Posted by: billpurdue | April 25, 2008

5 : Posthumous thriller, the Peak District and what you must (?) read

A rollicking good read – or a waste of time ?

Opinions seem very mixed about a recent Robert Ludlum action/adventure story called The Bancroft Strategy (1). My crime and action and adventure reader, Arthur , recently finished it and enjoyed it, but I get the feeling he would have liked something better. Reading the blurb on the back of the book, you wonder if you’re ever going to understand the whole plot: I had to read the blurb twice to get the gist of it. Glancing down the reviews on the amazon website, people seem to be divided on whether this is a good example of Robert Ludlums’ writing. It seems to be quite obvious that the novel was finished off by a ghost writer since Mr Ludlum died in 2001. In spite of that someone somewhere is still churning out novels by Robert Ludlum. The Infinity Affair is due out in December.

 

Peeking at the Peak

I love visiting the Peak District, whether it’s for walking,  sightseeing, or even shopping at Bakewell. I have several books about Derbyshire and the Peak District and I’m still adding to my collection. The latest acquisition is Peeks at the Peak  (2) by Ann Beedham , subtitled “around and about the Peak District and Derbyshire near Sheffield”. The mention of Sheffield in the title is, no doubt, to increase the books’ appeal to residents of Sheffield, particularly because this is the third in a series of books, the first two being Peeks at the Past in Sheffield and the surrounding area (3) and volume 2 of the same title (4). Peeks at the Peak is a very well produced, well illustrated overview of places of historical interest in the Peak District and the eastern side of Derbyshire – including Hardwick Hall and Ault Hucknall church. It is A4 in size, printed on art paper and with many colour and black and white photographs. I was really pleased with the first two Sheffield volumes and so it didn’t take me long to decide to buy this. An ideal book to browse through or give as a present to someone who loves the Peak.

 

… before you die.

For some years now I’ve frequently come across a wide variety of books which tell me all about the things I must do/see/visit etc before I die. That kind of title I feel is really a sort of gimmick to promote a series of books. I you look at the Cassell Illustrated website, you’ll find a whole host of books in the series. The “before you die” bit has always put me off. I know there’s so much to do and so little time for all of us on this earth, but I don’t want to be reminded about it! However I did pick up 1001 Books you must read before you die (5) just out of curiosity and have been browsing through it ever since.  The editors describe briefly hundreds of novels and other fictional works, many of which I’ve never heard of. Ignore the “before you die” bit, this is a chronology of the 1,001 (I didn’t count them) best works of fiction beginning with Aesops Fables and ending with Never let me go by Kazuo Ishiguro (2005). It’s a great book for browsing through, explaining the significance of each work of fiction and with lots of illustrations, photos of the author or clips from the film of the book. As for how many of these I “must” read, I’ll decide for myself thank you.

 

I’m reading..

The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies, from the latest Richard and Judy list and Operation Pax  by Michael Innes, a detective novel from the mid 20th century. More about those two soon.

 

1 The Bancroft Strategy by Robert Ludlum.  Orion £6.99  9780752881720

 

2; Peeks at the Peak by Ann Beedham.  Pickard Communication  £12.99  9781905278091

 

3 Peeks at the Past in Sheffield and the Surrounding Area by Ann Beedham.  Pickard Publishing £11.99 9780954404505

 

4 Peeks at the Past in Sheffield and the Surrounding Area Volume 2  by Ann Beedham. Pickard Communication £11.99   9780954726416

 

5 1001 Books you must read before you die. edited by Peter Boxall . Cassell Illustrated  £20 (paperback) 9781844034178

 

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