callmemadam (callmemadam) wrote,

August Books

Reckless Runaway at the Races, Ros Clarke. Self-published ebook BY ROS CLARKE!
Peace Breaks Out, Angela Thirkell
The Ivy Tree, Mary Stewart
The Other Garden and Collected Stories , Francis Wyndham
Christopher Lloyd, his Life at Great Dixter, Stephen Anderton
The Earth Hums in B Flat , Mari Strachan
Life According to Lubka , Laurie Graham
In a Dark House , Deborah Crombie
The Shooting in the Shop, Simon Brett. A Fethering Mystery
Pearl Verses the World , Sally Murphy and Heather Potter
Grey Mask, Patricia Wentworth. Miss Silver. Read on the Kindle thanks to NetGalley. Review to follow.
Summer at Grassrings, Ruby L Arkell
Necessary as Blood , Deborah Crombie
The Ivory Dagger, Patricia Wentworth, (Miss Silver)
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen, nth re-read
Dancing Backwards, Salley Vickers
We Had it So Good, Linda Grant
Every book I have by Posy Simmonds

I was really looking forward to reading We Had it So Good because I thought it would be about My Generation. It is, but about members of my generation I would have run a mile from; the kind who lived in squats, rapping about Marx and Proudhon. I also expected a ‘How the Baby Boomers Stole Their Children’s Futures’ type of book but it isn’t that, either. Stephen, a Rhodes scholar, meets Andrea, Grace and Ivan at Oxford and their lives are linked forever. After Stephen is sent down for manufacturing LSD in the labs they all end up in London, in the afore-mentioned squat. Stephen and Andrea get married, Grace disappears on her never-ending tour round the world and Ivan goes into advertising. So they progress through life, babies arriving, the house they bought in Islington increasing in value, Simon working for the BBC and Andrea becoming a therapist. Suddenly, it seems, they’re all approaching sixty and hey! This wasn’t supposed to happen; they were supposed to stay young forever! Only Grace still lives by sixties principles and she’s a mess. The story is told mainly from Stephen’s point of view, that of an American son of immigrants, who returns to Europe and stays there. By the end, he is wondering what went wrong, because it seems to him that it was their parents’ generation which really changed the world by fighting the war, and that they have achieved nothing in comparison. While reading the book I thought, ‘Posy Simmonds said all this in half a page’. This led to a search for her books, a complete re-read and a marvelling at how perfectly she has always captured the zeitgeist/skewered the middle classes according to your point of view.

Click to see the whole thing

Summer at Grassrings by Ruby L Arkell is a conventional children’s summer holiday story, published in 1942. It’s only interesting because it’s set in Dorset.

It’s pretty shocking that one bothers to say that a published book is well written. It’s certainly true of Dancing Backwards by Salley Vickers, which I liked very much. Widowed Vi Hetherington travels on a cruise ship to America to see her old friend and mentor. Caught in the frozen time of a voyage she moves physically towards her destination and mentally back through her life so that we know quite a lot about her by the end of the book. Shipboard life is entertainingly described. A quiet story but well worth reading.

Posy's pictures from her book Mustn't Grumble
Tags: linda grant, posy simmonds, salley vickers

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