Wednesday, 1 March 2017

twenty-seven word reviews of books read during January and February 2017

Ursula Le Guin’s Wizard of Earthsea“Not many girls,” say daughter. True – wizards are all boys, girls do housework. “Female author though; strong feminist by repute.” Discussion ensues. Both enjoyed but daughter preferred...

Diana Wynne Jones’s Howl’s Moving Castle. Bit chatty sometimes IMHO; daughter and I loved unexpected breakthrough from fantasy world into contemporary (1980s) Wales = ‘Wizard of Oz’ b&w to colour moment. Calcifer rocks.

Tessa Hadley’s Married Love. Short stories. Mutedness; unspoken conversations, unacted desires. One story: female undergraduate, 20 marries composer, 60; has babies. Choices cannot be unchosen; families comment, react; things work out.

Ashlee Vance’s Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future. Early torment in South Africa, braininess, 1980s tech, mobile phones, solar power, electric cars, moral compass. Bit driven; cold fish sometimes. Like Tony Stark but not. Enjoyed.

Viv Albertine's Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys. Eventful narrative: childhood, punk (the Slits), cancer, suburban ‘afterwards’, comeback. Told through vignettes – like a concept album or song cycle.  Researching novella; protagonist= musician; bit stuck though.

John Piper, Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist. Book-length elaboration of C.S. Lewis quote, “God finds our desires too weak...”; willed emotionlessness is Stoic, not Christian. Thought-provoking; ‘conservative’ (so you know); must read Pascal now.

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