Showing posts from September, 2015

Holiday Reading

I'm flying off for a holiday in Spain on Thursday. There was a time when on holiday I would stagger to bed after the witching hour loaded with rioja or sangri - but not nowadays I like to be tucked up by ten, cuddling a book. So I've been thinking about what bedtime reading to pack. Last Saturday I bought the first volume of a fairly recent Faye Weldon trilogy to slip into my bag. But I couldn't resist reading it -  so now I need something else.

My opinion of Habits of the House (2012)? Well, I have to say that, though I am normally an avid and enthusiastic reader of Fay Weldon's books, my reaction in this instance is lukewarm. The book is infused with  customary humour and keen observation of human nature but I just couldn't engage with the characters, or care about what happened to them. But I'm willing to concede that the fault may lie with me rather than the writer - she is, after all, a Professor of English Literature at the University of Bath Spa, and was …

The Hearts and Minds of Men by Fay Weldon

Fay Weldon is my all time favourite contemporary writer. She has been writing novels, short stories, screenplays and more for 5 decades and has been awarded a CBE in the Queen's Honours and Fellowship of the Royal Society of Literature. What I love about Ms. Weldon's books is the characterisation, which is often in the form of an omniscient and dispassionate view (albeit from a feminist perspective) of the motives behind the way that  her characters act and drive forward the plot. Fay Weldon has an educational grounding in psychology, which is evident in this aspect of her writing. Added to this, Miss Weldon is incredibly imaginative.

At the moment I am re-reading The Hearts and Minds of Men, first published in 1987. Ms. Weldon uses an interesting literary technique in this narrative: she writes from a third person omniscient point of view, with the author frequently directly addressing the reader - which creates a chatty conversational impression. A tug of love child is s…

The Bookseller of Kabul - A Must Read

This book review is for anyone who has been out of circulation/off the planet for the past ten years or so and consequently has not heard of or read The Bookseller of Kabul. I am now on my third reading in ten years and am so enraptured by the book that I have taken time out from a beautiful early autumn afternoon in my garden to tell you about it.

It was written by a Norwegian lady, Asne Seierstad in 2002 and has now been translated into many languages. Ms. Seierstad has received numerous awards for her journalism. She has worked as a foreign correspondent in Russia, China, and reported on the ward in Kosovo for Norwegian television. In 2003 she reported on the war in Iraq from Baghdad.

In 2001 whilst in Kabul she met by chance a bookseller and became so interested in his story that she invited herself to live with his family for three months, only venturing out into the dangerous streets of Kabul wearing a burka to disguise her identity and protect herself from harm. The Bookseller of…