Theft By Finding – David Sedaris

As a die-hard Sedaris fan, I’ve been excited to get hold of his diaries ever since I heard they were being published. They start off in 1977 in his fruit-picking and hitch-hiking years and take us through his life of drug binges, dodgy apartments and many, many odd jobs before his writing started to get noticed.

It’s interesting to read about some of his pivotal moments as they were actually happening. Whether it’s meeting his long-term boyfriend for the first time, “a guy named Hugh”, who he describes as “…handsome, a nice guy. Gay.”. Or the death of his mother and the first family Christmas without her, “Christmas was hard… When Mom was around, we’d remain at the dinner table for hours, but this year we all scattered the moment we finished eating.”   Continue reading

Lagom (The Swedish Art of Balanced Living) – Linnea Dunne

Since the popularity of The Little Book of Hygge, I’ve seen a number of similar gorgeous books about the Scandinavian lifestyle. I’ll admit, at first I thought they were a coffee table decoration – to look at and skim through, but not exactly life-changing. And it’s true, that while this little book about Lagom is perfect for the coffee table, it has helped me to improve certain aspects of my life.

It really struck a chord with me when I bought it last autumn. I was going through a busy period at work and was really struggling to keep my life balanced and healthy.

Continue reading

Under the Tuscan Sun – Frances Mayes

Have you ever wanted to simply drop everything and move to Tuscany? Well I have, many times! Reading Under the Tuscan Sun brought all those feelings back to me.

This book is a mixture of memoir, travel guide, recipe book and there’s also a good deal about house renovation, all told with the beautiful backdrop of Bramasole, the impressive house Mayes and her partner have taken on.

It was so easy to slip into the relaxed pace of this book and it’s exactly what I needed  a few months ago, during a particularly busy spell at work. Continue reading

Further Tales of the City – Armistead Maupin

The Tales of the City series makes for perfect summer reading, and my copy of the third installment got a lot of sun this year!

Further Tales takes us back to beloved 28 Barbary Lane and its inhabitants. Some time has passed since More Tales of the City, and there have been changes. The characters are moving on in their lives or careers. Most notably, Mary Ann, now a local shopping channel celebrity, is on a mission to become an investigative reporter. Loveable Michael is once again on the lookout for love and Brian is no longer flitting from girl to girl, but has ideas of settling down.

Of course, Barbary Lane would not be complete without the wonderful Mrs Madrigal who is ever the guardian angel looking out for her ‘children’. She has some brilliant scenes in this book, I only wish she could have featured a bit more! Continue reading

The Girl from the Coast – Pramoedya Ananta Toer

Girl-from-the-coast
I am writing this on my smart phone (yippee for technology!) which turns out to be quite awkward, so I apologise if this post is not as well edited as usual! I arrived in Ubud, Bali on Tuesday and will be in South East Asia for the next two months. I will try to keep the blog updated, but it may only be short posts.

The Girl from the Coast is set on Java, (on the island next door) and written by celebrated Indonesian writer Pramoedya Ananta Toer.

The nameless main character, simply referred to as ‘the girl’, is a pretty 14 year old who lives with her family in a fishing village. One day an important man, ‘the bendoro’, from the city learns of her beauty and wants to marry her. Continue reading

Eat Pray Love – Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat Pray LoveAfter being extremely unimpressed with the film, I avoided reading Eat Pray Love for a number of years (even though friends recommended it). However, researching for my upcoming trip to Indonesia, I kept coming across it in book and travel blogs. Bearing in mind that I started reading with negative feelings, I actually got more out of Eat Pray Love than I had expected.

This memoir leads us along Elizabeth Gilbert’s journey to ‘find herself’ after a traumatic marriage break-up. She heads to Rome to explore the idea of indulgence, India to find enlightenment and Bali to learn to love again. Or something like that. Continue reading

Under the Skin – Michel Faber

UnderTheSkinI doubt I could have entered into Michel Faber’s world with a better book. I started at the very beginning (and what a début!) with Under the Skin. It really was like entering a different world. It’s the type of book that you have to put down at intervals, to have a stunned couple of recovery breaths.

Isserley, the unusual anti-heroine/ heroine, is introduced in the first paragraph as a driver sizing up hitch-hikers. She’s “looking for big muscles: a hunk on legs. Puny, scrawny specimens were no use to her”.

Less than a page in and the reader is already feeling uncomfortable. There’s something unsettling about this book. And this feeling intensifies as the book progresses. With each new hitch-hiker, another piece of the puzzle is revealed. Continue reading