Some Book Stuff

I felt a bit bereft without Bake Off last night.

I don’t like the Mary and Paul master classes because everything goes right and you never have to spend a tense five minutes wondering whether all the macarons have ganged up in the oven and turned into something creepy and evil that might eat your face off.

What will I do with that whole extra hour a week that has suddenly opened up to me?

Mostly I have been trying to catch up with my reading in every spare moment I have.

A quick flick through things I have finished recently:

Miss. Buncle Married by D. E. Stevenson – This is a Persephone book. Regular readers will know how much I love Persephone books.  Miss. Buncle was one of most deliciously silly books I had read in a long time when I picked it up on one of my visits to Persephone, so I was really, stupidly excited to find out there was a sequel.  It’s not quite as funny, but it’s just as charming and a really, properly lovely read.

Now I find that they also publish a third book in the series called The Two Mrs Abbots.  I shall be putting this on my Christmas list.

The Diary of a Nose: A Year in the Life of a Parfumeur by Jean-Claude Ellena – This is a slim little volume of snippets rather than diary entries. There isn’t an entry for every day, nor do the entries really deal with day to day happenings. They’re more musings on what it is to have such a complex, rich and rewarding relationship with scent and smell. The way Ellena describes his appreciation of smells or his understanding of how building a perfume is rather like creating a narrative, is truly fascinating and rather beautiful.

My Brother’s Ghost by Allan Ahlberg – a short story for children about the experience of being haunted by a sibling.  This is not a traditional ghost story, rather an evocative and tender memoir of a girl and her young brother living in difficult conditions and the consolation they take in seeing their brother reappear in their lives after his death.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – a glorious novel, supposedly written for teens, but far too good for them, about a girl with terminal cancer who falls in love with a cancer survivor.  It’s angry and funny and clever and heart wrenching and brilliant.

Fated by Benedict Jacka – The first of a supernatural series about a mage who runs a magic shop and who gets tangled up in the world of black versus white magic.  It sounds dodgy, and it probably would be, except that this mage owns a magic shop in Camden, and has to unlock portals by exploding things in the British Museum.  I can’t resist a book set in London, and this is a very silly, very enjoyable book of which there are several more in the series, and which will do until the next Ben Aaranovitch comes out.

I’ve read lots more in between, but these are my recent favourites.

Now I’m deeply committed to reading the Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard.

I ordered one to review from Amazon Vine and failed to realise that the one I ordered is the last one in a series of five. I hate reading things out of order, so I am just embarking on the first volume, and great fun it’s turning out to be, too.

6 responses to “Some Book Stuff

  1. I’ve had The Fault in Our Stars on my to-read list for ages. Must get round to it!

  2. I, too loved The Fault in Our Stars. My daughter S has all of John Green’s books – I would also recommend ‘Looking for Alaska’.

    My daughter B, who is now 20 (yikes), listens to John and his brother Hank’s vlogs all the time:

    Thanks for the additional book suggestions. I am finding lately that I have a really difficult time losing myself in fiction the way I used to, but I will keep trying as reading was always my thing when life got too ‘waily waily’. I am currently on ‘Dodger’, which was actually a xmas gift to B last year.

  3. I loved the Cazalet Chronicles. Elizabeth Jane Howard is an author that can be hit or miss as far as I am concerned (started with CC and went onto other works: mostly 😦 for me) but I got very invested in the character development throughout the series and felt genuinely sad not to have follow up after the last book.

  4. Follow up comment. Chris Hadfield, the Canadian astronaut who sang Space Oddity ( from the ISS has written a book. He will be on tour in Leicester on 13 December if you are interested ( He has a very funny book trailer for ‘An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth’:

    Sorry for all of the links – I thought the children might like them.

  5. Sonya
    Thanks for the links.

    Have just finished all the Cazalet books in a week. LOVED them.

    Fault in our Stars is just up your street for sure.

  6. Have you tried Kate Griffin’s books? I read The Madness of Angels and was instantly hooked
    Huge advantage is that if you do like them then there are 6 so far, which eases the wait for Ben Aaronovitch

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