Question of the day (16th September).

What was the last book you read?

My answer:

The last that I finished? It was “Innocent”, the new book by Cathy Glass. I enjoyed it as I always do with her books but it also let me down a bit. If you are planning to read this book, I suggest you skip this paragraph, spoiler ahead.Cathy Glass is a foster carer who writes memoirs about the children she takes care of. In this particular book, she writes about two siblings – Molly and Kit – whose mother was very anxious about their health, and who both had a lot of mysterious ailments and non-accidental injuries and were visiting the hospital ultra frequently. No one knew what was up with them but there was a suspicion that they were abused and that’s why they were separated from their parents. Cathy wanted to make sure that the cause of children’s illnesses could be defined. I won’t be telling you the whole book but basically, while Cathy, and the kids’ social worker, and everyone involved were scratching their heads over what could be the issue here, I knew for sure at about the third chapter that the problem was that the mummy had Munschhausen syndrome by proxy/FDIA, and I’m not a professional. It really wasn’t hard to figure out so I wondered whether Cathy just wanted it to look like such a lengthy process so she could write a full length book or it really took them that long. Granted that I was just reading the book, not involved in the case, so perhaps how it actually looked like was different and less obvious than described in the book. It was more difficult for them because the children’s mother was giving them food to take to Cathy’s when she saw them at contact, it was already poisoned so they were often sick at Cathy’s as well. I was also surprised that even when they knew full well that the mother has FDIA, the judge decided that the children should live with their parents. As if a few weeks stay in the hospital could really fix such a serious disorder. I don’t know, maybe it can, but it felt really, really doubtful to me. I guess it’s not a rare situation when judges deciding on families make such rather questionable choices. What surprised me was that the parents of the kids – Filip and Aneta – had actually Polish names – or if not Polish then Czech, because both ANeta and Filip are Polish and Czech names. It wouldn’t be anything weird in the UK where a lot of Poles live, but it wasn’t mentioned anywhere in the book that they were Polish or Czech and their kids had English names. I understand that Cathy had to change their names from what they originallly were, but still, that was interesting. Though, as a linguophile and a name nerd, I felt slightly annoyed that the narrator read Aneta’s name like Anita with an “ee” all the time, while it is ah-NE-tah in both languages, and Anita is a different name. 😀 But of course that’s just a detail.

And the last book I’ read but never finished was “Camilla” by Fanny Burney. I was excited to read it, I thought I will love it, I like this type of English classics, and I liked that it was an influence for Jane Austen, but, uh, I just couldn’t get through it. I’m not someone who is very thirsty for quick-paced action in books, it may be slow as long as it’s interesting and well written, but that book was just too much for me. I really tried to read it, I read it for a very long time, tried to get into it, but just couldn’t. It just felt overly lengthy and boring. And the consciousness that the whole book is about 1000 pages long made me feel like yawning, so I just left it. Maybe another time. I managed to like the character of Eugenia though. I wonder if I should read “Evelina” by Burney which I also thought could be interesting. Now I’m not so sure.

And I’m still reading “Forever Twelve” by Meg Kimball, which are the first four books in her “Advice Avengers” series. Meg is my fantastic blog friend who blogs at (I’m sorry this link looks like this but I’m writing via email) and I was also really excited to read her series. I’m reading the third book which is called “Andi Has The Answers”, and I’m enjoying it a lot. I like how positive and unrealistic these books are, I mean, the two main characters are 12-year-old girls. I have a 12-year-old girl called Zofijka at home and the Advice Avengers and their friends differ so vastly from Zofijka and her friends whom I know. Corey and Andi are so nicely childish but at the same time, especially Corey, is very mature and wise for her age in my opinion. And the whole series just feels so nice that I’d like to jump into that world right away. 😀 In this respect, Meg’s writing reminds me of my favourite Polish writer called Małgorzata Musierowicz, who has written a series called Jeżycjada, I will always regret that it’s not translated into English, it’s a big loss for non Polish speakers in my view. Ms. Musierowicz’s writing style and the setting of her books hugely differs from Meg’s, but the slightly utopian, warm atmosphere is very much the same.

Oh well, when I created this blog I told myself I won’t be doing reviews, did I just write one big review of 3 books, or doesn’t it count as a review yet? 😀 Well anyway, I’ve been making a lot of interesting literary discoveries lately so I guess that’s justified, even if it is a review of sorts. And, people, I’ve read all those books in English. It no longer feels like a deal at all for me.

How about you? 🙂