Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Food Glorious Food

This week's Top Ten Tuesday with The Broke and the Bookish is a celebration of food in books.

Harry Potter :: From the feasts in the great hall to all the delicious candy featured in Harry Potter, it is hard to choose a favourite food from these books. I did always wish to try butter beer though.

The 100-Foot Journey by Richard C Morais:: A beautiful descriptive exploration of food, from India to France.

Chocolat by Joanne Harris :: My favourite book featuring delectable food because chocolate is my number one. Come to think of it, all of Joanne Harris' books feature richly descriptive foods that will make you increasingly hungry.

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen :: Like Chocolat, the food in Garden Spells holds its own type of magic.

Longbourne by Jo Baker :: Told from the servants perspective, Longbourne takes us inside the working quarters of Pride and Prejudice and while this is more about the workings of the kitchen's than a particular type of food, I can't recommend this book enough.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Thoughts on Lolita And Expectations v Reality

I finally got around to reading Nabokov's Lolita. It's take roughly ten years since I first discovered it but really it wasn't for wont of trying. At 19 I had picked it up many times at the library and always ended up shelving it again. It seemed, creepy, and so I always ended up putting it away again. At this stage I knew it was about a grown man who was infatuated with young girls but I hadn't really heard it lauded universally as one of the greatest books ever written.

Well I finally got around to reading it this year and while I enjoyed it, it really was a difficult book for me to make my mind up about. Maybe it was about knowing too much before I went into it. There was no surprise at the character of Humbert Humbert. I knew that I was supposed to fall for his charming ways. I already knew his secret and that he was supposed to charm me into rooting for his unconventional love story.

It's just that it didn't happen that way. I enjoyed the book. I was enamoured with Nabokov's writing. But I didn't really like Humbert Humbert. I didn't find him charming at all and that was kind of the crux of this book. I was supposed to be grappling with liking a character who was doing something legally and morally wrong! It's just that having known all about the book and what I was supposed to be thinking, I ended up feeling the opposite.

I wonder what I would have thought of it ten years ago without the weight of expectation on my shoulder reading it. Ten years ago Lolita was just a book I wanted to read for no other reason than I had heard the name. I enjoyed Lolita. I love Nabokov's writing. Hell, I even had a favourite sentence three pages in (he describes Humbert Humert's father's lineage as a 'salad of racial genes'). I'm just not sure it lived up to the expectation of being the best thing I ever read, which is an unfair pressure.

It can be hard to quieten the noise of others sometimes. I watched a video recently of someone who had just read Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale and they had mused on something similar. They just thought it was going to be, more. More what, they weren't sure. I guess that's how I felt about Lolita.

After watching Better Than Food's book review of Lolita, it turns out I'm not the only one. His video says it much more eloquently than me.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Boyfriends

Today's Top Ten Tuesday with the Broke and the Bookish is all about Book Boyfriends. Initially I was going to do the best bookish boyfriends, I've put together a list of my favourite books whose boyfriend characters embody the love is complicated theme. Caution: You may not want to date some of them.

The Course of Love by Alain De Botton :: If you have never read or heard of English philosopher Alain De Botton and are interested in philosophy check out the School of Life series narrated by AdB on Youtube. The Course of Love follows the love story of a couple from the day they meet. Interspersed with reflections and nuggets of philosophy that explain why we make weird decisions in relationships, this is a great read that will get you thinking about the complexities of falling in love.

The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller :: Sometimes the most fleeting of love stories can have the most profound effect on us. A married woman has a brief affair with a photographer and can't forget him. Beautifully written and compelling.

The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P by Adelle Waldman :: Nathaniel P might be a bit of a twat (read: he is), but this is a highly entertaining read. Nate's star is on the rise, he's a literary up-and-comer, has an ivy-league education and his pick of women but just can't seem to figure out what it is he wants, until he gets the girl and no longer wants her. You'll probably enjoy reading about Nate the shallow man-child if you also liked About a Boy or High Fidelity, as it's a little in the same vein.

Landline by Rainbow Rowell :: I love how Landline is like a love story in reverse. Georgie and Neal's marriage is crumbling under the pressures of work and kids. When Neal takes their children to Omaha for Christmas and Georgie stays in LA for work, Georgie is forced to re-evaluate her marriage and re-discovers why she fell in love with her husband all over again. Cute.

Sidenote: If you're looking for actual Bookish boyfriends to crush on I would recommend Emma (because Mr Knightly = yes), The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelley or the Outlander series.
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