Sunday, 4 September 2011

Currently Reading - September 2011

A short one today, I think. It's early Sunday morning and I've been updating information on my Goodreads page and checking out some sport sights; BBC Sports for my footie fix and to see if there was anything new about the Blue Jays.

I've got the two books I'm currently reading in front of me, so here's what I'm reading to start of September.

To Kill A Mockingbird
I've blogged about this first book previously, in my listing of my Top Ten all-time favourite books. I've read many times and also seen the movie more than once. I can either pick up the book or put on the movie and just sink into the story again.

I'm reading it this time because in one of my goodreads clubs, it's being read as a side-read for this month, besides the other books chosen. I thought it was time to take this one up again and refresh my feelings about the story.

For a brief synopsis, this is what's written on the back - "Shoot all the Blue Jays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.
A lawyer's advice to his children as he defends the real mocking bird of this enchanting classic - a black man charged with the rape of a white girl.
Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the thirties.
The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina of one man's struggle for justice.
But the weight of history will only tolerate so much...."

I won't say too much more about the story, as I have talked about it previously and probably ad nauseum to my friends. However, having started it again, I am once again drawn into the characters, Jem, Scout, Atticus, Calpurnia, the Ewells, Radleys and every other lovely, well-drawn person from this story. I obviously have pictures of them in my mind; as they were so well-portrayed in the movie and every one of the actors fit the role to perfection.

It's a sad story, but at the same time, as you read about Scout and Jem growing up and of their love for their father, it's endearing, lovely and so fantastic. I've never experienced the life they did in their small town, but it doesn't matter as I feel it and am drawn to it. I can think of other books of the same sort that have caused the same sorts of feelings in me; A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, by Carson McCullers and Who Has Seen the Wind, by W.O. Mitchell. They are all stories about families, living and loving together and the events that occur in their lives that enrich them and help them grow up.

Anyway, suffice it to say that I'm happy to be reading Mockingbird again. It never grows old or outdated and always brings out new thoughts and ideas.

Her Fearful Symmetry

The other book I'm currently reading is Her Fearful Symmetry, by Audrey Niffenegger, who also wrote The Time Traveller's Wife in 2003. Since that was one of my favourite books at the time, I've looked forward to Audrey publishing her next novel. It's taken awhile, she has published some graphic novels (visual books, as wikipedia calls them), but I finally saw this one at The Laughing Oyster, a few months back and had to buy it.

This is the synopsis -
"Julia and Valentina Poole are twenty-year-old sisters with an intense attachment to each other. One morning the mailman delivers a thick envelope to their house in the suburbs of Chicago. Their English aunt, Elspeth Noblin, has died of cancer and left them her London apartment. There are two conditions for this inheritance: that they live in the flat for a year before they sell it and that their parents not enter it. Julia and Valentina are twins. So were the girls' aunt Elspeth and their mother, Edie.
The girls move to Elspeth's flat, which borders the vast Highgate Cemetery, where Christina Rossetti, George Eliot, Stella Gibbons, and other luminaries are buried. Julia and Valentina become involved with their living neighbours: Martin, a composer of crossword puzzles who suffers from crippling OCD, and Robert, Elspeth's elusive lover, a scholar of the cemetery. They also discover that much is still alive in Highgate, including-- perhaps-- their aunt."

I don't want to spoiler the story for anyone who hasn't read it yet and wants to, but I must say that I've been drawn in just as I had with The Time Traveller's Wife. The characters are lovingly drawn, they are quirky and interesting. The story moves at a leisurely pace, but is packed with character, scenery, ideas. There is also a magical quality; especially with Elspeth, which I won't get into.

I'm enjoying immensely; Audrey Niffenegger is unique, interesting writer and I'm glad she took the time to create this latest story. It has, thus far, been well worth the wait.

Look both stories up if you've not read them. I think each offers the best in literature (well, Mockingbird, definitely; Symmetry for now. I'll decide once I've finished it completely.)

Good reading!

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