I’m afraid that I had to give up on The Book Thief, its rare for me to abandon a book, but I found the interjections from Death really annoying. If you want a literary version of Death, try Terry Pratchett’s, sheer heaven! I’m aware that this book is riding high in the bestseller charts and I do wonder if part of my problem is that I was trying to read another book about Germany during WWII too close to my reading Richard Zimler’s superb The Seventh Gate . I haven’t completely abandoned The Book Thief as I never walk away from a book, I will have another go, when I am in a better mind set – more of that later.
So I turned to this,the follow up to Silent as the Grave and just like its predecessor its a fun novel that doesn’t take itself too seriously and sends up various literary conventions, especially Gothic romance. Every chapter is preceded by a quote from Shakespeare – Lady Julia’s father is a Shakespearian scholar – which just adds depth to the fun. I love novels like this.
I’ve working as a locum for three or four days a week at a large company for the next month or so. Its a welcome boost for my finances, but its going to be a hard couple of months as my other consultancy work has also increased, so I may not be around as much as I have been over the last few months, but I am still around. The big bonus of this locum work is that its on the South Bank and, as the weather has been so good, I’ve spent every lunchtime sitting by the river watching the world go by, whilst avoiding the Book Market, as I used up my monthly book buying quota on Saturday buying far too many books, including two collections of poetry I have lusted after for a while, Sylvia Plath Collected Poems and Frank O’Hara Collected Poems, sheer bliss.
As I am so busy, its comfort reading all the way. Although can I hear you cry ‘not another Agatha Christie’, well there are 84 of them, not including the plays and the Mary Westmacott’s, so Christie’s will be liberally scattered through my reading over the next couple of months. This book was directly inspried by an Empire Tour taken by Agatha and Arthur Christie, and colonial South Africa and Rhodesia take centre stage in the novel. Its also surpising that this was first published in 1924 as its heroine, Anne Beddingfield, is depicted as a modern, liberated, adventerous woman, who falls in love with a man who is best described as a combination of Heathcliff, Rochester and Darcy. This is an adventure story rather than a detective story and really is a ripping yarn.