This book brought to my attention as a recommended reading on Women’s day.
Its a story about an old English lady-Mrs Palfrey, who moved into a residential hotel-Claremont Hotel and hoped she can get closer to her grand son, Desmond, who worked at the British museum. She met a group of old people. They all try to enjoy their freedom in London and to delay facing aging issues as long as they can.
It seems to be a typic trend for these people to stay long term at the Claremont before they reach to the stage of moving into nursing homes.
One quote I like in the book was about a lady who refused to stay in touch with the Claremont’s residents when she was about to move to a nursery home. She said ‘ I can’t think that either of us would gain from that’.
Mrs Palfrey made her new found friend, "Ludo." who was working on a novel. To save her face by showing she has some visit to the hotel, she introduced Ludo as her grandson. Although her real gradson, Desmond turned up later on. She found she was more fond of Ludo than Desmond.
Towards the end of the story, Mrs Palfrey refused a proposal from another gentleman while she seems to start enjoying a new chapter of her life. But surprising, she had an incident and passed away.
Overall, I enjoy the book. Mrs Palfrey had faced the dilemma that family ties can be chosen, not necessary inherited!
The Sunday Times bestseller, shortlisted for the 2018 Costa Biography Award & The Wainwright
by Raynor Winn
I chose this book to read by searching the shortlisted Coast Biography Award list.
Every chapter I read, it touched my heart deeply. The story is about a woman, Raynor, at the time she learned that her husband, Moth, was terminally ill. They also lost their home due to poor investment performance results in their friends business. Feeling hopelessly as homeless, the couple decided to walk South West Coast Path for 630 miles. Every time they faced cold, raining wether, empty stomach, it really sunk my heart.
But the at the end Moth did not gave up. He decided to apply for University and became a student again. Even knowing he was dying, he did not give up living and he wanted to be able to teach his skills after university.
One day I want to follow the same track path along South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall.
This book got my attention on the library book shelf because the the cover page girl looked witty. I was also fascinated to read something about the agency and spy story.
It reminded me about my grandfather’s family who were working as double agent back in China and ended all killed by Japanese military. He was the only one flew to Taiwan but was suppressed with White Terror and asked to flight against Communism.
When I was a kid in Taiwan, I was also familiar with the sound of phone being tapped with the click sound when I picked it up.
The web page below made an extensive story outline of ‘MI5 and me’ so there is no need for me to repeat. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/mar/07/mi5-and-me-by-charlotte-bingham-review-a-coronet-among-the-spooks-
However, there are two sessions of the book which I would like to quote.
The first one was a bit of Sarcasm about Britts. One of the characters described British people as following : ‘.. to make people life unmitigated hell. But in a very nice way, of course, ‘because that is what we British do. We make people suffer in nice way, and then make sure they stop being stupid and realize being a nuisance is not on.’
Another one is the way Arabella describe the type of man she likes as follows: ‘First of all he would be handsome, but not in a very overt way, as in not the door flinging open and you see a sunning face looking at you. No, no- not like that all all. More an engaging face. Large eyes;, of course, an a broad forehead, which would tell you he has brain. I would like him to be tall, because tall men are less likely to bully, but most of all he would be funny-not as in telling jokes because that ’s awful- just funny with a squiffy way of looking at like, you know, the way some people are. But then no one ever meets someone like that, do they? The best man are the male heros created in fiction- by women. The Scarlet Pimpernel, Heathcliff, Rhett Butler, Mr. Darcy- all created by women and that is because they couldn’t find a man they really liked which made them sit down and create one.’
Over it was a easy light reading book.
I picked up this book during Christmas break and thanks to no mobile phone reception on the London tube I had the opportunity to finish the book resonably speed.
The book consists several stories.
The first one Pardon Edward Snowden was constructed with some poems.
One particular quote I liked:
It is assumed that the writers first allegiance is to language. This is false. The writers first allegiance is to silence.
The other story I liked was The Trusted Traveler, two retirees academic can never escaping from some referral request even from someone who they had hardly engaged before. This seems to happened to our career life too.
The best part of the story I like was about a couple dealing with infertility. How humanity the husband felt every time he visited the client in order to produce quality sperms as a real classic.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this book.