Sunday, 30 September 2007

The siege and not joining a book club

It would probably be difficult to find two more contrasting reads than the two books I'm reading now. Helen Dunmore's The Siege is a beautifully written story of a family during the siege of Leningrad in 1941. She describes the winter with its beautiful snow and deadly cold with language that is particularly poetic, but when describing the feelings of the main characters, the language is more prosaic and down-to-earth. This contrast adds to the tension in the story - will these people whom we have come to know, survive the winter and the siege. A really compelling read, and should lead to some interesting discussions at the reading group meeting. The other title is No, I don't want to join a book club by Virginia Ironside. Much more brittle, about a woman reaching sixty and becoming a grandmother within a few months. There are a few "they didn't have those in my day" statements which, being sixty, are just plain wrong, as I can remember for a fact that they did. Very much a Londoners view of life, too, as the diarist spends her time visiting the Tate, various expensive restaurants and talks about her Freedom card. However, despite these few carping critiicisms, its quite fun, and hasn't made me want to hurl it across the room, as I did with Bridget Jones Diary. As this is also a Book Club read, the comments from the other readers should prove fascinating.

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