Wednesday, 7 August 2013

What have we been reading recently?

Sian: I adored The Secret History and then went straight onto another classic I should have read years ago - I Capture The Castle. It is, without a doubt, one of the most brilliant, beautiful books I've ever read. If you haven't, I urge you to get a copy immediately. I was less lucky with Sweet Tooth. It takes a lot for me to put a book down, but I was hoping for an interesting story about MI5 and novelists. Instead I got half-baked chick lit with a completely conceited narrator.

I've also been reading Polish foreign correspondent Ryszard Kapuscinski's portrayal of Africa at the turn of the millennium, The Shadow of the Sun. In breaks from that quite heavy reading, I'm whizzing through Where'd you Go Bernadette. It's so funny and heart-warming and even kept me awake on a night bus at the weekend. My reading has been really varied this month, I like it.

Sara: I've been reading Behind The Candelabra, the book that the recent film about Liberace was based on. It's a fantastic read by Scott Thorson (played by Matt Damon in tiny rhinestone speedos in the film) about his fabulous but closeted life of "palatial kitsch" with Liberace, which became horribly acrimonious at the end. Best bit: Thorson spending a chapter listing other gay Hollywood stars (clue: all of them). Worst bit: endless details of court cases as he and Lee sued each other. He's an incredibly unreliable narrator so read it with one eyebrow raised (and your best cape on).

Laura B: I've just finished Quiet by Susan Cain – it’s a fascinating read for anyone who’s an introverted type like me. Turns out we can take over the world. Hurrah! I also read The Liberty Tree by Suzanne Harrington, a memoir of alcoholism and a husband's suicide that’s a difficult read, but ultimately a rewarding one. Cookbook-wise, I devoured Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries II, and I'm dipping in and out of The Lebanese Kitchen by Salma Hage. It's making me hungry! Next on my list is Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves, which looks amazing. I'll give you my verdict next month (if I've managed to finish it by then!).

Frances: Given some of my recent reading matter, Sian suggested I enter Mastermind, with my speciality being the history of Vogue. Always one to entertain a silly idea, I picked up a copy of Them by Francine Du Plessix Gray, a memoir of Francine's fascinating but completely self-involved parents the milliner Tatiana Yakoleva, and her step-father, Alex Liberman, who was editorial director at Conde Nast (I've since learnt you need to suggest four - four! - areas of specialism just to fill in the Mastermind entry form).

Outside of my 'study', I read A Time To Be Born by Dawn Powell. Written in the early 40s, it's a zippy and witty tale of young women's lives in that period in New York. For a visual accompaniment, I poured over the gorgeous illustrations in 1940s Fashion which put buying a snood right up there on my to do list.

Kat: Inspired by my recent trip to Prince Edward Island, I've been catching up on the Anne of Green Gables series (77p on Kindle? Yes please). I've rather trailed off since she got hitched to Gilbert though and am finding her married life a bit of a slog. So, I've purloined Craig Taylor's Londoners off a friend which I've been longing to read for ages. It's made up of lots of interviews with all sorts of people who have lived or are living in the city and it's the perfect thing to dip into if you are hopelessly addicted to the city as I am. I'm also, as ever, referring back to Alexandra Heminsley's wonderful Running Like A Girl which I cannot recommend highly enough if you are looking for something inspiring, whether or not you have any interest in running.

What have you been reading this month? Share your suggestions with us!

7 comments:

  1. Laura B, I just read Quiet too! I found it massively reassuring that it's ok to be quiet and introverted and find it excruciating to speak up in meetings. I thought the bit on 'how to raise an introverted child' was a bit OTT though. It's not a disability. Just let them get on with it.

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    1. A lot of people have been telling me to read Quiet, so I think it'll be my next read. Forget the world, I think the introverts are running Domestic Sluttery...

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  2. Four specialist subjects?! Can I have 90s Australian soap plots as one of mine?

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    1. I know! I think that might well be one of mine too. And Now Albums 1990-1994 possibly. One more to go....

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  3. You should have finished Sweet Tooth, it gets better and if you don't finish then you miss the twist which changes how you view everything that went before!

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    1. I really don't like giving up on books, but if I'm not enjoying it I don't really feel the need to push through. I just didn't engage with the main character (I actually can't even remember her name). I'll always give a book a chance, but this one wasn't for me.

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  4. I haven't been able to read this as yet as I don't have a Kindle myself, but one of my school friends has written 'Feral Youth', which has been getting rave reviews on Amazon, and, best of all, it is free for Kindle until tomorrow so I recommend getting it!
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Feral-Youth-ebook/dp/B00DM9YJ6W/ref=zg_bs_362284031_f_1

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