Every so often I note down here the books I’ve read, so I don’t forget! I only read at bedtime: I’ve got into this state of mind because I can’t bear to read my books too quickly. Yes, I know, very silly, :crazy: but there we are.

Book Shelf

Because they all come from charity shops or very cheaply from Amazon (1p – bliss) I don’t intend them to stay long in the house, and they go in the ‘out’ box for our next visit to Oxfam.

Along with Hub’s, of course … |-|

Atlas of Unknowns, Tania James
Random Harvest, James Hilton
The Standing Pool, Adam Thorpe (didn’t enjoy this as much as Ulverton, which I thought brilliant)
Siege of Krishnapur, J G Farrell
In a Free State, V S Naipaul
Funeral Games, Mary Renault (about the aftermath of the death of Alexander the Great)
Offshore, Penelope Fitzgerald
Knowledge of Angels, Jill Paton Walsh
An Awfully Big Adventure, Beryl Bainbridge (I know it’s well-known, but decided I didn’t like it much)
Such a long journey, Rohinton Mistry
Fasting, Feasting, Anita Desai
Lucky Jim, Kingsley Amis (I dunno why I have avoided reading this for so many years, but thoroughly enjoyed it! Great writing and very funny)
A fine balance, also by Rohinton Mistry. This book sticks in my mind most, telling an Indian story from the view of underdogs. Funny and tragic, mesmerising.

And for my whodunnit fixes:

ALL the Montalbano books 8| (by Camilleri) apart from the last one – waiting for that to come down in price on Amazon! We came across Montalbano one night on the telly, and enjoyed it so much we thought we’d try the books, and we’ve loved those too. Montalbano is a Sicilian detective – a welcome break from western detective angst.

Also Patricia Cornwell’s latest, Port Mortuary – she’s back on form with this one.

Christine Falls, by Benjamin Black
Recalled to life, Reginald Hill. I have an odd relationship with Dalziel and Pascoe – I sort of like them as long as I can have a long break before I read another.

Light relief: Carry on Jeeves, P G Wodehouse

And one of my all-time favourites, to be read and savoured every so often: the Sword in the Stone from the Once and Future King by T H White.

I’m always interested in knowing which books you’re enjoying!


28 thoughts on “LATEST BOOKSHELF

  1. Fantastic selection G, I’m a big reader and have read nearly four over the past three weeks but have become quite boring in my choice (thrillers, thrillers and thrillers) so I have made a note of some of yours and will take a look on amazon later. 🙂 x


    1. I used to read thrillers but have gone off them, for some reason … I seem to be reading quite a lot of books by Indian writers – I love to get ‘behind their eyes’ and understand the world from the point of view of another culture.

      But I do like certain whodunnits – just finished the latest Falco novel (‘Nemesis’) by Lindsey Davis – have read them all, several times, and this is one of the best! Funny, vivid, very well-researched and I love the characters.


  2. Your mention of Anita Desai reminded me of her daughter’s Booker winner which I totally disliked, as did a swathe of readers. Sometime before I read Keiran Desai’s book ‘The Inheritance Of Loss” I read a book by Anita Desai, shorter and snappier, incisive and well depicted throughout, all of which, I liked.

    The daughter’s book by comparison, was turgid, rather hard to believe at times, and I think may well have been built on and out from her mother’s theme. I determined to get to the end of the ruddy book because I paid good money for it. It put me off reading Indian authors for a long time.

    I have read Brick lane, Monica Ali, a good read and The White Tiger, an excellent book and very well written, by Aravind Adiga. I am keeping that one.

    I am fond of my memories of The Shadow of the wind, Zafon, And the wonderful narrative of A Thread Of Grace by Maria Doria Gray. At the time I read it, I was fascinated with The Bookseller of Kabul. The gloss has gone of it since the exchange of views between author and subject. We Need to Talk About kevin is rather hairy and memorable. I enjoyed the fantasy of The Time Traveller’s Wife. I read one of Obama’s autobiographies; The Audacity Of Hope. He can write and I kept up with the book with interest. he says he wished he’d written 100 pages less; I can go along with that. Alexander Mcall Smith’s early Ladies Detective Agency stories were good fun. I stopped reading them once the marriage had taken place.

    There are some books I either did not read the last chapter as I had lost interest or I gave up on as not for me. it doesn’t happen often.

    Currently I am wading a bit at a time through two books; Who Paid The Piper,about the development of the CIA, it reads a bit like a whose who, and Darwin’s first edition of The origins of man. They’re both going along very slowly.


    1. I too have read Inheritance of Loss, White Tiger (a powerful book!), Brick Lane (well-written but could have done with stronger editing, I felt) and Bookseller (although like you I did wonder, after discovering it wasn’t what it had claimed to be. Fascinating, nonetheless!).

