Bookshelf Travelling: 25 July 2020

Judith at Reader in the Wilderness hosts Bookshelf Travelling for Insane Times. This week I’ve been looking at my Daphne du Maurier books. It was my mother who suggested I read Rebecca years ago. I loved it and read as many of her books that I could get my hands on. And over the years I’ve collected this pile of her books and also read her biography by Margaret Forster.

I’m only going to write about one of these books today – Mary Anne, a novel about du Maurier’s great-great-grandmother Mary Anne Clarke, a blend of fact and fiction.

I have a Penguin paperback (the second book from the top) that was published in 1962. This was the copy I read in my teens. And I also have a hardback copy published by Heron Books in 1971 (the second book from the bottom) that I bought a few years ago – it’s in much better condition than my old paperback with its brown, fragile pages.

Mary Anne (1776 – 1852) was born in poverty and became the mistress of the Duke of York, the Commander-in-Chief of the Army during the Napoleonic wars. Actually, as I last read it many years ago I don’t remember the details, just that I really enjoyed it. Looking at it today, I see that at the beginning it looks back at the people who were close to her and what they remembered about her as they came to their deaths.

I love the opening paragraphs:

Years later, when she had gone and was no longer part of their lives, the thing they remembered about her was her smile. Colouring and features were indistinct, hazy in memory. The eyes surely were blue – but they could have been green or grey. And the hair knotted in Grecian fashion or piled high on top of the head in curls, might have been chestnut or light brown. The nose was anything but Grecian – that was a certainty for it pointed to heaven; and the actual shape of the mouth had never seemed important – not at the time, or now.

The essence of what had been was in the smile. …

The rest was forgotten. Forgotten the lies, the deceits, the sudden bursts of temper. Forgotten the wild extravagance, the absurd generosity, the vitriolic tongue. Only the warmth remained, and the love of living. (page 9 in the paperback)

They all died. First her brother, Charles Thompson, followed by William Dowler, ‘faithful to her for 25 years’, a witness at the trial of the Duke of York, then the Duke of York himself, and finally Joseph Clarke her ‘drunken sot’ of a husband.

Mary Anne outlived them all:

But the owner of the smile had the laugh on them, right to the end. She was not a ghost, nor a memory, nor a figment of the imagination seen in a dream long vanished, breaking the hearts of those who had loved her unwisely and too well. At seventy-six, she sat at the window of her house in Boulogne, looking across the Channel to the England that had forgotten all about her. Her favourite daughter was dead, and the second lived in London, and the grandchildren she had nursed as babies were ashamed of her and never wrote. The son she adored had his own life to lead. The men and women she had known had passed into oblivion.

The dreams were all hers. (page 18)

I’d really like to read this book again!

Bookshelf Travelling: 11 July 2020

Judith at Reader in the Wilderness hosts Bookshelf Travelling for Insane Times. Judith hasn’t posted on her blog since June 23 and I’m hoping that she’s OK and that, rather than anything else, it’s an internet problem, as where she lives high winds cause branches and trees to topple on power lines.

One of my favourite genres is historical fiction, including historical crime fiction. I don’t arrange my books by genre, so these books are shelved with the rest of my fiction in author order. For this week’s post I’ve picked out just four novels, none of which I’ve read yet.

From the bottom up:

River of Darkness by Rennie Airth is a book recommended by fellow book blogger Ann at Café Society. It’s the first novel in his John Madden trilogy, published in 1999. It was shortlisted for four crime fiction awards and won the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière in France. My copy is a hardback, in good condition, that I got from Barter Books in Alnwick.

It is 1921 and a terrible discovery has been made at a manor house in Surrey – the bloodied bodies of Colonel Fletcher, his wife and two of their staff. The police seem ready to put the murders down to robbery with violence, but DI Madden from Scotland Yard sees things slightly differently.

Next up is The Winding Road by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, a big hardback of 662 pages, that I bought in a library sale. There are 35 books in the Morland Dynasty series and I haven’t read any of them. This is the 34th book in the series, so I am hoping it will read well as a standalone. It’s set in the 1920s, the Jazz Age is in full swing in New York, the General Strike is underway in London, the shadows are gathering over Europe and the Wall Street Crash brings the decade to an end.

