I bought the next two books in this series at the writers’ conference I wrote about earlier. I had met both the authors previously. Joyce Worsfold kept making remarks about her book, including a story about the reaction of a lady, who had read it. I was intrigued and bought the last remaining copy from the sales table.
I really enjoyed A Fistful of Marigolds by Joyce Worsfold. It was not a typical book by a member of the Association of Christian Writers. The opening reminded me of books by Tom Sharpe, although I suspect the author would prefer it to be compared with a fictional version of Gervase Phinn’s books. There were many issues among the schoolchildren in the story, which had many twists and turns and a satisfactory conclusion. (Joyce commented that she wasn’t sure whether the flowers on the cover were marigolds. I wonder whether they are chrysanthemums, similar to the ones I had as my wedding flowers. They could be pot marigolds.)
Clearing the Loft
Clearing the Loft by John Wakeman is a booklet of poems and prose. I really enjoyed it. The author had added notes about each of the poems he included. Reading other people’s collections of poems, however interesting, does not bring my own poetry project much nearer to publication!
A publisher I follow on Twitter put out an appeal for people to buy books. I had a look through the catalogue and selected two books, which looked interesting. They were novels by women. They were light reading. I found them interesting, but wouldn’t be inclined to read any more by either author. This is a matter of personal taste. There was some very good writing, especially in the first book, A Place to Stop by Susan Wicks. I found the ending unsatisfactory. It was ambiguous (unless I failed to understand it). I like all the ends tied up neatly. (The books arrived with a hand-written note on a postcard, which was a lovely personal touch.)
The second book was He Wants by Alison Moore. The plot here was more structured than the other book. Lady Chatterley’s Lover (which I have not read) was referred to in the book, which includes similar subject matter. There was an episode, in which some people went to a Billy Graham crusade meeting. This seemed to be written from the point of view of an onlooker rather than a person, who was involved and committed. It didn’t appear to make any lasting difference to the characters in the story. This does not reflect the experiences of people I know. A bookshop proprietor I follow on Twitter had recommended the author.
The third book of this group is the only one I would recommend to other people. I found it in the library at Scargill House. I had seen the series recommended by a different publisher I follow on social media. It is a book for girls of secondary school age. Beech Bank Girls: Every girl has a story by Eleanor Watkins uses fiction to highlight many issues, which affect young people in the modern world. This book is well-written in a style accessible to the target readership. I managed to read it from cover to cover in the free time over the weekend. I have already recommended it as ideal for the only girl I know in the age group for which it was written. I reviewed another book by Eleanor Watkins here.
I can now say that there will be two more posts in this series, making four in total.
I read so many books in June that I have decided for the benefit of my readers (and my sanity) to break my review post into a currently unspecified number of parts. The final one deserves a post all to itself.
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian a novel by Marina Lewycka is everything it says on the cover. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Although it is humorous, there is also pathos and all the tensions of family life. It is a well-told tale about human weaknesses and resourcefulness, in which the complications of communication in two languages give extra depth. I found a second hand copy in a local sale.
King of Shadows by Susan Cooper is a children’s book, which I borrowed from the library. I was looking for The Dark is Rising (the book used last year as a twitter reading group book with Robert Macfarlane), but took the only book available by the same author. I loved it and even learned a new word from it. In Shakespeare’s day a pickpocket was known as a cutpurse. I wrote a post or two about Shakespeare way back. This book is about child actors performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream. There are unexpected twists and turns. I shall be looking for more books by this author even if it does involve passing the barriers into the children’s area in the library!
Haiku Beyond the Mountain by John Chambers is a beautifully produced book of short poems (Haiku obviously) by a member of the writing group I attend. It is available in Bookends, Carlisle and other bookshops in the North of England. John has studied haiku and gone on to use the form in his own way. Many of the poems are about nature. To quote the back cover, “Expect to be surprised as you turn each page!” It is a book I shall read again.