Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

November Books- 2018

I have read some lovely books this month, including a couple recommended by discerning bloggers. So many thanks.

Byron Rodgers- J.L.Carr- The life and times-not so much a book as a pamphlet. J.L.Carr wrote the book A Month in the Country, which if you haven’t read or seen the film, I can highly recommend. J.L.Carr was a bit of an enigma even to his closest friends- a remarkable Headmaster in Kettering, an aficionado of cricket, a painter of great skill creating paintings of rural Northamptonshire  especially churches, a writer and publisher. An enjoyable but too brief read.

Michael Robotham- The Secrets She Keeps- Another very good thriller from this author. Two women, two pregnancies and some big secrets. Not saying any more as I don’t want to spoil it for you.

Sarah Waters- The Little Stranger. This one was recommended to me by Tialys, and I loved it. Lynne described it as a slow burner which is most apt. The pace is so well-timed, it is brilliant. The lure of the old house Hundreds Hall is  strong. The past glories, the balls, the parties, the library , the stables, the glamour, the family, the decline post war, the tragedy, and finally the Little Stranger. Thoroughly enjoyable, thank you.

Jhumpa Lahiri- The Lowland- Shortlisted for the Man Booker prize in 2013. This is a well constructed novel with several narrators, and once again was a blogger recommendation last month. It’s set in Calcutta from the 1940s and Rhode island from the 60s to the present day, and the focus is on one family and their relationships and the impact of everyday life  in troubled times. The Evening Standard on the book cover calls it “A sad and haunting story”, which sums it up nicely. I found the part set in India during the war interesting because my Dad was there from1943 to 1946. I am always appalled by my lack of knowledge of life outside the West. I enjoyed the book, and there was a happy ending of sorts, but it was a sad novel. Worth reading.

Edward Royle- A Church Scandal in Victorian Pickering. This turned up on the books returned shelves at the library. How have I missed it before? A very well written account of a vicar in Pickering, who may or may not have been carrying on with the daughter of a local weaver, and who was had up before a church court accused of immorality and bringing the church into disrepute. Needless to say that whilst the immorality wasn’t proved the causing a scandal bit was. So he headed off to Belgium with his wife and family for a while and the weaver’s daughter went to Paris as a dressmaker. Seems the vicar and the dressmaker got together a few years later . He became a curate in Suffolk and she the curate’s wife, although in the census she still had her maiden name. This only took a couple of hours to read and I nearly didn’t include it here except for the fact that it threw a light onto the town in which my Gt Grandfather grew up, only yards away from the vicarage.  Was my family aware of the scandal, in a town of less than 4000 people they must have been. Also it showed the shocking disregard the said vicar had for the reputation of the woman. It also said a lot about the hypocrisy of the day. And finally, just to flag up once again how great the library is, you never know what you might find.

Finally, Tialys reminded me that I had once taken the trouble to compile a list of 109 authors whose books I should seek out, and then had promptly forgotten it, even though I turned it into a page here. So I consulted it a week or so ago, and ordered some books through the library. I thought they will be here in time for Christmas, I shall have plenty to keep me going when the library is shut for the two-week break. Humph! They all arrived within  three days and I now have a huge pile of books to read right now, beginning with the Night Circus. Bring on those winter nights when I can settle down with a book, my blankie and a cup of tea. But do please keep your recommendations coming in. Thanks to you all my reading choices have widened to new genres and I am loving them.

Now where’s my book, half an hour before dinner….

Comments on: "November Books- 2018" (20)

  1. I’m so glad you enjoyed ‘The Little Stranger’ – she’s an excellent writer isn’t she?
    I’ve just finished reading Kate Atkinson’s ‘Transcriptions’ – a sort of spy story and have now started William Boyd’s ‘Love is Blind’. These are both recent publications but, at the airport, they do special paperback editions so I got Mr. T. to bring them home for me as they were on the ‘buy one get one half price’ stand. Still too expensive really but I couldn’t wait to read them and Kate Atkinson is my favourite contemporary author. ‘Transcriptions’ is probably not my very favourite of hers but, as far as I’m concerned, she can do no wrong and I like to have hard copies of all her books.

    • Kate Atkinson is an unusual author I think, or do I mean original. Some I love and some I really don’t like. I don’t know William Boyd at all, is it good?

  2. Sounds like a good month of reading x

  3. Oh, goody! Another list for me to check through and see if anything is available in my county library. Sometimes I do, but it’s a low percentage. 😬 If I were in Blighty, me thinks odds would be better. 😉

  4. You have tempted me with a couple of these – I thought the Vicar one and The Little Stranger sound like my kind of books – I leave the murder mysteries to my mum she reads enough for all of us!

  5. Those do sound really good!

  6. Murtagh's Meadow said:

    so glad you enjoyed Lowland. I think you will enjoy Night Circus. I read it a while back! Have just read Tinman by Sarah Tinman. Beautiful written, sad story of love and loss and coming to terms with it, and what could have been, particularly for a gay relstionship before it was “acceptable” in society. Currently reading Daring to Drive, eye opening account of growing up in Saudi arabia.

  7. I studied A Month in the Country a few years ago for my MA course and I loved it. I bought the Byron Rodgers book to try to understand Carr a bit more. An interesting read.

    • Oh how good that you know the book. It was recommended to me by someone from the local Family History Group , following on from a talk about the wall paintings in our church., which may or may not have inspired the book A Month in the Country.

  8. Great list, I’ve made note of a couple even though I have a pile of real books and a half dozen on the kindle and Christmas is coming when I get a whole load more from my daughter the book rep! I’ve recently read two books set in Alaska and loved them both. The Snow Child is a beautiful story, based on the Russian fairy tale and The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah who is a most gifted novelist. It’s a harrowing story of the harshness of living in the outbacks of Alaska in the 1960’s. But so compelling and so well written. I loved them both and now want to visit Alaska!

    • I have read The Snow Child, it has really stayed with me, a sign of a good book. The Great Alone sounds good and I shall add it. I read White Fang which is also set in Alaska I think, and loved it.

      I was given two books for my birthday which I also hope to read in December, once I have read through the library books. I guess it may be January before I get to them.

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