The Heiress of Linn Hagh by Karen Charlton is another book I got from Barter Books. This is set in 1809 in Northumberland and it’s a spin-off novel from Catching the Eagle, which features Detective Stephen Lavender and Constable Woods. A beautiful young heiress disappears from her locked bedchamber at Linn Hagh. The local constables are baffled and the townsfolk cry ‘witchcraft’.

The heiress’s uncle summons help from Detective Lavender and his assistant, Constable Woods, who face one of their most challenging cases: The servants and local gypsies aren’t talking; Helen’s siblings are uncooperative; and the sullen local farmers are about to take the law into their own hands. Lavender and Woods find themselves trapped in the middle of a simmering feud as they uncover a world of family secrets, intrigue and deception in their search for the missing heiress.

And finally on top of the pile is The River Midnight by Lilian Nattel, a Canadian author I found through reading her blog, Lilian’s Journal. I found this paperback copy in a secondhand bookshop – The Old Melrose Tea Rooms and Bookshop, tucked away down a little lane between the Eildon Hills and the River Tweed, about two miles from Melrose in the Scottish Borders. The bookshop is upstairs in the barn.

The River Midnight is about the fictional village of Blaska, a small Jewish community in Poland at the turn of the 20th century, when Poland was under Russian occupation. It is told from the perspective of a group of women, including Misha, the midwife, Hannah-Leah, the butcher’s wife, and Faygela, who dreams of the bright lights of Warsaw.
Myth meets history and characters come to life through the stories of the women’s lives and prayers, their secrets, and the intimate details of everyday life.

I love the cover of this book – different from the cover available on Amazon.

I’d love to hear from you if you’ve read any of these books, or are tempted by any of them.

Bookshelf Travelling: 26 June 2020

Judith at Reader in the Wilderness hosts Bookshelf Travelling for Insane Times. I’ve got several bookcases of unread novels and most of them are double shelved. This is another shelf of mixed genre fiction, beginning with three of Reginald Hill’s books. It’s a double stacked shelf, so my other Reginald Hill books are sitting behind these.

This shelf is a mixture of crime fiction, spy fiction, general fiction and one book of short stories.

Child’s Play by Reginald Hill is the next Dalziel and Pascoe novel I’m going to read. It’s the 9th book in the series. I’ve been reading them in sequence and each one has been better than the ones before. From the description on the back cover this looks to be a complicated murder mystery with plenty of suspects.

Another murder mystery is Murder in the Glen: a Tale of Death and Rescue on the Scottish Mountains by Hamish MacInnes, a book I bought whilst on holiday in Glencoe a few years ago. It’s set in the 1970s and although fiction it gives a ‘true portrayal of Highland life by a world authority on mountain rescue as well as the the Scottish Highlands.’ On his website the novel is described: ‘A Highland Laird is killed by a high velocity bullet. The action doesn’t stop there, but escalates in a series of deaths and incidents which appear to hinge round a mountain rescue team. There is no cheating on the part of the author; the plot is logical but few who-did-it guru’s have managed to point a finger at the murderer until the second last chapter.’

I first read Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John le Carré many years ago (1979), when I watched the BBC series with Alec Guiness as George Smiley. I bought this copy after watching the more recent series (2016) of The Night Manager (I have that on my Kindle) and fancied re-reading Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. I started reading it – my bookmark is between pages 88 and 89 – I’ll have to go back to the beginning again to refresh my memory before I can finish it.

My final choice from this shelf for today is Olivia Manning’s Balkan Trilogy, containing, all three books, The Great Fortune, The Spoilt City and Friends and Heroes. I read the first two books years and and still have the third to read! The trilogy is a semi autobiographical account of a British couple, Harriet and Guy Pringle living in the Balkans during World War Two.

This shelf is in one of the bookshelves that greet you as you walk in our front door.

Bookshelf Travelling: 20 June 2020

Judith at Reader in the Wilderness hosts Bookshelf Travelling for Insane Times. I’ve got several bookcases of unread novels and most of them are in alphabetical author order and are double shelved. This is the shelf I looked at last week.

This week I’m focusing on four more books on this shelf, beginning with The Man of Property by John Galsworthy. I am so embarrassed that I haven’t read this as I’ve written so many times that I’m going to read it and it’s still sitting there on the shelves unread!

It’s the first installment of The Forsyte Saga, which I loved when it was serialised on the BBC in 1967 with Nyree Dawn Porter as Irene. It’s set in London in 1906 when the Forsyte family gather to celebrate the engagement of young June Forsyte to an architect, Philip Bosinney. Why haven’t I read it???

