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Friday 2 December 2011

What we're reading this week

The Domestic Sluts rarely talk novels on the site, even though all of us are avid readers. Seriously, I dare you to try and entice us out when we're halfway through a decent book. Go and make us a cup of tea instead. Our collective bookshelf would be pretty impressive so to rectify our lack of book chat, each week we're going to tell you what books we're reading, and what we think of them.

Siany: I've got two books on the go at the moment, which is rare for me. I'm reading Parasite Rex by Carl Zimmer which is (as the name suggests) all about parasites. It's creepy, fascinating and all sorts of scary science. Don't read it just before going out for dinner. Or while biting your nails. I'm also halfway through Margaret Atwood's novel The Handmaid's Tale. I have no idea why it's taken me so long to pick up - it's excellent.

Elizabeth: I have just got through the first chapter of Inventing Herself by Elaine Showalter. It is a collection of short biographies on intellectual women who influenced the women's movement and feminist history. It is an engaging book so far with accessible language and fascinating perspective. I have read the chapter about Mary Wollstonecroft, the mother of Mary Shelley (Frankenstein), who was a single-minded and determined lady who refused to think like anyone else of her time. But the chapter notes her downfalls and flaws which makes a refreshing account of feminist icons.

Frances: I'm in the middle of Landfall by Helen Gordon, after reading about it on the Pamflet site. It began in the overly familiar turf of confused 30-something lost in London and I was beginning to slightly give up on it. Then the main character moved back out to her childhood home, gained a dog, an American cousin and a socially awkward neighbour, and the story started unfolding in a far less predictable way. Now I've got dark circles under my eyes from staying up too late reading it and trying to work out where it's all going to end up.

Sara: Every year, I treat myself to a rereading of David Sedaris's Dress Your Family In Corduroy And Denim. It's a collection of arch and gleeful stories and anecdotes which revel in the absurdity of life and the everyday strangeness of other people. He's the only author who makes me genuinely laugh out loud, to the extent that I have to bite my lip and think of something sad like a kitten with a broken paw to avoid embarrassing myself on the bus. Here's my favourite, Six To Eight Black Men, about celebrating Christmas in a foreign country (and here's a picture of a bandaged kitten to think about when you're giggling in public).

Laura: I've just about finished Rachel Oakes-Ash's Good Girls Do Swallow, a slightly repetitive but ultimately worthy read about attempting to overcome eating disorders. She tries a bit too hard to be funny about a subject that ultimately carries enough seriousness to overshadow attempts at humour, but it does appear to have made me feel a lot less guilty about scoffing (and enjoying) about a trillion chocolate truffles today. I'm also, by contrast, continuing to dip in and out of my Complete Sherlock Holmes, and am never disappointed.

Gemma: I'm reading Grass For His Pillow by Lian Hearn, which is the second in a YA trilogy called Tales of the Otori, a story of love, violence and tribal feuds in an ancient Oriental world. Not my usual kind of book but the series was pitched to me as 'the magical ninja books', and has been described in reviews as 'the Japanese Harry Potter'. As far as I'm concerned the similarities begin and end with the fact both lead characters are young men with magical powers, but that's not necessarily a bad thing!

Gail: I'm rereading one of my all-time favourite novels, Carter Beats The Devil by Glen David Gold.  It's very loosely based on real events and the magician Charles Carter, I'm a sucker for anything with a theatrical or circus setting. Also on the go is The Devil In The White City by Erik Larson, a non-fiction historical narrative where the story of the serial killer H H Holmes is played out against the backdrop of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. And I just bought Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus for my mum (fabulous end papers on the hardback!) after devouring the ebook on holiday.

What are you guys reading at the minute?


  1. Tariq Ali "Night of the Golden Butterfly"

  2. I am Reading cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. Sci Fi attack.

  3. I've just finished 'The Little Book' by Selden Edwards. It's somewhere between The World According to Garp and The Time Traveller's Wife, set mostly in 19th century Vienna but partly in mid and late 20th century America.

    I finished it last night, and the first thing I heard when I turned the radio on this morning was Vienna by Ultravox - I love synchronicity.


  4. Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman.

  5. I've just finished Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami, which was the first book I'd read by him, and am now keen to read some more that he's written.

  6. I'm halfway through 'The Amber Spyglass' by Philip Pullman. Part three of the 'His Dark Materials' series. I have to get the bus into town today so I think I will have finished it by the time i get there ...

  7. Peter Ackroyd's The Death of King Arthur. Partly because I read Mallory at university and partly because of my immense fondness for Merlin on a Saturday (though we could be doing with more dragon-action if you ask me)

  8. Must be something wrong with me - I laughed at the bandaged kitten and not at all at the six to eight black men story!

    I'm reading a Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee, which is both very good and supremely saddening.

  9. I'm rereading 2666 by Roberto Bolano for about the 7th time - it's getting unhealthy, I need to go the the library:)

    I love Carter Beats the Devil - have you read Sunnyside, GD Gold's next book? It's excellent as well! Give me a vintage circus theme, and I'm yours:)

    The Blossom Shed Beauty Blog


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