Sunday 7 July 2024

Five in June

I read five books in June.


An Incomplete Revenge by Jacqueline Winspear

Book 5 in the excellent Maisie Dobbs series from which I read Birds of A Feather (Book 2) in April. (There are 18 altogether.) I follow the author on Facebook (she has very interesting posts) and was intrigued to learn that for this one she drew on her own background, an East End family who annually went hop-picking in Kent. So …


This Time Next Year We’ll be Laughing by Jacqueline Winspear

… I downloaded her memoir and although I would perhaps have liked to learn more about how she came to write (ie the jump between always wanting to be a writer and becoming a best-selling one) I always find other people’s families fascinating and hers more than many.

The title comes from a favourite saying of her dad’s.


A Death Most Monumental by J D Kirk

My brother has been telling me for ages that J D Kirk is one of his favourite authors – and having read this I can see why. This is an excellent police procedural with absolutely cracking (sweary) dialogue and a satisfying plot. A young woman, daughter of an American billionaire, is found hanging from the Glenfinnan Monument, near the ‘Harry Potter’ viaduct. But who would want to kill her – and why?


The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams

Although I very much liked the premise of this debut novel (‘When Mukesh Patel pops to the local library, forgoing his routine of grocery shopping and David Attenborough documentaries, he has no idea his life’s about to change.’) I thought there were far too many characters and the writing quickly became predictable.


The Magazine Girls 1960s-1980s: The Inside Story by Ann Carpenter et al

Regular readers of this blog will know that I have had short stories published in Woman’s Weekly. I’m a Friend of one of their ex-fiction-editors on Facebook and jumped on this when she flagged it up. It’s the experiences of seven women who worked in best-selling teen magazines of the time (Petticoat, 19, Rave, Mirabelle, Valentine, Loving) and (before the gate-keeping of PR agents) got immediate access to some of the biggest stars such as David Bowie.

They didn’t get their jobs (proper jobs, not unpaid internships) because of who they knew or what school they went to or what university degree they had – they were state-school educated ‘from sprawling pre-war suburbs and housing estates’ and were able to move straight from school into work.

It was a new era, a time of youth, no particular qualifications required, just ‘curiosity, the ability to learn new skills’ and being in the right place at the right time.

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