The first of my March books, The Quiet Side of Passion, by Alexander McCall Smith should really have been read last November, as that’s when I got it out of the library. However, before I had a chance to read it, the book unaccountably disappeared. For a week or two I thought it would turn up, and when it didn’t I started to seriously look. Under sofas and beds, down the sides of cushions, in all my bags, everywhere I could think of. Nothing. I have been renewing it every three weeks, and keeping my fingers crossed, but had just got to the point when I thought I was going to have to ‘fess up at the library, and pay for the book I hadn’t even read, when I found it, wedged behind a bookcase and the wall, as I was rearranging some other books on that shelf. Double happiness, as not only can I now virtuously return the book to the library, but I could read it too!
It was worth the wait, I think. It is the latest in the Edinburgh series of novels featuring Isabel Dalhousie, and I think these are now my favourite of McCall Smith’s series. It’s not that they’re massively groundbreaking, but they are quietly charming. Philosopher Isabel is now married with two young children, so in a way her life parallels mine, although I lack the large and beautiful Edinburgh townhouse. The novels tend to be fairly light on plot, but I enjoy them for their subtle wit, the clever pen portraits of various characters, and the utterly enjoyable descriptions of food and place which are what really bring the books, and the setting to life.
My next book of the month was The Little Bed and Breakfast by the Sea by Jennifer Joyce. It was a light, frothy, enjoyable read which I picked up at a local Little Free Library and read in one evening, curls up on the sofa with a glass of wine in my hand, and I think I would normally have loved it, but I’m just not really in the mood for this kind of fiction right now. I am still utterly engrossed in the podcast All About Agatha, which I have blogged about before, and so I am spending a lot of reading time either re-reading Christie novels which have been featured on the podcast, or chasing up other books which have been referenced.
One of which was my third book of the month, Poirot and Me by David Suchet. I am a huge fan of the ITV Poirot adaptions and Suchet’s portrayal of Poirot, so it was fascinating to read his behind the scenes account of the filming, and analysis of how he crafted his version of the Belgian detective. I don’t think I’ve read this much non-fiction since I was at university, but I am really getting my teeth into it.
Only three new books again this month. That’s the problem with re-reading. I’m going to have to start counting re-reads, or read more quickly, or really try to resist them so that I can cover more new stuff if I’m going to meet my annual target of 52 new books. Watch this space!