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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Books Read in June

To Hellas and Back by Lana Penrose

Penrose jumped at the chance to go to Greece with her Greek-Australian boyfriend.  However, she was very miserable in Greece.  She found herself amongst unfriendly people who were difficult to understand and lost without a career or friends.  Learning the language was impossible.  Her partner loved it and his career was leaping ahead. This had drastic effects on their relationship.

Penrose tells a hilarious but sad tale.  I enjoyed this book but the author was too 'out there' for me.  She reminded me on occasion of why many people avoid being known as Australian when they go overseas! She liked drinking a bit too much and only became happier when she found some New Zealanders who also seemed to be drunk a lot of the time.  The Greeks can apparently enjoy a few civilised glasses of wine over dinner without getting drunk afterwards.  I am not a 'wowser' but this can only be praised.

* 'Wowser' means someone who wants to stop people enjoying a few drinks, gambling in moderation, or generally having a good time.

Queen Emma and the Vikings by Harriet O' Brien

Harriet O'Brien captures the atmosphere of Viking times and studies Emma's character reasonably closely.  She describes the splendour of Emma's life but doesn't shy away from the grisly times.

Emma was certainly a strong and interesting woman.  Her relations included Vikings and Normans and she married two important Kings, Aethelred the Unready and Cnut (Canute).  One of her sons was actually Edward the Confessor.  Queen Emma was even called the 'Queen of Spin' in modern times because she commissioned a book which  whitewashed much of her history!
I will read more about her.

Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

I couldn't read this at all.  The writing was just too 'ocker'.  Yet I loved The Harp in the South series by Ruth Park which is a very Australian series.  I will watch the adaptation on TV, however.

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