One day I will write ‘no books! :Friday Finds

FRIDAY FINDS  from adailyrhythm showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

FridayFinds-ADailyRhythm

I already had the book choice for next month at the last reading group, and far to many fictional books on that tottering pile . I wasn’t going to take home any more books.

I wasn’t.

I did.

Shame.

Anyway I wandered over to the non fiction section and found these three. I’m an avid reader of The New Scientist magazine so I had no hesitation in picking those two up

Non fiction

This Changes Everything by Naomi Aklein which is apparently provides a historically refined expose of ‘capitalism’s drift toward monopoly’ and more.

Chance ed Michael Brooks (New Scientist) The science and secrets of luck, randomness and probability

Question Everything ed Mick O’Hare (New Scientist) – 132 science questions – and their unexpected answers

Fiction:

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr which was recommended to me a few weeks ago. A Second World War story but from a different perspective – it sounds like a good read.

So as you can see I haven’t been good – yet again!!

I am determined one day to write- NO BOOKS this week !:)

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This is why I don’t do bookshops: Friday Finds

FRIDAY FINDS  from adailyrhythm showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

FridayFinds-ADailyRhythm

I thought I had solved my ‘problem’ of collecting books for my ever tottering TBR pile when a couple of 2nd hand book stalls moved from my weekly shopping stops – back last summer. Then I joined two new book groups in a nearby town. Unlike the other two I belong to these are held by the book shop. Instead of borrowing the reads one buys the book.

Well okay I thought.

 Just buy the next read and leave.

Easy.

Not.

While the others buy their copies, and we wait the unlocking of the door (the groups meet at night) I have time to wander around and idly pick up the books on display.

This is why I don’t do bookshops any more.

I had forgotten.

I have an addiction!!!

So this week I came home with

The Edge of the World: How the North Sea Made Us Who We Are

The Edge of the World – how the North Sea made us who we are by Michael Pye

 

Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms: Journeys Into the Disappearing Religions of the Middle East

Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms – journeys into the disappearing religions of the Middle East by Gerard Russell

 All the Light We Cannot SeeAll the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Along with next Book Group read:

A Reunion of GhostsA Reunion Of Ghosts by Judith Claire Mitchell

Ah well – as long as I don’t switch on the internet!!!!!!

 

Good intentions line the highway:Musing Mondays

musingmondays51Well so much for intentions! Not only did I not read the books in translation mentioned last week, I diverted off course with a random read – a book I picked up on a charity stall in the local supermarket. I enjoy these random buys of mine – they follow no predestined thought; whimsy and curiosity mark my choices. This one Broke Through Britain: One Man’s Penniless Odyssey intrigued so much I desired an instant read. No TBR pile for Peter Mortimer.  Another for Non Fiction Challenge.   Will be reviewing very soon.

As I was off course anyway, I decided to read Broken Homes by Ben Aaronvitch – this is the 4th of his I have read, I am behind:) So yet another urban fantasy and another for the British Book Challenge. Must get back on tract!

I did read Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards which was a little disappointing – maybe because I liked the Memory Keepers Daughter so much.

I managed to finish Doctor Faustus by Marlow for the Literary Movement Challenge. So not such a bad week for books. But miserable failure on what I declared,  I was going to read, last week:)

The Random Question this week is who or what influences my choice of books.

I think I would have to answer circumstances. When I was a child obviously my choices were more limited, I read what was in the children’s section of the public libraries, what was around me at home ( more than the library but not so many children’s) What was bought for me as gifts. Until I had enough pocket money to buy my own books, I just read everything I could find, regardless. Many of them too old for me – returning to them years later would be like reading a whole new book! When it was my money, when coins were precious, I would devour the blurbs, read the first chapters and cross my fingers.Mostly detective novels then, people like Dorothy Sayers, John Creasy, science fiction and my only real love affair with romances Georgette Heyer.

I went through a stage in my mid-late teens when I was still at school, studying for major exams, when I would devour magazines devoted to literature and new literary books, my’ pretentious’ stage I call it, when I became a little snobby about titles and authors – in public at least!:) I found some great writers from these reviews and they led onto other great books, so it wasn’t all bad.This was a period when I devoured the classics, they were also to stand me in good stead on my travels.

