Monday 13 July 2015

It's Monday - oh no, not again!

It's Monday! And what am I reading?

Not much as it turns out.

I have just had a week fully, completely and totally immersed in boys and soccer.
The boys have had a fabulous time and it is a lovely bonding week for the boys every year when we go to Canberra for Kanga Cup.
It's also a lovely bonding time for the families when we take the whole show on the road despite freezing our arses off on frosty, windy sidelines!
We usually find a good coffee shop or two and fit in the occasional cultural experience around the games. The shared meals each night are loads of fun too.

But relaxing it is not.
Sharing a cabin with four 15 yr old man-child's is definitely not conducive for reading either!

And this year, our Kanga week was bookended by two weekends back home madly looking at no avail.
And more soccer!

It may come as no surprise to anyone but me, but I seem to have come down with a head cold.

But I've used my spare time this evening productively. I have now changed my gravatar image across my entire social media spectrum so that everything matches.

Enough dawdling & daydreaming though.
It's time for some bookish stuff.

Back at work today and everyone was talking about Go Set A Watchman.

When is it due out? Why do they embargo books? Can it possibly be better than To Kill A Mockingbird? Can it live up to expectations? Is it doomed to fail? Will you be reading it?

All day I've had to manouever around our heavily embargoed boxes of stock.  

All day I've being having a 'will I? wont I?' argument with myself. 

One of our local Sydney papers has said that the book is more complex than TKAM but not as compelling. Do I really want to know how Scout grew up? Wouldn't I prefer to leave my high regard (okay! my love and adoration and idealisation) for Atticus untarnished by adult complications? Do I dare court disappointment and disillusionment?

Rereading my earlier review of TKAM (link above), reminded me that TKAM actually begins with an adult Scout recounting the Finch family history.

Perhaps GSAW will be like reading March by Geraldine Brooks. 

Initially I struggled to get into March as subconsciously I was expecting more of Little Women. But March is an adult book about adults. Little Women is a book for all ages about children and their relationships to each other and the adults around them. It has an innocence and wholesomeness that is totally appropriate for its audience & structure. 

March was far more complex and difficult and complicated, befitting a book about adult relationships for mature readers. Once I accepted this and my brain (& heart) shifted away from its childish desires, I was able to embrace and appreciate the story of March.

Will I need to make the same kind of brain (& heart) shift to read GSAW? 

Will you, dear reader, be racing out to get your hands on a copy of Go Set A Watchman? 

Somewhere, somehow, this week, I also hope to get my reading challenges back on track...maybe something Victorian? Something Japanese? Or Parisian or maybe an Aussie female author? 

Fingers crossed xx 

This week's shout-outs go to:

TJ @My Book Strings for her heart-warming and thought-provoking post about books and places. I love posts that reveal more of the blogger through their reading habits. This is a delightful exploration of the personal meaning of books and the places we read them.

And if you'd like to be reminded of how gauche, insecure and (ab)normal you were during highschool, then visit Rory @Fourth Street Review for her trip down memory lane with Are You There God? It's Me Margaret.

Happy Reading


  1. Anonymous14/7/15

    Love your helicopter view of ' family life ' and book news. I'm not going to read GSAW.
    I crashed 2 weeks ago and took a blogging break/ no books. I just relaxed and challenged myself to run 5 km everyday for 2 weeks!
    My French reading challenge is going well ( June-July-August). I had to scour the bookshelves to find some French classics Dreading M. Proust 'Jean Santeuil' ( Why did I buy it?)
    I decided to start the Three Musketeers by A. Dumas. It's a long read....but I have until 31-08-2015 to finish it.
    I'm lining up some English books for September: Nobel prize winners R. Kipling 'Captain Courageous' and V.S. Naipaul 'Bend in the River'.

