Thursday, August 7, 2008

Some book reviews

The last few days despite a growing list of things to be done there has still ( by going to bed later and getting up earlier) been time for plenty of this

and this

and this

THe first book, which is this month's book club selection

Disproving the theory that women can't read maps, this is the story of Phyllis Pearsall, the eccentric British artist who single-handedly mapped London's A-Z and created a publishing phenomenon. Born Phyllis Isobella Gross, her lifelong nickname was PIG. The artist daughter of a flamboyant Hungarian Jewish immigrant, and an Irish Italian mother, her bizarre and often traumatic childhood did not restrain her from becoming one of Britain's most intriguing entrepreneurs and self-made millionaires. After an unsatisfactory marriage, Phyllis, a 30-year-old divorcee, had to support herself and so became a portrait painter. It is doing this job and trying to find her patron's houses that Phyllis became increasingly frustrated at the lack of proper maps of London. Instead of just cursing the fact as many fellow Londoners probably did, Phyllis decided to do something about it. Without hesitation she covered London's 23,000 streets on foot during the course of one year, often leaving her Horseferry Road bedsit at dawn to do so.
To publish the map, and in light of its enormous success, she set up her own company, The Geographer's Trust, which still publishes the London A-Z and that of every major British city

I am enjoying this book so far. Her father seems to be a right so and so but clearly passed his can do attitude onto the daughter. it is fascinating finding out how tough it was to get allthe information needed. We take such information for granted nowadays.

My current reading material is by the author Kate Morton

A lost child: On the eve of the First World War, a little girl is found abandoned on a ship to Australia. A mysterious woman called the Authoress had promised to look after her - but has disappeared without a trace.
A terrible secret: On the night of her twenty-first birthday, Nell Andrews learns a secret that will change her life forever. Decades later, she embarks upon a search for the truth that leads her to the windswept Cornish coast and the strange and beautiful Blackhurst Manor, once owned by the aristocratic Mountrachet family.A mysterious inheritance: On Nell's death, her granddaughter, Cassandra, comes into an unexpected inheritance. Cliff Cottage and its forgotten garden are notorious amongst the Cornish locals for the secrets they hold - secrets about the doomed Mountrachet family and their ward Eliza Makepeace, a writer of dark Victorian fairytales. It is here that Cassandra will finally uncover the truth about the family, and solve the century-old mystery of a little girl lost.
This is really absorbing so far even though the author has three generations telling the story. It keeps switching between the three female narrators but I like the way different elements of the story are revealed. I enjoyed her previous novel

Within its four walls lay a secret that would last a lifetime.

Summer 1924: On the night of a glittering Society party, by the lake of a grand English country house, a young poet takes his life. The only witnesses, sisters Hannah and Emmeline Hartford, will never speak to each other again.

Winter 1999: Grace Bradley, 98, onetime housemaid of Riverton Manor, is visited by a young director making a film about the poet’s suicide. Ghosts awaken and memories, long-consigned to the dark reaches of Grace’s mind, begin to sneak back through the cracks. A shocking secret threatens to emerge; something history has forgotten but Grace never could.

Set as the war-shattered Edwardian summer surrenders to the decadent twenties, The House at Riverton is a thrilling mystery and a compelling love story.

Also published as

I wish sometimes they wouldn't do that, call a book a different name and give it a completely different cover. It tricks me into thinking perhaps I haven't read the book. I am easily tricked.
Perhaps some FOs tomorrow, then again Ravelympics starting perhaps not.
It's nearly the weekend. Yippee


Isobel said...

What great tips! I need to make the most of the time I have before baby comes and reading more is one of the things in my list.

Sarah said...

Mrs P sounds very interesting, will have to look out for that.

I thought that there was a third Kate Morton I hadn't read when I saw The Shifting Fog - why do they do that? I'm in your easily confused club

raining sheep said...

Great tips for reading. Mrs. P sounds like something I might want to read.

Firefly Nights said...

The House at Riverton sounds really good so I just ordered it. But, like you. I don't see the reason for it to have had two names. The cover art on The Shifting Fog, and also the name, is much more appealing.

LizzieJane said...

Thanks again for the book reviews, it is much appreciated.
There is nothing better than curling up on your couch with a good book, a nice glass of wine and a warm little kitty.

Willow said...

I haven't gotten around to visit you for a few days. I'm glad someone told you about using TWO lengths of cord. I was reading through your comments on the way down to tell you,TWO, use TWO.

The books sound very interesting. I'll put them on the reading list, numbers, oh, about 1000 or 1352. It's so sad. My reading list is way too long!

Sal said...

My mum has just passed on to me, 'The House at Riverton'.
I've added it to my 'pile'! ;-)

t does wool said...

Interesting reading choices,I personally have THE KITE RUNNER and THE GARDEN IF LAST DAYS-by Andre DubusIII...I'll have to check out your picks,Ali.

Jennifer said...

Oooh - I think I'll have to read the Lost Garden. It sounds fascinating. Thanks for the tip.

Firefly Nights said...

I'm now halfway through The House at Riverton and I can see why they changed the name. All through the book the reference is always to the house at Riverton, so it seems natural. And, halfway through I'm already pretty sure I know what one of the secrets is. I'll have to wait to see if I'm right.