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What I read in January 2017

I finished reading three books in January. I recommend them all.

The first book was a Christmas present. Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane is a fascinating book. It was conceived as a response to words about the countryside being omitted from a children’s dictionary to make space for technological vocabulary. As well as being a book about words, this is a book about books, about authors and about the countryside. The paperback edition I read included additional glossaries of words, which had been sent to the author following the publication of the first edition. I was interested to spot the name of an acquaintance, who had presumably added to the list of words, in the acknowledgements. I hadn’t heard about this book before I received it, but in one of those strange twists in life known as synchrony, just after I had read it I learned that there is to be an exhibition at Wordsworth House, Cockermouth from March to September this year, called Wild Words. It takes its inspiration from this book and has been guest-curated by the author.Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane

 

The second book I read was The Kill Fee by Fiona Veitch Smith. Having enjoyed the first of the Poppy Denby books, I was keen to read the second one. It is a good read. The author has added a disclaimer about some historical inaccuracies. I suspect there may be others, but the story hangs together well and is a page-turner. I read it in a day, while suffering from a sore throat. The title is rather unusual, but its significance is revealed in the story.

The third book was one, which I have read many times. Winnie-the-Pooh is a classic children’s story. I read it aloud from a compendium of A.A. Milne’s writing for his son Christopher Robin (Winnie-the-pooh the complete collection of stories and poems). The book has coloured illustrations by E.H. Shepard. Those, who are only familiar with the Disney cartoon versions of these stories, are missing out on subtleties of language and the coloured sketches.

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What else I read in July 2016

After I posted my list of books I had finished reading in July I also read The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro.  It is a story set in an imaginary world just after the time of King Arthur.  Ishiguro has a style of his own.  There is no variation in the pace even in the most exciting parts of the story.  There are a lot of layers to this book – it could be interpreted in various ways.  Unlike the other books I read in July this one did not come from the library.  A member of my family discovered it in a charity (thrift) shop.  I do not regret reading it, but I have to admit that I nodded off once or twice, due to the lack of variation in pace, the warm weather and comfortable seating!

I have read other books by this accomplished author.

When I went to the library to return the books I wrote about previously, I noticed that they were featuring books by Beatrix Potter and those she had written.  A book of her art felt very heavy and I had to walk across the town.  However a book about her gardening life appealed to me more and I borrowed that.  Some of her art was displayed at Wordsworth House and Garden, Cockermouth last time we visited it.  The 150th anniversary of her birth was 28 July.

I have also been reading information online and in dated printed publications.  By dated I do not mean old-fashioned, but issued for a specific time.  I have learned (via Twitter) that there is going to be a fourth book in Jasper Fforde’s Dragonslayer series, that Lian Hearn has announced a new series (I really enjoyed the series beginning with Across the Nightingale Floor) and Katharine Swartz has announced a new book in the Tales of Goswell series, The Second Bride, to  be published in February 2017.  When I lay my hands on those, I am likely to be Lost in a Good Book (the title of a book by Jasper Fforde).  Lots to look forward to!