Saturday, 15 June 2013

good reads

Whenever possible I read a lot which is often to the detriment of my wallet as I do like to buy books although mainly second hand. As a child and teenager I would have 3 books on the go- I'm sure this must have been confusing for me and I really cant imagine myself following 3 different story lines now but who I am I to question my hormonal teenage brain. Come summertime, give me a beach and a (good) book and I'm set for hours; in winter the same but by a cosy fire. I don't get to read as much as I would like during term time but I more than make up for it during the holidays.

Last break I devoured  The kindness of your nature (Linda Olsson) in two days while camping but I hadn't taken anything else to read?!!  That led me in turn to buy my new favorite magazine, Yen, at the Coromandel Four Square. Anyway... apparently Linda Olsson is huge overseas (she is Swedish but now NZ based) and her stories often follow a similar theme but to me this story was quite magical and unique.

The start of this book reminded both me and my man of The Bone People (Kerri Hulme), very difficult to get into (I made 5 attempts at BP before loving it) but so so worth it once you're in. Olsson has a very restrained style that means the story unfolds slowly but perfectly in time. I will admit now to a tendency to skip large portions of books that I find boring. This did not happen in  The kindness of your nature, I hung on every word. I'm not going to totally review this book as Lisa Hill does it quite well here. But I recommend it. Part of the story is set in coastal Northland and Olsson really captures the beauty and the solitude of rural NZ. I don't want to give away any part of the story so I will only say that I was left thinking about it for a much longer time than any other book I have read. I made my man read it just so I could discuss at length what I was feeling (Men love talking about feelings). And yes, I cried.

Bonjour tristesse (Francoise Sagan) is a book I continue to go back to, partly to re-live the romantic sunny setting of the Mediterranean and partly because each time I notice something new or feel something different about one of the characters. I really enjoy French to English translations- it may just be the authors I have read but to me there is a real French style that is to the point and sort of nonchalant. Sagan has this attitude down, especially since she was around 18 when she wrote this book. The main character Cecile is lovable for her honesty and the unashamed way she embraces her life of privilege and her love of fine things. The whole tone of the book seems light, lovely and easy- very much like Cecile but with real menace just below the surface. 


Currently I am reading The Element (Ken Robinson). It has made me become very wary about telling children to sit still on the mat or to draw conclusions about a child's intelligence based on standardized testing. Ken Robinson is well known for his views on the public education system and I tend toward agreeing with many of them. We dont know what jobs will be around in the future so how do we (teachers) begin to prepare children for them? Who are we to tell children there is one way to learn and one test they must pass to be deemed intelligent? What Robinson is saying in this book is that we are all born with some level of creativity, of intelligence, but we express these in very different ways. He believes we just need to find the medium which through to explore and express our talents and make that our job. He interviews and uses for example many talented and creative individuals like Matt Groening,  Mick Fleetwood, Paul McCartney and many more. This would be an inspiring book for any young person who struggles in school or any adult unhappy in their job.

Happy reading.

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