Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

January 2018, Books

I love to read, and to share my thoughts on the books that cross my path. Please let me know if you have read any of these and what your thoughts were. This is what I read this month.

Jo Baker- The Picture Book. I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish. Four generations of one family connected by their first names. William a sailor in the  First World War at Gallipoli. Billy his son, a keen amateur cyclist who sees action in Normandy on a bycycle. Will his son has walking difficulties and spends time in a children’s orthopaedic hospital which apart from location strongly resembles the Adele Shaw Hospital for Crippled Children in Kirkbymoorside that I researched last year. The one in the novel even started life as a hospital for wounded soldiers from the first world war, and the descriptions of the buildings and the staff were very recognisable.  Will’s daughter is Billie and she is an artist in London. A good book to start the year.

Lynne Reid Banks- Uprooted- written as an older children’s book, but shelved in the library with adult books, I think because of its story line. This tells the true story of the author’s time in Canada as a refugee  from the second world war. The language was so clever, it really captured how children aged about nine did think and speak. Her style was just like the diary I wrote at that age. It was an easy and enjoyable read.

Juilan Barnes-The Sense of an Ending- A winner of the Man Booker prize, 2011, I am going to have to revisit my opinion of books which win prizes as being weird and unreadable. This is very good indeed. Man looking back over life, themes of history, self-delusion, whether people can or do shape their lives or just go along what is dealt to them. Just a little disappointed with the end , but only a little.

Nick Hornby- Funny Girl- I really enjoyed this book. It starts in the 1960s with a feisty Miss Blackpool , who gives up her title almost immediately for the bright lights of London. There she becomes a successful actress in a TV sitcom. But it is the early 60s and a time of change, how long can a staid comedy about a married couple continue? In places the book was laugh out loud funny, not certain that a much younger reader would find it as funny. Give it a go.

Mark Haddon- The Pier Falls- A collection of short stories. I wouldn’t have borrowed this one had I realised it wasn’t a novel. What to say? They are very imaginative and well constructed, but half of them go way off and are rather odd. The ones that aren’t odd are enjoyable, but in an unexpected way the odd ones are better. Like Tales of the Unexpected by Roald Dahl. But it’s ages since I read Roald Dahl so I might be wrong. I reckon if you like short stories and the unexpected you will love these.

So that was my January reading. Have you read any good books this month. Here’s what I have lined up so far for February.

Should keep me out of mischief!

Comments on: "January 2018, Books" (35)

  1. I can hardly keep up with all the books you read, but it’s always good to have a review to point me in the right direction when I do have a quiet moment. Haven’t read any of these.

  2. I’m going to look for all of these…😄 one can never have to many books checked out!

  3. I am in a reading rut, mostly just one murder mystery after another, books that are the literary equivalent of chewing gum, I think. Your eclectic reading puts me to shame!

  4. Like you, I read about a book a week which I get from the library.At the moment I am reading “The Vanishing Box” by Elly Griffiths though I like her Dr Ruth Galloway books even more and there will be a new one available soon! I also have Anne Cleeves, “Raven Black” which is the first in a series and have been reading Stella Rimington’s Liz Carlisle spy stories not quite in the right order and have “Close Call” to read next which seems to be the eighth one.

    • Apart from Ann Cleeves these are new ones to me. I enjoyed Raven Black, hopefully you will too. Stella Rimington is popular at the library as I have shelved a few of her books.

  5. I haven’t read any of your January books and I’m not a fan of short stories. However, I have read ‘The 19th Wife’ although I can’t bring it to mind at the moment (very common with me!!), I’ve only read Toni Morrison for study purposes and not for pleasure (although I’m not saying you can’t) and I love Ian McEwan and am trying to work my way through his novels so I’d be interested to hear what you think of this one when you’ve finished it.
    I am reading Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ at the moment which I’m enjoying now that I’ve got past page 73. Nothing to do with the novel but more to do with the fact that I bought it in a charity shop and somebody, at some time, had obviously bent the spine so as I turned each page it came away in my hand. I must remember not to pass it on to anybody.

    • That is the problem with second hand books, they can be a bit bashed about. The 19th wife is second on my list to read. I am starting with the Mill as one of the other volunteers would like to read it too, think Sunday may include a bit of a readathon! I’ve not read The Handmaid’s Tale, I thought I had but according to my records I’ve not, which may explain why I can’t recall it! Look forward to your thoughts on it later then?

      • Wow! You have records! You are so organised. I wish I’d done so years ago – with notes reminding me what I thought about the book – I usually remember that I’ve read something and whether I liked it or not but it’s a rare book that I read and can then recall in any great detail. I’m the same with films 😦
        The books I remember best are those I studied for qualifications and that’s because they had to be re-read, scanned for useful quotes and analysed to within an inch of their lives but, even then, a lot of them have faded depending on what effect they had on me. For example, I remember Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ very well (I cried a lot) but Kate Chopin’s ‘The Awakening’ barely at all.

