Tag Archives: Habits of the House

Reading update

Courtesy: thegraphicsfairy.com

What a beautiful long weekend we’re having in Toronto! My younger son and husband were off to Montreal to move the former into his new-to-him apartment. So it’s been relaxing with plenty of time to read.

In Audio

I listened to Fay Weldon’s Habits of the House. My Goodreads review:

This novel set in an upper-class British household in 1899 has it all: love, lust, financial problems, socialist daughter, philandering men, loud Americans, upstairs-downstairs issues. Full of humour and commentary on the mores and habits of the time, Weldon has produced an fast-paced tale that will appeal to anyone who enjoys period literature. Bonus: it’s the first of a trilogy entitled “Love and Inheritance”. I will definitely pick up subsequent books in the series.

I’m currently finishing up an audio version of the wonderful Miriam Toews‘ novel The Flying Troutmans. In this tale, teen and pre-teen siblings Jordan and Thebes are cared for by their aunt, who has been estranged from the family, while their mother is ill. A cross-continent road-trip ensues. Toews is such a star at dialog, and to my ear, gets the banter just right.

Reading

I very much enjoyed Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night, which I picked up to read for a Goodreads challenge. This is exactly what I like about these sorts of things: participants were charged with reading two books set in the Dirty 30s and so I downloaded this one onto my Kobo. Next up in this part of the challenge will be The Grapes of Wrath.

Another challenge was to read a book set in a country that is predominantly Muslim, so in preparation for our upcoming trip to Turkey, I downloaded The Oracle of Stamboul by Michael  Lukas. Set in 1877 in Constanta (now in Romania) and Istanbul, it’s the story of a young girl with a special gift. Saying much more would require spoilers, but suffice it to say that this is a very enjoyable, quick read.

Currently, I’m simply mad about Nell Freudenberger’s The Newlyweds. An American man meets a Bengali woman online, they marry, and she moves to Rochester NY. Written in the voice of the bride, Amina, it’s quick paced, funny, and poignant.  Hard to put down. I’m about a third of the way in and will likely finish it up today.

So that’s my reading life.

*Bathing Beauty image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy.

Monday reading review

it's monday

We’re in a little heat wave these days, so I’m very happy curled up on the sofa with a book and a beverage.

The written word

I finished Spadework by Timothy Findley on the weekend. Here’s my review up at Goodreads:

SpadeworkSpadework by Timothy Findley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A very satisfying novel from a master of the genre. Set in Stratford, Ontario, it tells the story of a couple of theatre people, their 11-year old son, and their housekeeper. Findley writes with deep feeling about the stresses on a modern couple dealing with ambition, the search for stability, and loneliness. Small town life is depicted well, the common knowledge and underside of what seems to be a quaint, Southern Ontario town.

Highly recommended.

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I’ve started F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender Is the Night on my Kobo but am just a few chapters in to it. In other FSF news, I completely missed catching the remake of The Great Gatsby in theatres and am kicking myself. I will have to watch for it in the rep theatres as I really want to see it on the big screen.

The spoken word

Housework is so much more doable less unappealing when I’ve got an audiobook playing. I recently finished Chasing Venus: The Race to Measure the Heavens by Andrea Wulf, a non-fiction tale of the days when astronomical exploration involved ships sailing to distant places to make observations of celestial phenomena. An excellent read for those interested in navigation and astronomy, or general science.

Now I’ve started listening to a short story collection by Haruki Murakami called The Elephant Vanishes. I’m close to halfway through and, as in his novels, Murakami’s prose is quirky and even enchanting at times. Many of his stories have been published in the New Yorker, and it sort of feels like I’m gorging on them, to read a dozen in a row, but no matter. The recording I’m listening to has different actors reading each story, so that helps keep them distinct.

Next up

Coming up in paper will be the graphic novel Habibi by Craig Thompson. I bought it when it first came out but it’s been gracing my shelves since then. It’s a heavy tome, so it’s not a travelling read.  Here’s a lovely piece from The Guardian on the making of the novel, a seven-year enterprise.

On audio, I’ll be listening to Habits Of The House, a newish novel by Fay Weldon, set at the turn of the 20th century. (I just realised that you can’t say “the turn of the century” any more. )