Tuesday, 15 April 2014

2014 Reading Part 3

You know, I think I must have been going a bit doolally over the last few months. (No, you don't have to leap in to agree...) The reason is I realised when reading a couple of books over the last few weeks that I must have read books that I had missed putting in my log of what I'd read. So there's a couple of titles this time that make it appear as if I was so besotted in their series that I had to move quickly from one to the next.

And here's the first example! I must have read Jasper Fforde's Well of Lost Plots last November or December, but had missed saying so. The follow-up in the Thursday Next series made me realise. These two see our heroine, Thursday, enter the world of books, hiding from the Goliath Corporation by taking up residence within the text of an unfinished and unpublished book. The premise of these books is that the characters in books act out their lines whenever someone is reading their book, but at other times they can please themselves what they do. They are very clever and very funny. Whilst in bookworld Thursday becomes a literary detective, working for the organisation Jurisfiction.

I'm nearing the end now of the Gregory Sallust series about the World War II spy by Dennis Wheatley. In this one Gregory goes off to Hungary to see if the country is ready to rebel against their German allies and runs into a past and very beautiful lover, Sabine, who has since become the mistress of Ribbentrop. This makes for an unlikely but logical alliance and after passing through many trials and tribulations Gregory has to explain himself to his great love Erika whilst risking all to save her rival for his affections. No pain, no gain, Greg my lad...

And then to a very different sort of book about World War II. Purporting to be a memoir this is, I suspect, an enhanced and fictionalised account of Sven Hassel's time in a penal regiment of the German army. Not for the faint hearted and with graphic details of atrocities and casualty it manages never the less to be a tale of comradeship and a warning to today's generation never to allow this to happen again.

Meanwhile in the unbelievable world of the Famous Five there is yet another girl impersonating a boy in this, the fourteenth, episode. What was it with Enid Blyton? At least in this one the girl in question does not want to be a boy, but is forced to take on a new identity to mitigate against risk of kidnap as she is the daughter of Professor Quentin's American partner in science. George conveniently gets kidnapped instead and they all gorge on an extra portion of lashings of tomatoes and ginger beer. Well, ok they go off and rescue her, capturing the baddies and trumping the police force once again. And as if two girl/boy confusions aren't enough, gypsy girl Jo makes her third appearance in the series.

Here's my other boo-boo. I read the third Matthew Bartholomew mystery A Bone of Contention back in January and cheerfully forgot about it as I'd been away when I finished it. In this the 14th century Cambridge Master tries in vain to convince a carried-away college house that the bones they have found are not those of a local martyr - who Matthew knows to have survived and scarpered.

In A Deadly Brew he has to deal with smugglers and a rash of deaths from a strange poison. I've got into this series now and have the happy prospect of several more books to come as this series is approaching the twenty books mark.

Well yes ok this is a strange one to be sure! The For Dummies series is actually for anything but dummies. This volume contains chapters from several previous titles and was compiled on the 25th anniversary of the first book DOS for Dummies. In the old early days of computers users had to know at least a smattering of the DOS programming language before Windows and the two-button mouse first came out to make things easier. Without icons to choose, users had to type in a command to do the simplest tasks like change directories (now called folders) and then a separate command had to be typed to list the contents which simply scrolled off the screen if there were more than would fit on a screen.

This free book for Kindle contains chapters covering the French language, wine, leadership, marketing, dating, sex, English and Canadian history and more. I now know what wine to drink when having sex with a historic French leading market stall holder...

The second in Philippa Gregory's series Cousins At War. This tells the story of the reigns of Henry VI, Edward IV and Richard III from Margaret Beaufort's point of view. She was the mother of the first Tudor king, Henry VII and grandmother to Henry VIII. In this she comes across as a rather arrogant would-be saint who interprets God's signs in ways that promote her son's claim and pathway to the throne throughout her life until the book ends with his success at the Battle of Bosworth. If this comes as a spoiler to anyone, you really should have paid more attention at school...

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