Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Books- November 2019

Seriously I have read all these books this month. I requested a lot and they came all at once, so what’s a body supposed to do hey, but read? I have still got a big heap to read- five to be precise. Should see me through the weekend! I shalln’t be requesting more for a while, after all I  do have you know what to prepare for. Here’s what I read.

Amor Towels- A Gentleman in Moscow- probably my favourite book so far this year. The writing is sublime. The pace is measured and exactly right. Count Alexander Rostov, gentleman of the title, is placed under house arrest in the Hotel Metropol. Not in his usual suite but in an attic room. Free to go where he likes within the hotel but not outside. Free to mingle with staff and guests. He makes the most of what he has. This book is just a sheer delight. Loved it.

And I have completed my first line on my book bingo card.

Jonathan Coe- Middle England- So as far as book bingo goes, I have a book here with a tree on the cover, a book by a male author and a funny book. It must be funny because the Guardian calls it “a comedy for our times.” Which probably tells you I smiled a bit but was not rolling around the floor with mirth. He is a new author for me, which means I hadn’t read the previous two books featuring the same characters, this doesn’t matter as it is a stand alone book.  Right moving on, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it’s well crafted. It’s about Brexit and attempts to understand why people voted to leave and actually makes a sympathetic stab at it. It’s less good about showing why people voted to remain, except that they are happy with the status quo.  I think that is probably because he assumes his readers voted remain so don’t need that explaining. Which is a shame because I would have liked more on that and on the current state of the Labour party, and the seeming determination of MPs to say they will honour the referendum but then not. Love to know if anyone else has read this book and what you thought.

Margaret Atwood- The Testaments- A jolly good read. It’s a long awaited sequel to The Handmaid’s Tail. I thoroughly enjoyed it , but felt it lacked the power of the first book. Have you read it what did you think?

Eva Ibbotson- The secret of Platform 13- published three years before Harry Potter , comes this children’s story- with wizards, magical creatures, an magic island accessed through a gump to be found behind the old gents loo on Platform 13 at Kings Cross Station. There’s also a missing baby stolen by a a horrible rich couple. Sound famiiar? Anyway this is rather a sweet story, can’t believe I didn’t read it to my youngest, but I didn’t. I think Miss F might love it.

So that is my book with a number in the title. Thanks so much for the suggestion. Three out of five read along that line. Next up is a book with a face on the cover.

P G Wodehouse- The Little Nugget- I choose this for book bingo on a number of counts- published over 100 years ago   (1913), a funny book  and a book by a male author. However it also had a face on the front, so there we are. It did also make me chuckle which was nice. The Little Nugget is a spoilt son of a rich American and is prime target for kidnappers, as he’s worth a nugget.  When his parents divorce he goes to live wiith his father who sends him off to school. His mother is unhappy and her friend persuades her fiancee to pose as a school master and to kidnap him and return to his mother. Meantime there are two other kidnappers also after him for money. It was an enjoyable read and not my usual fare at all. Thanks to the person who suggested P G Wodehouse.

Adele Parks- Lies Lies Lies- A new to me author, and a good domestic thriller. All I will say is secrets and lies do ot a happy family make.

David Lagercrantz- The Girl who lived twice- being the third book he wrote following on from Stieg Larsson’s Millenium series( The girl with the dragon tattoo). A good thriller with the girl pursuing her sister whilst a mystery of deaths on Everest is resolved. I struggle with a large list of unfamiliar names, thank goodness for a character list of the ones I need to keep track of. And this represents another row on my bingo card.

Stacey Halls- The Familiars- loosely based on real people and the Pendle witch trials this is a thoroughly enjoyable historical novel. Fleetwood Shuttleworth and her husband live at Gawthorpe hall. They have already lost three babies and Fleetwood is determined to carry this pregnancy to full term with the help of her midwife. Then they get caught up in witch mania.

Agatha Christie- Endless Night- A few weeks ago I was talking to my DIL Mrs G and she mentioned reading an Agatha Christie and saying the book was different to the TV programme. Now I read most of Mrs Christie’s books a very long time ago, and the versions that are in my mind are now the TV dramas. Then I watched Endless Night in a repeat of the Miss Marple series and something didn’t ring true. So I requested and read the book. Miss Marple doesn’t appear in the book at all, but apart from shoe horning her into the story there are very few changes , and the ending is different. The book is better. I shall have to re-read some more. The only question is why on earth did the programme makers add in Miss Marple.

So that was an awful lot of books this month. Do let me know if you have read any of these, and a huge thank you for all your recommendations.


