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September 2022: Currently Reading

By - 29 September 2022 - 09:00am

Have you read any of this month's books?

It’s almost October already, which means we are counting down to the Autumn Edition of Derby Book Festival! We’re delighted to be back at QUAD for 12 great author events from Friday 4 – Sunday 6 November. In addition, we are going to be holding a book and craft fair at the Museum of Making (in the Italian Mill) on Sunday 6 November from 11am to 3pm.

Keep an eye on our socials for ticket sales updates and more information. This month we’ll be sharing what everyone has been reading and highlighting some of our Festival authors. As always, do let us know if you’ve read any of these books!

Gini, Festival Manager: Landlines by Raynor Winn

Another 'quietly' epic book from Raynor Winn, author of The Salt Path and The Wild Silence. In this, her third 'volume', Raynor and her husband, embark on a thousand-mile journey from Scotland to the South West Coastal Path whilst facing an uncertain path for both this island nation and Moth's health. A beautifully written story of fear and hope. Can't wait to see her at the Festival!

Keith McLay, Derby Book Festival Trustee and Interviewer: Henry ‘Chips’ Channon: The Diaries (Volume 3): 1943-57 Edited by Simon Heffer

A good part of my September reading has been the third volume (1943-1957) of Henry ‘Chips’ Channon’s diaries edited by Simon Heffer (appearing at Derby Book Festival’s Autumn Edition on 4 November – buy tickets now!). Similar to the first two volumes, this book weighs in at over 1000 pages, so there’s much reading. It can’t be said that I find Channon an especially likeable individual and his constant determination to give up ‘gossip’ only to commit another 100 pages to gossip is a little waring; but the diaries are such a compelling read, rich in social and political detail of the Second World War and after, and Simon Heffer is an excellent, reliable, and surefooted editor and guide that you find yourself taken in and often transfixed by Channon’s exploits. I’m really looking forward to hearing more from Simon Heffer, who, did I mention, is appearing at the Derby Book Festival’s Autumn Edition on 4 November.

Sarah Ward, Derby Book Festival Trustee and Interviewer: Landlines by Raynor Winn

I’m reading Landlines by Raynor Winn. It details her walk in the northwest of Scotland and I’m enjoying the amazing sense of place.

Sue Wall, Derby Book Festival Trustee and Interviewer: Dead in the Dark by Stephen Booth

I've just finished reading Dead in the Dark by Stephen Booth - I love these crime novels, and have to ration myself, otherwise nothing gets done while I am totally caught up in the plot, page-turning steadily from start to finish of each book. Of course, there is the plot, with its twists and turns, but there is so much more in these books as the reader gets to know about the relationship of the detectives, Cooper and Fry, and better still the descriptions of Derbyshire. If you don't know this series, you have a treat in store - there are no less than 18 books so far....and maybe there will be more. Dead in the Dark is no 17...but I not giving away any more of the plot than that.

Keith Donald, Derby Book Festival Trustee and Interviewer: Putin – His Life and Times by Philip Short and Lessons by Ian McEwan

Putin – His Life and Times by Philip Short

I finished this work, and it is outstanding writing which manages to combine an easy to read narrative with deep research into the psyche and history of this man. It is a long read, but the investment of time and energy is worth it. I came away with the greater understanding of this individual and what makes him the man he is today.

While reading the book, I had in the back of my mind the wish that political leaders in the West could have read this book before gambling with Putin on the “will he, won’t he” scenarios. Whether we like it or not, Putin is having a major impact on our lives now and will do so for many years to come, (whether he is in office or not), so to read this revelatory book is a rewarding, but dispiriting, investment. Please do read this to understand this most impactful of leaders.

Lessons by Ian McEwan

McEwan is one of my favourite authors, so I noticed from “The Guardian” that his latest novel was due to come out at the beginning of this month. I picked it up on the day of publication and dived into it immediately.

The book focuses on Roland Baines; we follow his journey from birth to the end of his life. We meet a large, demanding, and exciting cast of characters, but the reader’s attention is directed firmly towards Roland: his relationships, abuse at school, his high points, and his low points. He’s human; McEwan has developed a likeable character, like all of us multi-dimensional, flawed but always trying to behave in the right way.

I was engaged completely by Roland’s personality. I enjoyed the broad scope of the book, taking into account the second world war, to the fall of the Wall and to Brexit, and much in-between.

Please do read this novel, (if you like modern English novelists). This is an example of a great British writer at the peak of his power. I loved this work.

Felicity, Festival Administrator: Conversations on Love by Natasha Lunn

I knew I wanted to read this book when I saw Poorna Bell share a quote or extract on social media (I can’t remember if it was Twitter or Instagram). What I love about Natasha’s book, which is a series on essays/conversations, is the breadth of ‘love’ that it covers. Not just romantic or parental, but the love between friends and siblings. The bonds that bring us together and drive us apart. I found it a really interesting read; it took me a little longer than expected because I spent so long thinking about what I was reading – I couldn’t help it. Highly recommended.

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