Borrowed Books

The mobile library came last week. I wasn’t going to borrow many, if any books, but there were some on the shelves that looked interesting and the van isn’t coming again until 21 October so I thought, why not borrow them. Then we went to our granddaughter’s 10th birthday party on Saturday and our son lent me a book too. It’s the top one in the pile shown below. Finally we went into town yesterday and as I returned a book to the library there I had a quick look round and borrowed the book at the bottom of the pile.

From top to bottom they are:

  • The Tent, the Bucket and Me: My Family’s Disastrous Attempts to go Camping in the 70s by Emma Kennedy. Apparently (I say this because I haven’t got that far in the book) they go to Carnac where we also went camping (well in a caravan) in the 80s. I checked on Amazon and this book has widely different reviews – some love it and think it very funny and others think it’s dreadful and not at all funny. I wonder which ‘camp’ I’ll be in.
  • Borrower of the Night: a Vicky Bliss Murder Mystery by Elizabeth Peters. I haven’t read anything by Elizabeth Peters, but as I’ve seen some reviews on a few blogs, I thought I’d have a look at this one. I haven’t started it yet. Vicky Bliss is an art historian, beautiful and brainy, according to the back cover. This one is about a search for a missing masterwork in wood by a master carver who died in Germany in the 16th century.
  • The Fall by Simon Mawer. I’ve read one other by by Simon Mawer – The Gospel of Judas, which I’d enjoyed. The Fall is the story of Rob and Jamie, friends from childhood, with a passion for mountaineering and climbing. From just a quick look at it, I see that it begins in Snowdon (another place where went on holiday and have camped and climbed (well D climbed, I just walked). Jamie and Rob take on greater challenges, culminating in the Eiger’s North Face. The jacket description appealed to me: ‘a story that captures nature at its most beautiful and most brutal, and which unlocks the intricacies at the heart of human relationships.’
  • A Change in Altitude by Anita Shreve. I’ve not been too keen on the latest books by Anita Shreve, although I loved her earlier ones, so I thought I’d borrow this one rather than buy it. I have started to read it, but just a few pages in it hasn’t ‘grabbed’ me yet. It’s about two couples on a climbing expedition to Mount Kenya when a horrific accident occurs.
  • Sepulchre by Kate Mosse. I read Labyrinth a few years ago (before I began this blog) and at the time I noted that it was ‘OK but too long’. So this is another book I decided not to buy, but if I saw it in the library I’d borrow it. It is enormously long! So far I’ve read a few chapters, set in 1891 in Paris and I’m not sure whether I’ll ever finish it. It’s a time-split book, divided 1891 and 2007, ‘the story of a tragic love, a missing girl, a unique set of tarot cards and the strange events of a cataclysmic night.’ (from the back cover)
  • The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein by Peter Ackroyd. I’ve always enjoyed Peter Ackroyd’s books and this one looked like a candidate for the RIP Challenge (as does Sepulchre). So far I’ve read about Victor Frankenstein’s love of learning and his desire to know the secrets of nature and the source of life. He has met Shelley at Oxford University, attended lessons at the dissecting room of St Thomas’s Hospital in London and is fascinated by Humphrey Davy’s experiments with electrical experiments. So far, so good. This book also has very mixed reviews on Amazon and in the press – the Guardian, ‘disappointing‘ and the Telegraph, ‘a brilliant jeu d’esprit.’

The links are to (except for the press reviews). The only book to get consistent reviews on Amazon is The Fall. I don’t take much notice of these reviews, unless I know the reviewer, but I find it interesting to read such varying responses.

16 thoughts on “Borrowed Books

  1. I agree with you about Anita Shreve. I read some of her earlier books and liked them, but since then, they haven’t “grabbed” me either. It reminds me a little bit of John Grisham. I really enjoyed his first novels, especially his first, A Time To Kill, but after about five or six, he just dropped off, at least, in my humble opinion.


  2. I thought the Elizabeth Peters book was great fun – reminded me a bit of Mary Stewart’s mysteries: the heroine is full of insouciance! I read Labyrinth, and thought it good but too long, so I was quite pleased to find Sepulchre in the library. However, I decided pretty quickly that I wasn’t going to get through it, and gave up. Hope you have better luck!


  3. GeraniumCat, I’m hoping I’ll enjoy the Elizabeth Peters book, it does look promising.

    As for Sepulchre I really don’t know if I can be bothered to read any more of it – I’ve passed the 50 page mark, but maybe that’s not enough considering there are over 700 pages! On the other hand maybe I should stop now before I waste any more reading time?


  4. LOL

    I just checked my non-review of Sepulchre. I put it away after 50 pages because I could not stomach all the heaving bosoms and alabaster cheeks 😀
    I do like good historical mysteries, but there is a limit as to how much romance I can live with.


  5. I love Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody books, such great fun. I don’t think I’ve read any of the ones about Vicky Bliss. I’ve read Labyrinth and thought it ‘ok’ but with a very weak ending, and read Sepulchre twice (a year apart, I was looking for something suitably non-brain taxing at the time) which I enjoyed slightly more, but I thought the ending of it rather nonsensical both times! I can’t understand why Kate Mosse is such a best-selling author, unless it is a case of not what you know but who you know… As for Peter Akroyd, I loved his biography of Dickens but just can’t seem to get on very well with his fiction. I have the Frankenstein book on my TBR pile but am half-dreading starting it in case I hate this one too, I also have the one he wrote about Troy which I can’t remember the title of. I’ve tried to analyse what it is I dislike about his writing, as he is very clever and his books are very well written, but there is just something in the way he writes fiction that I can’t connect with.


  6. I think that I read BORROWER OF THE NIGHT many years ago or if not that one, I read another Vicky Bliss. I never really connected with that character but I know she is beloved by many. I have read many other books by Elizabeth Peters though and love them. I also love her alter-ego Barbara Michaels – more ghosts and ghoulies in her early books.


  7. I loved The Fall. I listened to it on audio, read by Robert Glenister & it was just gripping. There were several times I sat in the car to get to the end of a chapter. Fascinating story(who’d have thought mountain climbing could be so interesting?) but the relationships between the characters were just fascinating. I hope you enjoy it.


  8. They all sound intriguing books to me. I never quite know what to make of amazon star ratings, although if there are a lot of reviews then I think you do get a good and honest picture of a book. I often like the negative ones as they tell you the worst that can happen, if you see what I mean! I think I’d be most interested in the Ackroyd as I’ve read several of his books and loved them (Chatterton, First Light) but he can divide the critics.


    1. Litlove, I like the negative reviews best too – I always read those first! I loved Ackroyd’s Chatterton – the first one of his I read, Hawksmoor, and The House of Dr Dee, amongst others. I haven’t read First Light.


  9. I got through Sepulchre but only by virtue of skim-reading and missing out some bits but I liked her most recent book The Winter Ghosts – partly I suspect because it is a LOT shorter and doesn’t have a deeply irritating heroine!
    I couldn’t take to the Elizabeth Peters books although I have enjoyed some she wrote as Barbara Michaels particularly The Crying Child which is quite spooky!


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