stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
I do like Bill Bryson - he has such a vivid anecdotal style, such a keen eye for detail, and such unerring taste for the interesting. This, an account of a number of trips to Australia, is no exception, and is making me go, simultaneously, 'plan trip! now!' and 'twelve-foot earthworms?'. Scrupulously honest about how much he's missing out, endearingly enthusiastic about the wildlife and plantlife, at times downright inspirational (usually on geology), quietly furious about the plight of the Aborigines - this is a very good book, and now I want to go to Australia.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/11767935/
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
Judy Astley has been around long enough (or, at least, my father has been reading Judy Astley long enough) for me to remember the white covers with the vague watercolours. Somehow, these seemed more grown-up than the current pastels. Don't judge a book by its cover, though, and I am still very fond of Judy Astley (and not just because she's an Archers Anarchist - I would be an Archers Anarchist, but I stopped listening after they killed off Nigel). This was a fairly standard effort, playing with her usual preoccupations of family, mortality, and the importance of Doing One's Own Thing. (Query: why, when a man writes this sort of thing, does it count as Great Literature, while the same novel written by a woman would be Chick Lit, or at best an Aga Saga?)

I generally enjoyed this, though was a bit bemused by how the children's partners suddenly became much more interesting propositions half-way through the book. U-turn, though I suppose it was all Point of View... I recognised the trials and tribulations of a huge and unkeep-up-able house from my own childhood; found the parents likeable and their children just about tolerable, and winced at the Surrey jokes. (Funny because true, believe me.)

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/10065693
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
Still choosing books by cover, I'm afraid - this is to go in the Colours of the Rainbow exchange. No prizes for guessing which colour. Anyway, I picked it up in a bargain bookshop on the Euston Road and found it well worth the read. It's the story of three people who meet in India - Tibetan, Australian and Scottish, and the threads that bind them. I thought it dealt respectfully with the Bhopal gas disaster (a major theme) and with the intersections of cultures and faiths. Also women's work, and motherhood. A satisfyingly bittersweet ending - no easy answers. Characters consistent throughout.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/9968432

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