currently reading

In true Xenia fashion I have too many books on the go at the moment.  I normally try to keep it to one fiction and one non, but I get carried away and get all excited about new prospects, and don’t manage my Holds list properly at the library, which all culminates in me juggling between different reads.

Here are some of the things I have on the go at the moment:

A Possible Life  by Sebastian Faulks

Five stories all focusing on very different protagonists, all on a theme of love, separation, and human development.  As the book jacket sweetly states

From the pain and drama of these highly particular lives, here emerges a mysterious consolation: the chance to feel your heart beat in someone else’s life. [swoon]

I am only just starting the third story, but am already thinking of tracking down everything else Faulks has written.  I really like his writing because although it is fairly basic, it paints a very realistic and intimate picture of the characters.  The stories, so far, have dealt with some very terrible hardships and the writing has been a perfect balance of on the one hand removed and objective description, while on the other creating empathy and emotion in the reader.

Some short excerpts that particularly stuck out to me so far

From “Part I – A Different Man”

The next day he felt changed.  The ropy veins on the backs of his hands were he same; the ache in his arthritic hip was where it always was and the world came to him through the network of nerves he had relied on since infancy.  Yet he sensed a difference – not a medical or morbid change, more the touch of an unsought grace.

From “Part II – The Second Sister”

I don’t think you ever understand your life – not till it’s finished and probably not then either.  The more I live the less I seem to understand.

I will write more about this one when I am done.  If I have anything to add I suppose.


Another book I have on the go right now is The Children’s Book  by A. S. Byatt.  This book somehow made it to my “To Read” list on Goodreads.  I have no recollection of placing it on there but randomly chose it as my next read a few weeks ago.  This book I would compare to what I thought of Stanley Kubrick’s film Barry Lyndon; really pretty but what’s the story here? I watched that movie with my dad a few years ago (it’s three hours long by the way) and after it was over we both kind of looked at each other like “so what?”  Don’t get me wrong, that movie is a piece of visual candy and the soundtrack is very lovely, we just felt the movie was kind of a day to day telling of this person’s life without many highs or lows.  Like one long plateau.

This is how I feel about The Children’s Book now.  To be perfectly honest I was dreadfully bored by it for the first third and the only reason I kept it up was because it was one of two books I took with me to Taiwan, and having finished the first, did not have much else to read.  And I suppose since I lugged 675 pages worth of fiction halfway around the world felt somewhat obliged to really give it a chance.   Yet somehow, over time, this one has really taken a hold on me.  I actually had to return to the library last week because I had ran out of chances to renew it, but felt compelled to put it on hold right away to get it back so I could finish reading it.  Hmmmm.  It also has received very good reviews so perhaps I am going to be absolutely smitten with it when I reach the end.  If that is the case, I will be sure to rave about it here.


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