This is a first for me-a book post dedicated solely to grown up books! For Christmas my sister and brother in law got me a fabulous gift of a load of books. I think they’re all part of the 2012 Richard and Judy book club recommendations, but I’m not sure.
I was lucky to receive lots of lovely presents but this one really made my heart sing with anticipation and pleasure! You see, I love books, always have done. I remember raiding my parents bookshelf when I was a teenager and discovering Alberto Moravia for the first time. Their collection was idiosyncratic-I also read Stewart Grainger’s autobiography at the age of 15! I just love being transported into another person’s world, be it real or imaginary. I really do feel slightly down if I don’t have a book to read. I go to bed early so that I have at least half an hour of reading time each night-it’s what helps to keep me sane.
So perhaps you’ll understand a little quite why this gift of books is so wonderful to someone like me. There are eleven I total, so at the rate I read an average book, they should last me for most of the year. It gave me an idea too-I will post about each book I read as and when I read it. There’s a wide range of subjects in the eleven, so I’ll post about each one as I work my way through!
Inspired by Restless (that great drama shown on BBC1 over Christmas about spies and espionage in World War Two) I have chosen to read Double Cross first. It’s about the complicated spy network that fooled the Germans into thinking the D-Day landings were going to be somewhere other than where they ended up (in a nutshell!)
It’s wonderfully written. It could be quite a dry subject matter potentially and fiendishly complicated to convey, but Ben Macintyre manages brilliantly. He does understatement masterfully and he’s laconic in his observations-all very British and all very apt considering the subject matter. As you might imagine, spies who were double agents seemed to be larger than life and complicated characters and this comes across in colourful detail in the prose.
It reads like a spy novel, except it’s not, it’s fact. This makes it even more exciting from my perspective. An absolute joy to read, especially if you have an interest in the whole spy thing (which I do, I also enjoyed reading Len Deighton and John le Carre in my youth.)
One of the things I love about the whole spying game is the complexity of human emotions involved. To be an effective spy, one must be a master of duplicity obviously, but to be a great spy, one must also be an expert in the human psyche. Double Cross portrays all of this in minute and fascinating detail and each word crafts it’s own amazing picture.