Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Wroblewski, David "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle"


Wroblewski, David "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle" - 2008

When I first started reading this book, I thought it was all about a boy who was born without a voice and/or about dogs. Because that's the feeling you first get. But the longer I read on, the more the story seemed familiar. Had I looked at the names a little closer, I might have guessed right away that this is a modern retelling of Hamlet.

An interesting story, just as exciting as the original. I'm not a huge animal lover, I don't have anything against them but I don't get all excited when I see one, so this story could have been told without all the dogs in it.

Anyway, I prefer Jane Smiley's modern "King Lear" (A Thousand Acres) to this one but all in all, it's not a bad book.

From the back cover:
"Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin. For generations, the Sawtelles have raised and trained a fictional breed of dog whose remarkable gift for companionship is epitomized by Almondine, Edgar's lifelong friend and ally. Edgar seems poised to carry on his family's traditions, but when catastrophe strikes, he finds his once-peaceful home engulfed in turmoil.

Forced to flee into the vast wilderness lying beyond the Sawtelle farm, Edgar comes of age in the wild, fighting for his survival and that of the three yearling dogs who accompany him, until the day he is forced to choose between leaving forever or returning home to confront the mysteries he has left unsolved.

Filled with breathtaking scenes - the elemental north woods, the sweep of seasons, an iconic American barn, a fateful vision rendered in the falling rain - The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is a meditation on the limits of language and what lies beyond, a brilliantly inventive retelling of an ancient story, and an epic tale of devotion, betrayal, and courage in the American heartland."

Thursday, 14 September 2017

James, P.D. "The Children of Men"


James, P.D. "The Children of Men" - 1992


I love dystopian novels and am surprised that I never came across this one before. What a read!

We are in the year 2020 and all men are infertile. I believe every generation has their own fears of what might happen in future and this book was written in the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Something like this seemed (and still seems) very possible.

What are we really going to do if there is no future? Are we going to take advantage of each other, try to get as much of the cake as we can before we are all dead and gone? We don't know? I suppose like with all situations, there will be people who still will help each other and others who exploit the situation.

Reading this novel makes you think about all the possibilities. I don't read crime novels as such but I am tempted to try one written by P.D. James. She seems like a very interesting and smart person who could write about anything.

From the back cover:
"The year is 2021, and the human race is - quite literally - coming to an end. Since 1995 no babies have been born, because in that year all males unexpectedly became infertile. Great Britain is ruled by a dictator, and the population is inexorably growing older. Theodore Faron, Oxford historian and, incidentally, cousin of the all-powerful Warden of England, watches in growing despair as society gradually crumbles around him, giving way to strange faiths and cruelties: prison camps, mass organized euthanasia, roving bands of thugs. Then, suddenly, Faron is drawn into the plans of an unlikely group of revolutionaries. His passivity is shattered, and the action begins.

The Children of Men will surprise - and enthrall - P. D. James fans. Written with the same rich blend of keen characterization, narrative drive and suspense as her great detective stories, it engages powerfully with new themes: conflicts of loyalty and duty, the corruption of power, redemption through love. Ingenious, original, irresistibly readable, it confirms once again P. D. James's standing as a major novelist."

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Scott, Mary "Away From It All"


Scott, Mary "Away From It All" - 1977


My last novel written by Mary Scott (see my list here). I have one more, an autobiography, but that is it.

Adrian Medway is an author who is very sensitive about critics. When he inherits some money, he packs up his family and buys a small farm in the middle of nowhere. Here, he finds some hidden talents, as do his son and daughter.

As always in Mary Scott's stories, there are problems arising that you might only have in the environment she used to live in but you can also see the beauty of it, people who help each other out, no matter what.

A funny novel, a typical one by Mary Scott.

Unfortunately, Mary Scott's books are out of print and only available second hand. I have heard in the meantime, that you can buy some of them as eBooks.

Description (translated):
"An inheritance enables the Medway family to spend a year  on a farm. Far away from the hustle and bustle of the city, everyone soon discovers forgotten skills and talents in the new environment."

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Şafak, Elif "Three Daughters of Eve"



Şafak, Elif "Three Daughters of Eve" (Turkish: Havva'nın Üç Kızı) - 2016


My third book by this Turkish author whom I really like. This one talks about a Turkish woman who went to Oxford to study and then went back home to get married. The main topic in this book is the rights of Muslim women next to God and Turkish politics.

We learn about the differences in the cultures and the changes during her lifetime. We learn about friendship and what it means. A wonderful book. I love Elif Şafak's writing. It's amazing. I like her more with every book I read.

The author is one of the people who are able to build a bridge between the divided nations, help us understand each other. She knows about the problems, probably because of her own upbringing, and gives instigations to understand the other world better. I wish everyone would read at least one of her books.

From the back cover: "Peri, a wealthy Turkish housewife, is on her way to a dinner party at a seaside mansion in Istanbul when a beggar snatches her handbag. As she wrestles to get it back, a photograph falls to the ground - an old polaroid of three young women and their university professor. A relic from a past - and a love - Peri had tried desperately to forget.

The photograph takes Peri back to Oxford University, as an eighteen year old sent abroad for the first time. To her dazzling, rebellious Professor and his life-changing course on God. To her home with her two best friends, Shirin and Mona, and their arguments about Islam and femininity. And finally, to the scandal that tore them all apart."

Friday, 1 September 2017

Book Quotes of the Week



"There comes a time when you have to choose between turning the page and closing the book." Josh Jameson

"Borrowers of books - those mutilators of collections, spoilers of the symmetry of shelves, and creators of odd volumes." Charles Lamb, Essays of Elia, "The Two Races of Men," 1822

"No such thing as a kid who doesn't like reading. There are kids who love reading, and kids who are reading the wrong books." James Patterson

"Every book is judged by its cover until it is read." Agatha Swanburne, founder of Swanburne Academy

"Whoever said Diamonds are a Girl's best Friend forgot about BOOKS." N.N.
[If anyone can tell me the originator of this quote, I'd be very thankful and would happily include the name.]

Find more book quotes here.

Happy September!

Happy September to all my friends and readers

New Calendar picture with this
beautiful watercolour painting by Frank Koebsch


"In the Riperian Forest" 
"Im Auenwald"


September brings us back to the old names of the months, this being the seventh month of the year before they added the "Caesarean" ones. 
It also brings us the autumnal equinox (or the vernal one if you live in the Southern hemisphere). 

September is my favourite month. Not only does it bring my birthday but 
- even more important - my favourite season: 
Autumn! have a good one! 

Enjoy this month with the beautiful watercolour painting by Frank Koebsch. 
He loves painting cranes and this is from their more secretive life 
after their mating dance and before starting their nesting.

You can find a lot more wonderful pictures on their website here.