Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Thursday, 26 November 2015

More Greedy Reading.

I am an unashamed bookaholic. After I described myself that way on an earlier post Snowbrush told me that in fact I am a bibliophile.  Perhaps.  But bookaholic is an accurate description of my obsessive need for books.
 
If I am pretending to be couth and sophisticated I might talk about eclectic or omnivorous reading tastes.  Greedy is more truthful.


I read fiction and non fiction and from a wide range of genres.  There are ones I prefer, but few I won't attempt.  I read every day and frequently neglect other things to do so.


These are some of the very different books which I have devoured recently.  By coincidence only one of the ones I am featuring today is fiction.


Identical Strangers was a book I picked up at a closing down sale.  Like many 'singletons' I am fascinated by twins, and over the years have read quite a lot about them.

This one filled me with rage.  Elyse Schein had always known she was adopted.  In her mid-thirties she set about searching for her biological mother and opened a very big can of worms.  She discovered that she had a twin.  An identical twin.

They, and far too many others including some triplets, had been separated at birth as part of a secret study conducted by influential psychiatrists into the 'nature/nuture' conundrum, and because of a theory that 'twinship' imposes a burden on both the children and their families.  And the adoptive parents hadn't been told either.   As an aside, despite being reared apart and by very different families Elyse and her twin were remarkably similar.

Given that twins have been seen in sonogram images kissing, punching, embracing it is clear that their connection begins before their birth.  Mengele did some monstrous studies of twins in Nazi concentration camps during World War 2.  However, this study took place in the US as recently as the 1970s.  Hiss and spit.   



The Shepherd's Crown is the very last book written by (Sir) Terry Pratchett.  When he died in March of this year I, like many other people grieved.  And was grateful that he was finally free of the 'embuggerance' of Alzheimer's disease.  It is the final novel in the 'Tiffany Aching' series of Discworld novels.  A series supposedly designed for younger readers, but enjoyed by people of all ages, me included.  This last novel is perhaps not as polished as it would have become had he lived longer - but still a must read.  And it somehow seems appropriate to me that Sir Terry and Granny Weatherwax died together.
 

The last two are books written by talented people I found here in the blogosphere, the first by Robyn Alana Engel and the second by Mark Koopmans.  Both of these authors were generous enough to send me a copy of their work.  

So many authors lurk in the blogosphere, and tempt, educate and delight me.  I have other works by bloggers in my unread towers too.  And will get to them.



Robyn says that she doesn't like memoirs.  I love them.  She has written something which I would describe as a memoir and she would describe as memoirish.  I do seem to have developed a habit of arguing with authors.

Like many of us she was fed the fairy story that somewhere there is a Prince Charming.  A Prince Charming who would find her, sweep her off her feet, and marry her.  And they would live happily ever after.  Not a happening thing.


I read it with laughter, tears, and a recognition that I am not/we are not alone in feeling robbed by those fairy stories we were repeatedly fed.  It is definitely funny, equally sad (in a bitter sweet way) and very, very real.

And the cover photo?  That is Robyn.  In her wedding dress.  Which is covered in the chocolate which has been sweeter, more nourishing, more reliable and consistent than the men in her life.  So far.




I am going to approach this a little differently and tell you all the reasons I *shouldn't* have liked Revival.  And note I say shouldn't not didn't.

I am not musical.  Music is not an essential to me as it is to so many others.  I watch very little television, and reality shows are low on the list of programs I do watch.  I am at least an agnostic and more probably an atheist.

Revival tells the story of Donald Braswell.  He graduated from Julliard and the 'Texas Tenor' looked set to have a spectacular career as a singer - he had been compared to Pavarotti.  A run-in with a hit and run driver left him lying in a ditch.  Most of his injuries healed relatively quickly.  However, his voice was gone.  And with it the future he expected and planned.  Understandably he gave in to depression and despair.

After the birth of his first child Braswell turned his life around - with a lot of help from his amazing wife, friends, co-workers - and his faith. He worked in jobs well outside his training and his comfort zone.  Perhaps the most dramatic part of the memoir was learning that Donald's wife nominated him to appear on America's Got Talent.  And appear he did.  And you will have to read the book to find out how he did. 

So you see why I say I shouldn't have been tempted by, or enjoyed this work?  Fortunately I don't follow rules well.  Mark featured excerpts from the book (then a work in progress) in this year's A to Z challenge.  I read every post and wanted more. 

I am so glad that he was intrigued by the story and persistent enough to badger Donald Braswell to let him tell it.  So much of Donald's story is alien to me, but I was fascinated by it.  I marvelled, I wept, I smiled and closed it reluctantly. 












