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Tag: :MR’s Bookshelf:

Review: Asphyxia’s “The Grimstones: Mortimer Revealed”

asphyxia the grimstones-mortimer revealedThe sequel to the delightful Hatched, we now learn the truth of Mortimer’s fate. Not quite as pretty and charming as Book #1 – being a sequel to a success is a mighty tough role – but it was enjoyable enough and no doubt kidtastic. Recommended for young’uns.

Where it came from: MR’s Child Pride Shelf
Time and manner of reading:
Bed read
Where it went: Home
Reminds me of/that:
Who I’d recommend it to: Littlies
Also reading: Rabbit #4; The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon; Being Alive edited by Neil Astley; The Seven Sisters of the Pleiades by Munya Andrews; The Edwardians by Vita Sackville-West

Review: Paula Fox’s “Borrowed Finery: A Memoir”

paula fox borrowed fineryPaula Fox, prolific novelist and children’s book author, is due to appear on our Bookclub list at some point in the future. This memoir was lent separately by – and with high recommendation from – MR, and has languished on the bedside shelf since. Fluidly written, it creates a mist of Fox’s life experiences which swarms around her reprehensible, dramatic parents, and zooms in to elucidate particular, loosely linked memories in detail. Fox’s writing is highly skilled, and the atmosphere created is powerful; I’m left with a generally dire impression of her life yet few specific incidents. Good, I guess, and I’m willing to sample her fiction. I’d like to read her directing her skills at a more powerful goal; memoirs often seem to be written for the author and the adoring fan, not the broader public, and I rarely get carried away by them.

Where it came from: MR’s Bookshelf
Time and manner of reading:
Bed-read and gallery armchair-read
Where it went:
Home
Reminds me of/that:
Who I’d recommend it to:
Memoir fans
Also reading: Rabbit #4; How to Read a Poem by Edward Hirsch;The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon; Kalila and Dimna by Ramsey Woods; Being Alive edited by Neil Astley

Review: May Sarton’s “The House by the Sea: A Journal”

May Sarton kept this journal in her mid-60s, soon after her move to a seaside home in York, Maine. Like Llewellyn’s journals, she expatiates on her gardens, friends and writings – and her pets. The différance of this work, however, comes from Sarton’s commentaries on and investigations into ageing and dying well, and into what it takes to cultivate and revel in solitude. I’d read and enjoyed one of her novels before (don’t ask me which one, I don’t remember) and I’m encouraged to read others, possibly also her poetry. I hope copies of her journals are around in about 30 years’ time so I can read them again.

Where it came from: MR’s Bookshelf
Time and manner of reading: Two good armchair-reads in one day
Where it went: Home
Reminds me of: The Kate Llewellyns, of course, but also Jennifer Mills’ The Diamond Anchor
Who I’d recommend it to: Writerly ones, ageing ones, contemplative ones
Also reading: Rabbit #4; How to Read a Poem by Edward Hirsch (rediscovered on shelf with bookmark intact)

Review: Guy Bellamy’s “The Mystery of Men”

The perfect antithesis to my previous overweighty tome: mid-90s Britain, four middle-class barflies start a joint insurance policy whereby they each pay into a trust, and the survivors share in £100,000 when another dies. Light, wry, ’90s battle-of-the-sexist and rebellious (none of their wives have jobs?!), an entertaining bloke’s own adventure.

Where it came from: MR’s Bookshelf
Time and manner of reading: Four good reads, the most pleasant being the one when I was supposed to be working on an assignment
Where it went: Home
Reminds me of: A man’s version of chick lit (one hesitates to use the rhyming parallel beginning with ‘p’)
Who I’d recommend it to: Those in need of lightness and distraction
Also reading: The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene

Review: Asphyxia’s “The Grimstones: Hatched”

What a fabulous book this was! Spontaneously lent to me at Cheese O’Clock this morning (my love of capitals IS becoming Dickensian, isn’t it?), I fished it out in gaps during the day and had finished it before I was even home from my pleasant political outing (only pleasant political movements will be contemplated from here on in). Quirky, charming, simultaneously delicate and childishly blunt. A wonderful invention, obviously beloved by its creator and designed to enchant. I would so love to see the puppet show in person, and will keep my eye out for both that and the next book(s). Read it, do.

Where it came from: MR’s Bookshelf (Child Pride Shelf)
Time taken to read: In the delightful shady sun at the anti-CSG protest in town today, then on the sunny road while hitching home
Where it went to: Back to its home shelf
Reminds me of: Oddly enough, the last section reminded me of “Baby Island” by Carol Ryrie Brink
Who I’d recommend it to: Most particularly LDC, perhaps even for her birthday this year (shh, don’t tell her)
Also reading: “The Heart of the Matter” by Graham Greene; “The Cloudspotter’s Guide” by Gavin Pretor-Pinney; “The Blind Eye” by Georgia Blain; “Cold Comfort Farm” by Stella Gibbons; oh, and “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” by James Joyce (long sequestered in the handbag as the Emergency Read)