Shelf Control #53: Death of a Pig in a Poke by Matthew Hole #Mystery

Wednesday, the 17th of July–Shelf Control time! Shelf Control is a weekly feature hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies, and is all about the books waiting to be read on your TBR piles/mountains (Mine is currently at 261 including all the e-books I’ve downloaded). 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 I’m reading sequels and next in series books, and those are also what I’m featuring (as far as possible) in my Shelf Control posts as well. This week’s pick is a mystery (yet again, my first Shelf Control this month was one too (here)), Death of a Pig in a Poke by Matthew Hole. This is book 2 in the Tarricone Murder Mystery series of which so far as I can see, there are only two as of now. The series features Tarricone and Son, probate researchers. There is also Tarricone’s ‘wily’ aunt Nelly. The first book was set in Agatha Christie’s country house ‘Greenway’ in Devon.

This book, published in 2014, sees Tarricone rushing off to Spyte Manor when Lady Clemency Breeze climbs uninvited into (or perhaps, breezes into) the back of his taxi in London. This leads Tarricone into a murder investigation where there is obviously a corpse, but also a vanishing gardener and a labyrinth in a garden. To add to it, the local detective inspector, it seems, has an agenda of her own. This one has been described by goodreads reviewers as a mix of a classic and new mystery, with plenty of twists.

I picked up this and the first title in the series last year I think, both on kindle when they were available for free. Mysteries are of course one of my favourite genres to read, and Agatha Christie one of my favourite writers in that genre (when it comes to the actual puzzles, there are few who can beat her, and she gets me every time–almost), so when I spotted these (someone mentioned them in a book group on Goodreads) mysteries which are inspired by and set on the lines of Christie’s books, I picked them up. There aren’t very many reviews of this series or much about the author anywhere though, so I will be diving in blind so to speak.

The first book in the series

Have you read either of the books in this series? How did you find it/them? A good, gripping mystery or just ok? Or do you plan to read this or the first book? Looking forward to your thoughts!

The description and cover images as usual are from Goodreads.

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Shelf Control #52: The Second Common Reader by Virginia Woolf

Wednesday, the 10th of July–Shelf Control day again! 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 (Mine is currently at 262 including all the e-books I’ve downloaded). 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 I’m focusing on reading next in series books and sequels waiting to be read on my TBR pile for the most part (July plans here), and so my Shelf Control posts too will feature some sequels or books from series other than book one, which are waiting on my TBR. This week’s pick is The Second Common Reader or The Common Reader: Second Series by Virginia Woolf.

The Common Reader: Second Series is a sequel of sorts to Woolf’s The Common Reader: First Series, and like this first is a collection of literary essays focusing on specific books, writers, poetry, and more generally on reading and its pleasures. Among others, this volume talks of the Elizabethans, Donne, Swift, Robinson Crusoe, De Quincey, Thomas Hardy, Mary Woolstonecraft, George Gissing, and Beau Brummel. This collection of twenty-six essays ends with Woolf’s reflections on ‘How to Read a Book’?

I read the first volume of her essays some years ago, and really enjoyed them. She talked of books and authors I knew like Jane Austen, George Eliot, the Brontes and Conrad as well as those new to me like Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle who’s point of view, albeit a touch eccentric, was one that interested me very much and made me want to look her and her writings up immediately. I also enjoyed reading Woolf’s views on these works, and on, in some cases, the circumstances in which the writers may or may not have written, their inspirations, and such, but mostly because (while she may have not been a ‘common’ reader), it is essentially the thoughts of a reader (and one reading at least some of the books that you do), and one certainly always enjoys reading those!

Since I enjoyed the first series so much, I picked up the second (downloaded via fadedpage.com), and am looking forward to some new insights into authors I’ve read before (and how it would impact my revisits), and certainly to discovering ‘new’ ones who I haven’t?

Have you read any of Virginia Woolf’s essays? How did you find them? And how about her books? Any you like or dislike? Which ones? Looking forward to your thoughts!

