My brain feels quite literally boggled right now. Work, the building project (I paid more attention to the subject of taps this weekend that I ever believed possible), children, the other flotsam and jetsam of life. Two things keep me sane: my family and books.
I’ve recently started reading the My Naughty Little Sister stories to my little girl. I loved these as a child (I see now that she really isn’t that naughty. I think standards may have slipped over the years). Curled up in bed with my girl, her head on my arm as she listened intently, the world stopped its crazy turning for just a few minutes. We are both very excited indeed at the prospect of her own hidey-reading-hole in her revamped bedroom.
As for me, I’ve been delving into the following…
Girl Waits with Gun – Amy Stewart
This is so good I feel a little like, “What, I have to work/look after the children/cook/do anything which isn’t reading this book?” And it’s based on a true story: the forgotten story of one of the first female deputy sheriffs. It’s an exuberant, enthralling romp.
The Kopp sisters – Constance, Norma and Fleurette – are remarkable. Quite frankly, they could kick anyone into touch. Constance is tall (she towers over most men – oft-commented upon), isolated from society by choice owing to a dark secret (which is revealed early on – now that’s confident storytelling), and devoted to her sisters. She is also brave which is why, when the unsavoury merchant Henry Kaufman, crashes into and destroys their buggy (this incident actually happened), she demands recompense. Things take a sinister turn as his henchman threaten, bully and issue dark threats. Constance – not the type to take this lying down – acquires a pistol and gets the sheriff on side, and proceeds to take Kaufman down. Role model ahoy. Also, a rip-roaring story.
The Infinite Air – Fiona Kidman
Another strong woman. Another novelisation of a historical figure. I sense a theme developing. Sent to me by my friend Helen, who is managing – even with a new baby – to keep up the literary recommendations.
Jean Batton was a proper, old fashioned hero of the skies. She beat Amy Johnson’s UK-US record; flew the first ever direct flight between England and New Zealand. She was feted for her bravery, glamour and gorgeousness. And then she….disappeared. Utterly fascinating. An excellent distraction from the world.
A God in Ruins – Kate Atkinson
Okay, so this isn’t exactly a find, per se. I know you know Kate Atkinson is a literary god. This is a companion piece to Life After Life – in which Ursula Todd lived, if not a hundred lives, many versions of one. This is about her adored brother, Teddy. And it’s breathtakingly accomplished – not least in its depiction of his career as a bomber pilot (you can almost hear the gunfire scattering across the page). Teddy is a marvelous creation and Atkinson’s imaginative leaps are dazzling.
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