...when you see my 'To Be Read' piles. Bookcases of them. It's quite disgraceful really but ever since I was a little kid I have read books voraciously. I would rather read a book over anything else in the world. Not only do you learn all sorts of stuff from books but it also makes you great at spelling and grammar....show me one person who reads a lot who isn't also brilliant at spelling, and I'll show you somebody who is telling porkies about reading masses of books.
Here are two FULL bookcases of 'To Be Read' books plus all the books on the floor, which are mixed up with ones I've read (this is my loft, by the way!). Maybe 10% of what I own have been read. And I've no particular likes or dislikes either. Well, apart from 'chick-lit'....I don't think I've read any and it doesn't sound that appealing either. Anything with 'Shopaholic' or 'Yummy Mummy' in the title is a complete turn-off. I like anything to do with the Mafia; thrillers; Scandinavian crime (but not especially 'The Girl Who....' books - I like Jo Nesbo and Arnaldur Indridasen); wartime social history like Nella Last's diaries and any factual stuff about the war; some autobiographies - Kenneth Williams' diaries are a big favourite of mine, though not strictly autobiographies I know - my favourite book EVER is the autobiographical 'Borstal Boy' by Brendan Behan; any crime books that are series set in the UK - the Peter Robinson ones and those by Jim Kelly are great; books about the 'Bright Young Things' and any early 20th century upper-class social history; I've ALWAYS got time for Enid Blyton, Noel Streatfeild and Joan Lingard; and and I really like reading cookery books too. Pretty eclectic taste, would you say?
In the last couple weeks I've read three books by Martina Cole - Close, The Family and The Runaway. Her books are okay but a bit samey. Her hero/anti-hero is always very tall, brawny, blue-eyed and black-haired, and of Irish extraction whilst her heroines are tiny, blonde with hands-span waist and big boobs, and there is always a jealous, bitter mother who resents her blonde, tiny etc etc daughter for marrying the local 'Face'. But they passed the time in the caravan. Surprisingly enough, one of the residents where I work, 89 years old and rather straight-laced picked up 'Goodnight Lady' by Martina Cole (for main characters see above, PLUS child abuse by the lord of the manor) and loved it. What can I say? We has hidden depths in Hampshire....lol!
I read too 'The Future Homemakers of America' by Laurie Graham, on Babcia's recommendation. It's about the friendship between five American service wives based with their husbands in Norfolk, and a local woman Kath Pharoah. I enjoyed it a great deal and you know, thinking about it, it could be chick-lit. I'm not sure. I don't think so though, it's not modern enough and there isn't any sex in it.
Then I read 'Going Gently' by David Nobbs, another book that, like the one above spans a long time period. I didn't realise until I saw it on Amazon but the author also wrote the Reginald Perrin books. It's a tragi-comic novel all about Swansea-born beauty Kate Copson who has a stroke just shy of her 100th birthday. She lies in a hospital bed, her body paralysed but her mind free to roam over her long life of love, adventure and happiness. She also deduces which of her three sons murdered her fifth husband. I loved this book and recommend it most wholeheartedly!
Third book was 'Brooklyn' by Colm Toibin. It's not that long so I read it really quickly. It's set in rural 1950s Ireland and is the story of younger daughter Eilis who is sent to live in Brooklyn. She is at first terribly homesick but just as her life blossoms something happens at home that pulls her back.....I liked this because although I grew up in Dublin City in the late 70s/early 80s, the descriptions of the country characters were very recognisable to me, as was the idea that the priest is the oracle of all and of course the idea that emigration is the only door open for the young if they are to progress. My oldest aunt was sent over to Chicago in the 50s from Wicklow and made her life there so this book had a lot of resonance for me. Oh and if you read it, Eilis is pronounced 'Ay-lish'. Just so you know.... ;P
Lastly I read a book that I got from the library at work, 'Monster Love' by Carol Topolski. It's not a thriller or a mystery though it is a crime story of sorts. A couple who are besotted with each other become pregnant, despite trying not to. They have a little girl who they neglect then kill because she threatens their overwhelming desire for each other. That's not a spoiler by the way...it's actually in the blurb on the back. The story is told in different voices, such as the social worker, a neighbour woman, the husband's ex-boss and also the couple themselves. It was OK...just OK. Not particularly distressing (I didn't think) and it was short so didn't take long.
So, there are my book reviews. I'm not sure what I'll read next but it's not as if I don't have a lot of choice is it?! I have four or five books I've started and not finished (The Resurrectionist, Kitchen Con, Angels of Death - Inside the Bikers' Global Crime Empire to name three I can think of). I hate to not finish a book so maybe I should put my head torch on tonight and finish a few.