The Books Piled Beside the Bed: Pt 3

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.

Delicious!!

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

my-father-and-other-liars

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.

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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

a-certain-age-cover

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!

 

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66 thoughts on “The Books Piled Beside the Bed: Pt 3

  1. I hope your friends will have great success with their publishing the books. I am sure Geoff will appreciate this lovely review. Cynthia’s family definitely appreciates how you have given her warm caring over the time she and you were blogging friends, as well as your loving tribute to her. I hope the second book will be circulated for years to come! Hugs xo

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  2. Thanks so much for these reviews, Pauline. Geoff is such a talented writer. I love his unique voice and style — I can’t wait to read this book. I’m pleased to be introduced to Cynthia’s work too. Have a thriving Thursday! Huge hugs all around.

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  3. Reblogged this on TanGental and commented:
    Pauline has done me a significant favour with a lovely review of my second book here. You’ll find it available at Amazon at 0.99 (pounds/euros/dollars) if you are intrigued…

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  4. Hello dear Pauline. It’s evident by your eloquent recognition, that you very much adored and admired Cynthia Jobins. I’m sorry to know she’s passed away. It’s been a month of loss it seems. Alys too, wrote goodbyes to blogging friends recently. As it was for me before we spent even a moment in each others company, I grew to love and cherish my visit to your posts. Gentle hugs for comfort are sent your way, xo Love you K

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  5. Pauline, I’m feeling shabby and guilty to find that you posted this an eon ago and it slipped into a crazy spam place on my mobile that I have only just found. So along with 879 other emails of blog posts this was tangled up. Thank you, thank you for the review. Boy is that fabulous. And thank you for the introduction to Cynthia, albeit it in poignant circumstances.
    Now if you want to see my next books to add to your heap…. but I’ll understand the foundations in your house can only take so much weight from the TBR pile…
    PS would it be cheeky to ask if I could reblog this for a little bit of bragging?!

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    • I’m glad you found it Geoff. Though it was so long overdue and deserved to be spammed! 🙂 You know I’m a fan of whatever it is inside your head that creates your stories. I did try to buy your on-line book sometime last year when my computer had a wee glitch going on and never succeeded – even though I much prefer the weight of the real thing! Of course, I would be most pleased if you like the review well enough to reblog – brag away 😀 .

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  6. Thanks for this post, Pauline. And for highlighting both these books. Glad to know of Geoff Le Pard’s writing, and also glad that Cynthia’s book is included. What a brilliant mind and kind heart. Her poetry is special because it always has something to say, and does it with such intelligence, wit and soul. I shall miss her, but thank God we have her book, her blog, and maybe even another compilation.

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  7. Thank you for sharing your reviews, Pauline, but even more for the description of your pile of books. I just love to be surrounded by books! Sadly, I’ve not read one since before Christmas. Sigh …
    Thank you for nudging me to open a book.

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    • Don’t forget I’m an elderly, retired person living a quiet life 🙂 Not a full-time nurse practitioner, part-time photographer, any-time biker chick! Some folks read, some folks do! xoxo

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  8. What a treat to have a regular supply of reading material. My sister has been having a de-clutter and added a big pile of books to her local community library. She was surprised the next day to see nearly all of them had gone and was pleased to think that others were able to enjoy them. Happy New Year to you, Pauline.

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  9. Pauline, I would also say that you are an incredibly lucky girl to have a daughter that gifts you with books. I love, love, love reading. The sad thing these days is that I work so much that I only get to read maybe 3-4 books a year. I do this with my Kindle phone app when I’m standing in line at the grocery store, doctor’s office, etc. You do what you gotta do. It certainly looks like you have a lovely collection there, and I know you are proud to have that poetry book from your dear friend.

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    • Hi Lana, When I was teaching all my reading was done as lesson preparation, or further study on child development etc. Reading for enjoyment was a rare thing. Now I am retired I can do as i like and my daughter ensures I have loads of books to choose from so that any mood can be met 🙂 I am indeed a most fortunate person! I’m impressed that you read when waiting – I see so many with phones out, playing games. When do you do your writing? I’ve got a picture in my head now of you scribbling away into the wee, small hours with the candle burning low………..

