Books By The Bedside #4

It’s time for me to do a little sharing of what I am reading, and of course ask you all to do the same, with my latest ‘Books by the Bedside’ post. I have to admit after my break away and the utter lack of reading while I was there I did come back and have a small period of readers block. That seems to have cleared now thankfully and I am back on reading form. Phew!

One of the books that got me out of a funk, and I am still dipping in and out of, was ‘Adrian Mole From Minor to Major’ which is a collection of the first three volumes of his diaries (‘The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾’, ‘The Growing Pains of Adrian Albert Mole’ and ‘True Confessions of Adrian Albert Mole’) written by Susan Townsend. I was look at books that would get younger people reading, to deliver a presentation for that job I didn’t get sadly, and so dug these out for a re-read. Well, I have been in hysterics! I forgot how funny, and how rude, they are and it is amazing that they haven’t aged, despite the fact they were 30 years old this year they read quite currently.

The second book was also one that I picked up to dip into while I had the small reading block. Nancy Mitford’s essays ‘A Talent to Annoy’ was a book I spotted last week in the library, the perfect place to wander when you have no idea what to read, and almost whooped with joy when I spotted as it is really hard to get hold of. They are perfect quick sharp reads for when you only have five minutes spare and her dry and wry humour just gets me every time.

I am also currently reading two other books. This is very unlike me but let me explain. I have been reading a very advance copy of Colm Toibin’s ‘The Testament of Mary’ which, as I am not religious, is taking me a lot longer than I expected as I keep having to go and Google all the references, like the story of Lazarus, that I know little of. Now when I was getting my head around all this I had a book sort, not ridding myself of any just manoeuvring them around, and I picked up ‘The Age of Miracles’ by Karen Thompson Walker and read the first page… two hours later I was still reading, utterly hooked, and have now almost finished it but as I don’t want it to end I am back to Colm. Do any of you do that?

I then have two books that I am really keen to get to once these lovely reads are all over. I have not read one of Susan Hill’s Simon Serrailler novels in quite a while, the sixth comes out soon and I suddenly realised I was only on the third. ‘The Shadows in the Street’ was a purchase at an independent bookshop I will be writing about very soon. I weirdly had the fifth in this series but not the fourth and though they stand alone I am a stickler for reading in order.

Last, but certainly not least, is ‘Bringing Up The Bodies’ by Hilary Mantel. Now I admit I did say I was going to resist reading this until at least Christmas because I was so sick of hearing about it, then it was long listed for this year’s Man Booker, the hype went up and suddenly I was desperate to read it. I think it the fault of Anne Boleyn, I am fascinated by her and so that is the major pull. Oh and the fact that I loved ‘Wolf Hall’ of course.

So that is what is on my reading horizon, what is on yours?

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20 Comments

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20 responses to “Books By The Bedside #4

  1. I love Mantel’s Cromwell Series (and Anne Boleyn)! I would recommend “The Six Wives of Henry VIII” by Alison Weir and “The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn” by Eric Ives – if you haven’t already read them.

    • I haven’t read either of those Misha, I think once I am done with Mantel I will be having a Tudor break for a while, I don’t like books to get too samey hence why I don’t read a crime series in one go, but I have noted these titles for future reference so a big thanks.

  2. Sharkell

    I am half way through Bring Up the Bodies and it doesn’t disappoint. I think it is probably better than Wolf Hall. I am also dipping into Forecast: Turbulence by Janette Hospital Turner, a book of short stories that has just been shortlisted for The Age book of the year (The Age is a newspaper based in Melbourne). I generally don’t like short stories but I am really enjoying these. Next on my reading pile is HhnH by Laurence Binet and then The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. I love Colm Toibin, I can’t wait to hear what you think of his new book.

    • Oh I am glad that it is good. I am excited about it now. I was feeling a bit ‘meh’ about it because of all the hype. But a guy is allowed to change his mind isn’t he?

      Those short stories sound good.

  3. darla

    When my son was around 14 years old, we read the Secret Diary of Adrian Mole together. It was great fun and we loved the British humour and the words and sayings we were not familiar with. We still refer to it at times and he is now 22. it became a classic for us.

    • i think that was the age that I was when my mother got me to read them, I just thought they were hilarious and its been nice to see they still are. I have told my little siblings that they should read them. I also loved The Queen and I.

  4. I struggle with reading 2 novels at once, I’ll often have a short story collection or non-fiction book on the go at the same time as a novel. Though I am half way through Bed of Nails which I’ve been reading for ages, can’t decide if I want to finish or not so keep going back to other, more absorbing books.

