Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Two non-fiction books

I'm just going to mention these two books briefly, not because they weren't good, but because I'm still a bit short of time. The end of the month is nigh and I don't want a backlog of reviews building up.

First up, Good Bones by Margaret Atwood.



When I picked this up in the library I thought it was a book of short fictional stories because that was where I found it - in the fiction section. I took it because I hadn't read any Margaret Atwood at all and wanted to see if I liked her style. Well, these turned out to be not short stories but essays. About what? Well all kinds of things really, being an unpopular girl, stupid women, men and all their peculiarities, Gertrude from Hamlet has her amusing say, ecological distasters, theology - all human life is here. It's a short book, but still manages to be both thought provoking and very amusing. I shall certainly move on to Atwood's novels some time this year.

Next up, The Aye-Aye and I by Gerald Durrell.



Another library book brought home on impulse. I read a lot of Durrell's animal collecting books when I was younger and enjoyed them a lot but had forgotten just how much of a good read they are. I think this may be the last book he wrote before he died - several years later. Anyway, it deals with his expedition to the island of Madagascar to collect half a dozen species of animals for his breeding programme in Jersey zoo - including the elusive lemur, the Aye-Aye. There is much about the difficulties such an expedition encounters, about the way of life and people of the island, about the ecological disaster that's happening in Madagascar - the stripping away of the forests - and, of course, about the animals themselves. Durrell tells the tale in an honest and very amusing style and I really recommend this one. I'm keen to reread his early Corfu books now and am eyeing up The Corfu Trilogy on Amazon and trying to resist...

9 comments:

Jeane said...

The Aye-Aye sounds like one I really would enjoy.

DesLily said...

what a pleasure to stumble across something and find it really good!!!

Cath said...

I think most people would enjoy Durrell's writing, Jeane. He's quite funny and makes all the trials and tribulations very interesting to read about. I got another one of his, Menagerie Manor - about the setting up of his zoo on Jersey - from the library yesterday.

Hi Pat! At least when you take stuff home from the library and you don't like it it doesn't cost you anything. :-) Now reading the second Mary Russell. He's just asked her if she followed him to London to ask him to marry her. Am smitten.

DesLily said...

LOL I do love the Mary Russell books... I have 2 more waiting on me in my tbr pile!

Cath said...

I'm just trying to get hold of A Letter of Mary from a book swapping site now. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Darla D said...

I LOVED Durrell's Corfu books - they were so much fun. He's a wonderful storyteller. I'd never heard of this book - it's going on my list. Thanks for the review!

Cath said...

Hi Darla. To tell the truth I'm not even certain I've read the Corfu books. I may be confusing the books with the TV series which of course was wonderful. One reason to get hold of them and see.

Darla D said...

I didn't even know there WAS a tv series, so now I'll have to check that out - sounds great! I remember listening to My Family and Other Animals on tape maybe ten years ago, and laughing out loud in the car, not caring at all about being stuck in traffic!

Cath said...

Yes, there was a really excellent TV series... I think we had it around about the mid-eighties but am not quite certain. But it was loved by all.

Really pleased because I just picked up a good copy of My Family and Other Stories in a charity shop today.