stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
Exhibit C(i) in the Great Warnings Debate - proof that a sugary pink cover doesn't guarantee that the book is free of violence, rape, misogynistic slurs, etc. Although this does become apparent in the first few lines of the prologue, so one would be reasonably likely to work this out before buying. It's not like you're suddenly getting slapped round the face with it in chapter fifty-three, or whatever. And actually Koomson deals with the whole lot in a refreshingly sensible way, gives her heroine supportive friends, has no patience with apologists, etc.

Having got past the prologue, the main challenge was ploughing through the first few chapters, which were sunk in a quicksand of detailed and ineffective description. (If, for example, someone is snatching up a scarf to run out of the door in a panic, she won't stop to talk about how the scarf is stripy, will she?) This slowed the whole thing down, and it wasn't even funny over-description. Not a cerulean orb in sight. (There was a cerulean sky later in the book, though, so I wasn't too deprived.)

Overall, a sensitive look at a difficult issue, but could really have done with better editing.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/6021939
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
'N' in the Alphabet roundabout. A teen book, and none the worse for it. The plot hangs on the real-life murder of Grace Brown, and incorporates the victim's letters into the text - though in such a sensitive manner that it's only just occurred to me how terribly that might have turned out.

The narrator is a waitress at the Glenmore Hotel, where the tragedy is centred, working to support her father and sisters, and to raise enough money to take up a place at college in New York. I think I have been rather spoiled for stories in which the heroine's vocation is to write (I will wibble more about this on the Other Blog) because here was someone for whom this was more of a challenge than usual, and I was just rolling my eyes. A pity. Also, I saw straight through the love interest, but this may have been the intention.

Nothing particularly special, but a good enough read, with a pleasing resolution.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/10491432
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
A series of case studies of women facing various challenges, written from a Christian/healing perspective. Not the sort of thing I'd usually read, but I was pleasantly surprised by the general common sense and pro-woman thinking, and impressed by the courageous way that Littauer tackles the abuse faced by women within the Church.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/7087445
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
I picked this book up and put it down again several times, on several separate visits to the same charity shop, before eventually deciding to buy it. I'm glad I did; it was a lovely, affirming story.

I was originally put off the fact that it deals extensively with the Romantics, who to be frank I find a bit of a bore. However, given that one of them was Mary Wollstonecraft, I succumbed.

It was a bit odd, actually. Imagine an AU where a girl who was very similar to Mary Wollstonecraft went to Mary Wollstonecraft's school and echoed a number of her life choices. And imagine that there was a family very similar to the Wordsworth family, but that the Wordsworths still existed and in fact the Saygood family occasionally went to see them.

It was quite disorientating, and I'm not quite sure what the aim was. I can understand a reluctance to write about historical figures - but then, why put them in at all?

That aside, this was a very good read. Not only did it shed some light on a side of the Romantic movement I'd not thought about much (namely, what was going on the other side of the Channel) but it was primarily a story of female friendship, loyalty, love between mothers and daughters, and feminism.


Extract )

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