... feminist, atheist, autistic academic and historic narrowboater ...
Likes snooker, beer, tea, rivets and solitude, and is strangely fascinated by the cinema organ.
And there might be something about railways.

Friday 1 September 2017

Books I read in August

Graham Masterton Living Death (local library)
I'm on a bit of a Masterton/Katie McGuire run at the moment. The characters and the dialogue are great. The plots tend towards the outlandish, and also the somewhat grisly. This one, unforgiveably, relied on two coincidences. I will accept one coincidence per book, but not more than that.

Simon Kernick The Bone Field (Tescos)
Traditional thriller, not bad, already forgotten.

Graham Masterton Taken for Dead  (local library)
Another one which I'd already read - in fact, I'm pretty sure this is the first one I read. I enjoyed re-reading it though.

Graham Masterton Red Light (local library)
The last of the Katie McGuires for me to read. It's a shame I've read them out of sequence, especially as they all seem to finish with a bit of a cliffhanger. As a series, the good points are the characters and the dialogue; the less good ones plots that sometimes rely a little too much on coincidence, or stretch credulity in other ways, and a tendency - to be expected, I suppose, in an erstwhile horror author - to dwell a little too lovingly on the gory details. Overall though, pretty good.

Pete Brown Hops and Glory (local library)
I enjoy reading Pete Brown's blog, and this combination of travelogue and history of IPA is the first of his books I've tried.  It was pretty good - though sometimes he seems to be trying too hard to live up to the blurb of being beer's answer to Bill Bryson.

Simon Danczuk and Matthew Baker Smile for the Camera: The Double Life of Cyril Smith (Tesco's book swap)
The amateurish, breathless quality of the writing put me off at first, but even that couldn't mask a gripping story. The child abuse actually came as less of a shock than Smiths sustained lobbying for the asbestos industry. Not an unbiased account - Danczuk being a Labour MP - but it tries to be fair, and Smith's dreadfulness speaks for itself anyway.

Catherine O'Flynn The News Where You Are (local library)
Since loving her What Was Lost so much, it's taken me a while to get round to reading O'Flynn's other novels. This has many similarities with her debut, with its elegaic air and themes of loss and absence, conveyed with perceptive humour and featuring a precocious little girl. It's not as breathtakingly brilliant as What Was Lost, but as that's now one of my top ten books of all time that would be a tall order. It's a quiet sort of book, a story of the everyday desperation hidden beneath normal, even successful, lives, which somehow makes the most dramatic events mundane, as they so often actually are.

Catherine O'Flynn Mr Lynch's Holiday (local library)
Whilst still not as good as What Was Lost, I liked this better than The News Where You Are. It's a lovely, touching, beautifully sketched little story.

Christopher Fowler Wild Chamber (local library)
The latest Bryant and May. They're getting less outright weird, but still pretty convoluted. A delight more for its little asides ('the sort of people who eat crisps at home' being one that springs to mind) than for following the plot, but neatly if incredibly wrapped up in the end.


  1. I would be interested to see your list of "top ten books of all time" if you were so minded Sarah.


  2. Wow... Yes I did kind of give the impression there was such a list, didn't I. There isn't as such; I'm just pretty sure I haven't read ten books I liked better than What Was Lost. However, you've got me thinking now so maybe at some point in the future...