Friday 11 June 2010

Feel-Good book

Finished June 10
Notwithstanding by Louis de Bernieres
This gem of a novel has linked stories from a small English village with wonderful, memorable characters that will capture your heart. I absolutely loved this book and found the stories heartwarming without being schmaltzy.The small village of Notwithstanding has both families that have lived there for generations and newcomers. Each story focuses on a select individual or group of characters that are linked to other stories in the book. We get a real feel for the village, the way the inhabitants relate to each other, and the creeping change that is happening.
Highly recommended.

Sunday 6 June 2010

Meandering Book

Finished June 6
The Pattern in the Carpet: a personal history with jigsaws by Margaret Drabble
This is by an author I like and I found it very interesting. It was about more than jigsaws, although a theme of jigsaws did meander through it. Drabble associates jigsaws with her Aunt Phyl, who taught her how to do them as a child, and with whom she shared the entertainment on visits as an adult. Besides jigsaws and their history, she also looks into other childhood games and books, mosaics and tesserae, and various bits of social history.
I found that I read this book slowly, both to keep track of all the different sidelines that were introduced and also to savour the reading.
A very enjoyable and entertaining read.

Saturday 5 June 2010

Audio Memoir

Finished June 5
Traveling with Pomegranates: a mother-daughter story by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor, read by the authors.
This book is a story of travel and self-discovery. It is told in alternating chapters by the two authors, and deals with travels and life events between 1998 and 2000. Their travels took them to Greece, Turkey, and France, with a concentration on women-centered religion and myth. Playing large roles here are Athena, Demeter, Persephone, the Virgin Mary, and Saint Anne. On their first trip together, the two women find small glass pomegranates in a store in the plaka in Athens and they become important talismans and symbols.
Sue is turning 50, and is becoming aware of her life's stages. Ann has just graduated college and is struggling to find her future. Touching on Greek myth, the two find meaning in the stories of Demeter and Persephone. They also find themselves drawn to particular representations of Mary, such as the Black Mary of Rocamadour. As they work their way into their futures, they find their struggles and epiphanies intertwined. A fascinating book of a special relationship between mother and daughter that will surely inspire others.

Tuesday 1 June 2010

Business Book

Finished May 31
You Are What You Choose: the habits of mind that really determine how we make decisions by Scott de Marchi and James T Hamilton
The book looks at TRAITS, a different way of profiling someone by the choices they make and predicting future behaviour from that. I enjoyed the background information and the sample test (Of course I had to take it. Among other things I am an information geek, there's a surprise). I found the case studies of behaviour a bit dry, with too much repetition. I can see that it is definitely a useful system, but gathering the information wouldn't always be so easy.