Sunday, 29 September 2019

Mrs Mac suggests - What to read in OCTOBER 2019

Well here we are then at the beginning of Autumn/Fall and the end of September.  It didn't take me very long to decide what I should suggest to you for October, because in my pile of "got to be read soon" books is something that has come along just at the right time;  especially as RenĂ©e Zellweger is receiving plaudits now for her film portrayal of Judy Garland.  I haven't seen it, haven't heard her singing voice either, but I'm prepared to go along with others who say this film is worth seeing. 

However, I don't suggest films to see, I suggest books to read.  So on the subject of  what to read this month, how about reading

A book that although fiction, contains real people

 In that pile, I find I have a new book.  It's the story behind The Wizard of Oz; so I'll be reading:

Finding Dorothy - Elizabeth Letts


Tuesday, 24 September 2019

The Toy Makers - Robert Dinsdale


This is a magic tale, and a book I devoured.  It may sound like and look like a book for children but it isn't.  I'm so glad to have read this one, which will surely be in my top ten reads for 2019. Magic, enchantment, sibling rivalry, the War to end all wars. All of these things are within the pages of this very special book. If you cannot deal with magic realism perhaps not for you. But if you loved Harry Potter ..... you might just like this, even though it's nothing like it. Maybe you just believe in magic - and maybe you are anti-war.  

The toy makers of the title are Papa Jack, a refugee from Eastern Europe and his two sons Emile and Kaspar. They own and run a wonderful toy Emporium in London, a toy shop full of enchantment -  open from the first frost of winter to the first snowdrop of spring every year - a shop full of wonders - every toy made by Papa Jack and his sons. As the book opens we are in the early stages of the Twentieth Century, and a runaway teenage mother-to-be gets a job at the Emporium in 1906.
The years go by and we are coming up to WW1.  But that war  was foreshadowed by the war the two brothers were fighting from childhood onwards with toy soldiers which just went on and on into adulthood as the story progressed. So the years pass and WW1 begins. Things will never be the same. I found that part very truthful - that siblings can think they love each other and want the same thing, but as time passes it's not always the case.  And when one of the brothers was turned down by the recruiting officer and the other wasn't at the beginning of WW1, I could see the spitefulness growing.  And I knew there would be difficulties ahead because of that war.

When Papa Jack died, the signal for all out war between the brothers sounded, but really it was very one sided, for one wanted the fight, and the other didn't.  I had a great sadness for Cathy the runaway teen who married one of the brothers, who had a husband returned to her from the war in body but not mind.
All in all, a magical read.  Enchanted by the toys, enjoyed the characters, and loved the Emporium.  But it's also  just the most clever anti-war book.  At every stage the pros and cons of soldiering and warfare step off the pages, and I could see, when a group of soldiers cannot think for themselves they must do as they are told..... but what if they do begin to think for themselves?  Stranger things have happened.

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...