WWW Wednesday: 28 September 2022

WWW Wednesday is run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I still haven’t finished The Island by Victoria Hislop. I took it away on holiday but didn’t read much of it and now I need to refresh my memory before I can read any more. It is set mainly on the tiny, deserted island of Spinalonga – Greece’s former leper colony and is the story of Eleni and her daughters and a family rent by tragedy, war and passion. 

I’m also reading Godmersham Park by Gill Hornby, a novel about about Fanny Knight’s governess, Anne Sharp and her relationship with Jane Austen, and Never Greater Slaughter by Michael Livingstone, nonfiction about the Battle of Brunanburh in AD937, which Livingstone describes as ‘one of the most significant battles in the long history not just of England, but of the whole of the British Isles.’

The last book I read is Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan, a novella that is shortlisted for the Booker Prize this year. I loved it. It is 1985, in an Irish town. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, Bill Furlong, a coal and timber merchant, faces into his busiest season. As he does the rounds, he feels the past rising up to meet him – and encounters the complicit silences of a people controlled by the Church. A tender tale of hope and quiet heroism this is both a celebration of compassion and a stern rebuke of the sins committed in the name of religion.

Next I’ll be reading Another Part of the Wood by Beryl Bainbridge as it’s my book for the Classics Club Spin. In a remote cottage in Wales two urban couples are spending their holiday with the idealistic owner and his protege. The beginning is idyllic but catastrophe lurks behind every tree, and as the holiday continues their relationships start to show their cracks.

Although this is a weekly meme l’m taking part once a month at the moment.

WWW Wednesday: 24 August 2022

WWW Wednesday is run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m still reading J R R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. This is a book I’ve read several times over the years since the first time I read it, just after I left school (a long time ago). I am now well into Book 3, The Return of the King. I don’t remember this one as much as the first two books, maybe I haven’t read it before as many times as the other two. It really is an amazing book, such vivid descriptions of characters, places and events. I am reading this hardback book slowly, taking my time over it, just a small section each day – letting the story soak into my mind. I think I may have to spend more time reading it from now on – the action is really gripping me, although, of course, I know how it ends.

The other books I’m reading are The Island by Victoria Hislop and Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson.

The Island is set mainly on the tiny, deserted island of Spinalonga – Greece’s former leper colony and is the story of Eleni and her daughters and a family rent by tragedy, war and passion. I’m reading a paperback edition, which means I’m not reading it in bed! I need more light to see the small typeface.

Shrines of Gaiety is to be published in September, so I’m reading a digital review copy from NetGalley. As with Atkinson’s Life After Life, I’ve found this a difficult book at the beginning and it took me until nearly 20% to get to know the characters. I nearly gave up a few times. But then I settled into the story and am nearing the end – now at 86%. I should finish it soon.

The last book I read is Nucleus by Rory Clements, historical fiction set in 1939 just before the start of the Second World War. I wrote about it in this post.

As always I haven’t quite decided what to read next. It could be Lion by Conn Iggulden, the first in a new series ‘The Golden Age’, set in Ancient Greece in the 5th century BC. It’s about the Athenian general and politician Pericles. 

But, then again when the time comes I could choose something completely different. I just don’t know.

Although this is a weekly meme I think I’ll take part once a month from now on.

WWW Wednesday: 27 July 2022

WWW Wednesday is run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m currently reading J R R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. This is a book I’ve read several times over the years since the first time I read it, just after I left school (a long time ago). I have finished Book 1, The Fellowship of the Ring and have nearly finished Book 2, The Two Towers. This time round I am struck by Tolkien’s world building and his powers of description of the characters and the locations, but most of all by Tolkien’s storytelling – superb. I am reading this hardback book slowly, taking my time over it, just a small section each day – letting the story soak into my mind.

The other book I’m reading is A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute, which is also a fantastic story. I’m reading this one quickly on my Kindle, so different from The Lord of the Rings, but although Shute’s style of writing in straight forward, almost plain language, is not at all like Tolkien’s he is also an excellent storyteller, bringing the characters to life. So far I am still in Malaya with Jean and her companions as they walk hundreds of miles around Malaya as prisoners of war of the Japanese.

I recently finished True Crime Story by Joseph Knox and wrote about it in this post. I didn’t enjoy it, as much as I had hoped, but after a confusing start it picked up at around the 50% mark. It’s a novel about a 19 year old university student who walked out of a party taking place in the shared accommodation where she had been living for three months and just disappeared. Seven years after her disappearance, struggling writer Evelyn Mitchell begins piecing together what really happened in 2011.

As always I haven’t decided what to read next. I have so many books I’d love to read, but until I’ve finished The Lord of the Rings and A Town Like Alice, I just don’t know which one it will be.

WWW Wednesday: 21 October 2020

WWW Wednesday is run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m currently reading David Cameron’s autobiography For the Record and making slow progress. It’s interesting reading his version of events. I’ve not got much to say about it yet, though as I’ve only just got up to the 2010 election.