    • I have to say if I hadn’t been so hooked by The Age of Miracles this would have been my exact stance. It is very rare that I switch between fiction, I can often manage fiction and none but I literally couldn’t put the book down, as cliched as that is. Hmmm if you keep stopping and starting a book I think its a sign that either its mediocre or its a slow burner that will get better.

  5. I’m reading “Periodic Tales” by Hugh Aldersly-Williams at the moment. So far it has been very interesting but I haven’t covered all the elements yet!

  6. David

    Firstly, I’m glad to see you have been hooked by ‘The Age of Miracles’. I wasn’t sure about the premise but picked it up in Tesco’s a few weesk ago as it was half price and I had a Clubcard voucher so it ended up costing me about a quid. I shall now be moving it up the TBR pile. I’m very much looking forward to the Colm Toibin too.

    At the moment I’m just getting to the end of Matthew Condon’s ‘The Trout Opera’, which was published in Australia in 2007 but only made it to our shores in 2010, with very little fanfare. Such a shame as it is magnificent and a wonderful blend of traditional Australian stories of small town outback life and very modern city-living with all its vices, taking in the whole scope of the twentieth century through the eyes of a centenarian man leading up to the opening Ceremony of the Sydney Olympics (so a topical read too!), and so very cleverly structured with its pace echoing both the Snowy River at its heart and the life cycle of the trout that is one of its motifs.
    I’m also reading Julie Orringer’s collection of short stories ‘How to Breathe Underwater’ which are very good – such wonderful characters and so well-written with a superb understanding of how miserable life can be as a child, with its small cruelties.

    On the horizon? Well, I’m looking forward to Pat Barker’s new novel, but wondering if I need to re-read ‘Life Class’ first as I don’t remember the characters too well. Andre Brink’s ‘Philida’ also looks very appealing, as does Lisa Klaussman’s ‘Tigers in Red Weather’.

    • I have heard good things about The Trout Opera before David and I must get around to it at some point. Mind you I am always saying that about so many books. In fact, Julie Orringers book is another one that I have meant to read too. I have heard great things about that on Books on the Nightstand.

      I have eyed up ‘Tigers in Red Weather’ too. There seems to be a big buzz about that one now.

  7. Louise Trolle

    I’m a bit stressed by 3 library books, that I can’t renew anymore – so I’ll probably start them as soon as I’ve finished Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-up Bird Chronicle and Blood Rites by Jim Butcher, they are:
    The Fire Gospel (Canongate Myths)
    by Michel Faber
    The Notebooks of Don Rigoberto
    by Mario Vargas Llosa
    and a book of ancient Greek plays.

  8. That’s a very neat bedside table, Simon! I’m currently reading The Shadows in the Street by Susan Hill as I really enjoy her Simon Serrailler novels. They’re pretty atmospheric and disturbing but I love them!

  9. Russell Gray

    My TBR list, like yours, continues to grow and grow. Right now I am reading The Absolutist – at the high recomedation of one of my friends. Moved it to the top as she read it in one sitting and said it was her read of the summer. I also have the follow up to The Last Werewolf calling my name, as I need to get it to my grandma who loved the first book. I have put Bring Up the Bodies on hold, as every one around me is reading it and I just need a little break from “it is so amazing”. The book that really jumped out at me from the Booker list was The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, so that is on this month’s list. All of this as I try to get through everything for BOTNS’s next booktopia event which I will be attending.

    I am waiting for your review of Sweet Tooth, to see if it is worth picking up. :-)

    Ps. Did you hear about the musical version of Rebecca that is scheduled to hit the Broadway stage??

    • I have heard about the Rebecca musical, I am intrigued but slightly cynical at the same time, is that bad? I have no idea if it is coming to the UK or not!

      My review of Sweet Tooth will go up when the book is out, its all under a very strict embargo. So excited to discuss with you all though.

      I might try the Harold Fry after Green Carnation Prize submissions are done. I need to crack on with those so the blog might have a bit of a hiatus/holiday or something soon. I had the same issue with the Mantel as you, now its vying for my attention.

  10. The Age of Miracles sounds great but I must admit my inner anti-YA snob has been a bit suspicious despite all the positive reviews, so it’s encouraging to hear someone else who has loved it. I must pick up a copy soon! As for my own bedside reading, I am currently slowly savouring Murakami’s 1Q84 and will probably pick up Turn Of Mind by Alice La Plante in between.

  11. Pingback: Books By The Bedside #5 | Savidge Reads

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