I’ve been reading some rather lengthy and serious books lately, so I thought I would unwind with a few lighter reads. Here are three I read in about a couple of hours each, something for every taste.
Delightful and frothy like a French dessert, this is a book for and about writers. There are a couple of deaths within its pages, but it’s not crime fiction. Instead, writers’ workshops and retreats are given the satirical treatment. The lively characterisation really makes the story here: washed-out novelist Marcus Goddard, who is afraid he will never live up to the success of his first novel; impenetrable modernist writer and performance poet Lilian Bracegirdle; the wannabe writer of hardboiled detective fiction who gets stuck with too many dames; the fitness fanatic who firmly believes it can’t be that hard to write a book in a week; the downtrodden housewife turning to the world of fantasy fiction for comfort; the serial award-winner who still hasn’t managed to find her own voice. Not forgetting resourceful or greedy assistants, a temperamental chef, tremendous egos and past secrets resurfacing to haunt people. A romp of a novel, just the thing to make you laugh out loud at human absurdity.
Margot Kinberg & Martin Edwards (eds.): In a Word, Murder
This is a labour of love: an anthology to commemorate indomitable blogger and crime fiction specialist Maxine Clarke, aka Petrona. All proceeds from the sale of this anthology go to one of Maxine’s favourite charities, the Princess Alice Hospice. It’s a fun collection of murderous short stories in diverse styles, reflecting the diversity of authors included. There is a lot of humour, as well as darker deeds, in this collection, and quite a few of the stories have a literary bent as well: self-publishing becomes a life-saver (literally), book blogging becomes deadly, changing publishers is a dangerous game… and so on.
Stella Rimington: The Geneva Trap
OK, I’ll admit it: I read this one purely for the location, as I live in the Geneva area and thought it would be fun to see if the author had captured the local flavour well. Needless to say, as with any spy thriller, the locations change and also include Marseille, London, plus some godforsaken rural areas in France and England. Stella Rimington was famously the Director General of MI5 for many years, so she knows her stuff and perhaps her work is more authentic than John Le Carre or the recently read ‘I Am Pilgrim’. But oh, how much more boring authenticity is! A lot of surveillance, meetings on park benches, computer analyses… This is the 7th book in the Liz Carlyle series, so perhaps I missed something by not starting with the first, but it just felt like run-of-the-mill spy fiction to me. There was nothing to lift it above the average. Still, this would work well as a quick airport/airplane read.
16 thoughts on “A Few Easy Reads”
These sounds pretty interesting 🙂
We all need some lighter books every now and then, don’t we? These really did the trick.
Marina Sofia – Thank you so much for the mention of In a Word: Murder. And so glad you enjoyed it.
It really was great fun, very enjoyable!
This is the 7th book in the Liz Carlyle series, so perhaps I missed something by not starting with the first, but it just felt like run-of-the-mill spy fiction to me. There was nothing to lift it above the average.
I read the first of the Liz Carlyle series — or, I vaguely recall, about half of it — and came to the same conclusion as yourself here with the seventh. To be fair, spy fiction for me consists of Adam Hall and, er, that’s about it, so I’m not really the best person to judge books in the genre.
I’m not a huge fan of spy fiction either – unless it gets all full of torment and self-doubt and darkness, like The Third Man, or satire, like Our Man in Havana.
Glad you liked Writing is easy.
The Remington series has never appealed. Like you, I don’t care for spy novel unless it all hinges on a moral crisis–something that Greene could do so well.
I got the Writing Is Easy one on your recommendation – and it really was fun!
Gert Loveday: Writing Is Easy looks delicious! A must read. Will be adding this to my Goodreads to read list. Thank you!
I think you’d like it: so many ‘types’ we all recognise from writers’ conferences etc. Sometimes a bit too close to me for comfort, too…
so glad you liked Writing is Easy and red it in exactly the spirit that’s intended. I’m on the track of the Henry Sutton you mentioned.
Thank you for visiting – most honoured! And thank you for a great fun read (but it also made me squirm a little in recognition…)
Ah, we’ve all been there!
hmmm, I’ll have to check it out, thanks for sharing.