The other book I’m reading is Daniel Defoe’s novel, A Journal of the Plague Year, a most depressing book about the truly terrible details of the Great Plague of London in 1665 – 1666 in which killed an estimated 100,000 people—almost a quarter of London’s population—in 18 months.

I recently finished reading The Searcher by Tana French, her latest book published on 5 November. I enjoyed it, although not as much as The Wych Elm. It has a leisurely pace that I wasn’t expecting, but I loved the characters and most of all Tana French’s beautifully descriptive writing. I’ll be writing more about it in a later post.

Next I’m thinking about reading some escapism, maybe the second book in the Rivers of London series Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch. I loved the first book – pure fantasy.

WWW Wednesday: 7 October 2020

WWW Wednesday is run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

 What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:

Recently finishedA Song for the Dark Times by Ian Rankin, the latest Rebus book. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Reading next: not sure as it will be some time before I finish my current books. I’m wondering if it will be 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare by James Shapiro as a follow-up to Hamnet.

WWW Wednesday: 30 September 2020

WWW Wednesday is run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

The Three Ws are:

 What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m currently reading Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell and am surprised that I’m not feeling enthusiastic about it; surprised because I’ve enjoyed her earlier books and Hamnet won the Women’s Prize for Fiction this year. It looks just the sort of book I usually enjoy. It’s historical fiction, set in Elizabethan England and it is beautifully written.

It has a strange, fairy-tale feel and I’m finding hard to settle into this book. I don’t feel involved. I feel I’m on the outside looking on from a distance. I think it’s O’Farrell’s use of the present tense, but I’m hoping I’ll feel more involved as I read on.

The last book I read was The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, a disturbing novel to say the least. My review will follow. For now here is the description from Goodreads:

Four seekers have arrived at the rambling old pile known as Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of psychic phenomena; Theodora, his lovely and lighthearted assistant; Luke, the adventurous future inheritor of the estate; and Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman with a dark past. As they begin to cope with chilling, even horrifying occurrences beyond their control or understanding, they cannot possibly know what lies ahead. For Hill House is gathering its powers – and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

Reading Next: I’m really looking forward to reading A Song for the Dark Times by Ian Rankin, published tomorrow, his latest Rebus novel.

When his daughter Samantha calls in the dead of night, John Rebus knows it’s not good news. Her husband has been missing for two days.

Rebus fears the worst – and knows from his lifetime in the police that his daughter will be the prime suspect.

He wasn’t the best father – the job always came first – but now his daughter needs him more than ever. But is he going as a father or a detective?

As he leaves at dawn to drive to the windswept coast – and a small town with big secrets – he wonders whether this might be the first time in his life where the truth is the one thing he doesn’t want to find…

WWW Wednesday: 26 August 2020

WWW Wednesday is run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

 What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m currently reading Wycliffe and How To Kill a Cat by W J Burley, one of my TBRs. It’s the second in the Wycliffe series, set in Cornwall.

Superintendent Wycliffe is on holiday, but popping into the local police station to see an old friend he hears that a woman has been found dead, probably murdered and he can’t resist offering to help. It’s immensely readable. The title puzzles me – I suspect that it’s not really about how to kill a cat – I hope not!

The last book I read was Still Life by Val McDermid, her latest Karen Pirie mystery. I’ll be writing more about this book. It combines a cold case investigation into a skeleton found in a campervan and a current investigation into the discovery of a body in the Firth of Forth. I loved it.

I see that ITV are adapting the first Karen Pirie book, The Distant Echo. Filming began in February this year, but I couldn’t find any other details – one to look out for.

I’d like to read several books next

But at the moment I’m leaning towards reading the first book in the Inspector Lynley series, A Great Deliverance by Elizabeth George. I’ve dipped into it and it looks good.

Blurb:

Fat, unlovely Roberta Teys is found beside her father’s headless corpse, wearing her best dress and with an axe in her lap. Her first words are: ‘I did it. And I am not sorry’ and she refuses to say more. Inspector Thomas Lynley and DS Barbara Havers are sent by Scotland Yard to solve this particularly gruesome murder. And as they navigate their way around a dark labyrinth of secret scandals and appalling crimes, they uncover a series of shocking revelations that shatter the façade of the peaceful Yorkshire village.

WWW Wednesday: 12 August 2020

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WWW Wednesday is run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

 What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

This week I’m doing this in a different order as after I finished the last book I read I haven’t been able to decide what to read next.

So this a combination of what I might read currently and in the future.

I’ve dipped into a few books these last few days:

Would you recommend any of these books?

