Monday, April 30, 2012

I love reading

I really love reading and it is my local library that enables me to indulge this love without becoming bankrupt or running too quickly out of shelf space.  Today I finished a book by a new-to-me author, Deborah Crombie, which I am so happy to have stumbled across on my last library foray.  There were coincidences in the book to what I've been doing lately, and also pause for thought: how we can be divided by the same language.

For the last week, I have been visiting my childhood home in North-East London, staying with my Mum and helping to look after her while she had and recovered from a surgical procedure for a minor complaint.  My Mum is amazingly fit, well and independent in comparison with many of her contemporaries, but I thought she needed a little spoiling and coddling as she's the only parent I have these days and, besides, it was a good excuse to spend some time in her company.

On the way to her home, I made a couple of stops at places I have been longing to visit: Loop in Camden Passage, Islington (a wonderful wool shop I've bought from by internet shopping but never in person) and also The Shop (no web-site) just off Brick Lane, a delight for lovers of vintage clothing, linens, scarves and similar textile-y products.  This meant passing through areas redolent of my past life in London, as I attended university in Islington long, long ago, and then worked in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and also had friends living in the area. so it was quite the trip down memory lane, as well as providing the opportunity for some retail indulgence.

So, once at Mum's, I completed reading an excellent novel by Elly Griffiths (The Janus Stone) and started a new read, "Necessary as Blood" by Deborah Crombie.  The setting of this book was around Brick Lane and mentioned a number of places (eg Columbia Road Flower Market, Spitalfields) familiar to me.  It is a detective novel, the thirteenth in a series about Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James, two London Police Detectives.  One of the main characters is a textile artist, which is also close to home.  It was a really goos read and a coincidence that it was set so close to areas I'd been to in the previous couple of days and known so well in the past.  The geographical setting is well researched, since Deborah Crombie, while having lived in the UK for periods in the past, is a Texan who lives there still.  There were a few incidences of dissonance in the text - phrases which did not feel very English, "Sit down, why don't you?" being an example of this.  The term "slipper chair" had me searching for a definition on the internet for all that I have studied upholstery - it does refer to an upholstered chair with a low seat and high back, such as might be used in a bedroom, but I've never heard the term before.  Also, a "pink dress shirt" comes across to a Brit as infinitely grander than the sort of smart shirt to be worn to the work it refers to.  I am nit-picking to mention these instances because it is an excellent book and I will look out for more examples of the writer's work.  It had an excellent plot which kept me guessing and interested, great characters and more depth than many books in the crime genre.  I'm really glad my library has introduced me to this series (and to Elly Griffiths, another great author).

View from the Coffee Shop at Whipps Cross Hospital

I returned home yesterday, as my Mum had much more energy and seemed ready to cope with life on her own again (but with my daughter staying during the week, as normal), but I'm hoping her recovery continues as well as it has started, and that I'll have the opportunity to visit again before long - she'll be working on her list of jobs for me already!