I haven’t written much on the blog recently as we’ve been out and about in various parts of the country. I’ve still been reading but am behind with writing about the books I’ve read. We’ve been visiting several places (Suffolk, the Cotswolds and the Chilterns) and gathering books along the way!
On our trip to Suffolk I bought booklets on the castles at Orford and Framlingham and Medieval Women: a Short History of Women in England 450 – 1500 by Henrietta Leyser from the bookshop in Framlingham Castle. This looks comprehensive, covering medieval views on sex, motherhood, work and the intellectual and spiritual worlds of women.
There is also a second-hand bookshop in Framlingham but I was very restrained and only bought one book – Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton. This was her first novel and the blurb on the back says that it is “Part tragedy, part romance, passionate with anger, yet touched by humour.”
When I returned home from Suffolk I found a copy of The Death of King Arthur had been delivered. This was from Penguin Books and I’d forgotten I’d put my name in Blog a Penguin Classic. This is a translation of the 13th century version of the Camelot legend – the Round Table, King Arthur distressed at rumours of Queen Guinevere’s infidelity with Sir Lancelot and at the mercy of the treacherous Sir Mordred. It looks very different from anything else I’ve read recently.
I had to buy Sarah Bower’s Book of Love, despite the fact that I must be one of the few people who still hasn’t read Needle In the Blood. I also bought The Thirteenth Apostle by Michel Benoit. On the back cover it says this is a “captivating and thoroughly researched religious thriller comparable to Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose.” Anything to do with ancient sects, papyrus sheaves discovered at Qumran, the Knights Templar, and the supposed existence of a thirteenth apostle always catches my eye.
- The Snow Geese by William Fiennes – this is a book on natural history and a personal memoir/meditation on leaving and homing.
- The Forsyte Saga volume two by John Galsworthy – I have volume one, still waiting to be read!
- Ripley Under Water by Patricia Highsmith – I don’t think I’ve ever read anything by Patricia Highsmith. On the back cover it is described as follows: “As haunting and harrowing a study of a schizophrenic murderer as paper will bear.” I don’t know if I dare to read it!
Finally, there are these two books, one borrowed and the other a gift from a friend:
- An Equal Music by Vikram Seth. My friend thinks this is a really good book. It is described as a “hauntingly beautiful story about loss and love, and the power of music to transform human experience.” This sounds less frightening than the Highsmith book.
- The Gravedigger’s Daughter by Joyce Carol Oates. Maybe this will be another harrowing book to read – “a bleak, gothic, powerhouse of a book”.
I’m never going to be short of anything to read!
But just in case I do, I popped into the library today and was really pleased to find:
- Wessex Tales by Thomas Hardy
- A Pair of Blue Eyes by Thomas Hardy
- Milton In America by Peter Ackroyd
- The Evangelist by Claire George
Now I just wish I could read all these books at once …