Wednesday, 18 September 2013

What I've been reading

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Heavy Weather
by P. G. Wodehouse

narrated by Jeremy Sinden
"Distraught when an author withdraws his manuscript from publication, the publisher, Lord Tilbury, sets about retrieving his fortunes, never guessing that his final obstacle would be in the rotund form of a prize pig."
This is a sequel following on from a book I haven't read, which I feel made the experience less satisfying. Nevertheless it has all the typical Wodehouse tropes - confusion, obfuscation, mistaken identity, conclusions drawn from inadequate evidence as well as a story where the deserving and undeserving get their rightful outcomes, as usual. Not his best, but not his worst by any means, and the narration was top class.

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Blood, Sweat and Tea
by Tom Reynolds
"Have you ever wondered about the people inside an ambulance, maybe fighting to save the patient's life? Or have you considered that the ambulance may be another 'matern-a-taxi' ordered by a woman who can't be bothered to book a real cab and who then complains she can't smoke on the way to hospital?"
I used to read the blog (Random Acts of Reality), which the author has now stopped updating. This book was offered as a free download with my/Mr A's new Nexus tablet, and is a very easy read, essentially still in blog format, with a 'chapter' per post. The life of a paramedic in the London Ambulance Service as it is described in this book is not one that I would like to live, but is gripping nevertheless.

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Packing for Mars
by Mary Roach
"From the space shuttle training toilet to a crash test of NASA's new space capsule (cadaver filling in for astronaut), Mary Roach takes us on a surreally entertaining trip into the science of life in space and space on Earth."
This contains material on the more earthy questions that occur to one when thinking about the full range of bodily functions that need to be catered for in zero gravity. It also contains extracts from the transcripts of the astronauts that do not tend to be included in the serious business of space travel news. She throws in a few hilarious comments of her own, and it makes up an amusing and fascinating story.

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Death in the Stocks
by Georgette Heyer
"An English bobbie returning from night patrol finds a corpse in evening dress locked in the stocks on the village green. He identifies the body immediately. Andrew Vereker was not a well-loved man, and narrowing down the suspects is not going to be an easy job. The Vereker family are corrupt and eccentric - and hardly cooperative."
A proper whodunnit of the old school, complete with characters that are three-dimensional and believable, and a plot whose solution is only revealed a couple of pages from the end. I even managed to suspect the right perpetrator, but even that wasn't the main delight in reading this book, it's just well written and a pleasure to devour.

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