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What are you reading now?

edited December 2005 in - Reading


  • Just out of curiosity, what are you reading? I've just started reading 'The 8.55 To Baghdad' by Andrew Eames. The author is re-tracing the steps of Agatha Christie, from London to Baghdad by train. Things have changed a bit since she did it in 1928. Perfect for a closet train-spotter like myself.
  • I have two books on the go at the moment and I think both are just brilliant.  'Cold Mountain' by somebody Frasier and Steven Fry's new one called 'The Ode Less Taken' which is a poetry 'how to' but his narrative is definitely not dry - it's had me laughing aloud.
  • I've just started the autobiography of Eric Sykes, which is promising so far.
  • I switch between Zadie Smith's On Beauty and Patricia Cornwell's Predator. Thus I can cope with the annoying moments in both of them!
  • I'm re-reading the wonderful "To Serve Them All My Days" by R.F.Delderfield.
  • Hi folks, I'm back. Sorry about the disappearance, thanks to Virgin.net and their lovely idea of customer service!

    Anyway, I just have to mention the 3 books I've read in the last fortnight that I absolutely love. They were 'Way Of the Wolf', 'Choice Of the Cat' and 'Tale Of the Thunderbolt' which you can probably tell are all by the same author, American E E Knight.
    The books are the first 3 in the 'Vampire Earth' series (sorry if that's not your thing) and have been described as 'post-apocalyptic vampire novels.' I read each one in less than a day because I COULD NOT put them down. This guy is a real talent and the books have only come out in the last couple of years, so it's nice to 'champion' a relatively new writer. I cannot recommend them highly enough if you're into horror/fantasy/scifi novels with a bit of military thrown in.
  • I love RFD, too. He's one of my favourites. At the moment I'm reading Restoring Grace by Katie Fforde, so that I can say I've read some of her work when I attend the workshop next month. When I'm reading for pleasure I usually stick to one book at a time, unlike some of you who have two or more on the go.
  • I used to lover R F Delderfield - didn't know anyone read those now.  I bet all you RFD fans like Howard Spring too - I do.
  • I have nearly finished 'Stolen' by Kelley Armstrong, pure pulp fiction but it carries you along with it!  Not long finished Predator and can't say I was particularly impressed, she seems to have gone very technical and assumes a vast amount of medical fore-knowledge.  I can't wait for Christmas as my other half has bought me Dean Koontz 'Forever Odd', I will probably have it finished by boxing day!!!!!!
  • Hello Dorothy -  I'm afraid I don't know 'Diana.' What is it about? I'll have to add it to my wish list. I loved the 'Horseman Riding By' ' Too Few for Drums' and 'God is an Englishman' but 'To Serve Them...' is my favourite.  Unlike many people I know I can read and re-read books again and again and never get tired of them.

    Hello Betsie - I don't know Howard Spring - tell me more!
  • I've just picked up a reprint of a book first published in 1911, called The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries.  The author travelled widely in Brittany, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Cornwall and the Isle of Man collecting traditional tales that were dying out.  These fairies are definitely not the pretty little gossamer-winged things of children's stories.  They were powerful and amoral, and needed to be treated with respect.
  • Our W.H.Smiths in Exeter has had 'Wolves of Calla' in paperback for at least 3 weeks!  Thanks for the information Dorothy.  I will investigate 'Diana', Howard Spring and Warwick Deeping although being still off work with the depression I'm not sure I need to read anything along the 'weepie' lines at the moment!
  • I have bookmarks in Living Druidry by Emma Restall Orr (otherwise known as Bobcat, she's a priestess), the Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake, and Shirley by Charlotte Bronte.  Bobcat is a very interesting person, though not everything she says makes sense to me.  Also, a few books in French have markers in them, too:)  I've always been the same, I'm afraid!
  • Wow, what a variety. Lixxie, I know what you mean by  being disappointed with Patricia Cornwell's new book. I read another one of hers called 'The last Precinct' (I think it was that one) It was where two books were kind of linked. I vaguely remember that it took ages for something to happen, and it finished too quickly. I've never read anything of hers again.
  • I got about halfway through that one and 'Southern Cross' and threw them away in disgust.  It appears (and I may be completely maligning the woman) but the stories flow so much better when its Scarpetta as the heroine.  All except Predator which didn't so so much flow as trickle, then fizzle out quietly.
  • I'm reading "Still Life" by Louise Penny. I believe it's her debut novel, and it was published after being highly commended in the 2004 Debut Dagger award.
  • wow! im reading three boks atm:

    for fun: out of the silent planet by c. s. lewis

    revision for english literature: the handmaid's tale by margaret atwood

    in interest of possible course at uni: history of british archaeology by a number of british archaeologists, but have forgotten the editors

