Books, Books Are My Bag

Desert island books


This year’s Books Are My Bag campaign theme is Books For Your Desert Island, and we’re all being asked, what would you choose?

Pictures from my trip to Costa Rica last October, which looked exactly like a desert island should look

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2015 reading challenge, Books, Feminism, LGBT

Book challenge #32: A book with antonyms in the title

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? Jeanette Winterson

Truth for anyone is a very complex thing. For a writer, what you leave out says as much as those things you include. What lies beyond the margin of the text? The photographer frames the shot; writers frame their world. Mrs Winterson objected to what I had put in, but it seemed to me that what I had left out was the story’s silent twin. There are so many things that we can’t say, because they are too painful. We hope that the things we can say will soothe the rest, or appease it in some way. Stories are compensatory. The world is unfair, unjust, unknowable, out of control. When we tell a story we exercise control, but in such a way as to leave a gap, an opening. It is a version, but never the final one. And perhaps we hope that the silences will be heard by someone else, and the story can continue, can be retold. When we write we offer the silence as much as the story. Words are the part of silence that can be spoken. Mrs Winterson would have preferred it if I had been silent. Continue reading “Book challenge #32: A book with antonyms in the title”

2015 reading challenge, Books, Recommendations

Book challenge #30: A classic romance

Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day, Winifred Watson

“All these years she had never had the wicked thrill of powdering her nose. Others had experienced that joy. Never she. And all because she lacked courage.”

Back in April, Kat Brown wrote about how, when doing her tax return, she discovered that, in one year, she had bought seven copies of Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day as gifts, and “it’s got to the stage where I dole out my favourite like medicine”. So when, several months later, I was feeling particularly rotten, she suggested I read it. I dutifully went into Waterstones on an otherwise dull shopping trip, and picked up the spectacularly beautiful Persephone Books edition, and have been reading it on the train.

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2015 reading challenge, Books

Book challenge #7: A book by a female author

The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion, Fannie Flagg

A book by a female author‘ is hardly a challenge for me – of the seven books I’ve read so far this year, only two have been written by men, but this seems a fitting one because it is so very much about women. It follows, simultaneously, Sookie in Alabama in 2005, and the Jurdabralinski family in Wisconsin in WW2. Sookie has four children and a mother who knows everything and everyone; the Jurdabralinskis have five children, four of whom fly planes for the American military. Continue reading “Book challenge #7: A book by a female author”