I rarely took advice from others, not many of my friends read as much as I, my parents had never banned books from me. So, by the time I left education and began wandering I had quite an eclectic taste. On my wanders I discovered the power of books to learn as I wandered. I had already discovered non fiction as a child but these books explaining the countries, by local writers, were amazing. This was also when I discovered so many readable books penned by foreign writers.

On my wanders my choices became even wilder because I relied heavily on other travelers cast offs, books left at camp sites, in hostel rooms, passed from back pack to backpack. I read some amazingly bad books and an equal number of good. On one occasion stuck on a sheep station in the outback in Australia I ran out of reading matter completely and the Jackaroo helped me out – he had in his possession 26 science fantasy books of the most lurid – naked women about to be devoured by some space monster or other. I read them all, by the end I was even enjoying them. His books saved my sanity. A junkie needs her daily fix:)

I do take note if someone recommends a book, or I read a review in a paper or online when I am browsing but will always take the final decision myself. I am very good at spotting what I would like after so many decades.

Yes circumstances mostly.

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

Neon Court, Acid Lullaby: British Books Challenge

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The British Books Challenge is a reading challenge that will be running  on Fluttering Butterflies between 1st January to 31st December 2015 and the main focus of the challenge is reading and reviewing books by British authors.If you sign up for the challenge you will be aiming to read at least 12 books by British authors (which works out to one a month).In terms of what books would count towards the challenge – the books can be in print or out. Old or new titles. They can be from any genre and for any age range.

Here are two more for my British Books Challenge. I am not sure why Urban Fantasy appeals to me so much – I am not in the usual way a fan of the supernatural, magic and all that cling to them. But one day an unknown voice on the other end of the  phone line recommended Ben Aaronovitch to me (she was helping me with an enquiry and we got chatting about books – as one does:) I tried the book and haven’t looked back. I obviously prefer the ones set in London as I was brought up there and know the places these magicians inhabit, but have occasional ventured across the pond to USA.

If you have not indulged in Urban Fantasy or physiological thrillers before be warned, neither of these books are  for the faint-hearted, murder is nasty, graphic and there is a lot of it in both books:)

 

The Neon Court (Matthew Swift, #3)

 The Neon Court (Matthew Swift #3)  by Kate Griffin

ISBN-10: 1841499013

ISBN 13: 978-184499017

Goodreads Blurb: War is coming to London. A daimyo of the Neon Court is dead and all fingers point towards their ancient enemy – The Tribe. And when magicians go to war, everyone is in trouble loses.
But Matthew Swift has his own concerns. He has been summoned abruptly, body and soul, to a burning tower and to the dead body of Oda, warrior of The Order and known associate of Swift. There’s a hole in her heart and the symbol of the Midnight Mayor drawn in her own blood. Except, she is still walking and talking and has a nasty habit of saying ‘we’ when she means ‘I.’
Now, Swift faces the longest night of his life. Lady Neon herself is coming to London and the Tribe is ready to fight. Strange things stalk this night: a rumored ‘chosen one, ‘ a monster that burns out the eyes of its enemies, and a walking dead woman. Swift must stop a war, protect his city, and save his friend – if she’ll stop trying to kill him long enough for him to try.

 

I am a big fan of Kate Griffin and am following her two series.

The Midnight Mayor aka Matthew Smith is an amazing creation, with his Blue Electric Angels. From the first word, of the first book, in the series I have been seriously hooked. This is the third in the series and I turned to it for light relief from Confessions and Mabinogion last month. This is my escapism.

If you have not read the first, the narration might take a little getting used to. Matthew alternates between himself and a collective within him. The Blue Electric angels took over when he was killed and now he has them as well as himself – switching from ‘I’ to ‘we’ is confusing unless you know this. As this also happens to Oda his friend, (she is possessed  as well) one needs to keep on top of the narration.

In this episode of the series, Mathew is engaged unwillingly in a battle to save a friend/enemy from a mysterious ‘chosen one’ and subsequent hell. At the same time he struggles to save London itself from all out war between two factions of the magical underworld. A war between magicians is not good news for anyone and in true magical tradition the death toll mounts rapidly and nastily. There is a subplot between him and his apprentice which just gets better, each book.

I have sung Kate Griffin’s praises before and am doing so again. Splendid read.

