I woke up this morning to a cold and gloomy day. The city is embracing winter with ice on the ground and bare trees. Snow is predicted today and I am not looking forward to it.
What I am looking forward to is reading Meg Cabot’s latest. I picked up a copy at the library this weekend and plan on snuggling under a blanket later this afternoon with a cup of tea and to enjoy the banter between Bree and Drew.
One of the things that I am enjoying during my Summer Break the opportunity to meet up frequently with my friend and discuss our latest read over coffee.
We have noticed that we mark our pages differently in preparation for our discussions. My friend underlines sentences that resonate with her, and scribbles notes in the margin of what she thinks. She also writes down any links to her own life.
As for me, I write my notes on post-it notes. I like to keep the pages of my books pristine so that when I re-read the novel, I am not distracted by anything I may have written in the book.
I was so excited on Monday when I received the ARCs that my contact at Harper Collins Canada had sent to me because one of the galleys was Postscript by Cecelia Ahern. I love her writing and could not believe that I had been chosen to read and review her latest. Even though the book is set for release in September of this year, I could not hold off reading it.
The novel is beautifully written and continues with the experience of Holly as outlined in the novel P.S. I Love You.
The story has captured my attention and I am having trouble putting it aside to focus on other chores. I foresee spending time this afternoon with Ahern’s novel instead of continuing with the cleanup process that is happening in my home. 😀
Are you currently reading a book you cannot put down?
My daughter volunteers her time at our public library for a youth programme that entourages young people to write. Last year my daughter’s work was published in their magazine and now that she has finished high school, she wants to help encourage others who are on the journey she took. At her last meeting, the librarian offered some ARCs to the volunteers, ARCs that had been given to the librarians by the publishing houses to help them choose relevant books for the library members. My daughter came home with a few galleys of books I am interested in reading.
One of them is titled Five Feet Apart. I have read good things about this story on social media and I look forward to reading it.
The best thing about my break from school is that I am able to read on the sofa without worrying about deadlines or going to bed on time. I have spent the days of the heat wave on the sofa in front of the fan; and during the evenings I have flipped through the pages of my latest read. Now I have a pile of books to review! I really should do the review once I have completed the book, but there are times when I cannot face sitting in front of the computer.
This morning I have sat in front of my laptop and worked on a couple of book reviews and I am going to do my best to catch up with writing them by the end of the week. When writing reviews I definitely need to be on the correct head space – finding the right words to describe my reading experience is not always easy. Writing a review is the best way to support the authors of stories I have loved – and it is one of the best ways to share these loved stories with others.
While tidying and organising my book shelves, I have had to sift through my books and decide which ones I want to keep for a while longer. I have chosen to keep the books I have enjoyed immensely and feel I will read again. My enjoyment of these books may stem from the storyline, or from the issues that the writer has addressed within the pages.
As I do enjoy reading across genres, the books may range from thriller, to romantic comedy, to contemporary, and even to dystopian. In the future, the same books I am currently keeping may find their way into other homes. In the meantime, I will enjoy their covers on my shelves.
I have been colouring my bookish page for a while now and decided this summer I would finish it so that I can complete the project I I have in mind. Last night saw me Netflixing and colouring the last line of the illustrated shelf.
This week for Top 5 Tuesday, we are sharing the books that are set in our countries. I have chosen to talk about books set in my country of birth, South Africa. The books I am sharing with you are ones that I have read even though I no longer have copies of them.
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
This book is Nelson Mandela’s autobiography. I read it about a decade after the first democratic elections in South Africa and it describes Mandela’s life from childhood up until the time he became the first black president of the country. I found the description of his life from the time he was released from prison interesting as those are the moments that I lived through in my life as an adult living in the changing country.
The Last Trek, A New Beginning by F. W. de Klerk
De Klerk was the last president of the National Party in South Africa and he was the one who oversaw the release of Nelson Mandela. It was under his leadership that the beginning of change began in my home country. I read this autobiography after Nelson Mandela’s and it was interesting to compare the two experiences – and to read history from a different viewpoint.
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
This book is another autobiography but this time of a comedian who was born during apartheid and grew up mostly in a post-Apartheid South Africa. When reading this memoir, it was interesting to compare his upbringing with what I had myself experienced as well as with what I had observed when teaching at a school after the first South African democratic elections. I loved, too, that his sense of humour permeates the writing. I am curious to know whether non-South Africans would understand many of the references that I did as a South African-born reader.
Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
This novel was one of the set books that I read when I was at university and it is one that resonated with me. It is a deeply moving story of the Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and his son, Absalom, set against the background of a land and a people riven by racial injustice. Remarkable for its lyricism, unforgettable for character and incident, this novel is one of love and hope, courage and endurance, born of the dignity of man. While doing research for this post, I saw that the book had been published with a newer edition. It is time, I think, to consider re-reading it.
