strange_complex: (Cathica spike)
I attended the first meeting of the book group I've joined at work today - the one I read I'm Not Scared for. I hadn't been too sure about the group previously, but actually I really enjoyed the meeting. Having a good old chat about the book was fun, and I'm getting to like the other people in the group more, now that we've interacted a bit. There are some quiet folks, but also plenty of people who are prepared to speak up with interesting opinions, while at the same time being keen to listen to other people's contributions.

So I shall certainly be going along to the next meeting, and have already snagged the only copy of the next book we'll be reading (The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón) from the University library - mua-ha-ha-hah!

Meanwhile, I took the 'Which Doctor?' test that everyone else has been taking. Last time I did one, I came out as the First Doctor - but then that was three years ago, the new series hadn't started up yet, and there were fewer options available. This time, despite this little exchange on [livejournal.com profile] nhw's journal this morning, I took it without aiming for any particular result at all, but simply answering all the questions as honestly as I could. I suspect that my result hinged largely on my answer to the final question, which I found really hard, dithering between two of the four options for ages. Was my ideal doctor a Victorian gentlemen, or an eccentric and perpetually curious thinker?

Well? )

strange_complex: (Penny Farthing)
I read this book on the canal, and for a book group which has just started up at work. I'm actually not too sure how long I'll stay in the book group, for two reasons: 1) I didn't feel particularly drawn to any of the other people in it at our initial meetings, and 2) I was in a book group once before in Oxford, and ended up letting it drop because I read so slowly that as soon as I have to read one book a month for a group, I find that I have almost no spare reading time left over to read anything else that I want to read for myself. But I'll give it a proper chance for a few months, anyway. And in the meantime, I count myself better off for having read this as our first group choice.

It's basically the story of a terrible crime, told from the point of view of a nine year old boy who is slightly too young to really grasp the full enormity of what's going on, but nevertheless sees and discovers enough for an adult reader to put together the pieces which his narrative voice can't. This lends a great pathos to the story, because frequently it is quite clear to the reader that the entire quiet-if-impoverished lifestyle which he has known to date is about to be ripped apart - but he does not know this yet, and remains preoccupied with his childish hopes, fears and adventures as everything unfolds around him. I've rarely read a book which carries off a child's-eye viewpoint so convincingly and to such clever effect. The language used, the events emphasised, the emotions experienced, the narrow physical horizons of the story were all entirely those of childhood - and yet an utterly adult story was conveyed by them all the same.

Actually, given the child-like language especially, I rather wished that we were reading it in the original Italian instead of in translation, as I think that the short, simple sentences would have been at just the right level for me. Still, I can always read the Italian version for myself if I want to - and as I say, the English translation is well worth reading.

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