Category Archives: Readers

New Reading

A large pile of books has accumulated in my study – probably far too many to read in a year even at one a week (which I find impossible at present). Among these are a number of Stephen King and author I haven’t read much of yet but am going to need to.

Recent Reads. The aim is reading ever day. Not just papers, journals, etc but fiction.

After some persuasion I read Paula Hawkins Girl on a Train (Black Swan)a few weeks back. This is not one I’d have picked – even on a by one-get-one-free offer. And it did take a lot of perseverance to get past the first few pages. I’ve always said if it doesn’t grab my attention in the first couple of pages it’s a no go. Having said that, Salman Rushdie’s The Ground Beneath Her Feet, took me a couple of chapters before I was comfortable. In his case I stuck at it because of the author’s fame rather than the content. I suppose when you’re that successful you can afford to drag it out for a few more chapters and it’s still a book I need to finish, or re-read and finish. Paula Hawkins book did become a gripping read. I literally ate the last few chapters in my eagerness to get to the end.

Next on the list was Life After Life (Black Swan) by Kate Atkinson. This is an intriguing book and took some reading. No spoiler alert but it took me a while. In the end you’re gripped and hooked. It was a very clever premise and one has to admire authors who can dream up this sort of structure. Not one I’d read again, nor did I find it easy to explain the plot to anyone else but worth reading.

The third in line was Kate Mosse’s Taxidermist’s Daughter (Pan/Orion). Kate Mosse I like having read Sepulchre, Labyrinth and Winters Ghosts – the latter some months back. I’ve got used to her technique – now extremely popular it would seem – of alternate historical recounting. Every other chapter covers either what is happening to another key character as their two stories merge or what’s happened in the past. It no doubt has a name but I’ll stick with AHR. More soon.

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Where have I been all this time?

After several weeks if not months of prevarication, I am, hopefully, getting it together.

Having attempted to struggle through a 6 week futurelearn course on ‘Reading Macondo’, which examines the work of Gabriel García Márquez’, I finally had to admit defeat this time round. Sadly, at least for those of us with only a smattering of any language other than English, the videos are all in Spanish. Even though the transcripts are bilingual it proved very hard work. Consequently I got too far behind.

I’m now in a more comfortable arena studying another furturelearn course ‘William Wordsworth: Poetry, People & Place’. This is proving no less fascinating than Macondo (which I will eventually return to). I heartily recommend anyone to look at the range of futurelearn courses – not restricted to literature by any means.

Now I’ve broken out of the mould I intend to continue this blog – at least weekly – without interruption!

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Costa Winner announced

Congratulations to Nathan Filer whose debut novel The Shock of the Fall has just won the Costa Book of the Year Award.

Filer wins £30,000 with each of the other finalists: Kate Atkinson, Michael Symmons Roberts, Lucy Hughes-Hallett and Chris Riddell, picking up a cheque for £5,000. He was obviously shocked by his success as he stumbled through a short ‘thank you’ to his wife. He told guest he hadn’t prepared a speech having checked the betting odds earlier.

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