29 August 2014


We are a pretty resilient species us humans, bouncing back whatever the situation thrown at us, I guess we wouldn't be the dominant species on the planet if that wasn't the case.  As the dominant species we seem to have decided that any resources are fair game and are ours for the taking, we are also heavily reliant on many of them including energy in the many forms it takes.  I cannot help feeling, as others have too, that one day the resources will be gone or severely depleted and needing to be rationed.  So what happens then?  Margaret Atwood in her MaddAddam trilogy gives her take on how our world might look in the build up and post an apocalypse of human creation.  In the society she writes about new species have been created both of animals and humans, spliced together from cells from different creatures.  The 'humans' or Crakers as Atwood names them are part human, part animal cells with the creator removing the parts in humans that he perceives are our weaknesses.  This month I read the final book MaddAddam, having read the first book about ten years ago and the second last month.  The world and most of its inhabitants has been destroyed by a disaster of epic proportions created by humans, those that are left have survived because of physical strength and brutality, because they are Crakers and immune to the effects or because they were far enough removed from the disaster at the time it hit.  In the aftermath all are attempting to continue to survive.  One group are particularly successful because they work together and because they are successful at foraging and know what plants can sustain life, can heal and renew.  They have, pre-apocalypse, been living and using these skills in tune with the world of nature and thus continue to survive.  I can't help feeling that at some point in the future, many centuries from now or possibly sooner, it will be the same.

It is also through nature, more specifically flowers, that the main character in The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh makes a connection to the world after a brutal life spent in the care system.  The novel starts with Victoria reaching her eighteenth birthday and having to leave the care system and make her own way in the world, by herself.  Through her love of flowers she finds a job in a florists shop and immerses herself in her work and flowers.  Interwoven into the story is the language of flowers, the history of Victorias first eighteen years of life and her meeting a man who falls in love with her.  It is a love story but one with an interesting twist, I could not put this book down.

When I was young no one ever talked about WWII.  It was not on the history curriculum at school.  It was too recent in the memory of the adults around me, most had lived through it, some had fought in it.  All my knowledge of this period I have gained for myself, slowly over time building a picture which shouts to me exactly why no one wanted to talk about it.  It is incomprehensible and impossible to understand how it was to live at that time.  Some of the literature based on this period is fictional but based on true events which Citadel by Kate Mosse is an example of, again the third book in a trilogy a bit of a pattern in my reading this month it would seem.  I read the first and second books a while ago now and could not remember much, if any, of the detail but it didn't seem to matter.  It is set in Carcasonne and the surrounding area during the last few years of the war, and follows the fortunes of a resistance cell or maquis.  The treachery is hard to stomach, even though it is fictional I have no doubt it is similar to what really happened at the time.  Neighbours watching neighbours.  I was reminded of the words to a beautiful song written by Tommy Sands and although this is about Northern Ireland it is true of any conflict

...But centuries of hatred
Have ears that do not hear
An eye for an eye
That was all that filled their minds
And another eye for another eye
Till everyone is blind...

...But I wonder just how many wars
Are fought between good friends...

The characters in this story are young, at the prime of their lives, their existence which is how they are living is difficult to comprehend.  It was a hard and tough.  Grinding.  As I was reading I couldn't help but be reminded that many in the world continue to live in a similar way.

I am now most of the way through Summer Garden by Paullina Simons, at over 700 pages this is a meaty book, I do seem to have read a lot this month!  When I have finished I have two books that I chose in the library to read, coincidentally both first novels for the authors.  After Me Comes the Flood by Sarah Perry and 70% Acrylic 30% Wool by Viola Di Grado just need to decide which one to read first..............


The Peony can represent shame and to the Chinese is the King of the Flowers, the Orchid love and beauty and the Daisy innocence, loyal love and I'll never tell, although it depends whose language you are reading.


Joining in with Laura over at Circle of Pine Trees for The Year in Books


  1. Fascinating post. I too am deeply concerned about wht we are doing to our environment and the world and anything that makes anyone thing twice about what they are doing must help. I do believe that the time will come when we pay for all the cheap food, oil, power and so on dearly but sadly like when I was at school and the whole class was punished for one person's misdemeanour the innocent will also pay for the profligate waste and destruction others have meted out on our beautiful planet and then what price a pint of milk!!

  2. This sounds fascinating. I have always been a great fan of Margaret Atwood's poetry, perhaps now it's time to read this book. Like you, I am concerned about our planet and worry for my children's future. And our own health, for that matter. xxx

  3. All of the books you've been reading recently sound very interesting, I think I might suggest some of them to my book club.

  4. Thank you for such marvellous book recommendations xx


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