Next Bilgewater by Jane Gardam, another book I’ve said on this blog that I’m going to read – and haven’t. I’ve liked the other books of hers that I’ve read, so I’m expecting to like this one too. It’s described on the back cover as ‘One of the funniest, most entertaining, most unusual stories about young love’. ‘Bilgewater’ is the name Marigold Green calls herself – a corruption of ‘Bill’s daughter’.

Then, there is The White Queen by Philippa Gregory. This is historical fiction. I was going to read it until I saw the BBC dramatisation some years ago and it put me off! Set in 1464 it’s about the Wars of the Roses and Elizabeth Woodville the White Queen, married to Edward IV. If you have read this book, do let me know what you thought about it.

And finally, Earth and Heaven by Sue Gee. A novel about a painter and his family in the aftermath of the First World War. The back cover reveals that it is a ‘detailed portrayal of an era which refuses to become part of the past, even today.’ I bought this book because I’d read and enjoyed Sue Gee’s novel The Hours of the Night.

I’m enjoying looking at books I’d forgotten about, and although it’s good to know I’ll probably never run out of books to read, I hope that one day I’ll read all the books on my shelves and Kindle!

Have you read any of these?

Bookshelf Travelling: 13 June 2020

Judith at Reader in the Wilderness hosts Bookshelf Travelling for Insane Times. I’ve got several bookcases of unread novels and most of them are in alphabetical author order and are double shelved.

Today I’m focusing on a few of the books on the second shelf down in the photo, containing books beginning with Gone Girl by GilIan Flynn. These are the books that were at the back of the shelf. I’ve removed the front row of books and pulled these forward. They are books that I haven’t seen for some time and I’d forgotten about them.

First of all, Gone Girl. This is a secondhand book I bought 6 years ago from the local village hall when I went there to vote. It’s a book that lots of book bloggers had written about and I thought I’d like to read it – but haven’t yet!

The blurb on the back describes it as ‘The addictive No.1 US bestseller that everyone is talking about’. Nick Dunn discovered on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary that his wife Amy had disappeared. The police suspect Nick and friends reveal that Amy was frightened of him.

Parade End by Ford Madox Ford has been on my shelves for seven years. I bought it after watching the BBC series and the front cover shows Benedict Cumberbatch as English aristocrat Christopher Tietjens. This edition of the novel includes all four parts, originally published separately between 1924 and 1928. A novel about the First World War it was based on his personal experiences of war. I loved the TV series – and I’m hoping to love the book!

The next one is The Secret Place by Tana French. I bought this five years ago at Barter Books in Alnwick (a large secondhand book shop that is run on an exchange basis) because I’ve enjoyed a couple of her books in the past. It’s crime fiction set in an exclusive girls’ boarding school in Dublin. Detective Stephen Moran investigates the death of Christopher Harper, a boy from the neighbouring boys’ school, who was found murdered on the grounds. It’s a long book in a small font, which is probably why I haven’t read it yet.

And finally, Missing Joseph: An Inspector Lynley Novel by Elizabeth George is another book I bought from Barter Books in November last year. I haven’t read any of the Inspector Lynley novels, although I’ve watched the TV adaptations. This is the sixth in the series, telling the story of a woman’s quest to solve the mystery of the death of her friend, an Anglican priest. Deborah and her husband, Simon, turn to their old friend, Inspector Lynley.

I really like the look of this book, set mainly in Lancashire and in her Aknowledgements Elizabeth George refers to Mist Over Pendle by Robert Neill, one of my favourite books. But it is very long and yet again in a small font.

I’m going to keep these books on display (moving the books that were previously in front of them to the back of the shelf) so that I don’t forget about them again. And I might focus on some of the other books on this shelf in a future Bookshelf Travelling post.

Bookshelf Travelling: 6 June 2020

Judith at Reader in the Wilderness hosts Bookshelf Travelling for Insane Times. Today I’m showing part of one of my shelves of mixed books. This shelf contains fiction but not arranged in any order, other than that of size. I’ve read all of them except for the book at the top of the pile.

