The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own.
— Adam Gopnik

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June 30, 2018

A little bit (not very) different ...

Some days, I'm aware that I don't travel all that far and wide in the books that I read; other days, I tell myself that I know what I like, and there are plenty of good books that fit into those probably-too-narrow confines.  Most days, I don't worry about it, and that's all for the best. :)  But it was fun today to realize that the two books I just finished were the kind I'm always drawn to, but weren't the usual thing.

As you may know, I love Angela Thirkell's Barsetshire novels.  I've collected them all, read most of them, am slowly re-reading them, and am so happy that she's had a resurgence.  Coronation Summer is one of her three(?) standalone novels, and until a little while ago I had assumed that it was about the coronation of the current queen. {The cover of my paperback has a more ambiguous illustration than at the vintage cover above. :)}  It's actually, though, about two friends, Emily and Fanny, who have a chance to visit London at the time of Queen Victoria's.  There are silly brothers, and handsome young rakes, and fathers who gamble, and romantic triangles, and some colorful descriptions of the procession to and from the ceremony.  It reminded me a little of Georgette Heyer, but isn't as witty as her novels (or Thirkell's others) are.  Coronation Summer was fun and forgettable, and a perfect book to listen to on my lazy warm-weather walks.

As you may also know, I read mysteries by the handful, so it was nice to find one with an interesting twist. The sleuth in The Word is Murder is Daniel Hawthorne, a disgraced Scotland Yard detective who's still brought in as a consultant on difficult cases, and as he starts investigating the murder of a middle-aged woman who is killed on the same day that she visits a funeral parlor to plan her own funeral, he decides to strong-arm a writer he knows into writing a book about him {Hawthorne Investigates}.The twist here is that his reluctant but fascinated sidekick is Anthony Horowitz himself.  It's a great idea, Hawthorne is a great character, and I think Horowitz pulls it off, though he lost me a little, right at the very end.

Neither of these books was outstanding, in my humble opinion, but I enjoyed reading them and if nothing else, they've just added to the ongoing pleasure that I get from liking what I like.  :)

Coronation Summer, by Angela Thirkell
Originally published in 1936
Audiobook, purchased from Audible

The Word is Murder, by Anthony Horowitz
Harper Collins, 2018

Borrowed from the library

1 comment:

JoAnn said...

Amen to your first paragraph!! My reading this year has been noticeably more narrow than in years past and, initially, I had mixed feelings about it. Lately I'm just comfortable and happy in my contemporary-literary-fiction-by-female-authors bubble. Eventually I'll miss nonfiction and classics, but I'll probably stay in this groove for the summer.

Glad you enjoyed your last two book. The same, but different is good! :)

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