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,



  1. You know, you haven't really sent me the cockroach pictures. Hasn't anyone posed yet?

  2. We've just come out of a long cold winter so I think they are only just coming out of hibernation. Believe me though, if I see one I shall definitely think of you, do you prefer pre or post mortem??!!