From the top down they are:

  1. Corduroy Mansions by Alexander McCall Smith. I saw this in a charity shop and liked the cover, which can be a dodgy way to choose a book! It’s set in a London mansion block, and tells the stories of its residents. It looks interesting but I haven’t actually started to read it.
  2. I loved Kate Atkinson’s A God in Ruins, about Teddy Todd (the younger brother of Ursula in Life After Life). Teddy is a would-be poet, pilot, husband, father and grandfather. It looks at war and the effect it has, not only on those who live through it, but on the lives of the subsequent generations.
  3. A Game for All The Family by Sophie Hannah was a bit disappointing for me. It’s a book about the truth – just who is telling the truth, just who is who they purport to be, and most of all about identity. Who is real, who is making it all up? I didn’t love this book, but it certainly filled my mind and made me think both whilst I was reading it and for days afterwards – and I like that about a book.
  4. Love is Blind by William Boyd. I bought this in a local bookshop, because I liked the description on the book flap. Set at the end of the 19th century it follows the fortunes of Brodie Moncur, a young Scottish musician. Since then I’ve seen it has had mixed reviews. I’v yet to read to find out what I think of it.
  5. Rather Be the Devil by Ian Rankin was a ‘must read’ for me. I love his books. It’s the 21st Rebus novel. Rebus is retired but gets involved in investigating an unsolved murder from forty years ago. I’m almost tempted to go back to the first book and read them all again.
  6. And finally another book I loved – Eyes Like Mine by Sheena Kamal. The main focus of the book is Nora, her traumatic background and her search for her daughter, Bonnie, now a teenager, who she gave away as a new-born baby. Nora is shocked by her reaction when she sees a photo of Bonnie – there is no doubt that she is her daughter, with her dark hair and golden skin.

Bookshelf Travelling

Judith at Reader in the Wilderness hosts this meme – Bookshelf Travelling for Insane Times.  I’m still enjoying looking round my actual bookshelves and re-discovering books I’ve read or am looking forward to reading. The idea is to share your bookshelves with other bloggers. Any aspect you like:

1. Home.
2. Books in the home.
3. Touring books in the home.
4. Books organized or not organized on shelves, in bookcases, in stacks, or heaped in a helter-skelter fashion on any surface, including the floor, the top of the piano, etc.
5. Talking about books and reading experiences from the past, present, or future.

 

I’ve brought this pile of books together from different bookcases. They’re about crime fiction and crime fiction writers.

The book at the bottom of the pile is Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection by Chris Steinbrunner and Otto Penzler, published in 1976. It contains details not only of mystery and crime fiction authors but also ‘biographies’ of fictional detectives, including Sherlock Holmes, Perry Mason, Hercule Poirot and Margaret to name but a few. It also includes details of films, plays, radio and TV series. And there are lots of photos.

Following the Detectives Real Locations in Crime Fiction edited by Maxim Jakubowski is another fascinating book giving details of 20 crime fiction detectives in the cities and countries in which they live and work. So, there are maps featuring real locations, such as the Oxford Bar in Edinburgh where Inspector Rebus and his creator, Ian Rankin drink. It’s a beautiful book both to look at and to read, with colour photos, details of film/theatre/TV dramatisations and clear maps showing the locations, plus links to useful websites. 

The World of Inspector Morse by Christopher Bird with a Foreword by Colin Dexter is next. This is an A-Z reference detailing Morse’s and Lewis’s activities on Colin Dexter’s books and on TV and illustrated with stills from the TV series. Looking through it this morning I came across a section called ‘Literature’ – Dexter described Morse as a ‘dipper-in’ rather than a ‘systematic reader’. He loves poetry, the works of A E Houseman, his favourite author is Dickens, his second favourite Thomas Hardy. I should ‘dip-in’ to this book more often.

The Golden Age of Murder by Martin Edwards. If you enjoy the detective stories written between the two World Wars then this is the book for you. It tells the story of how the writers such as Agatha Christie and her colleagues in the Detection Club transformed crime fiction. They were interested in and influenced by a number of real crimes, both current at the time and crimes from the past, such as Dr Crippen’s poisoning of his wife. This book is crammed full of fascinating information about the period and the authors.

And finally, The Rough Guide to Crime Fiction by Barry Forshaw, another indispensable book for crime fiction lovers. This covers a variety of sub-genres from the origins of crime fiction in the 19th century with the Gothic writers to the novels of Edgar Allen Poe, Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle to the classic mysteries of the  Golden Age and onwards into the 20th century. There are sections on spies, private detectives, professionals and amateurs, serial killers, historical crime and so on.

