Monday, June 8, 2020

Some reading matter

Good morning dear Blogger friends. It's feast or famine in my part of the world. Not only is the Internet erratic, on Sunday we had power outages as well. Living on a dairy farm, all I had to do was wait until afternoon milking time when the generator is activated, and I could get on with my day.

Never a dull moment. 

Today I want to do a post long overdue. About my reading habits. My SIL, Shelley (who helps me with bird ID'ing) was amazed that I have time to read. I DO have time to read. If I didn't have time to read, I would make time to read.  My late Mum told me I could read when I was three years old. I believe her. I cannot remember a day in my life when I haven't read. 

 In 2014, while living in Tanzania, East Africa, I became acquainted with electronic reading. Back in South Africa while on leave, that year, I bought my first Kindle. It completely changed my life of travel between home in South Africa and home on the mine, in East Africa. Up to that point, I would incur my husband's wrath at having overweight luggage on the plane. Which we had to pay for.  All because I packed enough reading material for three months at a time!

From the time of owning a Kindle, I could slip this compact e-book into my handbag (purse) and read on the plane. And read on the mine. To my heart's content. When one book ended, I'd download the next. 

My Kindle lasted until May last year when in mid-read, it froze. No amount of rebooting it or even letting the battery go flat, fixed the error. It is now a relic from a past life, reposing in the bottom drawer of my desk. 

 I'm a voracious reader; because I read two books a week - averaging 400 to 550 words each -  I need books.  

As soon as I wasn't an e-book reader any longer, I now noticed second-hand books for sale at quite unusual businesses: in the Valley laundromat; at the local eatery; at a used furniture and clothing shop owned by two friends of mine. 

What do I read? I enjoy non-fiction and biographies. I love historical novels; I like suspense and mystery. I like stories with court scenes in them. Of course, I love stories about animals. What I don't read is science fiction and fantasy. 

In the first two months of Lockdown, it was no different to any other period in my life. I read my quota of books. Two that aren't pictured here below and stand out in my memory, are  

Snow Wolf by Glenn Meade

Rings by Ruth Walker 

The first was a cleverly written work of fiction depicting the well-known Cold War and famous historical figures such as Stalin and Eisenhower. 

The second was about circus life. A young gypsy girl - pregnant and unmarried - is beaten almost to death by her stepfather, stripped naked and left to die in a ditch. A traveling salesman  finds her and his kind wife nurses her back to health. She eventually moves on to join a circus and becomes a famous trapeze artist. 
Clockwise from "6am" 

Sarum - Edward Rutherfurd - 1344 pages - I read this book a year ago and it took me five weeks. It's an epic bestseller of five families through 100 centuries (not years but centuries) encompassing the whole sweep of British civilization through the story of one place - Salisbury - from beyond recorded time to the present. 

For the Love of a Son - Jean Sassoon.  I cannot aptly describe how well this author writes. This is a true story as told to the author by an Afghan woman and the atrocities inflicted upon her by her husband and later by her adult son.

The Queen and I - Sue Townsend. A spoof on the British Royal Family. Humorous and scarily possible. 

King of Torts - John Grisham. Now these are the law/courtroom type of stories I enjoy. A bright young lawyer inadvertently stumbles on  a horrible conspiracy. He becomes embroiled in a case against one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Grisham knows the law and depicts it clearly and concisely. 

Elle - Maria Barret.  The protagonist is glamorous and rich and the young head of a prestigious banking company, who is ruled by a tangled and violent past. She's bent on revenge in a ruthless search to find her mother's murderer. 

Pandora's Clock - John J Nance: Believe me; I read this novel in December never thinking we were entering a decade where normalcy as we know it, would be exploded by a world pandemic caused by a deadly virus. 

Taken from Google: Pandora's Clock (also known as Doomsday Virus) is a 1996 NBC miniseries based on a novel by John J. Nance about a deadly virus on a Boeing 747-200 from Frankfurt to John F. Kennedy International Airport. Just before Christmas!  Gripping from the first page to the last. 

Maiden Voyage - Graham Masterton.  Maiden Voyage is about the dizzy flappers of the 1920's on  a sea cruise on the greatest oceanliner of them all!  It's the story of the SS Arcadia on her first transatlantic crossing. Like Jean Sassoon, this author has become one of my favorites. I am always on the lookout for more novels by them. This week I found: Railroad by Graham Masterton.

If the cat fits - Chrystal Sharp. A South African vet's wife relates hilarious and oft sad stories about their pets and the animals they encountered in their profession. She had a follow up book called A dog in my footstep.  She and her veterinarian husband, Dave Hartley were instrumental in the rehabilitation of penguins in the '80's .  She relates these stories in: In fool Flight. Sadly Chrystal passed away in 2015 and the young age of 63. I would have liked to have met her. 

The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency - Alexander McCall Smith. Google: The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency is a series of novels by Alexander McCall Smith set in Botswana and featuring the character Mma Precious Ramotswe. The series is named after the first novel, published in 1998. 

The author is a Scots male and writes as the female protagonist, Precious Ramotswe. I have the whole series and since February have reread each one in order - for the fourth time! 

I love Jeffrey Archer,  Frederick Forsyth and as recently as January, I reread The Power of One by Bryce Courtney. I first read it in 1994. 

I have Born Free by Tony Fitzgerald. The first time I read it, I was living in the Great Rift Valley in Kenya. So  I could relate to all the areas he wrote about. I reread it in February. 

I'm wondering if anyone out there has read any of the books or authors I wrote about above? 

Be safe and take care. 



  1. I am a reading addict but prefer 'real' books. I like the weight of them, the scent of books and find it easier to flip through a paper book to find that page, paragraph I want to review.
    I am a multi-genre reader too. I don't read horror (or not often). Or hard-edged science fiction. I usally have at least two books 'on the go' at any one time and one of them is usually non-fiction.
    I am also a rereader.
    I have read Bryce Courtney and Frederick Forsyth, Alexander McCall Smith and John Grisham of the books you featured today.

  2. Hello, Jo,

    I am a book lover. Since having surgeries on both of my thumbs multiple times I have trouble holding anything. The books feel heavy so I do love the ebooks and my kindle. Mysteries are my favorite and I like the historical fiction. Wishing you a happy new week!

  3. It's great to see you reading so much. Though I've long had a Kobo (Canada's version of a Kindle) I seldom read on it as I far prefer a paper book. I can't get any library or used books right not because those establishments are all closed or just getting back in business. Out of the author's you've featured I am familiar with and love Alexander McCall Smith (I love his Mama Ramotswe series), and Edward Rutherford having read several of his books. I of course know about popular writers John Grisham and Jeffrey Archer but haven't read any of their books. At least any that I recall. I'm always adding to my 'to read' list so will try to remember to come for your titles and add to my list. Happy reading.

  4. I see you like the "Number 1 Lady Detective Agency". I have also read them over and over, and discovered that there is a TV series about it. It is very well done on location, and the casting of the main characters is excellent. I don't know what your TV situation is, but if you could find this (Netflix or Amazon) I think you would really enjoy it. It follows the books very closely and is very well done.

  5. I love real books but I find the kindle just so much easier to carry around and read in bed which is where I read most. Also in France, finding real books in English is not that simple! Keep healthy, Diane

  6. Forgot to add I also have the series The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, love them Diane

  7. I used to read books but then started to blog and reading those instead. This winter I was looking for books when stores weren't open. Then a friend gave me a bag of books that are fictional romances. Although I read them, and quickly, it would not be my first choice. You are so busy with life it is hard to believe you can read two books a week.


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo