In my last post, I talked about a few of the titles that have been lingering on my TBR for a while, so this week I thought I’d better talk about a few of the things I’ve actually read and finished lately! I’m one of those terrible people who reads about fifty things at once and finish absolutely none of them – I frustrate myself by doing this, let alone other people! I’m always that person who’s like “oh yeah I started that one..” and then for no reason whatsoever, I just never pick the book up again. I’ve frustrated myself endlessly by putting down The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. It’s an absolutely gorgeous book, and reminds me at turns of Lanny, but for some reason, I put it down one day and am yet pick it back up again. However, this is not a post about my reading regrets, but instead about things that I’ve either finished lately, or ones I’m currently reading.
To begin with, I finished Things in Jars and absolutely adored it! I’m hoping desperately that it will be turned into a series, as it left me with so many questions and I’d love to see more of Bridie Devine solving crimes in 1800s London. She really is one of those characters who sticks with you, so if you like crime novels, and kickass heroines, grab yourself a copy, STAT!
I don’t read a lot of picture books, oddly enough, but there are some gorgeous ones out there now – ones that I would surely have devoured as a child – and as an adult I’m always slightly jealous of those who get to discover them for the first time. Throwing all expectations out of the window however, I received a copy of the gorgeous Everest by Joe Todd-Stanton from the fab people at Bloomsbury Kids. I finished it last night, and it really is so, so cute! It tells the story of the life of intrepid explorer Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, a respected Tibetan Sherpa as they fight to reach the ‘roof of the world’ – Everest. Published in time to celebrate the centenary of Hillary’s birth, it follows both he and Tenzing on their ascent of Everest, but also looks at their lives before and after and what their legacies are today. It really is fantastic, and a great introduction for children (and adults!) on the lives of these two amazing explorers.
I’m also part way through Cape May by Chip Cheek and it really is wonderful. At times it’s so evocative of F. Scott Fitzgerald and those halcyon summers he describes so vividly that I occasionally feel I’ve stumbled upon another Fitzgerald novel. I’ve read this one during our unseasonal Easter heatwave and that truly seemed to add something to the experience. One gets the sense that there is so much unsaid lurking below the surface in this novel, a grenade about to explode. I’ve not finished this one yet, but I’m not far off!
Slowly but surely I’m also finishing off Erebus by Michael Palin. I was lucky enough to meet him last weekend (a total gent!) where he talked about the book and his inspiration for it. It’s another top adventure yarn, but with a good chunk of mystery throughout as we are guided through the journeys of two sister ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. Erebus and her crew were lost during the fateful last voyage of Captain Sir John Franklin wherein he had hoped to finally map the last un-navigated section of the Northwest Passage. Palin uses the historical evidence available to him in an attempt to piece together exactly what happened to the ships and their crew. Though this is a true story, and is therefore a history book, it’s engaging, interesting and never feels dull.
I’ve picked up a couple of other bits and bobs this week. My favourite has to be a copy of Darwin: An Exceptional Voyage that I picked up on bank holiday Monday. Having enjoyed Everest so much, I found myself drawn to the kids books in Travelling Man (of all places) and I had a flick through. I picked up the Darwin book and immediately started cooing over the lovely illustrations, whereupon my boyfriend advised that I just buy it – and because I have no self control, regardless of a reading list a mile long, I did. I’ve not started it yet, but its pretty high up on my reading list – it might be one that I save for bedtimes. I also picked up another graphic novel, Batman: White Knight and I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of the upcoming non-fiction book about Harper Lee – Furious Hours. I’m endlessly intrigued by true crime and this covers something I’d never heard about before, so keep an eye out for my review of that one too!