I'm a GoodReads user testing new waters after the serious website changes. I mostly read fiction, usually Anglophone classics/ modern classics; I like nonfiction (mostly social and cultural history), good fantasy and graphic novels. For guilty pleasure, I read advice and how-to books. I made at least two reading resolutions recently; 1. read less, live more; 2. read books which give me more pleasure. I have poor filters, and books I find stylistically pleasing tend to be depressing, so I need to do something about that; if you think you know a book that is very well written, but won't make me weep, please drop me a line.

Life After Life

Life After Life - Kate Atkinson A book I trudged through and find hard to rate. I found the premise (chance, the protagonist dying, dying, dying at different ages and in different circumstances, only to make new choices) extremely irritating, not entertaining - especially at the beginning (how many times did little Ursula die?), but the book grew on me.

I liked the supporting characters (I know the little brother got a separate book all to himself), the way Atkinson represented Ursula's private world, mental and emotional, at different ages. I liked how normal she felt (although I believe the fact I read [b:The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family|23856|The Sisters The Saga of the Mitford Family|Mary S. Lovell||37169] helped me appreciate and understand her background). I loved -and was taken aback by - the most uncomfortable (WW II) parts of the book ; her being stuck with Hitler's entourage in August 1939, and subsequent suicide with her daughter in April 1945 in Berlin; this is followed by an 'alternative life' scenario, when she becomes an ARP warden in London during the Blitz - and the book is worth reading for this part only . I loved the research and the level of detail: on Hugh's (Ursula's father's) letters from the Front:
His letters were cheerful and guarded ('the men are wonderful, they have such character'). He used to mention these men by name ('Bert', 'Alfred', 'Wilfred') but since the Battle of Ypres they had become simply 'men' and Sylvie wondered if Bert and Alfred and Wilfred were dead.
I have, however, failed to connect with the protagonist; her life was interesting, she wasn't. Which makes a lot of sense, but spoiled reading for me.

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