Monday, 27 June 2011

I Must Ask You NOT To Scream!

...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 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!

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'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.

What are you all reading? Have you read any of the books I've written about and what did you think of them?

PS  The worst book I have ever read in my life was Run For Home by Sheila Quigley - it stunk big time. What book almost put you off reading?


  1. Base on your reviews I think you Would like Ellis Island. I'm just about to start reading some Marian Keyes that my friend lent me. I love books too.

  2. With that amount of unread books you should be a carp speller

    The most recent book I've read is 'Grow Your Blog' by The Simple Dude. It can be read in a short evening and is full of tips for gaining new readers.


  3. Your loft looks like my living room. The piles of 'unread' (or unfinished, more to the point) far outweighs the 'read' pile. OH is worse than me for starting books, I'm a speed-reader like my dad, but he takes ages to read a chapter. I've just started 'In the Forest' by Edna O'Brien, I'm gripped already. I don't read much, haven't read any of the books you mentioned. I don't know why I don't read many books, I love words, reading and getting 'lost'. Maybe I haven't established a routine and a genre I love yet. Gore, violence and unhappy endings seem to suit me best, so 'chick-lit' is a genre I'd really like to see abolished. Tried to get into Terry Pratchett at school because it was hip and all my friends were raving about him, I struggled with the first chapter. Each to their own, eh?

  4. Wow, what a collection! Thanks for the advice on The Damned United btw, my friend is really into football so he recommended it, not sure if it'll be my cuppa tea tho! Seems like you have similar taste to my mum, she reads a lot of Martina Cole and Mary Higgins Clark, I second the other comment about Marian Keyes, good for easy reading, its my guilty pleasure! :)

  5. Thats a whole lot of books! I read sporadically, more so on holidays. I am currently reading the books you mentioned 'The girl with...' its the second one of his series and Im enjoying them. I used to read all of Richard and Judys summer reads which was a good way to read new books. Happy Reading! Bx

  6. Wow many books! You'd get on well with my hubby he's a book fiend too!

    I have started to read a couple of books before and they were so dull I swore I'd only ever read my gas bill again. However I am struggling to even remember the names of the authors. One of them was an award winning book which clearly makes me a heathen but sent me to sleep.

    But then I bought an album by Elbow as it was award winning but I sold it on Amazon after one listen as it made me want to throw myself off a bridge.

    I think it's probably me....


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