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      • Pauline, I just now saw your question, my phone messes up time to time. My writing is as scattered as my reading….During planning periods, between classes, a couple hours on the weekend. I have to write fast and with lots of distractions, it might be so much better if not for all these obstacles, lol…but yes, sometimes late nights too 😀

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  10. Hi Pauline. How lucky you are to have a daughter to gift you some wonderful books, and even luckier (or is that organised?) to have the time to read, and review, them. That’s a fabulous review of Geoff’s book. Your response to it is rather similar to mine, but you explained it eloquently. I read your previous post about the passing of your dear friend Cynthia. Thank you for reminding us of her wonderful words. I must have a listen to her read, as you suggested in that other post. Best wishes for great reading in 2017!

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    • Don’t forget Norah, that I am a retired person 🙂 I have time to read! Mostly in the evenings when I tuck myself up into bed and enjoy a hot drink and a chapter or two. My review of Geoff’s book (thank you for commenting on it) was long overdue as I have been such a tardy blogger of late.

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      • Once again I wish I could have two or more parallel existences – one to keep doing the work I love, and one to snuggle up and read to my heart’s content. It’s always a pleasure to meet up with you in the blogosphere, whatever the time. 🙂

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  11. Ah, I love your book piles, Pauline. I have read The Forgetting Time recently which you recommended sometime last year. I loved it. Also, I chose The Reader on the 6.27 as my book club pick – again one of yours. Opinion at the club was split 50/50 – half of us loved the dark humour and the bittersweet story while the others simply hated it! I loved it too. So, I’ll take heed of these reviews and add them to my never dwindling list. I have read a couple of Cynthia’s poems since your last very sad post where I was guided to her site. I do enjoy a poetry book to dip in and out of.
    Lovely to see you back. A belated happy new year – and I’m looking forward to bookpile #4😉📚📚📚📚📚📚

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  12. Happy New Year to you Pauline and your children and your pets. And your friends and all your fellow bloggers. 2015 and 2016 gave me Bruce and you and our dear Cynthia, for which I am so grateful. I don’t have the courage to start my own blog but I am a faithful and regular reader. I would love to stay in touch with you via your blog and email if that is OK with you.

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    • Hello Shubha! Thank you for your kind wishes, and may I wish you and yours a wonderful year also. I was wondering if you had a blog, and now I know! If you ever think you might start your own blog I suggest going for it, you will be amazed at what will happen! I would be really happy to keep contact with you. Please contact me any time and I promise, I do intend to be posting more often this year 🙂

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  13. My copy of a A Certain Age is here beside me now. I did (how lucky I am) review it in 2015 https://greenwritingroom.com/2015/10/21/our-beautiful-brains/. I have the wonderful CD of Cynthia reading her poems on my iTunes. I listen on random and right this moment I have her voice in my ears reading Longfellow mountains. her poems pop up among the opera arias and birdsong. I am so relieved that there will be a new collection. I do hope there will be biographical notes in it. I have a handful of private emails from Cynthia, but know nothing of her life apart from the poems.

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    • I know I saw your your review on Cynthia’s blog a while back Hilary. I saw it because C had mentioned to me how lovely it was to know her ‘paltry versifying’ was so very appreciated by those folk who took the time to write a review for her. She was being humorously self-denigrating at the time because she did actually know she had worked hard at her craft and was becoming ‘sometimes quite pleased with what ended on the paper’. I think I quoted her correctly with that last bit. Some time later she mentioned what a wonderful friend and support you were to her. I think uploading the CD to your itunes player is a stroke of genius! I’m just pressing play on the computer now and again…….. Thanks for coming by!

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  14. I did notice that you haven’t been posting as often and I felt some kinship since I had not either! Glad to know you survived the holidays, are back on the blogging trail, and have a stockpile of books at your bedside for reading. I have a goal of reading at least one book a month this year. Also doing the audiobooks but I’m not counting that in my goals. A blogger I followed at ‘pillows ala mode’ also passed away very recently. When her husband posted on her blog I had to go back and see if it was your friend. How tragic to lose two wonderful bloggers in such a short time frame ( or anytime really). How special that you have her book of poetry to keep her close to your heart. May 2017 see connecting regularly via our blogs as I hope to have mine resurrected very soon. Happy New Year Pauline!

