It’s World Book Day this week (Thursday 7th March) and in honor of this, and the character of Jesse from The Fast Show who comes out of his shed each week to enhance our lives with his diet/clothing choices (“This week I ‘ave been mostly wearing… Dolce and Gabbana”), I will tell you what I have been reading. Only I’m going to be doing this, at least at first, in a monthly basis as frankly there’s far too much going on for me to be able to tell you every week. I may be able to tell you other, possibly interesting (but don’t hold your breath) highlights of the month on a weekly basis. If I get time.

I decided I wanted to fit in more reading this year to help with my work, and for my own pleasure – I love a good book! My taste is pretty eclectic, I think there is no particular type of book I enjoy – as long as it is a good one!

To catch up here’s what I read in February:

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The Moving Finger  Agatha Christie

Nothing like a bit of genteel murder and the appearance of the common-sense of Miss Marple to make you feel comforted. I really enjoyed Agatha Christie’s skill in dialogue and characterization. I’ll be reading more of her work – slightly ashamed I haven’t read much of it before. The edition I borrowed from the library was the facsimile edition of the first edition published (as on the cover shown above). The typographic and cover design approach is fascinating to see.

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Crash J G Ballard (showing four different edition covers)

Not for the squeamish or faint-hearted. Not for the prudish either. If you’re easily shocked don’t read this, if you like to challenge your ‘open-minded nature’ then do. The cover on the edition I read is the one with Elizabeth Taylor on the front. Not my favourite – think of these four I’d go for the last one shown – the folio edition. This image of the four covers comes from a literary blog – comingforyouproust. Like this blogger, I also thought it a remarkable book.

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The Women Who Got Away John Updike

Well-written. I like to see a male writer’s point of view on his female conquests (fictional I assume).  An interesting comment on relationships and promiscuity – partly trapped in the 70’s.

Children’s books (read by me and/or my children)

For my 11-year-old:

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The Unforgotten Coat Frank Cottrell Boyce

As usual for FCB this is a brilliant book that not only enters into the world of a Year 6 school child in Liverpool, but also the life of asylum-seeking Mongolian nomads. I read it after my son had finished it and loved the presentation as well as the story. The book is peppered with Polaroids ‘taken’ by the elder brother as they hide from the authorities who want to take them back to their homeland of Mongolia.  At the end of the book there is an addendum by FC Boyce which tells you about the Reader Organisation. Really good cover design, with linen hardback, spot varnishing and embossing to create a really classy and effective cover. The layout inside is also well thought out – especially for a fiction title with facsimile lined paper, and Polaroids ‘stuck in’ making the appearance of a scrapbook.

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Dark Lord – The Teenage Years Jamie Thomson (alias Dirk Lloyd)

This book won the Roald Dahl Funny Prize in 2012. I struggle to find books that my son will like – his reading age is about 15 but some of the subject matter for a fifteen year old is not necessarily suitable for an 11-year-old. This book is aimed more at his actual age than his reading age, but was sophisticated enough to make him laugh and not bore him with too young a language style. There is another book by this author which I have ordered from the library.

For my 7-year-old:

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Little Darlings Sam Llewelyn

My daughter is partly reading this herself – she is 7 but has a reading age of 8.1. There are some tricky words for her reading age – and partly being read this as a bedtime story by me – because I like it! Very funny, slightly subversive, good characters and a fast-moving plot.

My partner has been reading these library books:

(The Bob Marley books were ordered in as they weren’t in our actual branch stock – this is easy to do and your librarian can help you, or you can do this on-line, both for only a small fee)

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The Periodic Tales – The curious lives of the elements Hugh Aldersley Williams

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I and I The Natural Mystics Marley Tosh and Wailer Colin Grant

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Marley Legend – An Illustrated Life of Bob Marley James Henke

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