Sunday, June 16, 2024

What I'm Reading Now

Josephine Tey, The Franchise Affair

I found this one in a used bookstore. I love Josephine Tey, and I thought I had read everything she had written, but I had missed this one somehow. It's not exactly one of her Inspector Grant novels, though he appears in it briefly -- it's about a 40-something lawyer who takes as a client a 40-something woman and her 80-something mother who have been accused of kidnapping and abusing a 15 year old girl, in an attempt to force her to be their maid. Written in in 1948, it's a charming look at small-town England just after the war. As usual with Tey, it's mostly a conservative point of view, but very readable nonetheless. Liberals are silly, mainly, that kind of thing, but also some religious stuff. I enjoyed this one very much, despite that. 

If you've never read Josephine Tey, start with Miss Pym Disposes, which is her best book. But this one is also very good. (I've read my copy of Miss Pym Disposes to tatters.) They're mystery novels, and there is usually a romance somewhere, and justice always prevails.

Richard Adams, Watership Down

I'm not actually reading this one, I'm listening to it while I exercise. I've read it several times, though. It's an epic novel about rabbits. One of them, based on Cassandra, according to Adams, can see the future, and usually isn't believed. But his brother Hazel believes him this time -- the rabbit, Fiver, sees doom coming to their warren. Hazel, Fiver, and a half dozen other rabbits flee the warren, and for the first half of the book trek across a small area of England. They end up at Watership Down, where they establish a new warren, and that's just the first half of the book.

If you haven't read this one, you should. I'm not kidding about the epic part -- it's structured very like an epic, probably intentionally, as Adams had a classical education and attended Oxford. He based many of the rabbits on people he fought with in WWII. Anyway, a great read, and I'm enjoying listening to it as well.

John Wiswell, Someone You Can Build a Nest In

I also listened to this one, and highly recommend "reading" this book that way -- the narrator is excellent. This is an odd, fascinating book about a monster who falls in love with a princess, more or less, told from the point of view of the monster.  It's the monster's point of view that makes this really work -- she thinks and acts like a monster, and yet we find ourselves on her side. There's some rough bits -- A bit of body horror early on, and some off-stage physical abuse of the princess, plus emotional abuse on-stage -- so be aware of that, but also a happy ending.

This is Wiswell's first novel. I'll be reading his further work.

Stephen King, You Like it Darker

A collection of short stories. King is better at novels than he is at short stories, but these are all readable, if not all excellent. More "literary" rather than "horror" in this collection. He touches on COVID in several stories, and there are some very weird ghosts in one. Also a gruesome death by alligator.

I enjoyed it, but I'm glad I got it from the library rather than shelling out $$$. If you liked King, you'll like this one. And if you don't like King, you might like this one anyway. You can skip the ghosts. 


Debbie M said...

The Franchise Affair also isn't one of my favorites, though it does have a bunch of fun quotes. Don't you have a wife? Not one of my own.

But, yikes, Miss Pym Disposes! It's kind of a bargain--she disposes twice! It all starts out so fascinating where you learn about a historical kind of girls' school, but by the end, it just punches me in the stomach.

Jenny F Scientist said...

I just read a newish book, "Silver in the Bone", and was very disappointed when it ended. A very odd Arthurian-flavored modern fantasy, mild horror.

Also " A Letter to the Luminous Deep", which was very good but slightly deus ex machina at the end. Epistolary novel set on a water world, with weird sea creatures.

delagar said...

Debbie M. -- Oh yeah, the ending to Miss Pym is DARK.

Jenny: I've seen A Letter around -- should I give it a try? I do love epistolary novels.

Jenny F Scientist said...

I might buy it but I would definitely check it out from the library!