August 31, 2008

The Piazzas of Florence - Lisa McGarry

The Piazzas of Florence by Lisa McGarry is my fifth and final book for the Non-Fiction Five Challenge - the completion of which means my first successful completion of a blogging reading challenge - yay!!

To say I am a little in love with this book would not be an overstatement! As I have mentioned before I am slightly obsessed with the idea of Italy - have never been but plans to visit are definitely a huge part of my life goals.

Through this book the author describes and explores her favourite twelve Florence Piazzas (public outdoor spaces). The written section for each Piazza is accompanied by a beautiful hand drawn map of the area which really helps to orientate you to the space that is being described. I can imagine this being a perfect book to take along with you on a trip to Florence to help you explore the area.

The social and political history as well as the current contexts of the city are written about from the viewpoint of the author, an American woman who has now settled in Florence with her young daughter.

At the end of the book the author has provided a reading list of non-fiction and fiction books focussing on Florence as well as other books that have inspired her living and writing. One of the books referred to is Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh which is described by McGarry as "a beautiful book of essays about accepting the joys and challenges of the different stages of a woman's life". At one stage in her book McGarry quotes from Gift From the Sea;

She believed that while woman may always be on call - whether at home or work, as mothers, daughters, partners or friends - it's important to spend some time alone each day, every week and once a year"

At the start of the book Lisa McGarry writes "I fell in love with the idea of Florence long before I came here" thanks to McGarry's book I feel exactly the same way.

August 25, 2008

Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

I have never read Wuthering Heights before which is why I wanted to make it one of my selections for The Classics Challenge. I have read Jane Eyre several times and love it and I have always thought I "should" read Wuthering Heights - I mean, how differently can two sisters write?? As it turns out - very differently!

I started out very optimistically with Wuthering Heights - I was enjoying the narrative and hearing about the Catherine and Heathcliff story - and then it just turned a little too strange and dark for me. I understand that this is a Gothic novel in many respects and as such you've got to to expect a little darkness but I felt dragged down by this story at the end and I found myself feeling angry and hostile towards the storyline and the characters.

I also can't understand this novel being referred to as a love story! I didn't come across a whole lot of love in my reading and interpretation - a lot of violence, neglect, torture (both psychological and physical) and pain but not a lot of love.

Maybe I'm missing the point but I think I'm ok with that. I would love to hear how others have responded to this book.

On to my next Classic!

August 23, 2008

New Finds

A horrible Saturday weather wise but a gorgeous Saturday free time and book wise!

Nothing planned so spent the day with my wonderful boy - breakfast in town, secondhand book shopping and browsing.

I picked up the second book in The Spoils of Time Trilogy by Penny Vincenzi, Something Dangerous for $3 at a second hand bookshop in town - bargain! The first book pulled me in and I just have to keep reading now. I'm finding these books a nice distraction from Wuthering Heights which I am still reading but it is starting to drag me down a little at the moment.

I've also noticed during my blog browsing that a new Wally Lamb book is due out later this year - very exciting. The Hour I First Believed has been mentioned at The Savvy Reader and it sounds fantastic. I Know This Much Is True is one of my all time favourites - infact, I think it is due for a re-read. Books often take me back to the time in my life when I first read them and I Know This Much Is True does that in that it reminds me of the time I got to spend with my grandfather when he was dying of cancer almost 8 years ago - sad but special in that I was able to be with him during this time. So, this book is special in that I think it is a wonderful book but also for the fact that I was first reading it at this time.

August 22, 2008

No Angel - Penny Vincenzi

No Angel was just what I was looking for in my reading this week - pure soap opera joy! Is this book brilliant literary fiction? Well, no - but it is an addictive enjoyable read - a story and characters you can lose yourself in and not worry too much about the literary merit of what you are consuming.

No Angel is the first book in The Spoils of Time trilogy focussing on the English publishing family - the Lytton's, and all of their associates, lovers, connections, friends and foes.

