March Madness 1 #minireviewsfiction

Yes, I’m on a writing hiatus, but I couldn’t just let my March reads disappear off the blogging radar completely.

One of the reasons I have this blog is keep track of what I’ve read. Many of my books have not been purchased by me – they are reading copies from work. Therefore, they are not staying with me, to reread one day, or to dip into again. If I don’t make a note of them, they have a tendency to get mixed up together in my memory.

In particular, I now like to document which edition of the book I’ve read, plus it’s opening line. As the month has gone on, and I’ve visited other blogs, I have found myself making quick one-line assessments of some of my March reads. I’ve brought these together for some mini March reviews.

For Cathy’s Reading Ireland Month I dove into another Niall Williams book.

I can now officially declare that Niall Williams is my favourite Irish writer. Four Letters of Love was his first book and it is utterly delightful. Once again I fell in love with Williams’ heady mix of lyrical prose and wonderful characters along with his gentle spritz of magic realism. FLOL also has one of the best opening lines I’ve read in quite some time.

When I was twelve years old God spoke to my father for the first time.

Title: Four Letters of Love 
Author: Niall Williams 
ISBN: 9781447275107 
Imprint: Picador 
Published: 1st January 2015 (first published 1997) 
Format: paperback 
Pages: 352

On the Black Hill by Bruce Chatwin was the perfect choice for this year’s Dewithon with Paula. Nostalgic with lots of vivid local scenes and, oh, those twins! Lewis and Benjamin are memorable characters that will live me for a long time. The ending fell off a bit, but it was a wonderful Welsh excursion through the life and times of these two endearing men nonetheless.

For forty-two years, Lewis and Benjamin Jones slept side by side, in their parents’ bed, at their farm which was known as ‘The Vision’.

Title: On the Black Hill
Author: Bruce Chatwin
ISBN: 9780099769712
Imprint: Vintage
Published: 1998 (originally published in 1982)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 262

The Daughter of Time came to me thanks to a recommendation by a fellow book blogger. For the life of me I cannot find the relevant comment thread on the relevant post, to know who to thank. Whoever you are – thank you!

Jospehine Tey’s easy to read investigation into the role that King Richard III had in the murder (or not) of his two young nephews was rivetting stuff. And dare I say, fun. Whatever you make of her findings (via her detective Alan Grant) her musings on how history can be falsified and how popular opinion, stories and rumour can become ‘fact’ is very pertinent in our current climate.

Thanks to this book, I have now pulled out of my TBR pile Digging for Richard III: The Search for the Lost King by Mike Pitts (what a great name for an archeologist!)

Grant lay on his high white cot and stared at the ceiling. Stared at it with loathing. He knew by heart every last minute crack on its nice clean surface.

Title: The Daughter of Time (Inspector Alan Grant #5)
Author: Josephine Tey
ISBN: 9780099536826
Imprint: Arrow
Published August 6th 2009 by Arrow (originally published 1951)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 224

Goodnight, Vivienne, Goodnight by Steven Carroll is the fourth book in his T. S. Eliot series. Vivienne’s story, as imagined by Carroll is fascinating, but what really drew me into this story was Detective-Sergeant Stephen Minter, the policeman assigned to hunt down Vivienne after her escape from the lunatic asylum. I could have read a whole book just about him.

My favourite of the four books was the first story, The Lost Love, although A New England Affair has stayed with me too. Obviously, it was Emily Hale’s side of the story that captured my imagination the most.

The September sun was wasted on them as they walked about the deck, Tom and Vivienne. Southampton, 1932. A date etched into her diary.

Title: Goodnight, Vivienne, Goodnight
Author: Steven Carroll
ISBN: 9781460751114
Imprint: Fourth Estate
Published: 2nd March 2022
Format: Paperback
Pages: 256

Currently Reading:

  • The Mauritius Command | Patrick O’Brian
  • The Hare and the Tortoise | Elizabeth Jenkins
  • French Braid | Anne Tyler
  • This post was written on the traditional land of the Wangal clan, one of the 29 clans of the Eora Nation within the Sydney basin. This Reading Life acknowledges that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are this land’s first storytellers.

25 thoughts on “March Madness 1 #minireviewsfiction

    1. I know, I know! But I have however, briefly summed up eight books read in March over two posts (non-fiction tomorrow), instead of eight long form posts.
      I nearly crumbled at The Daughter of Time as I found myself going off down the role of history and historians rabbit hole 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  1. That Goodnight Vivienne Goodnight cover looks so familiar that I suspect I picked it up as an audiobook yesterday at the library. My favourite Irish author. Still James Joyce probably, but I picked up Sally Rooney’s Conversations yesterday and didn’t put it down until it was finished.

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  2. I read Niall Williams years ago and I remember loving FLOL too. I’ve really lost track of him recently, you’ve reminded me I was planning on following him up – I’m sure his more recent novels must be in the library. Hope you’re enjoying your break Brona!

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  3. Oh, I read Four Letters of Love when it first came out (pre-blog) and I adored it! I’ve read most of his work but it’s a bit hit and miss… I have found that he can slide into sentimentality/schmalz a bit, which is NOT an Irish trait in other Irish writers I read. But I did like History of the Rain, and Only say the Word. (I follow his wife on Instagram… they have an amazing garden and recently published a book together about it.)

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    1. Thank you, I am now following Christine’s account too. I have their garden book on my TBR. Had hoped to get to it this month, but with only one day left (and it’s a work day) I suspect it may find itself waiting until next Begorrathon!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I adore The Daughter of Time and it did set me off down a Richard III wormhole for a while! Oddly enough, my offspring live in Leicester where his body was finally discoverd under a car park, so there was much excitement when all that was happening!!

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    1. I’d love to hunt down the tv doco about digging for Richard. I remember hearing about it at the time, but missed it. Very keen to follow up, Am finding the history recap in the book is lacking the rigour I usually prefer so far. Hope when we get to the dig, it holds up better.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love On The Black Hill, one day I’ll do some re-reads for Dewithon. And I can’t wait to hear what you think of French Braid! Also: hooray, here you are in my Feedly!

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  6. Hahaha When is a writing hiatus not a writing hiatus? But I can relate, I’m taking off the month of April, but I know I’ll be dipping my toe in with certain activities nonetheless!

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  7. So do you buy Tey’s (Grant’s) version of the story? I do not. But I liked the documentary I saw about Richard III’s grave discovery. The lady who runs the RIII fan club struck me as definitely less than balanced about him. I remember seeing her reaction to the re-creation of his face based on the skull as “see, that’s not the face of a murderer!” As if a portrait based solely on the shape of the skull could possible tell us anything about the person’s character!

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    1. I did while I was reading it, but as time has gone by the doubts have crept in, and of course, I have now read Digging Up Richard and found that he did indeed have scoliosis and that his corpse had wounds inflicted on his body consistent with ‘humiltiation’ or anger. And, yes, the lady who ran the fan club was very passionate about her cause, even in print! I’d be keen to see the doco.

      History is always open to interpretation – at the time and in retrospect, but science does help to nail done some of the facts that cannot be debated. It has been an interesting exercise, reading both books together, and has certainly got me curious to read more about Richard III.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Pingback: April Mini Reviews

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