Monday, July 28, 2014

This 'n That...

...or, how to avoid writing the book review I know I should be writing! 

I finished - The Fortunes of Richard Mahony. I want to climb a mountain and shout its praises to the world it is so very good........and I will write a review very soon. It's one of those books that leave you satisfied but exhausted and needing time before starting anything else too demanding. 

Also worth mentioning - You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz

I'm reading - The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Perfect choice as I unwind. Much loved, much read - an old friend.

Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively - has an unusual structure and this lady certainly has a way with words.

I bought.......a signboard on the street proclaimed 'Secondhand bookshop now open' so naturally I had to go and take a look. I didn't have much time but still managed to come away with three and I know I'll be regular customer.

In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden
News From the City of the Sun by Isabel Colegate
Washington Square by Henry James

As I added them to my bookshelf list I couldn't help but notice how few I've read in the last 6/8 months.....which led to some sorting and organising......and a promise to myself -

I will be reading less library books and more off the shelf with the goal of finishing A Century in Books and making progress with my Classics Club list
This week I hope to finish off the 1980's with Moon Tiger, Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter and A Taste for Death by P.D.James.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Author Biography: Henry Handel Richardson

Henry Handel Richardson has been calling to me from the library shelf for a long time and I've known that one day I would read The Fortunes of Richard Mahoney - that time has come.

If I thought (I did) Henry Handel Richardson had the ring of a fine literary gentleman I was in for a surprise for Mr.R.was actually Miss R.

Ethel Florence Lindesay Richardson was born on the 3rd January,1870 in East Melbourne,Australia into a then prosperous family which later were to fall on hard times. She was the elder daughter of Walter Lindesay Richardson M.D. , and his wife, Mary.

Between 1883 - 1887 she was a boarder at the Presbyterian Ladies' College in Melbourne where she excelled in the arts and music. In 1888 her mother (her father died in 1879) took Ethel and her younger sister,Ada,to Germany so Ethel could continue her musical studies at the Liepzig Conservatorium. It was in Germany that she would meet the young Scottish science graduate, John George Robertson, who would become her husband in 1895. 

Ethel only returned to Australia once, in 1912 for a short visit to research her book, so it's understandable that she said " I have no desire to be marked for life as an Australian writer." Unfortunately an unavoidable label when that country is your birthplace and the setting for your books.

She began writing what was to become 'one of Australia's greatest literary achievements' in 1910 -  an account of the birth of the Australian nation on the goldfields of Victoria told through the story of a character loosely based on the life of her father Walter Richardson.
First published as a trilogy - Australia Felix, The Way Home, Ultima Thule - in 1930 the three volumes were brought together under the one title The Fortunes of Richard Mahony.

Ethel Richardson died in 1946 in England.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

This 'n That...

...or , how to add to your TBR without even trying.

So far the winter has been a long succession of dreary grey,wet and windy days but yesterday brought a reprieve with a sharp frost followed by a day of glorious sunshine. Too nice to waste so I took the book section of the newspaper to read and went outside to soak up the sun......and one thing led to another.

In Leah Hagen Cohen's latest novel Ava and Fred are the children of an educational psychologist, the founder of a 'freedom school'. The school, Batter Hollow, and its founder were inspired by the real-life Scottish educator A.S.Neill and Summerhill School in England.
Now there's a coincidence! Before being lured outside by the sun I'd been writing a biography post about Henry Handel Richardson - who had a younger sister whose second husband was none other than A.S.Neill. (adds to TBR)

Martine Bailey, author of An Appetite for Violets lived in New Zealand while she was editing her book because its 'sun,sea and solitude' gave her the peace and quiet she needed........and the libraries were also good! I can agree with that!
I already have this one on the TBR - love the cover and who doesn't love a story that combines murder,history and food. 
Fay Weldon remarked that she had pioneered a new literary sub-genre, the 'culinary gothic'.

Fay Weldon who has 'strong connections to New Zealand'. Does she? I didn't know that! ( goes inside to Google).
So she does. Not an author I've read at all really although I did try one her more recent Edwardian novels and wasn't very impressed.

There's certainly plenty to choose from but Kehua! sounds as if it's a Maori word so might have a NZ flavour.
It's a ghost story.
'A tale of murder, adultery, incest, ghosts, redemption and remorse.'
(adds to TBR)

Prolific writer of crime thrillers, Karin Slaughter will be in NZ during August for several speaking engagements.
Her latest novel, Cop Town, is the first in a new series set in Atlanta, Georgia and featuring two women patrol officers in the 1970's. Yes, I like her books.(adds to TBR)

One more....from a fellow library looter and a very nice new to me blog The Emerald City Book Review - go on over and read her review

My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead

A 'New Yorker' writer revisits the seminal book of her youth, Middlemarch by George Eliot, and fashions an involving story of how a passionate attachment to a great work of literature can shape our lives and help us to read our own histories.
I do look forward to this one but I think I may have to wait a while.