The central character is Lady Celia Lytton - quite a selfish, self-absorbed woman but she gets the job done! This first book is set in the period from 1904 until the early 1920's, including the time of WW1. This is the reason I was drawn to reading this book in the first place. I would not normally have been attracted to Penny Vincenzi's books but Danielle at A Work in Progress suggested No Angel as a good read for those interested in books set around the WW1 period so I have to say thank you to her for leading me in this direction.

I will definitely be looking out for the 2nd and 3rd books in this series.

August 19, 2008

Tea for One

I think I am becoming a little fanatical about my tea drinking! I used to be quite happy dunking a tea bag into a mug and drinking away - things have changed.

I'm now starting to develop a bit of a ritual for my afternoon/evening reading and tea drinking - so much so that if I can't do it the way I want to things just don't feel quite right. Lucky I'm a mental health professional or I might start to worry about myself!

My ritual now involves a fresh pot of tea - teabags just aren't working for me anymore - and exactly the right type of tea for my mood. I discovered a gorgeous tea shop chain when I was in Melbourne - T2 make the most beautiful blend which is my current addiction, Evening Tea. Thankfully they also have stores in Sydney and they do mail out so I should be right there. I also enjoy purchasing from The Tea Centre which has a store in my local area which helps.

I'm also loving my china cups and am on the lookout for the perfect tea set. My friend Tamara has a beautiful collection of tea pots which helps to inspire my passion.

I really do belong in the world of Bath, High Teas and Jane Austen!

Image at top of post from Plumo

August 17, 2008

Dreaming of Florence

Last night I started the gorgeous book I had bought in Melbourne a few weeks ago, The Piazzas Of Florence by Lisa McGarry. I was looking for a non-fiction book to browse through while I really concentrated on the Olympics - I soon forgot about the Olympics.

I have a fascination and love of all things Italy - even though I have not been there as yet I have this feeling I will love it when I eventually make it there.

This book is simply stunning, inside and and out. The author (an American woman now living in Florence with her young daughter) talks about her favourite piazzas of Florence and accompanies her rich descriptions with beautiful hand drawn maps of the areas.

In one of the maps the author refers to the stationary and paper shop Il Papiro which I also adore. We are lucky enough to have two of these shops in Australia (Melbourne and Sydney) and I spoilt myself when I was last in Melbourne purchasing two hand made journals.

Oh to be in Florence right now!

August 16, 2008

Twilight - Stephanie Meyer

I was so close to putting this book down and never picking it up again - so close and yet I kept on reading for reasons that are not really that clear to me! I knew I wasn't enjoying it, I felt the writing was predictable, dishonest, boring and painful and the main characters made me want to turn into a vampire simply so that I would have the power to destroy them!

You're probably getting the picture - this is far from a favourite read.

I had been tossing up whether to read this one for a while - I had heard rumblings of Stephanie Meyer being compared to J.K. Rowling - please!!! There is no comparison in my mind. I am trying to work out why this book, and the others in the series, are such big sellers and to be honest, I'm a little concerned that so many adolescent girls are reading these books and possibly somehow modelling themselves on the main female character, Bella.

As I had written in my previous post - I had come to a conclusion as to why I not only disliked this book - but also why it worried me enough to keep reading. The premise of Twilight is that 17 year old Bella moves to a small town in the USA to live with her father. The usual teenage plot follows - Bella doesn't really fit in, misses her life with her mum blah, blah, blah - and then she meets Edward. Dashingly handsome, beautifully brilliant Edward. All of Bella's worries are eased - until she discovers he is actually a vampire and could potentially be a fatal attraction. The "relationship" between Bella and Edward forms my main gripe with this book. Throughout the novel we hear Bella fawning over Edward only to hear Edward throw back lines such as ; "Bella, You'll be the death of me, I swear you will" following a look or a touch or a romantic word from Bella. Edward constantly gives Bella the message that it is difficult for him to control himself around her and he could very possibly do something to hurt her simply because of how enticing she is to him. As a social worker who has worked with women who have been victims of domestic violence and sexual assault I find this message consistent with what some of these women have been led to believe by the perpetrator of the violence - "you asked for it" or "you made me do it". Now, I might be reading too much into this - but this is how reading this book made me feel - angry that a young woman (even a fictional one) was being made to feel as though she was the tempation that a man (even a vampire) could not resist and that any harm that may come her way was actually her fault - simply for being an attractive female.

