Summer reads, 2017

Malcolm Redfellow

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Looks as if nobody has re-booted this old perennial. So,
After you, Claude!
No, After you Cecil!
[Just kudos for those identifying the source of that one.]

With the transAtlantic grandchildren off to summer camp, and the UK ones coming down to that interminable overlap with Le Tour, here am I musing on what I've enjoyed of late — and what others might similarly do so. And I'm sticking to the gory end of the market.

I'll leave aside the annuals: Donna Leon, Alan First, Ian Rankin, Philip Kerr. They came on schedule, and were devoured. I've become a bit of a Christopher Fowler addict, too. Number 3 daughter seems to have a working arrangement with Waterstones to get first-day, signed copies of Ben Aaronovitch — which means I'm also buying "graphic novels". The recent Christopher Brookmyre/ Jack Parlabane is worth waiting for — in paperback.

Here's the Alert Siren:

My most recent "discovery" is the Stefan Gillespie series from Michael Russell. Did nobody tell me of these delicious thrillers?

The second, The City of Strangers, had been lurking on my shelves for quite a while:
I guess that stereotypical cover, a dead ringer for half-a-dozen more, may have been the deterrent. Then I plucked the book down out of boredom, and was hooked.

I'm now back-tracking to the prototype, The City in Shadows:

A starter for ten:
Dublin, June 1932

The moon shone on the Liffey as it moved quietly through Dublin, towards the sea. The river was sparkling. Silver and gold flecks of light shimmered and played between the canal-like embankments of stone and concrete that squeezed it tightly into the city’s streets. By day the river was grey and sluggish, even in sunlight, darker than its sheer walls, dingier and duller than the noisy confusion of buildings that lined the Quays on either side. Its wilder origins, in the emptiness of the Wicklow Mountains, seemed long forgotten as it slid, strait-jacketed and servile, through the city it had given birth to. It wasn’t the kind of river anyone stood and looked at for long. It had neither majesty nor magic. Its spirit had been tamed, even if its city never had been. From Arran Quay to Bachelor’s Walk on one side, from Usher’s Quay to Aston Quay on the other, you walked above the river that oozed below like a great, grey drain. And if you did look at it, crossing from the Southside to the Northside, over Gratton Bridge, the Halfpenny Bridge, O’Connell Bridge, it wasn’t the Liffey itself that held your gaze, but the soft light on the horizon where it escaped its walls and found its way into the sea at last. Yet, sometimes, when the moon was low and heavy over the city, the Liffey seemed to remember the light of the moon and the stars in the mountains, and the nights when its cascading streams were the only sound.
Yes, folks, we have a home-grown, home-based specimen here. There's a special fun to be had joining Russell's dots: Strangers has "real" characters including the ambiguous Seán Russell, the loathsome Father Charles Coughlin, and "Longie" Zwillman ("The Al Capone of Newark, New Jersey"). Old Dubliners will recognise the Lavinia Ball murder (1936, but here moved up some years). Bringing the Foynes flying-boat service forward a couple of months makes Sergeant Gillespie's travels more possible.

The four Russells should see me through the next two or three weeks (anyhoo, I haven't accessed #4 yet).

And after that, I'm open to suggestions. We've just had two days of solid rain here in "Old" York, with more promised for the weekend and beyond, so I'm up for a long read ...
 


Socratus O' Pericles

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I think I still have some of the 2007 summer reading list left, as time passed I notice I read a lot less fiction, a lot more science, economics and psychology.
 

Ruff says Flaherty

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Graham Hancock-Magicians of the Gods
Economism- James Kwak
The Panama Papers- Frederik Obermaier

That is my current rotation. All good reads so far.
 

between the bridges

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Currently rereading Christian Cameron's excellent medieval historical fiction romp 'Chivalry' series ahead of the publishing of book 3...
 

Erudite Caveman

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Currently rereading Christian Cameron's excellent medieval historical fiction romp 'Chivalry' series ahead of the publishing of book 3...
I'm dipping the toe into that sort of stuff with Ken Follett's 'The Pillars of the Earth'. Will likely go with a sci-fi book of some sort, if the medieval folk don't scratch that itch. But it seems good so far, if not a little bit too explainy.

