The last two months have been quite busy again with final essay writing and moving house being top priorities. Still, over the last two months I managed to read…
The Man Who Was Thursday by GK Chesterton
First published in 1908, The Man Who Was Thursday is a thrilling and humourous read featuring a guy called “Thursday” as well as a bunch of other characters all named after the days of the week. Thursday infiltrates an organisation of anarchists and discovers that nothing is quite as it seems.
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
It is difficult to find the words to do justice to this novel. Adichie brings to life the devastating and heartbreaking consequences of the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970). It has been suggested that up to 2 million people, mostly women and children, died from starvation – a deliberate tactic of war willingly embraced by the Nigerian government, and its allies, against the Biafran rebels. The title is a direct reference to the emblem on the Biafran flag – a rising sun on a background of red, black and green horizontal stripes.
- Red for the blood of the siblings massacred in the North
- Black for mourning them
- Green for the prosperity that an independent Biafran state would bring
- A rising yellow sun for the glorious future that beckoned
A half of a yellow sun could also have a different meaning. It could also depict a setting sun, as the Biafran hopes and dreams for independence slipped away from view, crushed by violence, starvation and the vested interests of major world powers. A very sobering read.
The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle award in 1985 and made into a film of the same name, Tyler’s story depicts the wonder of life – beautiful, painful, wonderfully chaotic but also very full. As Macon slowly opens himself up to love again, he learns that life is messy, no one escapes unscathed but that there is always hope and love.
Leap by Myfanwy Jones
Shortlisted for the 2016 Miles Franklin Literary Award, Leap follows the journey of Elise and Joe, living on opposite sides of the city, yet both dealing with the pain of loss, grief and guilt. While Elise is drawn to the tigers – sleek, solitary, deadly – Joe runs, climbs and jumps, preparing to make the leap. Highly recommended.
Wyoming Stories by Annie Proulx
This collection of short stories set in Wyoming, features a wonderful array of characters, depicting the lives and times, the poverty and hardship of rural families. One of the most well-known stories is “Brokeback Mountain”, adapted for film starring Heath Ledger. Some of the stories are sad as the old world of ranching passes away. Some are a little gruesome, yet darkly funny. My favourite story was “The Contest” in which the men of Elk Tooth sign up for a beard growing contest over the Winter.
Another three squares completed and just nine more to go. I’ve been really enjoying this challenge as it has encouraged me to read outside my usual fare and deliberately seek out books that will meet the criteria.
- Romance: The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler
- Title with a Place Name: Wyoming Stories by Annie Proulx
- Literary: Leap by Myfanwy Jones
Until next time, happy reading!