For a girl who whinges, alot, about not having much "me" time. I still seem to be managing to get through quite a few books. I'm not sure when I manage to do any of this reading, and I certainly don't think I'm doing what I said I would, and really properly concentrating on the writing, but I am, mostly enjoying it.
So, since I last posted a book-related post, I have read:
After You'd Gone, by Maggie O'Farrell,
One Day, by David Nicholls,
Freakonomics, by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (why do Americans always use their middle initials? Weird).
Erm, something else. But I'm utterly b*ggered if I can remember what it was. Which should clearly tell me something about either my brain capacity, or the quality of the book. If I remember (which I will, probably at 3 am) I'll let you know.
Start with the "serious" one: Freakonomics.
I think I've come to Freakonomics too late. The writers go on, at some length, about challenging "conventional wisdom", but the problem is that so much of what they say seems to me to have been absorbed into the conventional wisdom that I found it had totally lost its power to "shock" and "provoke" (which I know it must have had - the blurb on the back tells me). It seemed generally accepted to me that an estate agent's margin of profit isn't high enough to encourage him to get you an extra £10,000 for your house, or that baby names start off being perceived as high class (which, being American they refer to by income bracket, but I'm pretty certain over here they'd call it class) before moving down the social spectrum, only to be picked up again fifty or a hundred years later back at the top. I was particularly delighted to learn that apparently people with my surname are really high class. Which is nice to know, because all three of my girls are called that...
That said, it was interesting - who knew that "incentivising" the girls to tidy up with promises of telly, or "negatively incentivising" them to eat their main course with threats of no pudding was "economics"? - and definitely worth the read if you haven' t already. If only so you can feel clever when you drag out the same old tired threats...
It also gave me a bit of a break from my previous read, Maggie O'Farrell's After You'd Gone which Iota had recommended to me, for when I was feeling strong. I'm not going to talk about this at length other than to say that I clearly wasn't feeling strong enough as it put my heart, lungs and tear ducts through a mangle, twice. It's wonderful and amazing and not by any stretch of the imagination an easy read, despite being very easy to read. I'd previously read Maggie O'Farrell's The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox which is equally affecting. Don't read either of them if you have a new baby or are feeling in any way over-wrought, over-stressed or over-emotional. If you're in a good place, buy them both, now. Get hankies too. These are books that will stay with you forever. I couldn't have forgotten this one.
Trish then sent me One Day by David Nicholls. I was looking forward to this as I'd enjoyed Starter for Ten and was in the mood for a bit of light relief (the mystery fourth book was also a tear-jerker, although, as I say, I have no idea what it was called). The problem? This one made me cry too, and not necessarily where it was meant to. Nicholls is exceptional on the pain of unrequited love, on the difficulty of looking at someone whose face is your world and listening to them chat away about someone else, or indeed anything else. He took me right back to that yearning, that need to say the unsayable. Oh, and then he made me cry. It's a goody though. Just not the cheering-up-vehicle I was hoping for.
And now? I'm being bitterly disappointed and throroughly irritated by the new Audrey Niffenegger. More to follow...
Beatitudes For Guiding Leaders
1 day ago