More August reads

The Women in Black by Madeleine St John

What a delightful story set in the 1950s in Australia.

“Sydney in the late 1950s. On the second floor of the famous F.G. Goode department store, in Ladies’ Cocktail Frocks, the women in black are girding themselves for the Christmas rush. Lisa is the new Sales Assistant (Temporary). Across the floor and beyond the arch, she is about to meet the glamorous Continental refugee, Magda, guardian of the rose-pink cave of Model Gowns.

With the lightest touch and the most tender of comic instincts, Madeleine St John conjures a vanished summer of innocence.”

The Women in Black is a classic.  A happy read.

There is a movie and stage show “Ladies in Black” based on the novel.

 

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

This book is about the mysterious 1986 fire that gutted Los Angeles’ landmark Central Library. “The Library Book” re investigates the fire and recounts the rescue efforts by hundreds of Los Angeles residents who raced to the stacks to save books from smoke and water damage.

The author brings to life legendary characters from the library’s past and present, and reveals L.A.’s passions and obsessions.

“The people in shipping know all the trends, they can tell when a book was recommended by Oprah, because they will pack dozens of copies that have been requested all over the city.”

“They know that the day after any holiday, the load will be heavy: Apparently everyone in Los Angeles gets on the computer right after Thanksgiving dinner and makes requests for diet books.”

That is just a couple of examples of the anecdotes included in the book.  This is an informative book and as a retired librarian I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The aspect that sticks with me most is the fact that the library is used as a safe haven by those who are perhaps homeless or have nowhere to base themselves during the day.  Also the role of the library is constantly changing and it continues to be extremely relevant in today’s world.  The sad part is that governments in some countries continue to cut funding to libraries and also close down libraries.  So sad.

A Murder Unmentioned by Sulari Gentill

I last read a Sulari Gentill book in 2014, Gentlemen Formerly Dresed.

I found two of her books, which I haven’t read,  in our library when I was browsing the shelves.  I have read them in quick succession.  I will leave the second one until my next book posting.

A Murder Unmentioned

“The black sheep of a wealthy grazier dynasty, gentleman artist Rowland Sinclair often takes matters into his own hands. When the matter is murder, there are consequences.

For nearly fourteen years, Rowland has tried to forget, but now the past has returned.

A newly-discovered gun casts light on a family secret long kept… a murder the Sinclairs would prefer stayed unsolved.

As old wounds tear open, the dogged loyalty of Rowland’s inappropriate companions is all that stands between him and the consequences of a brutal murder… one he simply failed to mention.”

This is the sixth book in this series and I am still thoroughly enjoying the characters and the plots. Gentill has the historical facts, the atmosphere of the time, the mix of fictional and real characters all written beautifully. She obviously spends a great deal of time on research. Her husband is a history and English teacher and he helps edit and research her work.

If you haven’t read any of her books I suggest you start with number one in the series. A Few Right Thinking Men

Some of my reads for August

I managed to read a few this month, seven to be exact.  Two books by Mick Herron,  Down Cemetery Road and London Rules.

London Rules

“London Rules might not be written down, but everyone knows rule one.

Cover your arse.”

The book is full of witty dialogue and black humour.  I found myself laughing out loud in places.

“Eight months of anger f**king management sessions, and this evening she’d officially be declared anger free. It had been hinted she might even get a badge. That could be a problem – if anyone stuck a badge on her, they’d be carrying their teeth home in a hankie. . .”

Parts are reminiscent of Yes Minister.  A thoroughly enjoyable spy thriller/ espionage one of the Slough House series set in London.

Down Cemetery Road was the debut novel of Mark Herron and is the first in a series called Oxford Investigations.

“When a house explodes in a quiet Oxford suburb and a young girl disappears in the aftermath, Sarah Tucker—a young married woman, bored and unhappy with domestic life—becomes obsessed with finding her. Accustomed to dull chores in a childless household and hosting her husband’s wearisome business clients for dinner, Sarah suddenly finds herself questioning everything she thought she knew, as her investigation reveals that people long believed dead are still among the living, while the living are fast joining the dead. What begins in a peaceful neighborhood reaches its climax on a remote, unwelcoming Scottish island as the search puts Sarah in league with a man who finds himself being hunted down by murderous official forces.”
This was another, “child missing” book, of which I have read a few.  The main character, a bored housewife certainly transformed into someone else during the novel.
Another good crime fiction novel.
The Tea Gardens and Nightingale, both by Fiona McIntosh were escapist adventure/romance novels for me and very easy reading.
The Tea Gardens

“Dr Isla Fenwick has a life that most modern women of 1933 might envy – her career gives her status, her pedigree adds freedom, and her oldest crush, Jovian Mandeville, has reappeared in her life with a marriage proposal.

