Sunday 3 December 2023

Post on another rainy evening...

It’s raining again and seems much later than it is since it’s so dark outside.  But it’s still relatively early, so I have time to write a quick post about the last couple of books I’ve read.

Yesterday my Volunteer Book Club met to discuss Bonnie Garmus’ book, Lessons in Chemistry, and I can say that it was an excellent choice.  Of the six people who were at the meeting, four loved the book, while our newest member and I found it to be an interesting, often funny read, but she and I both thought it was a bit too long and somewhat unbelievable.  Since I’d heard so much hype around this book and it was recommended by so many people, I expected more; mainly, I expected the main character, Elizabeth Zott, to be believable, but as I was discussing it yesterday, I realized that she probably wasn’t supposed to represent just one woman but a whole decades’ worth of women with their various issues.  In case you are unaware of the premise of this book, Lessons in Chemistry follows a brilliant chemist, Elizabeth Zott, during her trials as she attempts to juggle work and single motherhood in the 1950s, with all the issues that women faced during that period in history.  It was well-written, thought-provoking, often funny, more often incredibly frustrating, but always entertaining.  It’s a great book club selection because it focuses on women and history, and you can always discuss how things have changed and what still needs to be done to reach true equality in the home, workplace and society.  

And I read a book for tomorrow’s Friends’ Book Club meeting, Sankofa, by Chibundu Onuzo.  Forty-eight-year-old Londoner Anna, who has recently lost her white mother, discovers the diaries of her mysterious African father hidden in her mother’s room and decides to explore her roots by visiting her father in his home country of Bamana, where he was a ruler/dictator for decades before stepping down.  His past is blotted, but he’s also done great things for the country, and Anna feels she needs to learn about this half of her history before she can move forward with her life, including her potential divorce and her renewed relationship with her adult daughter.  It was not the kind of book I would normally pick up, but I found it very readable, and while it was a bit hokey and predictable at times, it was still interesting.  I found Anna to be too  malleable to be a true “inspiration”, yet can we really expect that the death of a parent automatically gives one the strength to change one’s life completely and to become a different, stronger person?  Well, we do in novels, even if we don’t in real life!  Anyway, I’m curious to hear what others will say about it, but I actually enjoyed it much more than expected.  By the way, the Sankofa bird expresses the importance of looking to the lessons of the past to create a positive future.  

That’s all for now.  Stay dry and have a good evening!

Bye for now…

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