My holiday is drawing to a close with only 2 more days to get some reading done. I have come to the conclusion that my idea of heaven is surely a pile of books, a comfy chair, and an endless supply of decaff coffee, redbush tea and jelly bellies. What have I read so far? Well, thank you for asking.
Earth Has No Sorrow by Michelle Blake.
I think this author was brought to my attention by a Church Times article on ecclesiastical whodunnits. This is the second in the series of Lily Connor mysteries, Lily being a priest in The Episcopal Church (USA). This one looks at anti-semitism and a missing friend. Throughout the book we also have the struggle that priests have with their love life. Characters in churchy books are always familiar to us and Blake certainly knows her church. But I do wish that Lily would lighten up a bit.
Wine of Violence by Priscilla Royal
Another whodunnit but this time set in medieval times in the fictional Tyndal priory (a ‘double house’ where the monks and nuns live side by side and run a hospital). There is a new prioress, a few gruesome murders, and an exploration of being gay in unenlightened times. The research is excellent and pretty empowering to women which is always good to read!
Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg
This one is by the author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe and is a joy to read. The characters are amusing and instantly recognisable and the dialogue is superb. Mrs Elner Shimfissle is up a tree, picking figs, one minute and the next thing she knows she is wandering the corridors of heaven meeting people she loved. Meanwhile the town mourn the loss of an extraordinary woman and her highly strung niece takes to bed. But God still has plans for Elna and she is sent back to continue her journey. This book made me laugh, cry and desperately want to be ‘good’. A great read.
Grimm by Mike Nicholson
Mike and I used to work together in The Rock Trust and this is his second book for children. (The first being the prize-winning Catscape.) Set in the fictional town of Aberfintry it tells the story of the spooky Hotel Grimm and the strange goings on there. 11 year old Rory has the unenviable task of giving the hotel a new image, and the adventures begin. I couldn’t put it down and read it in an afternoon – and didn’t guess the end either. Buy it for your children now.
The Reader by Bernard Schlink
I was told to go and see the movie but really don’t like doing the cinema on my own so I thought I’d read the book instead. (Kate Winslet just got a Golden Globe for her performance.) And I see it was in Oprah’s Book Club too. What a book! 15 year old Michael has a passionate affair with an older woman. Years later, as a law student observing a trial in Germany, Michael is shocked to see the woman he loved in the dock being tried as a war criminal. Deeply moving and highly recommended. (In fact, I think we may do it next in our Book Group.)
When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson
This is the first Kate Atkinson book I’ve read and it has made me want to read them all. This one is her latest and is set in Edinburgh and Musselburgh which is what attracted me to it. Another mystery novel with surprising twists and turns and un-put-down-able. Young Reggie (short for Regina) is nanny to a GP with a secret who goes missing. Detective Chief Inspector Louise Munro is also looking for a missing person and will not take Reggie seriously. Good characters and a great read.
No Suspicious Circumstances by The Mulgray Twins
Now, this one was bought because The Mulgray Twins are members of the church along the road from here. D J Smith is an undercover revenue officer who works with her trained sniffer cat Gorgonzola. On a heroin trail DJ moves from Edinburgh to various points on the east coast, ending up on the Isle of May. Another good read which will keep you amused from beginning to end.
In between all this I should also say that I have been interrupted by Son #1 who is here working on his dissertation. This has involved reading snippets of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Derrida, Daisy Millar and the Bible. It certainly hasn’t been dull, that’s for sure.