Triple Choice Tuesday: JacquiWine’s Journal

Triple-Choice-TuesdayWelcome to Triple Choice Tuesday. This is where I ask some of my favourite bloggers, writers and readers to share the names of three books that mean a lot to them. The idea is that it might raise the profile of certain books and introduce you to new titles, new authors and new bloggers.

Today’s guest is Jacqui, who blogs at JacquiWine’s Journal, which marries her two loves: books and wine.

Jacqui writes eloquently about wine, but her blog’s main focus is book reviews of which there is a wide and varied range, including modern classics, vintage noir and hard-boiled novels, translated fiction and contemporary fiction.

Jacqui lives in the South of England and freelances in customer research and analysis. She started in healthcare, but her interest in wine led her to The Wine Society. Her other interests include films and music.

Without further ado, here are Jacqui’s choices:

a-heart-so-whiteA favourite book: A Heart So White by Javier Marias (translated by Margaret Jull Costa)

This novel has one of the most intriguing openings I have encountered in many years of reading. As the book opens, the main character, Juan, recalls the death of his father’s wife, Teresa, shortly after the couple’s honeymoon some 40 years ago: Teresa shot herself in the heart with her father’s gun. Juan’s father, Ranz, was not present at the moment of Teresa’s death, and at the time, no one appeared to know why she took her own life.

By the end of the novel the uncertainties surrounding Teresa’s suicide are resolved, but A Heart So White offers so much more than a conventional mystery. It seems (at least in part) to be a meditation on some of Marias’s favourite themes: truth, secrets, relationships, communication and death. The plot is very cleverly constructed; it feels layered as particular images and themes recur and reverberate throughout the novel. The writing is wonderful: philosophical, reflective, almost hypnotic in style. It’s a novel to sink into and savour, one that rewards rereading.

the-great-gatsbyA book that changed my world: The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald

This is the book that rekindled my love of reading in the wilderness years following my O-levels. I recall having to study particular novels and the requirement to analyse the life out of these books turned me away from reading for a few years. All that changed when I picked up The Great Gatsby. Here was a book full of intrigue and mystery, an elegy to the illusions and tragedies of the American Dream. Need I say more? It remains one of my favourite novels and never fails to surprise me with something new and different despite several rereads.

Cassandra-at-the-weddingA book that deserves a wider audience: Cassandra at the Wedding by Dorothy Baker

Regular readers of my blog will know that I have been championing this book for the past year! Cassandra, a graduate student at Berkeley, drives home to her family’s ranch for the wedding of her identical twin sister, Judith, where she seems all set to derail the proceedings. This is a brilliant novel featuring one of my favourite women in literature. If you like complex characters with plenty of light and shade, this is the novel for you. Cassandra is intelligent, precise and at times witty, charming and loving. But she can also be manipulative, reckless, domineering, self-absorbed and cruel.  She’s a mass of contradictions and behaves abominably at times, and yet she has my sympathies. Cassandra at the Wedding was first published in 1962, and it’s wonderful to see it back in print in the shape of a lovely edition from NYRB Classics.

Thanks, Jacqui, for taking part in my Triple Choice Tuesday!

As expected, these are wonderful choices. I have the Javier Marias’ novel in my TBR, having picked it up very cheaply in a book sale last summer. I read and loved The Great Gatsby many years ago (my review is here). And now I’m off to hunt out a copy of Cassandra at the Wedding, it sounds so fabulous!

What do you think of Jacqui’s choices? Have you read any of these books?

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18 thoughts on “Triple Choice Tuesday: JacquiWine’s Journal

  1. Great choices Jacqui…..as you know I LOVE A Heart So White and GG is one of my fave novels of all time . I really must get a copy of the Baker ….perhaps I will tag it as a holiday read .

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    • Thanks, Helen. I think you would love Cassandra! She’d make a fine addition to your holiday bag. I hope to read another Marias later this year and the Your Face Tomorrow novels are sitting on my wishlist. 🙂

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  2. Gatsby is a wonderful novel – and the other two titles are ones I want to read! The clickety-click ordering finger is itching….. 🙂

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    • Haha! I’m glad to hear you are a Gatsby fan, Karen. The Marias is like a series of reflections and echoes. It can take a little while to get used to his style, but it’s well worth the investment.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I was delighted when Jacqui joined us in the blogging world so I am not surprised to see these interesting choices. (I have read Gatsby, but not the others). Another temptress always adding to my TBR:)

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  4. I have read Gatsby, and the other two are now on my list (the first one might have already been there). They sound good! You often read books I have never heard of.

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  5. Javier Marias novel has been one of my favourite reads since the beginning of 2015 and one I will reread (it had been in my TBR pile for more than ten years :o) and TGG is my favourite book of all times. Therefore, I suppose it would be a good idea to check Cassandra (and Jacquiwine’s blog).

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    • I’m delighted to hear you enjoyed A Heart So White! I feel as if I’ve come late to Marias, but his other novels are firmly on my ‘to-read’ list. Cassandra at the Wedding is just fantastic, very sharp and witty.

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  6. I’ve read (and loved!) The Great Gatsby; Cassandra at the Wedding is on my to-read list. I think I’ll have to add A Heart So White too – it sounds fascinating 🙂

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    • Marvellous! I hope you enjoy Cassandra, she’s quite a character. It’s definitely worth considering Marias as I think he’s a wonderful writer, his prose is like a melody.

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  7. A wonderful trio Jacqui – just started GG, have Cassandra on my tbr and Heart on wishlist … for anyone new to Jacqui I highly recommend checking out her blog for a rich diversity of novels… but be warned, she fully deserves the label temptress and your book budget will be challenged 😄😜

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    • Thank you for your kind words, Poppy! Well, you have a few treats in store there. I can’t wait to hear how you find Gatsby and Cassandra – now there’s a match that would create sparks.

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