Monday, 3 December 2012

November books

I haven't reviewed the last three books I've read so thought I'd just do a quick rundown of the books I read in November, with quick reviews of those three books. There were five books in all, so a slowish reading month for me. Unusually, of the five books, three were non-fiction. I said somewhere else that I did well with non-fiction for the first few months of the year, badly in the middle months, but had returned to it in the autumn. I'm pleased with that as I really do want to read a lot more. Half and half is likely to be unrealistic given how much I enjoy crime yarns, fantasy, horror etc. but aiming for a third is not and I would very much like to achieve that in 2013. I don't think I have this year but we'll see at the end of this month.

Anyway... the books I read in November:

56. Narrow Dog to Carcassonne by Terry Darlington. I reviewed this here so no need to say anything other than I enjoyed it very much.

57. Ill Wind by Nevada Barr. Again reviewed here. A good read in an excellent series.

58. In Search of England by Roy Hattersley.

For people of a certain age Roy Hattersly was a very well known Labour politician. *Ex*politician now of course, but in his heyday he held various cabinet posts and was even deputy leader of the party. I knew he wrote books, fiction and non-fiction, but not that he was a prolific writer of columns and articles for newspapers, and this is what this book is all about. The book is divided into sections, literature (Roy is a huge Shakespeare fan), churches (he's an athiest who loves churches, an attitude I can well understand), animals, especially dogs, sport and so on. Hattersley's personality shines through with every word and I read the whole book in his voice as I know it so well. Some of the articles interested me more than others but that's to be expected. Anything about football is a huge yawn for me but I enjoyed the book and poetry essays, also the countryside ones and really, there wasn't a lot about this book I didn't like.

Next up, Clarissa's England: A Gamely Gallop Through the English Counties by Clarissa Dickson Wright:

Anyone familiar with a UK cookery programme called Two Fat Ladies will know of Clarissa Dickson Wright. One half of the duo, Jennifer Paterson, sadly passed away in 1999, but thankfully Clarissa is still with us and still making TV shows. Just a couple of weeks ago we watched her three part series, Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, and it was absolutely excellent. This book is exactly what it says on the tin: a tour of English counties. Clarissa gives us a history of each county, various food titbits, and plenty of anecdotes about her life if they concern the county or a city within that county. She isn't afriad to speak her mind, and thus be controversial or un-pc... and I like that. Like the Hattersley book I read it in her voice and that made it easier for me to appreciate her very droll sense of humour. I laughed quite a lot. I loved this book and now want to read her autobiography, Spilling the Beans.

Lastly my second fiction book of the month, a fantasy story, Green Rider by Kristen Britain.

Karigan G'ladheon, a girl in her late teens, has been expelled from school for fighting, although it was a legal fight, part of school lessons with swords and so forth. She's decided to run away and is out in the countryside when a rider comes at her out of the forest. He's a Green Rider, a messenger for the king... but he has three black arrows in his back and is dying in front of her. Karigan undertakes to deliver the message to the king and in doing so becomes a Green Rider herself. The problem is, the same people who murdered the unfortunate rider are now after her. She has to deliver the message to a city in the north where the king is. Luckily the horse seems to know the way, but takes her on routes through the forest that she had no idea existed. Her adventures are of course, many, and Karigan nearly loses her life on several occasions. It's a race against time and against the forces of evil.

Loved this book to bits. It's a long time since I've read a fantasy book which was as enjoyable and such a pageturner. I liked the characters, especially Karigan herself who is an excellent female protagonist, but the supporting cast were also excellent. I love books about forests and the one featured in about half of this book was fascinating. There was also court intrigue and skullduggery, an evil pretender to the throne and a much more evil and devious sourcerer behind it all. I think it's been said that it followed The Lord of the Rings a bit too closely and maybe that's so. But in truth, that didn't bother me at all... it was different enough to capture my imagination. I loved it and book two is hopefully now on the way.

