[Image is a little reminder that pollen season is on the way....]
I'm getting more and more excited about our trip to England in a couple of weeks! I've set aside some books set in the area to read while I'm there, but I'd really like a novel set around the time of the Norman conquest. So please leave any ideas in the comments box. I'll let you know what books I'll be taking with me in next Monday's update.
Anyway, at present, I am reading Becoming George Sand by Rosalind Brackenbury. The main character, Maria, is having an extra-marital affair while also reading about George Sand and her affair with Chopin. The novel intertwines her current situation with that of Sand, but I'm not very far into it so am not sure how successful this will be. It's set in Edinburgh, so another country added to my Where Am I Reading in 2011 map! My current audio book is Shopaholic and Sister by Sophie Kinsella. This is the first of her Shopaholic series that I've read, although I've enjoyed a number of her other novels. They are light but very entertaining novels and I love the narration by Katherine Kellgren on the audiobooks. In this novel, rather well into the series, Becky is married and meets her half-sister who is extremely different from her, and Becky is determined to bond with her. I'm about half-way through and it's been fun so far.
Since I checked in a week ago, I finished up A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley which was just as great as I expected. Bride of New France by Suzanne Desrochers, about a fille du roi, was excellent and I learned a lot about the period and the hardships that these women experienced. It would be an excellent novel for a teenager studying Canadian history. And speaking of teens, I finished the absolutely hilarious Young Adult novel Alice, I Think by Susan Juby. It's about a fiffteen-year old girl in British Columbia who has been homeschooled (or rather, "unschooled") and has some issues. It's written in a journal format and she chronicles her efforts towards her life goals in quirky yet intelligent narration. If I was a teen in the early 2000s, this is a book (a series, actually), that I would have loved. Sort of a Harriet the Spy for the new millenium. I plan to pick up the next books in the trilogy.
Finally, I just finished Left Neglected by Lisa Genova. The novel follows Sarah, a high-powered HR exec in an international consulting firm, as she experiences and is treated for a traumatic brain injury following a car accident. The type of damage is called hemispatial neglect (or "left neglect" in this case, since it's her left side). Essentially, she loses the experience of her left side. She's not paralyzed...she just cannot "see" anything to the left, including the left side of her body, the left side of a piece of paper, or her dinner plate, or the room. It's rather hard to describe, but Genova (who has a PhD in neuroscience) does a fabulous job of evoking not only the physical and mental issues associated with this injury, but the effect it has on Sarah's family and lifestyle. I highly recommend this novel.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins turned out to be an absolutely terrific read, much as so many people had said. As I mentioned last week, it's not the kind of novel I'd normally pick up (dystopian future, kids having to kill each other....) but I was very taken in by the main characters and the world in which they lived. I look forward to the rest of the trilogy.
As I mentioned to a friend last week, I feel like I"m on a bit of a Young Adult jag. There is such terrific writing out there for that demographic. I may even give the Harry Potter series another try!
Coming up in paper:
- Under the Net by Iris Murdoch
- Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
- Double Fault by Lionel Shriver
- Incredible Edibles: 43 Fun Things to Grow in the City by Sonia Day
Coming up in audio:
- Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
- A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
- The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
- An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin