Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2021

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules see her blog.

This week’s topic is Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2021. My list includes only 8 books or rather advance review copies from NetGalley. I’ve listed them in their release date order. Links from the titles will take you the book descriptions on Goodreads.

  1. The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood – 7 January. Judith, Suzie and Becks, recently retired, form the Marlow Murder Club investigating murders in Marlow, Bucks.
  2. The City of Tears by Kate Mosse – 19 January. The second historical epic in The Burning Chambers series set in France in 1572.
  3. The Mirror Dance by Catriona McPherson – 21 January. Something sinister is afoot in the streets of Dundee, when a puppeteer is found murdered behind his striped Punch and Judy stand, as children sit cross-legged drinking ginger beer.
  4. The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles- 9 February. Based on the true Second World War story of the heroic librarians at the American Library in Paris, this is a novel of romance, friendship, family, and of heroism found in the quietest of places.
  5. We Are Not in the World by Conor O’Callaghan – 18 February. Heartbroken after a long, painful love affair, a man drives a haulage lorry from England to France. Travelling with him is a secret passenger – his daughter. Twenty-something, unkempt, off the rails.
  6. A Town Called Solace by Mary Lawson – 18 February. Set in Northern Ontario in 1972, this explores the relationships of these three people brought together by fate and the mistakes of the past. 
  7. The Girl Who Died by Ragnar Jonasson – 29 April. When Una sees an advert seeking a teacher for two girls in the tiny village of Skálar – population of ten – on the storm-battered north coast of the island, she sees it as a chance to escape.
  8. The Rose Code by Kate Quinn – 18 March. A World War II story of three female code breakers at Bletchley Park and the spy they must root out after the war is over.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten of My Favourite Books of 2020

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules see her blog.

The topic this week is My Favourite Books of 2020. This is difficult as I’ve read so many good books this year. So these are just 10 of them that came to mind when I was deciding which ones are my favourites. I’ve listed them in a-z author order:

A Thousand Moons by Sebastian Barry – his second book continuing the story of Thomas McNulty and John Cole, and Winona, the young Indian girl they had adopted. This is beautifully written, poetically and lyrically describing the landscape and with convincing characters from the American West of the 1870s. They are living and working on a farm in Tennessee, but then things go disastrously wrong. First racism rears its ugly head and then Winona is brutally attacked.

‘Please, sir, I want some more.’

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens his second novel, published in three volumes in November 1839. It’s full of terrific descriptions of the state of society at the time – the grim conditions that the poor suffered, the shocking revelations of what went on in the workhouse, and the depiction of the criminal underworld – the contrast of good and evil. 

The Searcher by Tana French, a novel full of suspense and tension. After twenty five years in the Chicago police force, Cal has recently moved to a village in Ireland, wanting to build a new life after his divorce. He wants a quiet life in which nothing much happens. But he gets involved in the search for Brendan, a missing 19 year-old.

The Year Without a Summer: One Event, Six Lives, a World Changed by Guinevere Glasford – a novel about how the volcanic eruption of Mount Tambora on Sumbawa Island in Indonesia in 1815 had a profound and far reaching impact on the world. It led to sudden cooling across the northern hemisphere, crop failures, famine and social unrest in the following year.

The Lady of the Ravens by Joanna Hickson, historical fiction about the early years of Henry VII’s reign as seen through the eyes of Joan Vaux She was a lady in waiting to Elizabeth of York, whose marriage in 1486 to Henry united the Houses of Lancaster and York after the end of the Wars of the Roses. The fictional element is in the story of Joan’s fascination for and care of the ravens of the Tower of London firmly believing in the legend that should the ravens leave the Tower for good then the crown will fall and ruin will return to the nation. 

The Sleepwalker by Joseph Knox, the third Detective Aidan Waits novel, crime fiction that is dark, violent and absolutely brilliant.  Waits is a disturbed and complex character, other police officers don’t trust him or want to work with him.  He plays very close to the edge and has little regard for his own safety. 

Saving Missy by Beth Morey – a novel about love and loss,  family relationships, friendship, loneliness, and guilt but also about the power of kindness. It moved me to tears (not many books do that) but it is not in the least sentimental. Missy (Millicent) Carmichael is seventy nine, living on her own in a large house, left with sad memories of what her life used to be, a wife, mother and grandmother, but now she is alone. Her husband, Leo is no longer with her, her son and his family are in Australia and she and her daughter are estranged after a big row. And there is something else too, for Missy has a guilty secret that is gnawing away at her.

