31 August 2011

Mrs Readalot and the Local Author

I have a confession.
Mrs Readalot didn't read Clan of the Cave Bear *gasp*

That was our Book of the Month, after all... but did Mrs R read it? Did she even request it from the library? A big fat resounding No.
Why, I really can't say.
She has read the book before, many many moons ago, before there was grey hair, wrinkles and stretch marks. Before she was called "Mummy" or "Wifey".
It may have even been when she was still at school.

She remembers liking it at the time. being fascinated by it, in fact. Although she did get annoyed that Ayla {the beautiful human} thinks she's hideous because she doesn't look Neanderthal.

And she remembers being shocked and intrigued by Book Two, the Valley of Horses, where Ayla {the beautiful human who thinks she's hideous because she doesn't look Neanderthal} meets a hot non-Neanderthal Man and they get down to business. I am talking eye-popping stuff for the 17-year-old that Miss Readalot was at the time.
Her mother had no idea. And she had no idea that such things were possible!
But Mrs Readalot just didn't want to go there again... so she read something else instead.
That OK?

See, one of the great things about running a Book Club is that you get to make the rules.
And one of Mrs Readalot's rules is that you don't have to read the Book of the Month.
You can read {and write about}anything. Hey, review a recipe book if you like, Mrs R doesn't mind.

This month, Mrs Readalot discovered a New Zealand Author from her own neighbourhood.
This author was recommended by some school-mum friends, who were talking about a book called Dead People's Music. A couple of things caught her attention.
Firstly these mums were raving about the book. Really raving. Like, Have you read it yet? Oh I loved it! It was amazing. Did you read her other one yet? Oh you must... it's fantastic...

Mrs Readalot's ears pricked up. Hmmm. A rave-worthy must-read book.
She injected herself into the conversation... Which book? She had to know.

"Oh you know Sarah Laing, from school... she wrote it."
Whaaaaat? A school mum from our school, a published author writing rave-worthy books?
Yes indeed.
Now this she had to read.

I'll let Mrs Readalot tell you about Dead People's Music in her own words...

Mrs Readalot says:

Dead People's Music. I would never have discovered it but for a chance conversation, overhead while doing coffee and that would have been a crying shame.
Because Sarah Laing deserves to be read.
This book was totally enjoyable and a great engaging read.
And the writer lives in my town. Her kids go to my kids' school.She's a mummy-author and my newest book-hero.

Sarah draws together three threads of the story and interweaves them.

Thread #1: Grown-up Rebecca, the granddaughter of a talented cellist who originated from New York via a childhood in Nazi Germany. Kiwi Rebecca and her boyfriend go to New York in search of fame and fortune... and a chance to connect with her grandmother's past. Their story is in the here and now; it draws all other threads.

Thread #2: The grandmother, a talented cellist escaped as a child from Nazi Germany to New York. She meets and marries a Kiwi bloke... and moves to Wellington. This is the exotic thread, the mystery.

Thread #3: Young Rebecca. How did her childhood and early life shape her? Who were her loves, and what actually happened while she was in London...?

Each thread is beautifully told. There is no confusion and no threads left dangling. (I love that in a story, remember?) But predictable or cliched it is not.

Its a story about people who happen to be Kiwis, but who are so well developed that non-Kiwis will totally relate to their humanity, and at the same time catch a glimpse of life in New Zealand.

I loved the characters. They were flawed and human.
I loved the writing: gritty, descriptive, immediate.
I loved the pace of the story - it kept me wanting more.
I polished off this enjoyable read in double-quick time, caught up in wanting to know and understand Rebecca and her grandmother more. And I was not disappointed.

{I also loved the cover art and the book's overall design. As a visual person these things matter to me. Dead People's Music is pretty.}

You might not have heard of Sarah Laing or Dead People's Music  but I hope you will hunt down a copy, read and enjoy.

Mrs Readalot rates Dead People's Music:

Mrs Readalot was very excited to discover that Sarah Laing has a blog.

{Sarah's Blog: Let Me Be Frank.}

So she wasted no time in heading over there and leaving Sarah a comment, raving about the book and introducing herself as a fellow-schoolmum. A total groupie thing to do.
Eagerly she waited to hear from Sarah... would her offer of coffee be accepted... or would Sarah thing Mrs G was a try-hard stalker writer-wannabe?
She never thought of going back to the comment to see if there was a reply...

Only yesterday, as she prepared this post, did Mrs R discover that Sarah had in fact replied. On the post. And apparently she doesn't think we are stalkerish and might even want coffee sometime.
Mrs Readalot was so relieved.
So she left Sarah another gushing comment and told her we'd be reviewing Dead People's Music for our most-eminent Bloggy Bookclub.
I'm sure Sarah Laing, prize-winning author, blogger, illustrator and school mum will be seriously stoked about that.

Book Club and Linky
September's Book Club is being hosted by Renette at South African Kiwis
Her choice for book of the month is a blast from the past: Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel.
The linky is open from September 1st and will remain open until the end of the month.

Book Club Rules:
Read a Book. Write About it. Link up your post.
{And grab the button for your post and sidebar}...


{You can read and review any book. It doesn't have to be the book of the month.}
You don't have to be an official Book Club member to join in either.

I hope you will all visit the other links... 
see what people are reading, discuss the books in comments 
and get some great suggestions for reading material.

  • If you want to become an official Book Club member {and linky host} click here
  • For the Book Club Page & information click here
  • To link up your book review post on September's Book Club Linky click here {Tomorrow morning}

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Simoney said...

I've started using Blogger in draft again and can't get post scheduling to work - this was meant to go up TOMORROW - which is when the linky will be up, in case you are confused. Come back TOMORROW to link up, OK?

justine said...

wahoooo simone! im soo sooo glad you loved "dead peoples music"
isnt it so great.!!? good thing you joined in on that conversation the other day then huh. ha ha. Sarah Laing is most clever and - to think she lives so near.? I must get my copy signed so please count me in on your cuppa catch up [if you dont mind me crashing that is]
Ps Im now reading another goodie called "wife" by Meg Wolitser.. I think you will likey like.

Meghan Maloney Photography said...

Ooooooo love the sound of Dead People's Music but I still gotta read Water for Elephants and The Help on my reading list first...sigh. I did at least finish the book I won at the bloggy get together last night (wahoo!) so I'll have to write a review of that soon and link up :-)

The South African Kiwis said...

Thanks for the heads up on this book!

Widge said...

sooooo funny about your stalking ;)
I would totally be the same way hehe

intrigued by this book and her blog looks fun too!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the lovely review of my book! It is so great to hear that people enjoyed it, especially since my latest novel is proving very difficult to write! I second Justine - Meg Wollitser is great, and I loved 'The Wife'. Have a great trip overseas!

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