Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Remarks on Recent Reads: The Procrastinator's Edition

It's been awhile since I've done a Remarks on Recent Reads post, and I have no excuse other than I've been procrastinating! Here are some titles that I've read over the past couple of months, all of which I recommend:

The Woman Who Had Imagination by H.E. Bates

I'd heard of H.E. Bates (1905-1974) and even have one of his novels (which I haven't yet read), but I couldn't pass up The Woman Who Had Imagination. I can't recall when I've read such beautiful writing in short stories. Bates' descriptions of gardens and flowers are beautiful and evocative. There are fourteen stories in this collection and several include ninety-three-year-old sprightly Uncle Silas, "as lively and restless as a young colt." There are also stories which take place in the city and illustrate the challenges facing those of the working class, and these stories are quite compelling as well.

I received an electronic copy of this book from Netgalley.

Thirteen Guests by J. Jefferson Farjeon

I'm enjoying these books from the British Library Crime Classics, and Thirteen Guests by J. Jefferson Farjeon (1883-1955) is no exception. I was curious to see if this 1936 crime classic would be totally confusing with so many characters but need not have worried. Farjeon's murder mystery takes place at a country house, Bagley Court, on an autumn weekend. Several events occur which lead to murder, and it's up to Detective Inspector Kendall to uncover secrets, lies and motives. All in all, a fun read. I look forward to reading more novels by Farjeon.

I received an electronic copy of this book from Netgalley.

The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford

This lovely edition has been languishing on my bookshelf for far too long. I've read several of Nancy Mitford's novels, but The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate are my favorites so far. 

The Pursuit of Love is told from Fanny's point of view. She is a cousin of the eccentric Radlett family of Alconleigh estate, and the story deals primarily with the road to love for the beautiful Linda Radlett. The Radlett family is based upon the Mitfords, and there are some genuinely funny laugh out loud moments.

In Love in a Cold Climate, Fanny is once again the narrator, but this time she tells the story of her distant cousin, Polly Hampton, and Polly's search for love despite the her interfering aristocratic family. Lively and interesting characters, romantic comedy, and a secret make this a fun read.  

This Rough Magic by Mary Stewart

Lucy Waring has come to Corfu to visit her sister and is looking forward to a lovely vacation. When a body washes ashore, Lucy finds herself caught up in a murder mystery as well as romance, but who can she trust? Handsome photographer Godfrey Manning or the dashing and charming Max Gale, son of mysterious actor Sir Julian Gale? 

I'm enjoying making my way through Mary Stewart's novels. There are several elements at work in This Rough Magic that made this such a wonderful book. The writing is so eloquent as always in a Mary Stewart novel. Stewart effectively weaves Shakespeare's The Tempest into the story in an interesting way. Then there is the appearance of a dolphin who becomes important to the plot, and Stewart makes this believable. This Rough Magic is another book I've had for awhile, and I'm so glad I finally read it.

What have you been reading that you recommend?


  1. 1&2 sound interesting. I've read and loved 3&4. Right now I'm reading The Boys in the Boat -- finally! -- and it's excellent.

  2. I've had that exact Mitford edition on my shelf for years! I need to get to it, too. I'm trying to make myself stick to nonfiction for this month. If I start a novel, I'm pretty sure I won't finish all my nonfiction plans.

    1. Hi, Amy! Thanks for stopping by. Hope all your nonfiction reading is going well!

  3. The cover collage is so attractive... I want to read them for that alone ;-)
    That Mitford edition has been on my shelf for years, too.

    1. I don't know why I waited so long to read the Mitford novels, but that book has been on my shelf for years, too.