Thinking and talking about books....

I managed to read several books recently.
It feels so good to be in that space again.
From the fast and easy read to the more slow and thoughtful pace. 
Each one was equally enjoyable.

If you like to travel and want a fun, light hearted little page turner...
how about travelling with three the summer of 1928 to Bombay?
Did you know, that in the day, if you were an Englishwoman in search of a husband
and you found slim pickings in could cast your line further afield 
and join the "Fishing Fleet"? Women travelled abroad to India where a potential lucky fellow 
would be waiting. It was an adventure and many women took on the challenge.
I loved the sound of that and decided to read on..

East of the Sun by Julia Gregson


On the back cover....

"As the 'Kaisar--i-Hind' weights anchor for Bombay in the autumn of 1928, its passengers ponder their fate in a distant land. They are part of the "Fishing Fleet"- the name given to the legions of Englishwomen who sail to India each year in the search of husbands, heedless of the life that awaits them. The inexperienced chaperone Viva Halloway has been entrusted to watch over three unsettling charges. There's Rose, as beautiful as she is naive, who plans to marry a cavalry officer she has met a mere handful of times. Her bridesmaid, Victoria, is hell-bent on losing her virginity en route before finding a husband of her own. And shadowing them all is the malevolent presence of a disturbed schoolboy named Guy Glover.

From the parties of the wealthy Bombay socialites to the poverty of Tamarind Street, from the sooty streets of London to the genteel conversation of the Bombay Yacht Club, 'East of the Sun' is graced with lavish detail and a penetrating sensitivity-historical fiction at its greatest."

It's a fun read, you feel you are travelling with them in 1928...along the bumpy,
 dusty roads of India, feeling the thrill of the chase. The book leaves you wondering
and wanting more...please take note Julia Gregson. :)

From Julia to Pico Iyer and W. Somerset Maugham

The Skeptical Romancer by Pico Iyer 

                                     I  enjoyed The Skeptical Romancer, it travelled well...
in and out of my bicycle basket and countless travel bags.
It went with me wherever I went...
especially when I sought out a quiet spot..
just to read.

 If you are keen on learning more about The Skeptical Romancer ...
take a wander over here for my thoughts on it.

Fun reads, enjoyable reads...and then there is the one that
gets inside you and sits a while. You finish the book and
you think on it and before you know it is one of those books
you never forget. I can tell already...this will be one of them.

Paradise of the Blind by Duong Thu Huong


Book Description via publisher, HarpersCollins....

Paradise of the Blind is an exquisite portrait of three Vietnamese women struggling to survive in a society where subservience to men is expected and Communist corruption crushes every dream. Through the eyes of Hang, a young woman in her twenties who has grown up amidst the slums and intermittent beauty of Hanoi, we come to know the tragedy of her family as land reform rips apart their village. When her uncle Chinh's political loyalties replace family devotion, Hang is torn between her mother's appalling self-sacrifice and the bitterness of her aunt who can avenge but not forgive. Only by freeing herself from the past will Hang be able to find dignity--and a future.

I draw your attention to the cover of the book.  I picked up my copy in the USA.
The book was published in 1988 and was the first Vietnamese novel published in English
in the United States. Perhaps I am more sensitive to the content having lived in Vietnam these
past months...I finished the book and immediately passed it on to a friend. It is that kind of book.

If you are looking for something new for your book club...look no further than
Paradise of the will be sure to get you thinking and talking.

I am writing in between packing my bags for Australia where
I will meet up with my daughter, Miss Christine. We have a week together before
I return to Vietnam...after that, just one more trip... to Cambodia before the year ends.
 I then plan to rest and hopefully will be able to spend more time writing and talking with you.

Have I mentioned lately...that you are incredibly kind?
You are...thank you for reading along.
As always, it has been a pleasure writing to you.

Before I go...just curious to know.
Do you have a book on your night table?
What are you reading now?
Is it a keeper?

Jeanne xx

On my

PS...if you followed me 
@ Finding My Way in England....
here is an update. 


  1. Thank you for the wonderful list Jeanne! these all sound so worth the read and time and I was hunting around for something new. Happy reading. XX

  2. Hello Jeanne,
    I usually have two books on the go. Lately I have been lazy and been painting.
    The story about the ladies taken to India.. is fascinating.. I watched a whole documentary on it all. I also have a very good friend, whose parents went to India in those early days. He was a colonel in the army. They told me of many tales of when India was the "Raj".. The british didn't seem to want their men in service to marry Indians.. although some did.
    Wish you a good trip to see your daughter in Australia..

