One of the good things about joining a Book Group is that you get to read books you would not normally read and are introduced to new authors. The Dust Jackets Book Group was formed 3 months ago and the first three books we have been reading are all completely different and ones that I would not normally have read.
The first book ‘THE UNCOMMON READER’ by Alan Bennett was short and easy to read. This proved to be an ideal first book for a newly formed Book Club which, to my surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed.
The ‘Uncommon Reader’ is the Queen who discovered the delight of books and reading when she was out with her corgis in the grounds of Buckingham Palace and comes upon a Mobile Library. Curious, she wanders around; a gentleman called Norman, who works in the Palace kitchen, is there and quite well read he offers some suggestions as HRH isn’t sure what will be to her liking. Very soon he is promoted to a higher position and becomes the Queen’s reading adviser. Reading soon becomes quite the habit for the Queen. Much to the dismay of her staff she appears to have lost interest in pretty much everything else. Her newfound love has taken over and every chance she gets she has her head in a book. It is, of course, purely fictional, but his portrayal of the Queen is very realistic and I found it very warm, humorous and a most delightful and enjoyable read.
The second book ‘THE HISTORIAN’ by Elizabeth Costova was completely different. It was a very long and sometimes difficult read. The novel opens with an unnamed female informing the reader in the year 2008 that she’s about to tell the story of what happened to her over thirty years before. It is mainly about her father Paul, a historian turned diplomat, and his search for Dracula, Vlad the Impaler. I enjoyed the human side of the story and the relationships between the main characters, the love story of Paul and Helen (his daughter’s mother) and the people they met along the way, but found parts of the historical side of it very difficult to read and boring at times.
The third book was a true story ‘A TUSCAN CHILDHOOD’ by Kinta Beevor. In it she tells of her privileged and idyllic childhood in the castle her parents bought in Tuscany, her and her brother running through olive groves and vineyards barefoot and free, with a roof garden viewing the Carrara mountains. Kinta Beevor died in 1995 and her son, Sir Antony James Beevor is the well-known author of books on the Second World War and the 20th century in general. I haven’t yet finished this book. It took me a while to get into it and I am enjoying it although I think it would perhaps appeal more to people who know the area or are interested in Tuscany history.
Overall a good start to The Dust Jackets and I am looking forward to future reads.