Posted by: billpurdue | October 29, 2010

Light reading

I’ve been doing some hospital visiting recently and I was asked to take in some light reading for someone who normally doesn’t read the light stuff. This was slightly problematic – choosing books for someone else whose reading tastes you are not that familiar with is a bit tricky. Librarians in local libraries, where there’s more time to get to know what customers like, do it all the time and are really good at it.

I was given one clue – James Herriot. This was a good starting point. The James Herriot books are easily accessible and are extremely popular after all these years. Many of his titles are still available in spite of the fact that they were published back in the ‘90s – such as All Creatures Great and Small: “If Only They Could Talk” and “It Shouldn’t Happen to a Vet” [ Pan £8.99 978-0330250498]. An Amazon reviewer describes this as a good starting point for those new to James Herriot’s books. A reviewer from Indonesia says (s)he read it in Indonesian translation at the age of ten and it remained the favourite book for the next 20 years. Find out more about James Herriot by going to the World of James Herriot website or the James Herriot website (there is a difference!)

Let’s continue this theme of reminiscences and Yorkshire with Not on My Patch Lad! by Mike Pannett [Hodder £12.99 978-0340918784, paperback due 2011] which might also fit the bill for light reading. Similar to Nicholas Rhea’s books about the life of a country bobby, this has been described as “the real thing…no phoney stuff here”. This is from an Amazon reviewer who also used to be a country bobby, so he ought to know.

I know I’ve mentioned Gervase Phinn before, but I hope you’ll allow me another mention as his reminiscences called Out of the Woods, but not over the Hill [Hodder £14.99 978-1444705386] is now available. Now in his early sixties, Gervase reflects on various aspects of his life and career. Commenting on the remark by Sebastian Coe that ,growing up in Sheffield with a name like Sebastian, you needed to be able to run. Gervase Phinn says just think what it was like for me growing up in Rotherham with a first name like Gervase.

Ragley –on- the- Forest is a fictional village based on a group of villages in North Yorkshire and former teacher Jack Sheffield writes about this place in his series of books about rural teaching in the Yorkshire countryside. The latest called Village Teacher [Corgi £7.99 978-0552157889  ] is set in the 1980s when many small village schools are being closed down – will Ragley school be one of them? The next book in the series is due in January and will be called Please Sir!

Another former teacher is Rebecca Shaw, but her novels about village life are not specifically about schools. They are inspired by the Dorset village in which she lives and they are immensely popular – the latest being The Village Newcomers[Orion 978-1409117612 £6.99].

Well,  if I were to take all these books to someone in hospital, I might be accused of lack of variety, but at least I think they are all fairly light reading. Hope you find something of interest in this small selection.


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