Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Books- January 2021

I shall carry on with my Reading my way across Europe this year, fortunately it wasn’t effected by Brexit. One more country was added- Iceland this time, and I’m currently reading Thomas Mann’s collection of short stories Death in Venice, here representing Germany for me. The challenge I’m interested in starting next month is to read the ten books I haven’t yet read from Channels Five’s 30 best British books- I’ll include their list next month.

This month I have enjoyed four very good books, I recommend them all.

Kate Morton- The Secret Keeper- A wonderful book to start the year with. A love triangle, betrayal, revenge a secret kept for 70 years and murder, all set in the present day and WW2 and the 1960s. Really enjoyable, glad I found this author and all thanks to my son gifting me The Clockmaker’s Daughter two years ago.

Yrsa Sigurdardottir- The Legacy- Set in Iceland, a murder mystery. It was very good indeed, I didn’t see any of the twists, not one. Only draw back were the gruesome murders, which I only skim read.

Natalie Haynes- The Children of Jocasta- I really enjoyed this book, which tells the familiar story of Oedipus and Antigone from the perspective of two people who barely feature in the traditional renditions. Jocasta is ordered at a young age to marry the King of Thebes to produce an heir for him. Ismene is her youngest daughter. There is also a Reckoning, which sounds remarkably like the plague and a Lockdown. Ms Haynes writes well, the two stories are told side by side and she allows herself the freedom to change things round a bit. Thoroughly recommend this one.

Liane Moriaty- Nine Perfect Strangers- I read this in only two days . I am now rethinking my dream of one day taking a retreat, maybe I won’t. It was a jolly good read and I’m not saying anything else about it for fear of spoiling any of it for you.

I averted a near catastrophy for me this week. A chance comment last week from the librarian who phoned me to say I had one book awaiting collection , and I should really try to collect it as soon as possible, stopped me in my tracks. I had noticed that all my recent borrowings were being issued into March- February had been missed entirely. It dawned on me- they are going to close the library again. Oh no. Fast forward to the evening and I sat down and requested masses of books. Joy of joys, six came through for me this week. I received an email to say that indeed only the central library is going to remain open, all the others are closing for 8 weeks as library staff are needed elsewhere to provide Covid cover. Phew I collected them in time and have plenty to read!

I wondered are the libraries near you still all open? Have you read any of these books, what did you think? What are you reading today?

I’m still wondering what other duties within a Council a librarian could do- will they be on refuse collections I wonder- or maybe something to do with the last census to be done in the UK?

Anyway stay warm if it’s Winter/ not too hot if it’s Summer, and have a good weekend.


Comments on: "Books- January 2021" (23)

  1. Those books all sound so interesting – will have to check them out! Maybe the librarians are helping with contact tracing? Ours isn’t open right now, though I believe you can put in requests and they will let you do curbside pickup.

  2. Nine perfect strangers seems my kind of book! I love to read your reviews at the end of month. I’m reading a gentleman in moscou, it’s good but a kind of slow reading. It makes me bored, I like the fast pace ones.

  3. It sounds like we have similar tastes in reading. I love a good murder mystery!

    I wasn’t sure about our library, so I just checked their website. They are open and also offer curbside service, as well as virtual and socially distanced activities! My daughter would probably enjoy some of those. 🙂 I guess I should pay off my fines (oops!) and make going there a part of my routine once again!

    • Oh yes do go to your library again. I keep going because I hate the idea that it might be closed if the Council can argue there’s no demand. So important to have access to books and as I discovered when I was able to volunteer at my old library, they are one of the few community places that people can go, for a chat, read papers, use computers, meet friends, do IT classes, pre- schoolers have singing sessions, summer holiday reading challenges, craft classes, etc etc.

  4. I haven’t read any of those four. I’m sometimes tempted by Liane Moriarty’s books but haven’t got round to one yet.
    Currently reading ‘Ten Trees and a Truffle Dog’ by Jamie Ivey – set in Provence which was on my ‘shared’ list on Kindle so not chosen by me. It’s O.K. but, unintentionally, reminds me of a lot of the reasons we wanted out of France.
    All the libraries in Dorset are closed, apparently but I do tend to read a lot on Kindle these days purely for convenience and because I have no more room for hard copies. I’m wondering about setting up a little free library outside our front door but must look into getting a good, waterproof box. We are in a very rural area but do get the locals walking past, usually with their dogs, and I’m thinking it would be a nice thing to do for our new village.

