Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday Salon: Reading Retrospective (June 2002)

This has been a pretty busy month what with packing, moving and now the settling in, but it's coming along and we're getting used to our new neighbourhood. It was also very nice to get back online this week. Yesterday I rode a bike for the first time in many, many years. I briefly rode, and fell off of, a bike about 13 years ago but otherwise I pretty much haven't ridden since I was a kid on the farm. So it was a bit nerve-wracking, and I'm still somewhat of a danger to myself and others, but it will make life much easier if I can ride to the shops. Oh and did I mention that I'm also quite sore today? LOL. I just keep telling myself that change is good!

I have managed to read a little bit over the last few weeks in between all the craziness. The Delicate Storm by Giles Blunt, the second book in his Detective Cardinal series, was a good distraction from the chaos of packing. Then once we were in our new place, and internet-less, I finally got around to reading Yellowknife by Steve Zipp. What a fun, bizarre book this was! And now I've just begun The Fat Woman Next Door is Pregnant by Michel Tremblay. Quite the title, eh?

Seven years ago, in June 2002, life was a bit calmer. We had already settled into, and were enjoying, our new life in London. I apparently read five books that month with a couple of them being disappointments. Here they are with my old, brief comments (this was before I started doing longer reviews) in italics. I apologize for my obvious unoriginality at the time. My keywords for the month seemed to be 'engaging', 'believable', and 'anti-climactic'.

A Celibate Season by Carol Shields & Blanche Howard
Epistolary fiction. A joint work that read very smoothly. A thoughtful look at relationships. 7.5/10

L.A. Woman by Cathy Yardley
Chicklit. Fun characters, but anti-climactic with a disappointing ending. 4/10

Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
Classic. Didn't love it or hate it, but the characters weren't that believable to me so I had no real sympathy for them, plus the ending was anti-climactic. 5/10

Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris
An engaging story, preferred it to Chocolat and Blackberry Wine, as it's deeper and more complex, and I enjoyed the interweaving of time frames. 7/10

Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes
Chicklit with depth. A well-written character, in an engaging, believable story, with a touching ending. 9/10

Looking at these five titles, I can barely recall any of them! I remember vaguely the story in Rachel's Holiday but the others... not so much. My chicklit phase ended before I got through many of Marian Keyes books but I'm pretty sure I have another one or two that I never got around to. I happened to meet her once briefly at a book signing and she was super friendly. I know I've got a couple of books each by Joanne Harris and Carol Shields that I haven't read yet either. I really should make an effort to read more of my old, long-time neglected books. Maybe unpacking all of them will inspire me to pick up a few.

Have you read any of these? If so, what did you think?

Have a great week!

11 comments:

  1. I'm glad you're back and settling in! As for the riding bikes thing, change is definitely good :)

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  2. I still haven't read D.H. Lawrence!

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  3. OOooh, can't wait to here what you think of Yellowknife. I've got that one in the mail hopefully coming soon, and I've heard such strange things (actually...haven't heard much except that it is strange).

    Hope you're having a wonderful week!

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  4. I've only read "Lady Chatterley's Lover" and it was a long time ago. From what I remember, I thought it was just okay, recognizing it as being groundbreaking, though at the same time not feeling overwhelmed by it at all.

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  5. I am glad you are settling into your new home, Nat. It's so good to have you back. :-)

    Sounds like you made good use of your breaks in between packing and moving and while you without the internet. Giles Blunt is an author I have been meaning to try.

    Seven years ago . . . That seems so long ago! I don't think I've read any of the books you listed, although I've been curious about Joanne Harris' book. I'm with you in that I need to read some of my long neglected books. I'll be getting to a couple this month finally.

    I hope you have a great week, Nat!

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  6. I have read any of the books you've posted. I have read Chocolat and loved it. If you prefer Five Quarters of the Orange to it, I know it needs to be on my TBR list.I've also been thinking of reading my old favorites. Happy reading!

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  7. I've read all the books in the Giles Blunt series. I really enjoy him! I haven't read any of the ones you read in 2002, I never really got into the chick-it phase, since I read a million Harlequin romances when I was a teenager!
    Congratulations on your move, and yes, packing always takes longer and new houses always need work when you get into them! i hope you enjoy the countryside :-D

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  8. I keep saying that I'm going to get a bike to ride around here but it's not in my budget just now and plus, with this heat I think I'd pass out but glad to know it is one of those things you can always pick right back up ;)

    By the way, you must tell us more about that Fat Woman book. What a title indeed!

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  9. I got on my bike yesterday for the first time this summer. It was a gorgeous morning and I loved every minute of my hour-log "cruise" on the bike trail. I'm sore, too!!

    I've only read Five Quarters, but didn't think much of it. I gave it a "good" (3.5/5) rating. Of course, now I can't remember a thing about it! Didn't stick with me like Chocolate and The Girl With No Shadow.

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  10. Loved Delicate Storm, enjoyed The Fat Lady Next Door but did not understand why it was praised so highly. I have copies of Yellow Knife and Three Quarters of the Orange, I look forward to reading those. Isn't it odd when we look back at what we wrote years before? I get a kick out of it.

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  11. Lena - Thanks! :)

    Terri B. - Well, I've only read that one, seven years ago!

    Trish - It's a pretty bizarre story with some unique characters but that makes for a very interesting read. I hope you enjoy it.

    Teresa - I agree, I can appreciate that it was quite scandalous at the time, but I wasn't terribly impressed.

    Wendy - Thanks, I'm glad to be back online, but am looking forward to the day when all the packing and sorting is completely done so I can spend more time on it.

    Seven years ago does seem like such a long time now. How time flies! I know I should read more of my older books but it's hard with all the new, tempting ones, isn't it? :)

    Vasilly - I know a lot of people don't like Five Quarters as much as Chocolat or the others. I look forward to hearing what you think of it if you get a chance to read it.

    Susan - Thanks! Moving certainly is a lot of work but it'll be nice once we're all settled. And I definitely plan to continue with Giles Blunt's series.

    Iliana - I got a pretty cheap bike, nothing fancy, since it's mainly just for going to the shops. We went out again last weekend and it was much better so I'd say that it is something you can pick up again with a little practice. :P

    I've finished The Fat Woman... and it was pretty interesting. Look for a review hopefully next week.

    Les - Like I just said to Iliana, my second time on the bike was much better, although I still need to practice to have better control. It's nice to be able to get around much faster than on foot.

    I honestly don't remember much of Five Quarters either now. The Girl With No Shadow is the US title of the sequel to Chocolat, right? It's been so long, I really should read some of her newer books.

    Sandra - It is quite fun to look back on what I was reading so many years ago, and what I thought of them.

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