From fellow bloggers:

A peek into Woolf’s Writing Lodge and images of her bookshelves: https://calmgrove.wordpress.com/2018/11/10/woolf/

A review of her book Flush (one of my favourites, based on and written from the point of view of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s dog): https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/110620162/posts/11157

Shelf Control #51: Naked Heat by Richard Castle #Mystery #Detective #Castle

Wednesday, the 3rd of July–Shelf Control time once again! 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 (Mine is currently at 263 including all the e-books I’ve downloaded). 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!

New month, new theme. Last month I’d simply been featuring random picks from my TBR pile in Shelf Control; this time (June review and July plans yet to be posted–probably this weekend) I plan to pick up sequels and series (books other than the first) that are on my TBR, and so for Shelf Control too, I’ll be featuring books from series or sequels. This week’s pick as you can see is Naked Heat by Richard Castle.

This is the second in the ‘Nikki Heat’ series of books by Richard Castle, which I’m sure you know are tied-in with the TV series Castle (wiki here). The book series features NYPD detective Nikki Heat and Jamison Rook a journalist who is following her (with permission from the Commissioner) for research on an article. Working with them are Detectives Ochoa and Raley. The characters are all based on characters from the TV series–Detective Kate Beckett, Richard Castle, and Ryan and Esposito. Other characters like Margaret Rook (Jameson’s mother) and the medical examiner Lauren Parry are also based on Martha Roger’s (Castle’s mother, and ME Lanie Parish from the show, respectively).

In this one, an infamous gossip columnist is stabbed in the back in a case involving a Yankees pitcher, an actor, and a pop star. Heat and Rook investigate.

Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion)
(Source: Goodreads)

I’m not sure who actually wrote these books but the Nikki Heat series (10 books) and Derrick Storm series (5 books) are both supposed to have been written by the TV character Richard Castle (who is a detective story writer in the show), and it is his picture and fictional bio that appear on the books (and on Goodreads-here).

I really liked the TV show for the most part (when they shift focus from Beckett’s mother’s mystery to Castle’s father, I lost a bit of interest)–I enjoyed the plots and mysteries, especially the fact that there were plenty of twists and turns and some witty dialogue as well. Added to this Castle and his family are likeable characters–clever and fun. From what I’ve heard (I haven’t read any yet), the books are pretty good and read like episodes from the show, and if that’s the case, I think they will be enjoyable reads for me. This one I picked up on kindle (last year, I think) when it was on sale. Looking forward to a fun read.

Are you a fan of the show Castle? Have you read any of the books in the series or any of the Derrick Storm books? Which ones and how did you like them? Looking forward to your thoughts!

All the information on the book, TV series, and author is from Goodreads and wikipedia as always.

Shelf Control #50: And Berry Came Too by Dornford Yates #Humour

Wednesday, June 26–time again for Shelf Control! The last one this month–time certainly is flying. 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 (Mine is currently at 266 including all the e-books I’ve downloaded). To participate, just 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 I’ve simply been picking random books from my TBR pile to write about in this feature, and this week’s pick is a collection of connected short stories, And Berry Came Too by Dornford Yates.

And Berry Came Too (1936) is book six in the ‘Berry’ series of books by Yates. These are more or less (with the exception I think of Adele and Co) collections of connected short stories featuring the Pleydell family–Berry and his wife Daphne, her brother Boy and his wife Adele, their cousins Jonah and Jill. Along the line Jill marries Piers, Duke of Padua who joins the group. In the initial stories, they are also joined by a Sealyham Nobby, but he wasn’t there in the last one I read. The group is more often than not falling into various ridiculous adventures, sometimes tracking down thieves and criminals or stolen goods, getting stuck with contraband, or getting away from angry gendarmes. Their adventures are for the most part hilarious, but there is sometimes a touch of drama and also a little romance. [The books are set in the post World War I period, and Berry, Jonah and Boy have all been in the army. Shadows of this appear off and on, but the tone of the books is light-hearted for the most part.] Interwoven in the books are beautiful descriptions of nature, and at times, also of towns and cities, reading which not only takes one amidst the scene being described but which also bring one the sense of peace that one feels when in those surroundings.

I have quoted this one before earlier on this page, but from Berry and Co.

