I wrote in an earlier post that one of my New Year Personal Promises was to commit to a balanced book diet…
…so here I share my five for February 2013!
Novel: Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman
This was a Christmas present from my sister and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2011. It’s about a young Ghanian immigrant, Harry Opoku, 11, who’s now living on a rough London council estate. My sister said she loved the dialogue and read out a few passages – raw and witty with great sadness too is my guess…but haven’t started this one yet. That’s tactical, like running a marathon, I think I’ll get the thicker, denser books (the ‘hills’) under my belt first, the novel can be my race to the finish.
Children’s Book: The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler
Anything to do with mermaids and dolphins is OK by me, and I seem to remember having heard about this author before, though this will be the first book of hers I’ve read. Emily is 12, lives on a houseboat and discovers she’s half mermaid leading to incredible adventures…can’t wait for this one! HAH…I’ve just done a Google search and turns out there are more in this series! Don’t you just love it when a fabulous book you’re sad to finish doesn’t have to end…because the author’s written more of the same:-)
Non-Fiction: Soil and Soul by Alistair McIntosh
This is a should that’s been on my shelf for a while. I’ve started it, it’s absolutely brilliant, but I have to read it with focus and concentration. Not a speedy page turner, this one needs to be taken in little and often. There is so much information, so much passion, so much history. In one sentence if we allow ourselves to be separated from the soil, the land, then connection to soul, spirit and true self is easily lost. The book is both angry testament to what has been and rallying cry to what must now be, with some celebration of what has already been achieved.
Autobiography/Biography: Around the world on two wheels by Peter Zheutlin
This is about a woman whom I’d shamefully never heard of, Annie Londonderry, a young Jewish mother of three who set off to cycle around the world in 1894. The unique true story and courageous central character drew me but I’m not enjoying the writing itself very much, yet, it might grow on me…only a few chapters in. I wanted to celebrate a woman with ‘can do’ attitude and the writer dwells a little too much on her flaws and faults for my liking. Sure, she’s human – so what’s new?
Poetry: Mandela’s Earth and other poems by Wole Soyinka
This was the hardest choice. As I stood in the library scanning the shelves I wanted to take them all home with me. When tempted with these delicious free offerings that only require me to show my membership card, I create in my mind a life that has hours and days to only read. As it is, I’m learning to enjoy that momentary excitement and anticipation, and then hit the ‘reality check’ button.
I know of Nobel Prize winning Nigerian, Wole Soyinka, but haven’t read any of his stuff – shameful I know! The title won me over in the end as I’m a big Mandela fan (who isn’t), not to mention I met a very nice Nigerian man on the plane coming back from Rwanda. Nigeria’s a country I’d like to know more about…and what better way than to read from that country’s poets.
I’ve read a few already and at first I felt like I was back at school. The poetry was long, complex and opaque. However, by reading them through at least three times I started to get it…and now I’m in love:-) Nothing worth anything is easy to get…right?
I’ve noticed that this ‘project’ has encouraged me to be more thoughtful and discerning when choosing which books to commit my precious reading time over to. If you have any suggestions as to what I could add to my list for March, in any category, please let me know – I’d love to hear your recommendations.
Bye for now dear friends and…happy healthy reading:-)