Posted by: billpurdue | July 30, 2011

Summer Miscellany

A bit of a mixture this time,  but I hope there’s something of interest for most people.

I’ve just discovered a book about understanding dogs (rather than specific training systems) which apparently has helped dog owners to get to know their dogs properly. In Defence of Dogs [Allen Lane £20 978-1846142956] claims to put the record straight in terms of what dogs really want. The author, John Bradshaw, says they are not wolves in disguise and are more dependent on their owners than many people think. Dogs as pets just want to be members of the family and enjoy life, like their human owners. According to a recent Daily Mail article, John Bradshaw is a “canine scientist” and his book explores “the inner dogginess and its relationship to our human nature”. Watching the short video on the Amazon web page, it seemed to me that perhaps this is a book with some common sense advice on training your dog.

Having written about two of my favourite authors in the last two postings, I began to wonder who are today’s authors of humorous  novels – the ones that would appeal to me, that is. Of course there are several well known authors who might qualify: Terry Pratchett, Jasper Fforde  or Tom Holt, to name three possibles. For quite a long time now I’ve been looking for that author who will make me want to read more of his/her books because they make me laugh. I have to say that I have found very few, so if anyone would like to suggest one, I’ll certainly give them a try. Perhaps the way my sense of humour works is not in tune with the so called funny novels that are published these days, but I live in hope.

By googling “humorous novels” I discovered a blog by Kim Forrester called “Reading Matters” which includes a list of her Top 10 funny novels. Top of the list is English Passengers by Matthew Kneale [Penguin £8.99 978-0140285215] which sounds as if it might suit me. I’ll look it up

Now, a new author  – well to me anyway. Maggie Stiefvater has already written several novels in the vampire/werewolf/faerie genre as well as others. Her latest is Forever [Scholastic £7.99 978-1407121116] the third book in the “Shiver” trilogy about Grace and Sam. Grace and Sam fall in love, but Sam is a boy who becomes a wolf every winter. Now in the third book, wolves are being hunted and death comes closer than never before. This is a teenage title, but like many books in this genre, it will probably appeal to all ages. Stiefvater’s next novel is The Scorpio Races which is due out on 18th October.

Here’s another author that’s new to me and probably new to many others. Maggie Wilson is an author local to Mansfield , though she grew up in Berkshire, and writes crime fiction. Her first book in her new series “The D S Hammond Investigations”,called Fallen Angel  [HandE Publishers £7.99 978-1906873325] has sparked press coverage as the theme – the murder of patients in a hospital – is very topical, following the recent deaths of patients at Stepping Hill Hospital. Those who have read the book are very enthusiastic about it. I’m grateful to Catherine Allen of the Chad for passing on a copy to me, which I’m looking forward to reading in the coming weeks.

That reminds me – I’m also looking forward to reading some of the books I have recently (and some not so recently) requested from my local library, but they all seem to be taking rather a long time.


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