    1. I saw that you were having a blogging break - I really enjoyed your running post though :-)

  2. Hope you're feeling better. Moving is such a stressful situation :(

    Regarding GSAW, I've decided to wait. While I really really liked TKAM, it's not my favorite classic. I'm really in no hurry to know what happened to Scout. I think I'll wait to see what y'all think and I'll read it when the hype is over (or as over as it can be, being a book by Harper Lee) so I can enjoy the book on my own terms, with no pressure. If it's as good as TKAM, I won't mind the spoilers.

    Love your new gravatar, by the way :)

  3. Oh gosh...the GSAW debate! I pre-ordered the ebook, so it should be hitting my Kindle tomorrow. My debate I start it immediately or wait until I finish my current book (Circling the Sun)? I re-read TKAM recently and loved it so much. And I read the first chapter of GSAW on Friday (it was published in a couple US papers) and was a bit underwhelmed. So, I've tempered my expectations, but will obviously still read it!

    1. We obviously had a LOT of discussions at work yesterday about GSAW - every customer had their opinion about whether it would be any good or not, why it was being published now and one person even brought up the old trope about Truman Capote being the real author of TKAM.

      My understanding is that GSAW is the unedited draft that Lee sent to the publisher. They liked the story but felt it needed a different focus - ie viewed from a young Scout's eyes. Lee then reworked GSAW to become TKAM.
      Therefore GSAW is not a fully formed, edited and polished novel.
      It is not a sequel or prequel.
      It is Lee's first draft - her first thoughts and ideas for a story about Atticus Finch.

      In that light I will probably read it - to see the writer in action - how a book evolves and changes from fisrt draft to publication.

  4. I hope to try this one, but first want to read some respected reader opinions -- hope u enjoy it.

  5. Anonymous15/7/15

    Good luck house hunting, and thanks for the shout-out. I don't think I will read GSAW, because I don't want it to ruin TKAM for me. From the little I've heard, I wonder if it can be considered a sequel or should be looked at as a first draft. Either way, I think I pass, although your comparison to Little Women and March is very compelling. (I like your new gravatar!)

    1. The more I look into the GSAW debate, the more I see that GSAW is a first draft and therefore we should try to read it as a writing exercise - to see how an author cuts and pastes, edits and changes a story from first idea to publication.

  6. I went to the midnight release of Go Set A Watchman last night (July 14 at midnight). I don't know if it will compare to To Kill A Mockingbird, but the event sure was fun! They showed the original feature of Mockingbird with Gregory Peck, and it brought back every memory of my childhood in terms of playing outside, being afraid, learning what the world was like...

    Thinking of you with the man-child(s). That can be hair raising, how well I remember! But, worth the effort of course as we know.

  7. Yes I wrote about the whole "Watchman" dilemma on my site too. My head is spinning on thoughts over the two books. I just reread TKAM and will give that time before picking up "Watchman." What a week.


    1. I’ve been struggling all week too, but I work in an Indy bookshop and every single customer who has come in this week to buy the book has an opinion. One even brought up the old, old trope of TKAM being written by Truman Capote and not Lee!!

      At least GSAW should prove this once and for all.

      GSAW is the first draft, Lee’s first ideas on how to write a book on racial injustice and a father/daughter relationship loosely based on her own life (as my writer’s do esp with their first book).

      I think I can now see GSAW as an interesting example of a writer at work.
      This was the draft that the publishers said something like – great idea, close, but not quite, keep working it.

      Apparently there are lines and sections that are copied straight from GSAW to TKAM, but Lee obviously tinkered a lot with character, plot, style, narrator etc between the two.
      As someone who aspires to write, this could be a valuable resource in seeing how the editing & rewriting process actually works.

      TKAM did not come out fully formed in one writing session. No book does.
      Perhaps GSAW will help to highlight the work that writers actually do to create a book.

      I wonder if GSAW is closer to Lee’s real-life relationship with her father? While TKAM is not only our wish-fulfillment in a father figure, but Lee’s as well?


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