Books read in 2015 – Part 1

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by Rita H. Azar on May 2, 2015

Bonjour!

I haven’t been blogging and writing (other than keeping a personal diary) much since the start of the year but, I have been reading.  Now that I’m due to give birth any day, I thought let’s update my blog and give you a run down of some of the books I have read so far.

I read these three books for my book club.

The Shaking Woman or a History of my Nerves

In her book The Shaking Woman or a History of my Nerves, Siri Hustvedt goes on a search to understand the shaking of her body she experienced two and a half years after the death of her father while she was giving a talk at a memorial event for him.

This is only a 200 pages book but I found that it was quite a difficult read. There were no chapters which would have made the book easier to read. The concepts of psychology the author explains, such as conversion disorder, hysteria and memory, are quite interesting but I had to focus hard on each word so I could understand the flow of her thoughts.

I did recognise myself in some of the concepts and that was fascinating. At the end of the book, we understand that when it comes to the human body and mind, nothing is all black or white.

 

The shaking woman or a history of my nerves

The Golden Age

Joan London takes us back to the fifties. The setting is the Golden Age Children’s Polio Convalescent Home in Perth. Thirteen years old Frank Gold is a mystic character who writes poetry and falls in love with Elsa. London also tells the reader the story of the families of these children who lives in this convalescent home and the nurses who take care of them in a particularly nurturing way.  The Golden Age is shortlisted for the Stella Prize 2015.

This story is a work of fiction. But, it is based on an actual convalescent centre for children of the same name that existed from 1949 to 1959 in Western Australia.

It is beautifully written with exquisite prose and images. Inside this convalescent home, the author explains how the children create their own little world, their own little home away from their families.

I think the reader needs to be in a certain state of mind to really enjoy this book and give it the worth it deserves. I personally didn’t connect with the characters and to their stories.

 

The Golden Age

The God of Small Things

In her novel The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy presents the story of non-identical twins Rahel and Esthappen which are separated at the age of seven after the tragic death of their cousin.  Years later, at the age of 31, they are reunited in the family home in the village of Aymanam, India.  The book is narrated in the third person but, for a big part of the story, the reader sees the events unfolding through the eyes of Rahel.  The reader learns about the tragedies that scattered her life, the life of her twin brother and the rest of her family.  Themes such as Indian history, forbidden love, betrayal and social discrimination are explored in this novel.  The God of Small Things won the Booker Prize in 1997.

This is a book one can either love or loath.  I stand in the second category.  No doubt that it is beautifully written.  But, the story is so dark and the characters so messed up that the book only succeeded in making me feel totally down and depressed.  They say you have to be in a certain mood for certain books.  I can’t agree more.  Again, I was just not in the right set of mind to read this novel and I did not get the message the author was trying to impart.

 

The god of small things

Have you been reading any good book lately?

Next time I’ll come back to this space, I’ll be a mum!

Au revoir! 

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