Christmas always brings me a new range of books courtesy of my dear eldest daughter, The BookRep. This past Christmas was no exception, despite the fact that we had all agreed ‘We Aren’t Doing Christmas This Year!’. She sends me enough reading matter to get me through to Mother’s Day, I think it’s the second Sunday in May here. Then I take delivery of a few more books to get me through to my birthday in early September, which in turn stocks me up til the following Christmas.
Aren’t you envious? I LOVE my regular restocking of the pile of books beside the bed. It is an eclectic and enjoyable pile – books I’ve never heard of, books I want to read, books of fiction, fact, good literature, old literature, poems, essays, short stories; books instructional and uplifting, books containing new thoughts and information, books by loved authors and books by new authors.
And it’s not just books supplied by the BookRep in that pile – oh no! Sometimes I even purchase a book or two myself, sometimes I am gifted books by other kind folk – the pile is a never ending, always changing heap of anticipation and delight.
Surveying the new pile brought me up with jolt as I realised I still hadn’t completed intended reviews of books that were once in the pile but which have now been removed to the ‘read’ shelves in the living room.
My blog posts slowed down considerably last year, did you notice? I was busy organising myself and apparently can no longer multi-task. So, here I am to celebrate kicking off 2017, let’s take a look at a second novel from a fellow blogger:
My Father and Other Liars by Geoff Le Pard
In my last book post I reviewed Geoff’s first book ‘Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle’ which, despite the title was a great read and, maybe because of the title, is a comedy waiting to be made. So I was looking forward to settling in to read his next one.
‘My Father and Other Liars’ is very different. I should have known by the cover, which had always quite puzzled my eye and scrambled my brain in some odd manner……. This is a complex, multi-charactered look at a complex, multi-layered issue of today. Complex family relationships, particularly father and child, are interwoven with a dramatic, fast paced story (so fast paced, I sometimes had to back track to sort out who did what) and the interweaving of religion and science.
The main characters, Maurice (Mo) Oldham and Lori-Ann Beaumont knock into each other at a Pro-Life Rally. He is looking for a story to impress his absent father and she needs rescuing from a group of interrogative journalists grilling her about her father’s church. They think never to see each other again, but some months later Lori-Ann turns up on Mo’s doorstep, bruised, destitute and desperate to track down her missing boy-friend.
Moving between the US, the UK and Nicaragua, the novel introduces us to the Church of Science and Development, one where religion and science unite with embryonic research at the core. Throw in political investigations, mysteries from the past and a few dead bodies and the result is a fast paced (did I say that already?) thriller dealing with complex issues of ethics in scientific research, family secrets, personal and religious beliefs, and political interests with their own agendas. And just in case you are wondering, there’s a quiet, slow blooming of a little romance as well.
When I finished this book I was struck by how well the characters were developed. Despite my own personal views, I felt for those protagonists whose actions and beliefs were so very different to mine. Geoff Le Pard has a real gift in presenting characters as human beings one can empathise with despite their behaviours or different beliefs. Life is rarely black and white, and perhaps ultimately this book reveals the layers of grey that make up our relationships, our history, our beliefs, our actions and our world.
The thing I most delight in with Geoff’s writing is his ability to switch genres at the drop of a hat. The inside of his head must be a maze of ideas and words and pictures running the gamut of all possible genres and then some. To have a look at what I mean visit his blog TanGental and read some of his short stories or accompany Geoff and Dog on one of their meanders about the streets and parks and sights of London, I’m sure you’ll find something to delight you.
Regular readers of my blog know we lost a great poet a few weeks ago. I always intended to write a review for Cynthia of her book. But, alas, I waited too long. She knew what I would say though, so here I write it just for you:
A Certain Age, Poems by Cynthia Jobin
I’m no poetry maven, I’m just a person who knows what she likes. My friend Cynthia passed away on 13th December last year. Her collection of poems has sat beside my bed, or on the arm of my chair for the past couple of years. Her ability with and knowledge of poetic forms was vast. She wrote poems that tore at the gut, making me wonder what it had cost her to go so deep and express so eloquently. She wrote poems that caused a gurgle of laughter to erupt, a sigh of empathy to escape, a moment of silence to linger on. She wrote words that made me look anew at nature, at my actions and even at my thoughts. She was a woman who had grown through pain and loss into extraordinary kindness and appreciation of the simple things in life.
I read her poems again now, with an even greater appreciation for her ability. Bennison Books is working with John Looker to publish a second collected works of Cynthia Jobin, in the meantime we have ‘A Certain Age’ to enjoy again and again and again.
So, two writers who come much recommended by me for your new year reading lists. I hope you will meander through their blogs and find something to enjoy.
Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!