Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fine just the way it is

Annie Proulx has such a distinct style, and her latest collection of short stories reflects this. Fine Just The Way It Is: Wyoming Stories, tells the stories of the lives of mainly cowboys, although there is one story about indians. She is quite blunt and covers topics including domestic violence and rape. But even when she is writing about these difficult subjects, she adds a strange sort of beauty. Her stories are really poetic and she has such a striking way with words. Even though the subject matter is hard to read about, her words are like a balm and her stories are an absolute pleasure to read.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Italian romance

Maeve Binchy's Evening Class, is set in Dublin and builds on existing characters from her previous books, and introducing new ones. The main character is Signora, a disgraced Irish lady who follows her true love to Italy and then watches him marry someone else. Rather than feeling sorry for herself, she manages to enchant and delight with her simple approach to life and love, and manages to transform the lives of the people around her, both in Italy and Ireland. It is a lovely story with great characters. There is one harsh scene, involving domestic violence, but she handles it well.

So, now all there is left for me to do is to wish you a Merry Christmas. Hope we all get lots of books to read. Let me know your recommendations.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

More Debbie Macomber

I am really enjoying reading Debbie Macomber's books. They are heart-warming and have innovative plots, like the one I have just read. 16 Lighthouse Road, one of a series of books set in Cedar Cove, a small town, starts off with a scandal, where a young couple petitioning for a divorce, are refused by the Judge on the grounds that they haven't tried to make their marriage work. I know that sometimes marriages just don't work, but sometimes I do feel that it is too easy to just split up. Anyway, it is a good, easy-to-read story, with romance, sadness (not everyone gets a happy ending) and mystery. Debbie also has her own website where she shares knitting patterns and recipes.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Twenty wishes!!!

I have just finished a lovely story by Debbie Macomber called Twenty Wishes. It's about a group of widows, both young and old who, while 'celebrating' St Valentines Day together, decide to create lists of their twenty wishes - not things they should have or do, but things they have always wanted to have or do. Not only do they create their own lists but they also inspire others - including me - to write theirs. It is a simple story and demonstrates that when you get what you wish for, it might not be in the way that you expected. So my wish list (not necessarily in this order) starts as follows (because you don't have to compile the whole list immediately):
  1. to learn how to make stained glass windows
  2. to go cross-country skiing
  3. to go to the Boon Lotte Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand - you can read the story of how it was created here -truly inspiring
  4. to do something worthwhile
  5. to swim with tropical fish in their natural environment (as long as I am not upsetting them)
  6. to learn to knit properly
  7. to learn falconry (as long as it is not distressing to the birds)
  8. to make cakes
  9. to open a bookshop
  10. to become a photographer
  11. to write a blog about how to find good quality patient information on the Internet

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Christmas spirit

I have just finished Last Christmas by Julia Williams, and it was a great read, especially for Christmas. It is set around a small, rural village in Shropshire, called Hope Christmas, and describes the lives of people living in the village or associated with it. There are stories of highs and lows, and real-life issues are dealt with, including mental health, heartbreak, and redundancy. But thanks to a saintly character called Ralph Nicholas, the world is put to rights. It is a lovely story, which makes you feel good inside.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Christmas is coming...

Well, I finally managed to find a nice, romantic book to read. Fairytale of New York by Miranda Dickinson is a lovely story, set in New York, about a broken-hearted, England-born florist and her friends. Although the main character is a little irritating - she refers to everyone as "mate" which kind of reminds me of Dick Van Dyke doing his cockney impression in Mary Poppins, and also, it is obvious who her true love is - you can't help but envy her life. There are wonderful descriptions of New York and the flower industry, and there are great characters, with some really beautiful, tender love scenes in it, which gave me goosebumps. It is a good book for the holiday period, just right for curling up in front of the firewith a box of chocolates and a glass of wine.