I love this book, and I will re-read it all my life. Such breadth and scope, such depth of loyalty, faithfulness, commitment and love, such exciting and moving adventures. It is a powerful and thoroughly beautiful story.
Dubliners is a series of short stories, set in Dublin in the early 1900s. There isn’t a great deal of plot; it is a snapshot of the lives of different people across the city. Lives filled with love, frustration, contentment, rage, drunkenness, hope, loneliness, lust and despair. They are a little bleak, but beautifully so.
It was really great to get a picture of what anxiety can be like to live with; how it feels, and how easy it can be to misunderstand an anxious person. I found that element of this book fascinating and helpful. Otherwise, I found it confused and confusing, contradictory and scattered. There are many more questions in the book, than answers, but perhaps the journey will be helpful to other travellers.
Our Souls at Night is a gentle and quietly beautiful book. Addie and Louis are neighbours, who find comfort, adventure and love together, late in life. It’s about small town life, how people are more than the facts of their lives and about choosing happiness.
Andrew Relph was born after a tragedy in his family. The event left his parents unable to respond to him, emotionally, as they should have. Though he, himself, had great difficulty reading, his mother read to him, and in books he found the connection, relationship, conversation and emotion that he was missing. There is a fair bit about psychotherapy in this book, the author became a psychotherapist, and perhaps because the particular books he has written about, are not ones I have loved, I didn’t connect with this book so much. It is about the immense power of reading, but I found How Proust can Change Your Life , by Alain de Botton, a far more engaging book on the subject.
(The 1983 version with Timothy Dalton and Zelah Clarke). The library owns seven film/miniseries adaptations of Jane Eyre (someone kept all the 2006 versions!), and this is one of my favourites. It was made in the early 80s, so the film quality isn’t great, sometimes it’s unintentionally funny, and Jane is too old, but that goes for most of the versions. Timothy Dalton plays a great Mr Rochester and the dialogue is often straight from the book; it’s a very faithful version. Everyone should watch it because it’s Jane Eyre, and men will especially love it because James Bond is in it
Autumn is a little hard to explain. It’s the first of four, seasonal, ‘state of the nation’ novels. It’s about Britain, after Brexit, and how the western world is closing itself off from kindness and sharing. It’s about strong friendship, the transformative power of love, and about art. It’s clever, thought provoking, moving and sent me to Google to learn about Pauline Boty (British pop artist).
Liane Moriarty is really great at writing about suburban Sydney-siders. There’s a strong sense of place, and the characters are real; frustrating, amusing, familiar. Truly, Madly Guilty is about three families who gather for a BBQ one afternoon and something terrible happens that has a negative impact on them all. The events of that afternoon are (very) slowly revealed over the book and the surprises are many. Though very good at pointing out people’s foibles, Moriarty is a hopeful writer, and this book is thought provoking, compelling and with a satisfying ending.
I do enjoy racing through a dystopian young adult trilogy. Certainly the premise, in this case that love is a disease that must be cured, generally doesn’t stand up to serious thought, but the action, characters and relationships are compelling. I am not enjoying the setting as much as in other series, but I am definitely keen to find out what happens next (it pays to read these series once they are completed) so will move straight on to Pandemonium.
Case Histories is the television adaptation of Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie detective series. I really love the books, and I didn’t dislike the TV series, but I didn’t love it. Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy!) plays Jackson Brodie, a private detective in beautiful Edinburgh. He tends to stumble across mysteries that are old, with current implications. The scenery is great, there are lots of reconcilable British actors, but sometimes I wasn’t sure I could actually follow what was going on. Back to the books….