Three library books I read recently

As I didn’t review any books in April due to the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge, and I am hoping to take part in some blog tours over the next few weeks, I have decided to catch up by posting three short reviews today.

Racing the wind by Patricia Nolan

Cover of Racing the wind

In Racing the wind: A Cumbrian Childhood Patricia Nolan recounts the story of three memorable years from her childhood in a remote village in Cumbria. I borrowed this book from the library and found it well-written and very interesting. As well as descriptions of many diverse characters, the way of life for country folk without access to most of the modern conveniences available in towns and cities is the backdrop for this memoir of a 20th century childhood.

This hardback book is published by Merlin Unwin Books and includes photographs.

The Pavilion in the Clouds by Alexander McCall Smith

Cover of The Pavilion in the Clouds

This novel by the popular and prolific author Alexander McCall Smith is not part of any of his earlier series. The Pavilion in the Clouds is set in Ceylon as Sri Lanka was known at the time of the story. It is a historical novel set in the 20th century. The twists in the story surprised me. There is mystery, deception and all the loose ends are tied up.

This book is also available as an audiobook and for Kindle.

Confessions of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell

Cover of Confessions of a bookseller

Like Shaun Bythell’s earlier book, The Diary of a Bookseller, Confessions of a Bookseller is in diary form. It covers the year 2015. Although I couldn’t keep track of the numerous characters, I found this book entertaining and informative. It is available in paperback, audiobook and Kindle.

Book review Where shall we run to? A memoir by Alan Garner

Where shall we run to? came to my attention on Twitter. I requested it from the library. Although we rarely listen to spoken word programmes on the radio apart from the news, we had recently heard a programme about Alan Garner, in which he talked about his interest in archaeology.

Where shall we run to? A memoir is written in the voice of a youngster from Cheshire. There are many amusing anecdotes from his war-time schooldays. The author’s unusual education due to illness led him to become a writer.

Both Hubby and I read and enjoyed this excellent book (in the hardback edition). I was particularly interested to read it as I am working on my own memoir of my early life. A long time ago we visited Alderley Edge, which is a place of great importance in Alan Garner’s writing.

Where shall we run to? A memoir is available as hardback, paperback and an audio version is read by Robert Powell.

Two more library books I read and enjoyed

This post includes reviews of Saving Missy by Beth Morrey and The Madness of Grief by The Reverend Richard Coles.

As reading is one of the ways I relax and I was feeling tired, I had a quiet weekend last month reading one book on Saturday and another on Sunday. I decided to start with the light read I had picked from a display of new books near the entrance to the library before reading the more serious book from the same area.

Saving Missy

Saving Missy: Everyone deserves a second chance by Beth Morrey is a novel about a 79 year-old woman, Millicent. Her life is lonely at the beginning of the story, but chance encounters lead to all sorts of changes. The story unfolds with a few surprises right to the end. I really enjoyed it and will be looking out for Beth Morrey’s next book due out in 2022. There are reading group questions.

Saving Missy is also available as an e-book and an audiobook.

The Madness of Grief

The Madness of Grief: A Memoir of Love and Loss by The Reverend Richard Coles is a much more serious book. The Reverend Richard Coles is a well-known Church of England vicar, whose loss of his partner, David, was something I knew about from Twitter. The book covers the end of David’s life and the time following it, with reminiscences about their life together. There were many things I was unaware of concerning practices around the burial of C of E priests. I am not sure that what was described is universally the case. There were touching scenes where people offered friendship and kindness to Richard. (I reviewed a book which Richard Coles co-authored here.) The Madness of Grief is also available as an ebook.

A book in the same genre, which I read a very long time ago, is A Grief Observed by CS Lewis, in which the author wrote about the loss of his wife, Joy. There is no standard way to process grief; everyone deals with it differently