As was fitting, St. George’s Day dawned fair and cloudless. Her passionate weeping of the day before dismissed, April was smiling—shyly at first, as if uncertain that her recent waywardness had been forgiven, and by and by so bravely that all the sweet o’ the year rose up out of the snowy orchards, dewy and odorous, danced in the gleaming meadows and hung, glowing and breathless, in every swaying nursery that Spring had once more built upon the patient trees.

Dornford Yates, Berry and Co (1920)

Back to this book now, this is a series of eight stories, described as ‘the hair-raising adventures and idiotic situations of the Pleydell family’ (from the description of Goodreads/Fadedpage). The description doesn’t give any further details but if they are like the earlier books in the series, I know I will have a good laugh or rather many good laughs reading them. Berry’s conversations and even his letters are simply hilarious, and this is sure to have some of those. (I have an e-copy, by the way, downloaded via fadedpage.com).

Cecil William Mercer
by George Charles Beresford via wikimedia commons

Cecil William Mercer (1885-1960) was an English novelist, who wrote under the pen name Dornford Yates (a combination of the maiden names of his grandmothers). He wrote both comic novels (the Berry series) as well as thrillers–among them the Chandos series in which Jonah (Jonathan Mansell) appears as a main character in a different avatar, and standalone books. I have read four of the Berry books so far which I enjoyed very much, and one of the Chandos series which was enjoyable but I didn’t like how he’d changed the relationship equations between the Berry characters (who appear in that book as well–not the entire series though).

Have you read any books by Yates before? Which one/s and how did you like them? Looking forward to your thoughts!

Shelf Control #49: Diabolic Candelabra by E.R. Punshon #Mystery #TBR #GoldenAge

Wednesday, June 19–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, just 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 as I wrote before (last week’s post here), I’m simply featuring random picks from my TBR pile in Shelf Control rather than picking books around my monthly reading ‘theme’ as I usually do since I this month, I’m trying to catch up with reads left over from previous months, and haven’t picked a theme as such. So this week’s pick is another such book, a golden age mystery in fact–Diabolic Candelabra by E.R. Punshon.

Diabolic Candelabra (1942) is the seventeenth in a series of thirty-five mysteries featuring Bobby Owen, who works his way up from police constable to Commander at Scotland Yard over the course of the series. In this one, Inspector Owen’s wife Olive is on the hunt for a recipe for chocolates. But where Owen is concerned, a simple hunt for a chocolate recipe doesn’t as expected remain that. Instead into the recipe are added a wood-dwelling hermit, a girl who talks to animals, an evil stepfather, and two very valuable works of art–of course, a recipe not for chocolate but murder! Described as a ‘beguiling story of labyrinths and seemingly impossible murder’ which is a ‘treat for armchair sleuths’.

I picked this one up (with a couple of others in the series) a few months ago when it was free on Kindle. Having never tried Punshon’s books before, I thought that was a good chance to. As far as this specific story is concerned, I like the description–a recipe for ‘uncommonly good’ chocolates which turns into a complicated puzzle, and that too, a Golden Age mystery–just my cup of tea!

E.R. (Ernest Robertson) Punshon (1872-1956) was an English novelist and literary critic, most successful in the 1930s and 1940s. He is best known today as the creator of Bobby Owen; the series featuring Owen was published between 1933 and 1956. Punshon also wrote crime and horror short stories, and was reviewer for many of Agatha Christie’s books in the Guardian when they were first published. Find a full list of his works here.

Do you enjoy Golden Age mysteries? Which ones or which authors are your favourites? Have you read Punshon before–this book or any other/s? How did you find them? Looking forward to your thoughts!

All descriptions are from Goodreads and wikipedia, as always.

Shelf Control #48: Passion by Jude Morgan #HistoricalFiction #Poetry

Wednesday, June 12–Shelf Control time again! 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–when and 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 month, as I mentioned last week also, I don’t have a specific reading theme and am only catching up with books I have left over from my TBRs for the past couple of months. So for Shelf Control, too I am simply picking random books to feature from my TBR shelf. This week’s pick as you can see from the cover is Passion (2004) by Jude Morgan.

Images: Shelley, Keats, and Byron.

