotten or ignored.  We all agreed that we would never survive in a similar situation, that we would be caught out in a lie almost immediately because we wouldn’t be able to keep track of what we told and to whom.  Thankfully the only battle we are facing right now is against COVID-19!

That’s all for today.  Stay cool and keep reading!

Bye for now…

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