What I read in August 2017

I mentioned in my previous post in this series that I had started reading two more books. I have now finished reading them and read another two books as well.

Good wives? by Margaret Forster is a book I recommend highly. (So much so that hubby read it and enjoyed it too!)

I borrowed the hard-back edition (pictured) from the library, where there was a display of Margaret Forster’s books. She was the wife of Hunter Davies, another author. I regret that I did not read any of her books during her lifetime.

The book consists of three biographies of woman, who married famous men. After each Forster compares her own life and views with those of the woman she wrote about. The book was well-researched and well-written. I found I could only read one or two chapters at a time in order to digest what I had read.

It contains a lot of good sense.


A Walk in the Wood: Poems by John Chambers is a self-published booklet (2010) by a member of the writing group I attend. I read it from cover to cover a few poems at a time. As I am hoping to publish some of my own poems soon I was interested to see how this might be done. A Walk in the Wood was printed and bound by MyPoetryBooks of Peterborough, possibly superseded by Poetry Now. I enjoyed these poems about nature and faith.

The third book I read was one, which I found in a second-hand book sale. The Girl on the Train: She knows you. But you don’t know her.

I had read a lot about this book as it was a New York Times #1 bestseller, but no-one I know had said they enjoyed it. It is written from the points of view of three women. There is a lot of suspense and the outcome is quite a surprise. To me the book seemed unsatisfactory in that it concentrated on the darker side of human nature with no real chance of recovery or redemption. The ending gave faint hope, but was not convincing to me.

The other book I read was one I have read and reviewed previously. Life is somewhat stressful for me and likely to become busier next month so I reread Dr Kate Middleton’s book about Stress. It has lots of useful information and there are a few people I know, who might benefit from reading it. My earlier review is here.


What I read in July 2017

I read three books from cover to cover in July. I have begun reading a book of poetry and another book, which I hope to write about another time.

The Embalmer’s Book of Recipes by Ann Lingard

I borrowed this novel from the library. It is very unusual in the choice of female main characters – a taxidermist, an academic with an unusual DNA sequence and a farmer’s wife. The author has mastered the “show, don’t tell technique” recommended for writers. The time span of the novel is fairly long and the story is developed well, with interesting twists and turns with the focus changing from one character to another. The painful subject of the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Cumbria is included in a knowledgeable and sensitive manner. There is also plenty about relationships. The inclusion of scientific and controversial topics in a novel reminded me of the books by Mari Howard, which I have reviewed previously. Highly recommended.

The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass: Adrian Plass and the Church Weekend by Adrian Plass

I read this book for the second time. The first time I reviewed it here. Re-reading it was a completely different experience, because I had visited Scargill House, a retreat centre on which the book is loosely based and met Adrian Plass and his real wife, Bridget. The Adrian Plass of the diary has a wife called Ann. The reason I reread it was that part of it had been read out at an entertainment at Scargill House. I realised that I had forgotten most of the amusing parts. Strangely some of the things, which made me laugh the first time didn’t seem as funny on a second reading – perhaps, because the element of surprise was missing (like hearing a joke, when you know what is coming next). It is good fun anyhow and not without wisdom.

Trains and Lovers: The heart’s journey by Alexander McCall Smith

Product Details

I borrowed this novel from the library. It is a beautifully produced hardback book, telling the story of conversation around a table on a train from Edinburgh to London. It is full of wisdom and understanding of human nature. There is also an insight into the world of art, life in Australia in earlier times and more besides. I found it hard to put down.


What I read in June 2017

I have read four books this month.  Three of them were on sale at a writers’ retreat. The fourth was a gift from a friend. I wonder whether you can work out which one that was!

Destiny’s Revenge is the second in a new series for young adults by Philip S. Davies. I have already posted a review on Sue’s considered trifles. I am looking forward to reading the third book, when it is published.

A Scargill Poetry Anthology by Helen Brocklehurst is only available from Scargill Movement as far as I know. It is a delightful booklet of poems mostly inspired by community life. I was fortunate to hear Helen read one of them.

The Gift of Peace bookThe Gift of Peace by Anne Rogers is an inspirational book published by The Leprosy Mission. It is a book of beautiful photos overprinted with quotations and inspirational messages. A book to dip into from a charity worth supporting.


Product DetailsA Shed in a Cucumber Field by S. L. Russell is a novel about two sisters, who have not seen each other for twenty eight years. I wondered how similar it would be to Rainy Day Sisters by Kate Hewitt. This book is a more serious read. The back story is revealed a bit at a time in dated chunks about the sisters and a third character. Strangely there is also a similar incident in it to one in the back story of the fiddler in The Fiddler’s Leg by Ann Lingard. The title is a phrase from the Bible (Isaiah 1:8). I found it difficult to put this book down.