Friday 6 July 2012

The Five Last Books I Read with Caroline Lawrence

One of my favourite authors has just released the second book in her Western  Mysteries series.  To celebrate its release, Caroline has agreed to come onto the blog to tell us about the last five books she has read, in a new author feature on the blog. 
Like most writers, I’ve got about a dozen books on the go, some on my bedside table, others on my iPhone Kindle app: The Eagle of the Twelfth by M.C. Scott, Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin and Silence & Honey Cakes by Rowan Williams to name just a few. Here are the last five books that I completed.
1. The Girl in the Mask by Marie-Louise Jensen
I’m a member of a group of all-female historical novelists who blog under the name ‘History Girls’. I find it very expensive to be a member of this group. Every time I read one of the blogs posted by one of these talented ladies, I want to read her latest book. The last History Girls book I read was Marie-Louise Jensen’s The Girl in the Mask. This is the kind of historical fiction I adore: a spunky heroine who likes cross-dressing, a nasty yet intimate opponent, a suavely handsome love interest and an exciting plot, all wrapped up in
 lots of marvellous period detail like jellies, stamps, gunpowder & Georgian fashion.

2. Albert Nobbs by George Moore
As mentioned, I love the idea of historical cross-dressing and have blogged about it along with some of my fellow History Girls. ( ) I first heard about this novella because of the movie adaptation, which garnered Glenn Close an Oscar nomination. It is a well-observed and poignant story about a woman who dresses as a male waiter in Victorian Dublin. Albert Nobbs, as she calls herself meets an unusual house painter and when a flea exposes her true nature, she catches a glimpse of what her world could be like.
3. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
As a Classicist, I was thrilled when a book about an ancient Greek hero won the prestigious Orange literary
prize. It’s essentially an atmospheric re-telling of the life of Achilles from the point of view of his friend and lover Patroclus. Some people have compared Miller to the late, great Mary Renault, whose book The Last of the Wine changed my life by getting me hooked on Classics. If Mary Renault’s writing conjures up a taste older than time – of cold water and olives – this book is honeyed wine and bitter almonds. Hopefully Madeline Miller will do for a new generation what Mary Renault did for mine.
4. Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer
I have always been fascinated by psychology and memory but it’s been a while since I last read a book by Oliver Sacks, Tony Buzan or Temple Grandin. One morning last May at a Nevada B&B, one of the other guests mentioned this book over breakfast. It’s funny the way you sometimes have to travel halfway around the world to find a book you could have bought at your local bookshop. I bought this when I got home and loved every page. It’s great to be reminded of all the techniques I used when I was a teacher and tutor. It also gave me a fun idea for my work in progress. And although it’s ‘non-fiction’ it has a good narrative structure that keeps you reading.
5. The Man Who Listens to Horses by Monty Roberts
Monty Roberts grew up with horses. He was riding by the age of 3 and when he was only 13 he went to Nevada by himself to study herds of wild Mustang. In doing this, Monty confirmed what he had suspected: that horses have their own silent language. Aided by his total colour-blindness he watched the horses for hours at night, when they were most relaxed. By de-coding their language, he learned how to get a wild horse to accept a saddle and rider in under an hour without recourse to force or fear, the traditionally tools for ‘breaking a horse’. Monty has lived an amazing life; he saw his father murder a man when he was eight, was best friends with James Dean and finally found success after the
Queen of England gave him her seal of approval. I could not put this book down. I read it while brushing my teeth, making breakfast and even getting dressed.

Thank you Caroline for introducing me to a few books I hadn't heard of. I am so intrigued now by Albert Nobbs.
The Case of The Good-Looking Corpse by Caroline Lawrence is available to buy now. 
To find out more about Caroline:
Twitter: @CarolineLawrenc

1 comment:

  1. Yay! I really enjoyed The Girl in the Mask too. Love historical fiction.


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