Archive for October, 2020

Breasts and Eggs

by Mieko Kawakami

I find works translated from Japanese very weird but strangely addictive and enjoyable.
But mostly weird. The characters seems so childish often that I have to wonder if it is a question of translation or language or if this is actually how the characters are portrayed in Japanese writing.
I also find the odd details very peculiar. Seemingly random info is included – …I w0ke up and realised I had been sick for about a week and my phone was not on charge and there was 13% left on the battery….. like so what? why the 13% detail? it made no difference to the story at all. A dead phone is a moment, a phone full charged when you have been sick for a week is a moment – but 13% is random and irrelevant.
That being said there are also so weirdly perfect randomness. ‘….he suit made him look like an old police chief…’ That perfectly creates the crumpled image the author was going for.

This book is ultimately very beautiful despite all the moments of huh. This book is about three women but it is also about women and womenhood. Because I heard about the book from the Reading Women podcast I had heard conversation about how very restrictive life in Japan for women. Being aware of that made the commentary about repression, control over reproduction, men’s and society’s expectations of women easier to understand. I must say that I thought Japan much more progressive than it seems it is.

I did cringe when being cis was described as ‘normal’ and felt that that was unnecessary. The book is so about female body biology and how society reacts to the workings thereof that that could have just not been included.

Interesting, peculiar, anything but sparse, seemingly random at times with odd meanders into what felt like lectures – I am really not even sure what I think of this book
Kind of how I feel after reading any Japanese authors I have tried.
And try I will continue because there is something about them I really like while being totally puzzled.

A New Lease of Death

by Ruth Rendell

popsugarreadingchallenge prompt 49: From a series with more than 20 books.

I LOVE Rendell as Barbara Vine but remember now why I stopped reading the Wexford series by her as Rendell.
I can’t see past the 1960’s sexist rubbish to enjoy the crime story. The characters make me so angry, especially Wexford, that I get too lost to appreciate Rendell’s smart twists and turns.

I will stick to her later stuff

by Therese Anne Fowler

popsugarreadingchallenge prompt 44: set in the 1920s

I knew very little about either Fitzgerald. I have never read Zelda’s more famous husband and didn’t even consider that there was a wife.
All of that being said, I really enjoyed this book and have found myself interested in all of the characters, their relationships and the whole period of history. So job well done Fowler.
The author has explained that while this is a novel it is very closely based on research of the lives of the Fitzgerald’s and the others in their social circle.

I really enjoyed the depth Fowler gives Zelda. This truly is her story within what must have been a flurry of social sycophancy around the artists of the day. How women survived the expectations on them in the 1920s without stabbing a man is beyond me.
I love the feistiness of Zelda and was saddened by how it was controlled, oppressed and denied. I do wonder who she would have been had she been born a century later.

I enjoyed this enough to want to investigate both the author and the subject matter further.

by Maya Angelou

popsugarreadingchallenge prompt 39 a banned book read in banned book week

Every time I experience Angelou I fall in love all over again. I also cry, rage, gasp and laugh.
And I am always, but always, moved.
This, the first in her series of autobiographies tells the story of the child-Maya. How she turned out the way she did is testament to all sorts of strength the young, tall, skinny girl version of her had deep within herself.
I have to read the rest of the series because I am now invested in discovering how to become so much the best possible version of oneself.

I listened to the audiobook narrated by the author and I feel privileged to have heard her tell the start of her story.
I feel a bit bereft now though having finished it. The world feels too silent without her voice in it.