      I did like the early Precious Ramotswe books too but after a while I find McCall Smith’s style a bit tedious.

      Sounds like you are into some ‘heavy’ reading at present: I find our situation is as mentally demanding as I want it to be, and consequently settle for fiction at bedtime.


  3. Lovely selection of books, Gillyk. I am reading the recently published “Lost Gold of the Dark Ages” by Caroline Alexander from the recent National Geographic publishing photos and a story in this, the November 2011, edition. What the Anglo-Saxons did 1400 years ago with the gold that decorated their Warrior Leaders and the scabbards of their priceless swords, that they kept. The swords themselves were kept and renewed with new type scabbards for various reasons – as a gift – a new generation – new patterns? Nobody really knows why.
    For a break, and to help my mind, I often go back to Paul Brunton’s “The Secret Path: A Modern Technique for Self-Discovery” and John Romer (I adore him on his TV sessions) “Testament: The Bible and History” Marvelous things in there! And last but not least, “The Case for God” by Karen Armstrong – author of “A History of God” It is in small print and “crammed with knowledge and arguments and important shifts in the religious landscape” – Newsweek.
    From: “Boggling Eyes!” XXX


    1. Very interesting, Charlotte! I have mixed feelings about Karen Armstrong … I ‘did’ Anglo-Saxon literature and art as part of my degree, many moons ago – fascinating stuff.


      1. Oh? Thank you for your comment about Karen. I have not really started that one yet. You really must get the November 2011 National Geographic – although I am sure all this was shown in England qute a few months back. Tylluan is in the middle of writing a book about the Anglo-Saxons.
        You are certainly well-educated! David’s son (50 now!) has a PhD in World History and his recall is amazing! We have him over for dinner on Saturdays, and I always look forward to his conversation. He keeps us on a par with what he is teaching from week to week. He is now in the times of Venice and Machiavelli! I am not so fond of that time in history. I like the Tudors best! Highly entertaining!! XX


      2. That sounds like fascinating dinner conversation, Charlotte. Of course Anglo-Saxon archaeology has moved on hugely since the 70s, when I mainly studied the Sutton Hoo treasure. Hub and I keep up in a ‘light’ way with the marvellous Time Team series, and Hub takes Current Archaeology.


  4. I like Alice Hoffman,Alison Lure,Carol Shields,books of humorous quotes to read at night.I did like Piers Paul Read at one time,and some of Joyce Carol Oates.she writes so much!
    I also like Penelope Lively.And I think my favourite in many ways is Nicholas Freeling…he likes women,not all men do!


  5. 8| Blimey. I never get time to finish books and I’m reading loads all at once for different reasons but they are all to do with icons or to do with the CCRS course or something so for you that is a bus-driver’s holiday. Got a whole life-time of such books to catch up on! Full steam ahead and no time for any fiction or fun!xxx


    1. ps… if I had time I’d re-read for the millionth time “The Crystal Cave” by Mary Stewart and the other 3 books that follow on. It is absolutely The Best – so magical and wonderful and absorbing.


    2. For a long time I stopped reading – I don’t really know why, I’ve always been such a bookworm from being a small child. So then I thought ‘well this is silly, time to sort myself out’ but I found it really hard to find books that made me want to read them. Now I’ve got over that sort of ‘reader’s block’ and will try lots of things provided they are a reasonable standard 😉


      1. It is hard to find a good author though if you are out of reading for a while isn’t it? Specially if you’ve enjoyed an author but exhausted everything they’ve written. I wouldn’t know what to start with if I was to read something normal as of not faith led. One day… when I’ve got over myself …. I will start reading again….

        Don’t suppose you ever read a weird children’s book – The Princess and the Goblin by George Mc Donald? Sinister old book…


      2. But I never knew anything about him till just now when I googled him and saw he was a minister etc!!! I had no idea… I just read this creepy book long ago and never forgot it and went to our library to find a copy for Daughter to read when little and they had to go down to the archives to find it! (How appropriate!)

        Was good and creepy and really affected me as a child in a way… magical but sinister and scary!


  6. I m like you, I hate to finish books too quickly….
    I always have a good root around the charity shops…read Kate mosse recently…fabulous read, waiting for the final book in the


  7. Most impressive. My own reading list contains many Reviews, these days…Though I’m still very much into reading ‘Foreign Fiction’….preferably written in the original language and carefully translated….;)x


      1. Just a couple:
        The Wandering Falcon – Ahmed Jamil;
        The Jacobean Building – Alaa Al Aswany;
        A Thousand Years of Good Prayers – Yiyun Li
        One for dipping in to fromtimee to time…
        Living in the end times – Slavoj Zizek…


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