Historical fiction once again, this one is set in the years of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, and around the lives of three romantic poets–Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, and John Keats. The three come in to prominence, becoming famous or infamous for their lives as much as for their works. This book explores their stories through the stories of four women in their lives–the gifted Mary Shelley, aristocratic Lady Caroline Lamb, quiet Fanny Brawne, and Augusta Leigh–who themselves flout many conventions in loving them. Told from different perspectives, the book explores the intense tempestuous lives of these men and women, and at 663 pages (Review books 2004) is quite the tome.

Images: (clockwise) Mary Shelley, Caroline Lamb, Fanny Brawne, and Augusta Leigh

Jude Morgan was born and brought up in Peterborough on the edge of the Fens, and studied Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. Among his books are The Secret Life of William Shakespeare (2014), The King’s Touch (2003) focusing on Charles II, and Symphony (2007) about composer Hector Belioz.

Last year, I was reading The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice, a book set in 1950s England (which reminded me very much of I Capture the Castle, and which I very much enjoyed; review here). Anyway, at the back of the book was a description of Passion, a book I’d not heard of before but reading the blurb I knew this was one I wanted to read. So I looked it up online and ordered a copy (second hand) as soon as it showed up.

Having just read a bio of the Shelleys in graphic novel form (reviews here and here), and enjoyed poems and other writings by Shelley, Keats, and Byron, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, at different times, this is of course a book I am very much looking forward to reading. Once again, I would love to see how the author has recreated the time at Villa Diodati where Frankenstein was created. I have never read anything by Morgan before nor any serious account of these three poets’ lives, other than bits and pieces here and there, so this would also be a chance for me to get a picture of their lives.

Villa Diodati
via wikimedia commons

Have you read this book before or anything else by this author? How did you like it? If you haven’t, would you want to read it? Any favourite poems or writings of Keats, Byron, and/or Shelley? Looking forward to your thoughts!

The descriptions of the book are from Goodreads and the blurb at the back of the book; of Morgan from Goodreads, and all images are from wikimedia commons.

Shelf Control #47: Uncle Dynamite by P.G. Wodehouse

Wednesday, June 5th, and 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!

A new month, but this time I pushed forward the reading theme I had picked since I had a few books left over from the last couple of months that I still haven’t got down to, so this is basically going to be a ‘catch up’ month for me (June reading plans here). So my picks for this month’s Shelf Control posts are going to be more random, rather than sticking to the month’s theme/genre. This week’s pick, as you’ve seen in the picture is Uncle Dynamite by P.G. Wodehouse, one of my favourite authors.

Uncle Dynamite (1948) is the second book in P.G. Wodehouse’s series featuring Uncle Fred, or Frederick Altamont Cornwallis Twistleton, the fifth Earl of Ickenham, but his first full-length adventure on his own. The first book Uncle Fred in the Springtime is set in Blandings Castle, so is more a part of that series, although also the start of this one.

In this one, Uncle Fred’s nephew Reginald ‘Pongo’ Twistleton is in trouble (no surprise there!). At the home of his future father-in-law, Sir Aylmer Bostock, he has smashed an item from Sir Aylmer’s collection of African curios, and worse, has also smashed a coveted bust of the man himself. So it must of course be replaced, but the replacement he has chosen is no ordinary bust, but a vessel for smuggling, full of jewels, fashioned by his former fiancée, Sally. When Sally tries to substitute yet another bust for the jewel-filled one, more trouble ensues, and Uncle Fred must intervene. And he does–how else but in true Wodehouse style as an impostor!

This (a paperback edition by Arrow) was once again ordered online just a couple of months ago, in April.

P.G. Wodehouse
Source: Wikimedia commons

Wodehouse is an author I enjoy very much (which I’m sure you’ve noticed from previous posts)–his plots, even if in a similar mould at times, have enough twists and turns to keep one hooked, but essentially, it is his writing that makes one go back to him over and over–whether its rereading old favourites or picking up ‘new’ ones (He’s written about a hundred, so there are quite a few ‘new’ ones I still have to get to). In many of his books, he quotes Pippa Passes–“God’s in his heaven, and all’s right with the world“, and in Wodehouse land, that is the feeling that is with one at all times. You may be doubling over with laughter at times, but even when not, even when things in the story are going wrong for the characters, one always knows that all will be set right, and one is in a peaceful place where all is right with the world. [Just as Stephen Fry says, “You don’t analyse such sunlit perfection, you just bask in its warmth and splendour”.]

