What happened tomorrow

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”Time Present and Time Past” by Deirdre Madden is a book of small volume yet powerful. Reading it was like slicing through a rich multilayered cake. We are invited to see just a piece of Fintan’s and his immediate family’s life, with no particular event starting or ending the story, just a slice of their lives. It was a philosophical insight into time and our relationship with it.

It was a reflection on the past generations, how they influenced us and how close or distant we feel from them, as well as a reflection on how we think about the future. I recall one description that I particularly liked: ”To engage too much with the future, in all its fragility and uncertainty, can make us feel dizzy with unease.” I don’t know about you, but this is exactly how I feel when I concentrate too much on thinking about the future. I personally also did some digging into the past when I was gathering information for my family tree, and I know how fascinating it can be to be able to see how people used to live, especially when they were your relatives. You are acutely aware that whatever happened to them has probably influenced your life in some way. They might have never known you, might have not ever met you or imagined your existence, yet you feel so close to them. You may be looking at their pictures, if you are lucky to have them, and see the resemblance to yourself, your mother or your father.

Fintan experiences moments when he feels detached from his reality. He takes interest in old photographs and through them tries to glimpse into the past. He has discussions with one of his sons, Niall, on whether or not the pictures show a truthful image of the past times. In the background, other members of his family are trying to come to terms with their past. His aunt Beth grieving after her husband’s passing and his sister Marina helping her but herself carrying a heavy secret.

Fintan also thinks about the future, as every parent probably does, he wonders about the choices his adolescent sons are making and what future they are going to make for themselves. The economic times of the early XXI century in Ireland are also shown as having a strong impact in shaping their future lives, as they have had for many other families. All the reflections that you come across while reading about the Buckley family are quite universal. 

Yes, I enjoyed this book and I am gladly awarding it 3 long-arrow-up-right-300pxlong-arrow-up-right-300pxlong-arrow-up-right-300px arrows, sparrows or binoculars. Did I mention I paid 3 euro for it?

Arrows, sparrows or binoculars rating

long-arrow-up-right-300pxlong-arrow-up-right-300pxlong-arrow-up-right-300pxlong-arrow-up-right-300pxlong-arrow-up-right-300pxone of the best books I read

long-arrow-up-right-300pxlong-arrow-up-right-300pxlong-arrow-up-right-300pxlong-arrow-up-right-300pxcharmed

long-arrow-up-right-300pxlong-arrow-up-right-300pxlong-arrow-up-right-300pxgood read

long-arrow-up-right-300pxlong-arrow-up-right-300pxdisappointed, I thought it was going to be better

long-arrow-up-right-300pxdon’t waste your time

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Maybe next Friday

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Maggie in “I Still Dream About You” by Fannie Flagg, decides she should end her existence. She doesn’t have anything to look forward to. She is middle aged and single, no children to watch them grow, no possibility of ever having grandchildren. Maggie’s decision to end her life was so matter of fact that it made me frown, it was funny in a black comedy kind of way. Furthermore it was comical to see the everyday things getting in the way of her plan – she promised her friend they would go to the Theater together, so she changes the date on her goodbye letter, postponing her suicide. I am not sure if this was convincing for me though. Maggie claims she has been sad for a while, and it very well might be true, but the sadness did not come through the pages, she seemed far too busy to have time to be sad. More importantly, can such a final decision really be made so emotionlessly?

As a former Miss Alabama, a winner of a beauty contest, that in her state apparently meant a lot, she grew very tired having to live up the expectations of others. What was intriguing is how Maggie became happier and more carefree once she stopped worrying about everyday things. She notices that herself but again is quite indifferent to it, she barely comments ”Oh, well.”.

The book has it strenghts. The descriptions of the Birmingham city in Alabama and the way it has been changing throughout the years, are particularly good. However the story line wasn’t as gripping as I had hoped it would be. It didn’t call to me to keep reading. I felt that I didn’t get to know the protagonist quick enough. I was about half way through the book when it finally, though still slowly, started to reveal events from her life enabling me to understand what might have lead Maggie to her decision. Without getting to know Maggie in time, I wasn’t given a chance to like her enough to care to keep reading, to relate to her in some way.

There is a little story hidden in the book involving previous owners of a house that Maggie, who works as a real estate agent, tries to sell. As much as I enjoyed the mystery about Edwina and her twin brother Edward, I do wonder if perhaps the book wouldn’t be interesting enough witout it.

Overall, I will give the book 3 adam-lowe-blue-kite-300px adam-lowe-blue-kite-300pxadam-lowe-blue-kite-300pxkites, clouds or ice-cubes but it had to fight for it. So, if you are curious to find out if Maggie’s live will get in the way of her dying plan or if she carries it out, you will have to read the book and see for yourself.

Kites, clouds or ice-cubes rating

adam-lowe-blue-kite-300pxadam-lowe-blue-kite-300pxadam-lowe-blue-kite-300pxadam-lowe-blue-kite-300pxadam-lowe-blue-kite-300pxone of the best books I read

adam-lowe-blue-kite-300pxadam-lowe-blue-kite-300pxadam-lowe-blue-kite-300pxadam-lowe-blue-kite-300pxcharmed

adam-lowe-blue-kite-300pxadam-lowe-blue-kite-300pxadam-lowe-blue-kite-300pxgood read

adam-lowe-blue-kite-300pxadam-lowe-blue-kite-300pxdisappointed, I thought it was going to be better

adam-lowe-blue-kite-300pxdon’t waste your time

Not for the faint-hearted

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How do you pick you books? I skim through the synopsis on the back cover (though I can never concentrate on reading those for some reason, my mind just wonders off whenever I try…) I also check the first couple of sentences and maybe a few randomly picked lines from further along the book, just to get a feel for it – but never the ending, wouldn’t want to spoil the read. After the not so elaborate decision process, with the price of under four euro sped up a lot, I knew I was getting a crime novel with an FBI agent. To my surprise I later found out later that the book has been written by an Irish author who did some necessary research in the United States.

