Well so much for me getting my act together and doing this every week! Better late than never I suppose... first of all Happy Autumn everyone! I love this time of the year and am usually driven to start reading more poetry than usual, so a bit of Edward Thomas has had to make an appearance (and you thought I was going to say Keats :O)) :
Today I think
Only with scents, - scents dead leaves yield,
And bracken, and wild carrot's seed,
And the square mustard field;
Odours that rise
When the spade wounds the roots of tree,
Rose, currant, raspberry, or goutweed,
Rhubarb or celery;
The smoke's smell, too,
Flowing from where a bonfire burns
The dead, the waste, the dangerous,
And all to sweetness turns.
It is enough
To smell, to crumble the dark earth,
While the robin sings over again
Sad songs of Autumn mirth.
Now to the books... I got my grubby hands on the wonderful John Connolly's The Wrath of Angels, which is the eleventh novel to feature Charlie Parker. How to describe them... perhaps Philip Marlow meets Paradise Lost? I don't like horror stories, have never been able to read a Stephen King without starting to yawn and giving up. These books have moments of violence, but they are also darkly poetic thrillers with elements of the supernatural; demonic humans and worse fallen angels, plus truly wonderful characterisation (if Louis and Angel, the gay hit men, aren't two of the most entertaining and well-drawn characters ever created then I'm a banana). Plus there is the ongoing mystery of who or what is Charlie Parker. And damn but Connolly can write. How about this from the first chapter as a taster:
'It was to Harlan, and to Harlan alone, that Barney Shore told the tale of the girl in the woods, a girl with sunken eyes, and wearing a black dress, who had come to him with the first touch of snow, inviting him to follow her deeper into the woods, calling on him to play with her in the northern darkness.'
And now from the sublime to the ridiculous... I bought Sam Bourne's Pantheon in a 'buy one get one half price' deal with a friend but wish I'd saved my pennies. Set during 1940 it begins with an Oxford academic's search for his wife and child who have left for America. I can't really say much more as I only got about a third of the way through it - talk about slow; my cat moves faster when he's asleep than that story does. You have been warned. I was so fed up with it that I re-read Dissolution by C J Samsom, and also his Revelation, both wonderful historical page-turners.
On my WANT IT list are The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, The Greatcoat by Helen Dunmore, and The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz. If I can't get hold of any of them straight away it will be another re-read, this time The Dead of Winter by Chris Priestley, a deliciously creepy book meant for young adults (which I think a remarkably age-ist categorisation), best read on rainy autumn nights with a mug of cocoa to hand.