Sunday, 8 September 2013

2013 Reading Part 6

It seems I am racing through the books at the moment. However by present day standards I've been reading some quite small books this time!

The Third Pig Detective Agency is such a case in point - a novella rather than a novel. This had some funny moments as the third pig - the one with the brick house, that is - takes on the Humphrey Bogart role in a book noir. Witches, dames and some tough spots for our hero to get his trotters dirty with... Brill name for an author too!

Enjoyed this! Matthew Bartholomew works at the fledgling university of Cambridge and finds himself embroiled in solving a number of deaths. At first he's wondering how many more will occur. Then the Black Death arrives... I really got into this, I bought it on the Kindle without knowing anything other than it was a historical murder mystery set in Cambridge University but I'll be looking to get the next in the series!

And I think that's the Kindle out of the way for the rest of this entry. This book and all the rest were read on good old fashioned paper... This is one of Dad's old Sci-Fi paperbacks and covers the story of a slave who ends up a millionaire on another world. I always enjoy Robert Heinlein's writing and during my holidays this summer we visited a number of antiques and collectables warehouses and second-hand book shops and I added a number of these to my collection.

I've been watching The Borgias on TV and thought it would be interesting to read the true story. This is one of two books I got out of the local library - as if I didn't have enough books overflowing my spare bedroom and taking up millions of bytes worth of space on my Kindle! You used to be able to take three books out on a library ticket. You can take fourteen out now - crumbs I don't read that fast! I did find this fascinating and as I expected the TV series contains quite a bit of rubbish to make a better story. The real story is compelling enough and certainly filled with lots of unsavoury goings on from Pope Alexander VI, his daughter Lucrezia and most of all his son Cesare. Perhaps the most gob smacking made up bit from the TV series was the death of Cardinal Della Rovere, who in real life becomes the next pope and brings about Cesare's downfall. It was also surprising, though quite uplifting to read that Lucrezia became a popular figure in her middle age, though she was certainly no angel!

This was the other book from the library. One of Tom Holt's magic tales in which a businessman builds an estate of homes and sells it several times, each in different dimensions. When all the dimensions start to collide pigs turn to humans, humans turn into chickens, the battling medieval knights find themselves looking round a dry cleaners, the magic ring becomes a pencil sharpener, the road out of the village enters the same village from the other end, the solicitor wins a darts match, and they all ponder the same question: which came first, the chicken or the egg...? Yes I know it sounds improbable - just read it, ok?

Yay! I finish the trilogy of Bernard Cornwell's books about the archer Thomas of Hookton and can now read the fourth in the trilogy (huh?) which is waiting on the Kindle. I might leave it a bit whilst I get through some more paperbacks... In this, only the battle that introduces the book and our old friend from earlier - the Black Death - are real historical events. The rest of the book is made up, very rare for Cornwell, who has to be one of my favourite authors. Luckily he writes a lot of books! Thomas is seeking the Holy Grail, which may or may not have been once in the keeping of his family who come from France. Thomas is at war with France, but has a penchant for falling in love with French women whilst bumping off a lot of French men. His women tend not to be all that lucky really - few of them survive to get dumped (as we say in the modern idiom). This is a cracking addition to the series so I'll just let the suspense grow for a bit before reading the fourth book (called simply 1356)

Good Heavens! I'd been rooting in the attic, trying to do some tidying up and to Fran's joy found a load of books to add to those overflowing from the spare bedroom. All my Sven Hassel war books were up there. Must be 30 years since I read them and I shall enjoy going through them again. This, the first of his autobiographical accounts, is generally reckoned to be likely to be the most true account of his exploits in a German Penal Battalion in the Second World War. The books are a bit relentlessly extreme in their descriptions of battle and cruelty - made a change this time round from the Famous Five...

But I did manage to sneak a childrens' book in this time. Regular readers may remember that way back in December 2011 I mentioned a book by John Robb about a trail scout called Catsfoot. Anyway, going through the second hand book stalls during my holidays I found another. I've no idea how many of these there are, they are quite short and Catsfoot, though a thoroughly decent chap with a lightning draw is incredibly keen to risk his life on behalf of others. Here he takes on the role of the entire Magnificent Seven single-handed. Well... dual-handed because he wears two guns... "Bazzin'"... as I might have said when I was eleven.

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