It’s been a quiet month in this corner of South Wales – quiet that it is when the rain isn’t drumming down on the conservatory roof. Even the birds seem a bit subdued today. I can hardly blame them – what’s there to chirrup about when all you can see are miles of leaden skies?
The rain should of course mean that instead of labouring in the garden, I could spend the time curled up on the sofa reading. But somehow it hasn’t worked out like that in the last two weeks. There’s been the small matter of Wimbledon to keep an eye on for one thing. So Monsieurs Murray, Federer and all those Czech players with the unpronounceable names are to blame.
Even so, I did finish reading this novel by Mildred Taylor this week. It’s one of the set books on my Open University Children’s Literature course.
Written in 1976, it features the Logan family who ae cotton farmers struggling to make a living from their cotton farm in Mississippi. Although times are so tough their father has to get a job working on the railroad so they can pay the bills, at least they own their own plot of land. What the children – and especially the central character of Cassie Logan – come to understand is why the land means so much to their father. The novel is very much a ‘coming of age’ novel which deals with racism, loyalty and justice.
The message was a bit obvious but there are some well written characters. Cassie is pitched perfectly as the girl who seems forever angry at the examples of injustice she sees and simply has to speak up. My favourite character though was Little Man, the baby of the family, who gets very distressed when his few possessions look dirty.
Progress in my quest to read all the Booker prize-winning novels can best be described as ‘steady’. But I realised this week that I’m ok with this – I don’t want this to feel like a chore or an objective against which I will get scored (I have enough of those in work thank you). This is meant to be enjoyable after all. Plus I need to devote some time to reading the children’s lit course books and there are scores of other novels that I have on my TBR list. It would of course help if I didn’t keep adding to the list but I can’t resist all those suggestions from other bloggers. So I decided this week to use a form of rotation – reading one from the Booker list, then one from the children’s lit list and then one from the TBR list before starting all over again with the Bookers.
I’m a bit behind with the reviews however – they take me a lot longer to write than I expected. But I did get around to posting a review of Staying On by Paul Scott that I read a few weeks ago. Now I am reading my next Booker winner – Offshore by Penelope Fitgerald. After that it’s back to children’s lit with the new Patrick Ness novel.