I was very fortunate to see Bill Bryson in person at a live interview about a year ago. Believe it or not, it was at a Microsoft conference! Anyway, it was his casual wit and his obvious intelligence that made me miss his Notes from a Small Island and I decided to pick up its sequel. That was about 5 months ago.
This book is about the more detailed journeys that Bryson undertakes, to the most quirky offbeat places on mainland Britain. Most of it is set in England (about 95%) which to me is a bit of a disappointment, because I’ve never lived in England and its quirks and cultural connotations are slightly lost on me. However, I could not help but snort on planes and trains as Bryson’s extremely sardonic style of writing struck again. His observations are hilarious, especially the one about the Microsoft Windows Updates (yes, he even writes about that sort of thing!) and the gag about the John Lewis shopping experience.
I would very much recommend this book in fits and bursts, it is not meant to be read in one sitting. Rather, if you have ever been to any of the places mentioned in the book, you must revisit them with book in hand! Now that would be a laugh. It was a bit monotonous in parts for me and I would have loved to read a bit more about Scotland in there too. But hey, for the most part, I enjoyed it.
So I moved and obviously, now I have a new library. I found the latest Murakami and was very pleased. Of course, I’m not pleased now that he didn’t win the Nobel But that’s a separate post. This latest book, about Tazaki’s life and how he has to face the ghosts of his adolescence when he’s spurred on by his girlfriend, is a very different read from the usual. There isn’t even a cat!
Of course, there are dreams, and strange unrealities, and a parallel Universe, but they are not the crux of the plot. There IS an actual plot, so that’s quite a change as well. Murakami is a very versatile author and he seems to be experimenting a bit here. It worked for me. The storyline takes the protagonist into the deep recesses of his past and through in the future to Finland. There is a strange familiarity in the style of writing, like a cup of tea with an old friend. There is also the slow paced suspense of finding out how someone’s life changes based on which way the book goes. I really liked the character of the girlfriend – she is kind, compassionate, organised, and fun. I think I identified with her a bit.
The end is quite open, but depending on who you are as a person, your mind is bound to lead you one way or another. The author sort of hints at a possibility and leaves you, as a reader, to make up the rest. I liked this book 🙂
Taken at my home in Delhi, the teapot is 26 years old 🙂
Taken today at Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
Taken somewhere near King’s Buildings, Edinburgh, Scotland
Taken in Cramond Village, outskirts of Edinburgh, Scotland
Fall has caught up with Edinburgh. And while I’m overwhelmed by the dance of orange, brown, yellow, and green; I am overwhelmed too, by how my little blog’s readership is growing. Thank you for the recent spate of likes and follows. Thank you also, for your kind words. I’m still catching up with those who follow me, and if you have less than an obscene amount of followers already, know that I shall follow you back.
It is a funny coincidence how 200 posts and 200 followers came within mere hours of one another. If I grind it to the barest, I may have gathered a follower for every post, which isn’t bad at all 🙂
I will try my best to keep this space encouraging and entertaining. I also updated this page for easier navigation.
A few days ago, Deanna from The Book Lover’s Attic nominated me for the Shine On award. People on Blogosphere are kind and it’s always touching when someone somewhere thinks of you.
THE SHINE ON AWARD
Here are the rules of the award:
1. Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.
2. Acknowledge that blogger on your blog, and link back.
3. Share seven random, interesting things about yourself.
4. Nominate up to 15 bloggers for the Shine On Award, provide a link to their blogs in your post, and notify them on their blogs.
1. I spent 23 years in India and never felt at home, it took me less than a month to realise Scotland was my home.
2. I think I might have been a sailor in my previous birth.
3. I want to be a Unicorn in my next birth.
4. My favourite perfume is Lancome’s Poeme
5. The latest present that I’ve received is a green apple coloured jumper
6. I have started drinking Whittard’s Dreamtime Instant tea at night
7. I have some writing related news that I’ll share with y’all soon!
A Mixed Bag
Lori Lipsky | Poetry Patio
Dravite’s Books and Cauldron
You guys rock!
I went into an independent bookshop (this one) and picked up this book here
I’d heard of this book a long long time ago… and I’d forgotten about it. This bookshop that had hundreds and hundreds of books, that was a shelter from the crazy Edinburgh wind+rain combo, had this book stacked under a large stack.
I got it at a good good price. And to me, this bookshop, barely 200 metres from my home,
“is the ‘cemetery of lost books’, a labyrinthine library of obscure and forgotten titles that have long gone out of print…”
Have you read it? What did you think?