Books, life the universe

Saturday, 27 December 2008


I am currently reading Deborah Gregory's Dancing with the Dead and I'm not sure whether I will finish it - chiefly because I can't take to the main character. Her name is Gill and she moves with her actor husband - Seb - and two small children, Rosie and Adam, to a house in very rural Lincolnshire which belongs to her mother. All of this ought to make it my type of book especially when you add in the fact that the house is old and full of interesting bits and pieces and that her great aunt is sending her regular letters about the family's past - apparently from the grave. There is something very nasty in the woodshed which is gradually being revealed. Again this is my type of book - as far as I could be said to have a type of book. Gill herself seems unnecessarily self centred and cruel to her small daughter and her husband - which may of course all be explained later - and I just do not take to her at all. As the book is only about 200 pages and I've read nearly half I probably will persevere and finish it. The book is a bit over-written as well and I keep reading sentences and wanting to chop half of them out. Altogether a pretty good plot but . . . .

I am also part way through Alexander McCall Smith's La's Orchestra Saves the World about La - short for Lavender - who moves to rural Suffolk just before the outbreak of World War II and works for nothing on a farm as part of her war effort and sets up a very ad hoc orchestra to help boost the morale of the local people and the nearby RAF base. As ever the writing is charming and the story intriguing, though maybe not in quite the same league as the 44 Scotland Street series or the No 1 ladies Detective Agency but still worth reading.

As I always have at least two books on the go and usually more I read 50 pages of Anthony Trollope's The Warden last night. I was fortunate enough to buy all 6 of the Barchester novels in Folio Society editions just before Christmas and I'm intending to read them during 2009. I read both The Warden and Barchester Towers when I was still at school but have never read the other 4 - The Small House at Allington, Doctor Thorne, Framley Parsonage and The Last Chronicle of Barset.

Thinking about the Barchester novels reminded me that a twentieth century novelist adopted the geography of the novels in her own stories - Angela Thirkell. Not quite the same as a sequel but interesting for similar reasons.

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