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 naïve 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