More Reading

03 Oct

I’m still writing letters to all and sundry, and I’ve been editing someone’s archaeology report which has been absorbing.

From time to time Mystery in Morocco has been in my thoughts again and in the not too distant future winter will set in and there will be little to do in the garden so… maybe I’ll get it out and start work at that point. And then there’s Christmas which will be different this year and burying myself in my book might be just what I need…

Until then, I’ve got back into the habit of reading daily which makes me feel a bit more ‘normal’ 🙂 I’m afraid Eric Newby’s book is still on the coffee table. I discovered an Agatha Christie which I hadn’t read before: The Moving Finger and her books are so easy to read and suck you into the plot that I enjoyed it tremendously.

About the time I was coming to the end of it, my new credit card arrived so I ordered a number of books from Amazon including a couple of Agatha Christies. However, before I had chance to start them, my sister gave me two Ellis Peters books. I assumed they would be the Brother Cadfael stories but no!

They are about an Inspector Felse and set in modern times. What startled me – and in a strange way kept me reading against my will – was my distinct lack of ability to believe in the story and characters!

I’m a great fan of Brother Cadfael books. I think they are well researched, the characters are all different, I care about the characters and think Brother Cadfael a wise old bird. His ability with herbs and his cool, logical thinking, his origins (I won’t give away what they are) and how he is in the monastery spirit me away to that long-ago world.

How can anyone who can write so well and so authentically so that I become so absorbed write so poorly with a different set of characters and plot?

I feel stunned. And it’s got my little grey cells in my brain all of a quivver because there is something valuable to be learned from that. Hence why I’m still reading a book which normally I would have put in the charity shop box.

Now, I know everyone is different and what I’ve just written is my own opinion and may not be one you share. Please feel free to differ! Or share similar discrepancies which you’ve noticed with a favorite author.

More about Agatha Christie later — and the books on Ancient Egyptian Art for the course starting next Saturday and which I’m looking forward to.

It’s good to have things to look forward to. Hope you have something nice on the horizon 🙂


Posted by on October 3, 2012 in Uncategorized


8 responses to “More Reading

  1. findingmycreature

    October 3, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Books….there are quite wonderful aren’t they? I don’t think I’ll ever understand those people who explain proudly that they don’t read or only read things with pictures. I feel a bit sorry for them. I’ve dedicated December for reading and really craving the summer, beach and books! Lovely to see you on here again and I hope you are doing well. Anushka 🙂

    • Prue

      October 5, 2012 at 10:15 am

      Enjoy your December reading!
      I’m doing ok thanks Anushka. Life’s a bit difficult but there are still things to be enjoyed – like reading. You’re so right, books are wonderful. Maybe I’ll stock up for December and join you in a winter read 🙂

  2. Kirsten

    October 5, 2012 at 12:13 am

    One unexpected but welcome benefit of learning more about story structure is how much more I enjoy reading them! Even the not so good ones are more interesting because they become like puzzles. Instead of giving up on them, I try to figure out what I would do (if I were writing them) to make them more to my liking.
    I’m surprised an author would be that inconsistent in characterization and storytelling prowess though. Are you certain the second story wasn’t ghostwritten? There has been a disturbing trend to continue a series (The Bourne series comes to mind) after the original author has passed away by having the story continued by other writers. So strange.
    Anyway, it’s always good to hear from you! I always look forward to news from your corner of the world. 🙂

    • Prue

      October 5, 2012 at 10:19 am

      I’m surprised too Kirsten! I need to read one or two of EP’s Cadfael books and see what I think about those. The book was written in 1978 so she was very much alive then. It may just be me of course – and, oh horrors! I may feel the same about the Cadfael books. I’ll report back.
      Thanks for your kind comment Kirsten. I don’t get over to your site (or anyone else’s) very often as there seems to be so much to do. Perhaps things will quieten down in the winter. There certainly won’t be as much gardening to occupy me!
      Keep writing, keep editing, and keep enjoy it all 🙂

  3. nancyrae4

    October 6, 2012 at 1:52 am

    Hi Prue
    Funny you should mention shifts in quality from one book to another. I’m reading the seventh in a series by a regional writer, C.J. Box. His stories are murder mysteries with a Wyoming game warden as the main character. This may sound a bit lame, but the stories are unusual and entertaining. Box’s descriptions of the Wyoming wilderness, some of which I’ve seen, are wonderful, and his characters, good and evil, are compelling. Until – the seventh book. What happened? As you said, there is a lot to learn from reading a bump in the road book by an otherwise talented writer.
    I’m glad you’re back with us, kiddo!

    • Prue

      October 6, 2012 at 6:12 pm

      Thanks Nancy, good to feel able to be back – if you can follow that 🙂
      And I’m glad it’s not just me. I’ve almost finished the book but care little about the characters BUT I’m gradually piecing together just what seems ‘wrong’. Fascinating to do and no doubt very useful.

  4. Weirdvole

    October 6, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Interesting to see what you thought of the books – me too, hence why I was getting rid! 🙂 I went back through the Cadfael books and realised that they’re very formulaic; but actually, it doesn’t matter, because Cadfael isn’t! And he’s the lynchpin of the books.

    I thought the Inspector Felse books might have been Ellis Peters meets Inspector Morse, but sadly not the case. Ellis Peters’ strengths were the historical and religious, and to some extent the romantic. That’s why the Cadfael books work – *not* because they’re crime/mysteries! It’d be interesting to get hold of the books she wrote as Edith Pargeter (historical stuff) and see how it compares – I suspect those books work better.

    • Prue

      October 6, 2012 at 6:18 pm

      Weirdvole…riiiiiiiight 😀 Not seen you in that light before 😀 Thanks for the books but they weren’t quite what I expected!
      The Inspector Felse books – at least the one about the piece of parchment – isn’t the same type of book as the Cadfael ones. More suspense. Characters not drawn well whereas Cadfael and all the other brothers are. In a way they are almost overdone and probably need to be, rather than underdone. The Inspector Felse seem formulaic – bit of history, bit of romance, bit of whodunnit, lot of suspense and there is something that seems almost like a hint of comedy but rather heavy-footed. It’s like bits and bobs hung at random on a Christmas tree without any thought of the overall effect.
      How I can translate the into something which will help me with my book remains to be seen.
      Glad you felt the same – but then again, you would wouldn’t you? 😀
      Haven’t read any Edith Pargeter but maybe I/we should…


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