Monday, 12 January 2015

Busy with books!

My lack of posts make me look really lazy, but I'm really not:
Fiona McFarlane: The Night Guest had spectacular reviews but I didn't think it lived up to the hype. After rather a slow start it had some brilliant descriptions of the confusion and fears of a frail old lady, but the denouement was sadly predictable, but not entirely believable as the presumably intelligent sons also made no checks on the mysterious appearance of Frida.
Betty Smith: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, is the only successful novel by its American author. It’s over 600 pages with no adventure or real story, just the growing up of a variably poor second generation family. Brilliant characterisations and surprisingly un-dated in the anguishes of a normal family.
Gavin Frances: Empire Antarctica. I can never resist true travel stories, add the author being a doctor in a remote Antarctic base with the Rosey-connection and a very poetic style of writing and you have a guaranteed winner. Excellent, and evocative of a tempting place I’ll probably never see.
Rob Manning & William L Simon: Mars Rover Curiosity. A bit geeky, but an interesting account of the run up to Curiosity landing on Mars. I’d no idea there was so much in-fighting, penny-pinching and politics, I thought the science would be hard enough.
Sue Monk Kidd: The Secret Life of Bees is the tale of a white girl who escapes her father’s tyranny with her black servant/nanny by way of prison for involvement in race riots and hospital when Rosaleen is beaten up by the police. A small picture of a Black Madonna leads to some truth about Lily’s dead Mother. Heart-warming and beautifully written. Many lively characters.
S J Watson: Before I go to Sleep. I was surprised to find that SJ Watson is a man, a sensitive accout of a lady with amnesia waking each morning with no idea who she is, or the man in bed with her. All is not quite as it seems as the twisted plot unfurls.. The end leaves you wondering, but gripping until then.
Maurice Herzog: Annapurna is the classic tale of the successful 1951 French expedition to Annapurna, the first 8,000m peak to be climbed. Nepal was barely opened to foreigners, all needed special permission and the only way in was by rail to the India-Nepal border, a short stretch of road then walk with porters from there, including 10s of tons of luggage. The few miles of road in the Kathmandu Valley had a couple of dozen cars brought in the same way. Maps were primitive, old and inaccurate with huge valleys and mountains in the wrong place. No Google Earth! Considerable time was spent even finding the beast. Two of the party made it to the top, but at a terrible price, the loss of many digits, and barely got down  alive. The treatments for frostbite were interesting: beat the life back into limbs with rope whips, if that fails intra-arterial lignocaine or acetyl choline.
A good tale for anyone interested in Nepal, trekking, climbing or people. It suffered a little from too-literal translation from the French in a few places.

Malala Yousafzai: I am Malala, inspiring account of life in the beautiful Swat valley leading up to the Taliban rule, and after they were apparently ousted. Such normal girls in such a difficult situation. Ends after her near miraculous recovery and exile with her whole family to the UK.

No comments:

Post a Comment