3 Books Weekly #23: Memories, despair and dreams
09.00, Friday 5 Aug 2016 Link to this post
The following was first posted on the 3 Books Weekly email newsletter and has since been archived here. The intro is from Lisa Ritchie.
A huge thanks to Matt for letting me loose on this marvellous book-loving community! I’m Lisa and I get very excited about books (that sounds a bit like the intro to a Readers Anonymous meeting in a parallel universe).
By way of introduction, I’m a project manager and communications specialist, book nerd and podcast enthusiast. The last book I read was The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard (if you love Heart of Darkness or Lord of the Flies then it’s probably up your street).
This week I’m kicking off with my own recommendations, some of which you can find in the vending machine (it’s currently living at Machines Room, go check it out). I’ve had a crash course in vending machine management and I’m looking forward to running the tiny bookshop :)
Stay tuned for lots of lovely recommenders coming up over the next few weeks!
#1. Cat’s Eye, by Margaret Atwood
I’m a huge Margaret Atwood fan. If I had to do that thing where you choose famous people to have dinner with, she’d be on my list. The Handmaid’s Tale was the first Atwood book I ever read, I still re-read it every few years. Cat’s Eye stands out for me as it’s an incredible example of Margaret Atwood’s genius at capturing relationships. Dark memories are linked to very real feelings that surface in the protagonist’s life. We all have memories that tap into our deepest fears and doubts about ourselves and Atwood explores this brilliantly.
#2. Stoner: A Novel (Vintage Classics), by John Williams
I bumped into my high school English teacher in a pub. I didn’t want to be that annoying ex-pupil, but I had to go and say hello. We had a quick chat and she said if I read anything that year, it had to be Stoner. So I bought it. The story follows a very ordinary man’s life from adolescence to death. It’s written in simple, unexpressive language. It floored me. There were times when I actually had to put the book down as I felt like I’d been kicked in the stomach. I cried on the tube. I think it’s the saddest book I’ve ever read, but there’s something incredibly compelling about it.
#3. Just Kids, by Patti Smith
I’ve never really listened to Patti Smith’s music, but I read an except from this book in a newspaper and immediately went out and bought it. It follows her leaving the countryside for New York to become an artist. It has a beautifully dreamy quality that contrasts sharply with the grim reality of her everyday life. It’s a story of grit and resilience and reading it transported me into the bohemian existence of 60s and 70s New York. I still don’t know much about Patti Smith’s rise to fame, the story stops just before that, but it’s worth reading for the world that Smith recreates.