Books, hockey, and a bucketful of snark

Being the musings of a Yorkshire lass living in the USA. I'm a book geek, bird nerd, grammar Nazi, and hockey nut.  Sarcasm is my default setting. 

The Island of Sea Women - Lisa See

This was my latest book club choice, and I can definitely recommend it.

 

It's set during a period of history I know very little about; Pre- and Post-WWII Korea, and how the country and politics were shaped by the involvement of Japan and the United States.

 

Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls living on the Korean island of Jeju, are best friends who come from very different backgrounds. When they are old enough, they begin working in the sea with their village’s all-female diving collective, led by Young-sook’s mother. As the girls take up their positions as baby divers, they know they are beginning a life of excitement and responsibility—but also danger.

Despite their love for each other, Mi-ja and Young-sook find it impossible to ignore their differences. The Island of Sea Women takes place over many decades, beginning during a period of Japanese colonialism in the 1930s and 1940s, followed by World War II, the Korean War, through the era of cell phones and wet suits for the women divers. Throughout this time, the residents of Jeju find themselves caught between warring empires. Mi-ja is the daughter of a Japanese collaborator. Young-sook was born into a long line of haenyeo and will inherit her mother’s position leading the divers in their village. Little do the two friends know that forces outside their control will push their friendship to the breaking point.

Book Club Choice

The Island of Sea Women - Lisa See

Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls living on the Korean island of Jeju, are best friends that come from very different backgrounds. When they are old enough, they begin working in the sea with their village’s all-female diving collective, led by Young-sook’s mother. As the girls take up their positions as baby divers, they know they are beginning a life of excitement and responsibility but also danger.

Despite their love for each other, Mi-ja and Young-sook’s differences are impossible to ignore. The Island of Sea Women is an epoch set over many decades, beginning during a period of Japanese colonialism in the 1930s and 1940s, followed by World War II, the Korean War and its aftermath, through the era of cell phones and wet suits for the women divers. Throughout this time, the residents of Jeju find themselves caught between warring empires. Mi-ja is the daughter of a Japanese collaborator, and she will forever be marked by this association. Young-sook was born into a long line of haenyeo and will inherit her mother’s position leading the divers in their village. Little do the two friends know that after surviving hundreds of dives and developing the closest of bonds, forces outside their control will push their friendship to the breaking point.

At the Water's Edge: A Novel - Sara Gruen

Ugh. I hope this starts improving soon. Too many one-dimensional stereotypes for my liking.

The Mirror and the Light - Hilary Mantel

I feel completely bereft and totally wrung out now that I've finished this book.

 

And even though I already knew how Cromwell's story ends, the marvelous writing from Mantel meant it was still a gut punch.

 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 86%.

The Mirror and the Light - Hilary Mantel

Already knowing how all this turns out is making me dread getting to the end of the book.

 

Everything is falling apart for Cromwell, but he's still desparately trying to keep all his plates spinning. The Anne of Cleves debacle has happened. Katherine Howard is batting her eyelashes. And Jane Rochford is scheming. 

 

 

Completed this book-themed jigsaw puzzle last night.

 

Apparently it's Scrabble Day today, so I think we'll be having an extra game tonight to celebrate.

 

Even the ducklings have to wear masks while outside in Boston.

 

I saw this doing the rounds on Twitter and wondered which house my Booklikes buddies would like to find themselves in. I quite fancied house #3, but only if we were able to change the locks and keep Ayn Rand out of there. But the thought of attempting to drink Dorothy and Ernest under the table makes house #6 rather tempting. Especially if Ernest brings a couple of his cats with him.

 

Bizzaro Birthday

I have to say that today's birthday has been one of the strangest I've ever had.

 

I mean how many other people do you know who have had two tons of gravel delivered so that they could build a patio?? 

 

I found out that I share a birthday with one of our neighbours. He's been working from home for the past couple of weeks and was feeling pretty fed up. So when he looked out of his window and saw the big pile of gravel on our driveway, he just couldn't resist the opportunity to come over with his shovel and give us a hand while he was waiting for his next conference call. You'll be pleased to know we all stayed six feet apart at all times.

 

 

I also got some birdy delights

 

 

 

The picture is from my husband and is one of my favourite ducks. A smew.

 

The blue-jay cushion is from a good friend who is a quilting wizard. (You should see the fabulous face-masks she's made for all her friends).

 

A takeout has been ordered for later this evening and there is a bottle of something fizzy chilling in the fridge. Sadly I can't get together in person with friends, but we're having a virtual party via Zoom.

 

Cheers!

 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 68%.

Dark Places - Gillian Flynn

The characters in this one are slightly less unpleasant than those in Sharp Objects. I will definitely need something light and fluffy when I've finished.

Sharp Objects - Gillian Flynn

Gawd, I definitely need the brain bleach after reading this book.

 

 

Sharp Objects - Gillian Flynn

WICKED above her hipbone, GIRL across her heart. Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker’s troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls.

 

NASTY on her kneecap, BABYDOLL on her leg. Since she left town eight years ago, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed again in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille is haunted by the childhood tragedy she has spent her whole life trying to cut from her memory.

 

HARMFUL on her wrist, WHORE on her ankle. As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming.

 

So far I don't like a single person in this book.

Currently $1.99 on Kindle

The Indigo Girl - Natasha Boyd

In 1739, bright and determined sixteen-year-old Eliza Lucas is charged with keeping her family’s struggling plantations afloat, in her father’s absence. Learning of the high value of indigo, Eliza becomes determined to learn the secret of growing the enigmatic crop, believing it to be her family’s salvation, but everyone tells Eliza growing indigo in the region is impossible. Thwarted at nearly every turn, even by her own family, Eliza finds her only allies in an aging horticulturalist, an older and married gentleman lawyer, and a slave with whom she strikes a dangerous deal: teach her the intricate thousand-year-old secret process of making indigo dye and in return—against the laws of the day—she will teach the slaves to read. So develops an incredible story of romance, intrigue, hidden friendships, threats, ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice, based on historical documents and Eliza Lucas’ own letters.

Smut, Skulduggery, and plenty of Swashbuckling

The Magpie Lord - K.J. Charles

Well this was a whole heap of fun. And it's currently free on Amazon.

The Wilmington Azalea Festival should be taking place this week, but sadly it was cancelled. Luckily I can have my own festival right in my own front garden.

 

Currently reading

King Hereafter
Dorothy Dunnett
Progress: 62 %
Sashenka
Simon Sebag Montefiore