Monday 7 December 2009

Reading Station

I'm always childishly amused when I'm on a train in Berkshire that stops at Reading Station - I feel people should all get their books out!

A nasty cough has left me stranded in the Spare Bedroom these past few nights, propped up on many pillows, attempting to sleep, and anxious not to keep Bob awake. So I have ended up doing a lot of reading in the small hours.

I have read and enjoyed a couple of books, so thought I would do two book reviews here. Coincidentally both set at Christmastime.

redbird christmas First up, "A Redbird Christmas" by Fannie Flagg. Confession - this book belongs to my friend Jo, and she lent it to me last year and it got put away with some Christmassy stuff and forgotten. But Jo is very forgiving - and when I returned it yesterday at church, with much apologising, she just laughed!

FF writes feelgood, feminine' stuff, and this is another typical FF story.

The main character is Oswald T Campbell. He is an orphan - left in his Moses basket with just a can of Campbells Tomato Soup. So they called him Oswald [they'd got up to the letter 'O' for first names] then Campbell for the soup, and T for tomato! he has had a solitary, fairly miserable life. At the start of the story his doctor tells him he is going to die - and soon, if he stays in a cold northern state, so he decamps to Alabama for the winter [the doctor recommends a place where his father always sent chest patients] He ends up finding friends and happiness. FF always seems to tie up her loose ends into pretty little bows!

A lovely little story. I'd recommend it for your Auntie who likes a nice cup-of-tea-and-a-biscuit, or for a younger female friend who is fed up with the sex-and-shopping-chick-lit stuff, but doesn't want to get into heavier literature.

deviation junction

Then, 'Murder at Deviation Junction' by Andrew Martin. I grabbed this one quickly in the Library on Saturday, simply to make up my 6 books [borrow 6 books and get your loyalty card stamped!]

This is very different. It is part of the 'Jim Stringer, Steam Detective' series [no I hadn't come across them before, either] and set in the NE of England, 'Heartbeat' country.


But it is set in the Edwardian period - around Christmas 1909. Jim works for the railway police and is trying to solve a murder. It had some clever twists, interesting period detail, lots of steam-train information and some very amusing passages. I would describe it as more of a 'blokes' book, though, and the language does get a little 'ripe' in places. It's a sort of Thomas-The Tank meets Dalziel-and-Pascoe, by way of John Buchan!! I'd recommend it for men who enjoy John Buchan or perhaps Ian Rankin.

I shall look for more of this series in the library, I think.

Writing a Book Review is a good discipline, it helps focus on what it is that makes a book worth bothering with [or not!]

"This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force." said Dorothy Parker

I was encouraging a class the other week, who were writing book reviews for a book which none of them had enjoyed. "What can I say about this book, Miss?" said one child "cos I thought the words were too difficult for us" I suggested that they should put something like "I thought this book was written for people older then me" and then give whatever they felt to be the appropriate age. "This book is only for people between 20 and 50" said one young reviewer."That lets me out, then" I replied.

"Why Miss? However old ARE you???" said another boy. Do you think they will buy me a Zimmer Frame for Christmas now ? !

Groucho Marx said “outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read”


  1. ROFL at Groucho joke...well I'm not actually rolling but I did laugh out loud.

    I also laughed at the 'how old ARE you?'

    I put my foot in it recently, putting a sister from church in her seventies when she is in fact in her sixties. Oooops!

  2. I have a pile of books beside my bed that I try and read simultaneously - an interesting mix!! Sometimes one slips under the bed and is only discovered months later!

    You have an award over at my blog today.

  3. I hope you get over your cough very soon!

  4. I think my husabnd, mad about steam trains, would enjoy those books. I had never heard of them previously.
    And this 'Auntie' rather enjoys a light book with a cup of tea, so might try to find one of FF's.

  5. I loved that FF book - so does that put me in the aunty or friend category? - I'll go for the aunty group - sounds less energetic - lol!!

  6. Ha! LOL! etc...

    I like blokes' books, although I'm strangely reading a lot of your first variety at the moment too. Probably good for me as winter draws in, as too many murders always leave me feeling cynical...

    Get well soon.


Always glad to hear from you - thanks for stopping by!
I am blocking anonymous comments now, due to excessive spam!