slemslempike: (nemi: argh)
[personal profile] slemslempike
I was trying to find an entry I'd half written, and came across my write-up of the books I read in February. February 2013, over two years ago. Everything was finished except mentioning The Corrections, so I'm adding it here now for a little bit of completeness.

The Corrections - Jonathan Franzen
The Piper's Son - Melina Marchetta
My Friends the Macleans - Jane Duncan
Mr Friend the Swallow - Jane Duncan
Jellicoe Road - Melina Marchetta
Love Marriage - V.V. Ganeshanantha
After Summer - Nick Earls
The Little Girls - Elizabeth Bowen
Judy's Triumph - Elisabeth Morley
The Accidental Proposal - Matt Dunn
Whipping Girl - Julia Serano
My Friend Sashie - Jane Duncan
My Friends the Misses Kindness - Jane Duncan
My Friends George and Tom - Jane Duncan
Angel Face - Norma Klein
Binny for Short - Hilary McKay

I definitely read The Corrections, I remember the cover, and packing it, but I cannot for the life of me, two years later, remember what it was about. I have now read the Wikipedia page and still have not even one single recollection from it.

The Piper's Son is the sequel to Saving Francesca, which I loved. Well, it broke me, but I hold it in great affection nonetheless. This book focuses on Tom, who has had somewhat of a breakdown through the medium of alienating his friends, drinking and taking drugs, and generally being a miserable sod. He gradually rebuilds his friendship grounp (well, they rebuild him), stops most of the drinking and drugs and his family is getting better too. Jellicoe Road has people raving about it. It's the story of three groups of teens and their yearly battles - those at the local boarding school, those in the town, and the cadets who come every summer. It's oddly intense without really having a need for it. I thought it was good, but it didn't really grab at me.

THE FRIENDS ARE ALL GONE. I have been reading my way through the series, borrowing them from a colleague. When Twice died (in Swallow) it was 1am, and through my tears I dug out my blackberry to tell her instantly how distraught I was. And then again when Tom died. I was crosser about Tom dying, because I knew from [livejournal.com profile] katlinel that Tom was book real not history real, and so she COULD have let him live. Twice and her mother and her father need to die for the semi-autobiographical parts, but TOM COULD HAVE LIVED. Forever, if necessary. Anyway, when I finished George and Tom I got one of those nothing-nice-will-ever-happen-again moods. It's like it's one giant book split into parts instead of a series, and everything builds on everything else. About halfway through I was irritated with the books and stopped for a while, but everything I was irritated with was revisited and her writing about it changed as Janet matured. I plan to pick up the books as I find them (especially the beautiful editions) and then maybe reread the earliest ones in her planned order.

The day before I left Mumbai to come home, I realised that I had but one solitary book left to sustain me through waiting to board, a ten hour flight, several hours of stopover in Amsterdam, another short flight to Edinburgh and then the bus back. Clearly not enough. Luckily a German woman heard of my plight (through me moaning about it at dinner) and offered to swap me her new-to-her book that she hadn't started for one of the ones I was going to leave behind. Love Marriage is a story a bit about love, a lot about family, and a great deal about the Tamil community and freedom fighters in Sri Lanka. Really fascinating.

After Summer is an Australian book about a boy waiting for his exam results and to find out what university he is going to go to. While living at the beach with his mother he meets a girl whom he starts a relationship with, and it's rather good. Her parents are great as well, including a naked potter father.

I was disappointed in The Little Girls because the blurb promised me that it was about three girls at school, and although that was a part of it, there were far more words about them being boring adults. Not that boring, I suppose, but to be promised a school story and then it not be delivered is rather sad. The girls buried something, possibly including a gun, and as adults they went to try and dig it up again. And two of them turned out to be related, perhaps? It turns out that I don't read well while disappointed.

I read Judy's Triumph on the way to the bookswap, having taken it along to swap. It was rather good! Judy did of course triumph, mostly over herself as is the way with girls' stories. She and her special group of friends have not worked at all hard, and so a special class is created for them, essentially the remedial group. They are all cross and determine not to work properly, but are properly Won Over by their new form mistress, who shows herself to be jolly decent over Judy's tennis playing.

I picked up The Accidental Proposal at the bookswap in that time where people are leaving, and I have all the books I want, and yet the table still has books on it and it seems such a shame not to take even more. It looked like it was going to be a bad book, so I took it in order to have something to sneer at on the train. It was a good book for that sort of thing. The "twist" in the book was that it was a man worrying about the wedding, not the woman. He had a male friend who was really stupid, and it just didn't work on the page at all.

Whipping Girl was very good, except for a chapter that seemed to be an essay she'd written previously that didn't seem to fit in very well. The first part, explaining about trans-misogyny, and Serano's approach, is excellent, and I have been recommending it to people.

Norma Klein writes a lot of books about teenage boys. This is interesting, but is not fully within my interests. I find that the love interests of the boys tend to be pretty thinly written. However, the boy in this (the Angel Face of the title, he uses his innocent face to get away with stuff) had a pretty cool sister I liked. His parents divorce, and then when he goes to stay with his dad, his mum dies in a car crash that the kids are pretty sure is suicide.

Binny for Short wasn't as funny as The Exiles or even the Dog Friday books, but it was thoughtful, amusing and family-centred. Binny tells her great-aunt she hopes she dies, and when she does she leaves her house to Binny. The boy next door becomes an instant enemy, and Binny falls in love with the boy who takes tourists to see the seals on his boat. For some reason I was convinced it was set in Australia for the first chapter, but it isn't.

Date: 2015-05-03 06:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] callmemadam.livejournal.com
I couldn't even get through the much-hyped The Corrections.

Date: 2015-05-04 06:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] slemslempike.livejournal.com
I definitely finished it, and I didn't hate it as otherwise I'd remember, but it's just completely gone in my mind.

Date: 2015-05-03 09:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] katlinel.livejournal.com
I cry EVERY SINGLE TIME I read Swallow and George and Tom. I am wondering if she wrote Tom's death, because she had to write George's death and Janet's experience of it, but she couldn't write the fictional version of the real George's death. (I still feel guilty that I couldn't lend you my copies - sorry about that.)

Date: 2015-05-04 06:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] slemslempike.livejournal.com
Not at all! I definitely wouldn't have lent them to me in your shoes, and it didn't affect my ability to read them, clearly. But I have you to thank for getting me interested in reading them all in the first place.

Oh, that makes sense! I am very excited to read your stuff on all this when it's finished.

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