Cecily's book reviews

In general I've written reviews of every book I've read since I joined GoodReads (RIP) in May 08, along with one or two I read prior to that. More recent reviews tend to be longer (sometimes a tad too long?). I always carry a book, though I don't get as much time as I'd like to get engrossed - life is busy, but in a good way. Too many of my favourite authors died without writing enough! Apart from reading, and writing about reading, I enjoy Scrabble, good restaurants, woodland, and attending the theatre.
Toast: The Story of a Boy's Hunger - Nigel Slater Autobiographical account of middle class 60s/70s childhood, as defined and recalled by particular foods and his mother's poor cooking - except that it wasn't quite as bad as he makes out. As he is the same age as me, many of the typical foods of his childhood have strong memories for me too (surprise peas, angel delight, space dust).

It is subtitled "A boy's hunger", and his hunger is emotional at least as much as it is culinary. The result is sweet and sour.

There was a BBC TV adaptation in December 2010. It is awful in comparison with the book because it has none of the balance and shades of grey that make the book so powerful and intriguing. It looks authentic and thus familiar, but most of the food is incidental, leaving a much more depressing story, especially because Joan (step-mother) is portrayed as unremittingly unpleasant.

An interesting contrast is with David Mitchell's semi-autobiographical novel, "Black Swan Green" (http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/23327003), which is set in the same period, with a similar-aged protagonist, and plenty (too many?) nods to iconic 70s things. Perhaps surprisingly, the chef does it better!

Currently reading

The Illustrated Gormenghast Trilogy
Sebastian Peake, China MiƩville, Mervyn Peake
Mervyn Peake