These three are the books I am reading at the moment.
Full Dark House is the first in a series of crime novels featuring the splendidly named detectives Arthur Bryant and John May who work for the London based Peculiar Crimes Unit. It's a bizarre, darkly comic tale of theatrical types set against a backdrop of blitz-torn London in 1940. Must get on and finish this because it is due back at the library soon.
Corduroy, on the other hand is a peaceful evocation of farming in Suffolk countryside in the 1920s before the advent of mechanisation changed farming in this country forever. Adrian Bell was the father of the broadcaster and politician Martin Bell. It isn't a page turner but it is beautifully written.
Stormy Petrel is a romantic mystery set on a fictional island in the Inner Hebrides. It's an undemanding but enjoyable read.
The four books above are on the top of my pile.
The Knot by Jane Borodale was recommended on several book blogs including Cornflower Books who mentioned that it was now only £6 from Amazon which isn't at all bad for a newly released hardback. I naturally snapped it up. The knot of the title refers to an Elizabethan knot garden and you can read more about it here on the author's website. Can't wait to start reading it.
The Blackhouse was recommended to me because I enjoyed Ann Cleeves' Shetland Quartet. This is the first of a trilogy of crime novels set on Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. You will notice I have a thing about books set on Scottish islands.
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. Speaks for itself.
The Hobbit by Tolkien. I want to reread this (after a gap of about 35 years) in advance of Peter Jackson's film due out in December. George and I are going to see it together because we are the Tolkien fans in our house. I love this edition with Tolkien's own illustrations and cover design.
Four PD James mysteries found at our local charity bookshop. I've read a couple before but would like to read more. I'm very fond of literary crime fiction. I like the familiarity of reading about the same characters -the detective and colleagues, but I also like a new story and I love a puzzle, something to stretch the brain a bit. I also like a conclusion. This in essence is why I enjoy detective dramas on telly but don't enjoy soap operas (however well they are acted).
These five are a bit random.
The Elizabeth Goudges (bought second hand via Amazon) I am saving for when I've had enough murder and need something sentimental and uplifting.
Dark Matter is Charlie's given him by George for his birthday after I heard Steve Backshall talking about it on Radio 4's A Good Read (Tuesdays 4.30). It's a ghost story set in the Arctic and Charlie reckoned it was really good although George thought it was a bit too scary.*
The last two in the photo are rereads from my childhood. Alan Garner wrote weird fantasy stories for young people. If you remember the 70s tv programme The Children of the Stones you will know the kind of thing I'm talking about. The Owl Service was dramatised for tv as well now I come to think of it.
More Mary Stewarts. Absolute bargain from the Book People. £5 for ten books. Unfortunately they have now gone up to £9.99 but that's still not bad. I've read a few of these before and they all feature capable, young heroines who know how to look after themselves. I always imagine them to look like Grace Kelly. The stories are always set in some fabulous location, often an island, often in the Mediterranean, Mary Stewart does sense of place very well. The stories have an old-fashioned feel which is part of their charm. Danger, mystery and romance await the heroine around every corner. Interesting facts; Mary Stewart's maiden name was Rainbow and she is now 96 and lives in Edinburgh.
Ah, the Persephones I couldn't get into. One day I will read all these. I've dipped into Few Eggs and No Oranges quite a bit, but I didn't get very far with the others and I had to give away Cheerful Weather For the Wedding I disliked it so much. I've read and enjoyed all the Whipples, the Mollie Panter Downs, The Homemaker, Family Roundabout and A fortnight in September and I shall be putting the 100th Persephone book on my birthday/Christmas list but these Persephones need to be read, I am sure I will enjoy them if I could just get round to reading them.
These last four books are abandoned books. Not forever I hope. I definitely want to finish A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and London Belongs To Me. I was reading them in the summer but I got distracted by In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden** which is a fantastic book, and then when I'd finished that I somehow forgot about them. I'm not sure about the Dickens or The Necropolis Railway though. I wasn't gripped by the latter and I fear reading Dickens feels a bit too much like reading for homework. I'm sure it shouldn't.
So, that's my very high reading pile, enough to keep me going for a long while but somehow there are always more books to buy or borrow, and you should see my wishlist; it's even longer.
*Out of all my children George is the reader. He hates not having anything to read. He began with Harry Potter when he was about eight and hasn't looked back. He favours fantasy but has read quite widely from the modern classics and is the only person I know who has read Homer (although that was required reading). He is currently reading those whopping Game of Thrones books by George RR Martin.
Katie was delighted to find a new copy of Twilight for £2 at a charity shop but has only read the first paragraph (a good thing I feel). Jacqueline Wilson is more her thing but she prefers the audio versions -lazy girl.
Tom doesn't read stuff unless he has to.
Virago Modern Classics are reissuing several Rumer Goddens including In This House of Brede in February 2013. All with gorgeous covers.