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
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.
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 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.
A 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.
I read five books in May 2017. One has been discussed at length already. Please excuse the white space in this post and scroll down to find out about the other four books. I am aiming to spend less time blogging in future. Formatting a post takes time I could spend away from my computer!
The Fiddler’s Leg by Ann Lingard
The task set for the Writing group I belong to was to read a book by a Cumbrian author. I found this book by a resident of the county in a second-hand book sale. It didn’t really count as she had written it before moving/relocating to Cumbria! I enjoyed it all the same especially as there is an overlap in the interests of the characters between science and the arts.
Tarka the Otter by Henry Williamson has had a post all to itself.
The Land of Green Ginger by Winifred Holtby was another book I found among the second-hand books. The title reminded me of a children’s book by Noel Langley, but this is very different. The setting is around the time of the World War I and the characters are interesting and credible. Some of the events are traumatic, but the ending is hopeful.
Tails I lose by Justyn Rees Larcombe is the true life story of a promising young man (the author) who became addicted to online gambling and lost everything. He had grown up in a Christian family, but drifted away from the Church and his faith. After successful careers in the army and then in civilian life, he found that his life was in tatters. The path to his recovery and how he now helps others with similar addictive behaviour is described in this fast-paced, readable book. I bought it in a bookshop.
Stormbringers by Philippa Gregory is the second in a series. It is another second-hand book, this time a hardback with a good sized print and line drawings at the start of each chapter. I enjoyed reading it but found the ending rather dark. The series title should have prepared me though: Order of Darkness.