Adding to My To-Be-Read Piles


Some more books found their way to me last Saturday. In the  morning the postman delivered When the Lights Went Out: Britain in the Seventies by Andy Beckett sent to me courtesy of LibraryThing Early Reviewers Programme.  Actually, the postman  just left it propped up against the wall by the front door and I didn’t find it until about 11am, so anyone could have walked off with it!  This is a whopping book of over 500 pages and it’ll take me ages to read. The Seventies were times of strikes, the three-day week and the Winter of Discontent. My first impressions of this book are that it looks well researched from the number of sources Beckett has used and there’s a chronology that may be useful, but it does look as though it could be more of a political history than I would like.

I went to a booksale on Saturday afternoon. I debated with myself whether I should go or not, after all I don’t need any more books right now, especially considering I’d just got When the Lights Went Out.  But the booksale was in aid of Multiple Sclerosis and other local charities so I felt I ought to go, because if my reading helps other people that’s a plus.

There  were plenty of books to choose from both fiction and non-fiction and I came away with these:

  • The Country Life by Rachel Cusk, the winner of the Somerset Maugham Award 1998. I’d enjoyed her Arlington Park, so I thought this looked good. On the back cover it’s described as being a mixture of P G wodehouse and Jane Austen!
  • Mrs Jordan’s Profession: the story of a great actress and a future King by Claire Tomalin.  The biography of Dora Jordan, a comic actress and the mistress of William IV in late-eighteenth century England. My knowledge of this period is very slight and of the history of the theatre, practically non-existent. I am addicted it seems to Claire Tomalin’s biographies.
  • A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel. This is yet another massive book – it’s nearly 900 pages long. I do like historical fiction and Hilary Mantel’s writing. From the back cover:

Superbly readable … nothing less than a well-researched but richly idiosyncratic fictional history of the French Revolution …

  • Billy by Pamela Stephenson. This biography by Billy Connolly’s wife was my husband’s choice, but I’ve no doubt I’ll read it one day. Billy is a very funny comedian, although not everyone’s cup of tea. Recently we watched his TV series Journey to the Edge of the World when he travelled through the North West passage from the Atalantic to the Pacific, packed with laughter, information and stories of pioneers, colourful characters and wierd and wonderful scenery.