Most of the books I have read over the holiday period have been forthcoming novels that I can’t really review fully until their publication date, so to fill the gap I’m going to take part in WWWednesday, which is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words, and tantalise you with brief summaries of some of the novels on their way in the next few months.
What Are You Currently Reading?
I have two books on the go at the moment. As before my bed time reading is a complete survey of Robin Hobb’s Farseer Sequence and I’m still working my way, a few pages a night, through Ship of Destiny, which is great because it means that there are still ten more books to go. I wrote in more detail about this project here, so in future I’ll just note that it is on-going.
The other book currently on my reading table is the forthcoming novel from Kate London, Gallowstree Lane. This is the third in her Collins and Griffiths series which is set in a London that Kate herself once helped to police. I’ve hardly started this as yet, so I can’t say much about it other than that it is about an undercover operation that is threatened when a teenager is mortally injured and in asking for help threatens to bring the undertaking out into the open.
London’s work has a harsher edge to it than that of many of her contemporaries. It took me two attempts to get into her first novel, Post Mortem, because the opening was so realistically hard hitting. However, I have come to appreciate the veracity of her story telling and so I am looking forward to getting further into this latest instalment. The book is published at the beginning of February so my review will be available in four or five weeks time.
What Did You Recently Finish Reading?
I’ve just finished the second in Dervla McTiernan’s Cormac Reilly series, set in Galway on the West Coast of Ireland. If you’ve read my previous post you will know that a re-read of the first novel, The Ruin, wasn’t as enjoyable as I’d hoped. So I went into the new book, The Scholar, due for publication in March, with a certain amount of trepidation. Again, I can’t offer a full review until the novel is published, but I can say that McTiernan has addressed two of the problems that concerned me in respect of The Ruin: the narrative line is tighter and the politics within the police squad more believable. I do, however, have some concerns about the main plot, which hinges on a student at the local university submitting work carried out by someone else. (I’m not giving anything away here, it is made clear very early on that this is the case.) This is a situation I have had to deal with and although the deception is one that you might get away with for a short time, I’ve never known it run on for the two year period that is suggested here. If class work doesn’t match up to written work someone will pick it up. University lecturers aren’t as distant from their students as this suggests.
What Do You Think You Will Read Next?
My next read will be Bernard MacLaverty’s Midwinter Break. This is for my Monday afternoon book club next week and several of the other members of the group have already said how much they have enjoyed it, so I am looking for good things. Fantastic Fiction describes it as:
An intense exploration of love and uncertainty when a long-married couple, Gerry and Stella, take a midwinter break in Amsterdam to refresh the senses, do some sightseeing and generally take stock of their lives. Their relationship seems easy, familiar – but over its course we discover the deep uncertainties between them.
Gerry, once an architect, is forgetful and set in his ways. Stella is tired of his lifestyle and angry at his constant undermining of her religious faith. Things are not helped by memories that resurface of a troubled time in their native Ireland. As their vacation comes to an end, we understand how far apart they are – and can only watch as they struggle to save themselves.
I loved MacLaverty’s 1997 novel, Grace Notes, which was word perfect. However, I do seem to recall that whichever group it was I read that for had difficulty getting a handle on it for discussion purposes so I shall be interested to see how next Monday’s session goes. I’m rather glad that I’m not leading it.