Sunday, 23 January 2011


I'm not sure what the matter is with me at the moment. Other than a slight cold I mean... *g* I've started no less than three crime books - all good books - but none of them caught my interest and all and ended up being either sent back to the library or back on the library pile for when I get back from Cardiff (off on a short break this week). Although, it didn't help that The Surgeon by Tess Gerritson was missing 2 pages right at the start! I just can't seem to settle to anything serious, which concerns me a bit but I'm hoping it will pass. It could be that I'm going through a reading slump and can only cope with easy reading at the moment.

What I do seem to be devouring with no trouble whatsoever is Miss Read books. I've just started my third one this month, Storm in the Village, which is a Fairacre book, but the other two were Thrush Green novels - my first in that series. The odd thing is that much as I love her Fairacre books, I think I like the Thrush Green ones even more.

I think it may be to do with the characters in these very gentle 'English' books: there are more of them, they recur in a more organised fashion and they seem more rounded to me. Or is it the Cotswolds setting which is more familiar to me than Sussex? Whatever, I'm loving them and on the lookout for more from the library.

I never did do an end of year post about the books I read last year. Various reasons, one of which was that I was very busy around that time but I was giving it some thought the other day and realised that I actually enjoyed the few non-fiction books I read more than the fiction. This was my favourite book of the year, no contest:

The combination of Stephen's memories and thoughts on all kinds of subjects was the perfect mix for me. The book stayed with me for weeks after I'd finished it and nothing else I read last year did that by a long chalk. I have his second autobiographical book, The Fry Chronicles, on my tbr pile and will probably ear-mark that for summer reading.

Other non-fictions I enjoyed:

The Chain of Curiosity - Sandi Toksvig (very funny)
I Am What I Am - John and Carole Barrowman (funny)
On Royalty - Jeremy Paxman (interesting)
Icons of England - ed. by Bill Bryson (nostalgic)

Favourite fiction books:

The Earth Hums in B Flat - Mari Strachan
The Meaning of Night - Michael Cox
Lord Valentine's Castle - Robert Silverberg
The Crossing Places - Elly Griffiths

Strictly speaking I did actually enjoy most of what I read last year, but fiction-wise very little stood out hugely. The fact that the best books for me were non-fiction and that I've thoroughly enjoyed the one non-fiction I've read this year, Eating for England by Nigel Slater, is making me rethink my whole attitude to what I read somehow. I'm wondering if I was just lucky and the ones I picked up just happened to be suited to my tastes, or whether I would enjoy a lot more non-fiction if only I would give it a chance. Food for thought.



DesLily said...

I think it's a given that our interests change without notice and therefore change our reading along with it! sheesh. so continue to enjoy Miss Read books while you can lol..

most of all enjoy your time away and do take lots of photo's!

Stacy said...

I had the opposite reaction to Thrush Green...I am having a hard time getting into the series. I think because I am a little too attached to Fairacre at this time. I hope your cold gets better and you are on the mend soon:)

Anonymous said...

I totally understand moving aimlessly from one book to another before you settle. I'm going through much the same thing myself. It took me 2 weeks to read my last book. I think it's having people here in my house with me. I've decided that most of my good reading is done in a much more quiet atmosphere. I can read with the TV going, but I don't get very far and distraction is always there. That doesn't matter when I've had sufficient "good" reading time, but lately?

Cath, I say just read what suits you at whatever time. If the Miss Read books work for you now, read them! LOL

I've started Maeve Binchy's SCARLET FEATHER and it will be just right I think.

swlove said...

I owe you a debt for the reccie for the Thrush Green series. I just finished my first book "Thrush Green" and have "Gossip from Thrush Green" set to be next. I love the way she takes basically simple stories and fills them with interesting characters. No they're not demanding, but they are charming.

fiction-books said...

Hi Cath,

You should just 'go with the flow' and read whatever you feel comfortable with. I'm sure that your 'mojo' will return after a few relaxing days away.

Have you any definite plans of what you are going to be doing in Cardiff, or are you just going to play it by ear? Have a fantastic time.

I have a whole pile of the Miss Read books on my shelves and I now have the incentive to bring them closer to the top of the TBR list.

It's a pity that 'The Surgeon' had to be returned unread as it was a fantastic book. This is where libraries don't do themselves any favours, although Warminster library were over the moon with 2 bags full of books, which I donated to them last week.


Susan said...

Cath, enjoy Miss Read! lol soon enough you'll want to read something more 'serious' or crime-driven. Sometimes we need fun and froth and different in our reading, too. At least I find that - Miss Pettigrew Lives for A Day was my surprise fun read for last year, remember. Totally unlike most of what I read, too! you are making me add Miss Read to my books to look for. The first Daisy Darymple (sp?) by Carola Dunn is waiting for me at the library now, thanks to you!

I hope you enjoy your time away to Cardiff and please take some more photos!!

Cath said...

Pat: I think you're right about other interests. As well as reading, I'm loving doing my jigsaws at the moment, like you're enjoying your crochet. And I think that's a good thing.

Thanks, Sis, I will do both of those things.

Stacy: When I went to look at your blog I did a doubletake. I was only thinking about 'BookPSmith' the other day and wondering how you were. I had no idea you had another blog. Excellent, I'll 'follow' you in a moment.

I've been resisting the Thrush Green books like crazy for the very reason you state. But last week that was all the library had so I grabbed one... and loved it. No one is more surprised than me...

Kay: There's nothing worse than house renovations for disrupting your reading. Been there! I hope they're soon finished and you can get back to your routine.

I'm going off to Cardiff this morning with Miss Read and Daisy Dalrymple. I'm trying to decide if they would like each other. ;-)

Sue: My pleasure. As you will have gathered, us bloggers live to rec books and get others hooked on series we love. Nearly everyone who's commented here is guilty of getting me hooked on something or other. (You know who you are!! *g*)

Yvonne: Last time we were in Cardiff (end of last August) we did various things but missed their museum, so we'll visit that. I've also heard that there's a good market with bookstall. *cough* Also intend to get up into The Brecon Beacons if at all possible. Depends on the weather.

Another one thinking of starting the Miss Read books. I was going to say, 'My work here is done' but actually it's all Stacy's fault, as she started me on them!

Don't worry, I'll be searching out another copy of The Surgeon.

Susan: I think you're right, my mood will change again and I'll want something more serious.

I liked Miss Pettigrew too, a really lovely book. Good luck with Daisy! I'm taking book 2 to Cardiff.

Thanks, I will both have a good time, hopefully, and take photos.

Anonymous said...

I go through this quandary from time to time and have learned to just flow with it. Life is to short to read books you aren't enjoying. It seems to occur right after the holidays or midwinter, though I am currently enjoying a beautiful, slow read of Gilead my Marilynn Robinson.

Enjoy your trip, Cath.

Margot said...

I just wanted to let you know that I reserved some Miss Read books at the library. If they are what is sustaining you through this reading slump of yours, then I should give them a chance. The library has the first one published in 1957 so I'm going to start there.

Cath said...

lifeonthecutoff: Thank you... we had a very nice trip. Very relaxing.

Yes, if I want to learn to do something this year it's go with the flow a bit more. Particularly with reading what I fancy but also with book buying. I restricted myself a lot last year; this year I think if I want to buy a book, I'll buy it. There are many worse addictions.

Margot: I hope you enjoy your first Miss Read books. I'll keep an eye out for your thoughts on your blog.