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Susan HutchinsonLodge Books

Welcome to Lodge Books, a small, second hand bookshop located on South Back Lane in Bridlington's Old Town.

Having spent some 30 years working in a variety of accounting environments and having packed my son off to university, the opportunity arose to realise a long held ambition to open a book shop, and in what better place to do so than Bridlington. The aim is to provide a good range of second hand books to satisfy the reading habits of local residents, regular visitors to the town and newcomers alike. In addition, I am looking forward to featuring the works of local authors with the hope of introducing them to a wider readership and offering readers the opportunity to try something new.

2014 - A Year In Books - Week 15

In October 1939 HMS Royal Oak was sunk in Scapa Flow by torpedoes fired by a German U-boat that had entered the ‘safe’ haven via Kirk Sound to the north of the small island of Lamb Holm.  Today, as a result of this, there stands an Italian Chapel on Lamb Holm and a causeway blocks the sea passage into Scapa Flow. Philip Paris in his 2010 book Orkney’s Italian Chapel: The True Story of an Icon tells the full story.

In 1941 over 1,000 Italian POWs were transported from a camp in Egypt to camps on two of the Orkney islands for the purpose of helping to construct Churchill Barriers (renamed causeways to avoid breaching the Geneva Convention on the type of work POWs could engage in) to block entry into Scapa Flow from the east. The work was hard and the weather at times punishing, but by 1945 the task was complete. However, during this time, the prisoners also created, from a Nissen hut, plasterboard and scrap metal, an oasis of peace, and forged bonds with their British counterparts and the islanders that still exist to this day.

This is the remarkable, fascinating and heart warming story of the men who built the Italian Chapel and of those who have sought to preserve it to this day. I visited the chapel in 2001 and can attest to its beauty and tranquillity. Both the chapel and the book are well worth a visit.

2014 - A Year In Books - Week 14

I was recently going through a box of books I had acquired for the shop (my favourite activity) and I came across a number of Fay Weldon novels. Having previously read only The Lives and Loves of a She Devil, and that many years ago, I felt it was time to revisit this author. I selected Female Friends, a 1976 novel, described on the back cover as ‘a revelation to every woman and a challenge to every man’.

The book has a slightly unconventional style, with some very short chapters, and jumps backwards and forwards between childhood and various later times in the lives of the three female friends of the title. The friends in question are brought together by evacuation in the Second World War and remain so into adulthood, despite the intrusion of parents, turbulent marriages and clamouring children.

Although witty, compassionate and at times devastatingly truthful, this was a difficult book to enjoy, mainly I think because none of the main characters was particularly likeable: the men were bullying and/or manipulative, and the women allowed them to be so. I did persevere though in the hope that some would redeem themselves, and by the last page the three friends did, a testament to the lasting nature of female friendships.

2014 - A Year In Books - Week 13

I’ll read anything Barbara Kingsolver writes and so I was delighted to get hold of a copy of her 2012 novel Flight Behaviour. I wasn’t to be disappointed. This is a human story, of small town America, but also one about climate change and how it is affecting the world in which we live.

Dellarobia is a young mother struggling to make ends meet on a failing farm in the Appalachians. When the opportunity for an affair presents itself she doesn’t shy away, but in doing so she discovers something much more profoundly life-changing – a marvel of nature, but one that tells us that all is not right with the world. The old certainties of her community cannot remain unchanged by the uncharacteristic arrival of thousands upon thousands of migrating Monarch butterflies, somehow disoriented by their changing environment, and she cannot help but be absorbed by this phenomenon.

This is literary fiction with a social message; it tells of daily life but in the context of the planet we inhabit. This is definitely up there with two of her other novels, The Poisonwood Bible and The Lacuna, all of which should be read, in my view.

2014 - A Year In Books - Week 12

Before the police car burst through the first treetops it had performed two and half somersaults with one and a half twists. This will give you an indication of what to expect from Jo Nesbo’s Headhunters – a thriller with an element of the comic, almost verging on farce at times; but very entertaining nevertheless.

This is a standalone novel in that it does not feature Nesbo’s normally ever present Oslo detective Harry Hole. Instead we meet Roger Brown, a highly successful headhunter of senior personnel for big business, who also has a little job on the side to keep himself busy – that of art thief. A meeting at his wife’s gallery with Clas Greve appears to present a man who can satisfy both of Roger’s current requirements: he is the perfect candidate for a job for which Roger is currently recruiting and he is in possession of a much sought after (thought lost) painting that would make Roger rich beyond his wildest dreams. But who is hunting who?

This book is now a ‘major motion picture’ (Norwegian not Hollywood) and proceeds from both book and film go directly to the Harry Hole Foundation, a charity set up to reduce illiteracy among children in the third world. Can’t argue with that.

2014 - A Year In Books - Week 11

I don’t often read romantic fiction, but Susanna Kearsley, a Canadian author, was recommended to me, and I chose to read The Winter Sea, which had the added interest of some Scottish history. In terms of romance, you do get two for the price of one: firstly in the present day, when an author rents a cottage on the east coast of Scotland to research her current historical novel set in the nearby castle and becomes acquainted with the two sons of the owner of the cottage; and secondly within the novel she is writing, about a young woman who comes to live at the castle.

