Reading – Catch up

Over the summer I have continued reading, and despite going away on a a couple of holidays, I managed to read quite a few books. I even succeeded in reading a couple of non fiction books, and sneaked in a book in German. Not bad, if I say so myself. Crime novels of course made up most of the books –  11 in all. Six were general fiction and four were non fiction. Only four were in audio format. Running out of good titles in the library!

Too many books to comment on them all, but here is the complete list, starting with the crime novels.

  • The Chosen, by Kristina Ohlsson
  • Bed of Nails, by Antonin Varenne
  • Savage Spring, by Mons Kallentoft
  • Dying Fall, by Elly Griffiths
  • No Echo, by Anne Holt
  • Cold Grave, by Craig Roberston
  • I can see in the dark, by Karin Possum
  • The Darkest Goodbye, by Alex Gray
  • River of the Dead, by Barbara Nadel
  • The Fire Maker, by Peter May
  • Fangschuss, by Sunil Mann

All were enjoyable reads, mostly by old favourites of mine.  The Darkest Goodbye is the latest in the William Lorimer series, set in Glasgow. I have almost up to date with Elly Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway series in Norfolk and Anne Holt’s Hanne Wilhemsen series set in Oslo. The Fire Maker is the first of Peter May’s novels set in Beijing to feature the odd couple of Li Yan and Margaret Campbell. Already looking forward to the rest in this series. Fangschuss is the first in a new series set in Zurich, by Sunil Mann, who is of Indian origin. Not surprisingly his private detective, Vijay Kumar, is also of Indian origin. A good and exciting start.

The general fiction novels were:

  • Flood of fire, by Amitav Ghosh
  • Leaving Berlin, by Joseph Kanon
  • The Silesian station, by David Downing
  • Zoo station, by David Downing
  • The Blackbird House, by Alice Hoffmann
  • Experiment in Love, by Hilary Mantel

I also enjoyed reading all these books. Leaving Berlin, the Silesian station and Zoo station are in their different ways spy novels and all are set in Berlin. The first after the war and the other two, just before the war. The Blackbird House is really a collection of short stories all connected by the link the protagonists have with the Blackbird House over the years. Experiment in love is a bitter sweet tale of a young girl.  It is 1970 and 18 year old Carmel is in first year at university in London. During this eventful year she recounts and reflects on her strictish upbringing as a catholic in a mill town in Lancashire. The outstanding novel was Flood of fire, the third and final part of Ghosh’s mammoth and sweeping tale of the founding of Hong Kong and the first opium war. Magnificent story telling with wonderful characters.

The non-fiction books were a varied bunch.

  • Wild, by Cheryl Strayed
  • The Argumentative Indian, by Amartya Sen
  • Independence or Union, by Tom Devine
  • The Joy of tax, by Richard Murphy

Wild is a personal account of the author’s tumultuous early life and her redemption via a harrowing solo trek along the Pacific Crest Trail. Fascinating and very moving. Independence or Union is a succinct  overview of the last three hundred years of Scottish history. A very good background source on how we got to where we are now. The Joy of tax is a rather unusual book. Not many people would dare to write a book this that title. The book is a bit repetitive at times, but Murphy is pretty sound and persuasive in his arguments and recommendations. The pick of this bunch though was The Argumentative Indian, a collection of essays published in 1999. Sen presents a very positive view of India’s rich past and present.Though well aware of the rise of some rather nasty elements in India, Sen reminds us that throughout its history tolerance of differences has been the key aspect of Indians’ approach to life.





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