The Reading Club #1
Welcome to Mummy Rules’ first reading club. Grab a cuppa, or even better, a large glass of wine and make yourself comfortable. Each month we’ll be talking about what we’ve been reading and then we’ll decide on our next book. It’s like a book club, but err, not. And don’t worry, you don’t have to look up the reviews on Amazon and pretend to have read it (not that the writer has ever done that – ahem). You can just read, knock back your wine and have all the best intentions of reading next month’s book.
(If you need it, here’s our quick guide on How to Read a Book (After Children). Done? Hooray, you’re all set!)
So I’ve been a bit crazy this month and managed 3 books. And my children haven’t been neglected! But for some reason there has been a lot of falling asleep in the car, a child free train journey and toddler’s new found love for a movie. Clearly I have cursed it now and next month I won’t get past page 1.
(1) On Writing – Stephen King (Non-fiction, Paperback)
I’ve had this recommended to me countless times and I now understand why. Stephen King, the King of Writing (oh don’t blush, Steve) shares his background and wisdom with all us wannabies. This non-fiction is almost as addictive as his other books (and a little less grizzly). The first half of the book tells the story of how and why he became a writer and if you haven’t read any of his books, it will make you want to. He writes in a simple no-nonsense manner that makes you trust exactly what he has to say and why wouldn’t you – he obviously knows what he’s doing. His childhood memories, which are fascinating, are set out in small sections. This meant I whizzed through them whilst sat on the doorstep with baby in her pram and the toddler pretending to do gardening (i.e. digging a hole in the soil and singing “Dig-ho! Dig-ho!” whilst chucking it over her shoulder…fine, I’m reading my book, it’s really good, you carry on). The other half of the book I read on a blissful child-free train journey, where I learned to avoid the voice of a timid writer: passive terms and adverbs; and was reassured that unless I was naturally a really bad writer (um, hopefully not…) I have the basic toolbox to be a good one – my tools just need sharpening (that’s what I tell myself too). In summary I read it quickly, always a good sign and found it to be the most helpful guide I have come across so far. 4.5 stars out of 5.
(2) The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets – Eva Rice (Fiction, Audiobook)
Well, there’s nothing – nothing! – I dislike about this book. I love it. It ticks all the boxes and takes me straight off to my perfect dreamland. I Capture the Castle meets Malory Towers with a bit of Elvis Presley. A female lead; set in the 1950s; a beautiful old crumbling house; the introduction to rock n’ roll to Britain from America; an eccentric Aunt Clare (so Enid Blyton); strong friendships; the excitement of first love and beautifully crafted prose. I just fell head over heels. Having read this originally as a paperback, I purchased the audiobook for the car, read by the deliciously voiced Rosamond Pike. Every journey has been a complete delight – the toddler is even listening to it! There is nothing left but to declare a 5 star rating from Mummy Rules.
(3) Love, Nina – Nina Stibb (Semi-autobiography, Paperback)
This was a wild card purchase – it came up on my Amazon suggestions and I thought I’d take the plunge. Love, Nina is a collection of letters written by the author describing her domestic life as a London nanny in 1982. She had no idea how to cook, look after children or who the people calling round the house were (including the likes of Alan Bennett and Jonathan Miller). I found this a sharp and witty read: I warmed to Nina’s character immediately as well as the way the kooky family took her under their wing. I genuinely wanted to be sat round their dining table eating one of Nina’s debatable suppers and saying whatever thought came into my head. It also made me notice the daily eccentricities of my own family. I guzzled a quarter of this book in a day, somehow. The rest of the book I read in short chunks, often interrupted, but because of the style of the book – in letter format, it was very easy to pick up and put down without losing my thread. In summary, I give it 4 out of 5 stars!
Next month we are reading….A History of Love by Nicole Krauss.