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.