Saturday, May 23, 2009

4 x 10 Reading Challenge: Update 4

Finished book titles are blue, with those completed since my last post in bold; books in my current reading pile are green. I fixed on historical fiction for my final category.


  • Nella Last's War: the Second World War Diaries of Housewife, 49 (ed. Richard Broad)
  • Nella Last's Peace: the Post-War Diaries of Houseife, 49
  • A Vicarage Family: a Biography of Myself (Noel Streatfeild)
  • Flora Thompson: the Story of the Lark Rise Writer (Gillian Lindsay)
  • Noel Streatfeild: a Biography (Angela Bull) - I enjoyed her books as a child and still do, but knew nothing about her until I read her childhood autobiography. It turns out that her autobiography is less than accurate, but the reality as portrayed by Angela Bull is a likeable, energetic and stylish woman with a varied and interesting career: munitions worker during the First World War, theatre actress, mannequin, party girl, authoress, tireless voluntary worker during World War II, promoter of good children literature, and ultimately grand dame of the genre in the UK.
  • A History of Hand Knitting (Richard Rutt)
  • Sensational Knitted Socks (Charlene Schurch)
  • Teach Me To Do It Myself (Maja Pitamic)
  • The Shrines of Our Lady in England (Anne Vail) - half way through and stalled.
  • My Life With the Saints (James Martin, S.J.) - three chapters in so far. Also stalled.
  • The Rosary: Keeping Company With Jesus and Mary (by my friend Karen Edmisten) - arrived from Amazon this morning!
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Mary Ann Shaffer)
  • The Uncommon Reader (Alan Bennett)
  • The Autobiography of the Queen (Emma Tennant) - picked up from the library in the hope that it would be another diverting royal tale like The Uncommon Reader. Wrong. The premise - the Queen decides to abandon her post and travel incognito to the Caribbean to write her autobiography - had promise, but the plot was thin and frankly ridiculous, with none of the wit of Alan Bennett's book. I only finished the book because I was on a train with nothing else to read and it was short.
  • The Friday Night Knitting Club (Kate Jacobs) - the lives and loves of a New York single mother and owner of a yarn store and her friends and customers. Perfect holiday reading - light and easy chick lit, but not total fluff. Good enough to want to read the sequel, Knit Two.
Geography and Travel
  • A Street Without a Name: Childhood and Other Misadventures in Bulgaria (Kapka Kassabova)
Historical Fiction
  • Helena (Evelyn Waugh) - a fictional account of the life of Saint Helena, mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine. Evelyn Waugh is a master - Brideshead Revisited is one of my all time favourite books - and the rich vocabulary, verve and humour of his writing are a joy, but this book is a mixed bag. Brilliant in parts, but in others the plot is too jumpy. My biggest frustration was the way he skipped over Helena's conversion to Christianity - in one chapter she was beginning to ask questions, in the next whe was already a Christian. Despite the flaws, I loved the way he brought Helena to life.
  • The Road to Wigan Pier (George Orwell)
Science and Nature
  • Electric Universe (David Bodanis)
  • The Planets (Dava Sobel) - science, history and mythology all meshed together in a literary introduction to the solar system. The author starts with a brief overview, then works from the inside out, dedicating a chapter to each to the sun and all the planets, with one on the moon thrown in for good measure.
Unfinished Business
Alison Uttley, the Life of a Country Child (Denis Judd) - print too small!
Beatrix Potter At Home in the Lake District (Susan Denyer)
Yiddish Civilisatiuon: The Rise and Fall of a Forgotten Nation
(Paul Kriwaczek)
A Year in the Country (Alison Uttley)

1 comment:

Karen E. said...

Great reading list!
I hope The Rosary doesn't stall out, too. :)