Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

March Books- 2019

Lots more good reads this month, including two new authors for me, and two favourites.

Peter James- You are dead- A new author for me who has written a lot, so that’s good news. A who done it. Well crafted although the perpetrator is rather weird as is his mode operandi.  A tad gruesome, but I shall look out for him in the library.

Tracy Chevalier Remarkable Creatures- Ms Chevalier is one of my favourite authors.  If I find a book by her I will read it, and I found this whilst doing the shelving in the library. It tells the story of Elizabeth Philpot and Mary Anning, and I bet you never heard of either of them, and shame on us, well me anyway. Elizabeth Philpot moved with her two sisters to Lyme Regis in the early 1800s. They originally came from London but on the death of their parents and the marriage of their brother and sister, there was insufficient family money to maintain them in London, so to Lyme Regis they came. One sister Louise became interested in gardening and botany. Margaret loved socializing but also made hand creams, to great acclaim. Elizabeth became interested in fossils, in particular fossil fish. Looking for them on the beach she met and befriended Mary Anning. Mary Anning was a top-notch spotter of fossils and made a living with her family selling the curios. In time she started to discover “monsters” which were snapped up by collectors. Mary was extremely knowledgeable about the fossils she found. Now  have added this book to my top 100 books , and here’s why. The collectors of the fossils assumed not only ownership of them but also the credit for discovering them. Mary was treated as a kind of  servant! papers were presented by collectors at the Geological society to which women could not even enter. Ms Chevalier makes the point that quarrymen Subsequently found the fossils but who knows their name? Anyway Mary Anning did get some recognition during her lifetime and in 2010 the Royal Society listed her as one of the ten top women to have contributed to scientific knowledge, a  little patronising but better than nothing. I think girls should read this just to let them know that once women really had so few opportunities in life and they should value education and the chances they enjoy. If the Handmaids Tale warns us of a possible future this book reminds us of what was. and apart from anything else the book is set in lovely Dorset at the time Jane Austin visited Lyme and indeed patronised the shop of Mary Anning’s father. A good read. Here’s a link for more information on Mary Anning

Susan Hill-The Beacon- Another of my favourite authors. A short book. A small isolated farmhouse in which May and her mother live. First we read May’s story and then we read of the book her brother Frank wrote describing their childhood and that of their brother Colin and sister Berenice. Oh my the web of lies and the damage done! A good read.

Patricia Highsmith- Carol- now a film with Cate Blanchett. This was written in the 1950s and originally appeared under a pen name such is the controversial theme of the book. Today it reads very tame indeed. Therese has a temp job one Christmas in a department store, carol is a customer to whom she is drawn. The first part of the story is her getting to know Carol and the end of a relationship with Richard. Carol is going through a bitter divorce and custody battle. Carol and Therese take a road trip. Custody battle lost because of Therese. Will they give each other up. Too be honest I found it a bit tedious, but I read to  the end. Of it’s time.

Kate Ellis- Walking by Night- A new author for me, gleaned from a fellow book loving blogger. A who dun it, of the best order. Set in York, and most enjoyable. Lots of easy to identify places and the only annoyance is why make the streets and landmarks so easily identifiable and then change the names, just so irritating. But I shall read more by this author. A good read to end the month.

Have you read any of these and did you enjoy them? Would you have been annoyed by name changes to a very familiar city, or is it just me?

Please tell me about anything you are reading and please feel free to leave a link to any book related post you have written.

Comments on: "March Books- 2019" (31)

  1. Just wanted you to know, I just read the first book in the Peter James series, Dead Simple, and loved it—thanks for the lead!

  2. I made some notes, especially of the who-done-its! I loved Remarkable Creatures, too–really want to visit that part of Great Britain now!

  3. I’m reading Meet me at the Museum by Anne Youngson. So good. So, so good.

  4. Glad you enjoyed the Kate Ellis. You seem to have read the last in a series of five. But there are 23 in the Wesley Peterson series (set in Devon – archaeology and police work). Just discovered the 23rd one! read all the others now. She has also written a couple of more historical ones. Haven’t read those.

