I held off on writing this until I finished reading We Need To Talk About Kevin because, well, I needed to talk about it! June’s been a busy month for books; the heat has meant all I’ve wanted to do when I have spare time is read.
The Whole Woman- Germaine Greer (friend’s copy)
I’d never read any of Greer’s work and I figured it was time I did. I borrowed this from the head of sociology at work and dived straight in. Although she’s very funny and insightful in places, I couldn’t agree with some of her views- for example about trans women. This was written in the early ’00s, so I don’t know if Greer has changed her views since then, but this book did highlight some of the differences between Greer’s brand of feminism and my own. It also led me to rekindle my passion for reading feminist books and I went out and bought a couple of classics- keep your eyes peeled for discussion of those in future posts.
The Lost Queen- Norah Lofts (Kindle edition)
I don’t remember buying this, but I must have done after seeing the EXCELLENT Danish film about the same woman (A Royal Affair. Seriously, watch it. It has Mads Mikkelsen in it.) Anyway, it was written in the 60s and tells the story of the real life marriage of Caroline Matilda, a sister of George III who married the insane King of Denmark. She went on the have an affair with his doctor and the two of them took control of the government for a while; when they were usurped by a wicked stepmother (really), the consequences were tragic. Although this edition was frustrating because of its lack of proper editing, it was a good read for a heatwave.
Dubliners- James Joyce (my own copy)
I’ve had my copy of Dubliners for eight years. I figured I should read Joyce at least once in my life and this collection of short stories seemed like the best place to start. When you tell people you’re reading Joyce because you fancy it, they either look at you like you’re mad or tell you how much they’ve tried to read him but failed. My tip: don’t read Ulysses. Anyway, what did I think? Well, it was interesting and I wondered how much it reflected my own family in Ireland at the same time. The stories are short snippets into the lives of Edwardian Irish families and portray a range of characters: scoundrels, cowards, the heartbroken. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, but not sure if I’ll progress to any more of Joyce’s work any time soon…
Case Histories- Kate Atkinson (work’s library)
After reading Life After Life at the start of the year, I was keen to read more Kate Atkinson and the librarian at work recommended this. It was also a pleasant change from the stuff I’d been reading before- an intelligent crime thriller that just swept me away with it. I’ve bought the DVD to watch it; I wonder if it’ll be as good as the novel? Anyway, Kate is up there with Sarah Waters as one of my favourite novelists. Keep an eye out for an Atkinson binge in the near future!
We Need To Talk About Kevin- Lionel Shriver (work’s library)
I finished this today and, quite frankly, I’m a bit traumatised by the ending. This will be one of those books that will stay with me for a long time. When I mentioned I was reading it, a couple of people on Twitter said that watching the film was ‘uncomfortable’ and ‘like watching a slow death’. I found it hard to get into at first, but once I’d started, I was hooked. An excellent, creepy, intense novel, it made me feel better about a) my mothering skills and b) D’s personality. Seriously, if you’ve not read this, do.