93 comments:

  1. Considering how many books you have read - and read - I am truly honored that you again highlighted my writing - and Donald's journey.

    Thank you, EC, thank you so very much!

    (And now I have to get a copy of Robyn's book and the others you mentioned:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mark Koopmans: Sorry, I have been out all day so I am late responding. It was my pleasure to showcase your book and Donald's journey. And Robyn's book is a delight too.

      Delete
    2. Thank you. I'm getting your book, Mark. I know it'll inspire me. This review alone does. You're awesome for memorializing Donald's story for all of us, and for all time.

      Delete
  2. Oh my gosh- the twin story is just awful! Now I have to find the book to read! These all sound great, and I, too, am a "bookaholic". Stacks and stacks, and I also !! EGADS!! read the same books over and over...but only if they are fantastic the first time. Thanks for the reviews.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Terri @ Coloring Outside the Lines: The twin story WAS awful. I too reread. Some books most years. There are some that I know so well I can recite slabs of them off by heart.

      Delete
  3. I got to read the last two before they were released and both are awesome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alex J Cavanaugh: I shared that privilege. And privilege it was.

      Delete
    2. Love you all. Koopmans, I'm ordering your book today. The reviews inspire me, as do you, with or without the coconut bra.

      Delete
  4. I just put a hold on the book about twins at my library and have only the option of downloading onto my Kindle Robyn's book, which I will do as soon as I'm done here. Thank you so much for the new books to read! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. DJan: I am always happy to share the bookie love.

      Delete
  5. Replies
    1. Author R. Mac Wheeler: So am I. The household tasks perhaps less so...

      Delete
  6. I am intrigued by the twin experiment and am returning some library books today so I'll request that one.
    Thank you for the reviews.I, too, find some gems in the blogosphere.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. dinahmow: Let me know how you get on. If you can't find it, I will gladly send it to you.

      Delete
  7. Great reviews. Books I probably wouldn't have found otherwise. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marty Damon: I am always coming across new books. And succumb.

      Delete
  8. Replies
    1. Martin Kloess: Did any in this selection appeal?

      Delete
  9. Greedy reading is redundant for me!

    ReplyDelete
  10. The Discworld books I read many they were wonderful enjoyed the lot but the others I would be interested in.
    Merle.................

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Merlesworld: The Discworld series were mostly wonderful. Books I reread. The world is smaller and darker without him.

      Delete
  11. Sounds like you have been into some good stuff. Amazing that I read all the time and I have never heard any of these titles! There are SO many good books out there and yet our hours are numbered! I bought a book at the writers conference last week and came home to two books in the mail box. Two more came this week. I can't read fast enough! Keep reading--and I think you will! Enjoy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bookie: I know I will never read all the books I want to, but will die trying.

      Delete
  12. You always have a good haul. Must star thinking about my Summer reading pile ~ new books or books I haven't got around to reading yet? Hmm ~ I will probably go new books (now that is greedy). We have a Lifeline store here that has the BEST range of secondhand books.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. carol: Lifeline is responsible for rather a lot of the books in my unread towers too. And I recycle some (not enough but some) back to them too.

      Delete
  13. I just ordered Identical Strangers & the Donald Braswell book--thank you!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. fishducky: I hope you like them. Very different books.

      Delete
  14. I like the term bookaholic. It suggests a healthy addiction. :-)

    Greetings from London.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A Cuban in London: Over the years my friends and family have from time to time disputed the healthy aspect. Tough.

      Delete
  15. Wonderful reviews, EC. I love memoirs; I love music - covering just about every genre; I love books and I love reading; I love movies; and I love my TV...the shows that I choose to watch. And I love chocolate...dark chocolate...however, I eat it in moderation only...but I always have some at hand just in case moderation takes over!

    I gave up believing in fairy tales when I grew out of my childhood. And, like you, I'm agnostic, leaning toward atheist. With all the blood shed in the name of "religion" ...the leaning is becoming more pronounced by the day!

    Thanks for the reviews, EC. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lee: Flattery. They probably aren't reviews so much as a potted summary. And yes, the evil done in the name of religion bothers me. A lot.

      Delete
  16. I love reading. I love it. Book and the characters within are my friends. I know you know what I mean.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Birdie: Yes. My friends, my comfort and my escape. And an education too.

      Delete
  17. They all sound interesting and I've written down the titles and authors. I hope i can find them at my local libraries, if not, perhaps they can locate them for me and get them in.
    I don't read nearly as much as I want to, I get caught up in other things, then it's a choice of read or sleep and sleep usually wins.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. River: It is the other things I neglect. And insomnia has some tiny benefits. You will certainly find the Discworld Books in the library. Mark Koopmans was only released this month, so perhaps not that one.

