What staff have been reading – October

This month I read the very lighthearted Heart of Barkness about life seen from the dog who belongs to a Detective.  Very fun.

And after I loved Normal People I went looking for more of Sally Rooney’s books…Conversations with Friends did not disappoint – moody Irish fiction.

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One I finished recently is The gallows pole, a novel by Benjamin Myers that won the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.  Set in early 1770s Yorkshire, this is based on the real story of the Cragg Vale Coiners – men who clipped the edges off gold coin in order to make more coins.  In the background of the story is the looming takeover of the Coiners home weaving work by the ‘dark satanic mills’ of the Industrial Revolution.  The writing is beautiful, somewhat poetic, and the setting, those moody Yorkshire moors are almost another character.  Highly recommended.

I am currently knee-deep in a mystery series with a bit of a difference – the Morton Farrier series by Nathan Dylan Goodwin.  Morton Farrier is a Forensic Genealogist. These books have pacey, interesting plots and are set in Sussex, England mostly. Usually a few contemporary chapters as Morton starts to delve into the case and a chapter or two from a time in the past. Usually someone who will go to extreme lengths to stop family secrets being unearthed. Great fun.  Sadly not readily available here in Australia. I’ve had to download them from Amazon into my ereader but the above The Asylum & Hiding the Past is now on order at the BMCC library.

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I’ve been reading Blueback by Tim Winton to my son. I enjoyed it so much, I’m reading it again for myself so I can savour the beautiful language and dream of beach shacks and blue gropers and the sea…

lady’s guide to gossip and murder by Dianne Freeman – second in Countess of Harleigh series – a cozy historical mystery. Very enjoyable if cozy crime is your thing.

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I have been on an audiobook binge because sometimes I find picking up an actual book just too hard. I just finished listening to The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur which is a YA book available on Borrowbox. The story is set in 15th century Joseon (Korea). It’s a slow burning mystery where the main character and her sister try to find out what happened to their missing detective father and thirteen girls who went missing in the forest near their hometown small village. It took me a while to get into it, I prefer a bit more action usually, but once I formed a bond with the characters I was hooked.  

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I started reading Elly Griffith’s Dr Ruth Galloway murder mystery series about a Norfolk forensic archaeologist when we went into lockdown – listened to them on my several walks a day and managed to hear all 13 of them!!! Having binged, I find it pretty hard lines having to wait until 2022 for the next one. These are available as hardcopy books from the BMCC Library.

Also read The Midnight Library, which I really enjoyed and has been resonating strongly in my head.

Have just started The Last One at the Party about a woman who finds herself the apparently sole survivor of a virulent global epidemic and has to work out who she really is when there’s no one else to please. I’m also halfway through listening to Garth Nix’s The Left-Handed Booksellers of London, just to throw a little YA Fantasy into the mix.

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I read book 12 of the Dr Ruth Galloway series in lockdown and have just put a hold on book 1. I don’t usually like crime but I really enjoyed book 12 – The lantern men by Elly Griffiths. I’ve also read:

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For this month, I am reading Walden by Henry David Thoreau. I managed to get myself this lovely 1951 illustrated copy, and it has been a pleasure to read…

The book is a thought-provoking account written by Henry David Thoreau in which he details his life alone in the woods. It contains elements of his own personal philosophy, admiration of nature, a desire for solitude and the simple life. The content is eye opening, and it is extremely well-written, letting the reader into the beautiful mind of an author who is, in my opinion, an exemplar of stoicism and character. Many quotables can be found within these pages, and many sentences that are full of imagery and meaning. Highly recommend this book for anyone with a love of nature, and a deeper sensitivity to life as a whole. 

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