Nostalgia by M.G. Vassanji

Nostalgia is not your typical Vassanji fare. Quite often his novels move back in time, not so with Nostalgia. It’s a futuristic, dystopian tale – something I never thought Vassanji would do – and it’s pretty great. In spite of it’s setting and time period, it is, in many ways, a classic Vassanji novel. He’s dealing with the same themes – immigration, identity, belonging, but in Nostalgia they are speculatively based instead of factually based.  Continue reading

The Spawning Grounds by Gail Anderson-Dargatz

I should probably start by saying that The Cure For Death By Lightning, one of Anderson-Dargatz’s earlier novels, was a real winner for me. I read it a thousand years ago, when it first came out, but i remember reading it in almost one sitting. Then I gave it to my mom and received late night phone calls saying she couldn’t put it down.

The Spawning Grounds is not that novel. Times have changed. I have changed and undoubtedly Anderson-Dargatz has changed.  Continue reading

The Parcel by Anosh Irani

I’ve long had a mixed relationship with Anosh Irani and his new book, The Parcel continues to make me feel the same way. Irani is a beautiful writer tackling the harsh realities of the poor and marginalized in Mumbai, and he does so again with The Parcel. That is to say, it, like his other works, is a heartbreaking tale that is beautifully written. Continue reading

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

Image result for the prime of miss jean brodie bookThe Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark is one of those iconic Edinburgh novels. I’ve been meaning to read it since moving to Edinburgh almost 5 years ago. It’s physically alive in the streets of the city. Continue reading

One Long, Hot Summer

So it has been one long, hot summer of me not reading much, and reviewing even less. I’m going to try to rectify all that today with some super short reviews, followed by an afternoon of reading in the sun.

Sweet Caress by William Boyd. If you’re going to read a middle-aged, white male might i suggest Boyd? He’s always been a favorite of mine. I read this on a plane, and while I don’t really remember much about it, I do remember that I liked it. Not my favourite of Boyd’s work, but a strong read just the same. Continue reading

20 Books of Summer – Update

20booksofsummerWhew! More than halfway through the summer already? Let’s just say, I’m not quite where I expected to be with my reading. A five week vacation in Canada, plus the added stress of finding and renting a new place to live in Edinburgh while traveling through Canada has not done good things to my reading. And the coming weeks do not look much brighter, with packing and moving filling most of the next week or so.

Here’s my original list, with comments about my progress.

  1. Girl Up by Laura Bates – It’s Laura Bates, so it’s pretty much required reading. Seriously? At this point the only thing that is required reading is lease agreements and moving contracts!
  2. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark – This has been on my TBR since we moved to Edinburgh 4.5 years ago! Time to get it read. Short and sweet. Can i do it? I think so.
  3. The Bones of Grace by Tahmima Anam – Already on my ereader. Read but not yet reviewed. To be honest I can’t remember the details of it, but i know that I liked it.
  4. The Comet Seekers by Helen Sedgwick (Aug 25) – Hopefully this will be on sale in advance at #edbookfest.
  5. A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee – Looks like a quick read to help me along.
  6. The Trouble With Sheeps and Goats by Joanna Cannon – Can’t wait to get to this one. Done! And I liked it. Review to follow at some point.
  7. This Must Be The Place by Maggie O’Farrell – She lives in my neighbourhood, so who knows, maybe she’ll leave a copy on my doorstep. She has not left a book for me. Sigh. Maybe she’ll leave it as a house warming gift at our new place?
  8. The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan – Loved The Panopticon, so this is a must! Done! A dystopian novel that was good, but not as good as The Panopticon.
  9. Cauliflower by Nicola Barker – Saving this for one of my many summer plane journeys. Plane journeys are over, but I’m still meaning to get to this.
  10. The Life Project by Helen Pearson – A little non-fiction to keep my reading well rounded.
  11. Vaseline Buddha by Jung Young Moon – Because so far this list really lacks diversity. Yeah, it added diversity to my list, but also put me to sleep. It was a DNF.
  12. Cobalt Blue by Sachin Kundalkar
  13. The Man Who Built The Sierra Club by Robert Wyss – I’ve actually started this one already. But didn’t finish it. Oops.
  14. The Yoga of Max’s Discontent by Karan Bajaj – Downloaded today!

And other randoms that I picked up along the way:

15. The Wangs Vs. The World by Jade Chang. Not a mentally taxing book, but it was the balm i needed.

16. Chronicles of a Last Summer by Yasmine El Rashidi. A short novel that reminded me a little of Persepolis without the pictures.

17. May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Holmes. It’s been on my TBR list forever, but when i actually got around to reading it, i found it dragged a little.

18. This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman. Another title that’s been on my TBR forever and this one i found much more enjoyable.

19. Sweet Caress by William Boyd. A life saver! Just before boarding a trans-Atlantic flight, I realized my ebooks hadn’t loaded onto my ereader. Last minute airport purchase.

So more than halfway through summer and only eight books read. Can it be done? Can i plow through 12 books with everything else i have to do in the coming weeks? We shall see.