Wednesday, 25 May 2016

May reading

I usually write about my reading earlier in the month but May seems to fly by really quickly and I didn't get around it until today.

I had planned to read 'Spill, Simmer, Falter, Wither' by Sara Baume. I didn't finish. It is not that I don't like the book, on the contrary, it is heartbreakingly beautiful and sad but full of small moments of intense happiness. It is a love story and a life story. I am going to finish it when I am ready and will write about it then.

The truth is that I got distracted by other books. I was so exited when I noticed that Christopher Fowler had written another Bryant & May crime novel, 'Strange Tide' that I downloaded the audio book immediately and didn't stop listening until I was finished. More or less. I didn't expect another cracker of a book after Bryant was diagnosed with a sinister form of dementia in the last instalment. The book opens with the discovery of a young woman chained to a post and drowned in the tide. How she got to be there is a big mystery as only her own footprints lead to the post. The rapid progression of Bryants mental decline makes it almost impossible for him to investigate crimes, or even find his way home, he is also suffering from lucid dreams. May, his partner, is confined to the house after an error of judgment and as a result, the peculiar crime unit is on the brink of being closed down. Alas, all is not lost and in the end, a series of unusual crimes is solved. Never underestimate two old men, eh? Or maybe I should say never underestimate the imagination of a great author.

I also listened to 'Fellside' by M. R. Carey. This was another captivating book which I really enjoyed. At the beginning of the story we meet Jess Moulson as she awakes from a coma in a London hospital, with no memory how she got there and why she is guarded by a police officer. As it transpires, Jess is accused of the murder of a young boy, who has died in a house fire. After her murder conviction she is transferred to Fellside, a woman's prison on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors. It is not the kind of place you would want to end up. The prisoners in Jess block are living under the rule of a disturbed and powerful woman, Harriet Grace, and a corrupt guard. Drugs and violence are commonplace. The author knots together multiple storylines: Jess' quest for redemption, her legal teams attempt to prove her innocent, the unrelenting rule of Harriet Grace and her accomplices as they force Jess to participate in drug trafficking, and finally, a tragic love story. There is also Jess's dreamworld, where she escapes to when all gets too much, and where she finds Alex, the boy she has been convicted of murdering.

Another fun book I listened to was 'Good Omens' by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. This is not a book I would recommend to those with strong religious sensibilities, you may not find it funny. Here is the publishers summary:
'The world will end on Saturday. Next Saturday. Just before dinner, according to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, the world's only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655. The armies of Good and Evil are amassing and everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except that a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture. And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist.
The book is witty and full of British humour. The narrator is fabulous and really brings to book to life. If you like either authors and a dash of fantasy you'll like this book, I am sure you would.

The book I have chosen for my June reading post is 'A Little Life' by Hanya Yanagihara. Well, I haven't really chosen it, my friend Angeline really really wanted me to read it. It is a long book with a small font size and may well be all I manage. I need to read it real quick so we can chat about it. I have started already and have enjoyed the first 154 pages immensely. 

I hope you all have an enjoyable book to read at the moment. What is your favourite current read? Do share. xx


  1. The crime series sounds like one I'd like (not that I need to add any more to the 'to read' list!

    I'm currently reading a book which I'm so far finding really boring (The Old Straight Track) but I'll keep going and hope it gets better! I've read some really brilliant books this month,(Fingers in the Sparkle Jar and Beetle Boy probably top the list for May) - I'll be writing my books post in a few days!

  2. Some great reads. Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman sound like a match made in heaven. I've just started "Gone Girl". I wasn't going to read it, but everyone everywhere was referring to it all the time when talking about other books so I've cracked and got it out of the library. One of those "I need to see what all the fuss is about" books. CJ xx

  3. I just finished 'a little life'. I liked it. Wonderful book... but not exactly a laugh a minute. Very intense, and it made me cry on a few occasion. Worth reading though.

  4. I am struggling through my current book group read, which I wont name, but it is a truly dire read. It will be heading straight to the charity shop after the next book group meeting! X

  5. Three comments in one here..! Re your crafting projects, I didn't feel qualified to give an opinion but you made the soap anyway - hurrah. It looks fabulous and I'm sure smells delicious. Don't eat the soap. Re books, I'm in a kind of flitty phase at the moment and dipping in and out of Small is Beautiful, probably because it's a book ostensibly about economics, and, while it is interesting and full of big thoughts, I'm often too tired to take it in. Like CJ, I've got Gone Girl in my pile to see what the fuss is about. I like the look of A Little Life and the sound of Good Omens (both such fabulously imaginative authors). I look forward to reading your thoughts on the next book. Sam x

  6. I'm liking the sound of Good Omens, will look that one out. Not sure about Fellside, it sounds very depressing! My Sicilian detective Moltanbano is growing on me .You were quite right. He is eminently readable. I feel I'm ready for a change of genres. So many books to read :) B xx

  7. Dear Christina
    I agree about Good Omens - it had me laughing out loud in some places. I also really like Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman too. There was a radio adaptation of Good Omens on the BBC with Peter Serafinowicz and Mark Heap as the angels (I think last year, but it may have been repeated over Christmas) which was very enjoyable too. It's not available on iplayer any more sadly, but here's the info for cutting and pasting into a browser:
    It sounds as though your reading list has been very interesting!
    Best wishes

  8. I am currently in a not really reading very much phase. Happens to me every so often but I like the sound of s couple of these...

  9. Good Omens was very funny - I listened to the radio version. I've just finished reading Travels With My Aunt by Graham Greene and Hideous Kinky by Esther Freud. Neither was a re-read despite both being favourite authors. I'm now struggling with Jane Dunn's combined biography of Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf. I would not recommend this but I can recommend Alexandra Harris on VW and Frances Spalding on VB. Always good to hear what others are reading.

  10. I am falling asleep much to early to get much reading done these last few weeks, Thank you for the suggestions.

  11. Wow you have read some really interesting sounding books. As a bedtime I reader I am not sure I could cope with the subject matter of some although I would dearly love to! I am in between reading books at the moment I am looking at maps and finding out about the New Forest for a holiday later this year and reading poems and finding ideas for celebrating the summer solstice. But I am enjoying rereading Gone Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright to the the children it is a book I loved as a child.

  12. I'm reading a book a friend loaned me, by Susan Wittig Albert called Blood Orange. It's a fun mystery series of whodunit type murders. A lady, China Bayles, owns an herb shop and you learn all kinds of stuff about herbs in these fun novels. However, China is always getting involved in helping to solve crimes. She was a lawyer in her life before she was an herb shop owner. That's what I'm reading right now.

    Cindy Bee

    PS. thanks for commenting on my blog. It was a few weeks ago. I'm way behind, but I'm trying to get caught up again.

  13. I knew your mention of Good Omens rang a bell. I've just found a copy on my bookshelf inscribed with my maiden name. I have no recollection of reading it though! Maybe I didn't.. I do remember reading a lot of Terry Pratchett books as a teenager. I've put it on the bedside reading pile to revisit. xx

  14. I saw M R Carey talk in Liverpool; a quiet scouser with a cracking sense of humour. He writes really good books. Fellside is on my list (perhaps during a holiday) but I've enjoyed his exorcist novels. And Good Omens is a family favourite; we listened to the dramatised version on holiday last year!


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