I *loved* Authenticity by Deidre Madden which I read last night, and it was a fantastic read which kept me occupied whilst my boyfriend watched the second part of the free DVD that came with the Tour de France magazine. I knew I'd regret treating him to that... (as an aside, I'm going to get some serious reading done during July as the t.v. will be taken over with TdF coverage...). Like Molly Fox's birthday, which has shot to recent acclaim with its Orange shortlisting, it was an intriguing read. It starts with one of the main protagonists, Julia, meeting a man on the verge of a nervous breakdown in a park one afternoon; she ends up keeping him company and escorting him back home. The rest of the book is about Julia, and her boyfriend Roderic, who are both artists, and Roderic's more conventional brother Dennis, and their lives and relationships (with flashback chapters to their childhood), as well as the character William, who Julia met in the park, and his family. It was certainly as good a read as Molly Fox because I was keen to find out what happened to everyone. And it was a good complement to reading An equal stillness at the beginning of the week, being about art and artists. I am surprised that Deidre Madden has not had more success until Molly Fox and will be interested to find out whether we see some reprints of her earlier work. It looks like my public library are ordering some of her backlist, and so I hope to read more of her in the future.
I also had time to start reading The Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor which has just come out. I can't remember where I heard about this, but I thought it was actually an autobiography, so I was a bit surprised when it turned out to be a novel. I am sure that it must be based on personal experiences - it reads very much like James Herriot (similar style, only is a vet) or Gervase Phinn (similar style, only teaching). Nothing too literary or taxing, but a good entertaining read which I'm looking forward to carrying on with tonight.
I also (yes, insomnia hit again and I found myself up, eating madeira cake at about 1am for a few hours) flipped through Rachel Allen's Bake. At that time of night I can't focus on proper reading, even if I am awake, so magazines or recipe books tend to keep me company. I can look at the pictures and just flip idly. I was pretty disappointed by it actually. It's certainly not as a good a recipe book as Nigella's How to be a domestic goddess - there weren't any recipes that leapt out at me that I felt I really must bake now - and although there were more pictures than in Nigella, there seemed to be more of Rachel Allen than of the cakes and bakes.