More Comfort Reading…

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.

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This entry was posted in Frank O'Hara, Silent in the Sanctuary, Sylvia Plath, The Book Thief, The Man in the Brown Suit, The Seventh Gate. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to More Comfort Reading…

  1. Maw Books says:

    Oh, you musn’t give up on The Book Thief. I just read it last month and I thought it was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. It did take me a while to get used to the “announcements” made by death. But I soon found myself looking forward to them. I heard another blogger say, that Death is never convenient and always annoying. I think Zusak used this literay tactic to make a point. We never want Death around do we?

  2. Cailleach says:

    I am green-eyed over your Frank O’Hara and Sylvia Plath. I got a copy of Ariel when it came out two years ago (or was it three or four?) and enjoyed the way they’d worked to show the collection the way that she would have wanted it. There were also facsimile versions of her typewritten poems in the bac – so interesting!Anyway – The Book Thief sounds interesting as does your other recommendation. I am considering looking for a box set of Christies; as much as for me as for the elder two kids, who I know would enjoy them as much as I did at their ages.Great news on the working front – needs must when the Devil drives!

  3. brunhilde says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Table Talk says:

    I know just what you mean about the better weather. It was warm enough to sit out on the campus in Birmingham this afternoon reading between seminars and i couldn’t believe how good the sun felt. Let’s enjoy it while we can!

  5. brunhilde says:

    I lost my comment! How did I do that??? Anyway, congratulations on being able to sit at the South Bank without buying books (and on the job…). Been reading Ted Hughes’ letters which sent me back to Plath, have to be feeling stgrong for her, and Frank…well, you know about Frank and me…

  6. belle says:

    Swing over to mine, river, and come and collect your awards – there are two with your name on :o)

  7. riverwillow says:

    maw books, sorry it took so long for me to respond, I’m glad you enjoyed it, my problem isn;’t Death narrating (I spent my teenager years as a goth hanging around cemetaries), its just those injections explaining what’s happening, which are completely unnecessary.Cailleach, your copy of Ariel sounds so much better than mine, which is just a book a pain edition.Brunhilde you will be impressed at my strength as I’ve so far managed to avoid buying any books on the South Bank – but once I get paid, whoo hoo.

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