Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

Reading Life: 7th December 2015

A photograph of Helen Oyeyemi's Boy, Snow, Bird and Cheryl Strayed's Wild framed by gold tinsel

Thanks to a present-giving day I’ve the two books above, books I’ve wanted ever since bloggers first reviewed them. To say I’m excited would be an understatement. I wasn’t sure Strayed’s would still be available in hardback and was so glad to find out it was; I quite like Reese Witherspoon but would prefer she sticks to our film collection. How envy-inducing is it that Oyeyemi’s published five books and is only 30? Anyway, I’m glad to have another fairy-tale retelling ready as well as what I know is a good, if rose-tinted, story of self-discovery.

Right now I’m reading Sunjeev Sahota’s The Year Of The Runaways, trying to get through the Young Writer Of The Year short-list before the winner’s announced. Sahota’s book is number three for me, I’ve only the Ferguson left, and I must admit I’m finding it difficult. It’s not a bad book, it’s that at almost half-way little has happened beyond going to work. There have been flashbacks to the characters’ last months in India but the writing hasn’t interested me enough to make me eager to keep reading.

I watched the film adaptation of The Book Thief last week. Perhaps it’s the amount of time since I read the book, but I loved the film. It was definitely different – considering so much of the success was down to the writing it was always going to be – but as adaptations go I found it fairly faithful. It’s one of those that can stand on their own without being constantly compared. I found myself picking up on lots of themes and thoughts I’d missed when reading and again, it was the absence of the writing – I was enthralled by Zusak’s writing to the point that was my main takeaway. Watching let me see the way Liesel’s burgeoning education and stealing habits conflicted against the idea that a lot of material was bad and shouldn’t be read, the irony of it, even if book censorship wasn’t a major part of the period. And of course there’s Max’s use (whether just in the film or the book, also, I can’t remember) of Hitler’s book, blanking it all out, so the binding could contain new words. I could’ve done without the Apple product placement at the end, though. It did a good job of letting you know exactly which era we’d moved into, but in case you didn’t know, Apple paid a lot of money towards the production of this film, multiple exclamation marks and capslock.

I’ve a couple of Christmas book ideas ready in case I finish the shortlist. One is Annie O’Neil’s The Surgeon’s Christmas Wish and I’m tempted to re-read A Christmas Carol. I suppose I could review The Jolly Christmas Postman – children’s present idea if you need one – but I’d have to pinch it from my nephew and he’d likely have something to say about that (quite rightly, too).

The tree is up and the decorations are about 40%; complete. There’s still tidying to be done and the inevitable hoovering of tree spines that reminds you you’ll have to get another tree before too long. We found last year’s half-full box of cards and it’s definitely a half-full situation – after fretting that we hadn’t bought enough a couple of weeks ago we now find we have the right amount. As much as it’s nice to be out around Christmas getting everything done early so you can just saunter about instead of worry is lovely. Presents don’t get wrapped until the last week, however – you’ve got to leave some of the fun for the festive period. In addition, I’ve been reading about Christmas traditions – did those of you who aren’t Kiwis know that in New Zealand advertising on television is banned on Christmas Day? It’s also banned at Easter. Awesome, isn’t it?

How are your reading, shopping, and decorating going?


Tracy Terry

December 7, 2015, 4:13 pm

Can’t say I personally thought much of the film version of The Book Thief but I’m glad you enjoyed it.

Busy working my way through my festive reads and ordering presents but I’m afraid bar our advent candles we are yet to start putting up any other decorations.


December 7, 2015, 5:48 pm

I haven’t read the book but I loved The Book Thief film, it is currently one of my Top Ten Adaptations I’ve watched this year.

I’m pleased you are on top of things and have been enjoying the build-up to Christmas. I’ve bought a couple of presents and have my cards – still need to start wrapping and writing though!

p.s. I think a re-read of A Christmas carol sounds like a great idea :-)

Jenny @ Reading the End

December 9, 2015, 1:38 am

Oh dear, I’m sad you’re not loving The Year of the Runaways — it’s on my list of 2016 books to look out for, and I am still hoping to like it. I’ll try to regulate my expectations!

My Christmas shopping is (sob) nearly finished. I will be so sad when it is finished and I don’t have any fun presents left to buy. Then I will have to wait until birthdays, sob sob.



Comments closed