Of Dinos and Men: The Lost World and the Lost World

This is an old post from over two years ago I thought of resharing (partly because I haven’t been getting much time to write these days, but also because these were very enjoyable adventure reads).

Literary Potpourri

This is from my reading journal of a few years ago when I found myself with Michael Crichton’s The Lost World as well as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World on my TBR―both of course adventure tales and both involving dinosaurs. I decided to read them together just to see whether the similarities ran deeper, and were deliberate or simply coincidental.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World was the first non-Sherlock book by him I have read (I haven’t done much to remedy this since, besides reading his account of the George Edalji trial, though I did read that his historical fiction was among his own favourite works.), and also the first in a series featuring Professor Challenger. In the book, young reporter Ed Malone finds himself charged by the lady he loves to be more adventurous and brave leading him to volunteer in a mission to South…

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Shelf Control #60: The Caravan Family by #EnidBlyton #Children’sLiterature

Wednesday the 25th of September–time again for Shelf Control. Shelf Control is a weekly feature hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies, and celebrates the books waiting to be read on your TBR piles/mountains. To participate, simply pick a book from your TBR pile and write a post about it. Link back to Lisa’s page, and do also leave your links in the comments below as I’d love to check out your picks.

This time my pick is a book from one of my favourite authors, whose books I’ve loved (and which I occasionally write about on this blog) since I was a child–The Caravan Family by Enid Blyton. This is the first in what is called the ‘Family series’ , which has six books. These feature three children Mike, Belinda, and Ann who go on various adventures–in a Caravan, staying at the seaside or on a farm, aboard a houseboat, and even on cruises. In this one, as the name suggests, it is adventures aboard a caravan. The three children’s father buys not one but two caravans for them to live and travel in. The book was first published as a serial in Playways Magazine between March 1945 and February 1946.

As I said, Enid Blyton (1897–1968) is and has been one of my favourite writers since I was a child. A prolific writer, she published over 700 books (wikipedia lists 762 during her lifetime) and while she essentially wrote children’s fiction, she wrote across a range of genres–mystery, adventure, and detective series like the Five Findouters, the Famous Five, the Adventurous Four, the Secret Seven, the Secret Series, the Adventure Series, the Barney Mysteries; school series,  like St Clares, Malory Towers, the Naughtiest Girlfantasy and magic like the Faraway Tree and Wishing Chair books besides standalones featuring pixies, brownies, goblins, and other fairy and magic folk; farm stories like the Six Cousins, and Willow Farm; circus stories like Galliano’s Circus, and the stories featuring Pip and Susy-ann; nature books like the Animal Book among many many others including short stories, re-tellings, poems, and puzzles.

The family series is not one I really read as a I child, at least not one that is as familiar to me as some of her others, so I’m really looking forward to picking this one and the others in the series up, once I wrap up the final book in my Malory Towers revisits (My post on book 5 of Malory Towers is here).

Have you read this book or any of the others in the series? How do you find these? Which are your favourite Blyton books? Looking forward to your thoughts!

The book is available in public domain via fadedpage.com. Info on the book is from goodreads (here) and the Enid Blyton society (here).

Shelf Control #59: Murder of a Lady by Anthony Wynne #Mystery #GoldenAge

Wednesday the 19th of September–time again for Shelf Control. Shelf Control is a weekly feature hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies, and celebrates the books waiting to be read on your TBR piles/mountains. To participate, simply pick a book from your TBR pile and write a post about it–what its about, where you got it, what makes you want to read it, and such. Link back to Lisa’s page, and do also leave your links in the comments below as I’d love to check out your picks.

This week, my pick is a Golden Age mystery, a British Library Crime Classic, Murder of a Lady by Anthony Wynne. First published in 1931, this is the twelfth in a series featuring an amateur detective, Dr Eustace Hailey. Set in the Scottish Highlands (in fact, the book is subtitled ‘A Scottish Mystery’) in the forbidding, gloomy Castle Duchlan, this is also a locked room mystery. Mary Gregor, sister of the Castle’s laird is found stabbed to death in her bedroom one day, and the room is locked from within and the windows barred. While the family and servants try to present Mary as a kind and charitable woman, Inspector Dundas soon finds that this wasn’t really the case. Mary’s cruelty in fact continues to haunt the house even after she has gone. Further deaths occur, the atmosphere turns darker, and superstition among the locals throws up explanations of mysterious fish creatures, since a scale was found next to the body. But this is of course a murder mystery, and there is of course a logical answer, and Dr Hailey is luckily at the spot to provide it!

