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Showing posts from October, 2014

Two Super and Spooky Picture Books

Read, Reading, and To Read

The week before last I had a stack of books to read that looked like this:
I knew I couldn't read them all in a week, what with working and sleeping and spending ages on Twitter. But two weeks later, and the pile is 90% complete.
I read and loved and blogged aboutThe Something by Rebecca Cobb. It's a lovely picture that I'm very glad I bought.
The Courage of Cowards was an interesting and sometimes moving look at the personal stories of conscientious objectors during the First World War. The stories are partly told through fictionalised dialogue; the historian bit of me did feel uneasy with this device at times but I think the book just about gets away with it. Maybe.
Murder Underground went down reasonably well at Friday Book Club. Everyone liked it overall, and the descriptions of the Underground and boarding houses were very well liked. The insights it inadvertently gave into class and gender norms in the 1930s were also much remarked upon.
The Vanishing Witch is the one I…

Matthew Shardlake is back!

I've been finding it strangely difficult to formulate coherent reviews of late. It's left me feeling a bit tongue-tied on the blog. But, even if reviews are not coming easy, I realised I could still natter about books in a less structured way.

Today's informal book nattering is about C.J. Sansom's Matthew Shardlake books. The sixth one, called Lamentation, has just been published in a handsome hardback.
I love these books. They're set in the Tudor period, a time I've never lost my childhood affection for. They have a wonderful hero in Shardlake, a lawyer trying to behave according to his principles, and are exciting stories that feature a cast of very famous sixteenth century faces. They are a mix of historical crime, mysteries, and political intrigues  - simply put, they are very very good.

I was handed a little sampler of Lamentation at Euston station last week, by people dressed in Tudor costume. It obviously brightened up my journey home, but what a great i…

The Something by Rebecca Cobb

Reading This Week

My wildly over-optimistic reading plan for this week involves five books.

My bedtime book is Anna Freeman's brilliant romp through the brothels and prize-fights of Georgian England, A Fair Fight. This book is on The Green Carnation Prize longlist (more of which to come), and conveniently, was also on my shelves waiting to be read. I'm a hundred pages in and I am truly hooked. It's told from the various perspectives of three main characters; so far I've encountered two voices, and I'm eager for the third.

I'm also reading Karen Maitland's new novel The Vanishing Witch. It's set around the time of the Peasant's Revolt (1381). The late fourteenth century is a fascinating in English (and European) history, and I'm devouring the pages. There's a lot of murky weather in it, which suited this morning's train ride perfectly.

I need to read Murder Underground by Mavis Doriel Hay for Book Club on Friday night. It's Golden Age crime, and looks …

The Sinking of RMS Tayleur by Gill Hoffs

The Wonder by Faye Hanson