Reading notes: George; The Lowland; The Clothing of Books

This year I’m trying to write more about the books I’ve read. With some books I manage to come up with a full post, with others, perhaps just a few sentences – doesn’t mean that the books I write less about are any less impactful than the ones I’ve written long posts about. But these long posts do take up a lot of time to write! Sometimes that just doesn’t work.

Anyway, here are my reading notes for the week.

George – Alex Gino

This is a very brave book considering its targeted reader – I think it’s meant to be middle-grade level? I really liked its message about accepting who you are. It’s the story of a ten-year-old trans girl who wants to play Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web in the school play. It was a sweet story told with sensitivity and honesty.

The Lowland and The Clothing of Books – Jhumpa Lahiri

It’s been ages since I’ve read anything by Lahiri and here I am reading two of her books in one month, thanks to the Reading Women Challenge.

Lahiri’s writing is always gorgeous. I love her way with words. But I felt that The Lowland, while sweeping and beautiful, and well-researched (part of it is revolves around the Naxalite movement in Calcutta in the 1960s), felt rather cold. It was hard to feel hard for any of the characters, who seemed a bit one-dimensional.

The Clothing of Books was a lovely short piece about book cover design, from the writer’s perspective. It’s a really short and quick read, great for any book lover.

“We don’t live in a world in which a cover can simply reflect the sense and style of the book. Today more than ever the cover shoulders an additional weight. Its function is much more commercial than aesthetic. It succeeds or fails in the market.”


  1. Weird I was just about to start reading The Lowland – it’s the only book I had left on my pile, and I knew from your description that I probably wasn’t going to like it! I find it hard to get round lack of characterisation. It’s one of those books I’d describe as “the characters don’t really do anything, stuff just happens to them”. Or if they do do things, it’s hard to work out why. Eg why would a mother just leave her child for no reason and then come back so many years later? I’m sure it’s a book that works for some people, it just didn’t for me.


  2. Looks like I’d have to add Lahiri to our #WomenReadWomen2019 reading theme as well! Iphigene has reviewed The Clothing of Books a few years back, and she enjoyed it.


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