I hate to tell you this but I am off again in a couple of weeks. I am going to Madeira for a fortnight and yes I know I can hear you shrieking but this wretched woman has just got back from Australia, and I know it is a hard life but somebody has to do it. You will remember last year I had a week in Funchal with a companion who said I was 'moribund' and it was not a fun time. My lovely sister and bro in law have a timeshare in Funchal and have a spare two weeks on their tab and so have invited me to come with them and they say they are looking forward to showing me all the places I did not get to see last time. I have my own apartment which for reasons of family harmony is a good idea and I am looking forward to it very much.
And so I have to sort out books etc to take with me and this is where I am so pleased I have a Kindle. It really came into its own in Oz where I read about 25 books and most of them on my e-reader. When I think how determined I was not to own such a ghastly object I am amazed at how shortsighted I was - now my suitcase only has clothes in it and not lined with books as it used to be.
I dislike designating a book a Beach Read as this seems somewhat derogatory as if it is only worth reading when lolling by the pool or on the sand and this is not the case, but let's face it, we are hardly going to read Dickens, Tolstoy or Dostoevsky under the hot sunshine when smothered in Factor 30 now are you? And if you do, then my apologies but this sort of reading, for me anyway, is best kept to the winter and dark evenings. If I wish to turn to the classics in the summer it has to be Jane Austen...
I have read several books in the last week which I would happily take on holiday with me, they are all enjoyable and well written but do not demand that you take notes or write an essay on its meaningfulness when you have read them. When I was in Australia I found I read a huge amount of crime and thrillers mixed up with my rediscovery of Norman Collins. The Lee Childs books are read and then forgotten, they are all the same and great fun but you don't need to worry about the characterisation because there isn't any. I read Michael Connelly who I think is an excellent writer and his main protagonist, Harry Bosch, a much more interesting personality than Jack Reacher (oh and I tried to watch the movie on the plane, you know the one with Tom Cruise, all two feet of him, playing the eponymous hero who happens to be 6' 5" and gave up after fifteen minutes - crap, total crap).
OK I am meandering again. In the last week I have read the latest in the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency by McCall Smith. I am finding these a bit slow and, sorry to say it, a tad boring now and wondering if the author should leave Precious Ramotswe alone. They are rather sweet and gentle but are getting somewhat repetitive and I feel enough is enough though others will disagree. Though the title is the Limpopo Academy of Private Detection just why it is called this is left to the end and it is all rather nebulous and up in the air. You could pick this up, read a chapter and then fall asleep in the shade quite happily.
The Hanging Wood by Martin Edwards another of his excellent detective series set in the Lake District and featuring DCI Hannah Scarlett, head of the Cold Case Review team. Orla Payne is haunted the the disappearance of her brother some twenty years ago and rings the team to see if they can help her solve the mystery of what actually happened to Calum all that time ago. Shortly after she makes this call she is found dead - murder or suicide? The case in the past seems linked to the present and it all gets very nasty and murky. I have read all the titles in this series and think they are excellent. Good tight plots and narrative and surely some TV company should take them up? The setting could not be more beautiful.
Earlier this year I came across a book in the library, The Villa by Rosanna Ley in which our heroine Tess, inherits a villa in Sicily. Her mother left the island when young and has never been back and has never spoken of her past but Tess sets off to get to know her mother's birthplace. It was a lovely story full of sunshine and with flashbacks to her mother's story as well as her own and I enjoyed it very much so was delighted to be sent her second novel, Bay of Secrets which I finished yesterday. The setting this time is Barcelona and England and once more the narrative flicks backards and forwards in time from the viewpoint of Sister Julia a nursing nun during the Spanish Civil War who has a secret which is a burden to her to that of Ruby Rae recovering from the sudden death of her parents in a motor accident. When sorting out her parent's house and contents she discovers a secret which has been kept from her all her life and following its trail leads her life to intertwine with that of Sister Julia as they find the link that brings them together. Great read and, as it is set in the warmth of Spain, perfect for reading in the sun with a glass of something long and cool to hand. I look forward to the next by this author.
More reading for holiday coming up when I have sorted out what I am taking with me, but at the moment I am reading Erica James who reminds me very much of Rosamund Pilcher and Marcia Willets in style and setting and I mean that as a compliment. She has a fairly long list of titles and I have only read a few and so I think she may be coming with me, probably on my Kindle.
So two weeks ahead of me for relaxing, reading and, no doubt, dozing in the sunshine with a book on my knee. I can't think of a better way of spending one's time....