“Skulduggery Pleasant: Kingdom of the Wicked” by Derek Landy
More tales of the skeleton detective and his teenage sidekick. You either like this kind of thing, or you don’t. My only regret is that it was an impulse buy in Tesco. I thought that I should wait until I got to a proper bookshop, but I didn’t. I got my comeuppance as I paid €14.50 and it was only €9.99 in Eason’s. And furthermore, herself grabbed it when I came in the door so I might as well have waited.
“Biggles: The Camels are Coming” by Captain W.E. Johns
I saw it in the library. I remembered seeing at home for years a volume entitled “Biggles Flies to Work” but I never read it and I thought, when I saw Biggles in the library, that it was time. It wasn’t really. However appealing Biggles may be to the 13 year old boy, he holds no attractions for the 43 year old woman. Pity but there it is.
“An Unsung Hero” by Michael Smith
This is the story of Tom Crean, a Kerryman who served under both Shackleton and Scott in Antarctica. I read a couple of books about the early exploration of Antarctica in my 20s but haven’t really been back since. The writing in this book is not beautiful; it is alright at best but the story is absolutely terrific.
The author has written in detail about the experiences of Crean who ran away from Kerry at 15 to join the Navy and worked his way, slowly, upwards. Most books on Antarctica focus, understandably, on Scott and the party who went to the Pole. This book focuses on the men who went back. It is packed full of the most extraordinary adventures. Crean was a hero and very phlegmatic to boot. Inevitably information on men, as opposed to officers, is thin on the ground but the author has pulled together every reference to Crean he could find to create a picture of a heroic, tough, self-deprecating man. It’s a really enjoyable read. Thanks to Google maps, I was able to have a good look around some of the terrain he covered and it is utterly breathtaking that they survived at all. If you’re interested in Antarctic exploration (and who isn’t?) then I really recommend this book. I see that he died in the same hospital where I was born. That’s probably the closest I will get to Antarctic exploration.
“Sept Jours Pour Une Eternité” by Marc Levy
Ah now, this is dire. I read it in French and my only comfort is that it’s good for my French. And it took me a long, long time. It’s deathly. God and the Devil send their best agents to fight over San Francisco and the two meet and fall in love. Really, do you need to know anything more? The author clearly has his eye on the film rights.
“The Mystery of Mercy Close” by Marian Keyes
The author’s well publicised bouts of depression inform this book. It is the most depressing example of chick lit you are likely to read. The author saves her skills for writing lovingly of suicide and the romance is, frankly, unconvincing. The love interest is really only there because he has to be. Not one of her best offerings but still a page turner.