by Katherine Wilson
This story is non-fiction and is the personal experiences of the author when she visited Naples and ended up marrying an Italian man. She comes from a well-off family and found herself at that crossroad where one decides what to do with their life, and against all convention for her 'set' chose Naples as her destination for a holiday before going to college.
She takes us through her discovery of Italian culture and a very different attitude towards food than she grew up with in a part of American society where eating disorders are far too common. I found her comments on the Italian women's awareness of their physicality very interesting from a cross cultural point of view, as well as her observations of how regular eating schedules left her feeling satisfied after meals and no longer binge eating.
Other aspects of the differences between American and Italian culture were also interesting to read, as she had a familiar intolerance with some of the different customs. There seemed to always be something to upset or confuse her, or she would blunder in ways that upset the natives and taught her an ever expanding set of customs in a culture very different from what she had known.
I found the writing very engaging and although I don't come from the same sort of background the author did, I could identify with her bewilderment in some situations and the juggle of trying to fit into a different culture while still learning the rules. I was also pleasantly surprised at the end because she gave detailed recipes for some of the more popular food she told of in the story. I now know how to make authentic Neopolitan Ragu! I'll leave the octopus for others though.
Altogether a very satisfying read that left me feeling like I had experienced Naples from the inside, among the natives.
Hopefully my Mojo is properly back and I can work through my stack of library books that are still here. Seven books with the first to be started today. I can't find or seem to add the 7th book which is Shelter by Dave Hutchinson but I'm ot sure it matters as I am the worlds slowest reader and even on a good month I'd struggle with more than 4 or 5 books anyway. Looking forward to these!
* Edit, thank you BrokenTune for adding Shelter by Dave Hutchinson!*
by Wilson Harp
The first chapter of this one might have put me off, but the subject matter interested me enough to persevere.
The writing is fine, but it's a small town person dealing with depressing circumstances and I don't generally enjoy reading that sort of thing. Stephen King gets away with his small town introductory chapters because he fills them with nostalgia or something weird enough to get your attention. Most books that start like this just give me a character I don't want to read about.
However, from the second chapter it gets into the meat of the situation. A giant sunspot knocks out all electric technology and people in a small town are left to work out what has happened and what they should do about it.
I found the event itself very well depicted. I don't have the scientific knowledge to say if it was an accurate description, but it rang true from what I do know. The reactions various characters had to a changed world also came across as very plausible.
The problems I had with the story were mostly in dialogue. It didn't always flow realistically, mainly because people these days largely speak in contractions and they were used very sparingly. Also, towards the end of the story, the set up for the next book was very obvious.
I wasn't sure whether I would continue the series as I did enjoy the story, but I found I already have the second book on my Kindle. It must have been on free offer at some time. So, I've put it with the books to read soon so that the first story will be reasonably fresh in my mind when I start it. It will be interesting to see where it goes.
The ending of the first book did reach a transition in situation that made for a natural ending, not a cliffhanger, but like many series stories it left a few loose ends to follow up.