Thursday, 30 November 2017

Guernica - Dave Boling

I'll bet you thought I had won the lottery and run away, no?  Sorry faithful readers.  New kitchen being fitted does slow down the reading, but here I am:

Because of the the goings-on in Barcelona earlier this year, I pulled this one off the shelf for my Remembrance Read in November.  Guernica is in Spain, but in the Basque region, and they have always been fiercely independent.  Prior to the Spanish Civil War and WW2, they declared total independence from Spain, and elected their first president.  And then along came Generalisimo Franco, a fascist, supported by Mussilini and Hitler who changed the face of Spain.  What he also did was encourage the Nazi party to bomb a Basque town (a sort of practice for the Blitz in London?).  Guernica, the centre of Basque culture and tradition was chosen, and the commander of the bombing squadron was a relative of Richthofen the Red Baron.

Picasso, a Spaniard living in France, never returned to Spain, but he painted a large canvas of the same name, based on reports received in Paris shortly after the bombing.  It is now on permanent exhibition in the Queen Sophia Museum, Madrid.

The book is the story of a family and those that come in contact with it. The story of love of many kinds; love of town, love of family, love of culture.  It is also full of truth too, for this dreadful thing really did happen, and it behoves us not to forget it.  I do not look lightly on things that came after - the Blitz in London by the Luftwaffe; the carpet bombing of Dresden by the RAF;  Hiroshima by the American Air Force - and any other dreadful warfare that is currently happening around the world.  The words "Never Again" are used too often, because somewhere in the world, as I write, someone hates another enough to start planning the same kind of thing.  How sad that is.

But this is a book worth reading for many reasons.  If you are interested in the Basques as a people, their traditions, their family ways, this may appeal.  If you are interested in Spain as a nation and why small groups of people all round the world want their independence, you will find this an eye-opener.

Monday, 6 November 2017

The Reminders - Val Emmich

I really enjoyed this refreshing and different book about death and a worrying condition - because of an injury, ten year old Joan has a photographic memory for certain things, and Gavin has just lost the love of his life. The two come together because Joan's parents are friends of Gavin and his dead lover Sydney. When Gavin realises that Joan can remember things Sydney did on his visits to New York from California, he wants to know everything..... and that's when the mystery starts - because he made several visits he never told Gavin about.
This is the author's first novel - and it's a good one. Written in alternate chapters by both Joan and Gavin and told in the present - I am going; he points; etc, this is just the right style for the storyline. And how nice to find a book that is a little different - a love story, but one of an entirely different kind, with characters I loved too. It's divided into sections headed by Beatles song titles, and within those sections, each chapter is quite short. A different style, and a book I kept wanting "just another chapter" of.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Mrs Mac says OOOPs! because she forgot What to Read in November

Visitors from Canada, a completely new kitchen fitted,  complete (or nearly!) exhaustion, loss of a set of front door keys (found them) and all sorts of small stuff.  Remember that book called Don't Sweat the Small Stuff?   Sadly, whilst excellent advice, that is exactly what I have been doing for a month.  but now the cupboards are filled, the drawers are stocked, and only the tiles to go on the walls, and the new cooking facilities to be wired.  So let us move on, people!

November 11 is Remembrance Day - remembering the fallen of World War 1.  Around this time I always want to read a book either about that time, set in that time, or moving on from that time.  Sometimes that "moving on" means a book set in WW2.  Whatever I read, I am joined by a group of bookie internet friends. 

So this month I suggest you do the same - there are a lot of titles available. I am going to read

The Return of the Soldier - Rebecca West

Early One Morning - Virginia Baily

I was attracted to this novel purely by the cover (as I suppose this is meant to happen!) and it has very little about the contents on the b...