And then of course, there is Uncle Fred himself. He is such a fun character, and I love watching how he pulls people out of the soups they get themselves into (like poor old Lord Emsworth, often for no fault of his own), or Pongo as in this book or in Uncle Fred in the Springtime. Of course, mischevious and energetic (somewhat like Emsworth’s brother Galahad), he attracts his own share of trouble too!

Have you read Uncle Dynamite? How did you like it? Or any other books featuring Uncle Fred? If so which ones, and how did you like them? Looking forward to reading your thoughts!

Shelf Control #46: Only Time Will Tell by Jeffrey Archer

Wednesday the 29th of May, and Shelf Control time again. Shelf Control is a weekly feature hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies, and is all about celebrating the books waiting to be read on your TBR piles/mountains. Each week, simply pick up a book from your TBR shelf, and write a post about it. Don’t forget to link back to Lisa’s page, and do share your links in the comments below with me as well as I’d love to check out your picks.

While in my Shelf Control posts this month, I’ve been picking recent (over the last couple of years) publications to feature, this week I’m going a few years back with a 2011 publication, Only Time Will Tell by Jeffrey Archer.

The Story: This is the first in a series of seven books–The Clifton Chronicles. Only Time Will Tell is the story of Harry Clifton, a dockworker in Bristol, and his uncle expects him to join the shipyard once he leaves school. But he unexpectedly wins a scholarship to an exclusive boys’ school, and this of course changes his life completely. He was told that his father (who he has never known) died in the war, but as he grows up, he discovers not only the real story behind his father’s death, but also that perhaps Arthur Clifton, a stevedore who spent his life on the docks, might not be his real father. The story is set in the period between the two wars, and when the Second World War is about to break out Harry must decide whether he wants to take up a place at Oxford or join the navy and go to war. I picked this one up on Kindle when it was on sale a few months ago.

Jeffrey Archer is an author whose stories–both short stories and full-length–I really enjoy. Fast-paced and gripping with interesting plots, and unexpected twists, his books (the ones I’ve read so far) always manage to keep me hooked throughout (and coming back for revisits too!). Some of my favourites are his short story collections, A Twist in the Tale, and To Cut a Long Story Short, and of the novels, The Fourth Estate (which fictionalises (not much) the story of Rupert Murdoch and Robert Maxwell), and False Impression (Others too, but these were ones that popped into mind at the moment). It’s been a while since I’ve read anything new by him, so am very much looking forward to reading this one.

Have you read this one or others in the series? How did you like it/them? Do you like Archer’s books? Which are some favourites? Looking forward to your thoughts!

p.s. All the info about the book is from Goodreads as always!

Shelf Control #45: The Glory of Patan by K.M. Munshi

Wednesday the 22nd of May, and Shelf Control time again. Shelf Control is a weekly feature hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies, and is all about celebrating the books waiting to be read on your TBR piles/mountains. Each week, simply pick up a book from your TBR, and write a post about it. Don’t forget to link back to Lisa’s page, and do share your links in the comments with me as well as I’d love to check out your picks.

This month, I’ve been reading (or at least am attempting to read) the 2018 books on my TBR pile and so for Shelf Control have been featuring other recent publications waiting to be read on my shelves. This week’s pick is The Glory of Patan by K.M. Munshi (translated by Rita and Abhijit Kothari). The book is and isn’t a recent publication. The book was originally published in Gujarati in the 1910s, but this translation came out in 2017.

What it’s all about: This is the first of the ‘Patan Trilogy’ ; in the book, the Kingdom of Patan is facing an uncertain future. The king, Karnadev is on his deathbed while his heir, Jayadev is much too young to take the throne. Warlords are scheming and merchants attempting to wrest power. In this atmosphere, it falls to the Queen Minaldevi, and chief minister Munjal Mehta to maintain order, and ensure that the throne is secure for Jayadev to take over. Thus begins an exciting and fast-paced tale of the exploits of the Chalukya dynasty in Gujarat.