And now on to December, always an awkward reading month for me - and others I'm sure - due to Christmas and the weeks leading up to it being busy with preparations. I plan to be casual about reading. I'm about to start The Black House by Peter May and have also downloaded quite a few free bits and pieces of Christmas themed stories and books for my Kindle to have fun with. 'No pressure' is my reading motto this month and I plan to stick to that.


Margaret @ BooksPlease said...

I'm behind on writing posts too. It's so much easier to carry on reading!

In Search of England and Clarissa's England both sound very interesting - I particularly like Clarissa Dickson Wright's no nonsense approach.

Geranium Cat said...

I mean to read Clarissa's England at some point, I'm sure it will entertain! But right now I'm travelling with two narrow dogs to Wigan Pier and don't at all want to finish it. Glorious!
Green Rider souns good...I'll look for that one.

Val , Kate, The Cute Kitten ,Razzy, Kepsey,Darwin ,Charon and Echo. said...

Lovely reviews Cath usual you set me off on pathways I'd have missed.
Do you think Green Rider would be suitable for My Oldest (12 in Feb)or is that a silly idea?

Penny O'Neill said...

Oh, Cath, these all look wonderful, but THE one I am eyeing is "Clarissa's England". Two Fat Ladies did air here. One of our daughter's friends, still in high school, would come over and watch it with me. It was a wonderful time, the two of us and these two motorcycling cooks. On the list it, and the others, go.

Penny O'Neill said...

Cath. Me again. I'm the Penny from Lifeonthecutoff. I changed my email and it seems to have changed everything else in my life. So it goes.

Cath said...

Margaret: It is so much easier to just carry on reading, you must have been reading my mind recently.

Both books about England were very good. Very different, as the authors are poles apart in many respects, but I like diverse opinions on the same thing.

Geranium Cat: I'm certain Clarissa would entertain! I now have her book, Rifling Through My Drawers, on reserve at the library.

Val: Not a silly idea... when I started to read I too had it in mind for my 12 year old grand-daughter. But it's not suitable. Fine for older teens and adults but there are one or two scenes that are a little too adult for 12 year olds. Nothing too terrible but I probably wouldn't give it to a teen younger than 15.

Penny: What lovely memories. I can't recommend this book highly enough and now have another one by her on reserve at the library. CDW is a witty and intelligent writer.

I hope all is well! I've had a bad back for several weeks and not been able to sit as long at the computer as I would like. Thus I'm way behind in my blog reading.

DesLily said...

duh. I thought I commented here but it was in our emails about Green Rider being a trilogy lol.. chalk it up to yet another "senior moment"...geez it seems like my entire life is nothing but "senior moments"! I don't think I'll go for an altzhiemers test ..I might get an answer! sheesh..

anyway, yes the Green Rider sounds good but "dammit Jim" I keep getting books and I will never read them all before I can't read at all!!!!.. just got a few more the other I believe you talked about (Noel Coward letters)?

Susan said...

I'm so far behind on posting about what I've read this year too! You enjoyed everything you read in November, and you made me want to run out and buy Clarissa's book for Christmas. LOL!!!! Successful posting, Cath! I'm glad you enjoyed the Kristen Britain book so much. I really want to get the next back from my niece so I can read it now :-)

Cath said...

Pat: Yep, The Green Rider is a series. I'm partly glad because I really want to read more after the first book, but it does mean I've started yet another series! One of several over the past few weeks.

Susan: Clarissa's book was excellent. Well worth finding at the library if you can. I just brought home her 'Rifling Through My Drawers', another book of essay type writing, from the library today.

I got book two of the Green Rider books in the mail this week. It, and other books, are making me very excited about reading in 2013.

Birgit said...

As you've signed up for the *Tea & Books Reading Challenge* on my blog, here's just a little reminder that you've still got three more weeks to finish the challenge!
Latest Update Post (plus Giveaway, yay) can be found here:

Cath said...

Birgit: I've not done very well with challenges this year and the Tea and Books challenge is one I won't be able to complete.

Nan said...

So very glad to read that Clarissa is still going strong. I'll check into her writing. Thanks.

Cath said...

Nan: I've just picked up another of her essay type books, Rifling Through My Drawers (love that title), from the library. I will report back on it in due course.

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