Friday, 3 October 2014

the year in books - October

I am linking up with Laura over at Circle of Pines. On her blog Laura hosts The Year of Books 2014 where bloggers share their reads. I have found some great reading suggestions there and I am sure there is a book waiting for you, too.
 


My September choice is a slow burner, I still haven't finished it. It is "As Green As Grass" by Emma Smith. To be honest, I find it a rather boring read, even though I am very much interested in the era, before, during and after the Second World War. The book is autobiographical and told by Emma. Her account starts a few years before the war when her family moves to a village near Plymouth. Although Emma's dad is troubled by depression and is clearly a dark influence on family life, Emma's life on the whole seems  privileged and happy, with some normal young girl troubles (friendship, love, school etc). As Emma is growing up, her father has a breakdown and moves to live apart from the family. This is particularly beneficial to Emma's mum, who is clearly enjoying life much more than previously. And so it kind of flows.... I am at the point in the account where Emma is attending a residential secretarial program just at the beginning of the war. I am not sure if I will finish the book. On the whole, I prefer fictional accounts of the time, always assuming that they must be based on fact. Call me na├»ve if you like! 

I have read a number of page turners, all of them crime fiction:

I have read "The Book of Souls" and "The Hangman's Song" by James Oswald. I quite like the detective Tony MacLean but I have no doubt that over time, I will get bored with his maverick character, he is all too predictable. For now, I am happy. I noticed there is a touch of "supernatural" in each novel. Not my kind of thing usually. I don't want to give the plots away in case you haven't read the crime series yet. James Oswald certainly has a vivid imagination and I am glad that serial killings such as the one described are exceedingly rare! Edinburgh does indeed appear to be a dangerous place in these books.

I have also read "Extraordinary People" by Peter May. This is the first instalment in a series of books with Enzo MacLeod as the lead character. The book is set in France. Enzo is not quite a "proper" detective but a forensic biology lecturer. He bet with friends that he would be able to solve seven unsolved murders described in a journalists book. In this first instalment, he does indeed solve the first one, and spectacularly so. I am fairly sure he will go on to solve the remaining six, too but I won't be joining in the adventure, I just wasn't quite convinced by both writing and plot. I really enjoyed Peter May's first two of his crime trilogy set on the island of Lewis and I was quite sure I would enjoy the Enzo MacLeod series, too. Funny, the detective in the Lewis trilogy is also called MacLeod. Fin MacLeod. I suppose it is a common enough name in this part of the world.

I have a liking for Scottish fiction, or at least fiction set in Scotland, particularly Glasgow. Most of all, I like it read to me, with proper Scottish accents. I think I read with a Scottish accent myself, at least in my head (I do have a Swiss accent when I actually talk). Do you hear your voice when you are reading a book? I do. Strange thing.

Anyway, I am going to stick to the Scottish theme in October:

The first book is by one of my all time favourite authors, Iain Banks. I have  read most his fiction (but none of the science fiction) and I don't remember not liking a book. "The Quarry" is Iain Banks final book published after his death last year.
 

The second book is a crime novel on my ipod: "Where the Bodies Are Buried" by Christopher Brookmyre. If you haven't read Brookmyre, you must. Check out the Jack Parlabane series, particularly "The Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks". I prefer Brookmyre in audio. Some are narrated with amazingly authentic Glaswegian accents. Well, I suppose the narrators could be Glasgwegian. Brookmyre also writes standalone novels. Maybe best not to start with "Pandemonium" if you are new to this author. It is a little odd (that is an understatement).

What are you reading at the moment?

I have got a few other books on in my luggage and hope to make good progress next week, on the beach or poolside. I might check in here from time to time to see what is happening in Blogland. Have a great week! I will be back in 10 days with news from my holiday. Cx



16 comments:

  1. I like books set in Scotland too, loved Peter May's 3 books set in the islands up there and have just started reading Anne Cleeves detective series.
    Currently I'm reading The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen, a Danish Police series, Chatterton Square by E.H. Young, 2 families in London that starts before WWII, and Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson, science fantasy.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love Scottish books too and particularly enjoy the James Oswald ones and his last one isn't quite as spooky as the earlier ones. I also adore audiobooks and sometimes have to be careful as I love listening to Caroline Lennon narrating and find myself with a very passable Irish accent which is odd to say the least!

    ReplyDelete
  3. ooh thanks for the recommendations. I'm reading a Shetland story at the moment that Sue of the quince tree recommended.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I haven't read any of those on your list, I have an enormous pile by my bed waiting to be read though, and added 2 more to it yesterday! I feel like I should read an Iain Banks one as I've heard so much about his books but not read any.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I hadn't realised that Iain Banks had written one last novel, I love his writing I might have to look for that one in the library next time I visit. Thank you! Hope you enjoy your holiday.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Lots of good suggestions here, I like hearing about authors I'm not familiar with, it makes choosing books a little easier! You'll be on your way to sunny skies by now, have a very cold beverage on a sun soaked veranda for me! xx

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm not keen on the supernatural aspect to James Oswald's books either, but I do still enjoy reading them. I prefer my 'local' man, Stephen Booth, as he writes good crime fiction with out any supernatural waffle, it's more realistic. The main detective is a similar, predictable sort of character, but he's really likeable and Booth puts in some excellent plot twists too. I've got JOs fantasty series to start on sometime soon. I've got a huge reading pile to get through though, with a varied mix of genres and books.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Have a lovely jolly. Lying by a pool reading. Bliss!
    Leanne xx

    ReplyDelete
  10. Reading at the beach or poolside sounds delightful. Have fun and thank you for the suggestions.
    Meredith

    ReplyDelete
  11. Reading at the poolside is the epitome of holiday. Cup of coffee, a local pastry, and a good book. What could be better? Enjoy! xxx

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Christina - hope you enjoy your holiday. Husband has just finished 'The Quarry' and I plan to read it too. Almost don't want to as I know there won't be any more Iain Banks. Which is your favourite? For me it's either 'The Bridge' or 'Crow Road'.

    ReplyDelete
  13. My husband has the read the Shetland series - just got the latest for his birthday. I intend to read them too. Whenever I can persuade myself to stop crocheting. I don't hear myself in my head when I'm reading - I hear the characters speaking and some posh person narrating.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Lovely photo of the Iain Banks - and look at all those books on your pile!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I would love to read some Iain Banks books (note to self add to good reads list) My husband is a big fan of his science fictions works written under
    Iain M Banks I think I would like those too. Thank you for the inspiration there. Hope you enjoy your holiday and I shall pop back next month to check out your reads.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, I love to hear from you, I really do. I sometimes reply by email but I am not all that reliable... Christina xx