Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Books – July 2017

I have recently begun a short online course run by Edinburgh University through Future Learn. You can do this course for free but I am giving serious consideration to paying over hard cash for an upgrade to give me unlimited access to the material, as I have enjoyed the first week so much. It’s called “How to Read a Novel”. Which you might think was self-evident , but I have realised that by rushing from story to story I am missing out in so much more. The last book I read this month was the Joanne Harris, I list them in the order that I read them, I just feel now that I want to re read this book, to see how she managed to send me off in the wrong direction. Anyway there is still time to sign up for this course, as it is only 4 weeks long,Ā  the second week only just started, and you can still access week one. Here’s the link. Future Learn, How to Read a Novel

John Updike- The Afterlife- A collection of short stories and a book from the heap. An author one is supposed to like, but to whom I did not warm. The writing is good, and I had a sense of place which to me is important, but not a sense of love for place. The stories all concern the end of things, life and relationships between lovers, married couples, parents and children. The stories were all too realistic of the futility of us all, and so I found it rather depressing . The only one I really enjoyed was called A Sandstone Farmhouse, which had some warmth in it.I would love to know what others think of this author. I have another in the heap by the bed of his called The Farm, which concerns the same farmhouse and people so that is a relief! I think it will be a while before I get round to reading it though.

I am nearly coming to the end of my heap challenge and I figure if I read 1.25 books from the heap I will have finished it, as long as I don’t add to it in the meantime. Just why am I compelled to buy more books when I have a very good library to go too?

The rest are Library books.

Susan Hill-Ā  A Kind Man- a short novel, beautifully crafted as ever. Similar setting to other books she has written, just wonderful. Themes again are life, love, birth, death, illness etc. Superb, just try one of her books for me.

Linwood Barclay- Broken Promise- big thanks to the blogger(s) who recommended this author to me. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the first in a trilogy. Basically a returning to his home town journalist investigates the mystery of the angel who gave his cousin a baby.

Robert Harris- Conclave- An interesting and enjoyable read, as the Cardinals are locked in Conclave for 72 hours whilst they elect the next Pope. A disappointing end, which I won’t give away here, but if you want to know more, please look in my Page above on Books. Be interested to know if anyone else has read this one, and for their thoughts.

Joanne Harris- Different Class. Two narrators, one a former pupil and one a teacher ,relate a past event through the changes a new Head is making to an old style Grammar School. Described as a masterpiece of misdirection by Val McDermid, I can only agree.

So have you read any good books recently. I keep a note of recommendations for my trips to the Library, so look forward to reading your comments.

Comments on: "Books – July 2017" (23)

  1. I’ve read several of Susan Hill’s Simon Serailler series but stopped because they got so dark! There’s a book I loved, called “How to Read Literature Like a Professor,” by Thomas C. Foster. You might enjoy it, after taking your course.

  2. Also signed up for the course and am working through Week 1. Of great help is the ability to download and listen at a later time, without having to log in. Also, the reference to the British Library article is proving to be quite interesting, as when I “studied” world literature there was no critical analysis and we did precious little reading. Only 1 semester was available in our school at the time. So this entire catalogue is quite interesting. Thank you!

  3. claire93 said:

    good for you Cathy on signing up for the course. Now the wedding is behind you, you’ll be able to get back to it.
    I did a couple of courses on Future Learn, two linked to “forensics” and found them interesting.
    I’ve also jotted down Lynn’s book suggestion but I’ve got a couple of Library books on my bedside table to read first, including another one by Linwood Barclay ^^

  4. Thank you for the book recommendations! I’ve added a few to my library list. šŸ™‚ And I’ve signed up to be alerted when the next session of How To Read A Novel starts. I don’t have time to do it now, but it looks wonderful. šŸ˜‰

  5. I mentioned my latest, most interesting, read in a recent blog post. It was ‘Daughters of the Dragon’ by William Andrews. Very harrowing though.
    Even though I have studied literature at degree level – it was a while ago! – I’ve signed up for the course as a ‘refresher’. Whether I’ll get time to actually do it is another matter :/

    • Oh that is good news, be interested to know what you think of the course, probably tooo basic for you, but for me who only got to A Level English a very lone time ago, well worth it. I have noted your book recommendation, although hoping its not too harrowing.

  6. Good for you for signing up for this course, it does look interesting and you seem to have already got a lot out of it..

  7. Have you read Gentlemen and Players? It comes before Different Class and is excellent (although I think the misdirection in G&P may not work if you’ve read DC first).
    I enjoyed Conclave and didn’t mind the ending too much, although it wasn’t particularly surprising.

    • No I haven’t read G&&P, the other one i read in the triology was Blue Eyed Boy, But I could hardly recall it, which is why I think I read things too fast. I enjoyed Conclave until the ending, it was obvious who was going to be elected, but then it felt rushed as we got there, and the final twist seemed out of place!

  8. I have recently met and become friends with an author who lives near me, here is her website: http://elizabethcookeauthor.com
    I am reading ‘The Girl in the Green Glass Mirror’. As you know I don’t read novels anymore, I just don’t seem to have the interest in fiction that I did. I thought I needed to read at least one of her books though, as we spend time together! If you try one, I’d be interested to know what you think.

  9. Maybe I should sign up to the course as I sometimes rush through books as I’m so eager to find out what happens. I agree with you about Susan Hill and maybe will now re-read A Kind Man in a more thoughtful way.

    • The first week was about Plot rather than story, the how rather than what happens next. It was so good, do give it a try, but don’t delay, the courses are only available for a short time if you do them for free. I love the short books by Susan Hill.

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