Saturday, June 28, 2008

Zipped through this one...

Yay, am back in literary land again! This came highly recommended by D's mum and we both just zipped through it! For those of you who have read Tremain's other stuff, you'll know she's more a historical fiction kinda person. I've only read "Music and Silence" and "Restoration" before, and enjoyed them immensely, but this is a total departure, and a welcome departure it is, too.

Set in present day Britain, The Road Home traces the journey of Lev, an immigrant from an unnamed (fictitious?) Eastern Euporean country in search of work. With nothing left to lose except the few pounds he raised to make the journey to the UK, Lev's story is one which hundreds of people make across the EU, and the world, everyday.

Tremain explores the different motivations people have for leaving all that is familiar to them for the allures of the city or more developed countries. Of course, the bright lights of the city are more mirage than reality, and Lev soon comes face-to-face with the gritty, often bewildering situations that London living entails.

In Lev, you have an Everyman whom you want to have end up a success story. The future he eventually carves for himself is also very gradually hinted at, and the choices he makes and the people he meets are realistically and compellingly portrayed, though you are aware that here is an ordinary man who is leading, or going to lead, a rather extraordinary life.

Highly recommended if you are looking for an accessible story to lose yourself in.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

A Time for Rest and a New Lexicon

Moonrise over Telok Blangah Hill, taken from our living room.

Finally, a Sunday spent at home! We've been recovering from a steady stream of visitors, and all the associated eating, drinking and merry-making that goes with hosting friends and family. Was a fantastic few weeks, and I guess now we (and Zorgy) are ready for a bit of rest.

In between having visitors, we also managed to run a whole bunch of Zorg-related errands, and think we're now 85% ready for our new flatmate. Nobody ever tells you that preparing for baby requires absorbing a whole new lexicon - from wonderful words like layette, onesie, receiving blanket, to scarier sounding sci-fi terms like meconium, vernix and episiotomy. Oh and I'll never view the word "show" in the same light again.

I've also found it strange how I am finding it increasingly difficult to settle down to read a book. My bedtime ritual has now shifted to reading one page of the pregnancy bibles What to Expect when you're Expecting and What to Expect: The First Year, or to completing a quick puzzle in a magazine. The last book I managed to read in its entirety (over two months ago now) was Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. An immensely satisfying novel about the Nigerian civil war (and the quest for an independent Biafran state) of the 1960s. Attempted to read a few other books (I'm one or two chapters into Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, A Spot of Bother and A True History of the Kelly Gang) after that, but nothing seemed to compare and hence, it's been a weird time of non-fiction and bits and bobs.

Ah well, I'm now into my 30th week and counting! Weight gain so far: 11.8kg! Yikes. Stuff accumulated, one-cot size worth of necessary accessories. Still to come: baby bedding stuff and DVDs for mom to tide her through the first few months of breastfeeding. Am thinking all (however many) seasons of The Gilmore Girls, and the new Battlestar Galactica (sounds like the closest thing to The West Wing yet). Any suggestions and parenting tips welcome!