Thursday, 10 July 2014

Six in May

I read six books in May.

A Spy by Nature by Charles Cumming. Much enjoyed his A Foreign Country was keen to read more; was not disappointed. Good, old-fashioned (in the best sense of the description) spy thriller.

Homeland and other stories by Barbara Kingsolver. (Christian Aid Book Sale buy) I love Barbara Kinsolver’s novels but her essays and short stories even more. Highly recommended as a masterclass in short story writing.

An English Woman in New York by Ann Marie Casey. (Christian Aid Book Sale buy) Love reading about New York, love reading about people who move to live somewhere completely different. Excellent.

Girls will be Girls by Arthur Marshall. (Christian Aid Book Sale buy) For many years, from the 30s to the 50s, broadcaster Arthur Marshall was asked to give a round-up of the year’s new books for girls and this is a compilation of them along with other of his musings, on such subjects as his schooldays and his horror of compulsory games. Gently hilarious if you like that sort of thing, which I must say I do.

The Red House by Mark Haddon. (Christian Aid Book Sale buy)  I wouldn’t like to be related, necessarily, to his characters or live next door to them but his writing can take your breath away – the kind where you re-read sentences and wish you could write like that.

A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear. (Christian Aid Book Sale buy) In the Maisie Dobbs private investigator series and well up to the usual standard.

I won’t name it but I started another book and didn’t get very far because the heroine irritated me so much and I found the writing banal (although from a big publishing house and covered in plaudits). I used to feel I had to plough on to the end once I’d started but not now – so many books to read, so little time.

Do you always continue once you've started – or have you ever hurled a book across the room?

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