Among the many historical reprints to hit the bookshop shelves in the last couple of years was a book by Margaret Irwin, first published in 1941 under the title The Gay Galliard. The new version is, as you might guess, on the shelves as simply The Galliard. It brings home very sharply the way novels have changed in the last couple of decades. The story of Mary Queen of Scots and Bothwell, told from Bothwell's point of view, and almost non-fictional in its approach. Lots of author asides, info dumps and the last chapter begins: "He never saw her again. That is why this story ends here..." and then goes on to tell the rest of their individual stories in two pages. The book is also a victim of computer technology in that certain words have been mysteriously changed, sometimes amusingly: modern becomes modem, avid becomes arid.
A Week in December is my first Sebastian Faulks, and I enjoyed the many sub-plots, including the hedgefund manager who single-handedly causes the banking crisis we're all suffering, the would-be terrorist, and the quick peek Faulks gives me into alternative computer worlds and best of all, RTranter, the bitter literary critic who longs for his own work to gain recognition. Well worth a read.
The pic is Corbridge peering down at the Tyne which is running a mite high after all the rain we've had lately. This afternoon we're going to have quick trip across to our nearest Borders bookshop to see if there is anything to buy for Christmas presents. All stock is for sale at half price, barring the three for the priceof two deals, so they say.