The Covenant by James A. Michener
This is an epic tale of adventurers, scoundrels, and ministers set in the South African wilderness. From the Java-born Van Doorn family tree springs two great branches: one nurtures lush vineyards, the other settles the interior to become the first Trekboers and Afrikaners. The Nxumalos, inhabitants of a peaceful village unchanged for centuries, unite warrior tribes into the powerful Zulu nation. And the wealthy Saltwoods are missionaries and settlers who join the masses to influence the wars and politics that ravage a nation. This novel is a story of courage and heroism, love and loyalty, and cruelty and betrayal, as generations fight to forge a new world. I read this book over 25 years ago so I cannot remember the details – but I remember being swept away with the epic nature of the story. Not only does Michener tell his story, but he throws in a bit of South African history too.
Other South African Authors
There are many other South African-based stories that I have read in the past. However, I am unable to remember the titles of the books. Some South African authors of note are: Nadine Gordimer, Doris Lessing, Olive Schreiner, and J. M. Coetzee.
Have you read a story based in South Africa? If you have please share the title and author in the comments.
Have you ever felt the need to see your favourite book as a movie? Especially while you are reading it? While in the world of my current book, I often see a picture in my head and know that it would be awesome to see that picture translated onto the screen. I feel this especially when I read Fantasy fiction. And with the technology available today, the special effects could be out of this world. I have reflected upon the books I read during 2018 and believe these are my top 5 stories that I would like to see made into a film.
The Black Witch by Laurie Forest
It is no surprise that the first book on my list is a Fantasy novel. When I read the first book in Laurie Forest’s The Black Witch chronicles, I fell in love with the story. The characters are diverse and imaginative; the story a subtle criticism of the prejudices found in society. While reading the novel, my imagination soared. This is a book that would make an epic series of films in which the creative imagination can take flight; and for which those artists who work with special effects and costumes could outdo themselves. (If you are not sure what this story is, you can refer to my synopsis and review of the book here).
Damsel by Elana K. Arnold
My second suggestion is also a fantasy novel based on the myth of the dragon. I love this story not only for its references to dragons, but also for the subtle message to women and girls. Once again, because it is a fantasy set in a castle, the costume designers could out-do themselves. The film would have special effects – but not as extravagant and as often as would be seen in my first choice. (You can read my synopsis and review of this novel here.)
Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin
After reading Ayesha at Last, I wanted to see Jalaluddin’s rewrite of Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice made into film. When I saw on Twitter that the book had been optioned for a film, I was ecstatic. Not only do I love the story, but I will enjoy seeing on screen a culture different to the mainstream western one that we see in so many films. (My synopsis and review of this book can be found here.)
The Dutch Wife by Ellen Keith
The historical novel that really stood out for me during the past year was The Dutch Wife by Ellen Keith. The novel focuses on the untold story of the women who were forced into prostitution in the German concentration camps during the second World War. The story is told with extreme sensitivity, and unfolds the lack of choices these women had while incarcerated by the Germans. Seeing Keith’s story on film would be explosive; and would get people talking about another aspect of the War and the concentration camp experience. (The synopsis and my review of this novel can be read here.)
The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn
I enjoy reading and watching psychological thrillers and one of my favourite reads in this genre during 2018 was A. J. Finn’s The Woman in the Window. The build up and twists in the novel would be perfect for a film. In addition, the story refers to mental illness – an issue that needs to be addressed more often in our society. (My synopsis and review is here.)
I am lucky that my best series of all time featuring the hobbits by J. R. R. Tolkien has already been made into film. A film which I think I need to go and re-watch 🙂
Which book would you like to see remade into a film?
When I heard about Jodi Picoult coming to Toronto to speak about her latest book A Spark of Light, I was interested in attending as I have read a number of her books and enjoyed them. Her event, unfortunately was sold out. I put myself on the waiting list as someone might cancel their ticket.
The event was on Monday and I had swept it out of my mind. When checking my email during lunch, I saw that I had received a notification stating that more spaces had opened up: I quickly messaged my cousin to let him know (he enjoyed her books as well), and bought tickets. Going to the event was a bit rushed as it was last minute but I thought it would be worth it as she is a well-known and successful author.
When I arrived at the venue in the evening, I was surprised at how many people were in attendance – over 500! It is the biggest author event that I have been to. I liked that they had large screens to project the conversation to the audience. As a result I did not mind that I was at the back of the hall.
It was interesting to listen to someone who has written so many successful novels. She is very confident – and very political. To be honest, I was disappointed that she spoke so much about American politics. The election may have been the following day, but we were there to listen to her speak about her book as well as her writing process.
I am still glad I went to the event, however, as what she said will give me a better understanding of the novel when I read it.