Tag Archives: Sue Grafton

World Book Day 2015… well, yesterday

Driving along to work, you don’t expect the princess from Brave walking to her school.

That was how World Book day 2015 started for. As early as it was, I was most definitely not hallucinating.

I have been fortunate enough to have access to books and libraries from being a school kid. Not exactly something that was encouraged at home, but not frowned upon neither. My earliest memories of reading at school involved Captain Pugwash. I remember quite distinctly, having borrowed five famous five books by Enid Blyton. These were read, generally, when I was feeling a bit under the weather. Even now. that is the association that I have.  There was proper book consciousness if you like, at the time I went from primary to secondary school.

‘Kidnapped’ by R.L.Stevensonson will forever be associated with the Scottish headteacher at Primary school. Her idiolect and vernacular, actually, were spot on for the text and it’s almost gothic imagery.  ‘Goosbumps’ by R.L.Stein also featured heavily. Being a fan of history, Horrible Histories would have to feature as well. If it had not  been for the local libraries, I do think I would have been a bit stuck. Especially, as I one year I wanted to read the full version, and not the abridged version of Victoria Holt’s ‘India Fan’ and hunted it down.  I went through a phase of reading books from Reader’s Digest, for some reason.

Roald Dahl was always going to feature heavily. Matilda, I read at school. The BFG, as well. Probably most of what is in the treasury. There was the movie explosion of Babe, Dick King Smith became popular with ‘The Sheep Pig’. There was something special, about our English Lessons!  The BFG appeared again at A-level, and I had to compare it with ‘Alice in wonderland.’ Two texts, with a lot in common. A lot, which at years 7-11, you don’t necessarily see or then understand. Lord of the flies at GSCE, was something of an eye opener. As was reading ‘The handmaiden’s tale,’ which i read in conjuction with ‘ a girl with a pearl earring’, one summer.

Shakespeare does count, with it’s little penguin classics that appeared throughout the school years. From Julius Caeser, the scottish play-you know the one-Richard the second was the A-level text that I still enjoy til now. Part of the A level course was to compare and contrast two books. I did at first try ‘Grapes of Wrath’. Only the dustbowl, and constant ‘Rose of Sharon’ made it difficult to read. So I tried ‘Brave new world’, by Aldous Huxley. This was a good book, and would have been compared with Eutopia, which I think is by Thomas More. I didn’t get as far as More, he wasn’t calling to me. On the back of Brave new world, I also read ‘The Clockwork Orange’. I primarily wanted to see what the fuss was all about. It is graphic, there are horrible sections. But as a book, a piece of narrative. I thought it was a job well done. I even felt something for Alex, by the end of it. Talking of an Alex, I failed with ‘The Beach’.  Also read ‘1984’, thought that was another good classic. Not a fan of Bronte novel though. For my 16th birthday, I was brought the entire ‘Chronicles of Narnina’  and this lead me to read ‘the screw tape letters’ whilst doing A-Level RS. The latter was also serialised, I think, on Radio 4 about then.

I must have collected hundreds of books, clogging up rooms. Time came that these were sent off to new homes. Such as the clutch of Terry Prachett discworld novels that I found weren’t my cup of tea. Things that have stayed, are the Shakespeare, the entire range of Harry Potter, most of Sansom, that I have in Hard back. Kept still, are all of the Tudor Court Novels by Phillipa Gregory. I can’t not mention ‘The time traveler’s wide’, and ‘We need to talk about Kevin.’

Again, i appeared to have collected lots and lots. Plus, I decided to look at an e-reader. The positive being that i wouldn’t have to clog up spaces. Last summer, I spent time reading  the Bond novels , i still have two remaining. Eighteen months into Sue Grafton, I haven’t got over half way with that either. The cousin’s war series by Phillipa Gregory, no longer holds sway with me. I am still stuck, painfully, in the middle of ‘wolf hall’ and ‘Bring up the bodies’. The use of pronouns and punctuation does my fruit in. Must have deleted once already, and just want to finish how it goes. I know the story, i know it well. But the fuss does seem a bit over egged to me.

There are even gardening books, that I have, believe it or not. I bought one, so I could have a good start. Don’t worry, this are kept safe. Have even collected preserving book as well.

Reading books is nice enough, a wonderful way of exercising your imagination. The time you spend reading, changes as you get older. It becomes increasingly more difficult to shoe horn time in. The one thing that is strikingly clear though.


Never underestimate the power of a good book.

A year is along time for a book

This time last year, I had found the Ian Fleming ‘Bond’ novels, as well as Sue Grafton’s ‘Alphabet’ series. The festive season, saw me stuck to the e-reader because of them. I have two of the Fleming Canon left, and with Grafton, I am on ‘Q is for Quarry’. I am putting of the Fleming books, as I can see myself being sad at them ending. This was somewhat heightened, when I watched ‘SkyFall’ for the third time, as well as few of the Pierce Brosnan ones. It’s Christmas, it’s not the same without Bond is some shape for form. I don’t remember there being a single Bond movie on last year, if you don’t have Sky. Positively spoiled this year. Then the new Bond movie was announced, and I couldn’t help but feel a bit smug. I know about S.P.E.C.T.R.E! I have always liked Bond is some way, the face of Bond was just a happy bonus. Reading the original novelisation does add to the depth of the franchise. You start to appreciate the nuances to a very complex character.

