Monday, 20 July 2015

What I've been reading

Image of the book cover

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
by Sir Arther Conan Doyle

narrated by Simon Vance
"We are drawn into 19th-century London - hansom cabs, train rides, and foggy nights - where Sherlock Holmes astutely solves the most complex and perplexing cases of the day."
Nothing new to say about this - more stories, great narration, and it is at this point that Conan Doyle tires of his great creation and tries to kill him off at the hands of arch-villain Moriarty. It's surprising that an author would want to put an end to a money-spinner; these days if any sort of weak sequel to a blockbuster can be squeezed out it will not only end up as a trilogy of books, but the film version will split the last book into two separate movies to attract more cash into the coffers.

Image of the book cover

The Boys from Brazil
by Ira Levin
"Alive and hiding in South America, the fiendish Nazi Dr. Josef Mengele gathers a group of former colleagues for a horrifying project - the creation of the Fourth Reich."
I've seen the film so it's difficult to review the book dispassionately, but it's good. Ira Levin has written quite a few books that I've seen in their movie version, but based on this example I'd be happy to read the books. Usually it's the other way round - I've read a book, and if it's good then I'm extremely cagey about seeing the film. Even though I knew what was going on before it was revealed in the book, there was enough suspense (but not too much) and the characters are nicely defined.

Image of the book cover

Joy in the Morning
by P. G. Wodehouse

narrated by Jonathan Cecil
"Trapped in rural Steeple Bumpleigh, a man less stalwart than Bertie Wooster would probably give way at the knees. For in his efforts to oil the wheels of commerce, promote the course of true love and avoid the consequences of a vendetta, he becomes the prey of all and sundry. In fact, only Jeeves can save him."
The usual story full of misunderstandings, unwanted engagements, ludicrous plot twists but the requisite happy ending. Good old Wodehouse.

Image of the book cover

Elizabeth is Missing
by Emma Healey
"‘Elizabeth is missing.’ Maud keeps finding notes in her pockets with this message scrawled on it, but she can’t remember writing it. That said, she can’t remember much these days: the time of day, whether she’s eaten lunch, if her daughter’s come to visit, how much toast she’s eaten."
This was very disconcerting to read. It is written from the perspective of a woman with worsening dementia, and really gives a sense of memory loss and the difficulty that arises not just for the individual concerned but also the family, friends, acquaintances and almost everyone else that we come into contact with in daily life. Recommended.

Image of the book cover

H is for Hawk
by Helen Macdonald
"When the author's father died suddenly on a London street, she was devastated. An experienced falconer, Helen had never before been tempted to train one of the most vicious predators, the goshawk, but in her grief, she saw that the goshawk's fierce and feral temperament mirrored her own."
I was hoping for much with this award-winning bestseller: perhaps I hoped for too much. It was a lovely book, it's true, but somehow didn't live up to the hype. It did remind me about T. H. White's book The Goshawk, which I read when I was much younger and I have just found on my shelves, my copy dated 1990 - 25 years ago! I wanted to be a falconer then, and I still would like to, although I doubt that I will make that particular commitment any time soon. I haven't even joined the falconry centre this year, although I do hope to sign up again next year when perhaps I will have a bit more time. I'm always wishing for more time.

Image of the book cover

The Enchanted April
by Elizabeth von Arnim

narrated by B. J. Harrison
"A notice in The Times addressed to 'Those Who Appreciate Wistaria and Sunshine' advertises a 'small medieval Italian Castle to be let for the month of April'. Four very different women take up the offer: Mrs Wilkins and Mrs Arbuthnot, both fleeing unappreciative husbands; beautiful Lady Caroline, sick of being 'grabbed' by lovesick men; and the imperious, ageing Mrs Fisher."
I'm surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. It is so evocative of the best of Italy - the spring weather, the flowers, the scenery, and the type of solitary holiday that made me want to join them there and get away from the stresses and annoyances of ordinary life. I had no expectations of this book, having never heard of the title or the author, so maybe this is why it made such an impression. I loved it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...