Books, life the universe

Saturday, 3 September 2011

More reading

Falco : the official companion by Lindsey Davis - one of the best companions to a series of books that I've ever come across. It includes short descriptions of all the books; details of the major series characters; lots of information about life in the Roman Empire in the first century AD; amusing essays about the author's own life and how she came to write the books as well as the difficulties involved in writing a series such as forgetting your main characters have a young child which they have left at home and having to find a baby sitter from the remaining characters!

Just the Job, Lad by Mike Pannett - continues the author's experiences as a policeman in North Yorkshire. I find books about people's jobs fascinating reading and this author brings life in North Yorkshire vividly to life. Crimes are relatively minor in comparison with crimes in cities but all human life is here.

The Doctor Will See You Now by Max Pemberton - the author is back working in hospital in geriatrics and psychiatry. The incident which really stuck in my mind was the case of the schizophrenic with a broken shoulder who no one was prepared to treat BECAUSE of his mental illness!! The way elderly people with mental problems were treated varied from the barbaric to the wonderful as well. I found it a very disturbing book to read - probably because of my age. Why don't we treat older people properly in this country?

Poseidon's Gold by Lindsey Davis - Falco's uneasy truce with his estranged father and trying to unravel his late brother's complicated business affairs without bankrupting the whole family in the process.

An Unhallowed Grave, The Funeral Boat, The Skeleton Room, A Painted Doom, The Bone Garden all by Kate Ellis - more Wesley Peterson crime stories mixing archaeology and modern crime.

Domesday Book - the latest Penguin translation - no I haven't read it cover to cover but it is fascinating to dip into.

A sixty year old look at education - Jane Hope's One Term at Utopia. Life in school is recognisable even though this book was first published in the 1950s. There are disruptive pupils, thick pupils who are unable to write their names or follow simple instructions, trouble with parents when pupils are disciplined, and lazy and incompetent teachers. Major difference is that there was corporal punishment available and teachers were not afraid to use it. Now no one could get away with describing teachers as 'child-beaters' as Jane Hope does. Refreshing reading if only to remind you that political correctness didn't exist until recently.

Currently reading:

The Making of the British Landscape by Francis Pryor - a study of man's effect on the landscape over the last several thousand years. Well written and informative and a joy to read.

Conversations with Mr Prain by Joan Taylor - Stella is New Zealander running a second hand bookstall in Camden Market. Edward - Mr Prain is a customer who invites her to his country house for tea. The book consists of their various conversations about art and writing and descriptions of the various rooms in the house. I've read about half of it and I'm really not sure whether I like it or not. It is somehow compelling but . . .

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