With Sue Grafton, I have found myself a bit stuck. I have got as far as Q, but I can’t seem to push myself forwards and through the book. The book does have a slight columbo, seventies feel to it. Yes, I know, it’s set in the 80’s. But I think it straddles the two decades, and there is a dusty quarry involved. I would quite like to get through to the end of the series. It’s not a bad series, some books are good, at breakneck speed. Others are a bit of an amble through the countryside when it is raining.

The ‘cousins at war’ series by Phillipa Gregory is also somewhat stuck. There had been the television series, I didn’t watch it. Sort of put me off really. The way that the book was written, it was as though the book was instructions how to film it.

History has featured a little too. Two books about The Plantagenets, one by Derek wilson, the second by Dan Jones, were very easy to read. Informative and quite accessible. That said, Lucy Wolsey featured recently. In the summer, having gone to Hampton Court, I read ‘Henry VIII: King and Court’ by Alison Weir.

For counselling, I finally got around to reading ‘Counselling for toads’. A very good, character rich description of Transactional Analysis. The one big book, that i was waiting for, was of course the return of Shardlake in ‘Lamentation’. Glad I waited, and I will probably read some of it’s predecessors.

There have been a few addtions made. I have succumbed, and got the first two of the Fire and Ice saga. As well as bernard Cromwells  Warriors series, and some one called D.K. Wilson. Oh, I tried to make a start on ‘The Godfather’. I have read the first chapter, and it’s hard. it’s very difficult, with lots of detail.

Hitting the books as winter falls

As the wind chills, winter descends and advent becomes under way; the time spent on the allotment gets less and less. I might potter down then, and do the odd tidy. But with darkness after school, I spent the short amount of time I do use, on the weekends. That means the evenings after work comprise of box sets and reading books.Whilst I have a small library of books-it used to be bigger, but those books that i hadn’t read in five years were donated to a college-I know have an e-reader. This means mama h doesn’t complain about the space they take up, and I can have hundreds to choose forom.

Last night after counselling class last night, I finally got around to around to finishing off http://www.amazon.co.uk/Counselling-Toads-Psychological-Robert-Board-ebook/dp/B000FA622A/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1417629626&sr=1-1&keywords=counselling+for+toads I had started this last year, when the level 2 counselling class had spoken about Transactional Analysis. I was somewhat stumped about it, transactional analysis, at the time and was last night when the class covered it again. Serves me right,I should have perhaps read something about it. Anyway, last night, class finished early so I decided to try again, and went back to the beginning. I’m glad I did. I always find it difficult to resume from a stuck point. The book is a quick read, but then i do tend to quick read. Very simple, straight forward, and the mechanics of counselling, from a person centred approach were there. For instance, the contract setting and the theory were very familiar. I found that useful, a way of hanging my hat on something. It didn’t feel alien. Plus transactional analysis was explained really well. Having toad and the rest of the wind in the willows cast was really useful. Though I do dislike Ratty, and a lot.

But some books are just not that easy. I am stuck on ‘P for Peril’ by Sue Grafton. Half way, and perhaps it is just my brain not wanting to negotiate it. I like reading novels in a series. If Shardlake ever ends, I am likely to be heart broken. I started at ‘A for Alibi’ and would like to make it all the way through to the end. I am currently waiting for the e-reader to charge, and I am going to try and make it towards the end of the novel. Still have a couple of phillipa gregory’s ‘Cousin’s war’ series to go. I wasn’t particularly enamoured with that series, actually. Tudor court was much better in comparison. Failed miserably with ‘Wolf Hall/Bring up the bodies’. Not sure how that has won awards or become a huge theatre show.

Have yet to finish all Fleming’s Bond novels. Not too sure, if the non-canon books are going to make it onto my list of reads.

So much read on the e-reader, not a single gardening book though.

Grafting through Grafton

I have got as far as ‘L for lawless’, the alphabetic instalment of Kinsey Malone’s Private Eye detective series. I am aiming for a ‘Grafton day’ where I can read a good few of them and get through the books.

Having read some but not all of Raymond Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe novels, Kinsey Malone is the eighties, non noir crime equivalent gumshoe. Yes, the novels are formulaic, they plod through procedural stages as Kinsey pootles through in her well loved and fairly pranged automobile. But they are readable. There is the ability to be transported away to the fictional town of Santa Therese where you meet the varied strata that make up the spectrum of the local populace.

Having arrived half way through the eighties. I have few salient memories of that era and graftons description stucco houses and parcels of lands, evokes images of papier mâché models that architects might build. Reading, it does feel as though Grafton was sat in the cabinet war rooms in London. Moving Kinsey, the bad guys and the plot along, as though she was discussing a game of ‘Risk’.

Even at the K stage, we don’t know much about Kinsey. Yeah, she’s been married twice. And one of them, is a feckless toad with musical tendencies. She lives in a shoebox outhouse thing built by her landlord Henry, who I always imagine to be one of the fellas from Goonies. Her family, of which there was a only one aunt; is now coming into the picture. Kinsey is skittish and hesitant about what she might uncover. So yeah, she can go rattle the closets of crooks to shake out the skeletons, but her own cupboard under the stairs has a very a sticky door. Being an ex-copper, Kinsey has a yeah but no relationship with the local police department. Guess that works, even Batman needed a copper and so did Angel in the Whedon-verse.