WWW Wednesday is currently hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Each week there are three questions:
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?
I missed Wednesday; almost made Thursday and now it’s
Friday Saturday. Ah well. The answers are the same today as they would have been yesterday and the day before.
What are you currently reading? I have the usual cluster of titles on the go…
I seem quite incapable of reading one book at a time. Is this indicative of
our collective my inability to focus on anything for very long, I ask myself?
The Starlings and Other Stories, edited by Ann Cleeve was an impulse buy inspired by Fictionophile’s Cover Love series which on that occasion had the theme ‘flocks of birds’. I generally do lust after the covers she finds and occasionally some have found their way onto the wish list but I don’t think I’ve ever jumped straight in as I did here. But birds are particularly evocative and perhaps the name ‘Ann Cleeves’ as editor was the clincher, though overall I think it was this misty time of year and the premise behind the anthology which really caught me. There are twelve stories, each written by a crime writer and each inspired by an atmospheric black and white photograph of rural Wales. I’m not quite half way through but I’m finding it fascinating on so many levels. It’s a great choice for RIP XIV; it’s an opportunity to sample a range of crime writers and I’m having a spirited debate with myself as I finish each tale on whether I would have interpreted the photographs in the same way. (I’m also adding several new names to my list of authors to try *sigh*)
What did you recently finish reading? Oh, The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny. And it was brutal. It was also for me the best of the series so far. There was a roller coaster of responses as I read through the book. The murder came almost immediately which doesn’t always happen – that was good. But certain themes resembled the previous book: strained father-son relationships, a known resident of Three Pines under suspicion – that was less good. And just as I began to feel quite grumpy, the book turned and up I went again.
The murder occurs after dark, just as summer gives way to autumn, just as the nights are drawing in. The pages are well sprinkled with the usual lush descriptions of the changing countryside, the weather, the food, the residents’ everyday comings and goings and a new wardrobe for Rosa, the duck. This book is almost entirely set in Three Pines and its surrounds, with a brief and fascinating visit to the Queen Charlotte Islands off British Columbia. There is some Canadian history in this tale and reference to Canadian art which I found very interesting.
I felt like a fish on a line, being gently played in and out as Louise Penny slowly reeled me in, or perhaps it was more like trying to find a way through the overgrown trails in the woods in which the murdered Hermit’s cabin was hidden – many twists and turns, false trails and dead ends. I should have been prepared for the denoument when it came. I was not.
I found I was rationing myself with this book; I didn’t want to gulp it down in large chunks; I didn’t want it to end. This, even though there will be another one along, ready and waiting around Christmas which is set at the Winter Carnival. Can’t wait!
What do you think you’ll read next? I’m going to find it hard to turn away from dark, autumnal reads and I think that the next book I pick up when some of the current batch are finished will be Night Waking by Sarah Moss. I have been planning to read this for so long. It was one of the casualties from my Fifteen (downgraded from twenty) Books of Summer list and that may prove to be a good thing as I think it will be far more suited to this time of year. This book is set on a desolate Hebridean island and the dual storyline, set 200 years apart sounds dark, linked by the discovery of a baby’s skeleton. If it comes anywhere close to Signs for Lost Children in terms of quality I shall be in for a treat.