Ooh I’m reading such a good book at the moment. I’m supposed to be cleaning the lounge, but I keep getting waylaid and going back for another couple of pages. It’s called Easy Meat by John Harvey. My Mum left it after she stayed here along with another with the same ‘Resnick’ character. It’s a real page-turner, to use a cliché. I love a good crime novel. The first one I ever read was called ‘Beyond Belief: The Moors Murderers’ by Emlyn Williams, one of those true crime kind of books which I pinched off my Dad’s bookshelf and proceeded to scare myself half to death with. It had a big spade on the cover and gave me nightmares for months. Since then, I think I’ve devoured most of James Patterson’s books (I love Alex Cross), which I often swap with my Mum, also Karin Slaughter’s ‘Kisscut’ novels, Kathy Reichs (you can’t beat a good autopsy) and I’m also fond of Mark Billingham, Ian Rankin (if you fancy a bit of gritty Scottish murder) and Harlan Coben. Hubby recently discovered Jeff Abbot, whose book, ‘Panic’, is just about one of the best I’ve ever read.
Having ploughed my way through enough blood and guts thrillers to last me a lifetime whilst slumped on my sunbed at Christmas, I thought I’d have a change and immerse myself in a bit of culture. Well, that’s not strictly true, the lady on the sunbed next to me left ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, so I pinched it. It’s an amazing love story, set in the Caribbean at the beginning of the twentieth century. His writing is a bit complicated and littered with very long words, but is also surprisingly funny and the little hints of life as it was lived then are just fascinating. His description of Florentino becoming drunk on cologne and being found by his mother ‘wallowing in a pool of fragrant vomit’ made me snort on the plane home. Very entertaining. If I’m in that kind of mood, I often turn to Antonia Fraser. Her book on Marie Antoinette had me poring over it for weeks, intent on finishing, but huffing and puffing over the politics, copious characters and the sheer size of the thing. Likewise with ‘The Six Wives of Henry VIII’. Still, you can’t beat that sense of achievement when you turn the last page. ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’ was another of these. I laboured with it right to the end but then felt terribly and irrationally proud of myself.
I’m often prone to keeping books for sentimental reasons. My all-time favourite book is Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I’m sure I’ve had, and lost, about ten copies at various times, but for some reason if I see a copy I can’t help but buy it and read it again. Also, when I was expecting #1, my Dad sent me a copy of Kathy Lette’s ‘Foetal Attraction’, which I now cherish. In typical Disreputable Dad fashion, it’s inscribed: ‘You may, after reading this, decide that you do not wish to join. Read it anyway, it’s a good laugh. Well, it was for me but I’m not pregnant’.
Whatever I’m reading, it is, of course, always interspersed with the odd dip into the piles of cookery books which, to Hubby’s annoyance, find their way into every room of the house, especially in a big untidy heap next to the bath, but that’s another story…