Transcription – Kate Atkinson. The murky world of spies in Britain, during WWII and into the post-war cold war period. The opaque, nothing is as it seems atmosphere and characters kept me glued to the pages. This was a read-in-one-sitting book. Recommended.
A Shot in the Dark. A Constable Twitten Mystery – Lynne Truss. Lynne Truss is a British columnist, writer and broadcaster. She’s produced a hilarious whodunnit, set in Brighton, that combines cosiness with cake, a series of murders, whilst taking a satirical swipe at police procedure. Its such good fun that you don’t even notice the wildly improbable plot. Highly enjoyable.
Record of a Spaceborn Few – Becky Chambers. The life stories of five characters, Exodans living in the Fleet i.e. a huge colony of human migrants in space. The book explores not only the philosophical ideas of an exodus from dying planet earth and re-starting in space, but also the logistical minutiae of surviving generationally in space. Many fascinating ideas chanelled through the 5 disparate characters: one older woman, two middle aged women , one young male adult, and a teenage boy. Not to mention a many tentacled Harmagian cultural anthropologist on a visit. I’m a fan of Becky Chambers’ approach to SF.
To be Taught if Fortunate – Becky Chamber. A novella relates the story of four astronauts on a 4-planet space exploration mission ,that ends starkly despite their success. Thought-provoking and philosophical. Recommended.
Transient Desires – Donna Leon. Good old Comissario Guido Brunetti is still solving crime in Venice, this time in the brutal world of human trafficking. Donna Leon always delivers an atmospheric, flavourful whodunnit and this book ticked all the boxes. Enjoyable, despite the grim subject matter.
The Tearoom – Gretchen Haley. Tubby Reddy is a cook, a husband, father, a dreamer in the little coastal town of Usendleleni, Kwa Zulu Natal. He ‘s in love with Yogi, who works in his kitchen; he dreams of another life with her, away from his volatile, pious wife Lynette. He’s waited patiently until both his kids are adults, and is poised to start living his dream life , but …. You will have to read on. An original novel, featuring the KZN Indian community. The bittersweet ending was bravely authentic – life seldom provides neat, tidy solutions. Recommended.
The Victory Garden – Rhys Bowen. A feel-good read set in WWI Britain. Middle class Emily joins the Land Girls to her parents’ horror, and gains independence, a lover, a knowledge of gardening and herbs, and ultimately freedom on her own terms. Plus wartime romance and tragedy. An enjoyable light read.
The Library Book – Susan Orlean. What a marvellous book! It relates the history of the Los Angeles Public Library, a seemingly dull topic but as Adrian Liang, Amazon Editor, says: Orlean can peer through the keyhole of a seemingly picayune topic and see endless fascination on the other side of the door. Every page offered colourful anecdotes, library history both local and global, plus a detailed account of the devastating fire that swept through the Library in 1986 inflicting devastation in its path. A must read for readers and book lovers.
P.S. The book is worth reading for the history of eccentric journalist, adventurer, Charles Lummis who was appointed City Librarian in 1905 – despite having no prior training in the field! The Library Board summarily dismissed the current City Librarian, Mary Jones, simply because she was a woman – infuriating to read this! However, Lummis proved to be a mixed blessing. To describe him as a colourful character is an understatement. The Library Board should have stuck with their female Librarian!