Historical without the fiction, I've also got The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan on the go, but have lost momentum.

Also working my way through Irvine Welsh's Mark Renton series off the back of Trainspotting 2 earlier in the year.
 

between the bridges

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I'm dipping the toe into that sort of stuff with Ken Follett's 'The Pillars of the Earth'. Will likely go with a sci-fi book of some sort, if the medieval folk don't scratch that itch. But it seems good so far, if not a little bit too explainy.

Historical without the fiction, I've also got The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan on the go, but have lost momentum.

Also working my way through Irvine Welsh's Mark Renton series off the back of Trainspotting 2 earlier in the year.
A decent read, but a bit more 'action' in Cameron's stuff he has another imo superb series The Long War based on Greek- Persian war...
 

MauriceColgan

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My latest library books read this past week.

The Paul Allen book 'Idea Man' is MUST read for all of us. Absolutely fascinating. The guy is a world treasure.

I only discovered him recently and have been blown over by his amazing contributions to the world of ....well ..everything!!!
 

Lúidín

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Malcolm Redfellow: I guess that stereotypical cover, a dead ringer for half-a-dozen more, may have been the deterrent.
Again with the same cover, you might enjoy Joe Joyce's trilogy of 'Echoland','Echobeat' and 'Echowave' set in wartime Dublin and following the adventures of an intelligence officer in the Army.

And following the Dublin-in-the-rare-old-times theme, there's Conor Brady's Detective Sergeant Swallow balancing crime-fighting with the politics of Dublin Castle in the 1880s in his 'A June of Ordinary Murders' and 'The Eloquence of the Dead'.

Both writers capture the times that were in it and both the heroes have a very real, familiar feel to them. I'm sure I've had a pint or a 'Tullamore' with them in Mulligans or the Brazen Head.
 

Socratus O' Pericles

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I have got Grant & I by Robert Forster on the go, I guess one needs to be an egotist to be a "rock star".
 

statsman

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ITMA reference; very nice.

Read some poetry this summer. You never know, you might discover something.


The Sun Rising
By John Donne

Busy old fool, unruly sun,
Why dost thou thus,
Through windows, and through curtains call on us?
Must to thy motions lovers' seasons run?
Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide
Late school boys and sour prentices,
Go tell court huntsmen that the king will ride,
Call country ants to harvest offices,
Love, all alike, no season knows nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.

Thy beams, so reverend and strong
Why shouldst thou think?
I could eclipse and cloud them with a wink,
But that I would not lose her sight so long;
If her eyes have not blinded thine,
Look, and tomorrow late, tell me,
Whether both th' Indias of spice and mine
Be where thou leftst them, or lie here with me.
Ask for those kings whom thou saw'st yesterday,
And thou shalt hear, All here in one bed lay.

She's all states, and all princes, I,
Nothing else is.
Princes do but play us; compared to this,
All honor's mimic, all wealth alchemy.
Thou, sun, art half as happy as we,
In that the world's contracted thus.
Thine age asks ease, and since thy duties be
To warm the world, that's done in warming us.
Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere;
This bed thy center is, these walls, thy sphere.
 

Socratus O' Pericles

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What is this sun thing to which you refer?
 

hollandia

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I'm dipping the toe into that sort of stuff with Ken Follett's 'The Pillars of the Earth'. Will likely go with a sci-fi book of some sort, if the medieval folk don't scratch that itch. But it seems good so far, if not a little bit too explainy.

Historical without the fiction, I've also got The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan on the go, but have lost momentum.

Also working my way through Irvine Welsh's Mark Renton series off the back of Trainspotting 2 earlier in the year.
I'd suggest Kate Mosse's Languedoc trilogy for a bit of medieval and a bit of fantasy. Pretty good reads.
 

mr. jings

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Gonna finish off The Southern Reach trilogy, and bate into Chabon's latest, before giving East West Street a whirl and attempting to conquer Alan Moore's Jerusalem. Oh, and The Secret History of Twin Peaks is calling me .
 

Socratus O' Pericles

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Is that Kingdom of Olives and Ash jingsy? Looks interesting.
 

statsman

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Anyone heading to the south of Spain this summer could do worse than read South from Granada by Gerald Brenan.
 


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