Saturday, 13 December 2008

In which the intrepid reader crawls back to her post, having been laid low for a week by a cold bug

Greetings fellow readers, and apologies for having abandoned the reading post for the past week! I haven't been idle on the reading front, although it is safe to say I would have enjoyed these books a lot more if I hadn't been suffering from a bad cold. Who would have thought you needed to be fit to be a reader?

First up was Diana Gabaldon's Cross-Stitch, lent to me by Louise. This is a historical romance novel with a twist, set in the Highlands around Inverness. It's a whopping 600+ pages but it keeps your attention right up until the end. Recommended as a Christmas-holiday read.

Next I turned to an illustrated work, Juliet Gardner's Picture Post Women. Picture Post was published throughout the years of the Second World War and its photojournalism often featured ordinary people. It's fascinating at a distance of nearly 70 years to see into people's real lives.

A lucky find on the bookshelf was Susan Hill's Lanterns Across the Snow, as apparently this is now out of print. This is a beautifully-written depiction of a little girl's Christmas more than one hundred years ago. The presents may have changed but Susan Hill captures all the magic and excitement which still surrounds Christmas for children. Ideal reading for Scrooges who need help to get into the Christmas spirit (copy available from me!)

Next I read The Summons by John Grisham. I usually lose interest in John Grishams after their strong start, but this was a mystery which didn't lose its appeal, perhaps because the main focus was a family (a judge and his two sons) rather than the ins and outs of corporate law.

Mr F was laughing uproariously over his book so as soon as he finished it I nabbed Tom Sharpe's Wilt. Well, I did laugh a bit (and out loud at one point) but Sharpe's characters are so unsympathetic it is hard to care what happens to them.

Marcus Didius Falco is the ancient Roman private detective created by Lindsey Davis and thanks to Anna this time I was able to read Shadows in Bronze and Venus in Copper. These continue Falco's adventures which started with The Silver Pigs. Earlier mysteries continue to be unravelled and new cases are taken on - and we continue to learn more about Falco and his friends and (annoying!) family.

Finally to a new author - at least to me. John Connolly writes about a Maine-based policeman turned private detective, Charlie "Bird" Parker. These books are very dark with a supernatural edge. They have a lyrical element to them as well though. It's not obvious at first that they are part of a series, so I have been reading them in the wrong order. I have read The White Road and Dark Hollows. I've started on The Killing Kind but have still to get Every Dead Thing which of course is the first in the series.

Day 66; Book 65