Friday, May 17, 2019

Books from the past


I was talking to a friend the other day about reading, and happened to mention that one of the things I liked about romance when I was a teenager was that they were quite empowering books. She went silent (as in, I can't believe you read romance!) so I proceeded to tell her what I meant, specifically that there's a lot more to it than the romance. There are other things at play here, such as overcoming past difficulties, challenges with the family, things that lead into the conflict that will rear its head between the protagonists and get in the way of the Happy Ever After.... So much more.
But enough of that, and on to these so-called empowering books of mine.
A lot of these novels revolved around careers, hence the empowerment thing of being independent, following your dreams, moving out of home, getting a flat, managing your finances and paying your bills, and all that grown-up stuff.
One of the series I adored as a girl were the Sue Barton books.
They followed the young Sue Barton through her student nursing days, progressing up the career ladder in nursing, getting married and having a family. I liked the whole notion of them, of the camaraderie of the nursing schools, and all that. They were great books, a great series.
Then there were the career novels such as Janet Carr Journalist, and Jill Kennedy Telephonist. They
were English, and being a Kiwi, one had plans to travel to England but one I never actually did. (I am still waiting for that experience.)
Clearly these stories are from a time when the 'telephonist' was a career option. Nowadays, who would know what one even is? Was it even such a great job? Well, it was for Jill Kennedy, I suppose, but I'd have to dig out my copy (yes, I am 99% 50% sure I still have it in a box somewhere) to find out about it all. Of course, the journalist thing, as in Janet Carr Journalist, well, that appealed hugely because I loved reading magazines that had sailed all the way over to New Zealand from England, and of course there was Fleet Street, the place to go and be a journalist. I probably set my sights a bit closer to home in Wellington, where they published the Dominion and the Evening Post newspapers, but like my trip to England, that never eventuated either.
And neither, it must be said, did a career in nursing.
I think I'll dig these books out and see what they're like now. I could read them on the bus to work. What a hoot, a middle-aged chook reading Sue Barton on the bus. Yes, I am totally up for that.
~ Joanne


Saturday, May 11, 2019

Autumnal reads

Ah, reading. Perfect all the year round, but even better in the best seasons of the year, autumn and winter, hence the picture of some wintry trees in the Manawatu.
I’m starting back at the beginning, and I’ve read the first Jack Reacher, Killing Floor. It went with me on the bus to work, to the staff room for my breaks, on the bus back home, and at home. Boy, it was gripping. However, I did do one bad thing in that I had to skip to the end to see what happened to Reacher’s love interest, Roscoe. I just could not face reading the second half not knowing if she made it or not. I had to be prepared, I’ll say no more on that (Yes, I'm a failure when it comes to suspense.) I also decided I should read Pride and Prejudice. I hadn’t watched the Colin Firth TV series, but I had seen the movie with Keira Knightley and rather (very much) liked it. I especially liked Donald Sutherland as the pop. What a character. So I dragged out a copy of P & P determined to read it. But I couldn’t. There I was thinking I’d become an Austen girl, going around quoting bits, wearing Austen fan girl T-shirts, but I just couldn’t. This is terrible, so I think maybe I should read one that I haven’t seen the movie of. I recall that once, a long time ago, I got out the TV series on DVD for a blitz, and only watched one episode. Maybe there’s actually no point, I don’t know. I did read a new author, however, that I totally loved,  Illona Andrews. It was a novella called Magic Steals, in an anthology. In fact, I read it on a short flight recently, and was hooked. Could not put it down.  I'm not an urban fantasy paranormal reader really (an exception is Nalini Singh’s Psy Changeling series) but I totally loved the novella, and Illona Andrew’s writing, and I've got some in a series to get stuck into soon, just ready and waiting. I am also one day going to really stop saying "I am not an urban fantasy reader" because clearly... I am!! I just haven't read a lot of it - yet!
~ Joanne

Debbie Macomber and a nod to LaVyrle

A recent read, back in the old romance vein, that I adored was Cottage by the Sea , by Debbie Macomber. Macomber has moved more into wom...