The Hungry Bookling

A journey through books and the imagination

Amongst the pin-board of traits that make me, well me, I always thought I was reliable person. Or at least I thought it was, but it turns out it is a while since I have blogged. 

Now I could hand you a virtual bouquet of excuses and watch them wilt in the open and very cold air. Or I could just say life happens, apologise and get on with it. I choose the latter. Plus I do not want the risk of virtual paper cuts. They are nasty.

Something I have been pondering lately, amidst the usual tick box of December activities is my thoughts on tradition and the festive season.  

When I was younger, if it had been a difficult year I knew December would make everything ok. It just did. December was always so crammed full, I practically burst through into January like I had launched happily, head first out of a Christmas cracker. I remember bundling in through the kitchen door, to a familiar smell of Christmas cake, and the sight of my red plastic toy box been turned into a giant mixing bowl (my mum said it was the only thing in the house large enough) – she did wash it first though, I feel the need to point that out. I would sit crossed legged on the kitchen tiles scooping out the batter into oven tins for baking and this process would go on for hours, all happily cheered on by my mum’s ‘Mario Lanza’ Christmas album. Other Christmas music is also available. Lots of it.

But December does not always make everything ok. I was wrong. 

Sure, it was a great memory for me, but what I have noticed as I have grown (a lot) older (and what I never saw when I was a kid) was the immense pressure that this time of year brings, the expectations to continue to recreate those fond Christmas memories and the disappointment that is caused when you can never quite match up to them. It has got to be amazing….right?

And  yet I realised (whilst I was ticking off the December list) that it is ok not to recreate those memories. What makes that memory great for me is that it is unique and it those type of memories that last the longest. I dislike repetition anyway. I always have, so why am I (and many others) busting a gut every year to make things just right and putting pressure on myself only to be left disappointed?

Not anymore. I say it is ok not to be perfect, I say if avoiding tradition makes you happy then do it. No expectations, just be you. Don’t let the season get you down it will soon pass. Instead find your own unique brand of happiness, don’t worry ‘pressure’ and ‘perfection’ are not invited. They don’t make great dinner guests. 

And so, in the spirit of uniqueness and as I too am very unique! I have always been drawn to books with totally original characters and my following book choices have just that. I would love to know what you think. 

Plus, there is still time to vote in the polls of Hungry Bookling by design: Part 1. Don’t worry Part 2 will be posted shortly. I am back on schedule. I hope. Otherwise, I will be offering that virtual bouquet of excuses after all.

And now to my book reviews:

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata (translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori)

‘Convenience Store Woman’ is a work of fiction, told from the perspective of Keiko, a single woman, working in a supermarket who struggles with both relationships and society. 

This is an instantly engaging piece of fiction, told from an unusual perspective which makes it both a fresh and absorbing read. I found the pressures of society to be well told and often relatable. It clearly highlights how people can spend so much time focusing on how they are viewed by others. I do this too. The book is short, but I found it to be well paced and not rushed. 

‘Convenience Store Woman’ is a very thought provoking read and I would happily read another book by this author.

Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh 

‘Eileen’ is a fictional story of a flawed woman who spends her time caring for her alcoholic father and working at a local prison. She is stuck in an unwanted but familiar routine until she meets Rebecca and her life takes a dark, but interesting turn. The character of Eileen makes for a very intriguing storyteller, the way she speaks about herself and others pulls you into the story, but there is a sharpness and an unreliability to it that always makes you slightly on edge. I applaud the originality of the plot and the character interactions. I did find that at times I struggled with the pace of the book, in parts it felt a little slow and then sometimes even a little rushed, which left me feeling a tad disorientated with the plot, but on the whole due to the original characters and descriptive scenes alone it is well worth the read.

Sheer Blue Bliss by Lesley Glaister

If you want  a book with interesting, well -rounded characters, you want to read a book by Lesley Glaister. I have read many of her books and have not been disappointed. ‘Sheer Blue Bliss’ focuses around ‘Connie Benson’ an elderly artist with an intriguing backstory which is now coming back to haunt her in the form of ‘Tony’ an obsessed fan of Connie’s late love interest Patrick. Lesley has a very distinctively descriptive and raw approach to storytelling. She does not hold back and that goes for the characters too. Both the characters of ‘Tony’ and ‘Connie’ are so well envisioned you instantly become engrossed in the story. I find the movement between the viewpoints of the characters fluid and not distracting. This is a well written thriller which I would recommend and one of those rare books I would be happy to read again. 

I would be interested to know if you would recommend any books with unique characters, I am always happy to hear from other booklings out there! 

5 thoughts on “Virtual paper-cuts, pressure and perfection

  1. Donna Dunstan says:

    Love reading your reviews! The author of the third book you reviewed looked familiar to me and then I remembered that I read a book years ago by Lesley Glaister called Nina Todd has gone and I really enjoyed it. I will definitely be checking out Sheer Blue Bliss now too.

    1. Thanks so much Donna for reading my blog and your comment. I remember reading ‘Nina Todd has Gone” too and I really liked it, from my memory that had great characters too. Yes I would say if you enjoyed that book you will hopefully enjoy this one too!!

  2. Chocoviv says:

    Love the reviews!

  3. Fantastic reviews. Well done!

    1. Thanks Cristian! Very kind of you, thanks for reading my blog!!

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