Posted by: billpurdue | May 16, 2011

Two female authors

This week I want to tell you about two new novels- one by a new writer and one by a well established popular one – both women.

First a new book about growing up in Bradford in the 1970s. Poppadom Preach by Almas Khan [Simon and Schuster, £7.99 9781849832113], published earlier this month, is all about Dilly, a Muslim girl  who is determined to be her own woman as she grows up. She is never out of trouble and is “not prepared to be the dutiful Muslim daughter her parents demand of her”. Having a father with a ferocious temper and a mother who likes to arrange her children’s marriages, Dilly has quite a task becoming an individual. It’s not just Dilly and her parents – there seem to be quite a lot of colourful characters in the book, most of whom are living in the same house. Already there are three reviews on Amazon, all giving the book five stars, so hopefully the book, Khan’s first,  will do very well.

Next a new book by Mary Higgins Clark: I’ll walk Alone [Simon and Schuster, £17.99 9780857202420] which is her 30th suspense novel. Two years after Alexandra’s son was kidnapped in broad daylight in New York, photographs emerge which seem to show Alexandra kidnapping her own son. What’s more, someone seems to have stolen her identity. By taking steps to find out who is behind the attempt to ruin her, she is unwittingly exposing herself to danger. With her track record, Clark’s novels are bound to sell well – as of 2007 her books had sold more than 80 million copies in the United States alone. At 83, she shows no sign of slowing down, so novel number 31 is probably already taking shape, if not already written.

Living as we (ie. those who live in the Chad circulation area) do on the mid western border of Nottinghamshire, the villages of Derbyshire are within easy reach and at this time of year we are already into the well dressing season. For those unfamiliar with well dressings, they are local festivals taking place at many Derbyshire villages where wells or springs are decorated with designs, often of a religious theme, using flower petals and other materials. The custom isn’t confined to Derbyshire, but this is the county where most of them are concentrated.

I was trying to find out if there were any books published recently on well dressings, but I haven’t had much luck. It seems that the book Well Dressing by Peter Naylor and Lindsey Porter [Landmark, 184306023X (hardback), now out of print – paperback version published in 2004]  is one of the very few published in the last decade. Second hand copies and the odd new copy are still available from Amazon and other online outlets. This book is possibly the best illustrated of any that have been produced as it contains many full colour photos of well dressings in Derbyshire and a few other locations. It also lists all the regular well dressings in the UK as well as some that have now lapsed, but this list is already about 10 years old as the book was published in 2002.  You can find a comprehensive list of 2011 well dressings at the Derbyshire UK website.

If anyone is aware of any books on well dressings published recently – that is within the last 2-3 years – I would be interested to know.

I’m reading:  Between Summer’s Longing and Winter’s End by Leif Persson [Doubleday £16.99 978-0385614177]

I’m looking forward to reading: Smut : two unseemly stories by Alan Bennett [Profile Books £12.99 9781847657657] as well as Poppadom Preach described above.

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