A book for a bookworm

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A book for a bookworm

Postby vivian maxine on September 20th, 2015, 4:55 pm 

If you are looking for a gift to give an 8-0 (or thereabouts) year-old, you might look at a book by Penelope Lively: "Dancing Fish and Ammonites" - a memoir" A delightful book, both serious and humorous. Penelope wrote this book two years ago when she was 80. The first section tells the aches, pains, frustrations, and joys for being 80: old friends, of course; so many memories to share; fears such as tops of escalators and curbs too high to manipulate easily; her opinions - pros and cons - of today's culture compared to her own. What is really wonderful about this first section is the humour she spices it up with. She makes the reader feel it is all a bit funny even if it is frustrating. She loves living too much to let it get her down.

That's the first section. Then she goes into her memoirs. Born in 1933, she is able to start with WWII, tell the reader where she was and - great enrichment - what was going on there historically. Well, historically now, of course, but real then. Being a historian as well as a novelist, she does all of this well. She describes the war from a child's point of view, being shifted between Egypt (where she was born) and England (her family's real home). From there, she moves on through the years.

Those who are her age or older will remember what she is talking about all the way through to today. She gets philosophical along the way, gives us a bit of science here and there - how the hippocampus grows with memory, expresses opinions that many her age can share - and the history - always the history - that she witnessed along the way.

But most of all, and what she can't help coming back to over and over is her love of books, her pleasure in
reading good literature, her huge personal library that she has built up from childhood days of reading the Penguins. I get a feeling she has never parted with a book once she owned it. She couldn't survive without her "beloved books surrounding me".

This book would make a wonderful gift for anyone who likes to read and recognizes much of the scene. The first section would be enjoyed by anyone. The rest more likely by those who lived through the same times and likes to remember what went on "back then". She may even surprise the reader with a few facts he didn't know.

Take a look if you like
vivian maxine
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