Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Books- October 2019

The month in which Book Bingo was started at the library as a reading challenge for grown-ups. The first three books were read before this and so don’t count in the line.

John Marrs- When you disappeared- Perfect family man Simon vanishes  early one morning, his wife Catherine and children are devastated. Twenty five year later he turns up on the doorstep. What happened is told by Catherine and Simon. I did find part of the ending upsetting and skipped three pages, apart from that it was a jolly good thriller.

Neil Spring- The Ghost Hunters- based on the exploits of one Henry Price and his investiagtion into the  most haunted house in England-Borley Rectory. The novel is very well done, his use of language and style really evoked the age in which the book is set- 1920’s till 1970’s, with most happening in the 20’s- 40’s. A perfect book for a Halloween/ Autumn read. I always think I have a good book on my hand when I break off to google something- here’s a link. There was also a TV series starring Rafe Spall, should it sound familiar to you. It was a good read.

Phaedra Patrick- The Library of Lost and Found- A nice, cosy and quite charming feel good story. Martha is a volunteer at her local library and never says No. So she’s put upon. A book comes into her possession with a note that it’s for Martha from her Nana , but the date is three years after her Nana died. This would make a lovely stocking filler at Christmas for someone….. On the negative side, the writing is not great   and clearly the author has never volunteered in a library! But hey, it is set around books, so that’s good.

So here’s where Book Bingo started, which means I had read the above before…

Rowan Coleman- The Girl in the Window- published in August 2019,  by a woman,  recommended to me and it’s a mystery, so lots of potential ticks. It is also very good indeed. A blend of historical and modern, fact and fiction. Trudy’s husband is missing so she and her son return to the house she grew up in -Ponden Hall. It’s a real house and is now a B&B. There is a Bronte connection to the house. The Bronte family were invited to make use of the library, and the son Robert Heaton had a soft spot for Emily and planted a pear tree as a sign of his devotion. The house may have inspired several houses in the novels, from Wuthering Heights, to Thrushcross Grange and Wildfell Hall. Trudy finds various papers written by Agnes Heaton in the 17th century and by Emily Bronte. Agnes’ story  seems to have inspired Emily to write a second book, one that is missing. That’s all I’m saying because a mystery wouldn’t be a mystery if I spilled the beans. It’s good though.

Susan Orlean- The Library Book- qualifying as non- fiction and a recomended book for my bingo cards. The library is the Central Library in Los Angeles, and covers a lot of different angles, including the history of this library and libraries in general across the world, the people who work, volunteer and use this library and the story behind a fire in Central library. I found it abasolutely riveting, but then I probably would. The library I volunteer in is nothing like central library and yet I could reognise the tales she related about library users, volunteers, books and all the other things that happen in a library.We should really value our libraries, not just for the books we can borrow but for all the other things you can do in a library and for the human contact it provides to people.

Nella Last’s war- edited by Richard Broad and Susie Fleming. Did you see Victoria Wood’s TV drama called Housewife 49? This is the book which inspired the drama. Nella Last started to keep a diary for Mass Observation at the beginning of WW2, and kept it going throughout the war and beyond. It is so good. Honest history, written as it happened, telling what life was like for ordinary people in Barrow. Nella is in her early 50’s with two grown up sons, and has always been a stay at home wife and Mother. We see her gradually becoming her own person, working in the Centre, endlessly sewing and  knitting, and opening a charity shop for the Red Cross to pay for all the parcels for POWs. She keeps chickens, cooks wholesome meals, her husband actually starts to complement  his meals, she thinks for herself, has bouts of anxiety, worries about her sons, suffers from arthritis, puts on a brave face so everyone thinks she is cheerful all the time. She is fabulous. The book should be compulsive reading in schools! Don’t take my word for it read it, or have you already, were you impressed. There were a couple of bits that grated, but you have to recall the zeitgast.

Madeline Miller- Circe- Huge thanks to people who recomended this one to me. I loved it. A retelling of greek myths through the story of Circe, a witch , a goddess, and one time lover of Odysseus. So good to read a story with a powerful female hero. It also reminded me of these myths which I had read at school and had mostly forgotten.

So I am 4/5ths of my way through the central line on my bingo card. The only one left for that row is the Free Space, by which I take it to mean my choice. I’d like to thank everyone for all their ideas for me, I followed up on so many of them I actually have 12 books from the library waiting for me to read. Three of which have to be returned by 7 November as someone else has requested them. Better get reading…

Love to know if you have read any of these, did you like them? Have you read a good book this month?


Comments on: "Books- October 2019" (24)

  1. I’m nervous about The Library of Lost and Found, which waits on my bookshelf, if you say the writing isn’t so good. (Isn’t that always so disappointing?) I’ll soldier on, however, and give it a go. 🙂

  2. ‘Circe’ is fantastic isn’t it? I’ve just been over in the U.K. and scoured the charity shops for Madeline Miller’s previous book ‘The Song of Achilles’ which is supposed to be as good or better but no luck. I’ll have to buy it I guess.

    • I think it was you who mentioned Circe to me, and I loved it. I took my time with it too. It was interesting to read the myths from a female perspective. Thank you. I should love to read her other book, but not till I have finished the 12 I currently have at home from the library. I shall see if it is available at the library otherwise it will be one for the Christmas wishlist.

  3. I fully agree with you on Phaedra Patrick’s book. I just couldn’t put into words my issue with it since it’s been a long while since I read it.

    • In my case it was that she assigned jobs to a volunteer which would never have happened, and got the staff structure wrong. It would have been better with more research.

  4. I listened to The Library Book and found it riveting!

    • I bet it was a good one to listen too. Even though the library I volunteer in is small I could so recognise the people who use the building.

      • Not having worked in a library I didn’t recognise many, but I did some! 😉 If we ever have a live natter, remind me to try and describe Chicago Main. Not to be believed, sadly.

  5. I too lived The Library Book, I guess that is understandable as I used to be a teacher/librarian.

  6. I like the sound of The 👻 hunters and the Girl in the window. I will look out for them. 🙂 X

  7. A new author Rowan Coleman…thank you.

  8. You always make the books sound do enticing, but afarid I’m doimg even less reading now I’m into this sketching Malarkey.

    • It’s impossible to do everything you want to do. I am having a coffee now in a state of indecision, should I read, knit or crochet after I check my emails. So hard being retired!

      • What a nightmare 😉
        And having said I wasn’t reading yesterday, I took a book to the hairdressers, because I was having my highlights redone, and really got into it.

        • Perfect reading time in the hairdressers, although when I used to colour my hair I would while away the time with the trashy magazines, the only time I spent on such things- it was like a quilty treat, but one I don’t miss now.

  9. Bookish thoughts said:

    Aww I loved The Library of Lost and Found. I’ve not heard of the one by John Marrs, I’ll have to read that one. I read The Passengers by him earlier in the year, thought that was brilliant.

  10. I’d have liked Nella Last’s War but it’s not stocked in any of the 5 libraries in our system. So I reserved Circe instead!

    • I think there was only one copy of Nella Last’s war in the whole of North Yorkshire, so not surprised you couldn’tfind it. I think you will love Circe, I actually took it slowly too, as I enjoyed it so much.

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