Reading Looking Thinking
“Reading” is the first horse out of the stalls with “Doing Time” by pod-travelling author Jodie Taylor.
If you haven’t read the first 22 book series, “The Chronicles of St Mary’s” you are missing a treat. Dr Lucy “Max” Maxwell and her research team travel through time to historical locations with both hilarious and devastating consequences.
But I digress, because unto Max “When a Child is Born” he is named Matthew and he grows up to become part of the opposition, the dreaded Time Police. In this new spin-off series, we have long-haired introvert Matthew undergoing his training in Team 236 (or self-dubbed Team Weird) which he shares with two other trainees, handsome Luke Parrish and timid Jane Lockland. Their dialogue is mostly dry repartee and I wince, thinking it follows the unfortunate trend of TV-ready script writing.
Suitable for YA readers, there is no swearing but there is violence, bullying and a murder followed by some pretty tense moments and a gruelling interrogation. The interrogation puzzled me. Surely the Time Police are able to go back in time and see what happened?
Overall, I think the scene-setting is slow and steady and it took me a while to warm up to events. I didn’t really have a favourite character but the time jump to Ancient Egypt nicely played on my claustrophobia and the Australian rabbit chapter, although not accurate, is hilarious!
I clocked subliminal references to other works from Jasper Fforde, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and some I forgot to write down—maybe they were “erased”. A strange coincidence with real Sarah Smith, fictional Sarah Smith, and the one from Dr Who. Or is it all in my imagination?
A return visit to Ancient Rome, chalked togas and all, gets the original St Mary’s team involved and it really hits the fan. The routine plotline does a messy U-turn, the action gets a good twist, and the reader is shoved towards a dramatic and satisfactory ending.
Time Police work from fictional headquarters in the real Battersea Power Station in London (see bookcover) and Jodi Taylor’s website is full of interesting stuff like liquid string https://joditaylor.online/
On the whole “Doing Time” is not unconventional enough for me, but worth delving into if you are a fan of sci-fi past-future worlds. GBW.
“Looking” is second across the line with Prince Harry Duke of Sussex, and Meghan Duchess of Sussex.
Their photographs are everywhere, as if people didn’t expect this to happen, but it makes a nice change from graphic bushfire images.
Certain events in my family “overlapped” with the Royals. No, not a medal or taking tea with Queen Elizabeth II. More ordinary things, like births and weddings. For example, I was married at the same time as Prince Charles and Lady Diana, and my marriage broke up at the same time. Spooky huh?!
Having read many Royal scandals over the years, I won’t go down that “Should they have done it?” track, suffice to say the Duke and Duchess had choices but one decision to make. They made that decision based on what is right for them at this time. In life, nobody knows what is around the corner, just keep moving forward. GBW.
“Thinking” gallops into third place with Margaret Atwood and her forthcoming Australian tour.
I am thinking of going—will have to make up my mind fast because tickets are selling like hot books, er, hot cakes. Yum, books and cakes—I’d certainly kick myself if I missed the opportunity!
This momentous touring event commences in Sydney on 16 FEB 2020 and travels to Canberra, Brisbane [22 FEB 2020], Melbourne, Hobart and Perth. Margaret Atwood said: “I am so happy to be returning to Australia, where I have spent much time in the past, and where readers have always been so warm and welcoming.” [26/11/19]
I think Margaret’s itinerary shows a lot of stamina; two weeks of touring here plus New Zealand. ‘Scuse me, I’m just dashing off to count my dollar coins. GBW.
♥ Gretchen Bernet-Ward
“The Testaments” Winner of the Booker Prize 2019
SPECIAL NOTE—Margaret Atwood’s husband, Graeme Gibson knew his time was running out. He had been diagnosed with dementia and wanted to go to Australia with Atwood to retrace childhood journeys, including visiting relatives in Brisbane, Queensland. His mother was Australian, his father Canadian, and Gibson had returned throughout his life to see friends and family. About seven months after their trip, in September, Gibson died in hospital in London where Atwood was promoting “The Testaments”, her highly-anticipated sequel to “The Handmaid’s Tale”. Read more https://www.smh.com.au/culture/books/margaret-atwood-s-final-australian-trip-with-partner-graeme-gibson-20191205-p53h6h.html
HISTORICAL NOTE—One post in three parts “Reading Looking Thinking” a neat idea started by perennial blogger Paula Bardell-Hedley.
Check out Book Jotter her informative, interesting and book-related website!
[Psst, she’s an Atwood fan]