      Delete
    2. I can get the Discworld books from my daughter's front room, she has all of them except this last one I think.

      Delete
  18. Thanks for these. The one about the twins looks fascinating but horrible too. Amazing how doctors were (and are still, I suspect) able to get away with cruelty, because they "know what's best". Reminds me of the book "My lobotomy" - a "difficult" boy's stepmother convinced a doctor to lobotomize him, with a now notorious method called "ice-pick lobotomy". Terrible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lynners: The arrogance of some doctors fills me with rage. Too many people accept that they know best too - still. I had heard about My Lobotomy (perhaps from you). Urk.

      Delete
  19. That is terrible what those shrinks did to people, for their studies, or egos or twisted entertainment. Sickos! Disgusted to think of it after all I went through at their hands.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Strayer: Too many of them think that they are at least demi gods. And still do. I did think that it was a particularly cruel study.

      Delete
  20. I'm not a big reader of books, but, I often listen to my Kindle as I crochet - multi-tasking on that :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Margaret-whiteangel: I suspec the household would look better if I did a bit of multi-tasking...

      Delete
    2. Listen to a Kindle. Clearly my Kindle is of a very modest variety.

      Delete
  21. I don't mention it on my blog as it makes them too identifiable, but our Brother Friends are identical twins and both gay. While they haven't always lived together, they have for the last twenty years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Andrew: I couldn't/wouldn't live with any of my siblings again. Could you? And do the Brother Friends ever do the 'sibling rivalvry' rubbish?

      Delete
  22. Hi EC - great reviews or summaries .. all look very interesting. The twin one I find dreadful - but we know those sorts of things happened ... and I suspect still do. I could never get into Terry Pratchett - one day I'm sure I will or hear him (his books) on audible ...

    Then our two bloggers - they both look amazing Memoirs with interesting stories attached ... I like you will get to them via my would like to read list ... Housework sort of gets done .. but the paper never reduces, nor the books! Cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hilary Melton-Butcher: Reading is such an individual thing isn't it? At least one of my friends is with you on Terry Pratchett. We agree about lots of books - but not his. Which is fine.
      The bloggers books are very different, and both a treat in store for you.

      Delete
  23. I believe that twinship is a burden on the twins at times. It is also a wonderful blessing which nobody has any right to take away.

    ReplyDelete
  24. So happy to see Robyn featured!! Such a nice gal, I like to visit her blog. :)
    As for the multiples, I had heard of it, but did not know it occured as early as the 1970s, that really is awful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. mail4rosey: I too was shocked that the compulsory separation was happening so late. And in more subtle ways it is still is - with twins being sent to different schools regardless of their wishes....

      Delete
  25. Like you I do love to get lost in a book. Twins fascinate me... I'd enjoy that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Craig: Indentical Strangers was fascinating. It was also horrifying. So many sad and bad things are done in the name of Science.

      Delete
  26. I, for one, am very glad you don't follow the rules. Memoirish is a great word but I enjoy the fact that you can argue with authors. I think you're the most eclectic reader I know, too. Robyn's cover is great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. River Fairchild: Curiosity is probably the strongest of my defining characteristics, which is why my reading range is so broad. It feels a bit presumptious to argue with authors about their creations, but argue I do.

      Delete
    2. It was so much fun to pose for the cover, River. Best part was tossing it in the garbage bin after I'd drowned it in chocolate. A moment of victory. Smiles.

      Delete
  27. I'm thrilled to see you featured Robyn in your post! She's so talented.
    Happy Momsgiving, EC!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dawn@Lighten Up!: Robyn is indeed talented. Very talented. Happy Momsgiving to you - and I hope you get a lot of help with both the preparation and the clean-up.

      Delete
    2. Thank you, dear ladies - both with special talents and hearts. I appreciate your compliments.

      Delete
  28. I always enjoy your choice of books....I love to read, but do not always have the opportunity to do as much reading as I would like. I am very eclectic in my choice of books, but have a tendency to get involved in certain subjects. I know you will keep on reading....Enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sienna Smythe: I also get involved in come subjects. Sometimes extensively, but never exclusively. And yes, I will continue to read. I hope more opportunities come your way too.

      Delete
  29. I will have to look up those books. They look interesting. I read every day also. I am lost if I don't have a book to read. I "buy" a lot of books on my NOOK. I usually look at the free or cheap books first. I have found many that I love that I probably wouldn't have read as I wouldn't have found them at the bookstore. Been introduced to many authors. This has opened a whole world of subjects for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Teresa Hennes: I still prefer 'real' books to the electronic version. Which means the house and my bookshelves continue to groan.
      Yes, to the world opening of books too...

