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Showing posts from April, 2020

Lockdown reading to take you to another world

The Ten Thousand Doors of January Author: Alix E. Harrow
January Scaller discovers she has a unique gift – that of being able to make things happen just by writing about them. While we all shut our doors during this pandemic, January is busy opening them. Doors to other realms and worlds, which call to her natural sense of adventure and send her on a voyage of discovery about her own roots. The trouble is, not everybody is happy about letting January into other worlds, or other worlds into ours. 




This was an enjoyable, book-lovers’ fantasy full of adventure, romance, humour and pathos. The fact that it had a female protagonist of colour was a major draw for me although this is secondary to the actual story.
The first thing that hooked me, apart from the gorgeous cover, was the language and writing style. Harrow’s use of metaphor and imagery is vivid, evoking scenes and emotions in bold strokes. Her sense of voice is sharp so that she manages to render a variety of distinct ones, whether…

Beneath The Same Heaven – Anne Marie Ruff

Synopsis
Kathryn, an American woman, and Rashid, a Pakistani Muslim man, meet and fall in love in Dubai. They marry and move to the US where they start their family. Then Rashid’s father is killed while at a wedding near the Afghan border, in a US drone attack. Rashid flies back to Pakistan for the funeral, where his mother pressures him to exact revenge for the loss of his father. But doing so would mean attacking the country he now calls home, and in which he has built a life with his wife and sons. How far will he go to fulfil his conflicting obligations, and can he ever be forgiven?






My ReviewI was interested to see how the author would examine what might motivate someone to carry out a terrorist attack, and I was glad to see that she tried to give a nuanced, human picture, without at all condoning the enormity of those actions. She carefully positions one particular act of terror on American soil within the wider context of the War on Terror, humanising the innocent, collateral vi…

A Bit Of Earth

Several weeks into lockdown, and everyone’s getting a little stir-crazy. Spaces to escape into seem even more precious, especially for those with children. I feel very privileged to have my small patch of a garden where we can potter about, sit, get some air or just get away from one another. 

And no wonder. The effects of the lockdown and the terrible human costs of this pandemic are taking their toll on our mental health, old and young alike. Which brings me to these three books that are well-loved in our house:



Unlike most of us, who are spending more time at home with our families than we ever thought possible, the main character in each of these books has been sent away from the home they know and separated from their family in some way, whether it’s due to the deaths of parents from cholera (The Secret Garden), a mother in a coma (Moondial), or – aptly - a brother in quarantine (Tom’s Midnight Garden).
Although our situations are different on the surface, when we look deeper there …