Thursday 1 May 2014

April 2014

 Has been a slow month here at bookworm HQ. Had a bit of a break from reading at the start of the month, as I had something far far more important to do. I had almost two weeks to spend with my other half before he jetted off on his RAF sponsored holiday. Obviously spending time with him was just a little bit more important than keeping up with my reading, so it kinda fell by the wayside a bit.

At the end of the month I spent a few days helping out at the Cambridge shop; they needed some help moving stuff around and getting everything settled in after expanding their shelving a fair bit. Working here brought home to me just how little my current store really is, even compared to my last shop, we have so little space to play with that it is amazing that we get as much out as we do. A couple of things beyond the range of stock were really nice about working in the larger, more literary minded store that is Cambridge. Firstly the number of gorgeous translated books, whole displays from my old friends Pushkin Press and &Other Stories; they even had a copy of Szerb's The Third Tower on show in the window which made me happy right from the start.
The second thing that I liked about working there for the week, was that for the first few days I was given a totally free rein to tidy and reorganised the history section. This was just like old times, only with a few more books here and there. I absolutely loved getting the section back into shape, a proper return to the good old days. This brought home to me just how well stocked my old history section really was. So many of the books that I came into contact with in Cambridge were ones that I had lovingly re-shelved back in my old store too. A couple of lovely days rearranging this section to my satisfaction countered by a day's penance spent re-shelving the Mind Body and Spirit section. Most of this I don't really have a problem with, the Mythology and Wicca  bit is fine, as is most of the fortune telling part; as a teenager I certainly would have  enjoyed these bits; even now I'm partial to some of this kind of thing from time to time for old time's sake. In fact there was a time when I knew all the best places to pick up a spell book. There was a particularly good place round the corner from Camden Lock, that me and my friends used to visit on the odd Saturday up in London. Lots of the Self-Help books annoy me quite a bit, especially when people come looking at them as gifts for friends. I think I might take offence just a little bit if someone presented me with a book designed to deal with a 'failing' on my part. However the portion of this section that really makes me want to start throwing things about the room is the ridiculous 'I can talk to Angels' largely Doreen Virtue based bit. This combines misery with total bulls**t to create something that winds me up just looking at it. Sorting this section out countered against all the fun I had dealing with the history bit... so nothing in the universe was out of balance there!

So to the reading I've done this month, as usual some really great things alongside a few not so great. I discovered Antal Szerb this month which was quite a find, one of those authors who I've been meaning to read ever since I saw his name alongside that of Stefan Zweig and Hans Fallada. It was well worth the wait to read some of his works. The Third Tower is a lovely little travelogue around Northern Italy while Oliver VII seems to combine Banffy/Wilde and Anthony Hope to make a very funny balanced novel about a dissatisfied central European monarchy. I have a few more of his books to be looking at and hope I'll be able to make a start with at least one of these in May. The other translated works I read this month included The Beggar and the Hare which is gorgeous and which has reaffirmed my desire to read a few Finnish classics, and Big Bad Wolf, the second of the Nele Neuhaus crime novels. This is due to be published as a normal paperback at the end of July and is well worth a look for any fans of Scandi crime. If you haven't read the first one Snow White Must Die then you really do need to go get yourself a copy. I'll be interested to see just how many Grimm references Neuhaus and the translators can make use of with this series.

The book that blew me away this month was Son of the Morning by Mark Alder, if you've looked at my review of this one from earlier in the month, you will see that I got rather over excited about this one. I loved absolutely every moment of reading it. It's complex, dark, bloody and very funny. With some brilliant historical detail and a surprisingly simple basic concept. The past is treated in a wonderfully irreverent way that really got me excited. I spent a wee while talking to the author after I'd read and reviewed this one... and got more and more agitated talking about all the bits and pieces that could be drawn into this fantasy series. I think he may have got a little bit fed up with my geeky enthusiasm but there we go... He needs to get on with writing the next book anyway hehe. Don't let the fantasy label put you off with this one, there are certain fans of Bernard Cornwell's medieval books who could also get a lot from reading SotM.

Other great books this month, (and please don't be annoyed that you are only in my other great books bit) have included Christopher Moore's Shakespearean romp though the Venetian plays that is The Serpent of Venice, James Smythe's The Machine a twist on the Frankenstein story and Nicole Mary Kelby's The Pink Suit a novel about the Kennedy assassination told from a very unusual perspective. These are all well worth checking out if you get the chance and these, along with everything else I have read this month have all been reviewed on here so please have a look.

April has seen me read a mere eleven books.. so I really am slipping. Nine of these I aquired in the first few months of the year one in April itself, and only one came from my to be read heap. I aquired 41 new books of the course of the month so lots more to tempt me throughout May, I'd best just knuckle down to it hadn't I?

Books aquired in April...............

Death a life George Pendle The Hunting Gun Yasushi Inoue
The Corpse-Rat King Lee Battersby Murder Book Jonathan Kellerman
Good Luck of Right Now Matthew Quick Prisoner of Night and Fog Anne Blankman
History of London David Long The Shattered Crown Richard Ford
Last Bus to Coffeeville J Paul Henderson Forbidden Tomb Chris Kuzneski
Before the Fall Juliet West Everything Begins at Midnight Charlene Harris
Metropole Ferenc Karinthy The Pink Suit Nicole Mary Kelby
In The Morning I'll Be Gone Adrian McKinty Ten Cities that Made an Empire Tristram Hunt
Everland Rebecca Hunt Smoke and Mirrors Neil Gaiman
Zodiac Station Tom Harper Strange Girls and Ordinary Women Morgan McCarthy
Compartment No 6 Rosa Liksom If I Knew You Were Going to be this Beautiful Judy Chicurel
The Circle Dave Eggers An Englishman in Madrid Eduardo Mendoza
Plague CC Humphries The Merman Carl-Johan Vallgren
Digging for Richard III Mike Pitts Shadow of Night Deborah Harkness
The Oversight Charlie Fletcher Discovery of witches Deborah Harkness
The Vanishing Witch Karen Maitland Big Bad Wolf Nele Neuhaus
Descartes Bones Russel Shorto The Lying Down Room Anna Jaquiery
Easter Parade Richard Yates The Axeman's Jazz Ray Celestin
Above Isla Morley The Poppy  Nicholas J Saunders
The Three Sarah Lotz Our Happy Time Gong Ji-Young
    An Appitite for Violets Martine Bailey

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