I am in Beautiful Salem planning pies (apple, pumpkin, pecan, and mince) and doing the first of the grocery shopping. On the plane ride I sat by a delightful woman who is a reader and we had a fantastic discussion about books, reading, and its place in our lives. It is always refreshing to have a conversation with a “bookish” person. One of the best quotes from this conversation came when we were talking about reading different genres and Bobbie said “sometimes you need a palate cleanser”. As a lover of sorbet – I love this image she came up with.
Eva at the Striped Armchair has many interesting posting this week. She reviews By the Sea by Abdulrazak Gurnah in this post – mentioning tight writing style and page-turning narrative tension and memorable characters with honest examinations of race and refugees and the legacies of colonialism. Not to mention gender and sex and power and governmental legitimacy and memories and personal histories and identity…oh, this book was so rich!” With a review like this, who can resist putting it on one’s reading list.
She also discusses Literary Fiction in the post but what intrigues me is the quotes from Laura Miller’s The Magician’sBook: A Skeptics Adventures in Narnia. Laura Miller writes of her love for C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series and her gradual awakening to their religious content. The New Yorker called it “a meditation on the schism between childhood and adult reading. I remember first getting the Narnia set and have re-read the books several times – my childhood set is currently in the youngest’s bedroom and he too re-reads the books. I have also read many biographies and works about Lewis and his circle so this book is definitely on my wish list.
A Common Reader has a great Christmas gift for readers in this post reviewing John Sutherland and Stephan Fender new book Love, Sex, Death, and Words. The two scholars team up “to supply us with significant literary happenings from each day of the year, together with puckish short essays about each event” as quoted in the Guardians’ review of the work. This book sounds like the perfect palate cleanser and should be under every book lover’s tree.
Nicole at Linus’s Blanket reviews a book that came out in September – Stranger Here Below by Joyce Hinnefeld. The novel is about two women who become friends and then become estranged and evolves into a story of three generations and the ties that bind people together beyond the bounds of blood. Set in the south, it also touches upon race and the walls we build as well as the inheritances mothers pass onto their children.
Chris from Chrisbookarama shares a link to the Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Book Stores of the world – of the ten, I have only been to City of Lights in San Francisco but I have bookmarked this page just in case I get to go somewhere else in the world.
Mookse and the Gripes reviews a book from the 1980’s that I have never heard of – The Assault by Harry Mulisch and it looks quite interesting. Set in Germany in 1945, an act of violence occurs on a street that has devastating effects on the innocent bystanders. From this one event, a survivor spends the rest of his life reflecting on this incident, its ramifications and struggles with the desire to know more. Sounds absolutely fascinating.
I am off to caramelize some onions for quiche – here is wishing safe travels to those on the move, lots of gravy to those, like me, who think this is the best part of the upcoming festivities, and lots of great bookish conversation.