Another summer week gone by. Himself and I looked at the calendar and figured out if we were to take some needed items to Youngest we would have to do it this week (this also allows me to get a much needed haircut from my mother’s hairdresser – she is excellent and worth traveling for. So we loaded the car up and drove down on Thursday and back yesterday. Got some time in with my mother and a load of groceries and his bike to the starving student. I also got a lot of reading in (I love it that I can read in the car). I finally finished Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin and I read Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler which made me wonder how terrible racism still is in this country. I read Josephine Tey’s The Man in the Queue and have already ordered the second Inspector Grant mystery from the library. Finally I read The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald while short does represent a dint in the to-be-read stack.
Here is what caught my interest this week:
I have always been interested in how and why people reinvent themselves – the circumstances that leads someone to deliberately change their lives. Vichy’s Blog reviews a memoir by Emma Brockes, She Left Me the Gun: My Mother’s Life Before Me. Brockes’ mother left South Africa and emigrated to England in the 1960′s. She married, had a child, and built a life of happiness. She told her daughter that she would explain her past at some point in time but died before she could do so. So Brockes travels to South Africa, meets her numerous aunts and uncles and learns why her mother left. I love what Vichy says about the book:
She Left Me the Gun’ is a beautiful book. It is depressing and haunting, because of the events it describes and the secrets it reveals. But it is beautiful too, because of the way Emma’s mother comes out of the traumatic events which affected her to build a life which is filled with beauty and happiness and brings joy and happiness and camaraderie to the people who touch her – her family, her friends, her colleagues, her boss. Though the secrets revealed are dark and depressing, the book is ultimately life affirming and I loved the book for that.
It is Anita Brookner Month throughout the Blogosphere and the reviews have started appearing. Last year I picked up Hotel du Lac to read in July – reviewed by Alex in Leeds. Now I may need to pick-up another one of her books, her second novel Providence reviewed by Heavenali. Kitty Maule is a lonely academician who, while successful in her professional life, finds her love life utterly lacking. Lonely and unfulfilled in a profound way, she steps up her pursuit of her colleague Maurice. Like most of Brookner’s work, little happens in terms of plot and much happens in terms of characterization. But, like Ali, I like those types of books.
Dorothy Parker is an iconic figure in American letters and having grown up with The New Yorker sitting on the coffee table, she is a figure I am well acquainted with. So it was with delight I find her a character in a novel by Ellen Meister, Farewell Dorothy Parker. Violet Epps is a “powerhouse” of a movie critic with a strong voice which she achieves by channeling her hero Dorothy Parker. However, this does not translate into her personal life where she is a retiring wallflower unable to express what she wants or needs. Devourer of Books reviews this fourth novel by the author of The Other Life. After a visit to The Algonquin Hotel, the ghost of Dorothy Parker follows Violet home and wrecks havoc in her personal life. This sounds like a very fun read for the summer.
Finally, The Devourer of Books informs us that author JK Rowling has previously written a crime novel, Cuckoo’s Calling, under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. The BBC News has the full article. It is available in the US by electronic reader.