FIROOZEH DUMAS – Funny in Farsi

Leave a comment

Acquired via BookCrossing 25 February 2006 – BookRing

I think this is the most-travelled book I’ve held yet! And so many familiar names on the list before me, as well as new ones!

As to the book – well, I really enjoyed it. Wish it had been longer and a little less disjointed – she mentions that she started writing “stories” in the final chapter, which I guess explains that aspect. I’ve read quite a lot of “immigrant experience” books, fiction and non-fiction, and many share aspects – the parents’ accents, trying to fit into two cultures, etc. I’ve not read one about an Iranian family before – it’s very interesting to see all the similarities, and then also to see her love of her individual family shine through.

A good book which would have been better if longer – and who can complain about a review like that! Also very interesting to read of the other readers’ experiences in their own lives and with friends from different nations. My point to add to this – I found out I know more about Islam and Hinduism than Judaism when my Jewish bf managed to fool me good and proper by telling me a big whopper about his birth faith – I’m so dashed liberal that I believed it and respected it without wondering if it was true or looking behind the facade! Is this just as bad as thinking everyone from a hot country has a pet camel??!


Leave a comment

Now I’ve caught up with my books finished over the past few days, here’s what I’ll be reading in a few months, which arrived today. Each of them cost £3.99 and I used almost the last of Matt’s Amazon voucher – I’m spending my vouchers a little at a time, to prolong my birthday as long as possible!

IAN SANSOM – The Case of the Missing Books – I don’t usually like mysteries but I believe this falls under the “cosy mystery” header, and how can I resist what will in fact be a series about a librarian who runs a mobile library!

JONATHAN LETHEM – The Fortress of Solitude – Set in 1970s Brooklyn with a multiracial cast and apparently a bit of magic realism – this is the next Liz and Matt Read after we’ve (started and) finished The Half-Brother

VIKAS SWARUP – Q&A – Ram Mohammed Thomas, a poor, 18-year old waiter from the wrong side of the tracks, becomes the biggest quiz-show winner in history, scooping a billion rupee prize in an Indian television programme which goes one better than ‘Millionaire’. Unfortunately, the producers don’t have the money to pay him, so instead, charge him with fraud

NIALL MURTAGH – The Blue-Eyed Salaryman: From World Traveller to Lifer at Mitsubishi – in which the author settles down to work in Japan. Matt has his eye on this one, too!

SHAR & BOBBY HASHEMI – Anyone Can Do It: Building Coffee Republic from Our Kitchen Table – I’ve been after this for ages, and there it was cheap!

BREENA CLARKE – River, Cross My Heart

Leave a comment

Bought 10 December 2005 – Waterstones, Birmingham

Another of the £1 bargains!

A fairly simple tale of a black family in 1920s Washington DC, this wears its obvious research lightly and provides a compelling narrative, concentrating mainly on teenage Johnnie Mae, but also her mother and aunt. The story is underpinned by one tragedy which stretches far into their imaginations and memories, but this is accompanied by a wealth of detail and interest.

I don’t think I’ll re-read it, so I’m going to set it free via BookCrossing. But I would recommend it (and thank Ali for recommending it to me!)

POLLY BENGE – Tea for Two… With No Cups

Leave a comment

Bought 10 Dec 2005 – Waterstones, Birmingham

This was the first of my 11 £1 Waterstones clearance buys!

Narrative of Polly’s decision to up sticks from her life as a dancer and tour round Northern India with her New Zealand boyfriend and his friend, on bicycles, mainly to see if she will go and live with him afterwards. Although it’s an interesting tale, it’s not very well told. The grammar and, well the editing in effect, are sloppy. I’ve noticed this with this publisher (TravellersEye) before – they seem to take on amateurs’ work, but don’t make it as professional as they could do. I found it a little hard to care about her story, and was irritated more than I perhaps should have been by the excess of commas, where semi-colons would be more appropriate, but it was interesting.

Will probably make this available via BookCrossing rather than keep it.


Leave a comment

Acquired via BookCrossing 10 Dec 2005 – at Dudley meetup

This was… a bit odd. Full of repressed teenage sexuality and a bit shocking at the end. Unfortunately it seems Manning did go to write a teenage novel when she was a bit older, did the research and all that, but it feels a bit researched. It was interesting and the story carried you on, but not wonderful.

LESLIE PIETRZYK – Pears on a Willow Tree

Leave a comment

Acquired via BookCrossing 26 November 2005 – BCBirmingham meetup

I really enjoyed this book, a lively and absorbing read about 4 generations of Polish-Americans. As their blood and lives are diluted and absorbed into American culture, the characters are brought up against ideas of home, identity and family.

I thought the section based in Thailand was a bit of a jarring note at one point, but on reflection, it echoed the huge changes experienced by the original great-grandmother when she came to America.

ROSEMARY DINNAGE – One to One: Experiences of Psychotherapy

Leave a comment

Acquired 01 Nov 2005 – I think from one of CaffCaff’s boxes of psychology books for Matt

Excellent book of interviews with ordinary people who have undergone psychotherapy of various kinds. Positive and negative experiences, but something drawn from each of them. This would be reassuring to someone entering or considering entering therapy, so I’m going to register and release rather than keep it.

CLARE FRANCIS – Come Hell or High Water

Leave a comment

Acquired via BookCrossing 03 Nov 2005 – at the Moseley Organic Festival

This was great. I’ve probably read it before at some stage, but it bears a re-read. The story of her preparations for and attempt at a singlehanded Atlantic boat race, told vividly and without pretension by this excellent writer.

AMULYA MALLADI – Serving Crazy With Curry

Leave a comment

Acquired via BookCrossing 03 Nov 2005 – Eid meetup

Very good novel about an Indian family living in America. The soap opera plot is kept real by the characters’ awareness of its ridiculousness, and the Dad is particularly well drawn.

RICHARD GRANT – Ghost Riders: Travels With American Nomads

Leave a comment

Acquired via BookCrossing 31 Oct 2005 – NSS gift

This was good, although I preferred the stuff about his travels and the present day nomads to the historican (and quite icky!) stuff. I love reading about the American South West so particularly enjoyed those bits.

Older Entries