This past 10 days or so I've been on a new book reading kick. I've been doing my best to reduce Mount To-Be- Read. Do you have a Mount Toobie - you know a pile or stash of books you've acquired and really mean to read but never quite have managed it? My Mount Toobie probably got out of control when I was a hard core Book Crosser - going to meets regularly and joining in with book swaps and Not-So-Secret online swaps. At times I literally had more books that I knew what to do with. Of course it's always good to have a selection of books to dip in so you have something for every mood. Then of course I got a kindle and that created a whole other Mount Toobie. But as that takes up less space I'm not even going to worry about reducing the size of that! My virtual library can rival the Bodleian as far as I'm concerned.
Anyway, I digress. My plan has been to go through Mount Toobie and either read or get rid of the books on it. Sometimes the moment just passes to read something. I really want to rationalise the books I have squirrelled away so I ask myself: Why didn't I read this when I had it? Do I want to read it and if no I'll pass on/wild release.
The first book I started off with was Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier.
I think I've seen the start of the film but I don't remember the plot and the story was totally unfamiliar to me. I think I'd been given this book by my sister in law who thought the book would be up my street. But to be honest I wasn't sure I fancied it. I've always said I don't like historical novels. Then some of the best books I've read have been historical novels! Anyway, I couldn't put it down once I'd picked it up. I loved the stories within stories and the amazing descriptions. I'm not particularly interested in the American civil war era but did engage with this story.
Another book I couldn't put down. Why hadn't I read this before? Well, for every person that said I'd love it, there were others with cautionary warnings about this book and her other book The Little Friend. So listening to the naysayers I kept pushing this up Mount Toobie (or is that down?) Basically it's about a group of elite New England students that commit and act which leads ultimately to their downfall. It reminded me of something from the 1980's brat pack era.
Liza's England by Pat Barker was next up.
I'd read Union Street and Blow Your House Down and had picked this up in a charity shop because it was by the same author. It was only when I started reading it I realised it was set in Middlesbrough where Chief is from. When I mentioned one of the streets that kept being mentioned it turned out Chief had lived in the street across from this one when he was growing up! He's since downloaded the book to read himself on kindle. This would be a great choice for book groups as there is so much in this book to discuss - history, great characters, great descriptions. If you like Pat Barker and haven't read this I would recommend.
This is a fictionalised thriller based on the Bletchley Park Code Breakers. I couldn't remember if I had this book because I'd seen the film and wanted to read it or if I had it then saw the film and didn't want to read it while the plot was so fresh in my mind. Either way I felt bad I hadn't read it as it was passed on by another book crosser and she was only getting shot because she wasn't going to re-read it any time soon and she wanted it read rather than languishing...hmm I think I've had it 10 years!
Next up I read The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton.
I remember buying this in the supermarket when you could get two books on offer. Then I think I was put off reading it because it's over 600 pages. Although I've since learnt that thicker books are often more gripping and easy to read than small ones. Anyway, I loved this and I definitely want to read more by this author. Again I'm wondering why I put off reading this.
Anyway, if you'll excuse me I have more books to read. So hopefully I'll be back with another book round up soon.