Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Return From Hiatus

Poor, dear, sad old blog. So neglected!
I haven't been reading very thoughtfully over the past three months; I've been reading to fill the white noise, the way you do in the waiting room of a doctor's surgery. And there has been a fair bit of time spent there lately now that I come to mention it. I don't mean to make pregnancy sound so dramatic but I have to confess that it is EXHAUSTING! I haven't had the physical or mental stamina to read much, let alone think about what I have managed to read. Perhaps that's why the baby name books are so appealing - no nonlinear narrative or complicated character arcs to keep abreast of. One thing I have learnt, to my surprise, is that there are a lot of names out there that I really hate. 
Rather than list all the baby name books I have been reading, here is a selection of other things that I have read recently, with the few thoughts I managed to have about them:

You Should Have Known (Jean Hanff Korelitz)- a really excellent psychological thriller. A why-dunit rather than a whodunit, it kept me completely gripped. 

Persiana (Sabrina Ghayour)- so far all I have done is look at the pictures and read through a few recipes of this lush and lovely cookbook by a self taught British cook of Middle Eastern background. What appeals to me is that she seems like my kind of cook, ie, taking every possible shortcut (as long as it doesn't involve shit like tinned soup) in the process. I have a few books with some similar recipes in them but these in general seem less complicated to achieve while still looking delicious. I have made what is possibly the simplest salad in the book and it was delightfully fresh.

The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair (Joel Dicker) - I've been reading and hearing a bit lately about the idea that serious literary fiction is doomed to die an inevitable death, because people now read in snippets and snatches of time. This book would seem an excellent resource in support of that argument, as I found it perfect train- and lunchtime-reading fodder. I don't think that detracts from the book though, it was punchy and full of great twists and was was just downright entertaining.

Gossip (Beth Gutcheon) - the mood of this book reminded me of Curtis Sittenfeld's Prep (an amazing read if you ever get the chance) and a tiny bit like Nancy Mitford's novels. I thought it was really fantastic. I'm a bit disappointed I wasn't able to devote a full blog post to this book because I want to rant and rave about it a bit. It was pretty easy to read but wasn't especially lightweight, not exactly serious but less frivolous than the cover and title may lead one to believe. And Gutcheon writes with an assured and light touch that makes one skim through the book like a swan across the water.