Okay, here we go.
I said before Christmas that I admire Anna Funder and wanted to read Stasiland – well, now I have. And all the hype is justified – it’s terrific.
I remember when the Berlin Wall fell – it was a month short of my eleventh birthday. As I looked at the news, with the crowd dancing jubilant on this wall, I could hardly believe that forces had managed to keep them apart for so long and how horrible it must’ve been for them. I thought Berlin was right in the middle of Germany and that the line down the middle of the city effectively cut the country in two. Only later when I was studying modern history did I realise, no, that wasn’t what it looked like at all, with Berlin located deep within GDR territory.
Funder is a compassionate, sensitive storyteller and the human experiences she recounts – troubled and tortured as many are – are very moving.
Moving on to Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother … now, where do I start? I’m aware of the furore it caused when it was first released and I admit that after about the first twenty or thirty pages I wanted to fling it down and sniff in disgust. But I didn’t. I don’t think it’s spectacularly written, but there was something there that a) kept me going and b) left me quite pensive after finishing. I can sense Chua wouldn’t walk away from a fight, and I respect that she’s being brave enough to challenge parents (specifically mothers? It seems so) to think about their own parenting methods and skills in comparison to hers, which she is quite open about admitting would alarm and horrify others. This is how I chose to read it at least, because I myself wonder, at times, if I am too ‘soft’ on the kids and what ‘soft’ even means.
The others are because they’re on my 1001 Books Challenge list. I disliked Fingersmith – quite a great deal – and hope to enjoy Tipping the Velvet more. My list shows I’ve at least begun Brideshead Revisited before (not that I remember!) and hopefully this time I shall finish.
And the Something Very Exciting?
It was a HUGE day in the office, I can tell you.
Also, I can say now that I am a contributor in the The Emerging Writer: An Insider’s Guide to Your Writing Journey. Click over to find out more and see the super pretty cover.
Tell me what you’re reading! And if you plan on coming to the festival, what you want to see. Do let us know – we adore feedback.