‘Asking me why I swim is like asking me why I get up in the morning. The answer is the same.’ – Rosemary
Set in Brixton, Libby Page’s debut novel, The Lido, brings to light an on going problem of community centres facing closure as local councils struggle to raise sufficient finance. 26 year old Kate, who works at the local newspaper, has moved from her friends and family to the ‘big city’ but is finding the lack of community difficult and the loneliness of flat sharing creating anxiety. 86 year old Rosemary is a widower, daily Lido swimmer, who can view the pool from her balcony flat and her most pivotal memories are entwined within it’s history. Making an offer to the local council they seemingly can’t refuse, developers are set to acquire the local community space and refurbish it into a private club.
January came and went with such speed that I feel that Spring is just around the corner. Lots of people were feeling the January blues and having spent three weeks in Australia with a small puppy I wasn’t feeling the same! I joined Apartment Therapy’s Cure program and purged my flat of its excess. So cathartic and only a few more cupboards to reorganise!
When I was leaving Cuba I spoke with a girl who was reading Isadora Tattlin’s book Cuba Diaries that chronicled the early 90’s. Isadora’s family moved to Cuba due to her husbands expat role and lived a very privileged life compared to the life a Cuban could access. Formatted and dated as journal entries, Isadora shares openly her education of the way of life in Cuba and notes frequently her position bringing her privileged. She describes her staff, their wants and needs, the impact the revolution is having on the population and the divide between those who work closely with tourists receiving tips and those do not.
Over the Christmas break I finished a number of books I was part way through at the end of 2016 including Life on Air by David Attenborough . Does anyone else find that December just throws your routines and habits into disarray and everything gets mucked around? I had great fun seeing lots of people, cancelling the gym class for more champagne(!) and getting my flat ready for family to visit. My new couch arrived the day before my parents did on Christmas Eve, phew, my dad helped me use an electric drill to put up blinds around my flat and we road tripped as a family, my sister was a surprise visitor, up to York in North England. There were two new books in the Santa stocking as well as a few that I was soooo close to finishing that I have kicked my butt into gear to write some blog posts about.
Kevin Kwan’s first novel, Crazy Rich Asians, is the perfect read to cuddle up to as these colder winter nights settle in and be absorbed into a world of private planes, purchasing of dresses that cost more then my London Flat (!) and the inevitable, unavoidable family troubles. Centering around three old money families; The Youngs, The Shangs and The T’Siens I was drawn in before the first page as Kevin lays out the family tree with annotations that peak at the wittiness of his writing and the story to come. Poor Auntie Wind Tunnel, named by her younger relatives due to an unfortunate face lift in Argentina is just one anecdote setting the story before your start!
I’ve read all of Jonas Jonasson’s books after initially being drawn in by the illustration on the front covers. It reminds me of the opening credits of ‘Catch Me If You Can’. Hmmm, remember a young Leo before his PR team tried to convince us ‘dad bod’ was a great thing and he is still hot! Anyway…..off track. Jonasson’s stories take you on a ridiculous journey where it is impossible to predict the final plot and how the various storylines will intersect! This makes the read incredibly enjoyable and challenging and I really love the effort and thought that has been given to each character and the overall plot. The latest book, Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All*, centers around a failed, male, hotel receptionist and a non believing, female, priest who team up to offer the services of Hitman Anders, a recently released murderer, to anyone who is willing to pay a handsome fee.