Sunday, June 30, 2013

Back to the travelling pants

I have read all of the books, except for the fourth, and I am not quite sure why.  Maybe it came out in the middle of me having my kids.  A few things happen culturally during those early years that I am still oblivious too.  Then again, maybe I did read it and it just didn't sink in as much as the first two books did.

This was a total summer read for fans of this series.  I loved the first few books, and then they just flowed, and now this one.  I really enjoyed the female friendships, the angst of growing up, and even now, the angst of growing up.  I have read about these girls for a decade and it is like reading a Nora Roberts book (since I started reading those when I was 15).. it is a little bitter sweet, maybe not always intellectually stimulating, but enjoyable. 

I suspect another book in this series to continue the story, I was a bit surprised how some of the storyline evolved, sad how one thread ended, and happy how another thread ended (avoiding a few spoilers here just in case).  All in all, a lovely, light-hearted read that suited the moments when I read it.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Mistress of Nothing

A friend recommended this one - and I had just tried to get in to a book about Egypt, failed, and then tried this one.  This is a really quick, interesting read.  It brought memories of when I was in Egypt, and when I actually got to stay in the Shepheard's Hotel in downtown Cairo.  A magical few weeks another lifetime ago.

This is a book based loosely on a true story, about an English maid (Sally) that travels with her mistress to Egypt (Lady Duff).  Lady Duff left several letters describing her trips to Egypt behind and they are widely celebrated.  Much is known about her, some of her bondsman(??) Omar, but very little is known about Sally.   Lady Duff made several trips to Egypt for health reasons, since she was declining quickly in England. 

The prose is elegant, this is a fast read, and it paints a totally different aspect of Egypt in the 19th century from a female, privileged position counterbalanced by that of her body servant.  Sally does this unthinkable in this novel, she dares to fall in love with the married Egyptian that Lady Duff hires to act as their guide in all things Egypt.  At the time, in Egyptian culture, men could have more than one wife, and eventually, Sally finds herself pregnant.  When giving birth, Lady Duff discovers the deception and blames Sally for her happiness, for her birth, and for her transgressions.  Sally truly becomes the "Mistress of Nothing" as she loses all rights and Lady Duff forces her from her home, and to give up her child to Omar's other family.  It is a story of love and survival, and just not the usual kind of story (or ending for that matter).  Well worth a read.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Does reading a book while waiting for your kids to get their haircut count?

Dare I count this as one of the books I have read this year?  It really isn't a long book, and there are a lot of pictures.  I pretty much read the entire thing waiting for the boys to get their hair cut.  It is a damn funny book, especially having been around long enough to see glow in the dark colours coming back and acid wash jeans.  *SIGH*

Mullets.  They do make a statement.  Everything you need to know about the mullet is in this book.  Great to flip through at the hairdressers.  It does count, right?  Lots of pictures, included a comic, even a history lesson!

The missing tale

This is a book I have tossed and turned about whether or not I really wanted to read it, and I was quite happy when one of the ladies in my book club said she wanted to read it.  I happily put in my order through an online bookseller (is there any other way?).

Seeing as I am working some date magic with these posts, it has been a few weeks since I finished reading this book.  I enjoyed it.  More than I thought I would, and it felt like the kind of book you read with your ankles crossed by a fire, a mug of tea, and your cat hanging about.  The characters are quite lovely, and there are parts of the story that seem to not move so much, but overall, a decent read.  I think what will stick with me are some of the Gothic titles I haven't read yet that this work owes a few nods too (like Wilkie's Woman in White).   I enjoyed how things came together in the end, but I didn't find it all that tense and mystical about the 'ghost'.  Definitely interesting, but I somehow think when I reflect back on a year's worth of reading, these characters are not going to be the first ones clamoring for my attention.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Funny how books land in your lap following a similar theme

Talk about bookend type books.  To have read Inferno followed up by Sanctus illustrates the difference between a Peter Robinson book and one by John Grisham IMHO.

This was a quick read - a religious conspiracy novel that is fast-paced, superficial, summer type read that didn't quite satisfy my appetite for a good, well researched read. 

What this book did do however, was rekindle my desire to one day travel to Turkey.  This is book 1 of a trilogy, and like a few other series, if I ended up with copies of the books for free, and a need for escapist literature, great.  If I have to pay to read the next books, no thanks.