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I have just finished reading Lucia (loo-see-ah) Berlin’s book of short stories called A Manual for Cleaning Women.  Beautifully written poetic prose, deeply tragic, funny, moving.  I would have liked to have known her.  Throughly recommend – anyone who wants to borrow it just let me know.



The online book club didn’t really take off, in the way that some ordinary book clubs don’t with the added complication of it being on line and not being able to add separate new posts to that page (technical stuff, and way beyond my powers).

So.  I thought it might be nice to have a page dedicated to books I like, or don’t like, with a few reasons why.  All recommendations from others very welcome.

Here are some of my recent reads:

Sacred Hunger, Barry Unsworth.

Read soon after seeing 12 Years a Slave.  Another harrowing story of the slave trade.  Breathtaking descriptions of the casual cruelty and inhumanity of the trade, but also the human side of both the sailors and the slaves, neither of whom had any power in that world.  Brilliant story, the sense of life on board a slaver so visceral you can almost smell it.  Not jolly.

Some Hope, Edward St Aubyn

some hope

Waspish humour, light, dark, quick and witty.  Loved it.  Read ‘Never Mind’ some time back and stupidly missed out the middle one of the trilogy ‘Bad News’.

The Goldfinch, Donna Tart


Previous real book club choice. Epic, in every way.  771 pages.  Beautiful writing and imagery, great story, loses it everso slightly right at the end but that is really nit picking.  The power of art to move the spirit and the bank balance. Very heavy and not recommended for bath reading but I was riveted so did attempt that a couple of times = slightly crinkled pages here and there.  I didn’t know it was a real painting until just now.


Dipping into :

Archy & Mehitabel, Don Marquis

archy & mehitabel

Story of a poet reincarnated into a cockroach.  He has access to a typewriter but due to his size can’t manage upper case or punctuation.  He is friends with an alley cat of very loose morals called Mehitabel, who used to be Cleopatra once.  I will dedicate a whole post to this one day.

Four Quartets, T.S. Eliot

annotated 4QTS

For my real book club.  Struggling slightly, feeling bit thick.  Beautiful words.  Have decided to read it in little bits, not in sequence, see if that helps.


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