, i'm on number 29 and i'm sure i'll hit 30 by the end of the year, maybe one or two more depending on how much i read in bed. I have one that i have been reading on and off for most of the year, a non-fiction about a couple from Cape Breton who are sailing all the way to Bermuda in a sailboat that seems to be filled with gremlins. Anyway, that may end up being 30 as i'd like to finish it and get it out of the stack by the bed. I bought a few paperbacks the other day and i still have a couple of history books in the stack too.
Probably here i should jump in with the 30 days/30 posts meme. Today's is a non-fictional book. I quite enjoy history books particularly those set in the Tudor period. Most are pretty good unless it's about a person about whom not much is known. Then it seems to be filled with nonsense, like last year's Jane Rochford
was. On the other hand, the biography of Eleanor of Aquitaine was quite a bit better yet there is still not a lot known about her over many of the periods of her life. The author seemed to make better suppositions, assumptions and filled in the blanks with much better educated guesses instead of just regurgitating pap and sticking Eleanor in there. We went to the Henry VIII exhibit at the British Library earlier this year and really enjoyed it. I ordered the catalogue and the new book by Starkey on Henry. The catalogue (a non-fictional "meme" book) has lots of pictures of the exhibit and the corresponding text. It's lovely to leave through and remember seeing the original items. I'm kind of expecting Starkey's book to be much the same as in the catalogue with more filling, and probably similar material to what he put in his Six Wives book.
So i've finished my next book for the 2009 countdown.
29 Beyond Black - Hilary Mantel.
This is the same author as Wolf Hall but it's a very different book. Welcome to the world of the dead and the people that can speak to them. It's about a psychic or "Sensitive" called Alison. She travels around the Greater London area appearing at psychic fairs and shows where she passes on messages from those that have passed. On stage, she is much more a "show" person, and more vague about the messages and the recipients than when she's doing a one on one. She's plagued by a nasty piece of work who is her Spirit Guide and all of his spirit friends, none of whom have a redeeming factor between them. The difference is Alison knew them all when she was a child and they were actually alive.
Alison had a horrific childhood, the daughter of a prostitute and these men were some of her "regulars". They contributed much abuse of all types and between them, and all the spirits that she could see and hear even as a child, her life growing up was a misery. She seems a bit circumspect about it all but the spirits are wearing her down and she never gets a moment's peace.
Enter Colette, a divorced woman who is looking for somewhere to make a new life for herself. She is controlling and emotionless and more of a skeptic than even she will admit. she has no sensitivity to the spirit world and not always a lot of patience for Alison dealing with it. She move in with Alison and acts as her manager, arranging her life and becoming more and more overbearing.
The book is supposed to be funny, or have funny bits but i found it dark and kind of sad. It was different than i usually read, that's for sure and i admit i skimmed bits of it. It wasn't a bad book but perhaps not really my thing. Also, Alison is a large woman and there's a lot of weight-negativity in the book and i find that put me off, too. In the end, Alison is Alison. As she says, she has all these spirits and things to deal with and you need a bit of heft to stand up to it all.