Needless to say, I will not be reading the other books in this series.

August 15, 2008

My Weekend Plans

My weekend plans are consisting of not very much - and I'm liking it that way! I have put a "no work" ban on myself - not even checking emails or thinking about lesson plans - and I'm planning to catch up on some reading.

I really want to finish Twilight this weekend - I've been having some discussions with my partner and a close friend about the reasons why this book is annoying me so much and yet I am still reading it! I think I've finally worked it out. I'll write more on this when I have fnished the book.

I would also like to finish Wuthering Heights but I'm being drawn into the world of No Angel at the moment so I'm not sure which one is going to win out here...

Will have to wait and see.

August 14, 2008

New Purchases

So, I went to Sydney for work today and as predicted (by myself!) I visited some bookshops and made some purchases.

I actually didn't have a lot of time to browse today or the damage done could have been a lot worse!

I ended up buying:

1. No Angel - Penny Vincenzi; I have seen her books before but thought they always looked a bit light and fluffy - not that there's anything wrong with that - just not usually my cup of tea. But based on Danielle's excellent recommendation I'm going to give this one a go. I already started it on the train on the way home and it's one of the first times I can remember wanting a train journey to take longer! A good sign of things to come.

2. My other purchase was Selected Stories - Alice Munro; this is a book I have listed to read for the New Classics Challange and my local library does not seem to carry a copy so I think the purchase was well justified. Besides, from all I have heard of Alice Munro I am thinking I will want to have a copy of this one for myself.

August 13, 2008

Reading and Pondering Possible Promises...

I am still going with Twilight and although I am enjoying it to a degree I keep wanting to yell "get on with it!" to the author. The very tedious descriptive passages of looks and feelings are starting to get to me a bit. And yet, I'm still reading it so there must be something there. My motto is "Life's too short to read crappy books" and by crappy I mean books that I am just not enjoying or interested in - not just those that I feel are badly written. I'm not sure how other people operate but I have no problems with just putting a book aside if I am not enjoying it, never to return to it. My father can't stand this trait in me - he will read a book to the end once he has started it no matter what.

In light of an earlier post about my reading/book collection/to be read pile and list getting a little out of control I am thinking about (and it is just a thought at the moment!) not purchasing or borrowing another book to add to the pile until I have gone through all the current options. This is something I have thought about before but I have never actually followed through - will I this time?

I'm making a trip to Sydney tomorrow and will no doubt be "forced" to browse through one of my favourite bookshops there - so not sure if I will enact the promise just yet...

August 11, 2008

Searching for Time

I am totally agreeing with Nova about the need for time - not only time for reading and other important things but time for life in general.

I consider myself a pretty time managed person - I'm organised and structured (sometimes to the point of obsessiveness!) and I have 3, yes 3, diaries. I know where I need to be, when I need to be there and I'm always there. The problem with all of this is that I never seem to have any of that magical stuff known as "free time"! If I try to structure any of that into the equation it just doesn't seem to happen.

I know I shouldn't be complaining - I don't have children, my cat is fairly self-sufficient and my partner really is a gem - but I still struggle to find this precious thing we know as time. I do work full time and have recently started my PhD (if anyone can tell me how to squeeze this one in please let me know!) so I know these things take up energy and time but there needs to be a balance.

My other dilemma is that when I do take some time for myself (i.e. reading) I feel as though I should probably be spending my time in other ways - the guilt settles in!

I know I am really just trying to work this all out, and I'm really the only one who can do anything about this, but any solutions/ideas would be greatly appreciated!

The photo at the top of this post comes from Anna's gorgeous blog - I recommend checking it out if you are wanting to discover bliss in images. I will concentrate on this image and imagine myself in the seat...

Unaccustomed Earth - Jhumpa Lahiri

I have a new favourite author. A big call I know but Unaccustomed Earth has literally amazed me - I want to go back and read it again straight away, I want to tell all my friends about it, I want to work out how I can weave it into my teaching and research (although, on second thoughts I might keep this book purely for pleasure!).