Bookshelf Travelling for Insane Times

Judith at Reader in the Wilderness hosts this meme – Bookshelf Travelling for Insane Times.  I am enjoying this meme, looking round my actual bookshelves and re-discovering books I’ve read or am looking forward to reading. The idea is to share your bookshelves with other bloggers. Any aspect you like:

1. Home.
2. Books in the home.
3. Touring books in the home.
4. Books organized or not organized on shelves, in bookcases, in stacks, or heaped in a helter-skelter fashion on any surface, including the floor, the top of the piano, etc.
5. Talking about books and reading experiences from the past, present, or future.

Whatever you fancy as long as you have fun basically.

This week I’m showing more biographies and an autobiography. This is the shelf below the one I featured in this post a few weeks ago. 

img_20200514_070759538

The books on this shelf are all books I’ve had for a long time but I have only read some of them – those marked with an *. From the left (as you look at the screen) they are:

Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now by Barry Miles, based on hundreds of hours of exclusive interviews undertaken over five years and on access to McCartney’s own archives.

Next to that is Long Walk to Freedom: the Autobiography of Nelson Mandela. I have read part of this long and detailed book.

Then comes Mary Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley by Alison Weir. I have started this book, the first of two I have about Mary (the other is by Antonia Fraser).

After that is David Starkey’s biography of *Elizabeth: Apprenticeship. This is an account of her life from her birth in 1533 to her accession to the throne in 1558. I read this many years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Next is The Sovereignty of Good by Irish Murdoch. I’ve read several of her novels, but this is book of philosophy, a collection of three papers on the nature of goodness. I have not got round to actually reading it yet.

But I have read the next three books – *Iris: a Memoir of Iris Murdoch by John Bayley, *Iris: A Life by Peter J Conradi, and *Iris Murdoch As I Knew Her by A N Wilson. Bayley’s book is inevitably partly autobiographical as it is about their marriage and about living with Alzheimer’s. It is one of the most moving books I’ve read. I read these before I began blogging and really can’t remember much about the Conradi and Wilson biographies. I remember more about Bayley’s book, maybe because I watched the film, Iris, a film that had me and most of the audience at the cinema in tears.

I’ve also read *L S Lowry: a Life by Shelley Rohde. Lowry is one of my favourite artists, well known for his urban paintings of industrial towns and ‘matchstick men’, but his work covers a wide range of themes and subjects, from landscapes and seascapes to portraits.

I bought *Shakespeare the Biography by Peter Ackroyd in Stratford-upon-Avon some years ago after going to the theatre there. I’ve several of Shakespeare’s plays and seen productions at the Barbican in London and at the Stratford. Structured mainly around the plays, this biography places Shakespeare within his own time and place, whether it is Stratford or London or travelling around the countryside with the touring companies of players.

I haven’t read the next four books on the shelf, yet. They are Virginia Woolf: A Writer’s Life by Lyndall Gordon. I bought this because I’ve read some of Woolf’s books and wanted to know more about her.

And then there are three books about Marilyn Monroe, none of which I’ve read. First Marilyn Monroe– a biography by Barbara Leeming, It looks remarkably comprehensive, with lots of photos. Then there is Marilyn: the Ultimate Look at the Legend by James Haspiel, a memoir of James Haspiel’s eight year friendship with the Marilyn Monroe, and Marilyn in Fashion: the Enduring influence of Marilyn Monro by Christopher Nickens and George Zeno, full of even more photos.

Bookshelf Travelling for Insane Times

Judith at Reader in the Wilderness hosts this meme – Bookshelf Travelling for Insane Times.  I am enjoying this meme, looking round my actual bookshelves and re-discovering books I’ve read or am looking forward to reading. The idea is to share your bookshelves with other bloggers. Any aspect you like:

1. Home.
2. Books in the home.
3. Touring books in the home.
4. Books organized or not organized on shelves, in bookcases, in stacks, or heaped in a helter-skelter fashion on any surface, including the floor, the top of the piano, etc.
5. Talking about books and reading experiences from the past, present, or future.

Whatever you fancy as long as you have fun basically.

I’ve been collecting cookery books for years. I have all sorts – Italian, Chinese, Thai, Indian, French, Vegetarian, Diet, Low Fat, Freezer, and Microwave cookbooks to name but a few. These days I try to be selective and only buy books that look as though there are some new recipes that I haven’t tried.

These are some of my latest additions.

Cookbooks

Green & Black’s Ultimate Chocolate Recipes New Collection is such a tempting book for chocoholics. There are recipes for cakes, cookies, cupcakes and cheesecakes, tarts and souffles, puddings and pies, desserts, treats and sweets all using Green & Blacks delicious organic chocolate. It’s a celebration of chocolate.

