Saturday, February 20, 2010

Book #8, #9 & #10 - Life of Pi, Kings in Grass Castles, We of the Never Never

It's been a while since I've updated my list of 'non-twaddle' books I've been reading. I have to admit that I've slowed down significantly and have mainly gone back to books that don't require any brain cells. I read these ones over the Christmas break - but I do have a few that I've started on my bedside tables atm.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel.

Life of Pi

This is the story of a teenage boy, cast adrift after a shipwreck in a lifeboat with a zebra, a tiger, a hyena and an orungatan. It's the story of survival against the odds - or is it?

Most reviews I've read of this book sang its praises, but I have to say I didn't actually like it. I enjoyed reading some of it - it had some wonderfully descriptive passages, but on the whole I found it disturbing. Maybe because I like books that wrap things up neatly, and without giving anything away, the ending of this was just too open-ended.

I guess I'm glad I read it so that I know what all of the fuss was about.

Kings in Grass Castles by Mary Durack

Kings in Grass Castles

For a complete change of pace, this is the true story of the Durack family, one of the original cattle barons of Australia. It's written by the grand-daughter of the main character, Patsy Durack and tells how her grand-father came from Ireland in 1853 to escape the potato famine. He & his brothers set out to open up the country that was at that time largely unexplored - how they drove huge herds of cattle to set up properties in some of the most remote parts of Australia in NSW, Queensland and finally Western Australia.

Although its a bit dry & factual in places, I found it absolutely fascinating. I loved reading how they lived, how they set up their homes in the middle of nowhere, how they survived. Recommended for anyone who wants a glimpse into Australian life in the 1800s.

We of the Never Never / The Little Black Princess by Mrs Aeneas Gunn

We of the Never Never

Another Australian classic, this is an autobiographical account by Jeannie Gunn, published under her married name. Written in 1902, its her experiences of setting up homestead in Northern Territory, being the only white woman in the area, coping with the droughts & floods, the lack of provisions, the remoteness from everything.

I enjoyed the book but it did take me many starts and stops to get through it due to the style of writing. I found it really hard to get into it. Apparently it was made into a movie too - I'd be interested in watching that.


Louise said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Louise said...

Hello Lovely,

I have read all 3 of these books.

I loved Life of Pi, could not put it down. Yes it was disturbing but I could so relate to it- after many years working on the seas and a life long love of animals - maybe.

We spent some time travelling in the Kimberley and visited Argyle dam as I was reading Kings in Grass Castles. There is a museum with her artwork there and it was rather disturbing as well. great story.

We of the Never Never- classic read simply for its mythic Australianess.

Love your reviews Kez.
I tried to correct spelling - hence the removed comment and now this one.

3anklebiters said...

I've recently finished Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and am now reading Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. I started college as a literature major and find these twisted tales fascinating. I'm going to have to locate a copy of Kings in Grass Castles for my husband, that is exactly the kind of book he enjoys reading.

you can view my reading list on my facebook page virtual bookself.

Kez said...

I've got Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters on my bedside table - I got it for Xmas. I'm not sure how I'll go with it!

Facebook has a bookshelf? Hmm, will have to investigate that!

Home Educator's Helper said...

Oh! Little Black Princess is one of our all time family favourites! It is HILARIOUS!!

I also really liked Kings in Grass Castles, and I have a 'kids' version called 'To Ride a Fine Horse'.

I don't get to do much reading for 'me' these days, but you've inspired me to make more of an effort to find things to feed my mind!

See you tomorrow!

Five Bears A-Blogging said...

I'm still deeply disturbed by Pi when I think of it. Not my favorite book. But, stuck with me, so I guess that says something.... - Mo