books — by other people, too

I’ve posted some questions in the discussion forum about Fire Along the Sky, in case anybody would like to get involved in a more detailed discussion. These are just a few issues that interest me, for anybody who has the time and energy.

While I was in London I went into Foyle’s on Charing Cross Road. Foyle’s is one of the last big independent bookstores on Charing Cross — I’m sorry to say that Border’s has been on the rampage over there, too, eating up independents like so many bonbons. My great fear is that Border’s will insinuate itself into the lovely space across from Trinity College, Cambridge, where there is now a great bookstore called Heffer’s. The Mathematician was a fellow at Trinity, so we could have got married in the chapel if I hadn’t been too shy (which in retrospect I regret).

At Foyle’s (and Heffer’s) I spent a lot of time looking for historical fiction. For some reason the Brits like it more than Americans do, and I have never come home without a half dozen novels that look interesting, but are unlikely to be published over here. This time I got the sequel to Diana Norman’s A Catch of Consequence (which I reviewed ast year). The sequel is called Taking Liberties and it’s very good, but then everything of hers that I’ve come across really is worth reading.

[asa left]1410401731[/asa] I also got (but have barely started) a novel called Voyageurs by Margaret Elphinstone, which is about a young man who comes from England in the early 1800s to search for his sister who has been lost, and is now living among the Ottawa. While I was gone I also read James Lee Burke’s White Doves at Morning, which I liked tremendously. Burke normally writes contemporary mysteries (his Dave Robichoux series is highly regarded by critics and readers both), so this historical novel about the Civil War in Louisiana was a departure from him. It’s based in part on his own family story, and it’s extremely compelling. I’ll be posting a full review sometime soon. I hope.

3 Replies to “books — by other people, too”

  1. THERE IS A SEQUEL? Since I’ve already finished Fire Along the Sky, Taking Liberties is going straight to the top of my to-read pile. I just hope I don’t have to go to England to find it. ;-)

    It’s too bad about the big chains gobbling up the little independents. I mean, I like the atmosphere of a Borders or a B&N, I have to say it. I like to be left alone while I’m reading and I like their children’s departments (which most small bookstores I’ve been in lack). But a small independent bookstore is certainly a dying breed. You pretty much have to go to a small town, small enough to be overlooked by the big guys, and far enough from a big city to make a local shop appealing to residents, to find one. (Our town has no bookstore, a state of affairs which I fantasize about remedying, but I have no capital and no idea how one would go about starting down that path).

  2. Rachel, I’m afraid you might have to go to England, but do let me know if you find it here, and I’ll post that information. And I can see you behind the counter of a small bookstore. I think it would suit you.

  3. I just checked on Amazon and they have Taking Liberties available for pre-ordering, but it apparently won’t be released in the U.S. until October 5th. That should mean that a person at a real live in-person bookstore should be able to order it at that point, even if it’s not going to be widely available, right? At any rate, I can wait that long without expiring, I suppose.

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