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This Week We Have Been Mostly Reading

Sometimes life gets in the way of reading but even if it’s only a few lines before bed, we try to fit it in. What we really need is a nice long train journey or a holiday but the opportunities for those are currently few and far between!

However, if we can’t update this site with at least one new book each per week, we’re not doing very well so here goes…


Kate has been reading…

Beloved by Toni Morrison


Set in the 1800s as slavery is coming to an end, the book is chronicles the life of Sethe, both as a slave in Kentucky and as a ‘free’ survivor, haunted by violent and traumatic experiences. It is a hard-hiting and unflinching but at the same time somehow lyrical in its representation of slavery and its impact on those enslaved.

I found it hard initially to get accustomed to the style of the writing and I’m sure it’s one of those books which benefit from re-reading in order to catch references which at first seem obscure.

What is particulary compelling is the juxtapostion of hard-hitting realism and the presence of a haunting ghostly figure which plays a part in the story.

Anne has been reading…

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath opens with a description of the dust storms during the Great Depression in America which are so bad that they block out the sunlight and all the crops fail, forcing the tenant farmers of Oklahoma to leave and travel to California with thousands of other ‘Okies’ in the hope of finding work. The book follows the Joad family on their journey from Oklahoma to California and is interspersed with chapters giving a wider social perspective on the time and the reasons why so many families felt they had no choice but to leave.

Grimly fascinating is how I’d describe this at the moment. It is beautifully written, unrelentingly depressing but sometimes that’s the kind of book that suits the times!


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