    Isabel Allende.. sits on my side table.. Island Beneath the Sea.. its very interesting.

    As always a great post Jeanne.
    Wish you a happy monday there in Vietnam..

    1. Val..I am a big fan of Isabel Allende's earlier works...I will look for this one. Thanks for the reminder.. :)

  3. After reading your recommendation I have just gone on to Amazon to search for East of the Sun - it sounds just my sort of book. I have travelled a lot and love to read about it now that I don't go around quite so much. I love your blog for the same reason.

    1. Thank you WG.. I forgot to add links to the books...have just added them above the image of each book. :)

  4. These sound like three books worth reading! I've just reviewed James Long's Ferney on my blog (and that's how I've ended up here as Weaver of Grass mentioned your reviews in a comment on my blog).

    1. Welcome..CGP..I am coming over to read your review...thanks for stopping by! :)

  5. Good morning Jeanne,

    I always love book suggestions from friends, I cannot wait to read these they are on my list now.

    I hope you have a great night, Elizabeth

  6. The books sound interesting. I need to immerse myself in a beautiful, meaningful book. Right now I am reading Steven Tyler's autobiography "Does The Noise In My Head Bother You". Every now and then I read about a rock star so that I can thank my lucky starts that I am just an ordinary person.

  7. Jeanne, these are all great recommendations. Sounds like you are settling in nicely to your new home. How exciting! I always marvel at how much traveling you do, but as readers of your blog we are the lucky recipients of your many wonderful stories on the road. I know you will enjoy seeing your daughter!
    xx Sunday

    1. Many thanks has been an unusually busy travel year with the move from the UK to Vietam...I expect next year will be a bit quiter...:)

  8. Nell Freudenberger's new book "The Newlyweds" is definitely a new take on finding a wife in the Far East, in particular Bangladesh. Highly recommend. Very funny at times, but a real inside look regarding the rewards as well as the complications which pop up in such a marriage.

    1. Thanks Judy...sounds intriguing...I will have a look. :)

  9. Great post - LOVE reading about new books to read - thank you. I am reading Victoria Alexander's new book - in fact hot off the Press last week - Colour a Journey - an absolute assault on the senses. Highly recommend! Her book One is also good.

    1. I loved discovering Victoria's books Francesca...thank you! I will be sure to have a look when I get to Sydney. I have a feeling I will be spending all my time in bookshops.... I can't wait! :)

  10. Jeanne, I just finished "A Strange Scent from a Good Mountain" for book group. The time I spent reading this group of stories told through the voices of Vietnamese evacuees I often thought of you. I am presently reading E.M. Forster's "Howards End". I am afraid I will need to put it down to begin my next book group selection, "The Unit". Always good to hear what you are reading.

    1. Many thanks Bonnie...I just downloaded the book onto my Kindle! :)

  11. I am reading "Anna Karenina" by Leo Tolstoy. I am having fun with it. It is a great read. I am glad Tolstoy wrote it so well. But I will definitely add your books to my list. I enjoy reading about travelling women. Thanks for sharing. Enjoy your trip to Australia. Have a safe trip!

  12. A few times a year I go back to old favorites--something by Jane Austin or "The Enchanted April". I jotted down the titles of the books you listed. Now that the time has changed and I will be living more time in the dark, I'm looking forward to reading.

  13. I read/ listen to two or three books at a time. Currently, I am enjoying Winter of the World, the second od Ken Fillett's latest trilogy. Soon I will begin Map of Lost Memories hoping to gain some insight to your new country as well as be entertained.

  14. I read/listen to two or three books at a time....I'm told it's good for your brain! Currently, I'm reading Winter of the World, the second in Ken Follett's latest trilogy. Soon I will start Map of Lost Memories in the hope of gaining some insight into your new country as well as be entertained.

  15. Here are two of my recent couldn't put downs, that coincidentally also have that exotic, travel feeling to them: Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. For some reason, I really resisted reading this one and was finallyl forced to by my book club. So glad I did because it's one of my favorites now. Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron. This book takes place in Barcelona, has a bit of everything to it and reads like a movie.

  16. The Patrick Melrose Novels... An English saga... I do love a saga... :)

  17. beautiful books
    let us not forget them
    in this age of instant everything.
    such a different experience to lie on a sofa with one's feet up
    dreaming and reading

  18. Jeanne
    Great recommendations...I am hoping I can get Paradise of the Blind on my Kindle! It sounds wonderful. Cutting for Stone is probably the best I have read in awhile...


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