 

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Acid Lullaby

Acid Lullaby (Underwood and Dexter #2) by Ed O’Connor

ISBN 1841196150

Amazon Blurb: A deranged predator on the rampage, a man with a terrible, drug fueled obsession, a monster who thinks he’s a god. The discovery of a decapitated body signals the start of a living nightmare for Inspector Alison Dexter. As she struggles to co-ordinate the manhunt, Dexter is suddenly forced to confront two demons from her own past: the arrival of a man that poisoned her career and the resurrected memory of a life she had to destroy. Returning to New Bolden CID after medical leave, John Underwood learns that Jack Harvey – the police psychiatrist that saved his own sanity – has been murdered. Events take on an added urgency when Harvey’s wife is savagely abducted. Baffled by the killer’s crazed modus operandi, Underwood becomes entangled in Dexter’s investigation and eventually finds assistance from the unlikeliest of sources.

I hadn’t read the first of this series, this was a book from a charity book stall. One of my recycled finds. I will certainly be reading the first and any more that come. Not an urban fantasy but good old fashioned police story – well maybe a little different, this is more psychological thriller than an ordinary who done it. I wasn’t sure the first few pages – I am not a great fan of detective books but I soon swam into the current, with great enjoyment.

Ordinary beginnings  within the hallowed and suspect halls of the financial markets in London, the story very rapidly swoops out of control and bodies  begin to pile up. What was a just to be a one off act of revenge spirals way off beam and we end up with a kind of gothic horror, fantasies of Hindu gods and what may be supernatural or hallucination episodes.  With the continuing disintegration of a mind rotting from within.

The characters were rounded and interesting, the plot complicated enough to keep attention with a touch of dark humour in the blackness. I kept on reading, not quite in one sitting, one has to live, but in two sittings. Great fun.

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher:Kate Summerscale

These book reviews are my own personal opinions, I am not a professional reviewer.  I read a great deal and belong to various online reading challenges and two book groups down in the real world. I just have loved reading since I was a tot, way back in the late 40s and can never get enough of books:)

re-readsThe Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale

This is a book about a real crime that shocked Britain in 1860. The murder of a well bred child in his own home. A home which had been locked securely that night. So, obviously the act of insider, one of the occupants.

 

‘An Englishman’s home is his castle’, suddenly become an insecurity.

I had been recommended this book, read very good reviews of it previously and had had it on my to be read pile since way back.  So when it came up as a book club read I was delighted. . . I have to confess now that I was disappointed in the book. I first read it last year and now it has come up on another book club read. I am no more enamored this time I’m afraid:(

 It was excellent on atmosphere and recording the social niceties of the times when the middle-class was on a successful rise. When they also employed many servants and the family home was sacrosanct. The story told well the class differences between those who employed and those who were employed, it also showed very well the deference usually paid to the middle and upper classes.

 Mr Whicher, the detective called in from London when the local police failed to make any progress in the case, was one of a new breed of policeman. Detective work was in its infancy and detectives were on the whole recruited from the very class and the environment which committed most of the crimes: the working class. He was not welcomed to the family in the big house, as he worked on the principle that everyone could be guilty, regardless of status, so everyone in the house was a potential suspect, unless proved innocent, and that included the family.

 Because there is a varied and large cast of characters, which is to be expected in a household of that size, we never really get to understand any of them and that lack of understanding created a barrier between the story and myself.

His detection led him to suspect that one of the daughters was the guilty person and he duly arrested her and took her to trial. This was not a popular move, she was very young, 16, a gently nurtured daughter of a well-to-do local employer. The father was himself a local working boy made good.

Mr Whicher was doomed to failure, made to look useless and when the trial collapsed due to lack of evidence he was forced to retire in ignominy.

 I personally found the reporter style of writing repetitive and too bogged down with detail. Whereas I enjoyed the detail about class and crime, human nature and religion of the time, constant details of timing and the whereabouts of people was, for me, tedious. Those who thrive on details will find it riveting. I firmly believe that for those who enjoy real crime, timetables, and minute detail will enjoy this book. It is well written and the story is tangled enough to be interesting. The fault this time lies with the reader:(

 The daughter confessed about a year later to having committed the crime and was saved from the gallows by Queen Victoria, being sent to prison for 20 years and then appearing to vanish. Maybe then the next bit, for me, was the most interesting because as with all good mysteries that wasn’t the end of the story.

 Mr Whicher ticks boxes for TBR pile challenge, recomendations, re-reads, book groups, Goodread Challenge and non fiction.