Sunday, 1 May 2011

2011 The First Reads

It's the first of May. So I thought it time for a list entry even if I've bundled the list into bunches of three.

I'm currently reading my 21st book of the year so the following is only representative. But the good news is that it can be. As you'll know if you've been reading this blog for a while, I've been making my way through a few series of books and I've only exhausted the one that had a mere three books in it!

So here we go...

The Jasper Fforde one starts us off (and starts a new series off too, though the next has yet to be written). A clever idea as always and some neat ideas but certainly a lot more serious than the very humorous Thursday Next books or Nursery Crime series. I loved it none-the-less and look forward to the next Thursday Next, One of our Thursdays is Missing, coming out in paperback later this year!

Bill Bryson is also someone whose books I now buy as soon as they come out. In this case I bought the hardback on a really good offer. Always informative and with lots of chuckles along the way, this is no different, using the different rooms of the house to present lots of jaw-dropping bits of history. I'll never look at a salt and pepper pot in the same way again. Suffice it to say that those two items, according to Mr Bryson, have caused more death and war than any other items in your house...

Around Christmas I mentioned that Chrissie had lent me the first in this trilogy - Northern Lights. This year book No.5 was the follow-up, The Subtle Knife then the Bryson book came between it and the final chapter in the trilogy, The Amber Spyglass.

The following read was a rarity - a book I bought simply because the cover intruiged me! Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold turned out to be a fabulously interesting and gripping mystery - a fictional tale about a real-life magician in America's Prohibition era with the death of a president and the invention of television all playing parts until you were not sure what was fact and what was fiction! I loved it.

The Bolitho series is still going strong! I started reading them two years ago and have now read 26 of the 29. Douglas Reeman, writing under the name of Alexander Kent published the first one in 1968 and he's still going strong too... I've 3 left to read but I'm sure it will soon be 4...

And I've been going through the Crowner John series of Bernard Knight's 13th Century coroner too. I hadn't read all of these in order but at least I now know why the name of his horse has changed... Again I've a few of these to read yet!

And I've got through another couple of Biggles books. Although I by far prefer the books set in World War One, I allowed myself to see what he could do in a Spitfire in Biggles Sweeps the Desert! Actually it's pretty much the same as he did in a Sopwith Camel but flying four times as fast...

I have quite a few Dennis Wheatley books, mostly the Duke de Richleau and Gregory Sallust books. The Golden Spaniard is one of the former and deals with the Duke and his friends finding themselves on opposing sides during the Spanish Civil War. These two series are both full of excellent adventures so if you've only ever read Wheatley's black magic books you should give these a try!

Every now and then you have to relive the past a bit and a couple of my trips round second hand bookstalls led me to find a few Billy Bunter books. Most boys my age and a bit beyond will either have Bunter or Just William as their favourite but for me it was the fat owl of the Remove of Greyfriars! "I say you chaps...!"

The visits to the bookstalls have yielded some fine finds just recently. In fact just yesterday a mooch round Preston market saw me come away with another 6 books in a bag. Some of the older finds are rather thin compared to modern books - akin to the size of the Bunters actually.

So hopefully they can fill in between the books of the rather long series I started at the beginning of May. Fran bought me book No.12 for Christmas, but it's so long since I read the first 11 that I've had to start again! I'm currrently working through No.4 and will only gve a cryptic clue. The author, having again started this series in the 1960s, died without having completed it. However he left copious notes and the series will end with book No.15. Book No.13 is yet to be released in paperback so it looks like by the time I've read through it I'll still be waiting for at least 2 books to come out! Agh!!!

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