Sunday Selection

I finished reading The Owl Killers by Karen Maitland yesterday. It is a book that I’ve had for nearly three years and like many of the other unread books that I own, I wish I’d read it long before now – it’s good and I’ll be writing down my thoughts about it soon.

But it has got me thinking that I should spend more time reading books I’ve owned for more than a year and still haven’t got round to reading. I get sidetracked by new books and by library books and it’s got worse with the ease of having books to read on Kindle. There are all those free e-books and really cheap ones too, which may or may not be any good, and, click they’ve been downloaded.

So, as one of my aims this year is to reduce my massive backlog of unread books I’m going to concentrate on reading some of these for a while, all books I’ve owned a long time!

First up for consideration a selection of historical fiction (the blurbs are from Amazon):

  • The White Queen by Philippa Gregory – the TV dramatisation of this book begins tonight on BBC1, maybe I should read it in tandem, or leave it for later? It’s the story of Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen. A woman who won the love of a king and ascended to royalty by virtue of her beauty, Elizabeth fought tenaciously for the success of her family — her daughter who would one day unite the warring dynasties, and her two sons whose eventual fate has confounded historians for centuries: the Princes in the Tower.
  • The Constant Princess – another Philippa Gregory book – Katherine of Aragon is born Catalina, the Spanish Infanta, to parents who are both rulers and warriors. Aged four, she is betrothed to Arthur, Prince of Wales, and is raised to be Queen of England. She is never in doubt that it is her destiny to rule that far-off, wet, cold land.
  • Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier – January 1901, the day after Queen Victoria’s death: two families visit neighbouring graves in a fashionable London cemetery. One is decorated with a sentimental angel, the other an elaborate urn. The Waterhouses revere the late Queen and cling to Victorian traditions; the Colemans look forward to a more modern society. To their mutual distaste, the families are inextricably linked when their daughters become friends behind the tombstones. And worse, befriend the gravedigger’s son.

Then, a selection of crime fiction:

  • The Remorseful Day by Colin Dexter – The murder of Yvonne Harrison had left Thames Valley CID baffled. A year after the dreadful crime they are still no nearer to making an arrest. But one man has yet to tackle the case €“ and it is just the sort of puzzle at which Chief Inspector Morse excels. The final Morse book, which I bought after watching the TV version. I’ve just checked and this was way back in 2000! I decided at the time that I would read it later – I never meant it to be 12 years later! 
  • I’ve borrowed several Christopher Brookmyre books from our son and have been meaning to read them before now. I see from a bookmark that I did start Not the End of the World a while back. The crew of an oceanic research vessel goes missing in the Pacific along with their mini-submarine. An evangelical media star holds a rally next door to a convention in LA devoted to ‘nubile’ cinematic entertainment. The cops know there’s going to be trouble and they are not disappointed. What they didn’t foresee was the presence in their state of a Glaswegian photographer with an indecipherable accent and a strong dislike of hypocrisy, or of a terrorist who seems to have access to plutonium as well as Semtex. In his unique style, Christopher Brookmyre throws a harsh light on the selfish preoccupations of 1990s society and at the same time provides uproarious entertainment.
  • Kissing the Gunner’s Daughter by Ruth Rendell. It’s inevitable, I suppose that when I double shelve books that I forget I’ve got them. If I thought 12 years was a long time to have owned and not read a book, then I was astonished when I checked this book to find that I’ve had it since 1992! No!! It’s another book I bought after watching the TV version, which was broadcast in November 1992. I did start it – there’s a bookmark at the start of Chapter 6. I see from Amazon that the book has been reprinted several times since I bought my copy. The blurb is: The fifteenth book to feature the classic crime-solving detective, Chief Inspector Wexford. The thirteenth of May is famously the unluckiest day of the year. Sergeant Caleb Martin of Kingsmarkham CID had no idea just how terminally unlucky it would prove, as he embarked upon his last day on earth… Ten months later, Wexford is confronted with a murder scene of horrific brutality. At first the bloodbath at Tancred House looks like the desperate work of a burglar panicked into murder. The sole survivor of the massacre, seventeen-year-old Daisy Flory, remembers the events imperfectly, and her confused account of the fatal night seems to confirm this theory. But more and more, Chief Inspector Wexford is convinced that the crime lies closer to home, and that it has sinister links to the murder of Sergeant Martin…

That’s enough to be going on with for the time being.

8 thoughts on “Sunday Selection

  1. You’re very good to turn to your TBR. I’m finding it very hard at the moment as there are so many irresistible new books and I have a pile of review copies too which I feel guilty about.

    Of those you pictured above, the Tracy Chevalier (she’s coming to Abingdon next month) and Chris Brookmyre would top my list, I’m not so bothered about Philippa Gregory – too many, too similar for me – I will watch the TV series though.


  2. I really feel that I should concentrate on the books on my shelves too. I’ve read a few of Brookmyre’s books and enjoyed them. Some are a wee bit stomach churning in places but at times he is really laugh out loud funny.


  3. Well you certainly have some good reading ahead of you, I love Phillipa Gregory books, although I too have White Queen on my shelf for a long time, Loved the Constant Princess, and I also have your Collin Dexter one, now Fallen Angels is tempting me, (should I get it from the library) I’ll wait for your review and then maybe my dent in the books shelf will be bigger. Happy Reading.


  4. I’ve recorded The White Queen as we were watching Miss Marple.

    Of all of those the only one I’ve read is Falling Angels and it’s actually my favourite Tracey Chevalier book so far (there are a couple I haven’t read). So I can highly recommend that.


  5. Annabel, those irresistible new books are the reason I’ve got such a backlog of unread books – they were mostly new books when I bought them! Wish I could come to the Tracy Chevalier event, but I can’t really complain because there are some excellent author events up here too – Hilary Mantel at the Borders Book Festival just last Friday!
    Katrina, I’ve only read one of Brookmyre’s books and there were some stomach churning parts but once I’d got over the shock I enjoyed the book immensely. I went to a talk he gave a while back and he is very funny in person as well as in his books. I will get round to reading one of his.
    Irene, I started reading Falling Angels after I’d written my post and it’s looking good so far.
    Cath, we watched The White Queen and recorded Miss Marple – so we could fly through the adverts. I wasn’t too impressed with The White Queen – a bit ‘Horrible Historish’, I thought and filmed in Belgium didn’t seem right at all. And I thought Edward looked remarkably like another Prince!


  6. Margaret – I’m the same way. I’ve had some books for quite a while and not yet read them. I really hope you’ll enjoy the Dexter; I found that book a very sad but well-done ending to that series.


  7. At the moment I too have an embarrassment of riches. I was alarmed when a book-loving friend gave me two large bags of books she has enjoyed and I saw just how many others I have as well. In addition, I have a tall stack of books I’ve promised to review for book tours, Amazon Vine, etc. Meanwhile, it’s been raining so much we now have tons of yard work to do and, now that our windows are open, there is a lot I want to accomplish in the house. As long as I can’t do much about the fact that there are only 24 hours in a day, I’m in trouble. Oh yes, and the college baseball world series is under way! Yikes.


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