One of the things I’ve rediscovered since moving to Wales is my love of reading. For many years all I’ve done is revisit old friends to read in fits & starts such as JRR Tolkien‘s Lord of the Rings or Herge‘s Tintin comic book adventures! I first read Tintin while attending a school in Lille while living with a French family on a foreign exchange programme aged ten, I couldn’t speak much French so they gave me a copy of “Le Crabe Aux Pinces D’Or” (The Crab With The Golden Claws) to read in French at the back of the class to read to keep me amused.
I did experiment with reading on the Kindle in the last decade and downloaded a large number of novels written by MC Beaton about two of my favourite characters of hers, namely policeman Hamish MacBeth of the Scottish Highlands and Agatha Raison, a private detective living in the Cotswolds. I also purchased on e-book the Famous Five & Mystery series of adventures again by Enid Blyton in happy remembrance of an even younger reader, although I have to say the Kindle never gave me as much pleasure reading as a physical book.
Sadly, while working flat out I had very little time to read outside these favourites, the possible exception being those written by Karen Wheeler who wrote the “Tout Sweet, Tout Allure and Tout Soul” trilogy of eBooks about her life escaping to France away from the rat race in London. I guess these appealed to my sense of adventure and what really struck me was the sheer numbers of ups and downs in her writing as she struggles to find her soul mate in France.
Fast forward to arriving in Llanfoist in my own “escape” but with Debbie in close proximity, I resolved to buy these books second hand via Amazon Prime and reread them which I enjoyed even more second time around. So much so that it got me wondering if there was anything in the same genre about escaping to a Greek isle after our Pefkos holiday last year and so there was. This time written by Jennifer Barclay who “escaped” to Tilos a small island west of Rhodes in her novels “Falling in Honey and An Octopus in my Ouzo”.
These two books are just as good as Karen’s and although I’ve always been a Francophile, I think I’m also a Philhellenist too! These stories are all pure escapism while their love & respect of the local culture and cuisine shines through too. Alas in both cases love tends to be a rocky road for both authors and it makes me appreciate what I have with Debbie even more. Still both highly recommended if you like that kind of thing!
So what else have I sourced from Amazon Prime to keep me reading in my retirement when not listening to Alexa? Here are my top ten with many more in the pipeline!
- Colin Dexter Inspector Morse
- John Mortimer Rumpole of the Bailey
- Dan Brown Robert Langdon
- Shane Spall Voyages of the Princess Matilda
- Alistair MacLean Where Eagles Dare
- Peter Mayle A Year in Provence
- John Mills Up in the Clouds Gentlemen Please
- John Grogan Marley & Me
- Jack Warner Jack of all Trades
- Norman Wisdom My Turn