My mother will be disappointed with this week’s book club recommendation as she’s already read this one. Sorry Mum. Maybe next week. Anyway, here’s the parent choice this week.
Talking about Jane Austen in Baghdad – May Witwit and Bee Rowlatt
I was reminded of this during the Syria debate in Parliament this week. It’s the story of two women, Bee, a British journalist, and May, an Iraqi academic. They start talking by email by chance and carry on an unlikely email friendship. As the situation in Iraq deteriorates, especially for academics facing death threats and arrest on a daily basis, the two women start to plan how to get May and her husband out of Iraq. Contrary to many popular beliefs, it is incredibly difficult to seek genuine asylum in this country and the are many moments in the book where you’re just not sure if it’s going to happen. The story is told in a series of emails between the women and as such, I wasn’t sure that I was that engrossed in it. I don’t know why this format distancedu me but there you go. Anyway, I didn’t know I was emotionally involved in this book until I saw the picture on the final page. I was on a plane. I burst into tears. I do this quite a lot on planes but that’s usually because I hate flying.
Mr Magnolia – Quentin Blake
Who doesn’t love Quentin Blake? The only thing I ever found disappointing about him was that he doesn’t look like his illustrations. I wanted him to have a spiky nose and pointy feet. He doesn’t. Still, this is, I think, the only book that I’ve read a thousand times to E that I don’t resent reading a thousand times more. Think of all the words you can that rhyme with boot. This is the result! But better than you can do. Or me, obviously. It’s whacky, funny and imaginative. I love it. And so does E.