As I have mentioned before I am not a big short story reader. I bought this book to take with me on a work trip to Melbourne a few weeks ago and I knew as soon as I started the first story I would be in love with it. The main characters in each of the stories are of Bengali heritage - they move between worlds and lives set in India and America. They are primarily upper middle class, educated, literate people experiencing the daily moments of most lives - school, family, love, relationships, work, decisions.

The book is structured in two parts with the second part being my favourite. This section contains 3 stories which interlink the lives of two characters, Hema and Kaushik, over the course of their lives from birth through to middle age. I was literally holding my breath as I was reading the final story in this section - the ending was spectacular. I can't say anymore for fear of giving too much away.

All I can say is read this book. I am on the search for Jhumpa Lahiri's other work now.

August 10, 2008

Rediscovering the Library

I went on an excursion and re-discovered my local library today. I am ashamed to say that it had been so long since I had been to and borrowed from my library my card/membership had expired and they had to "re-invent" me on the system.

I'm not sure why I haven't been there in so long. I think once I started earning "proper" money I really wanted to buy my books and have my own copies of them. My partner and I have been re-evaluating our finances in light of other financial goals (i.e. overseas travel) and we realised that book buying was possibly one area in which we could reduce our spending.

So, off to the library I went. We actually have a pretty good library system in our local area. There are about 7 or so different library sites and you can borrow from all of them with the one membership card. You can also request/put hold on particular books and have them delivered to your local library for collection - this is a system I like!

The photo shows my collection for today:

1. The Crimson Portrait by Jody Shields - this book was suggested to me by Danielle after I asked for some recommendations on WW1 and WW2 fiction. Check out Danielle's post for some other great ideas in this genre.

2. Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro - As I have mentioned before I am not a big short story reader but I have heard that Alice Munro is a goddess in this category so I thought I would give them a go.

3. The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde - I started reading this series about character Thursday Next a few months ago and immediately loved the character, setting and writing. This book is the third in the series.

4. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen - a book that has been on my "to read" list for quite a while now and one of the books I have selected to read for the New Classics Challenge.

August 09, 2008

Weekend Reading

I have been feeling a little all over the place with my reading of late. I have books everywhere - not unusual for me but it is starting to feel a little chaotic and out of control! What to do??

The two books I have been spending time on this weekend are Twilight by Stephanie Meyer and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

Yes, I decided to go for it and read Twilight - I'm only about 100 pages in and enjoying it so far. I must admit I thought I wasn't going to like it when I first started. Not really sure why - just thought the Edward character was a little false - I know, I know - he's a vampire and extremely mysterious - but still! Anyway, I'm on board with the story at the moment.

My Wuthering Heights reading is going much better than I expected - absolutely loving it! I'm not sure why I couldn't get into this classic the first time I tried it but those reasons seem to have been banished now.

August 07, 2008

New Classics Challenge

Despite already feeling fairly overloaded with challenge reading - I'm joining another! Joanna at Lost In A Good Story has started the New Classics Challenge. The rules are as follows:

1) Copy the Entertainment Weekly's List of New Classics and bold the titles that you have already read.

2) Choose at least 6 other books from the list , read and review them between 1 August 2008 and 31 January 2009.

3) In January 2009, cast your vote for which one of the 100 books on the list is your favorite (and write a post on why). The winning book will be sent to a lucky winner chosen by the scientific method favored here in the blogosphere, i.e. names in a hat.

The Entertainment Weekly's List of New Classics

1. The Road , Cormac McCarthy (2006)

2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling (2000)

3. Beloved, Toni Morrison (1987)

4. The Liars' Club, Mary Karr (1995)

5. American Pastoral, Philip Roth (1997)

6. Mystic River, Dennis Lehane (2001)

7. Maus, Art Spiegelman (1986/1991)

8. Selected Stories, Alice Munro (1996)

9. Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier (1997)

10. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami (1997)

11. Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer (1997)

12. Blindness, José Saramago (1998)

13. Watchmen, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (1986-87)

14. Black Water, Joyce Carol Oates (1992)

15. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers (2000)