The Last Day by Andrew Hunter Murray – dystopian fiction. I was gripped by the story of a world coming to an end and the effects that had on the planet and the population. Set in 2059, thirty years after the earth had finally stopped spinning The Last Day presents a totalitarian world, and gives such a vivid picture of what life has become for the people who live on the burning sun side of the planet. There is, of course, no night, but there is a curfew during the ‘night’ hours.

Fresh Water for Flowers by by Valérie Perrin, translated from the French by Hildegarde Serle. An emotional and moving story about the caretaker at a cemetery in a small town in Bourgogne, Violette, her estranged husband, Phillippe, his miserable parents and their young daughter, Leonine. What happened to Leonine is especially tragic. This is a story of love and loss – and hope.

The Birdwatcher by William Shaw – a character-driven murder mystery, with a dramatic climax. Sergeant William South is a birdwatcher, a methodical and quiet man. A loner, South is not a detective and has always avoided being involved in investigating murder. But he is assigned to investigate the murder of a fellow birdwatcher. Alternating with the present day story is the story of Billy, a thirteen year old living in Northern Ireland during the ‘Troubles’.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Winter 2020-2021 TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules see her blog.

The topic this week is Books On My Winter 2020-2021 TBR. These are physical books on my bookshelves, but this is an aspirational list rather than a realistic one. I want to read these books but it may not be during this winter (many of these are so long!) and there are other books I’d like to read too, which I may read instead.

  1. Helen of Troy by Margaret George – historical fiction (611 pages)
  2. I’ll Never Be Young Again by Daphne du Maurier (304 Pages)
  3. The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone – historical fiction about Michangelo (776 pages)
  4. The Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters edited by Charlotte Mosley (830 pages)
  5. World Without End by Ken Follett – historical fiction (1248 pages)
  1. Sashenka by Simon Sebag Montefiore – historical fiction (607 pages)
  2. Book of Love by Sarah Bower – historical fiction (598 pages)
  3. The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmunde de Waal – art, history, biography (368 pages)
  4. The Watch House by Bernie McGill – historical fiction (288 pages)
  5. Of Human Bondage by W Somerset Maugham – fictional autobiography (700 pages)

Have you read any of these books?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books with the word ‘Winter’ in the Titles

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules see her blog.

This week’s topic is a Holiday/Seasonal Freebie (holiday books/covers/titles, wintry reads, snow on cover, cool color covers, etc. So I’ve chosen ten books with the word ‘Winter‘ in the titles.

A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy – Stone House, set high on the cliffs on the west coast of Ireland, overlooking the windswept Atlantic Ocean, was falling into disrepair – until one woman, with a past she needed to forget, breathed new life into the place. Now a hotel, with a big warm kitchen and log fires, it provides a welcome few can resist.

Midwinter Murder by Agatha Christie – a winter-themed collection of short stories by Agatha Christie, some featuring Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. Beware of deadly snowdrifts and dangerous gifts, poisoned meals and mysterious guests.

Midwinter of the Spirit by Phil Rickman – as an early winter slices through the old city of Hereford, a body is found in the River Wye, an ancient church is desecrated and signs of evil appear in the cathedral itself, where the tomb of a medieval saint lies in pieces.

The Winter Wolf by Holly Webb – Amelia is exploring the huge, old house where her family are spending Christmas when she finds a diary hidden in the attic. It was written by a boy struggling to look after an abandoned wolf pup. Before she knows it, Amelia is transported into the wintry world of the diary.

Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher – the Christmas season weaves its magical spell and for Elfrida and Oscar, in the evening of their lives, the winter solstice brings love and solace.

The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse – Traveling through the French Pyrenees to process the horrors of World War I, Freddie meets a lovely young woman also in mourning with whom he exchanges stories that unravel a centuries-old mystery.

The Winter Garden Mystery by Frances Brody – set in 1923 Daisy Dalrymple is visiting Occles Hall in Cheshire, the home of her school friend Bobbie, to write an article for the Town and Country magazine and discovers a corpse buried in the Winter Garden.

A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale – a shy but privileged elder son, Harry Cane has followed convention at every step. Even the beginnings of an illicit, dangerous affair do little to shake him – until the shock of discovery and the threat of arrest force him to abandon his wife and child and sign up for emigration to Canada.

