Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Books, Glorious Books

After my holiday I discovered I'd read myself to a standstill again and it has only been in the last week or so that I have rediscovered my reading mojo.  You'd think I'd learn as I do this every holiday!

However thanks to Net Galley advance copies and my library card I have broken this drought and have read several books I want to tell everyone about!

Noonday - Pat Barker.  This one disappointed me, although billed as "by the author of..." I didn't expect that you'd have to have such good recall of books that are 7 or so years old.  It follows characters first met in Life Class Toby's Room but has a WW2 setting.  I didn't find it anywhere near as good as the former books, and I felt that Barker doesn't write as well about WW2 as she does WW1.

The Secret Chord - Geraldine Brooks.  This was fantastic. I am a great fan of taking a well known person or event and then telling their story from a new viewpoint.  This is the full story around King David, using the relevant information from the Bible, Brooks has added detail and colour to the well known stories and created a book I found hard to stop reading.  I have a love/hate relationship with this author (I loved her book about the plague in Eyam and loathed her retelling of Little Women) but this was great and I shall be recommending it to all and sundry, especially if you liked The Red Tent by Diamant.

The Millionaire and the Bard - Andrea Mays. This is all about Henry Folger, an American who created the biggest collection of Shakespeare's works early in the 20th Century and then created a library in Washington for the items.  His name comes up regularly in my studies and I dream of visiting the Folger Library so it was nice to read more about the books and the man.

Ana of California - Andi Teran.  This was the first of two retellings of classical children's books and I liked it a lot.  It is loosely based on Anne of Green Gables but with enough variation that it felt totally fresh and it was a game of spot the reference.  The ending was a little rushed but I enjoyed it a lot.

Katy - Jacqueline Wilson. The second retelling, this time of What Katy Did.  The first half drove me mad, it was so close to the original (and the parts that had been updated 150 years were awful) that I wondered why I was bothering.  It was after Katy's accident however that the book came into its own.  Unlike in the original it felt believable and Katy did not become a saint!  The struggles with coming to terms with the results of the accident were a little quick but this is a book aimed at the under 13s and so within these parameters was very good - if you can get past the first 100+ pages.  Of course if you've never read What Katy Did you won't know what my gripe is!

Now I am back to two super-secret reading projects again which have to be completed before uni restarts in late September.  I can see that for the next month or so I will be either at work, at the theatre or reading - happily trips to London involve four hours on a train and so that it extra reading time!

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