A book set in Europe: The South -Colm Toibin

I’ll confess: I let me reading challenge slide a little. I’ve been reading – just not the books I was supposed to. So, months after reading Toibin’s The South, I find that I can’t recall it at all. Don’t let this dissuade you from reading it, though, I’m sure I thought it was very good. It’s just that I don’t have a great memory when it comes to books. Or films. Or people I met at parties. Or… well… anything, really.

A book set in Europe. Ah yes! The husband and I went away to Barcelona for the weekend to celebrate his birthday. As I’m sure many  book-lovers do, I like to read books written in  the area to which I’m travelling. This book is written by an Irish man, about an Irish woman who runs away to Barcelona, leaving her husband and young son, and starts a love affair with an artist, Barcelona, and art in general. The kind of life I think I’d love to have… until I realise I’d be poor, life would be difficult, and without any kind of structure I’d go officially mad.

Barcelona was a delight. My aunt told me that my great (great?) grandmother was a Spanish gipsy, and (as my best friend said when I told her): That makes sense. It was a joy to be in a country of heat and colour and passion. And where being a brunette (on the hairy side) is normal and considered beautiful. I came home with all sorts of plans about where to take my ‘textile art’ in the future. (I’m using ‘textile art’ to describe it for want of a better phrase… it all sounds a little pretentious, to be honest).



A romance set in the future: Matched -Ally Condie

I was stuck for ages trying to choose a book to read that would fit under the category “Romance set in the future”. Mainly, I don’t enjoy anything that claims to be a romance, and also I’m a massive snob when it comes to reading anything. I didn’t want to read fan-fiction, and all the good dystopian novels could barely justify themselves as romances. Many people suggested the Divergence books to me – but I’d already read the series. Also suggested was Meyer’s The Host, another book I’d already read.

I found the Matched series on Kindle, and was drawn in by the description of a world where your partner is chosen for you by the government, based on the likelihood of the two of you making a good marriage.

In this world, where historical artefacts are mostly banned, and the written word has been made illegal, my husband and I would almost definitely not have been matched. But I think we make a pretty good team. So there.

I recommend the trilogy for some light reading, if you’re into those teenage dystopian stories that have become quite popular in recent years.