Archive for March 24, 2012

Saturday musings : to Toni Jordan and Emilie de Turckheim

March 24, 2012 20 comments

My Saturday musings are a message to Toni Jordan and Emilie de Turckheim. I know, it’s a bit presumptuous from me to write directly to authors and imagine I’ll be read but I’ll do it anyway. If history serves, it happens that writers Google themselves or their book titles.

My first message is to Australian writer Toni Jordan. I’ve just finished her novel Addition and I would like to react to her foreword, which is the following:

This story takes place in my home, a land sometimes called “down under.” This land is like yours in many ways, but in other ways it is very different. Our summer months are December, January and February, and our winter, June, July and August. Our temperatures are measured in Celsius; a summer’s day of 36 is almost 97 degrees Fahrenheit, and a cooler day of 12 is more a pleasant 54. We measure length in centimeters—one is almost half an inch. We also eat pancakes and drink coffee, and go shopping and to football games (although a different sort).

Why do you apologize for not being American? Seen from this side of the planet, from a country which fights for its “cultural exception”, it’s puzzling. OK, I don’t ask you to be as smug as a French, but a little pride won’t hurt. By the way, I am happy that you use the metric system, don’t play soccer but football and talk about degrees Celsius, because for once, I didn’t have to use my homemade bookmark with Celsius/Fahrenheit conversions on one side and inches/centimeters on the other side to understand your book.

I’ll write my thoughts about it later; I only hope that my “review” will be as lovely as your book. Thanks for writing it.

Australia also leads me to French writer Emilie de Turckheim although through circuitous ways. Let me explain. I wrote an entry about promising French women writers and Emilie de Turckheim was among them. She left me a message and I was seriously considering reading her book Héloïse est chauve. After reading Lisa’s post on Hate, a Romance by Tristan Garcia, I’m even more decided to read Héloïse est chauve. (Discover Lisa’s review of this French contemporary book here) I want to show you there is more to nowadays French literature than pseudo-intellectual ranting writers, that Houellebecq’s characters and Garcia’s characters aren’t what we are. So, Emilie, I’ll get your book at the library, and if I can’t find it, I’ll buy it although I usually don’t buy hardcovers, just because I’m glad you didn’t write about male bourgeois-bohemians with libido problems.

Categories: Opinion, Personal Posts

Readalong : Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

March 24, 2012 7 comments

In April, our book club Les Copines d’Abord will be reading Remarkable Creaturesby Tracy Chevalier. I’ll post my thoughts on April 26th and will let you know the outcome of our book club discussion.

You’re welcome come aboard and read it along with us, just leave a comment to say you’re in. If you have a blog, I’ll read your review and link it to mine ; if you don’t, just write your thoughts in the comment section.

I haven’t read it yet, but here is the blurb on Amazon:

A voyage of discoveries, a meeting of two remarkable women, and extraordinary time and place enrich bestselling author Tracy Chevalier’s enthralling new novel

From the moment she’s struck by lightening as a baby, it is clear that Mary Anning is marked for greatness. On the windswept, fossil-strewn beaches of the English coast, she learns that she has “the eye”-and finds what no one else can see. When Mary uncovers an unusual fossilized skeleton in the cliffs near her home, she sets the religious fathers on edge, the townspeople to vicious gossip, and the scientific world alight. In an arena dominated by men, however, Mary is barred from the academic community; as a young woman with unusual interests she is suspected of sinful behavior. Nature is a threat, throwing bitter, cold storms and landslips at her. And when she falls in love, it is with an impossible man.

Categories: Book Club, Personal Posts
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