Having left my book club book at home, I grabbed A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth from the shelves at work and already am enjoying it lots. I love it when that happens!
I have put a wash on and cooked a new dinner. The house is empty except for my feline companions. This is a lovely feeling of accomplishment and content. However my cup hath run over by the panoply of things I have to read. Do I continue with my excellent book? Or dig into my guilty pleasure Stylist? Or reach for my untouched Guardian weekend magazine? Plus I have my favourite snack, salty and sweet popcorn. Swoon.
Yesterday I bought two books by authors I have been wanting to read for the princely sum of £5.20! In my favourite book store no less – Foyle’s. This makes me very happy!
Ismail Kadare is an Albanian writer who writing weaves in Balkan legends; and Nawal El Saadawi is a prominent Egyptian feminist and activist. I am looking forward to reading both of these books as part of my year of reading people of colour and women writers.
As some of you may know, one of my new year’s resolutions was to read more female writers and also more writers of colour. Whilst many of my favourite authors are women: Jilly Cooper, Margaret Atwood, Louisa May Alcott and Lucy Maud Montgomery, I felt that there was room to read and buy more books by authors from a non Western/ White/ male perspective. I created a pretty extensive list in January (read it here) and since then I have read some great books and have been really enjoying discovering new authors and their perspectives. Here is my first month of reading.
January I started the new year with two Turkish authors- Orhan Pamuk and Elif Shafak.
And I fell in love with both authors lyrical descriptions of Turkey. The Museum of Innocence is set in the period 1975 to 1984 in Istanbul. The book is ultimately an ode to love/obsession and kept me up all night wanting to know how the story would end. However, The Bastard of Istanbul had me hooked from the beginning. Shafak is courageous, she writes about religion, genocide and cultural identity whilst engaging the reader with a host of female and family characters. This book is set in contemporary Turkey and the US. I don’t want to give any spoilers but I thoroughly enjoyed this book and that led me to her book the Forty Rules of Love. I thoroughly enjoyed this tale of discovering a new life and love and even more the interwoven story of Rumi (an epic medieval Persian poet and Sufi) and his meeting with the Sufi dervish Shams-e Tabrizi. The book has a strong mystical feel and is concerned with the philosophy and spirituality underpining the lives we lead. I have quoted the book several times on this blog which is my own personal endorsement of how much I got from it.
The Museum of Innocence – 8 out of 10. I disliked the ending and the lack of female voices throughout but otherwise an excellent book. The writing is great.
The Bastard of Istanbul- 9 out of 10. An excellent read, my favourite.
The Forty Rules of Love -7.5 out of 10. A great read but not as memorable as the others. Would recommend to anyone questioning their life/ relationships around them.
Next- I start my journey into Fantasy wrote by a woman and POC, and learn about the Freedom riders in the US…