Comments on: "Books- November 2019" (34)

  1. I loved Gentleman in Moscow which I read quite a while ago. Haven’t read any of the others.

  2. Sorry to be late on this… Reading Agatha Christie several years ago, I concentrated on the books featuring Ariadne Oliver.
    The film, Cards on the Table, when she seems to beg Poirot to be allowed to stay with the men as they (she’s not allowed to speak) discuss the murder did not feel right to me. I really didn’t like that whole scene!
    So much that I got a copy of the book published before the film. Sure enough, in the book there was absolutely no question of Mrs. Oliver staying. Showed me how subtle messages get turned around to suit whomever. Ahem! Mrs. Christie was a feminist!

    • Interesting that the scene was not in the book. I actually recall it well as there has been a recent re-run of the Poirot series. I wonder why the director wanted to put it in? Makes you wonder on their agenda doesn’t it. I always liked Ariadne Oliver in the books- all those apples!

      • Yes, Ariadne’s apples! That scene, in the book, has Mrs. O, famed author, sitting as an equal with the others, with never a thought of her being excluded.
        Agenda-wondering, indeed. Dastardly!

  3. What a wonderful month, so full of reading. I have A Gentleman in Moscow in my TBR pile, I’ll move it all the way up.

  4. Oh wow Cathy – I thought I was going great guns aiming for 60 (5 a month) but your definitely top of the heap 📘😊
    These days I check the library catalogue when I see books recommended…..no book buying goes on here lol. I’m thinking of next year’s ‘challenges – A-Z of one word titles could be interesting. Also wondered how I could work through the alphabet reading titles beginning The +one word. The Familiars sounds good so could be my ‘F’ one

  5. I didn’t know there was another David Lagercrantz book about Salander. I’ll go and look it up 🙂 x

  6. I have some Agatha Christie on my list, and read The Gentleman from Moscow last year—loved it!

  7. I’m reading A Gentleman in Moscow right now, and loving it! It’s so lighthearted and gentle and beautifully written.

  8. Can’t believe it’s been a month since I read your last post about what you’ve read. I’ve definitely got my sights set on A Gentleman in Moscow and hoping it appears on next years book group choices list from the library.
    Yet again I’ve only managed to read this month’s book group book this month.

    • I have read too much this month. Book Bingo was a great idea but when all the books came at once I just had to read them, the pressure it causes when you can see that people are waiting for your copy almost took away some of the pleasure. I shall be more measured next year. My total for the year is already over 70!

  9. That’s A LOT of books!! Middle England one sounds interesting!

    • I was told by a fellow library volunteer that Middle England was very funny, but it takes me a lot to laugh when reading, so I think others will be amused. Let me know if you read it, and what you think.

  10. I love Eva Ibbotson. I’m so happy you liked the book. One of my favourites of hers is The Dragonfly Pool. I’ve been bingeing on Poirot this year so I’m glad to see you enjoying some Agatha Christie too 😁.

    • I did enjoy Eva Ibbotson. I just wish I had found her when my youngest was little- the other two sons would have been too old, but she would have been perfect for Mr B. I plan to read some more Agatha Christie in the New Year, it’s a shame that I know the TV/film versions better than the originals.

  11. I shall hunt out ‘A Gentleman in Moscow’ it sounds intriguing and I love a well written book. I’m reading ‘Wilding’ by the aptly named Isabella Tree at the moment. It’s about returning the Knepp Estate in West Surrey back to the wild, how they did it and what reappeared as a result. Have you read this one? It’s quite amazing how quickly nature returns along with all manner of wildlife when chemicals and human farming methods are deleted.

    • No I haven’t read this one, but I am sure I have seen the book as someone reserved it and I did the processing when it arrived here. It looked fascinating. I think you will enjoy A Gentleman in Moscow . Worth hunting down.

  12. glad you enjoyed Platform 13.
    You certainly did a lot of reading this month! I only manage about a chapter a night of whatever I’m reading as I only read in bed before turning out the light. Am currently reading volume 2 of the “Duncton Wood” series. A little like Watership Down but with moles instead of rabbits ^^

    • It was a lot of fun. I followed up on the Harry Potter link and the author was so gracious about it. Once I get all my reserved books under control I am going to be more careful on the number I have on loan at once. At one stage I had 14 books here. It’s certainly had a knock on effect to my knitting output.

    • Oh and I meant to say I read Duncton Wood a long time ago, and always meant to read more…

  13. I read ‘The Familiars’ this month and really enjoyed it too,.
    I’m reading another slightly witchy one at the moment called ‘Wakenhyrst’ by Michelle Paver which I think you’d also enjoy. Set in The Fens in the early 20th century it’s a real gothic treat of a story.
    You have an interesting selection this month – one or two I fancy, particularly ‘A Gentleman in Moscow’.

  14. I haven’t read any of these. The familiars sounds interesting as I do live in Pendle Witch country. Hopefully I will get round to reading The Testaments as I enjoyed The Handmaid’s tale. Have rediscovered the library and I think I am reading more. 🙂

    • The library is great, especially for sitting down at home with a cup of tea and requesting books. Then they all arrive at once. I think you will enjoy the Familiars.

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