Friday, 1 May 2015

2015 Reading No.2

One of the things I miss, having retired from work, is the opportunity it gave me on many nights alone in hotel rooms to read. I've just finished my twelfth book of the year so far which extrapolates - if I manage to keep up this already poor rate of reading - a mere 36 books for the year. Tsk! I had been reaching over 60! Not to worry, here's what I've been cramming into my brain of late...

The last time I met Shane Rimmer, actor and voice of Scott Tracy from the original Thunderbirds, he told me he had written a book. I bought it for the Kindle and it's a cracking story of the race to identify and counter a terrorist plot against the background of a major golf tournament in Spain. Quite a lot of golfy-type knowledge poured into this as well - I'm not a golfer and a couple of bits I skipped over, but the story is worth persevering with!

The Wars of The Roses are over and the curse of the White Queen and her mother comes close to fruition as Prince Arthur dies, leaving his brother Henry to take the throne and the hand of Arthur's widow, Catherine of Aragon. Still insecure of his throne, taken by his father in battle, he is desperate for a son to carry on the Tudor line and ... as we know, is disappointed.

Oppression, tantrums and a country forced to turn its back on religious beliefs that had been drummed into the population for 700 years. The book is told from the viewpoint of Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, cousin to the York Queen Elizabeth of Henry VII. One of the unhappy few to have been beheaded within the confines of the Tower of London, she suffered horribly at the unsteady hands of a novice headsman.

An obnoxious family with a fortune built on exploitation. A family member who despises the rest of the family. A left-wing academic given an opportunity to expose their past. A naive and sexually repressed young wife with a somewhat different interpretation of the word "extras" than her house guest... Tom Sharpe pokes fun at both left wing and right as events snowball to unbelievable - but quite logical - catastrophe. Hilarious.

Good old Matthew Bartholomew. Whenever I start one of these books I know I'm in for a good read and also know that I won't be able to second guess the ending until it unfolds from the page. The misery of a harsh winter in a time when there was no central heating, no coal for fires, no glass in the windows and no cocoa before bedtime all plays a part as Christmas traditions take over Cambridge University in the 14th century. A troupe of inept entertainers, an obnoxious stranger selling a book of wild ideas and affronting the locals with his scandalous dancing skills... what's not to like as Matthew and Brother Michael set out to solve the latest set of murders, coming perilously close yet again to joining the pile of dead bodies!

And if you thought that was cold...! Ages since I read an Alistair MacLean. This is one of his real-time novels, where each chapter is an hour or a couple of hours of time. Here a polar scientific station high up on the Greenland plateau see a airliner crash and set out to rescue any survivors in temperatures that reach 100 degrees of frost. It turns out that the pilot has been shot and the three staff of the polar station must pit their wits against the unknown killer or killers amongst the small group of survivors from the wreck. Awesomely good.

At last! Julian, Dick and Anne's parents finally admit in this one that they are going on a cruise and that's why they kick their young offspring out to fend for themselves. What a shame! Five Go On A Cruise would have made such a great addition to the series as their parents disappear overboard and we are gripped right up to the shock ending where Anne admits to having thrown the uncaring parents overboard! But no - they meekly trudge down to cousin George's but with Uncle Quentin in conflab with another scientist and wanting peace and quiet, the five plus the other scientist's son are forced to spend their holiday in the cramped environs of a decaying lighthouse which conveniently sits right over a treasure trove! Hurrah! Whoops, did I let out a spoiler there? Sorry folks, it's the excitement getting to me... The modern version has Julian giving old Jeremiah Boogle some sweets. Pah! In the first version I read, the children go to a tobacconists who happily sells them some baccy to take to the old cove! Look everyone! Dick's made a model of the lighthouse! Oh... Dick... how could you....!

Stay tuned for 2015 Reading No.3 sometime in the next few months. I am trying, you know...

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments must be passed by moderator before appearing on this post.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...