Sunday, 10 June 2012

Books I Have Read In May

My favourite book I read this month was "The Art Of Fielding" by Chad Harbach. Don't let the fact that it does contain a lot of baseball references put you off. It is a super read about love, life and loss set on a fictional American college campus. Henry Skrimshander is a naturally gifted baseball fielder, but he experiences a devastating loss of form which has repercussions for those close to him. I really enjoyed Harbach's writing and characterization and thought this was a very impressive debut.

Simon Armitage is one of my favourite poets and I liked his book "Gig" which I read last year. "All Points North" was reissued with "Gig" and follows the same format of anecdotes, poems and other snippets. It was easy to dip into and very funny.

I cannot understand why I have never read the next two books. "Regeneration" by Pat Barker is the first of a trilogy set in the First World War and deals with the treatment received by shell- shocked soldiers at Craiglockhart Hospital. Barker uses real characters such as Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen but her account is fictional. It is a beautifully written book and I am looking forward to reading the other two. I had also never read "Brideshead Revisited" by Evelyn Waugh and after my visit to Oxford, I felt it was about time. Well worth waiting for, exquisitely written, a timeless classic.

Book club choice this month was "The Last Dickens" by Matthew Pearle. Similarly to "Regeneration", it uses a real person, Dickens, and weaves a Gothic mystery around the "lost" manuscript of Edwin Drood. It was a quick read, and a page turner but not very well written. The author also seemed to think the port of Liverpool was in Kent, which is a bit of a glaring error. Perhaps I had read too many excellent books, but this was very light-weight.

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