Monday, 23 July 2012

Recent Reading

At last, the sun was out and we had a full weekend, reading in the garden. My new discovery of the moment is an amazing, slim novel from the 1980s from Rohase Piercy. It's called 'My Dearest Holmes' and was originally published by GMP, but is now republished in paperback and very cheaply as an ebook. It's the gay Holmes novel that I now realise I've been waiting for most of my life! But it's no kind of crude slash fiction - it's a perfectly modulated piece of literary pastiche and ventriloquism.

Piercy does a fantastic job of taking on Watson's voice, and giving us a retelling of those stories pertaining to Holmes's supposed death and return from the Reichenback Falls. This is an account that Watson doesn't want to be read until a hundred years later - giving the truth about the stymied and suppressed emotional life of the famous duo. It's a bit like when Isherwood of the 70s revisits his Berlin stories and writes 'Christopher and his Kind' - filling in the emotional and sexual lacunae that were obviously there all along in 'Goodbye to Berlin', etc. This is a brilliant and quite moving short novel. Suddenly, more than ever, the Holmes stories make sense to me.

What else did I read? Well, i spent last week with 'The Lady of the Rivers' - only my second-ever Philippa Gregory - and adored it. But I'm wondering if they might all be a little similar?  (The good and trustworthy narrator tries to stay loyal as dreadful best friend becomes queen and does everything she can to hold on to the reins of power. Lots of childbirth, beheadings and witch-burnings ensue.) I also read the newest George Mann novel in manuscript, which was delightful (the world of Newbury and Hobbes is getting darker, i think..!)

Then I returned to another favourite series - Yasmine Galenorn's 'Chintz and China' - about the witchy divorcee Emerald O'Brien and her small-town tea room. I read the other four in the series about five years ago, but I'd missed out on the second because it was out of print at the time. 'The Legend of the Jade Dragon' was a hoot. I love Galenorn's blend of the domestic and the fantastic. It was such a delight to go back to this world - and it's made me want to reread the whole set - as well as further explore her subsequent 'Otherworld' series - which is already twelve books long..! I love the fact that paranormal romance writers are so productive!

Then I rounded off the weekend by returning to a favourite from when I was fourteen - 'Spock Messiah!' by Theodore R Cogswell and Charles A Spano. It's from when the first original Star Trek novels are starting to appear - and this one, i remember, i found very disturbing and weird. I'm looking forward to finishing it as the new week begins and I get back to work.

Have a great week, everyone!

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