I seem to be doing quite well on the reading front, considering I have a relatively new baby. However, I have until recently been reading ‘bitty’ types of books that you can dip in and out of, or fairly light novels. This month, I finished four books and gave up entirely on one.
Moranthology- Caitlin Moran
I’m a big fan of Caitlin Moran; I once ambushed her outside Wagamama’s in Brighton and we had a very good chat for ten minutes which ended with her introducing me to her husband and daughters. Slightly surreal. Anyway, this is a collection of her columns, which for me (too stingy to pay for The Times in any guise) is brilliant. There’s all sorts of topics covered, from an interesting outing with Lady Gaga to mental health. Bonus points as well for the fact that there’s an essay about Anne Lister in here- my grandma is the person who translated the diaries from code, edited and published them. (You can buy my grandma’s book here, if you like.)
All Wound Up- Stephanie Pearl McPhee
Stephanie Pearl McPhee is a bit of a niche writer- her work is described as ‘knitting humour’. I’ve just started, tentatively when the baby’s colic allows it, knitting again in an evening, so this was a welcome read. Unlike the previous two books, there’s more of a mix of topics in this book of essays: parenting, cold weather and life in general are all covered, as well as one or two essays about knitting!
My Policeman- Bethan Roberts
I picked this up expecting an interesting read- it was chosen as Brighton’s City Read last year and I was intrigued by the storyline. It’s set in 1950’s Brighton and tells the story of a young woman who falls in love with a policeman, who falls in love with a gay man. Although I found this interesting from a historical point of view, I found the ending somewhat baffling and dissatisfying. The descriptions of Brighton are fantastic though.
The Killer of Little Shepherds- Douglas Starr
This is a fascinating read. It tells two parallel, true stories: the first, the story of Joseph Vacher, a murderer who terrorised the whole of France in the 1890s and was termed the ‘French Ripper’ and that of Professor Alexandre Lacassagne, one of the founders of modern criminology and forensic pathological science. It’s a pacey book that’s easy to read (despite the tiny font!) and shows how modern policing developed during this time.
The Secret of Crickley Hall- James Herbert
Oh, this promised so much and delivered so little. I had to give up after thirty pages… the description was laboured, the characters were sketchy (who says to their daughter, “You know I still work freelance for women’s magazines from time to time.” ARGH.) and the American dad was a stereotype. Other than that, it was fine. Totally one for the charity shop pile, methinks.
What have you read this month?