Books #9 to #18


I’ve fallen behind in both reading and recording what I’ve read. Two weeks holiday gave me chance to read quite a lot and record what I had read recently.

Julia Child’s  “My Life in France” was lent to me after I saw the film “Julie and Julia”. Julia Childs spent much of her adult life in France, where she loved the food, learnt to cook, and co-authored a cook book aimed at American housewives ( Mastering the Art of French Cooking” . On return to the US she presented a cookery programme, in what was the early days of TV. A fascinating book. Julia Childs experimental approach to cooking would have applied equally to many other disciplines, and I found myself wondering if she was of the eara of Julie in the film what career she would have followed.

Lindsay Barclay’s “Clouded Vision” was listed as a quick read. With a short book the author didn’t have space for all the twists and turns found in longer books, but still managed a gripping story.

Jason Fforde was an author I had not heard of, but a colleague lent me a couple of his books, which I read one after the other: “The Eyre Affair” and “Lost in a Good Book”.These are fantastic stories, especially for someone who likes reading. They are set in a parallel universe, similar to ours but different in that literature is important.  His heroine is Thursday Next and she is a literary detective. The style is very clever, while the plot is far fetched it reminded me of the writings of Douglas Adams. I am definitely going to read more by the author and find out what happens next to Thursday.

Philippa Gregory’s “The Red Queen” is a parallel book to her “The White Queen”. This book presents the story of Margaret Beaufort. Her son Henry Tudor (later Henry VII) is the centre of her life, although they spend very little time together. Really well written and shows what a noble women’s life was like in the 15th century.

Bernard Cornwell’s “The Fort” was not as good as other books I have read by the author. His desire to correctly tell this tale of the battle meant the characters lacked life.

Kate Morton’s “the Distant Hours” tells a tale from several different perspectives. The author got the level of each just right and made this a really gripping book.

Carlos Ruiz Zafron’s “The Prince of the Mist ” is a sinister book written with a light touch, the style made me want to keep reading (I read it in one day), but it didn’t terrify me.

Elizabeth Speller’s “The Return of Captain John Emmet” is an unusual tale, in which the titular character has apparently committed suicide after the Great War and his family’s wish to understand why. Very much a who-dunnit with lots of twists.

Howard Jacobson’s “The Finkler Question” came well recommended, it was The Man Brooker prize winner in 2010. I found it somewhat tedious. There were good parts but for me they didn’t balance the long texts which did little to develop plot or characters.


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