Thursday, August 21, 2014

Summer reading

I am struggling a bit to keep up my reading habit. It is hard when I find myself constantly running to keep things pseudo-clean and pseudo-tidy and everyone fed and happy. Then, when there is some time left, I end up collapsing in the couch, taking naps to catch up on sleep or doing laundry or going out for walks or running errands. But reading is important for me, and I try to make the time for it. Switzerland was glorious, because I was so relaxed that often I put the baby in the garden to play and took the time to read myself.

If you are looking for ideas, Lauren has set up the #Better in Real Life Reading List and there are often reviews coming up. From her list, I would definitely like to read "Truth & Beauty" by Ann Patchet, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingslover and maybe "The light between oceans" by M.L. Sedman, though I am torn about that last one, because it seems to be so, so sad. A while ago I read "Storyteller, the authorized biography of Roald Dahl" and actually loved it. I was fascinated by Roald Dahl's life (he was a spy and a pilot, he knew the likes of Walt Disney and Roosevelt) and I liked getting an insight on the inspiration behind his stories.

As someone who loves to read, and as a challenge to force myself to actually do it I decided to write a review for the BIRL reading list, and got assigned "The view from Castle Rock", by Alice Munro. I was really excited to have this book assigned. I’d heard Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013 and I had been wanting to read her. Part memoir, part fiction, part imagined what could-have been, this book is a collection of short stories, independent of each other, but actually linked together as they trace back a family’s history (Alice’s own) of a migration from Scotland in the eighteenth century to North America, ending up in Canada and detailing their adventure as they look for a better future in far away, unknown lands. It takes the reader from the Ettrick Valley near Edinburgh, through Newfoundland, to Chicago, Joliet, The Huron Valley, Ontario… It is the story of great grandmother’s and grandfather’s, of uncles, of lost-relatives as the times change until today. In case you missed it, my review and Shaelyn's and the discussion is here.

Other than that, I finally had the chance to finish reading "La amigdalitis de Tarzan", by Alfred Bryce Echenique, one of the books Zarawitta sent me for this year's #AOWbookswap. I really, really liked it. The books tells the story of a pair of friends / lovers that meet in their early 20's in Paris during the late 1960's and follows them and the circumstances that led them to not-end-up-together, through almost 30 years. But what's different is that the story is told through the letters they sent to each other through many international moves, across oceans and continents (though mostly between Europe and America). It talks about love, but also about Latin America, about being a young naive girl, about discovering the world, about being an artist, about repression and corruption, about staying pure and joyful in the most adverse of circumstances, as stated by one of the phrases that gets repeated over and over again in the book: "Experimentó la angustia y el dolor, pero nunca estuvo triste una mañana"*. The quote is supposed to be Hemingway, I believe it's from the Old Man and the Sea, but I am going crazy trying to find the original quote and I don't seem to be able. Anyone recognizes it?

I've also read Baby-led weaning, as we are going to more or less try that with baby Y. I say more or less, because I love cooking and I am also kind of into preparing purées. And I no longer subscribe to any parenting theory or technique that is so fundamentalist in their approach that proclaims that doing X or Y or Z is forbidden or else *whatever it is you are trying to do* will not work. I am excited though, to have her eat real foods, to experiment with colors, flavours and textures at her own pace.

What have you been reading? Any recommendations?

* This would translate as something like: "She experienced anguish and pain, but never was she sad one morning". (Though of course, being Hemingway, it must be written better).


  1. Eh qué bien! He andado desconectada de los blogs, muy a mi pesar, pero qué bueno que te gustó, me alegro mucho. Sobre todo porque mi Bookswap de este año nunca llegó, extraño mucho el correo europeo. En fin, sigue leyendo y disfrutando :)

    1. Ah... te mandaré un libro que triste que no haya llegado tu Bookswap. Sí que me gustó mucho y me recordó viajes y tiempos de estudiante, ahora estoy con Delirio!

  2. Apenas veo los comentarios, ¿te das cuenta de mi caos? que creo que el problema es que mi depa es malo para la correspondencia, porque casi siempre llega sólo aquello que cabe por debajo de la puerta, estoy pensando seriamente en sólo dar la dirección de casa de mis papás lo cual es mucho más seguro, sin duda, al menos Amazon sí llega. Aquí tuve que pedir que pusieran un buzón en el edificiioooo no hay, increíble, esperemos que me hagan caso.

    Ya me cuentas de Delirio....


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