Monday, May 4, 2015

Remarks on Recent Reads: April Edition

April flew by for me! In the midst of it, I read a hodgepodge of good things.

Di and Viv and Rose by Amelia Bullmore (2013). I watch the British crime drama "Scott and Bailey," and I'm a fan of Ameila Bullmore who plays the smart, officious and mostly serious boss, Gill Murray. Bullmore is the author of the play Di and Viv and Rose. I wished that I could have transported myself to the West End of London this past winter to see the play. It's the story of three girls who become friends through sharing a house at university. When we first meet the three young women, they are 18. Di, Viv and Rose are funny and enthusiastic. The play catches up with them in the different decades that follow. The play has its comic moments and at times, it is a moving look at friendship and how time alters and possibly threatens to tear apart their friendship through the years. If you like reading plays, I recommend this one. It's under one hundred pages. One day, I hope that I'll get a chance to see Di and Viv and Rose.

Now May You Weep by Deborah Crombie (2003). Hazel Cavendish has been a character a bit in the background in this series. She's been the supportive friend and landlord of Detective Gemma James in this series. However, in Now May You Weep, Hazel steps out to the forefront as she and Gemma take a trip to the Scottish Highlands. Gemma realizes too late that Hazel has some secrets as well as ulterior motives on this trip that turns into a mystery involving murder, family rivalries, lost love, and an interesting look at what goes into the business of whiskey distilling. I recommend this book. 

Big City Eyes by Delia Ephron (2001). The title of this book comes from main character Lily Davis' column that she writes for the weekly local newspaper. Lily has moved from Manhattan to rural Long Island, mainly to get away from the bad influences of the city on her fifteen year old son. Life in a small town presents challenges such as gossip, her son's new Klingon speaking girlfriend, Lily's undeniable attraction to a very married police officer, and then, there is a dead body. This was a fun read with crackling good dialogue. I recommend this novel. 

The Bookshop at 10 Curzon Street: Letters of Nancy Mitford and Heywood Hill 1953-1973 by Nancy Mitford and Heywood Hill (2005). In the early 1940s, British writer Nancy Mitford worked at Heywood Hill's bookshop in Mayfair until the end of World War II, which began a friendship with Hill that lasted until Mitford's death in 1973. The letters in this collection are edited by John Saumarez Smith who also worked at Heywood Hill and later ran the shop. I wondered if Smith took too heavy a hand with his editing because in some cases there is a snippet here and a snippet there when I would've liked more. What is in the book are letters that illustrate the warmth of Mitford and Hill's friendship, often including gossip about the glitterati of the day as well as information about the book trade and the challenges of running a bookshop. Nancy Mitford was was never at a loss for a good party invitation which makes for fun gossipy tidbits. Some of the characters mentioned are Violet Trefusis, Evelyn Waugh, Osbert Sitwell, Jane Asher, Princess Margaret and Lord Snowden, and some of the surviving members of Bloomsbury, just to name a few. If you like reading about the Mitford Sisters like I do, you'll enjoy this book.   

What are you reading?

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