      Delete
  30. Great book tips. I love reading!

    ReplyDelete
  31. This compendium is worth bookmarking and consulting again and again!










    Warm ALOHA,
    ComfortSpiral

    (\__/)
    (='.'=)
    (")_('')

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cloudia: Thank you. There will be more.

      Delete
  32. Hi human, Sue,

    Wow, with all that reading, I'm amazed you find the time to blog about it. Of course, there's always time to blog, so I keep telling my human, Gary.

    Delighted to note that two of the books you mentioned are written by two of my most starstruck fans, Robyn and Mark! :)

    A number of people have told Gary that some of his writing reminds them of Terry Pratchett. That's quite the compliment to my human, Gary.

    Thank you for this pawst, Sue.

    Pawsitive wishes and doggy kisses,

    Penny xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar!: It is always lovely to see you. I am glad that you are looking after Gary, and he will blog when he is ready. Comparing Gary's work to that of Terry Pratchett is indeed a compliment. A big one.

      Delete
  33. I can't read a lot, but I can listen, Terry Pratchett is the one I listened to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bob Bushell: I know that reading is difficult for you, and hope that you enjoyed hearing the Discworld series as much as I did reading them.

      Delete
  34. Much gratitude, my friend. You have such a gift with words, and with finding jewels on their surface and buried within. I'm honored by this post, and by your words on my back cover. So glad you found the gems I wanted my readers to find, and you express it so beautifully.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rawknrobyn: It was a privilege to read your memoir(ish). And I am honoured that you liked my words enough to put them on the cover.

      Delete
  35. To have separated twins and triplets as part of an experiment is hideous beyond belief; the title of the book is perfect. I just googled Donald Braswell and watched his performance at the talent show, what a beautiful man, and oh how crowd behaviour can be so horrid.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kim: It really was an obscene experiment wasn't it? Arrogant and uncaring beyond belief.
      You are ahead of me - I haven't seen (or heard) Donald Braswell.

      Delete
  36. My twin granddaughter was observed "in utero" via ultrasound kicking her twin brother in the teeth (although he didn't have any teeth at the time). She's still the bossy one at age 4.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shammickite: Interesting. I wonder whether 'dominance' is established that early.

      Delete
  37. I'm a bookaholic too. There are never enough hours in the day to read :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. KB: Never. Particularly when mundane things like housework get in the way.

      Delete
  38. All four books sound great but the storyline in the 4th book has got to me.. Like you, I am possibly an atheist and definitely an agnostic and am always amazed where a person's 'faith' eggs them on to bigger and better things.
    Unfortunately I am limited to reading for less than an hour daily and have restricted myself to mysteries more than anything.
    I too am not a fan of TV and certainly never reality programmes. Am I perhaps lacking something as so many folk, including members of my family (not Phil), seem to get hooked on them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mimsie: It is fascinating isn't it? And so many people are prompted by the faith to do wonderful things. Sadly some are also pushed in the opposite direction.

      Delete
  39. I love love love Robert Aspirin's Myth series. It has a heart, is a light read and makes me laugh after all of these years. After he passed, his ex-wife took over and it just never had the same feel again but I am happy to see that it is still going.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sonya Ann: Some series (and authors) carve a home in our hearts don't they?

      Delete
  40. Pratchett was one of the great fantasists of my lifetime, and I wish he'd been more influential. Somehow his enormous popularity didn't lead to a swell of humorous Fantasy, and publishers are still shy about getting behind authors who do anything more than sink jokes in with their drama.

    I'm told I need to read Nation next. Have you tried it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. John Wiswell: Pratchett was amazing wasn't he? Clever, funny, inventive and more... I haven't read Nation. Yet.

      Delete
  41. The twin book piques my intertest as a mother of twins.
    It sounds horrenduous , still I'd like to read it and hope I can track it down

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trish: (sorry not clever enough to create your hearts): The twin book was fascinating - in a train wreck sort of way. I hope you can find it - and please let me know what you think of it if you do.

      Delete
    2. PS: I went over to visit and loved your list - but am unable to comment. I hope your knee gets better very, very quickly. And am so sorry on the cancer front.

      Delete
  42. So great to hear your thoughts on these books. I haven't read any of them- but I always love learning about new books. Thanks for sharing. :)
    ~Jess

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. DMS ~ Jess: It seems only fair - you tempt me often enough.

      Delete