For some reason i have a large, even for me a large, number of books going currently. And so, naturally, instead of spending some time reading them, or some of them, i'm sitting down to write about them! Maybe i need to explore why i have so many, why each has attracted mine attention, in order to be able to focus on them properly.
The Man in the Queue, by JosephineTey. I've not read anything by Tey previously, though i have wanted to. Recently i bought a collection of a half dozen of her novels, so wanted to start with one. After all, she is an author one ought to have read, from the classic period of the British detective novel, the second quarter of last century. I started with this one because, as far as i can tell, it was her first; i firmly believe in order and organisation, and that applies to my reading as much as to anything else.
Essays on Duty and Discipline, edited by Isabel Marris. An old book, just over a hundred years old, and i have a hard time not reading old books. I love the feel, the quality, the easy to read print, the slightly thicker paper of the pages, the gold stamped cover. This is a series of essays by assorted members of the Quality of a century ago, from field-marshals to earls, from bishops to politicians, all focussing on what is needed to bring up children, primarily boys, to become excellent men, suitable replacements for themselves. Incredibly priggish, and yet, truth be told, fascinating reading, a lot of which makes sense today in a society which has lost the ability to create meaningful aspirations in the pursuit of celebrity and cash.
Thatcher's Britain, by Richard Vinen. I seem to have an history book going almost all the time, ranging from one of the Oxford History of England series through to the lightest and most popular retellings of familiar stories. This is one of two which are the current entries. I was fascinated by the title when i saw it in the catalogue, perhaps because i remember Thatcher with far more affection than most people seem to; in fact, since i have returned to the United Kingdom, i suspect i have not heard a single person, on the radio, in person, or in print, have anything positive to say about the Iron Lady, and i was curious to investigate why.
The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, edited by John Joseph Adams. A series of short stories about the one character almost no one seems to be able to resist writing about; there are stories here by people from Anthony Burgess to Anne Perry, from Michael Moorcock to Stephen King, and lots and lots i've not heard of. All based on Conan Doyle's character, who seems to have such a compelling impact on authors and readers alike; in the latter case, he has caused whole mythologies, histories, and biographies to be developed; in the former, as here, he appears to inspire huge numbers of new stories, in this book alone about two and a half dozen.
Echoes of an Alien Sky, by James P. Hogan. Simple, straightforward science fiction, i picked it up in the library, taken by the title, which i thought i recognised. I was incorrect, but am enjoying the book.
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. A dramatisation of this was on the BBC recently; i was able to hear parts of it only, and that has persuaded me that i needed to read it again. So far, i'm enjoying the experience.
Empire of Blue Water, by Stephan Talty. I ordered this from a catalogue mostly because it is about pirates and i thought Jacob might be interested in it. Turns out it's more of a history and less of a popular book, though certainly written to be popular. I'm learning a lot about Henry Morgan and his culture that i did not previously know.
Innocent Blood, by P.D. James. There was a time when i first discovered P.D. James and read everything available in the library of whichever town we happened to live in at the time; i thought i had read everything she'd published but was happy to be proven wrong when i saw this on a bookstall in the local marketplace. Naturally, i picked it up, and am enjoying the process of discovering it.
The 13th Tribe, by Robert Liparulo. A book sent to me by my alpha writer; i have only just started this (a chapter or two in), but have expectations of liking it, if for no other reason than i trust her taste.
A novel coming to me in snippets from my alpha, as i perform beta reader services. This is as much fun and as satisfying to read as anything else i'm doing at the moment, not least because i get to be picky and pedantic, which are two things i am excellent at, and because giving feedback to an author is something that i do in my mind almost every book i read, but this time i get to do it for real.
The Names of Things, by John Colman Wood. Not a real book, just an e-book, but included because i am actually reading it. Obtained from Early Reviewers, so will finish it and post a review fairly shortly, i hope, which is my motivation for reading it. It does not appear to be of the highest quality, though i am not a long way into it yet.
The Odyssey, translated by Robert Fitzgerald. Currently i am reading this aloud to Jacob; as he is not with me the vast majority of the time it is a slow process. We usually manage to read one book each time he visits, which implies that we'll be doing it for some months yet. Fortunately, he is and always has been excellent at being read to, following and understanding sufficiently no matter the difficulty of the material, and he's had some great stuff read to him (The Lord of the Rings [an epic in itself] when he was nine, for example).