Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Recent and current reading ... and anticipations

Perhaps it is at this time of year that I most miss having a cat.
It is difficult to separate my recent four top fiction titles:
Helen Dunmore Exposure
Ali Smith Public Library and other stories
Graeme Macrae Burnet His bloody project
                                  The disappearance of Adele Bedeau
Close behind them comes Alison Moore's Death and the seaside.

Apart from the Ali Smith stories, the above are all mysteries of one kind or another, but in no way conventional.  I now read all fiction on the kindle, but despite it being quite a tome, I do regret not having bought my current bedtime reading as a physical book.  Peter Frankopan's The silk roads: a new history of the world I suspect will last me into 2017.  It is so extensive in its coverage, so dense with fact with so many footnotes, so demanding of mulling over, so interesting that I am reading it one meaty chapter at a time, with a light mystery novel in between.  I find that the mysteries help me to riddle out the chunks of the history which intrigue me most.  It's so compelling a read for me that it easily survives these intrusions.
The mystery stories have been novels by Sophie Hannah, Margery Allingham, Ngiao Marsh, and Jill Paton Walsh.

The Festive Season means a reading bonanza for me; a kind of hibernation from work and a dedication to devouring as much written material as possible.  Recommended by Marja-Leena Rathe when I wrote about my visit to the Tate Modern Georgia O'Keeffe exhibition I was fortunate enough to find in the UK a good second hand copy of Carr, O'Keeffe, Khalo: Places of their own which looks wondrously substantial. 
A recent visit to the Abstract Expressionists exhibition has also made me want to explore that aspect of art history in more detail, and has reminded me of a book I bought some time ago but was not until now ready to read.  That is Picasso and American Art which I shall read before embarking on the Royal Academy catalogue: Abstract Expressionism.

I shall doubtless try to fit in Ian Rankin's latest Rebus book: Rather be the devil.  I do enjoy returning to Edinburgh, even to its underbelly!


  1. A good mix of titles, Olga.

    I enjoyed Exposure - Helen Dunmore never disappoints. The other four of your top fiction titles are waiting to be read and I'm looking forward to reading them now that they are recommended.

    I like Sophie Hannah's crime thrillers, and I enjoyed The Narrow Bed (I'm assuming that's the one you read), until I got to the motive for the murders which I thought was stupid and totally unrealistic. It spoilt it for me.

    I don't know the rest of the mystery authors you mention. Maybe I should explore.

    Finally, I am hoping to get to see the Abstract Expressionism exhibition, and I think I will wait before I look at the book.

    1. I have only completed reading the first six of Sophie Hannah's Culver Valley books, so have not yet reached The Narrow Bed. I do enjoy her characters and their interactions, but am finding her plots increasingly unbelievable/contrived.
      Margery Allingham and Ngaio Marsh are both from early to mid 20th century, and the Jill Paton Walsh books I've been reading are further imagined stories of Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries. I so enjoy the difference in language and vocabulary, the sayings, the social interactions, etc. A lightweight equivalent to reading a 19th century novel I suppose.

      We did go to the RA to see the Abstract Expressionists last weekend, and I realised how little I really knew about them all. However, I have so much else to catch up with before I embark on that exploration. We did enjoy the exhibition.

  2. I hope I did not spoil The Narrow Bed for you, Olga. I will explore the other three writers you have mentioned.

    1. I shouldn't think so - it will be a while before I get round to it, if I keep on with this series. I also wondered about reading one of her non Culver Valley titles rather than persisting in the rut.