On the Beach

Well it seems like a lifetime ago that I was lying on a white sandy beach under a burning sun but in fact it was just three weeks ago.  And while I idled away the hours in the shade of the swaying palm trees, I managed to get through five books from my reading list.  Well four and a quarter if you want specifics.  As you may know, I love talking about the books that I’ve read so, true to task, I shall endeavour to bore fill you in.  Feel free to move on.

First book: this was the quarter of a book that I mentioned.  Before we left for our hol, I’d been reading a hardback version of A Most Wanted Man by John Le Carre and although I was three-quarters of the way through the book, I thought that it’s almighty hardbackedness might just tip the balance on my dangerously close 20 kilo baggage limit so I decided  not to take it with me.  But would you believe it, upon checking out the hotel’s delightful little library (two wooden shelves around the corner from the towel shack), lo and beholdeth! a paper back version of said book was sitting there, patiently waiting for me to arrive.  So I got to finish the book and I must say it was very good.  It’s an intelligent novel and the coming together of the final chapter is bleakly reflective of some of the many consequences of America/Britain’s blinkered and racist War on Terror.

Next book: For Tibet, With Love: A Beginners Guide to Changing the World by Isabel Losada.  I love this woman!!  I really do.  I read her first book (Battersea Park Road to Enlightenment) three years ago – the last time I took a holiday – and I loved it with a passion.  The Tibet book is equally witty and amusing, insightful and inspiring.  I am now ten times more aware and informed about the plight of Tibetans and the exiled Dalai Lama and Isabel provides an excellent bibliography of relevant books, articles and even dvd’s should you want to learn/do more.  And you probably will want to.  I did.  The writer is so endearingly sweet, caring and compassionate and clearly a very brave woman – and she’s so heartwarmingly optimistic.  Read her.  You won’t regret it.

Third book: The End of the Line: How Overfishing is Changing the World and What we Eat by Charles Clover.  This book will make you very angry.  Devastating and Crucially Important.  The three words that say everything.   All I can say other than that is just read the book.  It’s almost compulsory.  I mean it.

Fourth book: Blackbird by Jennifer Lauck.  I was reluctant to read this book  because I thought it was just another Miz Lit memoir about another child-abuse survivor.  Well, who isn’t a bit tired of this new genre of novels where the authors write about their pitiful childhoods in order to produce a story that will shock us and break our hearts. I mean sure, if life has thrown you a crap deal, if society has failed you and your childhood has been denied, tell your story.  Make money on it too. You deserve it.  Who am I to judge?  But everybody seems to be jumping on the train and what I don’t like is people who grossly exaggerate or even fabricate their experiences to produce their book.  I mean when we’re tackling such a sensitive issue as child-abuse, is it still ok to claim writer’s license?  Maybe it is.  I just find it a bit distasteful.  But then, is it distasteful to want to read about other people’s misery?  Basically, we all like to have our emotions stirred but when it’s a true story that is being presented without total honesty, I can’t help feeling I’m being made a fool of.  Lordy, I’m rambling now.  This is when I start to contradict myself.

Anyway, a friend of mine gave me the book so, duty-bound, I forced myself to read it, if only so that I could give honest answers when she asked me what I thought.   It wasn’t as dreary as I’d expected. It’s really quite tender and sad but it certainly isn’t flawless.  For instance, the little girl’s voice is often dubiously mature and deep-thinking, which evoked some scepticism but it didn’t spoil what was undoubtedly a movingly sad childhood plight.

Book five: The Shack by William P. Young.  A very dear born again Christian friend of mine gave me this book for my birthday and after reading the adulatory reviews on the cover, I really was expecting to be converted in a life-changing, Road to Damascus kind of way.  Needless to say, I wasn’t.  I was expecting the book to contain the answers to all the questions I’ve ever asked about God and the trinity and why bad stuff happens.  Needless to say, it didn’t.  The only answers I got were the same answers I’ve ever got from the stewards of Christianity ie just have faith, it’s all in the mystery.

The first half of the book was quite a page-turner if only because I was expecting an enlighteningly spiritual explanation of the universe.  The second half moved into theological/philosophical territory so pages weren’t turned quite so fast rather than read over and over until my lame brain comprehended the words.  It wasn’t over-heavy though so don’t let that put you off.

In it’s favour, the book was thought-provoking at times.  It had it’s tender moments and in all honesty, I quite enjoyed it.  But ultimately, the timeless question, “where is God and why does he allow such suffering?” remains unanswered.

There you go, end of book report.  If you’re still here, thanks a million.



4 responses to this post.

  1. Welcome, Earthpal. Good to hear your opinion on books that’ll pave my way to getting them. But regret to say that the confounded telly has made me hate other people’s miseries, so won’t be buying Ms Lauck’s book.

    Keep at it.

    And thanks to you.


  2. Thanks to you too Jose, for your friendly encouragement.


  3. Thanks EP; that Isabel Losada woman looks interesting, I’ll give her a try I think.

    Summer holidays disappear quickly, especially when faced with slate grey Lancashire skies.


  4. Hi Zeddie. It’s been beautiful here in Lancashire for the past few days. Today seems to have been the turning point.

    I recommend that you read the Battersea Park book first MrZ. Ms Losada is delightfully funny.


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