Wednesday, 3 June 2015

The Year in Books






Barbara Kingsolver - Prodigal Summer


Having read Barbara Kingsolver's The Lacuna which I absolutely loved, I decided to try another of her books.  Now I have to admit at this stage to cheating a little bit as along with The Bees and The Paying Guests it is an audio book.  In my defence, it is about the only way I get to read books these days and as regular readers know I am spending every spare minute de-cluttering and painting my house in preparation for putting it on the market.  Listening to books as I am working makes the tedious tasks bearable.  So on to last months books:



Held by the Sea - Jane Darke


It would be wrong to say I enjoyed this book as it had me in tears within the first few pages with it's raw description of the pain of bereavement.  It is a beautifully written, evocative book which I will read again. Yes this is a proper book as I knew I would want to have it on my bookshelf.   It is written by artist Jane Darke about the loss of her husband playwright Nick Darke.  It covers their life together from the early days in a wooden shack they built in woods near London to their move to Cornwall.  They spent everyday together, writing,  beach combing and catching lobsters.  For me the descriptions of Cornwall are perfect and the landscape plays an important part in the book.  However the book is primarily about the loss of her partner, the love of her life.  She is brutally honest in her description of her grieving process.  A beautiful book that I would highly recommend.

The Bees - Laline Paull



I can say I enjoyed this book, it is very unusual and clever.  The 'hero' of the book is a bee called Flora.  It starts from when she first emerges from her cell and tells the story of her life in the hive.  Another book I would recommend.



Sarah Waters - The Paying Guests





The third book for last month is Sarah Walters, The Paying Guests.  I have not read any of her books before but I will certainly be checking them out.  It is beautifully written, a slow burner that draws you in to the stifling class ridden world of the post WW1 period.

For this post I am joining in with The Year in Books

Thank you so much for your encouraging remarks on my last post, when I'm flagging or doubting myself I will read them back.

Chickpea xx

26 comments:

  1. I've been listening to audiobooks for years now as well as reading the printed matter - it's a great way to get all of those books read that you want to in half the time. It's also great when walking, doing the shopping, sitting down and doing some knitting, long drives - I don't think you should feel as if it's 'cheating' - does that mean that blind people don't 'read' simply because they listen to stories? Story telling was originally an oral tradition so I feel as if I am just part of a long history of listeners. The other good thing is that you can listen to them over and over again - much more readily than most people re-read books.
    I loved 'The Poisonwood Bible' by Kingsolver - I listened to that as an audiobook and it was great because the narrator had the appropriate southern-US accent which really enhanced the story and contrasted with the African setting. It was a brilliant book. And I've been a big fan of Sarah Waters for years - you must read 'Fingersmith' - has some fantastic plot twists - read it soon before you unwittingly find out what they are. The other one of hers I enjoyed was 'Affinity'. She is a brilliant writer - her historical detail is perfect an her portrayal of slightly melancholy women is poignant. All the best, Judy.

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    1. Hi Judy, I have been meaning to read The Poisonwood Bible for a while, I must put it on my list. I actually have Affinity sitting on the book shelf, just never got around to reading it, must move it up my to be read list.

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  2. Its something I must look into audio books it might help me get through some more books especially at this time of year when I like to get out and about as much as I can.

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    1. I am hooked on them now, I miss having the time to read books, but this is the next best thing.

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    2. I love Barbara Kingsolver's books, 'Flight Behaviour' is well worth reading but my favourite is 'Animal, Vegetable, Miracle'. The Poisonwood Bible was a real eye opener! Historically it is correct.

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    3. Just looked up Animal, Vegetable, Miracle Anne, it is going on my wish list!

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  3. I love audio books.
    When I used to drive to Laguna Beach from Tucson for business and friends .... I always had a book on tape.
    The miles just zoom by. I love them.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. When I change my car I will get an adaptor so I can listen to them in my car :)

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  4. I tried The Paying Guests but I couldn't get into it. Did you like it? Maybe I need to be more patient with it. The others I haven't tried but they all sound interesting.

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    1. It took a while to get into, if I was reading the book I may have given up on it, but I did enjoy it. She writes so beautifully

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  5. I love listening to audio books, especially on long drives. Your books for the month sound interesting, especially Held By the Sea.

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    1. It is a beautiful book kristie, one I will treasure and read again. ( though I may be a bit biased as it is about Cornwall)

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  6. These sound really interesting. I must read some of Kingsolver's fiction - I've read her "Animal, Vegetable Miracle" book which is her account of a year her family spent trying to only eat locally produced food, much of it that they grew themselves. I loved that book, so I really should read some of her fiction.

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    1. Animal, veg etc. is moving up my wish list as you are the second person to mention it.

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  7. Loved Prodigal Summer but couldn't get into Lacuna but you are the 2nd person to tell me they loved it so may be I'll try again. Do read Animal, vegetable etc. It was a book I enjoyed so much I read it twice straight away and that's something that rarely happens.

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    1. I may be a bit biased about the Lacuna as it had Frida Kahlo in it. I am fascinated by her!

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  8. Having been through the pain of losing your husband - in my case when he was only 29 and we'd been married just five years - I usually avoid books like the one you mention here by Jane Darke. But I'd heard of it from someone else, and having read your review, think I might give it a go.

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    1. Oh Edwina, I am so sorry to hear about your loss, it must have been so very hard for you. It is a beautiful book, If you choose to read it. x

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  9. I have the Bees sitting patiently next to my bed as one of my summer reads. I have heard all good things about it so I am looking forward to reading it.

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  10. I love Barbara Kingsolver's books but haven't read this one. Thanks for the other recommendations too!

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  11. They all sound very interesting, especially the first two x

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    1. They are all good in their own way :)

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  12. Hey Chickpea,
    I've just downloaded this book! I adored The Lacuna too. Can I recommend The Poisonwood Bible? It is magnificent.
    Happy reading (and listening).
    Leanne xx

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    1. I am definitely getting The Poisonwood Bible, so many people have recommended it. I am really enjoying Prodigal Summer, let me know what you think Leanne xx

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