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

Thursday, August 22, 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.

Last week I brought home a pile of shiny new books but after reading two of them the attraction of 'new' wore off and I felt like something different so a bit more variety in today's loot.

Alex by Pierre Lemaitre......In kidnapping cases, the first few hours are crucial. For Alex Prevost time is running out. Winner of the CWA International Dagger Award 2013.

Now in November  by Josephine Johnson.....I was doing one of my searches for Virago Modern Classics when I came across this one. Originally published in 1934 it is the story of a middle-class family driven into poverty by the depression. A Pulitzer Prize winner.

The Garden of Reading - Short Stories about gardens and gardening. Includes work from authors as diverse as Barbara Pym, Saki, Colette , James Thurber and many more. Sounds as lovely as its cover and I know I will enjoy these.

What's in your loot this week?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Classics Club Spin winner is...


.....and I am whirling back to the place from whence I have just returned. Yorkshire - beautiful Yorkshire! I had my fingers crossed for either 4 or 5 so couldn't be happier.

Let the reading begin!

I hope everyone else is as pleased with their spin choice as I am.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Westwood by Stella Gibbons

My Classics Spin *2 book which I read in the required time but never got around to writing a post for.

Westwood is set in the Highgate - Hampstead Heath area of London during WWII ....
" The ruins of the small shapely houses in the older parts of the city were yellow, like the sunlit houses of Genoa; all shades of yellow; deep, and pale, or glowing with a strange transparency in the light. The fire-fighting people had made deep pools with walls around them in many of the streets, and here, in the heart of London, ducks came to live on these lakes that reflected the tall yellow ruins and the blue sky. Pink willow-herb grew over the white uneven ground where house had stood, and there were acres of ground covered with deserted, shattered houses whose windows were filled with torn black paper."
Margaret Steggles is 23, a schoolteacher who has just come to London with her parents to take up a new position. A plain, bookish girl who is constantly told by her mother that she is ' not the type who attracts men' she yearns for something more than her unsatisfying job and unhappy home life. Under the sensible exterior is a young woman with unrealistic expectations of a life filled with Romance, Art and Beauty. 
" I've got such frighteningly strong feelings - you don't know." I think you imagine a lot of it,' said Hilda. 
Hilda is Margaret's friend, pretty, happy and down-to-earth who loves nothing more than to keep her service boys 'ever so cheery'.

When Margaret finds a ration book on Hampstead Heath she finds herself propelled into the lives of Gerald Challis, an aging playwright who Margaret has a desperate crush on, and his artistic family. It is everything she has ever dreamed of and she will do anything to stay a part of it. Gerald is a pompous, opinionated ass who meets his comeuppance when he falls for pretty Hilda.

I have conflicting thoughts about Westwood.
Stella Gibbons writes beautiful and atmospheric prose which is something I love but there was too much of it.
There is humour, particularly when Hilda and Gerald are on the scene but I found Margaret irritating and dull. 
Some of the storylines held my interest, others dragged on too long and became boring.

If the book had disappeared when I was halfway through reading it I doubt I would have cared very much.

Classics Club

Wednesday, August 14, 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 a month away I couldn't wait to visit the library this week. I have a very long list of books I want to read and was hoping I might find one or two sitting on the shelves. It was my lucky day - too much so - and I had to seriously restrain myself from bringing home too many. It took some deciding but this is what I chose.

The Hired Man by Aminatta Forna......An Englishwoman arrives in a small Croatian village and sets about restoring an old house as a summer holiday home. She hires a local man to help with the repairs. Opinions were divided on Aminatta Forna's previous novel The Memory of Love but I really liked it. I'm halfway through this one now and enjoying it very much although I can see it may be a bit quiet and slow for some readers.

Harvest by Jim Crace.......As late summer steals in and the final pearls of barley are gleaned, a village comes under threat. A trio of outsiders - two men and a dangerously magnetic woman - arrives on the woodland borders and puts up a makeshift camp. I haven't read this author before but he has won numerous literary prizes and Harvest is longlisted for the 2013 Booker Prize. It's not a list I usually rush to read but this one sounds interesting.

The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell.......a 1920s police stenographer becomes increasingly obsessed with a glamorous new typist. There have been some interesting comments in blogger reviews of this one which have intrigued me enough to want to read it myself.

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud.....'the riveting confession of a woman awakened, transformed and betrayed by a desire for a world beyond her own.' Not sure whether I'm in the mood for an angry story and I have a feeling I will either like it or loathe it. 

Every Contact Leaves a Trace by Elanor Dymott.....if you believe the blurb it's an 'exquisite, creepy and unexpectedly sexy murder mystery' about a man seeking answers to his wife's death. Worth a try!

What's in your loot this week?