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah – a mysterious love story that spans sixty-five years and moves from frozen, war torn Leningrad to modern-day Alaska. Sisters, Meredith and Nina finally learn the secret of their mother’s past and uncover a truth so terrible it will shake the foundation of their family and change who they think they are.

Winter of the World by Ken Follett – set in 1933 and shaken by the tyranny and the prospect of war, five interconnected families’ lives become ever more enmeshed. An international clash of military power and personal beliefs is sweeping the world, but what will this new war mean for those who must live through it?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Want to Read Again

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules see her blog.

The topic this week is Books I Want to Read Again (This could mean books you plan on re-reading OR books you wish you could read again for the first time.)

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – this book is the only one I’m planning to re-read. I first read this a child and often re-read it in December.

The rest are books I’d love to read again for the first time:

The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Penman – one of the best historical novels that I’ve read. It’s about Richard III from his childhood to his death at Bosworth Field in 1485. And it’s a long book, nearly 900 pages that took me a while to read it, but never once did I think it was too long, or needed editing. I loved it, but will I ever get round to re-reading it?

Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie – one of the Poirot murder mysteries that I was never really sure who I thought was the culprit, and I’ve now forgotten who it was. So, I want to read it again to see if I can spot the culprit before Poirot reveals him/her.

On Beulah Height by Reginald Hill, the 17th Dalziel and Pascoe novel. I’d really like to re-read it some time as it is a complex book, that begins with a transcript written by Betsy Allgood, then aged seven, telling what had happened in the little village of Dendale in Yorkshire before the valley was flooded to provide a reservoir. That summer three little girls had gone missing. 

The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier – historical fiction about the life of Honor Bright after she emigrated from Dorset to America in 1850 where she joined a Quaker community in Ohio. It intertwines her story with that of the ‘Underground Railroad’, helping the runaway slaves from the southern states to escape to Canada.

Pompeii by Robert Harris – Vesuvius erupts destroying the town of Pompeii and killing its inhabitants as they tried to flee the pumice, ash and searing heat and flames. This book brought history to life and I could feel the danger and fear as Vesuvius inevitably destroyed Pompeii.

Thirteen Hours by Don Mayer – moving at a fast pace this book follows the events during the thirteen hours from 05:36 when Rachel, a young American girl is running for her life up the steep slope of Lion’s Head in Capetown. It reflects the racial tension in the ‘new South Africa’ with its mix of white, coloured and black South Africans. 

Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner – the story of Lyman Ward, a wheelchair bound retired historian who is writing his grandparents’ life history and also gradually reveals his own story. It’s a long book, but completely enthralling.

A Dark Adapted Eye by Barbara Vine – this is psychological crime fiction. You know right from the beginning who the murderer is, but not why or how the murder was committed. It’s not even clear immediately who the victim is. I think it’s a book that could stand many re-readings, just to work out how everything ties in together and for different perspectives to become clearer. A fantastic book.

South Riding by Winifred Holtby, set in the early 1930s in Yorkshire it paints a moving and vivid portrait of a rural community struggling with the effects of the depression. It is a wonderful book, portraying life in the 1930s. I would very much like to re-read and enjoy it again and again. I’m sure that I would find plenty in it that I’ve missed on this first reading.

Top Ten Tuesday: Cats in Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules see her blog.

The topic this week is Characters I’d Name a Pet After (These could be your own pets (present or future), you could pick 10 different animals and tell us the name and animal type, or you could choose 10 names that would make fun cat names, etc. Put your own spin on this one!)

I struggled to come up with any ideas for this topic. But as I am a cat lover this is my spin – it is Cats in Books.

The Guest Cat (my review) is a Japanese Cat called Chibi, who made herself at home with a couple in their thirties who lived in a small rented house in a quiet part of Tokyo. She belonged to their next door neighbour but spent a lot of time with the couple coming and going as she pleased. I was disappointed to discover that the cat on the cover does not look like Chibi, who was a pure white cat whose fur was mottled with several lampblack blotches containing just a bit of light brown.

The cat in The Girl with a Cat Tattoo is called Max, a black and white cat with a ‘kitler’ – a cat with a moustache. He lives with Melody, a young widow. Two years after her husband died Max is fed up with the strange men she brings home and decides to do a bit of matchmaking on her behalf. He is a cat of action, but finds it’s more difficult than he expected. It is an entertaining, romantic tale with some dark moments, told from Max’s point of view. I’ve read this but didn’t write a review.

