October Reads 2015

My reading speed is seriously slowing down over the last few months, which ha a lot to do with driving instead of taking public transport and the fact that I am currently, and rather stupidly, reading six books.  Which of course means I am close to finishing none of them!  There’s some I’ve been reading on and off for about a year so I am really trying to get them finished before the new year, fingers crossed!  I finished four his month, however I only have 3 to hand, these are:

Kafka’s Dick By Alan Bennett 
Kafka aficionado Sydney, and his wife Linda, are visited by the long-dead Kafka and his friend Max Brod. Kafka’s wish is for anonymity and he also has serious issues with his father. When his parent turns up, he is in possession of a very personal secret relating to his son, one, which Kafka is terrified he will disclose…

Each Alan Bennett play I read gets a bit better!  I didn’t think the book would actually be about Kafka’s Dick and yet somehow it was.  It was a mixture of wity, smart and juvenile, Bennett’s voice was really coming out at this point.  

Am I Normal Yet by Holly Bourne 

All Evie wants is to be normal. She’s almost off her meds and at a new college where no one knows her as the girl-who-went-crazy. She’s even going to parties and making friends. There’s only one thing left to tick off her list…

But relationships are messy – especially relationships with teenage guys. They can make any girl feel like they’re going mad. And if Evie can’t even tell her new friends Amber and Lottie the truth about herself, how will she cope when she falls in love?

This month’s Sassy Books read, read my review here.

Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay by Paul Vitagliano

 Based on the hugely popular blog of the same name, Born This Wayshares 100 different memories of growing up LGBTQ. Childhood photographs are accompanied by sweet, funny, and at times heartbreaking personal stories. Collected from around the world and dating from the 1940s to today, these memories speak to the hardships of an unaccepting world and the triumph of pride, self-love, and self-acceptance. This intimate little book is a wonderful gift for all members of the LGBTQ community as well as their friends and families. Like Dan Savage’s It Gets Better Project, Born This Way gives young people everywhere the courage to say, “Yes, I’m gay. And I was born this way. I’ve known it since I was very young, and this is my story.

Several short stories and accompanying images of personal, touching stories of men and women who grew up knowing they were gay.  There is a wide range of emotions, and as it’s told in chronological order based on the years the subjects were born, you can see how far we’ve come.  A good short read.

The Lady in the Van by Alan Bennett

Life imitates art in The Lady in the Van, the story of the itinerant Miss Shepherd, who lived in a van in Alan Bennett’s driveway from the early 1970s until her death in 1989. It is doubtful that Bennett could have made up the eccentric Miss Shepherd if he tried, but his poignant, funny but unsentimental account of their strange relationship is akin to his best fictional screen writing.
Bennett concedes that “One seldom was able to do her a good turn without some thoughts of strangulation”, but as the plastic bags build up, the years pass by and Miss Shepherd moves into Bennett’s driveway, a relationship is established which defines a certain moment in late 20th-century London life which has probably gone forever. The dissenting, liberal, middle-class world of Bennett and his peers comes into hilarious but also telling collision with the world of Miss Shepherd: “there was a gap between our social position and our social obligations. It was in this gap that Miss Shepherd (in her van) was able to live”.
Bennett recounts Miss Shepherd’s bizarre escapades in his inimitable style, from her letter to the Argentinean Embassy at the height of the Falklands War, to her attempts to stand for Parliament and wangle an electric wheelchair out of the Social Services. Beautifully observed, The Lady in the Van is as notable for Bennett’s attempts to uncover the enigmatic history of Miss Shepherd, as it is for its amusing account of her eccentric escapades.
Bennett just gets better and better!  I wanted to read this before the film comes out later this month, such a strange and amazing story.  When two eccentrics collide this si what happens.  The book was dedicated to Maggie Smith, who played the lead in the first performance and now she’s going to be playing the lead in the film, it’s great how things come full circle.  Crazy to think this is a true story.
Time to crack some spines and get on with some reading!

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