16. The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood (1986)

17. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez (1988)

18. Rabbit at Rest, John Updike (1990)

19. On Beauty, Zadie Smith (2005)

20. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding (1998)

21. On Writing, Stephen King (2000)

22. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Díaz (2007)

23. The Ghost Road, Pat Barker (1996)

24. Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry (1985)

25. The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan (1989)

26. Neuromancer, William Gibson (1984)

27. Possession, A.S. Byatt (1990)

28. Naked, David Sedaris (1997)

29. Bel Canto, Anne Patchett (2001)

30. Case Histories, Kate Atkinson (2004)

31. The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien (1990)

32. Parting the Waters, Taylor Branch (1988)

33. The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion (2005)

34. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold (2002)

35. The Line of Beauty, Alan Hollinghurst (2004)

36. Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt (1996)

37. Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi (2003)

38. Birds of America, Lorrie Moore (1998)

39. Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri (2000)

40. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman (1995-2000)

41. The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros (1984)

42. LaBrava, Elmore Leonard (1983)

43. Borrowed Time, Paul Monette (1988)

44. Praying for Sheetrock, Melissa Fay Greene (1991)

45. Eva Luna, Isabel Allende (1988)

46. Sandman, Neil Gaiman (1988-1996)

47. World's Fair, E.L. Doctorow (1985)

48. The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver (1998)

49. Clockers, Richard Price (1992)

50. The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen (2001)

51. The Journalist and the Murderer, Janet Malcom (1990)

52. Waiting to Exhale, Terry McMillan (1992)

53. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon (2000)

54. Jimmy Corrigan, Chris Ware (2000)

55. The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls (2006)

56. The Night Manager, John le Carré (1993)

57. The Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe (1987)

58. Drop City, TC Boyle (2003)

59. Krik? Krak! Edwidge Danticat (1995)

60. Nickel & Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich (2001)

61. Money, Martin Amis (1985)

62. Last Train To Memphis, Peter Guralnick (1994)

63. Pastoralia, George Saunders (2000)

64. Underworld, Don DeLillo (1997)

65. The Giver, Lois Lowry (1993)

66. A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, David Foster Wallace (1997)

67. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini (2003)

68. Fun Home, Alison Bechdel (2006)

69. Secret History, Donna Tartt (1992)

70. Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell (2004)

71. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Ann Fadiman (1997)

72. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon (2003)

73. A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving (1989)

74. Friday Night Lights, H.G. Bissinger (1990)

75. Cathedral, Raymond Carver (1983)

76. A Sight for Sore Eyes, Ruth Rendell (1998)

77. The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro (1989)

78. Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert (2006)

79. The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell (2000)

80. Bright Lights, Big City, Jay McInerney (1984)

81. Backlash, Susan Faludi (1991)

82. Atonement, Ian McEwan (2002)

83. The Stone Diaries, Carol Shields (1994)

84. Holes, Louis Sachar (1998)

85. Gilead, Marilynne Robinson (2004)

86. And the Band Played On, Randy Shilts (1987)

87. The Ruins, Scott Smith (2006)

88. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby (1995)

89. Close Range, Annie Proulx (1999)

90. Comfort Me With Apples, Ruth Reichl (2001)

91. Random Family, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc (2003)

92. Presumed Innocent, Scott Turow (1987)

93. A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley (1991)

94. Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser (2001)

95. Kaaterskill Falls, Allegra Goodman (1998)

96. The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown (2003)

97. Jesus’ Son, Denis Johnson (1992)

98. The Predators' Ball, Connie Bruck (1988)

99. Practical Magic, Alice Hoffman (1995)

100. America (the Book), Jon Stewart/Daily Show (2004)

So, I have only read 25 of the 100 - plently to choose from for the challenge! My choices to read for the challenge at the moment will be:

1. Interpreter of The Maladies - Jhumpa Lahiri

2. Case Histories - Kate Atkinson

3. The Corrections - Jonathan Franzen

4. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay - Michael Chabon

5. Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert

6. Selected Stories - Alice Munro

August 06, 2008

Mid Week Reflections

I realised yesterday that I had better get moving on some of my challenge reading so I have started Wuthering Heights. This is a book that I have attempted to read before but I just couldn't get into it. I don't know if I expected it to be more like Jane Eyre but I started reading it last night and I only stopped because I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer. Hopefully that means this time I will make it through - and enjoy it!
My other reading on the go at the moment is Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri. I do not usually enjoy reading short stories but these are completely amazing - I can't rave about them enough. I started reading this one when I went to Melbourne a few weeks ago and although I just want to fly through the book and consume these wonderful stories I also want to save them up! The constant brilliant book dilemma.

