Monday, 9 March 2020

Still Reading From My Shelves

 Lacking library books and the horrible weather means that in the last few weeks I've rattled through several of the books that I had for Christmas. Lots of the lovely Dean Street Press/Furrowed Middlebrow reprints and almost all about WWII...................wish I knew why I find this period of history so interesting.





Marjorie Wilenski -  Table Two. Dean St Press/Furrowed Middlebrow Reprint. Set in the London office of the Ministry of Foreign Intelligence in WWII with the Blitz going on all around. Table Two is where the translators work, nine women - some old and bitter but independent and capable. When pretty newcomer Anne Shepley-Rice arrives she is befriended by the middle aged Elsie. Enjoyed this look at office life, reminded me of my early days in the old fashioned library.

 Michael Gilbert - Death in Captivity; A Second World War Mystery. A British Library Crime Classic  from 1952. This is set in an Italian Prisoner-of-war camp for British Officers. A man is found dead in one of the escape tunnels, it's an impossible scenario and one of the Officers turns detective to find out who the spy is. This is set at almost the end of the war and finishes with the British Prisoners preparing to flee south towards the British invasion line as the Germans arrive to take over the camp. Another well written story - a different look at WWII.

Caroline Taggart - Christmas at War. Non Fiction -Published 2018. Memories of the food, presents, happiness and sadness of all the Christmases throughout the Second World War.From children in this country to prisoners of war. This is just short bits gathered together, interesting but similar to several other books of war time memories (forgot to add it to my photo)

D.E. Stevenson - Mrs Tim Gets a Job. First published in 1947. This author was extremely popular for many years and then nearly forgotten. The third in a series about Mrs Tim. Just after the war and Hester Christie's husband Tim is still overseas. With her daughter off to boarding school Hester is at a loose end until she gets a home and job with the formidable  Erica Clutterbuck who has opened a hotel in the Scottish Borders. I've read the first two in the series and this is just as good - very easy to read.

Kel Richards - The Sinister Student. 4th book by this author written in the last few years but as Golden Age crime and set in 1930's Oxford with C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkein. Apart from the main story this one goes into the realms of Sci-Fi with a Tardis appearing and a student coming back from the future to study the two dons - very odd. The author wrote 4 books featuring the same characters. This one is the strangest. I skipped bits when he is writing about C.S. Lewis' theological discussions.

Eve Diett - Diary of a NAAFI girl. This is a biography written in 2012. After being a Land Girl during WWII and then working in a hotel, Eve and her friend Marge start working in the NAAFI (Navy,Army,Air Force Institute) at a camp in Devon where new recruits for National Service are trained. Everyday was different as she served the young recruits and officers at the camp shop.
Something I knew nothing about so it was very interesting. 


Barbara Noble - The House Opposite. Fiction. Another of the Dean Street Press/Furrowed Middlebrow collaboration. Actually written during WWII by someone who lived through the London Blitz.  Elizabeth is a secretary who has been having an affair with her married boss for the last 3 years. She has moved home to live with her parents during the Blitz.In the house opposite lives Owen, a teenager, waiting for call up to the RAF. Following their lives through  fire watching, sleepless nights, traveling across the damaged city, visiting relatives in the country and the end of the affair. A really good well written story.

My favourite was the last in my list, such a good story, feeling very real.


There was just one Furrowed Middlebrow reprint that I couldn't get into, embarrassingly it was the one Dean Street Press gifted to me. This was by Ursula Orange titled Begin Again. It's about 4 girls, all friends, just after they've finished university in the 1930's. Just couldn't enjoy it so I'm afraid I gave up after about 30 pages. The other two by this author that DSP have reprinted I really enjoyed. Oh well.

Just a few days left now until the library van is round. There are 8 books waiting for me to collect at the moment.


Back Tomorrow
Sue

24 comments:

  1. I just looked up the Kel Richards one out of interest because of the CS Lewis reference and my current interest in philosophy. The reviewers said much the same as you, found the religious debates tedious and out of place, and overall the book was regarded as rather shallow. Interesting to pick up on writers like this through your blog.

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    1. The other three that this author wrote featuring the same people are just straightforward crime fiction but with added theology lectures

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  2. Sounds like you have had a real trip back to WWII with this selection. I have finally learned that some books just aren't for me, and you DON'T have to try and plough through to the bitter end, with much grinding of teefs!

    I have just been sent a couple of Genealogy themed novels - read half of the first practically in one sitting!

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  3. The books you have read and described all sound so interesting and books that I would enjoy too.

    I have only ever had books from visiting a library never on line, but now that I can't easily get to a library I am very tempted to try it on-line.

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    1. I still have to go and pick them up from the mobile or a library even with online ordering

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  4. Interesting lists of books. "Christmas at War" I was born in 1938 so can remember a little of the Second World War I can remember the decorations at a Christmas and a couple of presents, I was lucky my Mum lived with my Nan because my Dad was at war, I had a younger sister.
    Hazel c uk

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    1. I'm glad I only read about it and didn't live through the hardship

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  5. Such a lovely list of books, thank you. The Mrs Tim one caught my imagination particularly and I've ordered a couple for Kindle. Thanks again.
    xx

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    1. DE Stevenson wrote loads of books, some are little more than romances but The Mrs Tim ones are OK and also the Miss Buncle - reprinted by Persephone books

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  6. I enjoy books set around WWII, but I know why. My parents married in 1939, just before my father went off to the war. My mother was left to bring up my brother on her own until he came back, and that was late as he was in Burma.
    My mother died when I was very young, and I don't remember her, so reading about the 'home front' is a way of trying to appreciate what she went thtough.

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    1. That must have been a hard time for your mother on her own for so long and then for your family when your Mum died

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  7. An interesting selection, will keep you going for a while.

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    1. All finished. I'm reading an old Angela Thirkell now

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  8. I too are interested in this period of our history, I think it is because my Dad was in the war but never spoke about it. It wasn't until after he died that I found out he was awarded an Oak leaf and mentioned in dispatches. Quite like the look of the D. E. Stevenson. Helen S.

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    1. D.E.Stevensons books are quite variable but were well loved back in my library days. The Mrs Tim series are some of the better ones

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  9. You do seem to love the WWII era. I enjoy some bits but could in no way read as many in a row as you do.

    God bless.

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  10. Like you I find everything about the war years and those immediately before and after very interesting. I love the fashions, the food, the furnishings and well just the whole spirit of the era.

    Maybe it's because through our parents we can just about touch on those years ourselves. Although my Mum hates anything from that period even though she was a young child then, as all she can remember is the fear she sensed in her Mum. She finds my interest weird and annoying.

    You sure are rattling through your books, I have slipped slightly with my reading for the past couple of weeks, I really must stop messing about on my phone wasting time!

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  11. Thank you so much for these recommendations. A few months back you mentioned Family Roundabout, which was written during the war. I ordered it right away and enjoyed it very much. I will be ordering the books you wrote about today asap!

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    1. It's good to hear my book posts are useful- love to share ideas for reading

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  12. Great selection you've been reading.

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  13. Ha...furrowed middlebrow sounds just like a description of me doing our accounts last week...an elusive 20pence kept me searching for hours! x

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  14. My wife and my daughter ask me to thank you for the listing which allows both of them to identify books they did not know about. Roderick

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