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    • It makes us feel sad when we lose someone we have grown fond of and feel we know quite well, is missing from our circle doesn’t it. Our summer is such a non-event that I am inside more than I would wish to be, so making posts gets time once more. There is always a silver lining 🙂 My in-box this morning bears notifications of several posts from bloggers who have been, like us, awol or at best intermittently posting last year – maybe it’s a global thing and we are all coming back on-line at the same time 🙂 I shall look forward to us catching up over this coming year. xo

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  15. Oh, there’s noting like knowing there’s another book to read, is there? I love having a little stack and choosing which one to read next. Cynthia’s book is lovely. When I first got it, I read a couple poems a night, savoring them. I miss not having a new one every week and the discussions that followed. So are you back to blogging? I hope so. Along with all that entails…

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  16. Pauline, it’s hard to write good reviews and here you’ve done it twice, masterfully. I can remember the times when someone gave our mom a box of books and how we dove right in. I always cherished the ones I received as gifts too, enjoying the novelty of my own small library. We were big library users, but it was special owning our own small collection.

    Thank you for your lovely tribute to your dear friend. I’ve spent some time reading her blog, and she is as gifted as you say. xo

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  17. No detoxes, no over inflated “HAPPY NEW YEARS!” no over the top gurgling about how FANTASTIC the new year is going to be and how AH-MAY-ZING! 2017 is. Just a good read, some excellent reviews and a break from the madding crowd. You do good words Ms Pauline. That’s why I keep coming back.

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    • So many books – so little time! I’m still mostly just reading for up to an hour every evening. It’s a bit like exercise, amazing how a little time makes a big difference …… 🙂

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  18. What a lovely review for Cynthia. I can see why you’d keep her book by your bedside, Pauline. I have a feeling it will remain there for a long time. Happy New Year to you, Orlando and my favorite pooch, Siddy!

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    • Ha-ha! Gallivanta, isn’t she a clever girl! I once saw a bed where the head and end was made from books and thought that ingenious too. Thank goodness my bedside table is just the right size to hold my ever-changing pile – once I could have made several tables from all the books cluttering up my home! Now the op-shops are happy receivers as books are finished with. Hope you are well and all is well in your life.

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  19. Another soul who takes pleasure in the physical book rather than the electronic type – or do the two each have a place in your life? I am thinking how very lucky you are to have a daughter in the trade who has the ability to choose books that you like. Your shelves must either be groaning under the weight, or the charity shops have a regular supply of as-new material to sell on! Two interesting reviews – thank you.

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    • Hi Sheila! I haven’t progressed to an electronic reader. I love the weight and feel and look of a book, I like being able to mark a page if required and flick back to it. I like the sight of my pile of books 🙂 Covers are sometimes works of art in their own rights too these days, all these things mean I will probably never progress to the space efficient but optically uninspiring e-reader.

      I am so fortunate to have a daughter in the business – and the fact that she knows me so well and also sources books I’m interested in outside of her listings is an absolute blessing! I am indeed lucky 🙂 Which is why I give the books away as I finish with them nowadays. My vast library has been pared down to something like 20 permanent books!

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  20. Yes, I am envious but then I think, if someone else was bringing me book on top of what I find on my own, I would never get anything other than reading done. They are stacked everywhere here, waiting, waiting for me to open them and be absorbed. You are fortunate your daughter appreciated your bad habits and encourages them. 🙂 My children know we cannot go into a bookstore and come out empty handed. We all have an obsession with reading and my daughter and I read many of the same books and read them together. My son and I do NOT read the same books. But he has as many as I. There is no poverty when there are books at hand. 🙂

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    • I always had a ton of books in my own home Marlene, once I even had a ‘library’ room. Now I read and pass them on, the local op-shops love me 🙂 Our kids sound as if they might be similar in their reading tastes and styles. My eldest is like me and loves books and collects them – she hasn’t yet reached the free yourself of stuff stage that comes with age 🙂 and the youngest is an intermittent reader, always crime based and she gets very cross if she sees the ending coming. She has an excellent problem solving mind and enjoys the challenge of working out ‘who dunnit’. Aren’t our kids great! ❤

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      • Yes, Pauline. Our kids are great!. I’m passing on so much of everything these days and more and more books are digital or audio. I need to make print bigger than in most books have. I don’t want to pay for large print. So fewer books to stay put.

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