The history part is set in 1708 when Scottish soldiers and Jacobites, with the help of the French, are trying to return King James (father of Bonnie Prince Charlie) from exile to rule his country and to take his rightful place in succession to the English throne, following the 1707 Union, although many of course would prefer that the Union had never happened and Scotland had remained independent. No change there then, Alex (Salmond).

This is a pleasant enough read with a slightly supernatural element, and the history is interesting, particularly to someone like me who studied the later Jacobite rebellions in 1715 and 1745 for ‘O’ Grade History, and because of current events.

2014 - A Year In Books - Week 10

A few months ago I came upon a list of books that had been made into films due to be released in 2014. A couple of them caught my eye, both coincidentally set around the time of the Second World War, and I investigated further: they were The Monuments Men and The Railway Man. The reviews for the first book were less than complimentary, although I have a feeling the film may be worth a watch, so I decided on the second, an autobiography by Eric Lomax.

The Railway Man tells a little of the author’s early life growing up near Edinburgh, and his passion for steam engines, but is essentially the story of his experiences as one of thousands of prisoners of war forced to work on the notorious Burma-Siam line, known as the Railway of Death, by his Japanese captors. He is brutally tortured and witnesses horrific atrocities, but it takes another fifty years for him to be rid of his demons, when he is finally given the chance to confront one of his tormentors.

This is a tale of survival and courage both during the war and afterwards, when nobody really understands what these prisoners had to endure and how it still haunts them. Beware, the final couple of chapters may reduce you to tears – you have been warned!

2014 - A Year In Books - Week 9

Norwegian author Jo Nesbo is one of a crop of Scandinavian thriller writers to be translated into English in recent years, but it is a little curious that his first novel featuring Oslo detective Harry Hole, The Bat, was not actually published in English until 2012, some time after others in the series such as The Snowman and The Redeemer. I do wonder if it’s because The Bat is not set in Norway but in Sydney, Australia and therefore does not satisfy our love affair with all things Scandinavian (and is perhaps not his best, but still a good read).

We meet Detective Harry Hole as he arrives in Australia, sent to assist in the investigation into the murder of a young Norwegian girl on a gap year in Sydney. He is supposed to stay out of trouble and not get too involved, but when the team uncovers a string of unsolved murders and disappearances, nothing will stop him from finding out the truth, and the hunt for a serial killer is on.

The storyline encompasses aboriginal culture and prejudice, the gay scene in Sydney, drugs, prostitutes and alcoholism. It also gives us some insight into the demons that haunt Harry Hole and thereby sets us up for future encounters with him back in Oslo. I’ll be there.

2014 - A Year In Books - Week 8

I first came across Winifred Holtby’s work in the 1970s when Yorkshire Television produced a series, starring Dorothy Tutin and Lesley Dunlop as I recall, of her novel South Riding, which I subsequently read. And it has only taken me forty years to get around to reading any more of her work, namely Anderby Wold.

Winifred Holtby was born in Rudston in 1898 and this, her first novel, was published in 1923. It tells the story of Mary Robson, a young woman intent on preserving her inherited farm and way of life, alongside her older, unromantic husband. However, the social change that has been sweeping through urban districts finds its way to the village of Anderby in the Wolds, in the form of a charming, eloquent, young socialist. Mary can’t help but be attracted to him, despite their radically opposing views. The consequences of the confrontations that occur because of the sparks ignited by this young man change Mary’s life and that of the calm village of Anderby forever.

I enjoyed this small slice of social history set in my adopted county of East Yorkshire and now have a mind to read more of her novels, including the delightfully titled The Land of Green Ginger, set of course in Hull.

2014 - A Year In Books - Week 7

Somewhat unusually The Killing, a novel by David Hewson, is based on an original screenplay by Søren Sveistrup for the BAFTA award winning, Danish TV crime series of the same name. I haven’t yet seen the TV series and so can’t make any comparisons but if it is as good as the book it will definitely be worth a watch, particularly if you like Nordic Noir.

This is a weighty tome, but is a real page-turner and it needs to be with some seven hundred plus pages. It features female detective Sarah Lund who is looking forward to her last day with the Copenhagen police department before starting a new life in Sweden. However her plans are put on hold when a nineteen-year-old student is found murdered in the woods outside the city and Lund is called upon to lead the investigation alongside her replacement Jan Meyer.

The book covers the twenty days of the investigation during which time suspect after suspect emerges, including a leading candidate in the city’s mayoral race and members of the city hall staff. However, the route to the truth is constantly thwarted by lies and misdirections until the police finally have their killer. But can they really be sure they have the right person?

2014 - A Year In Books - Week 6

‘Neither of the two people in the room paid any attention to the way I came in, although only one of them was dead.’ A classic line from a classic crime writer.

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler introduces that well known Los Angeles Private Investigator Philip Marlowe; the novel, first published in 1939 was later, in 1946, made into a film starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, a memorable partnership in so many Hollywood films.

Marlowe is called upon to work for General Sternwood, who is being blackmailed, but nothing is ever straightforward and the PI is drawn into a seedy world of drugs, gambling and murder. He also has the General’s two wild, devil-may-care daughters to contend with.

The plot is actually quite difficult to follow for a while (the author apparently had difficulty keeping track himself), but at one point Marlowe gives the reader, and probably himself, a useful summing up of events so far, which is helpful.

With Marlowe, Chandler seems to have created the mould for many investigators to come – a lone wolf, unmarried, cynical, likes liquor, women and chess and is not well liked by the regular police – and as such set the standard for others to follow.

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