Robert McNair Wilson/Anthony Wynne

The author: Captain Robert McNair Wilson was an English surgeon, writer, journalist, and politician. He wrote under his own name as well as under two pseudonyms, Anthony Wynne being the one he used for writing detective fiction, both novels and short stories. His Dr Hailey series has twenty-eight books. In his own name too, he has written various works including biographies and portraits of various historical figures–quite a few of these on Napolean and Josephine.

Locked room mysteries, and that too Golden Age ones are always fun to read, and from the description, this one seems like it will also have some character study and a definitely creepy atmosphere with a cruel victim, and mysterious fish creatures (even if just superstition), so I am certainly looking forward to reading it.

Have you read this Golden Age mystery or any other/s by this author? Which one or ones and how did you like them? Looking forward to your thoughts!

All information about the book and the author is from Goodreads (here and here) and wikipedia (here).

Image source: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4373819.Anthony_Wynne

Book Review: The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal #Bookreview #NetGalley

My thanks to Harper Collins UK and NetGalley for a review copy of this one.

This is, as the title suggests, the story of the Shergill sisters—Rajini, Jezmeen, and Shirina, who while not quite at loggerheads have drifted apart with time. Each is dealing with their own life problems—Rajini’s son is about to opt out of college and marry a woman twice his age, Jezmeen’s career is going only one way—downwards, and Shirina’s marriage is not turning out quite as she thought it would be—and not really aware of what the others are going through. When their mother, Sita Kaur, dies, her last wish is that they travel to India, taking a pilgrimage of sorts that she couldn’t go on because of her illness—taking them from Delhi to Amritsar, to the Gurdwara Hemkund Sahib, up in the Himalayas. So of course, the three must take that journey together, one that their mother had planned out for them in detail in a letter she left. Sita Kaur didn’t merely want them to travel to the places she wanted, but more so to spend time with each other and learn to get along once again (or perhaps as they never did). Needless to say, it doesn’t go entirely to plan, but because of this, they begin to face their own problems and also grow closer once again, when dealing with issues of inequality, family, tradition, and modernity.

This was a mixed sort of read for me. On the one side, I liked reading the story/stories (their individual stories as well as of their relationship with each other) of the three sisters, their lives, and how they ultimately handle the problems in their lives (in which at times, circumstances and (happy) coincidences also have a role). Some simply require a change in perspective (acceptance), while others more serious, life-changing decisions. I liked how the author handled these aspects of the story, especially that it was done realistically, with no ‘magical’ changes and yet a bit of magic at work (if that makes any sense). The picture of the country however, I wasn’t too thrilled with—I mean the author highlights various issues that the country is dealing with no doubt, including inequality and women’s safety, but the picture she presented felt to me far too gloomy, as though there is only darkness, no light, and that to me was off-putting. There is the negative, but that doesn’t mean that there is no positive, no hope, either, which I felt the book didn’t reflect.  

Three and a half stars!

Shelf Control #58: Bewildering Cares by Winifred Peck

Wednesday, the 4th of September, and the first shelf control post this month. Shelf Control is a weekly feature hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies, and is about celebrating the books waiting to be read on your TBR piles/mountains. To participate, simply pick a book from your TBR pile and write a post about it. Link back to Lisa’s page, and do also leave your links in the comments below as I’d love to check out your picks.

This month again I haven’t picked a specific theme as reading has generally been slow lately because of work and such. So Shelf Control, too, once again, will be random picks from my TBR pile. This week, it’s another pick from my Kindle TBR, Bewildering Cares by Winifred Peck.

Bewildering Cares, subtitled ‘A Week in the Life of a Clergyman’s Wife’ is the diary of a vicar’s wife in a Manchester town in the early days of World War II. And before you begin to think of it as sounding dreary, it is something on the lines of the Dairy of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield, so a witty and fun look at life in a small town 1940 with outraged parishioners and servant troubles, a bubbling romance or two, and the diarist’s son heading off to train with his regiment.

The Author: Lady Winifred Peck was the daughter of the fourth Bishop of Manchester, and one of an interesting set of siblings, from E.V. Knox, editor of Punch to Ronald Knox, theologian and writer, and Dilly Knox a cryptographer. The author Penelope Fitzgerald (daughter of E.V. Knox) was her niece. Peck was married to a British civil servant who was awarded a knighthood in 1938. Over a 40-year period, Peck wrote 25 novels including a couple of mysteries.

I picked this one up when it was free on offer (now it is still free on Kindle Unlimited), mostly because it sounded like Provincial Lady, and I had heard some good things about it in a Goodreads group I am part of. It certainly sounds like a delightful read.

Have you read this one or any of the author’s other books? Which ones and how did you like them? Looking forward to your thoughts!

As always information on the book and the author are from goodreads here, and here.