Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ravens, Pigeons and Parrots!

The Raven drawn by Manet
When Di, one of my book club members suggested this month's theme of a novel with a bird in the title all I could think of to read was To Kill A Mockingbird (again!) or Mockingjay one of the Hunger Games trilogy.  Feeling a bit sceptical about the theme I went onto Goodreads to see what they had listed.  It was then that I realised I had read a fair few of the books, and also that I wanted to read most of the other books that they had listed there too! 

I couldn't not read The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe.  I know I know, it's a poem not a novel, but what a poem it is!  My first ever reading was last week and I've read it several times since.  I only wish I was younger and could memorise it all, it's just wonderfully written.  I thought I'd quote a few lines here, but reading it again I couldn't decide which of the verses to use and I'd have to quote the whole poem, so if you've never read The Raven do yourself a favour: 

My next choice was a brilliant little novella by Patrick Suskind (author of the fantastic novel Perfume) called The Pigeon.  It was almost like reading something absurd by Kafka.  The protagonist lives a very simple well ordered life in Paris, everything is going to plan as he slides slowly to retirement, until one day he opens his apartment door and there, in the hallway, is a pigeon.  What follows is both funny and sad at the same time, I could  almost imagine the same events happening to me if I found a large cockroach in my bedroom.  They are my greatest phobia, I can't even sweep one up if I have murdered it with bug killer.  I can't stand the feel of their bodies at the end of the brush.  My fear of cockroaches is rational, but the fear of the pigeon described in Suskind's novel is bizarre, insightful and highly enjoyable.

Finally I have lined up Flaubert's Parrot by Julian Barnes.  This novel was described by a friend of mine, at a book club meeting a few years ago, as his favourite novel at that time and I've been meaning to read it since then.  (David, if you still read my posts then you know who you are).  This will be an audio and once I have finished The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky (which has been one hell of a read, as a reading experience and in length) I will start it.  I'm really looking forward to this one and I hope it lives up to my expectations.

I'm interested to see what my other book clubbers have chosen for this theme.

Until next time,


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Everyone Loves a Winner!

Earlier this year I won a $150 visa card through Paws and Purrs for doing a pet food survey on my pesky cat's eating habits, and a couple of months ago I won $1200 on lotto which I timed perfectly with the arrival of my rates and water bills LOL!

Last week I won a book pack thanks to a competition run by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and the books arrived today.  I'm quite excited by these reads:

Beautiful Lies by Clare Clark, an historical novel inspired by the true story of a British politician's wife who lived a double life for decades.

Raised from the Ground by Jose Saramago.  This novel was published in 1980 but this English translation is not due for publication until Dec 4.  I have an advanced copy woo hoo!!

The Shelter Cycle by Peter Rock, due for publication April 2013 a haunting novel inspired by true events based around two children who grew up in a religion that believed the world would end in the late 1980s.

Norwegian by Night by Derek B. Miller a humorous thriller set in Norway with apparently an unforgettable hero. Another advanced copy, due for publication May 2013. I think I might read this one first.

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien - I have read this, but it is a movie tie in edition so I will probably read it again.  I love the cover.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel - again, I have read this novel and absolutely can't wait to see the movie.  This is the tie in edition, and once I have seen the movie I will read it again.

The Best American Essays edited by David Brooks.  I love reading essays, and am looking forward to this one.

The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco.  I have read one other Eco novel and whilst it was hard going I did like it.  I hope this one is easier to read but the premise is very interesting, and it is set in my favourite period - 19th Century Europe.

and last but not least:

Maid by Kimberly Cutter - a fictional treatment of the Joan of Arc legend....... cool, sounds interesting.

Sadly though, despite the fact that I feel really lucky lately I did not have a win on today's Melbourne Cup.  Still it was GREAT to see Australia's favourite race won by an Australian Horse. Congratulations Green Moon!!

But, keep your fingers crossed for me, I have a ticket in tonight's $100 million lotto draw that's about to be drawn any minute!

Until next time,