Books I read as last year ended

 

by Diana Studer

- gardening for biodiversity

 in Cape Town, South Africa

 

Jennifer CHIAVERINI

Resistance women

~

This one, remembering Mildred Fish from Wisconsin, ate into my heart and soul. Perhaps because I stood at the memorial to book burning in Frankfurt.

~

Helen Keller - History has taught you nothing if you think you can kill ideas.

~

[Greta] arrived in Frankfurt am Main two days after tens of thousands of books had gone up in flames in city squares throughout Germany.

 

Burning books in Germany
Burning books in Germany

Nomi EVE

Henna house

~

Yemenite Jews from Aden to Israel. The story unfolding through and around henna history and rituals.

 

Manganese dendrites on Chapman's Peak
Manganese dendrites on Chapman's Peak

Melvyn BRAGG

Grace and Mary

~

This one made me think of my mother's mother - and how differently (English) society viewed 'unmarried' mothers between the wars. Mary grown old and yearning for 'my own mother', who was Aunty Grace to the small adopted girl.

After school my mother went to France 'to polish her French'. She was not allowed to visit our grandfather's grave - or she would have seen the dates couldn't fit for her younger brother. 

~

Imagination ... which meant that one could 'be' other people in the empathy of life or theatre or fiction

Shakespeare wrote that poets conjured words out of 'the thin air' and gave them 'a local habitation and a name'

She could 'suffer her own company well', as people in her childhood had phrased it.

 

Remembering my grandfather and kite balloons
Remembering my grandfather and kite balloons
At the Imperial War Museum in London

Margaret LEROY

The English girl

~

Stella is 17. Coming from England to Vienna in the Thirties to study music. And escaping as the border closed.

~

the dazzling autumn sky, its depth on depth of colour; and far off in all that clarity, a bird of prey soaring, silver touching its wings.

 

From Elsie's Peak at teatime we watched two pairs of raptors
From Elsie's Peak at teatime we watched two pairs of raptors

Kharnita MOHAMED

Called to song

~

Set in Cape Town and drawing me into Cape Malay life. Despite the title the music only emerges as the story draws to a conclusion.

~

One Saturday morning, when the pile of books and papers looked set to topple, Qabila went out to look for a bookcase. She turned away from the store, every step unlocking a knot. A new life called for new habits... a little second-hand store ... But the fifth one was going home with her ... curved corners ... tiny scratches on the dull mahogany.

 

IKEA bookshelves Reconfigured each time we moved
IKEA bookshelves
Reconfigured each time we moved

Sabine DURRANT

Remember me this way

~

Psychological thriller. But, was she right after all? Grieving, was she? She is a teacher.

~

Her tone is off, but you often find that with shy kids. What comes across as rudeness is often acute embarrassment.

 

My father was from Dannevirke
My father was from Dannevirke

Niall WILLIAMS

History of the rain

~

Last on my heap, so I rationed it out. When I couldn't face where the story seemed to be going, read in careful chunks. Not poems, but words as poetry, to reread and linger over.

~

We head off in a burst in some direction thinking this is it only to find ourselves nowhere.

~

Poets. They're not like you and me. They have that extra bit that is always ready for take-off. Poets understand why God didn't give us wings: he wanted entertainment. He wanted us to aspire, to ascend. He wanted poetry.

~

Even his hair is straight. It's a little brown hedge rising evenly off the top of his intelligence.

 

Hedge carefully trained to frame the view at Heligan
Hedge carefully trained to frame the view at Heligan

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Comments

  1. You always find a diverse collection of books to settle into! Do you look for links to your own history when you make selections? I've bookmarked Durrant's book for reference when I'm looking for my next read. The description reminds me of 'In Another Light' by AJ Banner, which I read late last year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is looking for a 'matching' photo that makes me notice something I can echo from my book. Maybe authors target baby boomers - we probably read a lot.

      Delete
  2. What an interesting selection of books, Diana! I love book recommendations, thank you.
    Amalia
    xo

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love Melvin Bragg's writing but for some unknown reason didn't read this one. On my list now. P.x

    ReplyDelete

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