Friday, May 30, 2008

Secrets and adventure!

I have just finished another children's book, The Secret Passage, by Nina Bawden. An adventure about three children who are sent to live with their seemingly grumpy aunt. There are lovely descriptions about the adventures they have and their surroundings. The people that they meet all really believable, and the author displays such sensitivity about their characters. I am looking forward to reading more of her books.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Gosh! How time flies!

I hadn't realised how long it was since my last post. My life has been a little complicated and work has been hard, but good, but my brain has needed some easier reading. And reading is exactly what I have been doing lots of to relax and escape. As previously, I have reverted back to childhood and read some recognisable titles, with a grown-up viewpoint. The Enid Blyton Omnibus is an old favourite - good vs bad, right vs wrong - no hazy areas, everything clear. If you are nice, you get a reward from the fairies; if you are bad, then the goblins will get you!

I was delighted to find two Chalet School books by Elinor M Brent-Dyer, in one of my local charity shops recently. They are such a pleasure to read. The perfect grammer, and beautiful descriptions of the characters and the scenery. I would have loved to have been a pupil there. I love the use of different languages to make you feel that you are experiencing the different cultures attending the school. I have just read Jo of the Chalet School and am looking forward to the next one. I am also going to keep a close eye out in the charity shops to find some more. I know I can get them on eBay, but there is something special about finding them by accident!

I then went onto some classics. First of all, I read Anne of Green Gables, by LM Montgomery, which is such a great story about an orphan moving to Prince Edward Island, who has such a wonderful imagination and keeps everyone in her village entertained, including the family she lives with, who were originally expecting a boy to help them on the farm. I then read A Little Princess, which is just lovely, and similar as it is about a little girl who users her imagination to conjure up the most exciting stories. I love the scenes with the Indian friend and his monkey, and the magic they created. After that, I read The Painted Garden by Noel Streatfeild, which was accidently most appropriate because one area of this story was about a little girl acting in the film of A Little Princess, so I could re-visit the book I had read earlier. I did enjoy this book although sometimes the children quarrelling was a little too realistic!

Another book I got from the charity store is Jumping To Conclusions by Christine Jones, a story about a woman who moves into a little village to open a bookshop. This is my dream! Anyway, it is an easy read, describing the horse-racing industry and rural life. Very much a good holiday read!

I have been taking advantage of 3 for the price of 2 offers, and have recently read By The Shore by Galaxy Craze, which is a story about a 12 year old girl living with her mother and brother in a guesthouse by the sea. The story is told from the girl's point-of-view and it is just a really good tale. The second book out of this collection was The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson, which is the story about a woman who finds the body of her neighbour's daughter floating in her swimming pool. The story looks at her complex relationships, with her own daughter, her husband, her family, in particular her sister, drawing on past history, and watches her work out what has happened to this girl in her pool. It is very entertaining, sad in places, but keeps you turning the pages until the end. The last one in this collection is Gifted by Nikita Lalwani, about a girl, born in England to Indian parents, who at the age of 5 is discovered to be a maths prodigy. From that discovery, her life changes as her father becomes obsessed with her fulfilling this prophecy that she is a maths phenomenon. The story looks at the differences between East and West, and the expectations of Asian females in England. It is a very human story, because you can feel that the father just wants the best for his daughter and is supporting her as best he can. But you can also sympathise with her, because as she grows into a teenager, she has different desires, and inevitably clashes occur.

So, I have been reading, and enjoying all my books, I am currently reading The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler, so I am going to log off for now, and get back to finishing that one.