Tag: Jessie Cole

Distracted by Other Books

Posted June 5, 2018 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Monthly Reading / 6 Comments

My Thoughts and Reading in May 2018

When I first came to reading I was not sure what I liked and I turned to the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list to help me. I saw myself as a literary explorer (hence my previous blog name) and I was willing to try anything and everything. With this in mind I joined a real life book club as a way to explore and practice talking about literature. Fast forward to now, and I have found my niche and I know what I like, so now sometimes book club feels like a chore more than a joy. Having to read The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland for May and The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman for June have been challenging. It feels like they are picking pretty covers but the content has not been that desirable, for me anyway. I want more from my literature than what is provided in these novels. I feel like The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart was too similar to so many other stories, like The Choke, Nest and Deep Water; all three were novels read because of the book club. I do love being the one that dislikes the books but at what point does it stop being worth attending? I do not plan to quit, but I have been thinking about this since I have not enjoyed a pick in a very long time.

Besides my contemplations on book clubs, I have been thinking about the Man Booker International prize as well. I am very pleased to see Flights win; I thought it was an amazing book. I was able to complete the entire longlist except two books which I might read later but I feel a little burnt out by the experience. While I loved being part of a community reading these books and it really sparked my passion for blogging again I felt very restricted by the task. I am very much a mood reader and to have assigned books can put me in a reading slump. This is not to say I would not attempt to read the longlist again in the future. I just hope to have read some of the books on the list next time. Out of all the books on the list Die, My Love was the one I still think about but I also loved The 7th Function of Language and Frankenstein in Baghdad.

Mexican literature seems to be the flavour of the month having read both Like Water for Chocolate and Faces in the Crowd. There is something about Latin American magical realism that seems to work for me, something that I have not found in other forms of magical realism. I have not been able to put my finger on why I enjoy it more but I will keep exploring. I absolutely adored Faces in the Crowd, which is a book you might hear me talk about in the near future. I think Valeria Luiselli might be one of those authors I will be watching closely in the future. I did read The Story of My Teeth but it was not until I read Faces in the Crowd that I realised just how brilliant she is.

Also this month I read Cop Hater, an old school police procedural and Lullaby, a novel that felt like the author was letting her own fears play out on the page. The final book I want to talk about is Packing My Library. I loved The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel and I expected that Packing My Library would bring me the same amount of joy. Though one book was able to blend his personal narrative eloquently with the history of the library, the other just felt more like digressions from his topic. To be fair the subtitle to Packing My Library is An Elegy and Ten Digressions, so maybe I should have expected this. I love reading books about books but I tend to enjoy the ones that are able to blend the personal with something more which is normal literary criticism.

I went a little overboard with my book buying this month and I told myself it was mainly for my podcast. I do not know how this works but I will defend myself by saying that yes, some are for my podcast and most of them have been read now as well. I do not think I was distracted by other books this month. This might be because I am currently housesitting and only have a handful of books to choose from. I thought it was a rather slow reading month for me as well, but this turned out to be untrue. I was sure I spent too much time watching Netflix instead of reading but the statistics prove otherwise.

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Deeper Waters by Jessie Cole

Posted March 12, 2015 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Contemporary / 0 Comments

Deeper Waters by Jessie ColeTitle: Deeper Waters (Goodreads)
Author: Jessie Cole
Published: Harper Collins, 2014
Pages: 384
Genres: Contemporary
My Copy: Paperback

Buy: Book Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Meme has been enjoying the simple life in Northern News South Wales; that was until she saves the life of Hamish in a heavy summer downpour. Cut off from the rest of world Hamish discovers a world cut off from technology. During this time with this stranger in the house, Meme also learns about the world outside of her own.

Jessie Cole’s novel Deeper Waters is a coming of age story about the sexual awakening of twenty-something year old Meme. However it is also a culture clash novel between the lifestyle people in the city (Hamish) are used to and just how different the rural outback can be. Both Meme and Hamish are from the same country but their lives are very different. Growing up with technology, it is hard to see a world without it and interestingly enough Deeper Waters manages to capture this perfectly. At times you think you are reading a book set in the 1970s or early 1980s but then the mention of technology reminds you that this is a book set in current times.

This was a book club pick and not something I would generally pick up on my own but it did make an interesting choice to discuss. However, I found the character development a little problematic; Meme was well developed but Hamish was very two dimensional and her best friend Anja was just a pile of clichés. The book did show a lot of promise for this emerging Australian author, her writing was solid and atmospheric but she could have developed all the other characters a whole lot more.

I really did enjoy the culture clash but after that the book did fall a little short. There was one thing that was mentioned in our book club discussion that I did not pick up on but now seems to bother me. Meme has a clubfoot (congenital talipes equinovarus) which is a birth defect that you do not really hear about these days, due to the advancement of medical treatments. However this might be a sign of the area Meme grew up in but all I can think now is that Hamish travelled back to the 1970s.

Deeper Waters is an interesting book to discuss however there are so many novels about the sexual awakening that explore this topic so much better. I am glad I read this Australian novel but I feel like Jessie Cole had the opportunity to do a lot more with the book but didn’t take it. Having said that, it is still a good read and Cole is an author worth watching. I have heard from multiple reviewers that Jessie Coles has improved greatly since her first novel, so that must mean her next book will be well worth checking out.