    but unfortunately am normally too tired to read at the end of the day with thanks to college and college work. i do get withdrawal symptons if i can't read after a certain period of time.
  • Are you thinking of becoming an archaeologist, then, Jennifer?
    Beware!  I've been up to my knees in mud, in November, under arc-lights, before now.  If you're considering being an actual digger/site assistant, the pay is appalling and the conditions are worse!
    I loved every minute of it, of course (well, maybe not every minute....) and I still have a close interest in Caergwrle Castle, in North Wales, where I helped to find the bread oven and the main gate.
  • im interested in doing it as a degree, mainly alongside ancient history. over the summer i organised 2 weeks work expereince, which i really enjoyed. but i dont think i want to go into it as a career, unless with my fellow archaeology degree buddy we make an award winning tv series. but i am thinking of maybe incorporating it into my writing postgraduation...if i get into uni of course. did get a letter through today asking me to attend an interview for reading, which is my last choice. been offered a place at leicester too, second to last choice. and that is quite frustrating in a way, ho humm...
  • I went to Lancaster, where the archaeology department has been subsumed back into the Classics department, sadly.
    Good luck with whichever university you choose.
  • Hi,

    I have just finished reading Zadie Smith's 'White Teeth' and am taking a break from my course by re-reading 'Gone with the Wind', which I can never put down. In a couple of days though I will have to as I need to revise the other texts we've covered this semester - starting with 'The Merchant of Venice. '

    Jennifer - I did a Handmaid's Tale at A Level, I both enjoyed it and hated it, we studied it too long and I would read ahead, which meant I was torn between the class' pace and my own. Books it reminded me of were '1984' (George Orwell) and Aldous Huxley's 'A Brave New World'. I've just started a BA in English Literature and History and also thought about arheology for a while. It sounds like I did the same A level course as you, so if you'd like to chat about it at all, or universities in general, feel free to email me ([email protected]).

    Love Phoenix.
  • phoenix- im sorry, but i hate this book with a passion. i didnt read it last year so therefore failed that exam, hence the resit. im wading my way through it now, but i can guarantee i wont remember ANYTHING as its a closed-book exam. im a very fussy reader and therefore havent really enjoyed much of the books ive ever read in english literature. my dad finds it VERY frustrating!!
  • At the moment I am reading Carole Matthew's latest novel 'You Drive Me Crazy'.  It has certainly grabbed my attention as when I have it in my hands I don't want to put it down.
    I am also reading two non-fiction books - Random House Guide To Good Writing and Novel Writing.  The facts are of good use towards my own writing.
    Believe me, no matter what book you read it gives you the confidence to continue writing one yourself!!!
  • I am currently reading The Power House by John Buchan[that is right, the author of The Thirty Nine Steps. So far as always, a good ripping yarn and has given me something of an idea for my own writing - only goes to show that one should do plenty of reading as well as writing. Regards Woll52
  • I am currently reading 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'  I saw the film years ago and loved the song 'Moon River' that came from it. But have not read the book until now, and wonder why it makes me feel sad.
  • I have read a lot of chic lit in the past, but I am having a break from it at the mo and going for some crime and some heavier drama. I am currently reading The Rottweiler by Ruth Rendall. Anyone read it? It's a bit slow to get going but I am more into it now.  It gives you some good insight into what it's like to live in a community where there is a killer on the loose. Especially when everyone is a suspect. I would be interested to hear other people's views on this book. I read a review on Amazon saying that it wasn't her best and anyone reading it should judge it according to her other books. Anyone agree with this?
  • I've got two books on the go at the moment - A Dying Light in Corduba by Lindsay Davies, which is one of the Falco novels (set in Roman Spain and involving dirty dealings  in the olive oil trade), and Making the Mummies Dance by Thomas Hoving, who was Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the 1960s and 70s.  It's a fascinating insight into the world of museums and art collecting.
  • hey phoenix- ive finished the handmaid's tale!! now i just need to remember it all for the closed book exam in a couple of weeks :P
  • As usual, I have more than one book on the go... I am currently reading Sue Miller's autobiography about her father, and how she and the family coped when he developed Alzheimer's. I love this woman's fiction.... 'The World Below', 'While I Was Gone' etc., and this non-fiction is proving to be just as enthralling a read, even if the subject matter is a sensitive one.
    The novel I have on the go is one from the (relatively) new imprint Transita... books for grown up women. This one is 'Emotional Geology' by Linda Gillard about a woman trying to escape an emotional past by moving to a fairly remote, small island community and hoping for a fresh start. Very good it is too...
  • I am reading Penny Vincenzi's latest - Sheer Abandon.  It's one of those books you just don't want to put down.  Lives of three girls who went backpacking together in their teens.  One of them had a baby and abandoned it at an airport. Now it's fifteen years or so later. Well, into the book before you think you know which one of the three abandoned the baby.  Obviously this baby is now a teenager so she features quite prominently too.  It's all woven together brilliantly. I can't wait to finish it.
  • I've just finished it NN.  Brilliant book and makes me wish I could write like her.  I won't give away the ending.
  • I'm ploughing my way through Chinoises - the French version of The Good Women of China by Xinran.  English, French or Chinese, everyone should read this book.
  • Wow, what a variety. I'm reading a book by Arturo Perez Reverte called 'The Ninth Gate' it was adapted into a movie with Johnny Depp in the mid nineties.
    He plays a bookhunter, for want of a better term. He finds old, valuable books and finds people who want to buy them. One day, a bookseller gets in touch with him and wants him to determine whether or not a particular book is a forgery, it's a book on the occult. But not all is as it seems.
  • Cheers Dianne  (for not giving away the ending!)