Koko is The Cat Who Could Read Backwards (my review), a beautiful Siamese cat. The cover disappointingly shows a black cat, not the beautiful Siamese with a “voice like an ambulance siren”. The book is about Joe Qwilleran, a newspaper reporter assigned to be an art writer, who together with Koko, investigates the murder of the owner of an art gallery.

Paw Tracks in the Moonlight (my review) tells the story of how Denis O’Connor rescued a kitten during a snowstorm and how kitten survived, despite the vet’s prediction that he wouldn’t. O’Connor lived at Owl Cottage and as he was out at work all day he put the kitten in a jug to keep him safe and named him Toby Jug. This memoir covers the first year of Toby Jug’s life and it’s a remarkable story because this is no ordinary cat (if such a creature exists, that is). He is a Maine Coon cross. 

I must have watched all of the programmes in the TV series All Creatures Great and Small about ‘James Herriot’s’ vet practice in Yorkshire.  There are many James Herriot books and I’ve read a few of them in the past. James Herriot’s Cat Stories ( my review) is a collection of ten stories clearly demonstrating his love of cats. In the introduction James writes that cats were one of the main reasons he chose a career as a vet. They have always played a large part in his life and and when he retired they were still there ‘lightening’ his days.

I love watching Simon’s Cat on YouTube. It is brilliant – so funny and just like our cat, Heidi, so I was delighted to find there are several books by Simon Tofield. The first one is Simon’s Cat in His Very Own Words.

I’ve read but not reviewed The Wild Road and The Golden Cat by Gabriel King. I loved these magical novels, which I read years ago. When a runaway kitten named Tag meets a mysterious black cat named Majicou in his dreams, he learns he is destined for bigger things. Called by Majicou, Tag enters the Wild Road, a magical highway known only to the animals, and learns that he is needed to find the King and Queen of Cats and bring them safely to Tintagel.

The story continues in The Golden Cat. An ancient prophecy speaks of a golden cat whose coming will heal the troubled world. But the Queen of Cats has three golden kittens—and when two are stolen away, the distraught parents turn to Tag, the brave young cat who is the protector of the magical Wild Road.

And finally two cats in children’s books. Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories for Little Children are stories he told to his daughter, Effie (Josephine) as bedtime stories – fantastic accounts of how various features of animals came to be. Kipling explained: ‘in the evening there were stories meant to put Effie to sleep, and you were not allowed to alter those by one single little word. They had to be told just so; or Effie would wake up and put back the missing sentence.’

One of the stories is The Cat That Walked by Himself about when the tame animals were all wild. The wildest of all was the Cat and this is Kipling’s explanation of how the cat came to use humans for its own comfort but remained independent, walking in the Wet Wild Woods, ‘waving his tail and walking by his wild lone.’ Kipling’s illustrations in this book are perfect.

And last of all is the Cheshire Cat in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, one of my favourite children’s books. I no longer have the copy I had as a child, so a few years ago I bought The Complete Stories and Poems of Lewis Carroll. The Cheshire Cat sits in a tree and grins. He appears and disappears at will and at one point he vanished slowly beginning with his tail until there was just a grin left which remained for some time after the rest of him had gone.

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Titles that Would Make Great Song Titles

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules see her blog.

The topic this week is Book Titles that Would Make Great Song Titles. These are all books I’ve read, so the links take you to my reviews. I have no idea who would sing these fictional songs, but they are all rather mournful. In my head I can hear them as slow, soulful songs.

  1. Awakening by Sharon Bolton
  2. Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben
  3. Dreamwalker: the Ballad of Sir Benfro by J D Oswald (James Oswald)
  4. Endless Night by Agatha Christie
  5. Like This, For Ever by Sharon Bolton
  6. Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski
  7. Losing You by Nicci French
  8. On Beulah Height by Reginald Hill
  9. Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney
  10. Watching You by Lisa Jewell

Top Ten Tuesday: Books People Have Recommended To Me

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules see her blog.

This week’s topic is Books I Read Because Someone Recommended Them to Me. These are all books I enjoyed, recommended by family and friends.

