August has been a slow(er than usual) month for reading. Did you read as much as you wanted to? I am fairly time efficient in my daily doings but being back at work and important WIP's (more on that another time) did mean sacrificing reading time.
I enjoyed my August choice, 'Station Eleven' by Emily St. John Mandel. This post apocalyptic story is interesting in that art, theatre, takes centre stage. This is rather unusual in the post apocalyptic literature I have read. It is a nice thought that there might be individuals trying to keep cultural heritage alive. I am not sure how to summarise the book. The story starts in the present time, at the onset of a flu pandemic that sweeps the globe and leaves few survivors. Two of the main protagonists are Hollywood actor Arthur Leander (who dies at the very beginning of the book) and Kirsten, a child actor in the Shakespeare play during which Leander dies of a heart attack. In the future time, Kirsten is a member of a travelling theatre, performing Shakespeare for the scattered communities around the Great Lakes. The story jumps forth and back in time and it becomes clear that many of the characters are linked by their past. I am directing your to the Goodreads blurb for a more concise summary.
For my terrestrial book group, I read 'Head for the edge, keep walking' by Kate Tough. I'd probably enjoy Jill's story if I was exposed to it in smallish doses, maybe as sequential blog posts. But as a book, it didn't work for me. Briefly, Jill's life is falling apart when her nine year relationship breaks down. What follows is an account of the falling apart and getting it back together, with a health scare sprinkled in for good measure. The Goodreads blurb says that 'average 'chic fiction' this ain't!'. But that's exactly what it is. Mind you there is no doubt much worse in this genre!The story is set in Glasgow, which I liked. There is a good Glaswegian sense of humour permeating the book, which I also liked. Our book group's literate supreme chose this book because she met the author in a writer's retreat. I wonder what she thought of it? I'll find out soon. Whilst I didn't particular enjoy the book, I didn't feel that I wasted my precious reading time.
This is exactly the feeling I had after putting down 'Surfacing' by Margaret Atwood. As you all know, I do absolutely love Margaret Atwood and it pains me to say that this book was just a shimmering mirage of some of her other great novels. My understanding of the story was just out of reach. At points I thought I'd get there but didn't. Set in the wilderness of Canada in the late 1960s (I think) we meet a young woman in search of her missing father. She finds herself immersed in fragmented memories of her past instead and eventually looses herself. The writing is good and the protagonists are three dimensional and believable (but not particularly likeable). I did wonder at the time of reading if 'Cat's eye' (a later novel) sprung from the same original idea that also lead to 'Surfacing'. There was one short section othat was an exact replicate of a section in 'Cat's Eye' but it was much more developed in the later novel. I felt a bit cheated actually.
To console myself with something lighthearted (but not chic lit) I chose a second science fiction book, 'Departure' by A.G. Riddle. I like to loose myself in the future sometimes. At the beginning of the story we meet Harper and Nick who are travelling (separately) from New York to London. As the flight approaches London, the plane crashes somewhere in the English countryside. As the survivors struggle to stay alive, it becomes clear that something is not as it should be. For starters, the expected rescue operation never happens. You'll have to read it yourself, I don't want to give any spoilers! It is fun, with a bit of love weaved in, and there is also plenty of food for thought, the 'what if' kind of thought.
In July, I started listening to 'My little friend' by Donna Tartt. I kinda liked 'Goldfinch' (although it was a bit longwinded) and thought I might like another book by this author. I don't, not this one anyway. In fact, I find it so tedious that I am officially abandoning it. The plot develops so so slowly that I am about 10 hours into the audio and still I am bored. I hate giving up on books but life is too short to listen to a story I simply don't enjoy. Do you give up on books you don't love? How long do you persevere?
I have started reading 'History of the rain' by Niall Williams. I was going to wait and see what Doris over at Inspired Follies thought of the book before starting but the book beckoned to me and I gave in.
I am joining Laura's at A Circle of Pine Trees. The Year in Books 2015 is a great way to keep up with all sorts of literature. Have you checked it out recently?
What are you reading this month? Do tell!
As always, thanks for stopping by. Cxx