  5. Murtagh's Meadow said:

    The Remarkable Creaturers book sounds fascinating. Will look out for it. Always enjoy your recommendations. Currently reading ‘when i had a little sister’ by Catherine Simpson. A memoir that starts when the author’s sister Committee suicide.

  6. Pater James is one of my favourites and I have also read Remarkable Creatures. We visited Lym Regis when we were in Dorset so I was aware of Mary Anning. Lym Regis is such a lovely little place to visit, it was also the location of the filming of the French Lieutenant’s Woman.
    I am going to look out for Kate Ellis and Susan Hill.
    I have just finished The Scholar by Dervla McTiernan and absolutely loved it.

  7. I like the sound of Remarkable Creatures and like the commenters above I have heard that there is a new film called Ammonite starring Kate Winslet and Saiorse Ronan about Mary Anning. Just finished reading Tom’s Midnight Garden, a book from childhood that I never got round to reading..and now love as an adult. X

  8. We have some friends who have a daughter aged 7. For her birthday she wanted a dinosaur-themed party, but not exactly how you would expect… she wanted to have a Mary Anning costume and dig for fossils. So, her mum and dad made trays for all the kids to excavate and her dad dressed as a dinosaur and Maisie dressed as Mary Anning. For their holidays, they went to the Jurassic coast so that she could go fossil hunting where Mary Anning did. I am so proud of having friends like these.
    Incidentally, there’s a book by Deborah Cadbury called The Dinosaur Hunters that I think you would enjoy.

  9. Eeeep! More books already. Don’t know any of these, so reviews very useful. As for me, I’ve not been reading the same book for book group all month. Must try before the 4th when our meeting is.

    • I am now on one that is rather a large tomb! I do read rather a lot, mostly at bedtime, but also I am known to read an afternoon away.

  10. Remarkable Creatures and The Beacon sound interesting, I’ll look out for those if I remember. I’ve just finished reading a true story about an ill-treated and abandoned greyhound and the woman who took it into her animal sanctuary and eventually found the perfect new home for it – it brought a lump to my throat more than once 😦 I may very well review it on my blog when I get a minute. I’m now reading the book previous to that one, another true story about a little dog that wouldn’t bark.

  11. Sounds like a good reading month Cathy, you reminded me about Tracey Chevalier and I must read more of her books. It’s easy to forget how things have changed so drastically for women although there is still an ongoing battle for equal pay, I’ve added this book to my list as I’ve just joined our local library (only lived here for 3 years!) so I will keep my eyes peeled for it. I just finished I am, I am, I am by Maggie O Farrell which I really loved and I’m a third of the way through Perfect Prey (2nd in a series) by Helen Fields. It’s a bit gory but very readable about a serial killer rampaging around Edinburgh! Thanks for your recommendations x

    • So pleased you joined your library. It really is a case of use them or loose them. I have read Maggie O’Farrell and really enjoyed the book.
      It’s too easy for us to forget that women really were second class citizens.

  12. I haven’t read any of your books this month Cathy. I’m reading a couple of non fiction books on subjects I’m interested in and also listening (still) to Middlemarch read by Juliet Stevenson on Audible while I draw or hand craft. I finished Graham Norton’s biography recently too and enjoyed it – next up is Miranda Hart’s.

  13. p.s. Film isn’t out yet but being filmed in Dorset.

  14. I haven’t read any of those but, coincidentally, just read somewhere that there is a new film starring Kate Winslett, about Mary Anning, called ‘Ammonite’. There’s some controversy about it as they have portrayed her as lesbian despite no evidence to support the theory.

    I’m reading ‘We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves’ which I’m almost finished. It’s nothing like I thought it was going to be – my daughter had read it, liked it but didn’t warn me – and now I am even more depressed than usual about how animals are treated and seriously considering becoming a vegetarian.

    • I am pleased to say that in the book she is not a lesbian as you say there is no evidence to suggest such a thing.
      I don’t think I fancy the book you are reading. We eat at least half our meal as vegetarians. I really can’t agree with mass production of meat.

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