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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Breath

When I was school age I read many books – up to six a day. When I was very young I read Enid Blyton’s novels, the Narnia series, Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women”, “Little Men” and “Jo’s Boy” and many other books with authors and titles I can’t remember. As I grew older I read John Le Carre, Harold Robbins, Daphne Du Maurier, Elizabeth Goudge and many many others. Sometimes I read books more than once, but that was pretty rare. With all the books I read the one criterion I had that, in my eyes, made the book a “good” one was whether or not I could put it down. My favorites were the books where I would miss meals in order to keep reading and where I would suddenly wonder why the pages were getting more difficult to read and realise the sun had gone down and it was time to turn the light on.

Breath by Tim Winton is one of those books that are difficult to put down, although I have to admit the responsibility of going to work and looking after a family did mean I had to force myself into the real world now and again. I found I could easily relate to Winton’s characters and, as I grew up in Western Australia, I could also visualise the scenery. Even though the main characters were male, I enjoyed their journeys despite some of the uncomfortable twists and turns. I can really recommend this book as one that is easy and pleasurable to read. I read somewhere recently that Breath is being made into a movie and I wonder how they will translate some of the scenes but I’m sure it will be a good one.

Having read Breath I thought I would read another of Winton’s books “Cloudstreet” which has been made into a mini series. I have to admit I didn’t enjoy this one half as much as Breath, in fact I didn’t enjoy it at all. Cloudstreet is set in the early 1900’s mostly in Perth, Western Australia around the suburbs where I lived from the age of 10. I guess I’m not a fan of historical novels and the characters simply annoyed me as I’m also not tolerant of people who sit around and moan about their lot in life or are extremely foolish in one way or another. I finally finished the book last night and I know for a fact I won’t be watching the mini series!

Strange isn’t it how one can have such different opinions of two books by the same author! I guess writers give birth to books as mothers give birth to children – a lot of hard work goes into the process but the outcome is not guaranteed to be the same as the first or the second, etc. And books really do have their own identities and personalities. Some of them demand attention and some are happy to sit quietly on the shelf, overlooked until needed.

I have one exam on 20 June to study for and then I will start my reading again. Looking forward to finishing the exam and reporting on the next book I read!

6 comments:

  1. I read most of those books too...as a child I read everything...now I rarely have time to read....so it has to be a good book with recommendations before I start....I'll look for Breath....nothing I love more than a good book!

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  2. I am guessing that Jane Austen isn't on your top list of authors then? As many of her characters do sit and moan about.
    I've never heard of this author, or if I have it's not ringing any bells for me.
    Good luck on your exam!

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  3. I read tons of books as a child. Some of the same ones you have. Wish I could remember them all!

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  4. I used to read a book a day. But nowadays with DVR's and the internet I never seem to find the time. I have a stupid statistics class I'm trapped by, I feel your pain.

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  5. I love reading too. Right now, I am giving James Frey's new one a try.

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  6. mermaid - I find it difficult to get reading time as well - hope you enjoy Breath if you find it!

    Domestic - Actually I do like Jane Austen, I think the moaning was all part of that era so its in context. Thank you! I think the exam went alright.

    gayle - I wish I could remember them all too! But I remember the important ones.

    Mrs Tuna - Oh statistics! I think you must be in far more pain than I am - good luck!

    Kristy - Let me know if the Frey book is good - I will read it if you can recommend it!

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