August 05, 2008

Sepulchre - Kate Mosse

I have put off reading Sepulchre by Kate Mosse for quite a while now. I had read (and quite enjoyed) her previous novel, Labyrinth but for some reason the descriptions and summaries of Sepulchre weren't drawing me in. I finally did give in and purchased the book last week. I was looking for something relatively light and escapist and Sepulchre fit the bill. I really don't want to analyse the book too much - I think that would ruin the experience - but I'm going to compare Sepulchre to a really good (and by good I mean awful!) soap opera.

Sepulchre is told (as is Labyrinth if I remember correctly) from the perspective of two main female characters from two time periods, Leonie from 1891, Paris and Meredith, an American woman in France for work and personal reasons in 2007.

What connects the two characters across the time spans is a deck of tarot cards - which we are supposed to believe possess magical/mystical powers not wholly understood or controlled.

I found both female characters mildly annoying and always predictable and the plot childish and unbelievable - and yet I read this 730 page novel in under a week - I couldn't get enough!

I think what this is saying to me is that Sepulchre is a book I needed at this particular time - not a great book for me by any stretch of the imagination - but a definitely a great break from reality.

August 03, 2008

Should I or Shouldn't I?

I have been debating with myself for a while now over whether I should read the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer or not???

As I have mentioned before I am not a huge fan of fantasy fiction although there have been some exceptions to that rule (The Jane Eyre Affair being the latest). I seem to have a bias towards fantasy novels that are somehow set in the "real" world - Neil Gaiman novels are a favourite and I love the Harry Potter series.

So, can anybody help out so I can finally make a decision??

Reading Spaces

We had one of our bookclub gatherings yesterday and one of my friends was asking me about my favourite space/place to read. She was saying she just wasn't able to get comfortable and read in bed and she really liked to read outside in her backyard in the sun - but given the winter weather we are currently having in New South Wales that isn't really an option at the moment.

I do like to read in bed but I also like to sleep in bed so I find that unless I am VERY alert I tend to nod off and the reading falls by the wayside. I do have a comfy reading area set up in our lounge room with a cosy chair, reading table and lamp. Will post photos of this another day. I have been inspired by an Australian woman who has set up a business designing special spaces for people based on their particular work/hobby/inspirational needs. The website is and I have borrowed the image in this post from there - this looks like a lovely reading space to me.

August 01, 2008

The Stone Diaries - Carol Shields

The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields is a book I was reading for both the Orbis Terrarum and the 1% Well-Read Challenges.

I must confess that I have in fact read the book before - as a part of a university english course over 10 years ago. I remember enjoying the book when I read it then but I think I possibly enjoyed (and appreciated) it more this time around.

The Stone Diaries tells the story of Daisy Goodwill - an "ordinary" woman with a seemingly "ordinary" life - but Carol Shields has a way of making the ordinary seem really extraordinary. The books follows Daisy's life from birth in a rural Canadian town in 1905 through her life, two marriages, 3 children and various homes. Sounds ordinary doesn't it?? I think this book is anything but ordinary. At times I don't really connect with the person Daisy is - perhaps it's a time/distance thing - but I want to keep reading her story. I'm connected to what is happening to her.

The book is written in a unique style, narrative interwoven with letters, newspaper clippings, diary entries and lists. These are techniques I really enjoy in novels - it opens up the story for me and brings in various perspectives which wouldn't come across in a one person narrative.

Carol Shields is an amazing author, I would recommend all of her books to people looking for seemingly everyday stories made extraordinary.