Thursday, 7 July 2016

2016 Reading Part 2

Dismal isn't it...? My rate of book reading since retiring has dropped beyond all recognition. From around 60 books per year I'm heading towards about one third of that amount. I still enjoy books but with being at home, I'm either watching TV, fiddling away on the computer, or doing something other than reading. I like to read for at least an hour before sleep, but the purchase of a tablet computer has eaten even into that! However, here we go with my second (!) reading list of the year.

Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein is a 1956 science-fiction novel in which a failing actor and mimic is hired by spacemen to take on the role of a prominent politician on Mars, who in real life has been kidnapped by his political enemies. Lorenzo Smythe (The Great Lorenzo) hoodwinks everyone into believing that the politician, John Joseph Bonforte, is still at liberty to the point of winning an election. From a starting point where Lorenzo disagrees with Bonforte's views and policies to his acceptance and eventual commitment to driving them forward makes for a great read.

The fourth in the series of Dennis Wheatley's books about the daring exploits of Roger Brook sees the English spy forced to act for his French enemies in order to infiltrate deep into the Revolutionaries' leaders. He finds and then loses a long-lost love and then despite best efforts fails to save the lives of the French King and his family. That's not so much a spoiler as a fact of history and as always Mr Wheatley provides lots of impeccably researched detail.

I went on holiday with the Kindle and realised I had not bought as many new books for it as I had thought... None in fact... So I returned to my Entire Works of Sherlock Holmes and read not just this one, but two entire volumes of the short stories. I've recently been watching the TV series set in the modern day with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman too which I've thoroughly enjoyed. You know my methods...

I read this after we had returned from Florida (our holiday exploits in Walt Disney World can be read on this blog) but it was the wrong way round to do it. I found myself continuously wishing "Oh, I wish I'd known that when we were there!" so that's my recommendation for this entry - if you are heading for Orlando and the Disney parks, read this book first before you get there! And even better, put it in your backpack to refer to whilst you're there!

I've reached the thirteenth book in the Matthew Bartholomew series by Susanna Gregory and it is very nearly thirteenth time unlucky for Matthew, the medical Fellow of Cambridge University in the 13th century, as a charlatan magician claims to heal all sorts of ailments up to and including death! His hypnotic hold over the townsfolk of Cambridge and his sleights of hand healing turn the wrath of the townsfolk against all of the Cambridge medical practitioners, not all of whom survive to live another chapter...

My uncle turned up one day with this book and said "Here you are, JB. If this doesn't make you laugh then there's something wrong with you!" I can confirm that there's nothing wrong with me! An excellent book. I've not read any Terry Pratchett since I read the first book - The Colour of Magic - which was frantic and had plenty of action, but perhaps not as much by way of plot and destination as I usually like. I half seem to remember also reading a long time ago, one about the university of wizards which I can't remember much about now. This one, I'd recommend to anyone who likes fantasy and comedy intermixed.

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