I am getting bogged down again in my reviews as I have been so busy (as you can see from the previous post....) so I am cheating again today and drawing your attention to books recently received ahead of future reviews.
Dropping through my letterbox this morning was The Assassination of the Archduke by Greg King and Sue Woolmans, subtitle Sarajevo and the Murder that Changed the World. As the hundred year anniversary of the start of the Great War is next year, this is very relevant and timely and I have already started the first chapter and can see that this is going to be an excellent read. You probably know by now that I love Vienna, though I have never been (I will go, I will) and a biography which starts off with the sentence 'thick white snow swirled from a night sky, scattering across Vienna's tiled rooftops and shimmering in drifts against the wide boulevards' is going to grab my attention. The scene is set already and I am looking forward to my read.
Yale UP are doing me proud at the moment and I am most appreciative of the lovely books they are sending me. Wagner and the Art of the Theatre by Patrick Carnegy is right up my strasse though I realise that this will be a book for aficionados only but, again, looking forward to reading it though it is going to be a chapter at a time read methinks as it is very detailed.
Fred's War, a doctor in the Trenches - Andrew Davidson. Another WWI book but this time from the view of a young 25 year old minister's son who left Scotland for the battlefields of France in 1914. Along with his medical equipment he had brought his folding camera and began to secretly document life in the trenches. Never before seen photographs provide a fascinating picture of daily life and I will be writing more on this later.
And then two fiction books which I am saving up as a treat if that doesn't sound too daft. I know I am going to love them and don't want to gobble them up too soon. First up The Forgotten Seamstress by Liz Trenow. This author's first book The Last Telegram was absolutely wonderful, a real page turner (see my review of this title here). We were fortunate to have Liz appear at the Felixstowe Book Festival and we look forward to seeing her next year as well to discuss her latest book. Due to be published in January 2014 and at the moment the Kindle edition is showing at 99p. What a bargain. Pre-order now!
Project Darcy - Jane Odiwe. Now you know how I generally feel about Austen prequel/sequels/offspins and, on the whole, think they are pretty poor. I have read some of this author's other Austen-related books and have enjoyed them very much, particularly Lydia's Story, which gives a more sympathetic portrayal of this Bennett daughter. My review of that book is here. This is going to be a curl-up-on-sofa-with-curtains drawn kind of book and a treat is waiting my attention. At the moment the Kindle version is available at only £3.21
My recent reads have included a revisit to a couple of PD James, Devices and Desires and the Private Patient which are written in her usual impeccable style and are sheer joy to read; am half way through As Green as Grass by Emma Smith, as always, a deceptively simple straightforward style of writing which disguises just how beautifully she writes to make it appear this way, and on my bedside table a mystery, The Dark Heart of Florence by Michele Giuttari.
I am quite often asked how can I read several books at once and the answer is quite easy. Depends on my mood. Sometimes I cannot concentrate and a lighter read is essential, other times I am ready to get stuck into a heavier read but I find it is best to balance out the two. The Richard Burton Diaries enthralled me but I found I had to take time out from them and read something else in between. Probably the best way to read diaries anyway.
I am always struck by the variety and depth of the books I am sent for reading and review. It is impossible to read them all but I do my best to peruse as many as I can and to mention them even if sometimes it is a colletctive review amongst other titles. OK we may have our Kindles, our Nooks, our e readers and our iPads, but this does not seem to have impacted on the titles being published, well that is my view (I am probably wrong) and when I wander into a book shop and just amble around looking at the books on display I find my heart lifting. I have come across people in my life who have said 'Oh no I never read books'. I find that totally incomprehensible and cannot understand how anybody could live without a book or, in my case, thousands of them.....