Mar 2013 tbrSome more books have leapt off the TBR and into my willing hands as I continue a good run of solid reading which seems to have gone on all year so far. Which is good, as the TBR was large, and I just may have fallen into the odd charity shop and come up for air clutching a book recently (more of that in another post).

Georgette Heyer – “The Toll-Gate”

(16 June 2012, Oxford)

A fun and unusual Heyer. John, unwilling member of a stuffy family, escapes a particularly boring get-together and finds himself running a toll-gate out of sympathy for the urchin who has been left in charge by his feckless parent. He’s a big chap, and when he meets a rather substantial lady of the area, it’s love at first sight. But she’s in a tricky situation, her maid’s in love with a most unsuitable person (who’s trying his hardest to become suitable) and John gets embroiled and enmeshed in a mystery. Unlike most Heyers, this does have some violence at the end, but this doesn’t jar the rest of the novel too much, and it’s an interesting one, being set solely in a rural village rather than London, Bath or another town.

Barbara Pym – “Jane and Prudence”

(1994)

I’ve had this book for 19 years and I’m not sure that I’ve read it more than once in that time, so a welcome reminder to pick up the Pyms more often and not just when there’s a reading challenge in the offing. This is the charmingly written tale of Jane, an older vicar’s wife, who’s never quite taken to the role and still vaguely talks about “opening a tin” for dinner and takes no interest in church flower-arranging, and Prudence, her erstwhile student, leading a slightly rackety life in London and working in a deliciously described office. So here you have the two Pym specialities – gossipy village life and slightly mad but oh-s0-believable descriptions of working life, and although there is a plot, with hapless gentlemen being lured by cunning women, there is as usual so much more and so much more satisfying than that.

A good read, and I was cheered by mention of Mildred from “Excellent Women” – reading the books in this way, one a month, is an excellent way to pick up all these smaller repeating characters and references that you might otherwise not notice.

Alexander McCall-Smith – “The Double Comfort Safari Club”

(26 January 2013 – BookCrossing meetup)

I don’t think I’ve missed any in this series – I’m more prone to picking up ones I’ve already read. More of the usual gentle and moral tales and musings on life, the inherent goodness of people, and Botswana, its ways, history and people. A pleasant way to pass an hour or so, and a new location when the detective agency goes on safari to track someone down, and it’s always nice to progress this story that I’ve been reading on and off for so many years.

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Coming up – an amusing and camp tale of New York, and hopefully one book on language and one on Iris Murdoch, so I get a proper variety of reading in this month …