Her life is beginning to feel complete. However, she insists on keeping a private promise she made to her late mother to work at the coalface of medicine in India before committing to life as a dutiful wife. With Jove’s blessing, Isla sails to Calcutta to set up a new midwifery clinic. What she can’t anticipate is how India will test everything she relies upon within, challenging her professionalism and her loyalties”

A good romance story set in Brighton and India.
Nightingale
A heart-soaring novel of heartbreak and heroism, love and longing.
This was romance and historical fiction in one.  Set During the First World War and involving the ANZAC troops. A heart-breaking tale but well worth the read.

“Amidst the carnage of Gallipoli, British nurse Claire Nightingale meets Australian Light Horseman Jamie Wren. Despite all odds, they fall deeply in love. Their flame burns bright and carries them through their darkest hours, even when war tears them apart.

Jamie’s chance meeting with Turkish soldier Açar Shahin on the blood-stained battlefield forges an unforgettable bond between the men. It also leaves a precious clue to Jamie’s whereabouts for Claire to follow.

Come peacetime, Claire’s desperate search to find Jamie takes her all the way to Istanbul, and deep into the heart of Açar’s family, where she attracts the unexpected attention of a charismatic and brooding scholar.

In the name of forgiveness, cultures come together, enemies embrace and forbidden passions ignite – but by the breathtaking conclusion, who will be left standing to capture Nurse Nightingale’s heart?”

A must read, particularly if interested in Gallipoli.
I will record the remaining three novels in another post.

More left-over wool items

My brother-in-law asked me to knit some covers for his golf clubs as he knew I was trying to use up small amounts of wool.  I had no idea that you could find patterns for golf club covers but a search on Ravelry came up with many different patterns.

I decided to make the pattern that was available on Purl So Ho.

I have completed two of the covers and am now on the third.

I am enjoying making these as the pattern is very easy.

 

Tuesday Travels. . . Inverness

I was reliving memories of my childhood visits to Inverness when we came across Inverness station.  My elder sister was in charge of me when we both traveled by train to our uncle’s croft at Boultach in Caithness.  Dad would drop us at Perth where we caught the train to Inverness.  We had to change trains at Inverness and a vivid memory of mine is that we couldn’t find our tickets for the ongoing journey.  A bit of a panic but we did find them thank goodness.

You can see from the announcement boards that there are four pages for the 17.54 journey from Inverness to Wick.  We would get off the train at Helmsdale and then on the bus to Latheronwheel.  Our uncle would be waiting with the tractor at the End of the Smerral Road and my sister and I would sit on the tractor wheel guards for the trip up the road to the croft at Boultach.

You can stay in the station building at Helmsdale as the property was completely refurbished after being out of use for 20 years.

Inverness is a beautiful city and my husband and I spent a couple of nights there before we were to continue on our journey south.  We spent some time exploring the city centre and visited the castle where there were some beautiful views of the river Ness.

We stopped at the Castle Tavern for lunch and the meal we had was absolutely delicious.

Neeps, potato, haggis and Drambuie cream sauce accompanied by oatcakes.  Yum!

Looking for inspiration.

I want to make some pictures to hang in our toilet but I am not sure quite what I want to do.  I decided to take a look at my Pinterest board for ideas and was surprised by the many and wonderful quotes that I had pinned there.  It will be difficult to make a choice.

If you click on the photo it will take you to the actual board where there are many more framing thoughts I have pinned.

When did I last do framing?

I have finally put some time aside to do a bit of framing.  The framing that I did was some that I started a long time ago but just haven’t got around to finishing.  I seem to spend a great deal of time procrastinating.

The frame of the brown picture I made by using an old frame which was purchased cheaply at an op shop and then I cut the frame down to size.  I didn’t have any thick framing wood so that was the cheapest way to do it.

I have one more poster that I have to finish framing but I am having difficulty in procuring glass for it as the poster is quite large.  I might have to get a piece of glass cut to size at the glazier’s. I really need to finish the picture as I have had it for a couple of years now. Oh dear. I need to get my act together.