Are you tempted to add any of these to your TBR?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I'm Back with some Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire @ The Captive Reader and Linda @ Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they have checked out from the library.

I've been away far longer than was ever intended but unfortunately life does get in the way at times. I thought it was appropriate to begin again on the same note I left on - with my latest loot from the library. Most of my reading in the past few months has been 'comfort food' which for me is usually crime and thrillers so I'm looking forward to getting back into something more varied.

Catching up with the many posts from my favourite bloggers in my reader has been great - it was very tempting just to mark as read - and while I regret what I've missed I'm also inspired by what's new. Like Shiny New Books - awesome! Off to the library I went yesterday with the hope I might find some SNB on the shelves and I think I did rather well. Four out of the five below are from the SNB fiction lists.

The Temporary Gentleman by Sebastian Barry -' a heartbreaking portrait of one man's life - of his demons and his lost love.' I don't expect to be disappointed with this one.

The Telling Error by Sophie Hannah - 'Stuck in a traffic jam, Nicki Clements sees a face she hoped never to see again.' A favourite author who writes excellent psychological thrillers - very surprised to find this one on the shelf.

You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz - 'Grace Sachs, a happily married therapist with a young son, thinks she knows everything about women, men and marriage'....another psychological thriller by an author who is new to me - looking forward to reading this one.

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North 'No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before.' Of the five books here this is the one that intrigues me the most.

The Silence of the Sea by Yrsa Sigurdardottir - 'An unmanned luxury yacht crashes into the harbour in Reykjavik. What happened to the crew, and to the young family who were on board when it left Lisbon.' The sixth in this series featuring Icelandic lawyer Thora Gudmundsdottir. Tried and true reading.(I hope)

That the emphasis is still on crime and thrillers is because I still need easy, relaxing I began a Classic which I thought would take a while to read but has turned out to be such compelling reading I can't put it down - more about that another time.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Marg @ The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader and Claire @ The Captive Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they have checked out from the library.

After returning a pile of unread books ( I do overdo it) this is my loot from the past two weeks.

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

I was delighted to read this morning that The Luminaries has advanced to the Booker shortlist. A wonderful achievement for this 28-year-old New Zealand author.
I began reading it last week and am still only halfway through - partly because it's too big to read in bed and partly because it requires close attention and a slow pace. Very entertaining and I'm enjoying it immensely.

Next week Anbolyn from Gudrun's Tights is hosting Mary Stewart Reading Week. I chose this title because it was published prior to 1960 which will make it eligible for the Vintage Mystery challenge as well. 
It's a long time since I read Mary Stewart so quite looking forward to renewing our acquaintance.

Constance by Patrick McGrath.......'a compelling story of a troubled marriage and a damaged family.' While I was on holiday I managed to find a copy of Asylum which lived up to everything I'd read about it so I'm hoping this new one will be as good.

The Ghost Riders of Ordebec by Fred Vargas.......Commissaire Adamsberg agrees to investigate the strange happenings in a village terrorised by wild rumours and ancient feuds. it took me a long time to read a Fred Vargas but now she is one of my favourite crime writers.

The Burning Air by Erin Kelly.......An odd young girl, a missing baby.. 'gripping and chilling with a killer twist.'

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberley McCreight........a mother seeks the truth about her daughter's supposed suicide attempt.

This year I haven't read as many crime/psychological suspense novels as I have in the past so I decided to focus on that genre for the R.I.P. event and I think I have some good ones here!

What's in your loot this week!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Max Gate by Damien Wilkins

'A lyrical novel with beautifully crafted Victorian dialect.'

'It is 1928 and the world's most famous novelist, Thomas Hardy, is dying in the upstairs room of Max Gate, the house he built in his beloved Dorset. Downstairs his high-powered literary friends are becoming locked in a bitter fight with local supporters. Who owns Hardy's remains? What are the secrets of Max Gate? Nellie Titterington, a maid at the house. narrates this earthy, emotionally-charged novel about a world of ambition, duty, belonging and love.'

Max Gate
Author Damien Wilkins has won numerous prizes and is regarded as one of New Zealand's finest fiction writers. Max Gate is his seventh book and first historical novel.

A book I look forward to reading!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril VIII

Hosted during September/October by Carl @ Stainless Steel Droppings this events invites bloggers to read books any of the following categories.

Dark Fantasy.

I haven't really thought of a list but I already have on hand...

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
My Brother Michael by Mary Stewart
The Ghost Riders of Ordebec by Fred Vargas

To read four books