After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell – her debut novel. The main character, Alice is in a coma after being in road accident, which may or may not have been a suicide attempt. She has been grieving the death of her husband, John. It’s quite a complicated story, following the life stories not only of Alice, but also those of her mother, Ann (who I didn’t like much),  her grandmother, Elspeth (who I did like very much), her two sisters and John. Her family gathers at her bedside as Alice drifts in and out of consciousness, remembering her childhood, her first romance, and the love of her life — her now-deceased husband, John, a journalist felled by a bomb.

The Long Song by Andrea Levy is one of the best books I’ve read. It’s brutal, savage, and unrelenting in depicting the lives of the slaves in Jamaica in the 19th century, just as slavery was coming to an end and both the slaves and their former owners were adjusting to their freedom. The narrator is July, at the beginning a spirited young woman, born in a sugar-cane field, telling her story at her son’s suggestion.

 A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving – I have mixed feelings about this book, parts of it are brilliant, fascinating and funny, but parts of it are tedious and boring. It is about Owen Meany, a very small boy with a strange voice who believes his life is directed by God, and his friend Johnny Wheelwright. 

Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner. I really enjoyed this book, for its content, the characters and setting and last but not least Sylvia Townsend Warner’s style of writing After the death of her adored father, Laura ‘Lolly’ Willowes settles into her role of the ‘indispensable’ maiden aunt of the family, wholly dependent, an unpaid nanny and housekeeper. Two decades pass; the children are grown, and Lolly unexpectedly moves to a village, alone. Here, happy and unfettered, she revels in a new existence, nagged only by the sense of a secret she has yet to discover.

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck. Steinbeck’s style is perfect for me, I could see Cannery Row itself, a strip of Monterey’s Ocean View Avenue, where the Monterey sardines were caught and canned or reduced to oil or fishmeal, along with all the characters – no, it was more than that -I was there in the thick of it, transported in my mind, whilst I was reading and even afterwards as I thought about the novel.

Operation Mincemeat: The True Spy Story that Changed the Course of World War II by Ben Macintyre. Nonfiction that reads like fiction. It’s about the Allies’ deception plan code-named Operation Mincemeat in 1943, which underpinned the invasion of Sicily. It was framed around a man who never was. I marvelled at the ingenuity of the minds of the plans’ originators and the daring it took to carry it out.

Wildwood: a Journey Through Trees by Roger Deakin, a memoir, a travelogue about the interdependence of human beings and trees. I think parts of this book are brilliant and fascinating, but my eyes glazed over in other parts as I got lost in all the facts and details that he recounts, which were just too much at times for me. But sometimes his writing is poetical, full of imagery. He covers a huge area of natural history, not just trees, but also plants, birds, moths, hedges, as well as the uses of wood for living, working and pleasure. He also describes his journeys to numerous places – not just in Britain, but also to the Pyrenees, Bieszczady, Australia, east to Kazakhstan, China, and the walnut forests of Kyrgyzstan.

A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor in which he describes his travels on foot in 1933 from the Hook of Holland through Germany, to Austria, Slovakia and Hungary, on his way to Constantinople. In a way his journey was a gilded experience as he had introductions to people in different places – people who gave him a bed for the night, or longer stays. There were also people who didn’t know him who welcomed him into their homes as a guest – as the title says it was a time of gifts. It was the period when Hitler came to power in Germany. Parts are vividly described, but there are also passages which are so tedious and hard work to read, so full of dry facts and arcane words.

Quite Ugly One Morning by Christopher Brookmyre begins with a graphic description of a particularly nasty murder scene, which is normally guaranteed to make me stop reading. But it would have been a great shame if I’d let it put me off this book, because I thoroughly enjoyed it. The dead man is Dr Ponsonby, a well- respected doctor working for the Midlothian NHS Trust in Edinburgh. Investigative journalist, Jack Parlabane gets involved as he lives in the flat above Ponsonby and the terrible smell (think blood, poo and sick) coming up from below leads him into the murder scene. It soon becomes apparent to the reader who did the murder and it is the motive behind it that needs to be ferreted out.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett, her first novel. I loved it. I saw the film before I read the book – Octavia Spencer won a Golden Globe award as best supporting actress for her performance as Minny – and even though I knew the story I still found the book full of tension and completely absorbing. When I wrote about the film, I said I hoped the book lived up to my expectations. In fact, it did and more. As good as the film is, the book is even better and I think it’s one of the best books I’ve read. It’s set in Jackson, Mississippi, 1962 where the tension caused by the contrast between the black maids and their white employers is so appalling.

