Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Books I enjoyed in August

This week I have been missing a) the internet b) my mum. My mother has gone on holiday for the first time in something like fifteen years, and is only rarely reachable by phone. At my little Exeter house, where I'm trying to get things up to scratch so I can let it out when I move to London, I'm double stymied by not being able to ask either google or my mother questions about basic DIY.

Anyway, I'm back in wifi range at the moment so I thought I'd blog briefly about some of the books I read last month.
1. The Old Man and His Sons by HeĆ°in Bru. An interesting picture of the old Faroese way of life at a time when it was dying out. This novel starts with a great whale hunt in Seyrvags fjord. Everyone hurries down from nearby villages to take part, and in the excitement afterwards 70-year-old Ketil bids too much at the whale meat auction. The novel follows Ketil, his wife, and his dim-witted son, as they try to get some money to pay the bill despite their self-sufficient lifestyle. They clash with Ketil's other sons, who have married and try to live a less unsophisticated life. Very Scandinavian in being both funny and grim, often at the same time.
2. Stories edited by Al Sarrantonio and Neil Gaiman. A great short story collection. There are no duds and some are brilliant.
3. The Dervish House by Ian McDonald. Excellent near-future sci-fi set in Istanbul, queen of cities. It starts with a terrorist attack on a tram, and goes on to mix the ultra modern with history and lots of different cultures in a way which I think of as typical of Istanbul (though it's not a city I know well and I've only been there once, so perhaps it's a romantic vision of the city).
4. Booky-Wook 2 by Russell Brand. Entertaining, but he's got too much brain to keep on like this. Is it good to be self-aware when you're aware of being a tool? Or is it just reprehensible?
5. Jump! by Jilly Cooper. Oh Jilly Cooper, I love you! Read this if you're a fan, if not then don't. Some of it is preposterous but I still enjoyed it immensely.

Also I reread some Georgette Heyer on Kindle. My favourite Heyers are Venetia, Frederica, and The Grand Sophy. Venetia still makes me cry.


  1. Ah, Venetia... My favourites are Friday's Child and A Convenient Marriage, two very different but quite convincing portraits of marriages.

  2. I haven't read Friday's Child for ages, I should look it out. It's interesting that both of your favourites start with the marriage and then work towards making it happy, rather than ending with it. It's something not many romance authors do.

  3. That is an interesting point, I hadn't thought of it like that. In fact she does it quite often; April Lady is the same situation. Several others have couples yoked together by circumstance, who also arrive at an accommodation (or fall desperately in love): Regency Buck, These Old Shades, The Reluctant Widow.

    One side-effect of reading Georgette Heyer is that I find my language (written and spoken) goes very Regency for a while, until it wears off.