Books I Have Read: September 2015

Faerie, witches living in a world carried on the back of a turtle, death in Afghanistan and a day in the mountains; my month in leisure reading.

Much to my embarrassment, I discovered that there was a whole series of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Novels that I had not read; so some of September was spent redressing this shameful lack in my reading.

The four Tiffany Aching novels, The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of SkyWintersmith and I Shall Wear Midnight are quite simply excellent; Pratchett at his best. I have to admit that I’m not too keen on the Mac Nac Feegle characters who occur in all of these books, but there are those who love them, so I won’t gripe too much. I’m all too aware that Tiffany reappears in Pratchett’s last Discworld book, The Shepherd’s Crown but I’ve not read it yet – perhaps in October.

The reason that I dug out these Discworld books was because earlier in the month, I’d found Stardust by Neil Gaiman, one of Pratchett’s collaborators, cheap on Kindle. It’s now back to full price, but it might still be worth getting hold of. It’s a charming book with a gentle sense of humour and attractive characters. I loved it and, as I say, it inspired me to look at Terry Pratchett again.

Another cheap Kindle book was As the Crow Flies by Damien Boyd. This one opens with a superb rock-climbing scene, but unfortunately goes downhill (dreadful pun) from there. I’ve read worse police procedurals, but I’ve also read better. I don’t think I’ll be revisiting any more of the series.

At The Going Down Of The Sun: Love, Loss and Sacrifice in Afghanistan is a lovely book; but sad – very sad. The book tells the story of British soldiers who died in Afghanistan during the recent conflict. It doesn’t seek to analyse the reasons for the conflict or the geo-politics. It just tells the stories of ordinary people who joined the forces and ended up dying a long way from home. I reckon that it’s important to read books like this, to remind us that the casualties are people with families and friends. I wonder if there are similar books that tell the story of some of the Afghans who died in the conflict? They too had dreams and families.

IMG_1700However, the highlight of the reading month was revisiting a very old friend: The Northern Fells (Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells): 5. I didn’t reread the whole book, but I had a very pleasant breakfast in a camp site in Borrowdale, flicking through this book and planning a day’s outing to climb Blencathra.

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