Five Fave Reads- a Writers’ Dozen Blog Hop
Its time again for a quick review of some books I have read these past few months. Three are novels and two are books I found invaluable in doing research for my current historical novel set in the late Elizabethan theatre of London. Hop across to my writing buddies’ blogs to check out what they have been reading too. Since we write and read across a very wide range of genres there is bound to be something that piques your interest. One of the best things about books is that there is something for everyone and the best way to find out about great books is to spread the word among others who love a good read.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
A favourite of book clubs and deservedly so. The main character Eleanor has fallen through life’s cracks, missing out on love and friendship, leading a solitary lonely life. This charming debut novel traces Eleanor’s slow transformation from wounded soul to a woman on the verge of becoming who she truly deserves to be. Funny and moving with a great supporting cast of characters it is set in suburban Glasgow, proving that this Scottish city with a dour reputation has a beautiful heart.
Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben
Harlan Coben writes thrillers that never disappoint. His latest, Don’t Let Go is a cleverly woven plot blending past events with a present murder spree. Nap Dumas is the classic cynical maverick loner cop. When an old school friend turns up dead in another state, his murder leads Nap on a tantalizing trail which leads back to the tragedy from his past. What makes Harlan Coben,’s thrillers stand out for me is that the characters are complex, the plot full of twists and turns and the humour quirky dark and cynical. How often does a murder mystery make you laugh out loud?
He also writes the best one-liners. Wish I’d written this opening line.
“Daisy wore a clinging black dress with a neckline so deep it could tutor philosophy.”
Death Ex Machina by Gary Corby
If you like a bit of history with your murder mystery then Gary Corby is a writer that makes history fun. Death Ex Machina is the fifth book in his Athenian mystery series set in the time of Pericles. Each title stands alone but works better if read in order. Nico (older brother of Sophocles) accidentally falls into a detective career when he stumbles over a dead body in Book 1. Now a murder in the Theater of Dionysos threatens to ruin the biggest art festival in the ancient world. Nico must find the culprit or the actors will boycott the theatre and put the festival, Pericles reputation, and the honor of Athens at risk. I giggled my way through the whole series and while the murders may be gory at times the tone is always fun and light.
How To Be a Tudor by Ruth Goodman
Since turning into a Tudor Groupie this book has become my bible. So much of history concentrates on the rich and the famous but Goodman delves into everyday life. Personally, I find it much more interesting to know how people in Tudor times cleaned their teeth (salt, chalk , soot from a wax candle), what they ate for takeaway food (bread, pies, hot meat) or that ‘stool ball’ was a game played by women, involving a stool, a bat, a ball and hitched up skirts.
Goodman has also written guides for Victorian and Edwardian times. A great resource for the writer of historical fiction, students of history, or anyone with an interest in how ordinary people in other times lived their lives, all written in plain English with a wry sense of understated British humour.
Oxford Illustrated Shakespeare Dictionary by David & Ben Crystal
Dictionary and Shakespeare in the same sentence sounds dry as ditchwater but this is not the case at all with this book. The authors have done a fantastic job of blending interesting historical facts while demystifying the language of Shakespeare. A great resource for students of Shakespeare, Elizabethan theatre or Shakespeare’s times. Easy to dip in and out of with colour coded categories and plentiful illustrations. This is a great guide to help distinguish your benison from your venison and make sense of all those strange-sounding Shakespearean words.
Here are the links to the other blog posts. Happy reading!