Some books do, Some books don’t

And when they don’t do it for you, do you keep reading? I do. But… Life is short. Too short to persist sometimes. Back into the year and the weeks are zinging past. I’m already beginning to panic over my challenge to read a book a week. I can see these mini review blogs will become more sporadic and more often lists, but for now, I’ll keep commenting on the books I am reading. The last one though saw me page skimming by the last quarter – and only in fairness to the challenge did I keep reading at all. Not sure I’m going to persist with books that “don’t” do it for me in future. So many books, so little time.

Week 3 Book 3

Once again this January, I participated in Month of Poetry hosted by the wonderful poet and organiser Kathryn Apel. In lazy holiday mode, I wasn’t sure I could live up to the promise of the Post a Day poets, so I registered for the Occasional Poetry pages. I thought for awhile that I fell a bit short in not writing a poem a day, but I was really pleased to finish the month with seventeen completed poems. Of course, they all need much refining, but I think a couple of them show actual promise.

Some days the words and ideas just flowed, others I needed a little prompting. Plus I wanted to get stuck into some poetry basics. So I read and worked through some of the exercises in Creating Poetry by Ron Pretty. I recommend this book for all beginner poets to learn forms, sound patterning, imagery and metaphor in poetry, and to tackle some inspiring exercises that act as great, creative launch pads. The book is totally accessible and highly readable, and inspired a couple of my favourite poems from the Month of Poetry.

Creating Poetry by Ron Pretty (Revised Edition) Five Islands Press (1987) 2001

Week 4 Book 4

Bestseller A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle was first published in 1989 and is the non-fiction account of the twelve months from when British expat Mayle and his wife moved into their impulse, holiday purchase to one year and many gastronomic delights later. Mayle details the four seasons, the antics and exhorts of their new neighbours, crossing the cultural divide, some humorous uninvited visitors, along with descriptions of the etiquette and elongation of French tradesman renovating their house. The detailed description that won me in the early pages, where I vicariously enjoyed the laid back lifestyle of French provincial life, tended to wear on me and turn repetitive by mid to late in the book. I know it was non-fiction, not fiction with a rising tension, but after charting a few unhurried months, I’m afraid each began to bleed into the next. Towards the end I found myself skimming pages.

I doubt the Provence of the late 80s, when Mayle first settled there, and the Provence of today are much similar, but I still hope to find some of those homey French cafes in small villages and some of the delightful French characters that pepper his book when I drop by. A tad elongated a read for me but it should grab those wishing to visit or relocate to Provence.

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle Penguin Books 1980 ISBN 9780141037257

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Julie Murphy

Hi Chris,
I just wanted to give encouraging (although still outdated) news. I spent a week in Provence about 10 years ago, and encountered heaps of homey cafes in small villages. There is still hope!

February 7, 2012 at 10:01 am

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