    I can't read it quickly enough - no housework done, no ironing done.  It's a good job my husband likes cooking!
  • What do you mean - no housework or ironing done?  That's perfectly normal in my house.  I even read whilst cooking and if I could would read at work.  I have to limit that to my lunch break.  Sad isn't it.
  • It's annoying when you can't read at work, isn't it?
  • This month's book from the local reading group:  The Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes.  It's about war brides being shipped from Australia to UK on the aricraft carrier HMS Victorious when the War ended
  • Betsie... will be interested to read what you think about 'Ship of Brides'. I enjoyed it very much, then went on to read another of hers which I also enjoyed. Sometimes it can be disappointing, you read one book by an author which you found enjoyable, but another one lets you down in some way.
  • im normally working (college) in my lunchbreak, but saturday just gone, i feel asleep on the radiator :S. thankfully we have a little shelf over the one in the staff room.

    im now reading the earthsea quartet by ursula le guin
  • I'm reading - and enjoying - 'End in Tears' by Ruth Rendall. I bought it for my wife for Christmas. She has read it, now it's my turn. I find her writing compelling. Maureen thinks that it is not as good as her previous books.
  • I've just started Forty Signs of Rain, by Kim Stanley Robinson, a near future novel about climate change.
  • Hi Cyrille, I've read Perfume as well. The way he used scent throughout the story, you could practically smell it. Grenouille (I hope I spelt the name right) was creepy, wasn't he? It made me want to keep reading.
  • I promised myself that when I retired I would read all the books on my bookshelves!!!  A mammoth task - there are several hundred!!!! But I made a start by reading Tail end Charlies,a heart rending account of bomber crews in WW2. After finishing this I then looked for other war books on my shelves, amazed to find several more I am now reading "For Five Shillings a Day" by Begg and Liddle, more personal histories of WW2.
  • ive only read one book by gemmell, but loved it!! hes quite similar to my favourite author, david eddings. and i only know of two other people who like him (eddings that is). the whole english department at college seem to have a group-hate of him
  • ive read one of gemmell's books and loved it!! he's quite similar to my favourite author, david eddings. ive met only 2 other people who like him (eddings). the english department at college appears to have a group-hate of him, sadly cos theyre missing out
  • ive read one of gemmell's books and loved it!! he's quite similar to my favourite author, david eddings. ive met only 2 other people who like him (eddings). the english department at college appears to have a group-hate of him, sadly cos theyre missing out
  • I've just finished Robert Goddard's latest book Sight Unseen - another one of his intricately plotted novels.

    I think his best one is In Pale Battalions. You can read it twice, once in ignorance of what's going on and again when you know the truth!
  • "If you don't have big breasts put ribbons on your pigtails & other lessons I learned from my mother" by Barbara Corcoron (New York property queen) - the title means I can't read it in public but it's a gem of a book. Loads of childhood memories with business parallels.

    Also, "Leap of Faith" by Queen Noor, Joanna Lumley's "No Room for Secrets", Hillary Rodham Clinton's "Memoirs", Alexander McCall Smith's "The Kalihari Typing School for Men" and a massive stack of magazines.

    Just realised why they're all taking me so long to get through, I just don't want to choose between them...

  • I've just been lent American Gods by Neil Gaiman.  Lots of strangeness so far, as the ex-con main character has been hired by Odin (who calls himself Mr Wednesday).

    I usually keep a non-fiction book on the go as well, and at present it's The Laws of Hywel Dda, a Welsh prince of the 10th century, whose law book was used right up until Welsh law was replaced by English law.
    Some of the details are fascinating.  For instance, the porter at the door of the king's stronghold was entitled to one stick of firewood from each load brought in for the king - as long as he didn't stop the horse as he was drawing it out of the bundle!
  • Since I've been writing I've become quite picky over the way some published authors construct their sentences. I have to stop reading and try to make them sound better!

    Also some of them make mistakes over the time it takes for things to happen. I'm reading a book of Sherlock Holmes stories and Conan Doyle had one of Holmes's visitors go downstairs, get into a carriage and clatter away in about three seconds!

    I don't suppose he's bothered though!!
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