“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
(Rainer Maria Rilke)
Every time you read a book, you discover something new, even if sometimes you do not like the book. This was not the case with the two books of the month in the Reading Group.
Next time you meet a grumpy old man or woman, do not discard him/her as an insensitive individual. We are all a product of our past; incidents; the people in our lives; how we deal with it all. In ‘When All Is Said’, 84-year-old Maurice Hannigan toasts five people who have had a deep impact on his life.
Who would you toast and why? Your best friend? Your daughter? A teacher? Your spouse? Your sister/sister-in-law? Maurice has had enough and he has chosen to take control of his departure from this life.
Is suicide a coward’s way out? Can it be excused/explained? ‘When All Is Said’ raises important questions and leaves lots of food for interesting debate. The author, Anne Griffin, has a degree in creative writing from University College Dublin. This is her first published book. It was a chance meeting with an elderly man during a cycling holiday that inspired Anne Griffin to write the book, talking about how and by whom our lives are influenced.
Whilst writing ‘A Woman Is No Man’, Etaf Rum has said that telling this story meant challenging many long-held beliefs in her community and violating its code of silence. She says “I knew that as long as I stayed away from controversial topics like arranged marriages and domestic abuse, no-one would criticize me or call me a traitor. No-one would shun me. No-one would try to hurt me.” She did not stay away from the controversy. Arranged marriages and domestic violence in a closed, parallel-society are the main topics of the book. This might be the reason why information about the author was elusive. The book gives the reader a look inside the lives of three generations of Palestinian women living in Brooklyn, America, torn between individual desire and the strict codes of Arab culture, youth rebelling against tradition, suppression of women and male chauvinism. In the story, protected and condoned by the older generation, parents pressuring the children. Does this only take place in this specific environment?
Both books are debut publications by their authors, well written with well-defined and believable characters.
Next month will be all about mystery; ‘Three Little Lies’ by Laura Marshall and ‘The Vanishing Year’ by Kate Moretti. Who can you trust? Who is telling the truth?
“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.” (William Styron)
We meet every first Thursday of the month between 2 and 4 p.m. in The Social Centre on Camposol B. Everybody is welcome, only requirement is that you like to read. Next meeting will be Thursday 2nd of May. You can also follow us on Facebook, if you cannot do the meetings. Please contact Chris Leiper on tel no 968 199 441 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.