The Closed Circle by Jonathan Coe – I saw the Rotters Club by Coe adapted for TV, the prequel to Closed Circle, and in fact I wish I had read that book before I read this the sequel. But I probably won’t now. This is just as easy to read as the TV show was to watch. There’s some great observations in here, particularly about New Labour and ‘new politicians’, which if you’re at all realistic (cynical) about politics you are sure to enjoy. I liked the relationship stuff which was perceptive and beautifully written, and there are some nice twists, which help to liven up the end in particular.
A Necessary End by Peter Robinson – A ‘detective series’ in the police procedural style, this is the third in the Alan Banks series. As crime writing story addict, and one of the slightly older school who prefers fewer serial killers and more mysteries, these make good reading for me. Never likely to reach the heights of the best, McBain, Hill or Harvey, these are enjoyable nonetheless.
Sharpe’s Triumph by Bernard Cornwell – The second in this extensive series by Cornwell. Blame my friends Shaun and Maria, Shaun got me interested, Maria’s obvious disgust at our evident fascination with them is the perfect motivator to keep reading Sharpie !
The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason – A gift, all the more valuable because it’s not a title I would have chosen myself. This is the third insightful choice of present from my friend Suzana, that has led to me discovering a[nother] new writer. A book about someone discovering a new part of himself, in the guise of a story of a man discovering a new country (Burma). I found this both fascinating in parts and uninspiring in parts, or maybe inconsistently gripping is a better phrase. The pacing was fairly even with the physical journey escalating in excitement as the mental/spiritual one unravels itself. There is some amazing writing in here, but for me it was not an entirely amazing book. I felt rather let down by the ending, it’s one of those key places where so many books go ‘wrong’ in my opinion, even really great writers, or writers whose output I admire 99% of the time, still ocassionally make me feel that some of the writing at the end of the book is less well engineered than much of the material that got me to that point. This was definitely the case with this title. Will have to ask the gift giver what she thought of it.
Bleak House by Charles Dickens – Having avoided getting to grips with any Dickens for 40 years, I was intrigued by the BBC television adaptation of Bleak House, and drawn in really quickly, which gave me a real urge to try the book which I bought and started before the TV series had run it’s course. I found it just as easy to read as the TV programme was to watch. And of course there was all that extra material that got lost in the script adaptation for the screen.
The Portable Door by Tom Holt – this was an experiment, having found it on offer in Ottakars, 99p for a brand new paperback, they were obviously keen to sell more books by Tom Holt! Well having read it I’d rather have my 99p back. Not one for me.