Saturday, 18 January 2014

A Year in Books;'The Hedgehog' and 'The Prince'


I'm joining in with lots of other bloggers I read with the Year in Books project which was started by Laura at Circle of Pine Trees.  I like the idea of picking up ideas for books to read from other people as I've found some of the best books I've read in this way.  One of my favourite writers is Patrick Gale, discovered because someone chose his 'Notes from an Exhibition' in the bookclub I was in at the time.  My favourite last year was 'Cutting for Stone' by Abraham Verghese again passed on to me by a friend who'd read it with her bookclub.  And I've recently acquired 'Stoner' on the the Kindle by John Williams because Older Mum in a Muddle had mentioned it.

Like Mairead at As I Roved Out, I prefer real books to Kindle versions and so I get most of mine from the local library.  You can get pretty much anything by reserving for £1 and this means that I can try lots of books.  No longer do I force myself to read things I am not enjoying, be it classic, trash or a Booker prize winner.  The only disadvantage is that occasionally someone else reserves before I finish and so recently I had to return 'The 100 Year Old Man who Walked out of the Window' when I was only half way through.

I am a member of a bookclub too so many of my choices for my monthly book will be determined by this. Our regular monthly meeting was last Tuesday and this time we went to a film version of a novel the group had read last year, 'The Elegance of the Hedgehog', which was being screened by Chester Film Society. What a wonderful film!  It's about an emerging friendship between a 12 year old girl and the rather grumpy middle-aged concierge in her Paris apartment building ( It's a French film; we watched with subtitles).  The concierge has a secret which the young girl discovers: she is not the uneducated TV addict she pretends to be but instead spends her free time reading everything from 'Anna Karenina' to philosophy while drinking tea and eating dark chocolate - stacks of spare bars in fridge.  Sounds perfect to me, so I wasn't that happy when the little girl encourages her to drop her prickly exterior and look for love.

Next month's book choice is very different - 'The Prince' by Machiavelli.  Husband has read this so will be interesting to share my views with him.  Hope also to have time to get going on my pile of library books.  And I'm waiting to get hold of 'Parallax', a new anthology of poetry by Sinead Morrissey who won the T. S. Eliot prize this week.  Just caught the end of her performance on Newsnight and thought she sounded good. Another voice from Northern Ireland.

Now have to tackle the kinky linky (whoops spellcheck does strange things sometimes)  Not exactly comfortable with the technology of blogging.





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10 comments:

  1. I loved 'The Elegance of the Hedgehog', it was the title that first attracted me - well, it is different after all! And I thought Patrick Gale's 'Notes from...' the best of his that I have read so far. I bought a couple of others after reading this one, but was disappointed with them.
    Enjoy your year of reading, it's a great way to find new authors and books to add to the neverending list!

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    1. Yes I agree - none of other Patrick Gale's as good though 'Rough Music' comes close. Thanks for visiting.

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  2. 'The South' is on my list for the coming year - really enjoyed 'Brooklyn' - as is 'The Hundred Year Old Man….' I'm ashamed to confess I started but didn't finish 'Elegance of the Hedgehog' although I may try it again. I took it on holidays and it probably wasn't the ideal choice.
    I've never had the time or inclination to join a book club - too stubborn headed too as I don't want people telling me what to read although I welcome recommendations. This sounds like a good compromise and a way to discover new authors.

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    1. Have been reading 'The South' since trip to Barcelona and still not finished. Start books and then leave them and start something else as the mood takes me. Have you read 'The Testament of Mary'? I found it kind of compelling but a bit disturbing too, especially the bit about Lazarus. Not sure I'll read the Hedgehog book either as others said the film was better in this case.

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  3. Thank you for joining me. I too am hoping to read some poetry during the course of the year, probably revisiting old favourites. Laura

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  4. Hi there, I've just found you through Laura at Circle of Pine Trees. I'm a teacher, live in Heswall, spend a lot of time in Chester and I have a daughter called Kate. Co-incidences!
    Kathy x

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    1. Hello! Nice to hear from you. Hope your Kate isn't as annoying as mine was today. Can't get her out of the house in the morning and she made me late! Glad to connect with someone nearby. This Year of Books is a great idea, though since I started blogging I'm reading less.

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  5. Loving these book ideas - thank you! I'm also in a book club and we're always looking for great suggestions so I'm going to put forward the Hedgehog one and Patrick Gale's books too. Interested to hear how you find Harold Fry - I read it last summer...oh and the 100 year old man was a book club one last year but I struggled with it actually and never finished it - whoops!
    For info, we're reading 'A Fine Balance' by Rohinton Mistry for next week's meeting. It's my second time reading it as I read it years ago. Fabulous. Just in case you're looking another suggestion...though it looks like you'll be busy with that pile for a while! Axx

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  6. Thanks - will add this suggestion to my list. Roll on half term so I can get to them. So pleased you are following - just love your blog.

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  7. I read The Elegance of the Hedgehog while on holiday in France a couple of years ago. I ordered it in French but chickened out and swapped it for an English translation. It was such an interesting book and I loved it.

    I thought I'd read Notes from an Exhibition but when I looked it up I realised that I haven't. So that's another one to add to my To Read list. I've recently started attending a Quaker meeting which attracts me to its storyline.

    I'm with you on Kindles and the library reservation service. Use it or lose it!

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