Thursday, July 31, 2014

July Reading


Snake Ropes by Jess Richards
I heard of this book when a woman, whose blog I follow, reviewed it:

From blog by Catherine at Still Standing On Her Head

Jess Richards was born in Wales and grew up in South West Scotland. The setting of the book is a mysterious island somewhere far to the west of Scotland. The inhabitants have long been isolated. Their only visitors are the mysterious tall men who come from the mainland to trade for fish and for the women's craft work, being careful not to disturb the culture of the islanders too much. The story is told in the voice of two young girls, Mary who is an islander, and Morgan whose parents have settled there from the mainland, after fleeing something dark in their past. If I had to label this book with a genre, I would say "magical realism". Morgan can talk to the dead, and the myths told by Mary's grandmother become tangled in the story so that it is not quite clear what is myth and what is real.

It's a stunning book, highly imaginative, unlike anything else I have ever read. I highly recommend it. 

I agree. It is a strange but compelling book! It is classified as fantasy, which I guess it is, but is nothing like anything I have read before. I won't say I liked it but I couldn't abandon it either. I haven't decided whether I'll read her second book, Cooking with Bones, which sounds from the title as if it is even creepier!

The Cornish Knot by Vicky Adin

The Cornish Knot is the story of Megan, a widow of 12 months who receives her great-grandmother’s journal written a hundred years ago. She embarks on a journey to trace her family tree, discovering secrets and finding herself immersed in the world of art. She follows the footsteps of her ancestor from Cornwall via Italy to New Zealand.This is the first of a series, The Past Finders, which will all be about 'history, family, love and renewal'. It's an easy read, not badly written, and well researched. However, it is somewhat unrealistic in its unfolding of the story, for the sake of drama - in a real life situation, the story would have unfolded in a much less orderly fashion story-wise, but way more logically in terms of a woman travelling the world to trace her predecessors.

As I say, an easy read, good for a journey, or for curling up with when you are sick, or like me, suffering from a sore back.


Garlic and Sapphires by  Ruth Reichl

 I'm a vegetarian. I don't much like restaurants, especially the posh ones where the food has been artistically arranged on the plate - I get creeped out at the thought of all the fingers involved in arranging it - and I have never read a restaurant review. I also have a horror of big cities. However, a woman I met recently, and who I, so far, really like, mentioned Ruth Reichl, and one of the ways I like to get to know people is to read books they recommend. Well, I'm hooked! I'll be finding more of her books for sure.

Garlic and Sapphires is a memoir about Reichl's years as the restaurant reviewer for the New York Times. It is based around some of her reviews, but is about her discovery of sides of herself that she didn't previously know about, as she develops disguises so she can visit restaurants without getting the special treatment that recognition brought. She writes so well that her descriptions of food that would have me gagging even if I was 3 tables away, make me salivate. She is incredibly funny and insightful, and I can't wait to get my hands on another of her books - I'm looking forward to some cold, wet days in front of the fire!

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