I’ve read two really good books lately, one of which was recommended on a fellow blogger’s “Best Reads of 2014” list, and the other in a recent library blog.
Here’s the blurb from Christchurch City Libraries about the first one, All The Light We Cannot See:
“The epic new novel, set during WW2, from Sunday Times Short Story Prize-winner Anthony Doerr. Marie-Laure has been blind since the age of six. Her father builds a perfect miniature of their Paris neighbourhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. But when the Nazis invade, father and daughter flee with a dangerous secret. Werner is a German orphan, destined to labour in the same mine that claimed his father’s life, until he discovers a knack for engineering. His talent wins him a place at a brutal military academy, but his way out of obscurity is built on suffering. At the same time, far away in a walled city by the sea, an old man discovers new worlds without ever setting foot outside his home. But all around him, impending danger closes in. Doerr’s combination of soaring imagination and meticulous observation is electric. As Europe is engulfed by war and lives collide unpredictably, ‘All The Light We Cannot See’ is a captivating and devastating elegy for innocence.”
I absolutely loved this book! It took me a little while to adjust to the storyline hopping between the two main characters, Marie-Laure and Werner, and the different years in which the story plays out, but once I paid a little more attention to sorting this out it really gripped me, and I found it very hard to put the book down … midnight, 1am … you’ve been there as well, I’m sure 🙂 Beautifully written, loved the way the story threads were slowly drawn together with some being resolved and others not … this was one of those books I really didn’t want to end.
The second book is the true story of Nathaniel Ayers, a musician who becomes schizophrenic and homeless, and his friendship with Steve Lopez, the Los Angeles columnist who discovers and writes about him in the newspaper.
A humorous, engaging, sad and thought-provoking book which I also found hard to put down. Mental illness and its impacts can be so brutal, and it’s sad that society so often appears to want to ignore those who are affected by it. Nathaniel’s story is powerful and emotional, and Steve Lopez’s account of his interaction with the homeless musician is well written and moving.
I’d definitely recommend both of these reads.
The Cricket World Cup has now moved into the quarter final, knock-out stage, with the first match taking place today between South Africa and Sri Lanka. I have to confess to being in two minds as to which team I wanted to win: my African heritage meant that half of me wanted South Africa to come through, while the New Zealand side of me preferred Sri Lanka, as we have already had the better of them more than once in recent months. In the end I think it would be fair to say the match was far more one-sided than most pundits predicted, with S. Africa bowling Sri Lanka out very cheaply and winning by 9 wickets. Tomorrow’s game sees India vs Bangladesh, to be played in Melbourne – I’m picking India to win that; Friday sees Australia vs Pakistan, in Adelaide – I’m picking the Aussies to take that one; and then New Zealand play the West Indies in Wellington on Saturday – and there are no prizes for guessing who I’m picking for that one! 🙂 If we make it through to the semi-final stage we will play South Africa in Auckland on Tuesday 24 March, with the final in Melbourne on Sunday 29 March. There have been some great games to watch, and I think what has really impressed me is the great spirit in which it has been played so far – competitive, yes, but definitely without the nasty side which seems to have crept into the game over the last few years. Go, the Black Caps!
A lovely exciting parcel arrived in my letter box on Saturday: fabric from Hancock’s of Paducah!! (Happy Dance, Smiley Face!!) I just love the fabrics from this store; mostly I’ll aim for the special offers, free shipping, or bargain sales of backing fabric or batiks or similar. Here’s what I got this time round – some beautiful batik fabrics, and some lovely extra wide red and green backing fabrics:
No particular projects in mind for any of them, for the moment they will simply be added to my stash and taken out from time to time to be stroked and admired … 🙂
In the meantime I’m making good progress on my March ALYoF project, although I’m a bit short on one of the fabrics I want to use for one of the borders – visited my usual three fabric stores earlier this week to see if I could get some more of the fabric I want, but no luck, so I shall have to improvise and make it a mix and match border instead of using one single fabric. I’m still tossing up whether or not to include the fourth border which the pattern has, and might just leave it at three. Oh, and just to let you know, I chose Option 5 layout (see my previous post here for the options I was considering) 🙂
Anyway, time for bed and my latest read: Educating Alice, by Alice Greenup, the true story of how Alice gives up her city-chick persona to embrace a new life in the Australian bush and all that comes with it: horses, cattle, the obsession with rain – and the correct way to wear a hat. All goes well until one morning when a routine muster goes horribly wrong …