    • What a super idea to set up a free library. People really love them. Someone has set one up near the COOP in Royal Wootton Bassett- such a nice thing to do- we all miss the books in charity shops. I think your village and dog walkers will love it- just need a plastic box with a lid. I’d not heard of the book you are reading, and whilst you miss your home in France, there will have been good reasons for your move. We looked at houses in Dorset too, but they were just too far for our sons to visit for the day- haha, the irony of our reasons for moving whilst we sit in Lockdown 3 is not lost.

  5. Ohhhh, I had to read Death in Venice for school and I was NOT fond of it … XD Do you like it so far? (It’s been a while since I have read it and I might judge it differently now!)

    YAY for the library! That is so cool – my mother told me last week that you can finally order new books online now, and then pick them up at a given time (she hasn’t tried yet). I’m planning to return some of my read books this week and hope this works!

    (If you don’t mind, I’ll keep the Icelandic novel in mind for Philipp – he loves Icelandic crime novels, maybe we can get them, too)

    • I am totally thrilled you think Philipp might like one of these books. I am finding Thomas Mann hard going- I have read the short stories that precede Death in Venice in the book- they all seem to have the same plot, and Death in Venice is starting in the same way- artistic man who falls for the wrong person who pretty much ignores them, the end.I shall keep an open mind though.

      • I’m really curious and will check the library for this! He read another book the other day by … Lilja Sigurdardottìr which he liked a lot (“The Net” would be the English translation of the German title), but I don’t know what it’s about.

  6. I wonder if all the librarians have to go to the main library and spend their days disinfecting returned books, wiping down shelves people touch, etc. I’ve requested the Liane Moriarty book; none of the others are available, sadly, but there are other Yrsa Sigurdardottir books, so I might browse the descriptions of those.

    • Returned books have been sitting all by themselves in special containers we have to put them in, for 72 hours before anyone goes near them. I wonder if they are being diverted – the staff- to cleaning duties- it’s hard to think what they could be doing. I still think it’s the census which is happening in March and the government wants people to complete online- the days when volunteers etc would be sent into people’s homes to help with the forms has gone- so I reckon there will be those who need the library computers and help to do it. Just a thought…

  7. Our local library is open for collection only. I am glad you are enjoying Kate Morton books and I loved The Secret Keeper, I found it very emotional. Hope you are keeping well? x

    • Thanks Christine, yes I am well- I swear by bleach and handwashing multiple times throughout the day! I am so glad to have found Kate Morton- I am rationing myself so I don’t run out of her books for a bit.

  8. claire93 said:

    haven’t read any of the above four, but I’ll jot titles down and have a look in local Library. Our Library is run by a small group of volunteers. Not very big, and only open a few hours, 3 times a week, but I plan to go along on Monday to stock up. I think they’ll probably close for Feb half-term hols which can’t be far away. I’m currently reading “Affinity” by Sarah Waters. Set in Millbank prison in the late 1800s . . . a story of mediums & spirits ^^ Unusual choice of reading matter for me, but I’m quite enjoying it.

    • I loved that one Claire – but I like everything by Sarah Waters.

      • claire93 said:

        this is only the third one I’ve read by SW. Others read were “The Night Watch” – wasn’t a huge fan of that. And “Paying Guests” which I thought was brilliant.

    • Prisons and spirits sound quite mysterious. I reckon a deserted prison would be full of ghosts.

  9. Our library is open, but I’ve been picking my books from their overdrive account, so all digital, except what I pluck from our in house library. Right now I’m listening to Outlander (never saw the show, but wanted to see what the fuss was about) and The Good Earth.

  10. I have been reading Kitchens of the Great Midwest and hoping to finish before the end of tomorrow so it will be a January read. I am intrigued by the reading across the world idea. Our libraries are closed for in-person visits, curbside only. Our system is very large (one of the largest in the states). It is taking longer to get actual books because they have quite a procedure for safety. The whole system was closed for about 3 months before they figured out how to operate safely. A few of the libraries have had to close for periods of time due to the virus but I could drive to 3 different branches for my pick ups so it hasn’t been terrible. I think it is taking extra librarian time to make this work and I am grateful for the way they have made it possible to keep getting books. And they have an app for scheduling your pick up which is very helpful.

    • It sounds like your library really has things sorted. I think the scaled back service we have is about staff shortages, with people having to self isolate etc. I’m happy I saw this coming and requested my books in time. I know I can still go to the central library, but it’s in the middle of town, and has to be got to.

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