The Author: Kanhaiyalal Maneklal Munshi (1887-1971) was an activist, politician, educationist, and writer from Gujarat. He has written many novels, dramas, and also non fiction in Gujarati, Hindi, and English. I have mentioned this in another post but my first acquaintance with Munshi was in college classes, as when studying the Constituent Assembly and its debates in any context, Munshi is often quoted, and it was only much later that I realised that the novelist and politician were the same. The translators Rita and Abhijit Kothari are researchers and teachers based in Gandhinagar/Ahmedabad.

The author on a stamp
Source: India Post, Government of India [GODL-India (https://data.gov.in/sites/default/files/Gazette_Notification_OGDL.pdf)%5D via wikimedia commons

Last year I happened to read one of his books, Prithvi Vallabh (review here), also a work of historical fiction based on a twelfth-century poem, which I enjoyed reading, mostly because of its many unconventional elements. After reading that I wanted to explore more of his works and someone on Goodreads recommended this trilogy, so when I found this one on sale, I picked it up last year (I think it was in October). I have a hardback edition published by Penguin/Viking.

Have you read any books by this author? Which ones and how did you like them? Looking forward to reading your thoughts!

All the info about the book is from the blurb on the book itself, while about Munshi is from wikipedia (here).

Shelf Control #44: The Great Passage by Shion Miura

Wednesday, the 15th of May! Shelf Control time again! Shelf Control is a weekly feature hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies, and celebrates the books waiting to be read on your TBR piles. To take part, simply pick a book from your TBR and write a post about it–what made you pick it up, why you are excited to read it and such. Link back to Lisa’s page of course, and do leave your links in the comments below as I’d love to look at your picks!

This week, I’m continuing with featuring recent publications in these posts as my theme for this month is 2018 reads. [I don’t have that may 2018 books pending as of now so have broadened the range for Shelf Control.] The book I picked this week is The Great Passage by Shion Miura. The book was first published in Japanese in 2011, while its translation by Juliet Winters Carpenter was published in 2017.

What it’s all about: Described as ‘[a] charmingly warm and hopeful story of love, friendship, and the power of human connection’. Kohei Araki has been inspired from a young age by the various meanings that words carry, and finds a kindred spirit in Mitsuya Majime, who collects antiquarian books and has a background in linguistics. When Majime finds himself tasked with completing The Great Passage, a 2900-page tome on the Japanese language, on his journey he finds friendship, romance, dedication to his work, and inspiration from something that binds us all–words.

I got this book on Kindle as part of Amazon’s World Book Day offers.

This sounds like a really interesting read, focused around themes that I love–books and words. The description of Araki’s character reminds me very much of a character I ‘met’ in another Japanese work recently, Tomura in The Forest of Wool and Steel (review here), who is so deeply affected by the sounds of a piano being tuned in his school, that he takes up tuning as a career. This book, which is also about the making of a dictionary, also has shades of another read I very much enjoyed, The Surgeon of Crowthorne. This seems to be a book that I’m quite sure I will enjoy reading, and certainly one that give me plenty of food for thought as well.

The Author and Translator: Shion Miura, the daughter of a classics-scholar, who loved reading from a young age, published her first novel in 2000, the year after graduating. She has written several novels and short stories, and won the Naoki prize in 2006 for her linked short-story collection, The Handymen in Mahoro Town, and the Booksellers Award in 2012 for The Great Passage.

Juliet Winters Carpenter is an American translator of Japanese literature and has translated several novels, short story and poetry collections. She has won the Japanese-US Friendship Commission prize for her translations of Abe Kobo’s Secret Rendezvous, and Minae Mizumara’s A True Novel, besides other awards.

Have you read The Great Passage or do you plan to? What did you think of it if you have? What are some of your favourite books about books or words? Looking forward to reading your thoughts!

All the info about the book and Shion Miura is from Goodreads (here and here) and about Juliet Winters Carpenter from Wikipedia (here).