Saturday, 19 April 2008

What I've been reading

Image of the book cover
If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things
by Jon McGregor

"On a street in a town in the North of England, perfectly ordinary people are doing totally normal things - children play cricket, window-frames are painted, a couple argues, students pack up their belongings, and nameless people pass each other like every other day, interweaving yet never connecting."
This was recommended by fellow blogger travelling, but not in love, so I mooched it for free from Bookmooch (how I love that website). The book is a very poetic experience; the style is unusual, and I'm not sure I liked it, but I think I did. I have to admit that I prefer more Plot and less Style.

Image of the book cover
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
by Marina Lewycka

"'Two years after my mother died, my father fell in love with a glamorous blonde Ukrainian divorcee. He was eighty-four and she was thirty-six.' Sisters Vera and Nadezhda must put aside a lifetime of feuding to save their emigré engineer father from voluptuous gold-digger Valentina. With her proclivity for green satin underwear and boil-in-the-bag cuisine, she will stop at nothing in her pursuit of Western wealth."
I'd actually given this to Mr A for Christmas, based solely on good reviews I'd heard and the title mentioning motor-driven transport. He read it and finished it, which was a good sign, but it wasn't what I expected. It was mostly depressing, full of horrible people tormenting one another, and the fact that it ended well didn't make up for how nasty it had been before.

Image of the book cover
Notes from an Exhibition
by Patrick Gale

"When troubled artist Rachel Kelly dies raving in her attic studio in Penzance, her saintly husband and adult children have more than the usual mess to clear up. She leaves behind her paintings of genius - but she leaves also a legacy of secrets and emotional damage it will take months to unravel."
I've read a few of Patrick Gale's books and enjoyed them all, and this was no exception. I'm no artist, nor even an admirer of art, but I found myself not only visualising the abstract paintings described, but even wishing I could see them for real. And here endeth the Christmas presents, and also the lightweight holiday reading.


Swearing Mother said...

I agree with you re the Tractor book. Hated it, depressing.

Those book reviews have a lot to answer for, don't they?

travelling, but not in love said...

Ah Lola, don't give up on Jon McGregor yet - try reading his second book 'so many ways to begin'. It made me cry with the pointlessness and futility of it all.

Even typing this about it I'm getting a knot in my stomach. So sad. And not uplifting at all. Don't read it if you're even mildly depressed!

aims said...

Thanks for the heads up! I always enjoy getting other people's opinions on books and seeing how they match up with my own.