The Killing Ways’’ by Alex Barclay wasn’t the type of thriller that I am used to reading. It was like watching ”Criminal Minds’’, shocking, intense, dark with a sadistic serial killer and a rapist running loose. A joung agent Ren Bryce is in charge of the investigation into the brutal murders he is commiting. Ren, a good hearted but not without personal issues, is more of a lone wolf when it comes to her work rather than a team player. She is on good terms with her work colleagues socially but so determined in her search for the psycho that she takes risks, jumps into dengerous situations often without any backup. As the list of victims grows Ren becomes more anxious. Her boss is pressing her to continue the therapy sessions she attends and insists that she takes the medicines the doctor is prescribing, the drugs that she is avoiding, afraid they would cloud her mind. Has the killer got her on his radar or is she getting paranoid? Are the people she cares about in danger? Is the monster on a mission to get them in order to hurt her?

If you feel like turning the TV off when the news is on, not wanting to hear about the dark side of the human nature, the book won’t bring you an escape as it shows humanity at its worst. It shows how lack of love and mercy can damage an innocent and turn them into a monster. Almost graphically describes an underworld of abusers and sadists. A dangerous word that agent Bryce steps into in order to do her job and doesn’t come out undamaged. She drinks too much and parties till the wee hours almost every night – to forget? Every new victim shakes her up even more. Will she catch the killer or will she become one of his many victims?

How do I grade the book? 3 fountain pens pluma-300px pluma-300px pluma-300px, dots or badges.

 

Fountain pens, dots or badges rating

pluma-300px pluma-300px pluma-300px pluma-300px pluma-300px – one of the best books I read

pluma-300px pluma-300px pluma-300px pluma-300px– charmed

pluma-300px pluma-300px pluma-300px – good read

pluma-300px pluma-300px – disappointed, I thought it was going to be better

pluma-300px – don’t waste your time

A long winter

                                                                 imag1464

I am getting a little fed up with the winter now, but that’s how I usually feel come February, Christmas long gone, no snow and still a month or so of the rainy, damp and windy weather ahead. Are you looking for something to read to pass the time? It was a paper back I opted for this time around. Hard to resist for under 4 euro, ‘’The Shadow Year’’ by Hannah Richell.

Lila is looking for an escape. She is grieving her miscarried baby. Her marriage doesn’t seem to be handling the strain it has been put under. She is not coping with the loss and she doesn’t welcome her husband’s constant efforts to make her feel better. She just wants to be on her own. She is far from being pleased that her mother has been called for help. The unexpected and mysteriously anonymous gift of the land and a cottage in the middle of nowhere seems to be what she is looking for, but is the remote and isolated location a good place for her to be right now?

Lila cannot remember the events that led to her miscarriage. Her mother found her at the bottom of the stairs, but everything shortly before, and the fall itself has been errased from her memory. She is tossing and turning at night, the lost memories trying to surface. She is starting to believe that she wasn’t alone just before her accident, but who was with her and why have they left her unconcious?

The project of restoring the old cottage, that she takes on herself, gives her a new purpose. Her mother and husband don’t approve. It is a cold winter in full swing and the thought of her being there by herself doesn’t put them at ease. While Lila is trying to make the abbandoned place habitable, she wonders what is the meaning of the strange drawings on the walls in one of the rooms? Is the noise that wakes her up at night just a creation of her feverish mind? Who were the previous owners and what has happened to them?

We, as readers get to see who the previous occupants were. Charismatic and controlling Simon, shy and secretly fancying him Kat, easygoing couple Carla and Mac, practical Ben and Kat’s carefree sister Fraya. Handful of friends who one day decided to move into the cottage, attracted by the idea of selfsustainability, of living in a desolated place, separated from the rest of the word and its modern commodities. A decision that will change all their lives forever.

Will Lila figure out who used to live in the house and what has happened to them? Why have they abbandoned the place so abruptly leaving unwashed cutlery and other belongings behind? Is there more to know? What is their connection to Lila? Why was she given a key to the house and by whom?

The story plot is gripping and well thought through, suspenseful, full of surprises and twists, dark and even shocking in places – well written. A good read indeed, deserving 3 beakman-black-feather-300pxbeakman-black-feather-300pxbeakman-black-feather-300px feathers, scarfs or hats.

Feathers, scarfs or hats rating

beakman-black-feather-300pxbeakman-black-feather-300pxbeakman-black-feather-300pxbeakman-black-feather-300pxbeakman-black-feather-300px– one of the best books I read

beakman-black-feather-300pxbeakman-black-feather-300pxbeakman-black-feather-300pxbeakman-black-feather-300px– charmed

beakman-black-feather-300pxbeakman-black-feather-300pxbeakman-black-feather-300px– good read

beakman-black-feather-300pxbeakman-black-feather-300px– disappointed, I thought it was going to be better

beakman-black-feather-300px – don’t waste your time