Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Bookspotting Days 4 & 5

An easier day bookspotting today, so I'll dive right in.

The first book spotted this morning, being read by a woman sat waiting for a train at Lancaster train station, was 'Sanctus' by Simon Toyne, book one of the Sancti trilogy. This is an 'apocalyptic conspiracy thriller', you know the type, and a debut novel for this author. It looks like quite a popular book, 413 reviewers on Amazon.co.uk, average rating 4 stars.

The second book spotted was 'Charlotte Gray' by Sebastian Faulks. This was another woman, also sat waiting for a train south from Lancaster this morning. Charlotte Gray is the author's second novel, and a loose sequel to his first novel, the hugely successful Birdsong. In this book, the title character Charlotte is a young Scottish woman who falls in love with an airman. When he disappears while on a mission in France, she follows him as a British secret courier...

That was it for this morning. The afternoon proved even more fruitful, first with 'Ramble On: The Story of our love for Walking Britain' by Sinclair McKay. This describes itself as the 'definitive history of rambling' in Britain. It has got stuff about the Lake District walks of Alfred Wainwright, landowners battles to keep walkers off their land. These tales are all related while describing several walks across the country which the author went on.

The fourth book spotted is 'The View From Castle Rock' by Alice Munro. I've heard of the author before, but didn't know anything about her. It appears she's renowned for her short story collections, and is considered by many to be the best short story writer alive - to back this up she's won the Noble Prize for Literature. This book though is a novel, a fictionalized account of her ancestors starting from Edinburgh (the Castle Rock of the title) and following them as they emigrated to Canada. It sounds very descriptive and slow paced, but moving and beautifully written. Looking at the Amazon reviews, a few reviewers found it dull, but it sounds just my sort of book, so will be adding this (yet another book!) to my long to be read list.

The fifth book is 'The City of Strangers' by Michael Russell. It is a historical crime novel, with elements of a conspiracy thriller in too, set just before the start of the second world war and featuring the Nazi's, the Irish & IRA and America. It's the second book featuring Stefan Gilespie, being a sequel to the first book, 'The City of Shadows'.

Day 5. I don't know if it is the gorgeous sunny weather or something, but there was a lot of people reading today, at the train station, on the train, sat on the tarmac on the platform... Quite a few of them I couldn't identify - one older guy was reading a hardback book that had lost its dust jacket- red bookcloth with no writing on it makes it difficult to spot! Another one could have been a Harry Potter, but only got the briefest glimpse but couldn't be sure. Another was a book I'd spotted last week, which I'm fairly sure was (still) being read by the same person, stood in exactly the same spot at Preston train station as last week. Creature of habit.

So all in all at least 8 or 9 books, but only 3 real identified spots.



'The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden' by Jonas Jonasson. This is the author's second book, after last year's phenomenally successful (and incredibly funny) 'The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of a Window and Disappeared', which was about just what it sounds like but with flashbacks to the man's life - he was involved in some way in of most of the 20th century's most historic events. This new book is more of the same, if you enjoyed the first you should enjoy this.

'The Places in Between' by Rory Stewart. This is a travel book about author Rory Stewart's 6,000 mile journey on foot across Afganistan, between Turkey and Bangladesh in 2002, in the aftermath of the US invastion when the country was in turmoil. He very nearly didn't survive, and only managed the complete his journey with the help and kindness of strangers and his travelling companion.

'Gone Girl' by Gillian Flynn. Sometimes I only get a brief glimpse of a book, not enough to catch the title. All I got with this one was that it had a bright orange title on the cover and the author was ... Flynn. I remembered seeing Gone Girl before and that it had a bright orange cover. I looked it up and confirmed it was the same book. This is a crime/thriller novel, about a woman who disappears on her 5th wedding anniversary. The prime suspect is her husband, but did he kill her, or is something much more strange going on?

That's it for today folks.