Choc torte
Green & Black’s

Home Baking Cookbook, 140 recipes for making cakes, biscuits and bread, muffins, meringues, pizzas and pastries. It’s described as ‘an indispensable guide to sweet and savoury baking’ with step by step descriptions of the fundamentals of cake baking, the rules for making pastry and ‘all there is to know about yeast‘. In these days of lockdown I have been baking cakes and and puddings which we don’t normally have!

Fruit cake
Home Baking

Lorraine Pascale’s book, How to be a Better Cook, is a book ‘for complete beginners to more experienced cooks just looking for some new inspiration.’ I’ve watched her TV programmes, awed by her presentation – she is so calm, her food is so perfect and she is such a clean cook – me, the kitchen looks like a bomb has hit it when I’m cooking, all the work surfaces cluttered with ingredients, and mess everywhere.

Prawns
How to be a Better Cook

Tom Kerridge, a Michelin star chef  is one of my favourite chefs. I love his TV programmes and his food. I’ve eaten in his pub, The Hand & Flowers in Marlow – great food! His book, Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes is inspirational, although I can’t see myself cooking some of them, such as Forty-cloves-of-garlic brined chicken, but he does include a recipe for Ham and Cheese Toastie that I fancy.

Toastie
Best Ever Dishes

And then there are The Hairy Bikers, Si King and Dave Myers! Perfect Pies is as the title announces about pies! They write that ‘Pies are our passion’ and ‘pastry is our passion’. This is a gorgeous book for pie lovers – from steak pie, fish pie and apple pie to roasted vegetable tart and spicy bean hotpot pie, not forgetting banoffee pie. And they are such fun to watch!

Banoffee
Perfect Pies

Bookshelf Travelling for Insane Times

Judith at Reader in the Wilderness hosts this meme – Bookshelf Travelling for Insane Times.  I am enjoying this meme, looking round my actual bookshelves and re-discovering books I’ve read or am looking forward to reading. The idea is to share your bookshelves with other bloggers.

This is really a Friday meme, but once more I’m late writing my post!

For this week’s post I’ve been looking through some of my oldest books.

The Secret Garden

First is a book from my childhood, The Secret Garden by Frances  Hodgson-Burnett. It is now yellowing and a bit battered, but still in one piece. In the description at the front of the book the editor writes: Girls like it most, and between the ages of nine and fourteen – and, be warned, keep your copy carefully. You will want to go back and read it over and over again. I can’t remember how old I was, but the editor was right – I did read it over and over again.  I’ve wanted a walled garden ever since I read about the secret garden that Mary found at her Uncle’s house, Misselthwaite Manor in Yorkshire. It’s about the magic of nature, that makes plants and people grow and develop, the magic of the power of positive thinking and prayer, of the healing power of the mind, and of laughter and love.

Mist over PendleNext a book I read as a teenager – Mist Over Pendle by Robert Neill. Set in rural Lancashire in the early 17th century it tells the story of Margery Whitaker, an orphan who went to live with her relatives on the Lancashire and Yorkshire border. People have died, apparently from belladonna poisoning and two old crones are suspected of witchcraft. Margery and her cousin Roger investigate whether they really were witches. I found it fascinating and it was probably the book that started me off reading historical fiction.

YogaI began doing yoga when I was in my thirties and Yoga by Ernest Wood is one of several books I bought at the time. It’s not just a book about the yoga breathing practices or the yoga postures – and there are no photos demonstrating them – it’s more about the classical background of yoga and its goals – the awakening of the higher spirit, bodily and mental health and the benefits of yoga in daily life. So, there are chapters on the ethics and morality of yoga, yoga and the intellect, yoga and vitality and the basic philosophy of yoga.

Lark Rise mineAnd finally a book I read in my forties. I’d had a really bad case of flu which meant that I couldn’t even lift my head off the pillow, never mind pick up a book! But when  I was recovering I read and loved Flora Thompson’s book Lark Rise to Candleford. It’s a trilogy including in addition to Lark Rise, Over to Candleford and Candleford Green. It’s a record of country life at the end of the 19th century, based on the author’s experiences during childhood and youth. It chronicles May Day celebrations and forgotten children’s games as well as the daily lives of farmworkers and craftsmen, and her friends and relations.