  • Bilgewater by Jane Gardam – described on the back cover as ‘One of the funniest, most entertaining, and most unusual stories about young love.’ I loved Old Filth some years ago.
  • When Christ and His Saints Slept by Sharon Penman – the first book in the Eleanor of Aquitaine trilogy. Historical fiction about Stephen and his cousin, the Empress Maude, and the long fight to win the English throne. Penman’s The Sunne in Splendour is one of my absolute favourites.
  • For the Record by David Cameron – described in the blurb: ‘The referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU is one of the most controversial political events of our times. For the first time, the man who called that vote talks about the decision and its origins, as well as giving a candid account of his time at the top of British politics.‘ I’m not sure he’ll really be candid!
  • A Thousand Moons by Sebastian Barry – the sequel to Days Without End, which I loved. This is about Winona, a young Lakota orphan adopted by former soldiers Thomas McNulty and John Cole. I watched Barry’s talk on Sunday as part of the Borders Book Festival online. From what I’ve read so far I’m not hooked yet.
  • A Room Made of Leaves by Kate Grenville – inspired by the real life of a remarkable woman, Elizabeth Macarthur, who travelled to Australia with her husband and their infant son in 1790. I love her books.

Recently Finished: 

The last book I read was His and Hers by Alice Feeney and I posted my review on Saturday.

It’s a standalone psychological thriller. I was utterly gripped by it and compelled to read it, puzzled and amazed by the cleverness of the plot. But it’s not a comfortable read, dark and twisted with some gruesomely graphic scenes that I read very quickly!

WWW Wednesday: 5 August 2020

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WWW Wednesday is run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

 What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:

The Birdwatcher by William Shaw and it’s looking good so far. Police Sergeant William South is investigating the murder of his friend and neighbour Bob Rayner. It’s set in Dungeness on the Kent coast, a bleak landscape of gravel pits towered over by lighthouses and a nuclear power station and the story moves between the present day and South’s childhood. I have a strong feeling that I’ll be reading more of William Shaw’s books in the future.

Recently Finished: 

I finished reading The Power-House by John Buchan yesterday. I really enjoyed it. I’ll post my review shortly.

When his friend Charles Pitt-Heron vanishes mysteriously, Sir Edward Leithen is at first only mildly concerned. But a series of strange events that follow Pitt-Heron’s disappearance convinces Leithen that he is dealing with a sinister secret society. Their codename is ‘The Power-House’. The authorities are unable to act without evidence. As he gets deeper involved with the underworld, Leithen finds himself facing the enemy alone and in terrible danger. 

Reading Next:

I’m not sure at the moment. It ‘should’ be His and Hers by Alice Feeney, because it’s the book I’ve had the longest on my NetGalley shelf and it’s making me feel guilty that I haven’t read it yet.

When a woman is murdered in Blackdown village, newsreader Anna Andrews is reluctant to cover the case. Anna’s ex-husband, DCI Jack Harper, is suspicious of her involvement, until he becomes a suspect in his own murder investigation.

Someone is lying, and some secrets are worth killing to keep.

But it could be another book when the time comes!

WWW Wednesday: 22 July 2020

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WWW Wednesday is run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

 What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

The book descriptions are from Amazon.

Currently reading:

After much deliberation and starting several books from my 20 Books of Summer list I decided to read Thin Air: a Ghost Story by Michelle Paver.

Kangchenjunga. Third highest peak on earth. Greatest killer of them all.

Five Englishmen set off from Darjeeling, determined to tackle the sacred summit. But courage can only take them so far – and the mountain is not their only foe.

As mountain sickness and the horrors of extreme altitude set in, the past refuses to stay buried. And sometimes, the truth won’t set you free. . .

Recently Finished: 

I finished reading The Luminaries yesterday and am still mulling it over. I enjoyed it but I’m not sure I liked the structure, with the length of the chapters decreasing as the story progressed.

It is 1866, and young Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On the stormy night of his arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men who have met in secret to discuss a series of unexplained events: A wealthy man has vanished, a prostitute has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely ornate as the night sky.

Reading Next:

At the moment I think it could be Smallbone Deceased by Michael Gilbert. I wrote about the opening paragraph and included a quotation from page 55 in My Friday post. Ot it could be Wycliffe and How To Kill a Cat by W J Burley. But it might be a different book that takes my fancy when the time comes.

The girl was young, with auburn hair arranged on the pillow. Wycliffe could almost believe she was asleep – that is, until he saw her face. She had been strangled, and someone had brutally smashed her face – but after death, not before… She lay in a seedy hotel room down by the docks, but her luggage, her clothes and her make-up all suggested she had more class than her surroundings.

Superintendent Wycliffe was officially on holiday, but the case fascinated him. Who was the girl? Why was she lying naked in a shabby hotel room? What was she doing with a thousand pounds hidden underneath some clothing? And, above all, why had someone mutilated her after she was dead?

As Wycliffe begins to investigate, he finds there are too many suspects, too many motives – and too many lies . . .

What do you think – which one would you read next?