Three works of fiction

On my first visit to the public library for months I was in a hurry and grabbed two books. It was only when I arrived home that I realised one was a large print edition. My ageing eyes did not complain!

Cover of Mum & Dad. Text over vine leaves and stalks

The book was Mum & Dad by Joanna Trollope. The Mum and Dad in the title are the grandparents. There are three other mums and dads and their teenage children in the family. A change in circumstances for Mum and Dad leads to all sorts of unexpected consequences for all the generations.

It is a sensitively written book, which I enjoyed. It is also available in hardback, paperback and Kindle editions.

The next two books I read were both by Alexander McCall Smith, borrowed from the library on different days. The Unbearable Lightness of Scones is in the 44 Scotland Street series with characters such as 6-year-old Bertie and his friends as well as adults of various ages. There is a wedding, an eventful honeymoon and plenty more to keep the pages turning. There are illustrations too.

Cover of The Unbearable Lightness of Scones. Hot-air balloon, banner with title and a street with houses with 4 storeys.

Your Inner Hedgehog by Alexander McCall Smith is in a newer series – A Professor Dr Igelfeld Adventure. I haven’t read the two earlier books, but that was no disadvantage in reading Your Inner Hedgehog, which was published this year (2021). I found a hardback copy when I returned the previous books. The chapters are numbered in German with delightful illustrations by Iain McIntosh. Some unexpected events arise from the office politics in a German University and when foreign academics visit Oxford University. Romance philology (the study of words of a related group of languages rather than romantic words!) and discussions about grammar make a change from the settings (in Edinburgh and Botswana) of three earlier series by Alexander McCall Smith, which I have dipped into. I learned that der Igel is a hedgehog and Igelfeld in English would be ‘hedgehog field’, in case you are wondering about the title. The genre is literary fiction: it is not as light a read as most other books I have read by Alexander McCall Smith.

Photo of hardback copy of Your inner Hedgehog. The illustration includes a headgehog, a mortar board (graduate headwear) and a building with a tower.
Photo of Your Inner Hedgehog

Your Inner Hedgehog is currently available as a hardback or CD-audio. The paperback edition may be pre-ordered.

What I read in August 2020 (Part 4)

This post includes two book reviews.
The Testaments coverOn my first visit to the library since lockdown I returned the first two books I reviewed here  and borrowed two more books. (I was wearing the mask I wrote about here.)

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood is a prize-winning novel published in 2019. The hardback edition has its own ribbon bookmark. Although the content is disturbing I found it fascinating. I had not realised that it was written as a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, which I have not yet read. The unusual structure of the novel (narrated by three different women – a hologram and two witnesses) is not explained until the end.

The Bertie Project cover

The Bertie Project by Alexander McCall Smith is from the Scotland Street series. I borrowed it as light relief from the other book. It made me laugh out loud. My loyal readers will be aware that I enjoy reading books by Alexander McCall Smith. My other reviews of his books, which I have read may be found here.

For an index to all the books I have reviewed online please click here.


What I read in May 2020 (Part 2)

The three books I am reviewing in this post were all ebooks on BorrowBox.









I searched for Alexander McCall Smith and discovered two children’s books – Precious and the Monkeys Precious Ramotswe’s very first case and Precious and the Mystery of Meerkat Hill A new case for Precious Ramotswe.

They are delightful. The stories in both books include at least one told to Precious by her father as well as her own adventures with school-friends. The first book explains how she discovered she had the skills to be a detective. The second one shows her developing those skills further. The illustrations are in keeping with the stories.

I found The Outrun by Amy Liptrot from a list of recommended books. I had already heard of this nonfiction book. The background to the story was in some ways similar to The Seafarers, but I found The Outrun much easier to read (in spite of my preference for books over devices). The author’s life on Orkney, in London and back on Orkney are described mainly in the present tense, with descriptions to draw the reader in to the landscape and the events. The subjects, which interest Amy Liptrot, are wide-ranging and she explains them well. I enjoyed it and hope to read more of her work in the future