Emotional Investment in a Book: Musing Mondays


Since I faded during the summer I have read too many  books to comment on in one post so will be posting round ups and reviews over the coming weeks. Suffice to say that although my blogging and writing foundered on the rocks this year my reading sailed on beautifully.

To begin 2016 I have the remains of my Christmas books to read. I am half way through ‘The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer which is proving a good read. I have to read The Ruby Slippers by Keir Alexander for a book group coming up next week.

My own choices will include The Girl with all the Gifts by M.R. Carey – a book I know nothing about so no expectations either way. Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekback another I know nothing about. The The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi This is the second in series of YA speculative/dysfunctional books I enjoyed the first very much so have high hopes for this one.

I must not read too many books as I have to get back to my writing so will leave it at that for the moment:) I hope everyone had lots of lovely reads for the festivities and happy reading for this new year
This weeks random question is what do I do after finishing a book – begin a new one immediately or. . .

This of course depends so much on the book, the effect it has on one’s emotional or curious part of he brain. Just recently for instance I read the third of Elly Griffiths books The House at Sea’s End, I stayed up late, into the early hours, to finish it I was enjoying it so much and crawled into bed well satisfied. After a good nights sleep I was ready to read another book. On the other hand I have also recently read Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey which I also enjoyed however it was a couple of days before I could pick up another fictional  book. Maybe because of my age or the fact that a few of my friends are beginning to have the same problems mentioned in the book I found I was too caught up with the characters to move on, there was much to ponder and to re imagine.

It is at times like that I find some non- fiction to be such a help. There is no emotional investment in most of them. I can indulge my curiosity, learn something new and let the emotional costs of the fictional characters fade into my memory banks. But even here a book such as Stalingrad or War on Children can rip one apart in a way no fiction ever can and from those I would need a book on ‘language’ or ‘useless facts’ or ‘plants’ to allow the effects to be mulled over. Of course non-fiction is always there not just as a stop gap but because I find them endlessly fascinating for that curious cat in my mind!:)

If I read a book immediately I have finished another it is a fair indication that it hasn’t satisfied me at all. There are very few like that fortunately:)

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…

 + a random question of the week


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.

Books, books and more books:alberta’s 2013 challenges

senior hands on a bible

As I say reading challenges tempt me and I do little to resist. This year I have gone overboard and collected a wonderful list.  At first glance one could be excused for saying – madness! – she has her writing to do – her life to live. Where could she possible find time to read so many books?  Well, of course I might not find time – this past year wasn’t a great success, but I am boxing clever with this list.

 I decided last year to

a) To support my fellow Indie writers

b) Read genres I don’t normal read

c) Become much better acquainted with fantasy

 So the Indie, e-book, new authors, self published challenges cover both a) and b)

 Fantasy speaks for itself –and as many of the fantasy books are long sagas and plenty are written by Indie authors they are also covered byThe Tea and Books challenge (650+)  the Chunkster challenge (450+) and the Indie challenge

 The Mount TBR challenge will cover some of the Tea and Books, Chunksters and certainly covers most of the Find a New Author challenge

 Telling Tales being about fairy tales and myths will deal with fantasy and a couple of the TBR challenge also.  Dystopian will wander in and out of most of the challenges:)

 Goodreads will cover all the books in all the challenges, plus the 24 books lined up in the 2 reading groups I belong to in the real world! Yes I do sometimes visit the real world:)

 I hesitated at the Keyword and What’s in a Name challenges and had to go through my intended reads quite carefully to see how close I could get now to the requirements – there are only a couple of months missing so they are covered as well.  After all it mustn’t be a done deal otherwise how could I get out and buy new books?

 My challenges for 2013 are as follows

The Goodreads 52 books in 52 weeks (I managed 60+ this year)

Mount TBR challenge (Pikes Peak 12)

What’s in a Name (6 books)

Go Indie (Tentative=5 )

Monthly Keyword (12)

e-book (CD 10 )

Self published ( sentence 5)

Dystopian (Asocial 5 books)

Telling Tales (Princess = 10)

Tea and Books (Berry Tea =4)

New Author, new to me (15)

                Chunkster   (Mor-book-ly Obese 8)

I couldn’t find myself a non-fiction challenge I could really get into as they all wanted to confine in some way. Most of my non- fiction at the moment is concerned with research and isn’t able to fit easily into catogories – I will though keep a note of the books written and see how many I manage in the year.

 This ought to be do-able if naught goes wrong:( you see how optimism wins out over sense in my mind:)

Just how many days are there in a year?

Well I have had great fun tracking down reading challenges – so many- hard to resist joining them all.  So working on the principle that I wish to decrease my TBR pile – which in reality is about a shopful! I have tried to join either those which will help me diminish the pile or in the case of one will help me in my future writing.

I read a comment on one of the challenge pages from someone who wasn’t joining because his TBR pile was down to a couple of books – I was in shock for an amazing time.  A couple! I wish.

Apart from not being able to resist books, and being incapable of just buying one at a time (it is an addiction you know – don’t deny it any of you with piles of books) I also went through a four year period of not reading anything -due to illness and stress they say! I didn’t however stop buying the books.  It was like trying to tempt an invalid with ever increasingly delicious bites  only to have the trays sent back untouched.  I have hundreds in that pile.  Years to clear even if I never bought another. Yeah. Right. That’s never going to happen!

From the 1st of January 2011 I am going to enter the following challenges  (fingers crossed I can finish them)  I am posting the lists of intended books on the page of challenge reads

A Classics Challenge  = 7 classic, 3 of which can be re-reads if wished

Back to the Classics = 1 book from each of 9 different categories

Mount-TBR-Reading Challenge -going to start at Pikes Peak = 12 books

The Tea and Books Challenge -I’m going to start at Berry Tea Devotee = 4 books of over 700 pages

Chunksters Challenge might well go in at Mor-book-ly Obese level = 5 books over 450 pages and 3 books at over 600

It’s not actually as bad as it sounds because with all these I am

a) Clearing my TBR pile – and

b) can overlap in each challenge so some books will be in different challenges.

The next challenge  The Telling Tales Reading Challenge I have taken on this one  because I will be reading these books a lot in the next few months of research purposes – so these books will be aiding my own writing (Yay I can buy some more books:)  I’m going in at level 1 = 5 books but already see this going up!

And of course although I can count the books read in the Sir Terry Prachetts Reading Challenge with The Telling Tales and clearing TBR Mountain  lets be truthful here – this one is just for fun fun fun!  No set books just something, anything by the man.  I have about 5-6 on the TBR pile of his.

So you see I have only committed to about 1 a week over the year – not impossible.