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Austen to Zafón

Reading widely since 1972.

Currently reading

A London Family, 1870-1900: A Trilogy
Molly Hughes
The Cellist of Sarajevo
Steven Galloway
Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher
Lewis Thomas
All the Names
José Saramago, Margaret Jull Costa
A History of the World in 100 Objects
Neil MacGregor
Down the Garden Path
Beverley Nichols
Virtue Betray'd, Or, Anna Bullen
John Banks
Year of Wonders
Geraldine Brooks
Swallows and Amazons
Arthur Ransome
Illusion in java
Gene Fowler
Oleander, Jacaranda: A Childhood Perceived - Penelope Lively I read this book several years ago and then I recently listened to it on CD. Don't expect a standard, chronological autobiography. This is a memoir of the author's first 12 years, living in pre-WWII Alexandria, Egypt, before she was sent to England to live with a relative. Memories of early childhood are often fragmentary and sometimes unreliable and Lively acknowledges and even enjoys that fact. Actually, a number of her books riff on the unreliability of memory and whether the accuracy of memories is all that important. The first time I read the book, I wasn't a parent. Now that I am and I'm homeschooling my son, I really enjoyed Lively's retelling of her own homeschool experience, being taught by her nanny (Lively's mother was, to say the least, an uninterested parent) using the British education materials that were sent to most "colonial" families living ex-pat lives at that time. It isn't a history of pre-war Egypt or a blow-by-blow account of Lively's life, but it is an intelligent and self-aware memoir of an interesting childhood, by an author who was a curious and observant little girl.