      • As a child I would use old Christmas cards as bookmarks and write down the books I had read on the back of them. Wish I had them still. Maybe not, more junk. Anyway back in 2003 I decided to re read all the books in the house, in alphabetical order and give them away or decide to keep them. I also was inspired by the BBC top 100 books and set about compiling my own list. Well I faltered at C, thanks to borrowing books at work, we had a book exchange going, and as for the top 100 I still haven’t got to 50. I also started to write down all the books I read, simple coding system. A * for a top 100 entry, a tick for a good read, and a stonking great X for something I loathed. What I failed to do was write anything useful , like the plot. Which is now why I have a page on the blog to do just that!
        I am not very obsessive in other ways, but clearly I was born to volunteer in a library where everything is in alphabetical order!

  6. Julian Barnes and Nick Hornby – we have lots in common. I thought I had all of NH’s books but have missed Funny Girl!!! The hunt will begin today, at the charity book shops and my local library. 🙂

  7. I have not read any of those. I’m fortunate because my husband manages a bookstore, so he gets all sorts of pre-published proofs, many of the autographed. I think we have a complete collection of autographed pre-published Stephen King books, lots of Tom Clancy and John Grisham, Lee Child………

    I’m reading an interesting book titled “The Demon in the Freezer” by Richard Preston. It’s about the eradication of smallpox and the two freezers that still exist that contain various strains of smallpox, one at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta and one in Russia. Whether or not all the nations that had smallpox in their possession destroyed them or turned them over to WHO is debatable.

    Next on my list is “Bazaar of Bad Dreams” by Stephen King. It was published in 2015, and although I have had an autographed pre-published proof all these years, I’m just now getting around to reading it.

    • How fabulous to have access via your husband to all of those books. I adore my volunteering in the library and one job which I wish I had had was to have worked in a book shop. The Demon in the Freezer sounds a fascinating read. Not a big fan of Stephen King, his books are a bit weird to my mind, but always willing to have my mind changed! Do let me know how you get on with it please.

  8. I haven’t read any of those books Cathy, but you’ve just added three books to my TBR:)

  9. Thank you for January’s recommendations and comments, Cathy! I always enjoy them and look for things here, but rarely see them in our library. Such is the system in this area. Am currently re-reading Hamish Macbeth, as my first go-round was about 4 years ago. Interesting to see how she’s evolved the characters over the series. Also just located another Gerald Durrell, who is priceless! Am trying not to gobble it up too quickly. xx

    • That’s the problem isn’t it, you find a really good book and want to romp through it at high speed whilst no wanting it to end. Savour the Gerald Durrell as long as you can.

      • Thanks, Cathy – I’m trying, but not very successfully. I did find 1 from your list, which is available on CD, so will listen & sew… or crochet… once it arrives in my local library. 😉 Hope you enjoy your current selections!

  10. Murtagh's Meadow said:

    There are a couple there I will add to my list. So impressed that you have read so many in just a month. I have one managed one and a half! I did really enjoyed “Fallen” by Lia Mills. Set in Dublin during 1916 Rising, but also talks of first world war. Fascinating and very well written. Not sure how others outside of Ireland would find it. Has made me want to go and read more of this time!

    • It doesn’t feel like many, just about one a week, and I do read for at least half an hour at bedtime, and there has been a lot of hanging around waiting rooms with Mr E this month too, and what’s a wife supposed to do but read. I shall watch out for the book you mention, volunteerig in the library is very conducive to encouraging reading. I love it when a book leads one to following it up with other books. Thanks for the recommendation.

  11. I haven’t read any of your books – though I do enjoy Nick Hornby because he writes well and finds the humour (and black humour) in everyday things. I’ll look for that one. I’m reading modern fantasy for the first time courtesy of D Wallace Peach who I met through my blog. It’s a series and I’m nearly finished the second book of four and thoroughly enjoying it! Who knew 🙂

    • Funny girl was very good, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve not heard of the book you are reading. I shall keep my eyes open for it.

  12. Most of these sound about my speed. I too read at night and whenever I get a chance, so they can be pretty constantly on the go for me. Thanks for the reviews.

    • You are very welcome. I think reading has to be my absolute favourite pastime, the only one I do guarenteed every single day.Let me know if you read any of these won’t you please.

  13. Wow! 4 books in one month. I am lucky if I can finish 1 book in 3 months or more. But I do choose other things to do instead of reading even though I do love to read. I haven’t read any of the books you have shown. They all sound like good reads. I am currently reading “Island of Glass” by Nora Roberts. It is the 3rd book in a trilogy and I am enjoying them more than I thought I would.

    • I do read a lot, usually at bedtime, but my Sunday treat is to have an afternoon read. It’s lovely when you find an author you like who has written a series you like.

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