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Weekend Reading

This weekend, Emma Herdman is going behind the scenes, standing in graves, and exploring London's hidden gems...

Posted on 17th November 2012 by Waterstones

Having had an advance copy of the amazing new Kate Atkinson, Life After Life (out in March), I’m going to dip into Behind The Scenes At The Museum, one of her titles that I’ve not read yet but is apparently closest to the new one. Life After Life is the story of Ursula, born in the midst of a snowstorm in 1910.

From the very start of the book, we’re plunged into a unique plot style - initially, baby Ursula doesn’t survive her birth and dies immediately, but when we turn the page the story begins again; and this time she survives. The story continues in this way, following Ursula throughout her life and the twentieth century, re-living events until she gets it right, making for a rhythmic, hypnotic and un-put-down-able read. Whilst this sounds potentially dense or repetitive, it’s also hugely witty and warm; a story of family, of coincidences and of love. If Behind The Scenes At The Museum is one bit as good as Life After Life, I’m going to love it.

For something slightly different, I’m very excited about reading the new Ian Rankin, Standing In Another Man’s Grave, this weekend. Whilst I’m new to Rebus, he’s a character that it is impossible not to be aware of. The last book featuring him came out way back in 2007, and I’ve been infected by the loyal fans’ enthusiasm enough to give this one a go, as Rebus returns from his retirement to work as a civilian on cold cases, travelling this time all over Scotland rather than staying in Edinburgh. I’m very excited to start this, but I’m also slightly worried that I’ll get hooked and begin reading the entire series from the beginning: a mere 18 titles to get through…

The chapel, The Royal Hospital Chelsea, designed by Christopher Wren

The chapel at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, designed by Christopher Wren

Finally I’ll be popping to my local Waterstones to indulge in a copy of the beautiful London Hidden Interiors, put together by Phillip Davies. Lost London and Panoramas of Lost London are two books that I love looking through; sumptuous and inspirational tomes that you can immerse yourself in. This one explores the interiors of buildings that aren’t usually open to the public, spanning a huge range of architectural styles. After the stunning spreads of the previous titles, this one promises just as many stunning and surprising pictures: the perfect addition to anyone’s Christmas list.

This weekend I’ll be:

Preparing for a trip to Spitalfields next week by dipping into the beautiful Spitalfields Life by The Gentle Author.

Getting excited about the new Great Expectations film.

Brushing up on my Danish in preparation for the first episode of The Killing’s third series on Saturday.


 Emma Herdman for Waterstones.com/blog