Tippi & Rio have been mostly reading.....

Rio: Ok, remiss but here are a few then...

"Eugenie Grandet" Balzac
Deadly...(but only if you're into French literature) As I'm shockin' cultured, I loved it.

"The Sisters Brothers" Patrick deWitt
Cowboy hitmen. Gruesome murder for money. Disease and injury. Science.  What's not to love?

"The Sense Of An Ending" Julian Barnes
Beautifully written. I fell in love a little bit with every character. Read it.

"Arthur & George" Julian Barnes
Couldn't put it down. Based on a true story. Brilliant.

"Freedom" Jonathan Franzen
Good but sometimes shite and you'll need to skim through the bullshit about birds. Nowhere near as good as The Corrections and I wouldn't do Richard. Can't believe reviewers said it was the perfect novel and that he writes really well from a woman's point of view.

"The Red Tent" Anita Diamant
Fannies. Periods. Having babies. In a tent. I thought this would be absolute shite but it wasn't and divested me of my prejudice against womany type books. It made me want to have a couple of periods....and I'm a man. It's really worth a read.

"The Help" Kathryn Stockett
Everyone who reads it thinks it's great. I agree.

"Model Behaviour" Jay McInerney
Shite trying to be cool.

 Apologies for the lack of updating here. Although, I've no idea whether anyone cares what we're reading anyway. However, I have been reading so, here are the latest few..
"The Door" Magda Szabo

It's about the unusual relationship between an old, very eccentric woman and her young writer employer. Emerence, the old woman cooks, cleans and generally looks after the narrator an up and coming female author and her husband. Emerence behaves very strangely and the book is about the unfolding relationship between the narrator and Emerence but also about the explanation of various mysterious aspects of Emerence's life. Some of it is horrible and there's an undercurrent of fear throughout the book with the narrator scared about what she's going to find out about Emerence. The fear mirrors the undercurrent of fear in Hungarian society in the twentieth century pre and post war. There are lots of references to the war and the hidden and sometimes shameful history of the country. It's a compelling and beautiful book that's almost mythic in quality. I'd like to sound all intellectual here and talk about Hungarian literature here but I'd be bullshitting. I loved it and I felt all Hungarian while I was reading it and still do a bit. That's always a good sign in a book, if I feel like I'm in the book for a while afterwards.

"The Corrections" Jonathan Frantzen
It's funny. It's about family dynamics in what I suppose is a relatively normal Mid Western family. The mother if the family wants her 3 adult children to come home for one last Christmas before she and the family patriarch have to move out if the family home due to his worsening Parkinson's. The story's viewpoint moves from character to character and just when I'd decided, "Yes I know that exact kind of pain the arse mother", I had my prejudice challenged by seeing something from her point of view. I loved every bit of the book. The characters are so well drawn and given such depth, that I had really warm feelings for every one of them, by the end. And I'm no mushy type. I even liked the cartoonish episode in Eastern Europe. What seems unlikely becomes totally plausible because of the well rounded characters. I sound a bit gushing now but hey I loved it. Everyone who's got a family will see themselves and their family members somewhere in this.

"Chickenhawk", Robert Mason
This is a truly great book. Robert Mason flew 'Huey' helicopters in Vietnam. He wrote the book himself and it's got a plain speaking style that moves along well, so you never get bored. There's no deliberately emotive, sentimental stuff. He just tells it like it was, giving equal sentiment to getting the clap as to horrific deaths of friends or Vietnamese villagers. It's all the more powerful for that. All he really ever wanted to do was fly helicopters and naive as it seems, he joined the US cavalry during the Vietnam war just to fly helicopters. His technical descriptions of flying helicopters are so clear and precise that I'd nearly be ready to head out to Baldonnell myself and hop into the pilot's seat. Due to his matter of fact style, the shocking destruction of his own life as a result of his Vietnam experiences, takes you by surprise by the end. Anyway, it's very interesting and very sad and a definitive human account of the Vietnam war. A book about flying helicopters mightn't be to everyone's taste. I thought it was ace.

In the middle of The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer. The best history book I've ever read. It's the history of people and how their lives were lived not battles and beheadings. Deadly.

Just finished Music and Silence by Rose Tremain. Beautifully written. Set in the Danish Court in the 17th century. It appears to be very well researched but the Irish Count in it is called Johnny O'Fingal. For me, that calls into question the authenticity of all the Danish references because I know nothing about Danish history, so I can't be sure. And, the narrative is pacey and grips you throughout but the ending is just a little too neat for my liking. Every single character gets what they want. It's a personal gripe though, because some readers want that kind of thing. I don't. So, I'd recommend it but with those two reservations.