Top Ten Tuesday: Long Book Titles

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules see her blog.

This week’s top is Long Book Titles. Here are some of the longest book titles I’ve reviewed on this blog. It appears that non-fiction books lend themselves more to long titles than fiction as six of them are non-fiction –

  1. 100 Days on Holy Island: a Writer’s Exile by Peter Mortimer – a record of his experience of living on the island of Lindisfarne.
  2. The Abbess of Whitby: a novel of Hild of Northumbria by Jill Dalladay – Hild was born in 614 and died in 680.
  3. Alive, Alive Oh! And Other Things That Matter by Diana Athill – her memories, thoughts and reflections on her life as she approaches her 100th year (she was born in 1917).
  4. Books, Baguettes and Bedbugs: the Left Bank World of Shakespeare & Co by Jeremy Mercer – a memoir of the author’s refuge at the Paris bookshop, Shakespeare & Co. on the banks of the River Seine opposite Notre Dame. 
  5. Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Bloodstains by Catriona McPherson – crime fiction set in Edinburgh in 1926.
  6. Our Longest Days: A People’s History of the Second World War by the writers of Mass Observation – absolutely fascinating, this is a collection from diaries kept during the War.
  7. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain – I loved this book, an ideal book to read for both introverts and extroverts.
  8. Three Men in a Boat (to say nothing of the dog) by Jerome K Jerome –  a gentle witty book that kept me entertained all the way through.
  9. When the Lights Went Out: Britain in the Seventies by Andy Beckett – an excellent book, using original material such as diaries, letters, personal memoirs as well as books written about the period.
  10. The Woman Who Walked into the Sea by Mark Douglas-Hume – I don’t think this quite lived up to The Sea Detective, the first Cal McGill book. Cal is an oceanographer using his skills in tracking human bodies and sea-borne objects.

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules see her blog.

This week’s is Book Covers with Autumn Colours. I’ve chosen book covers that are the various shades of autumn leaves – yellow, orange, red, and brown. These are all from my catalogue of books on LibraryThing.

The first four are old books, science fiction that I read years ago.

  • The Early Asimov Volume 2 – a collection of sci-fi short stories by Isaac Asimov, from the early 1940s, with Asimov’s commentary on how each story came about and where it was published.
  • God Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert, the 4th in his Dune series. Leto II, God Emperor of Dune, trades his humanity for immortality and, as the magnificent sandworm of Dune, desperately attempts to save mankind. I read and loved the whole series.
  • Second Stage Lensman by E E ‘Doc’ Smith, the fifth novel in his Lensman series, ‘one of the all-time classics of adventurous, galaxy-spanning science fiction.’ I read a lot of these.
  • Don’t Pick the Flowers by D F Jones – I don’t think I’ve read this book – if I did I can’t remember the details. Nitrogen gas begins to leak from the Earth’s core and tidal waves threaten those who have fled to the coast for safety. Two men and two women at sea work to find a solution. 

The next four books are ones I’ve read more recently and the fifth and the sixth are two of my TBRs:

  • Empire of the Sun by J G Ballard – a semi-autobiographical novel, set during the Second World War, the novel draws on Ballard’s childhood experience in the Japanese-controlled Lunghua civilian internment camp in China. A book I loved.
  • The Hobbit by J R R Tolkein – I’ve read this and The Lord of the Rings several times – love these books.
  • Lord Edgware Dies by Agatha Christie – first published in the UK in 1933 and later the same year in the USA as Thirteen for Dinner. It’s the eighth book featuring Hercule Poirot, narrated by Captain Hastings.
  • The Dry by Jane Harper – I read this a few weeks ago and loved it. A tense thriller set in Australia about the Hadler family found dead in their farmhouse.
  • The Vault by Peter Lovesey – set in Bath, when a skeletal hand is discovered in the ground of the Pump Room, Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond must investigate when it’s proved to be from the modern era.
  • Recalled to Life by Reginald Hill – the 12th Dalziel and Pascoe mystery telling the story of Dalziel’s re-investigation of the 1963 murder at a local manor, Mickledore Hall. The murder took place shortly before the story of the Profumo affair broke, and during a weekend get together at the Hall.