Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Guilty pleasures

Thirty years ago you might have found me reading under the covers.  Nothing too shameful - Orwell perhaps, Dickens or Mills and Boon historical.  I don't have to hide under the covers any more, but the sense of indulging guilty pleasures still persists. This is with good reason since I should be finishing my essay on Victorian deathbed scenes but hey, everyone deserves a break now and then.

The first of this week's indulgences was How It All Began.  I have a fellow blogger - dovegreyreader I think - to thank for introducing me to Penelope Lively.
Charlotte's mugging sets off a train of potentially life-changing events for those around her.  I was surprised to discover that this is such a recent book since, to me, it has a distinctly old-fashioned feel. There's plenty of telling rather than showing, but the character sketches are entertaining and all in all it is a very enjoyable read.

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey had been on my wishlist for some time and I was not disappointed. An impulse buy meant I read it on my Kindle, rather than having the pleasure of the beautiful paper edition, hard backed with a silvery design like the book of Russian folk tales featured in the story. My loss, I think. An aging childless couple, battling the elements to settle in Alaska, build a child out of snow.  The snow child becomes a beautiful girl, but is she real?  I certainly wanted to believe.  Whereas The Shipping News gave us the bitter cold of small town Newfoundland, The Snow Child evokes the rhythm of the seasons and the natural world.  A lovely book.

Next on my list will be my unexpected prize from Litlove,  The Song of Achillesa retelling of the Illiad.   The last time I won anything I was a ten year-old Bo Peep, so this was an excellent surprise.

These recent reads have certainly rekindled my interest in non-course reading.  Just five more weeks of academic study and then I can read to my heart's content.  I'm counting the days.

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