Granta 85: Hidden Histories – Granta Magazine

Granta 85: Hidden HistoriesMy 1000th review on SparklyTrainers, and my last book of 2019.

Just right for dipping in and out for bedtime reading on the lead up to our move to Herefordshire. I particularly liked the last essay, Giles Foden‘s White Men’s Boats, and the personal histories from Diana Athill and Brian Cathcart.

And I’ve just spotted the Giles Foden has written a full length version of the hidden history of the World War I British naval expedition to Lake Tanganyika, overland, led by the inept Geoffrey Spicer-Simson: Mimi and Toutou Go Forth.

Publisher page: Granta 85: Hidden Histories – Granta Magazine

Kingmaker: Winter Pilgrims – Toby Clements

Kingmaker: Winter Pilgrims - Toby Clements
Kingmaker: Winter Pilgrims – Toby Clements

The first in a four part series set in the Wars of the Roses starts with a young canon and nun fleeing their Lincolnshire Priory in the hard winter of 1460. They soon take on new identities to escape charges of apostasy.

Jean borrowed my Frinton purchase when she and dad stayed in the summer and thoroughly enjoyed it. So, spotting a copy in my pre-Christmas whizz around Barbican library, it was an easy choice. A good one too – and not simply because it turned out I’d read the other three novels I picked up!

Plenty of adventure as Thomas and Kit find themselves travelling around the country, and across the Channel, on boats, horses and foot.

I particularly enjoyed the Welsh section, and the chapter spent in Hereford, when the Chained Library gets a mention.

Handily I have the next two – further Frinton purchases – at home. Less handily I’ve already promised to let Jean have them when we get to 40A in January. She’s been waiting patiently to find out what happens after the Battle of Towton….

The only disappointment was discovering that the author is/was a literary critic at The Telegraph. No wonder there’s such a glowing review from them on the front cover…. It’s not what you know, eh?

Publisher page: Kingmaker: Winter Pilgrims – Toby Clements

Watching the English – Kate Fox

Watching The English - Kate Fox
Watching The English – Kate Fox

Inspired by social anthropologist Kate Fox’s Passport to the Pub: A guide to British pub etiquette, I picked up the 2014 update of her book on the English from St Helena Hospice’s bookshop in Frinton.

I’m still reading, dipping in and out a chapter at a time. I read the first few chapters back in October and took Watching the English to Nepal with me, where I read one more – about Horse Racing. It’s an excellent read, and highly “dippable”. With Christmas and New Year holidays approaching I am feeling the need for fiction, hence putting this to one side, for now….

Well I never, she’s married to Henry Marsh….

Publisher page: Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour – Kate Fox

Deadly Web – Barbara Nadel

Deadly Web - Barbara Nadel
Deadly Web – Barbara Nadel

Picked up in Frinton, Deadly Web reflects two of the key historical developments of the early years of the 21st century – the widespread availability of internet and the web, and the build up to the Iraq War – all the more interesting given the Istanbuli perspective.

The third theme is ceremonial magic and the line of witches and others with the sight in police Inspector Çetin İkmen’s own family.

Inspector Mehmet Suleyman’s personal life is a mess – his second wife has left him after he had to take an AIDS test having slept with a prostitute. And then he meets gypsy Gonca….

Publisher page: Deadly Web – Barbara Nadel