Sunday, 28 June 2015

Reading catch up

Some of my recent reads have been fairly lightweight, with E F Benson's Queen Lucia and Katie Fforde's Recipe for Love being the lightest of the bunch. I've come across so many comments about how wonderful the Mapp and Lucia books are that when I saw the Complete Mapp and Lucia stories in a two volume Wordsworth edition on the Bibliophile website/catalogue at a very low price that I immediately sent for them. I am reading them one at a time, not rushing through the whole sequence, so I can enjoy them at leisure. After all, they were originally published as independent novels, for entertainment. I also saw the television series broadcast at he end of last year on the BBC. I usually prefer to read the books first, then watch, so when I saw it I thought I'd better read the stories as well.

I have read many, but not all, of Katie Fforde's novels ever since she gave a talk about her writing many years ago at Southampton City Libraries, and enjoyed them all as lightweight and entertaining escapist stories, as was this title.
 Tove Jansson's The Summer Book is a fairly short, easy to read story of one summer on a island in the Gulf of Finland, but has such beautiful writing, such tenderness in the description of the relationship between the grandmother and her granddaughter in their adventuring on the island that it will be one I remember for a long time.
Although Stella Rimington's At Risk and Susanna Gregory's An Unholy Alliance are thrillers, they are very different, At Risk being set in the present day, while An Unholy Alliance is set in 1348 at the time of the plague. At Risk is also the first in a series of thrillers with a heroine, Liz Carlyle at the centre of the action. I have n't yet read any of the more recent titles, but will look out for them.
I was unaware of just how prolific Susanna Gregory is, and will probably read others in her series of medieval mysteries, as they are well written and the events described so far in the past they are less disturbing than more up-to-date crime stories. 

Front Cover I picked up Rebecca Solnit's Wanderlust  in a local bookshop (October Books, a co-operative) as the sub-title, A History of Walking was intriguing.(It was also reduced in price).  How do you write a history of something that for centuries, millennia even, was the main method of getting about the world for all humankind.
This book covers a huge amount of not just history, but literature, art, human anatomy, gender politics,  mountaineering as well as where we walk in country or city and how the motor car is affecting our pedestrianism. Rebecca Solnit has included an amazing amount of research in this nicely produced volume.

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