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The Queen of Hearts by Wilkie Collins

The School for Scandal and Other Plays by Richard Brinsley Sheridan

The Penguin Complete Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton

The Railway Children (Puffin Classics) by E. Nesbit

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

Sherlock Holmes : The Complete Novels and Stories (Bantam Classic) Volume II by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Goodbye, Mr. Chips by James Hilton

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Member: Porua

CollectionsYour library (152), Perfect Books (13), Nearly Perfect Books (37), Books that Stand Out (36), Nice and Enjoyable Books (34), Above Average Books (21), Books of No Importance (31), Favorites (58), Trash (1), Read and Owned (143), Read but unowned (29), Unfinished (4), To read (3), For Rec. (61), All collections (184)

Reviews99 reviews

Tagsbooks I've read (175), books I own (151), British (135), classic (75), mystery (59), Hot Review (57), favourite (56), detective (55), weighty (39), books I don't own (30) — see all tags

Cloudstag cloud, author cloud, tag mirror

Recommendations17 recommendations

About meFrom childhood's hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.

- Edgar Allan Poe

I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguished, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came and went -and came, and brought no day,...

- Lord Byron


Woman Reading by Henri Matisse (1869 -1954)

TOP 10 READS OF 2011

1. Detective Stories. Philip Pullman.

2. Very Good, Jeeves. P.G. Wodehouse.

3. Rebecca. Daphne Du Maurier.

4. The Diary of a Nobody. George Grossmith.

5. A Short History of Nearly Everything. Bill Bryson.

6. The Ninth Life of Louis Drax. Liz Jensen.

7. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Haruki Murakami.

8. The Inimitable Jeeves. P. G. Wodehouse.

9. Mrs. Lirriper's Lodgings and Mrs. Lirriper's Legacy. Charles Dickens.

10. It's Only a Movie : Alfred Hitchcock - A Personal Biography. Charlotte Chandler.

TOP 10 READS OF 2010

1. Goodbye, Mr. Chips. James Hilton.

2. The Queen of Hearts. Wilkie Collins.

3. London Lavender. E. V. Lucas.

4. Girl in Hyacinth Blue. Susan Vreeland.

5. The Killer Inside Me. Jim Thompson.

6. A Kiss for Cinderella. J. M. Barrie.

7. The Remains of the Day. Kazuo Ishiguro.

8. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Philip K. Dick.

9. Seize the Day. Saul Bellow.

10. Tales of Men and Ghosts. Edith Wharton.


1. The Playboy of the Western World. J. M. Synge.

2. The Miser. Jean-Baptiste Molière.

3. A Passage to India. E.M. Forster.

4. A House to Let. Charles Dickens (ed.).

5. Under the Red Robe. Stanley J. Weyman.

6. Death on the Nile. Agatha Christie.

7. Life with Father. Clarence Day.

8. Murder Is Easy. Agatha Christie.

9. The Book Thief. Markus Zusak.

10. Don't Look Now and Other Stories. Daphne Du Maurier.

About my libraryThere are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.

- Joseph Brodsky

Show me the books he loves and I shall know the man far better than through mortal friends.

- Dawn Adams

All the best stories in the world are but one story in reality — the story of escape. It is the only thing which interests us all and at all times, how to escape.

- Arthur Christopher Benson


If I give a book any stars at all that means that the book is (in my opinion) worth reading.

* Above average

** Nice and enjoyable

*** Stands out

**** Nearly perfect

***** A perfect book

No stars means I do not think it is worthy of a rating. It could also mean that I have not read the book yet.



75 Books Challenge thread 2012,


75 Books Challenge thread 2011 Part ONE,

75 Books Challenge thread 2011 Part TWO,


My 75 Books Challenge thread 2010,

My 50 Book Challenge thread 2010 Part Two,

And my 50 Book Challenge thread 2010 Part One,


My 50 Book Challenge thread 2009,


Groups20-Something LibraryThingers, Agatha Christie, Anglophiles, Crime, Thriller & Mystery, Geeks who love the Classics

Favorite authorsDouglas Adams, Jane Austen, Emily Brontë, John le Carré, Agatha Christie, Charles Dickens, Arthur Miller, Thomas Love Peacock, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Bram Stoker (Shared favorites)


Account typepublic, lifetime

URLs /profile/Porua (profile)
/catalog/Porua (library)

Member sinceAug 30, 2009

Leave a comment


Just dropping by to say I've missed you this year, which will be hereafter known as "The Year My Life Fell Apart". I hope things have improved with you.
You're very welcome! Will send good thoughts your way also :)
I'm sorry to hear that. I have been there before and I know how indescribably terrible it is at the time. Hope things brighten up for you soon. Please feel free to always drop a line, doesn't have to be book-ish related either, unless you want it to be. :) Best wishes to you.

(Sorry about all the previous "test" comments. I was not actually repeatedly posting "test" on your profile, but trying to submit this comment. LibraryThing had some sort of glitch going on that wouldn't let my comment post properly.)
Glad to hear that you are doing okay. Getting by alright myself for now. 2012 was a tough year - was hoping 2013 would be better but so far pretty stressful. :/ Oh well, we manage, right?
Still here on LibraryThing? Haven't seem any updates from you in a while. Hope all is well.
Hi Porua! Sending Best Wishes to you in The New Year!!! Hope 2013 is a great year full of great books!!

Just read your review of Dracula - I was also irritated by the speech pattern of Van Helsing. You make an interesting point about the invasion novel. One article I read suggested this novel was an articulation of the fear of invasion from Ireland that would contaminate English blood.
No problem! I've been there before (well, not grading papers but being buried under an avalanche of work). Glad to hear you are enjoying Bleak House!
Oooo, Bleak House! It's been on my TBR pile for ages now; one of these days I'll get to it :) Hope you enjoy!
I'm currently reading Gilead and thus checked reviews to see what others thought. Your review is outstanding! Our 2012 75 challenge group grows rapidly. Would you please take a minute to send your thread to my LT home page so that I can follow your reads on a regular basis.


No worries. I like your library!
Hey Porua! I just wanted to leave you a little note to thank you for recommending The Sleeping Murder. My husband read it and really liked it! I'm next. I got too many books going, as usual. Now I'm going to read all your recent reviews!
Thanks again! Mary Ellen
Thanks, Porua. I love the idea of your being really excited at that time about everything, including your reading - that's a wonderful way of experiencing the world that we need to be reminded about sometimes. That thought alone will probably help me finish The Pickwick Papers.

The disjointedness was what really through me off. Your explanation for that (the sketches)also helps. I'm riding a cresting wave of books through the end of the year, but I'll give it another try in the new year.

- Joe
Hi, Porua. I saw your comments about Dickens' books, and I also enjoy reading them. One I couldn't get into for some reason was The Pickwick Papers, and you mentioned that it's one of your favorites. If you have a minute, I'd appreciate hearing what you like about it.

Best wishes - Joe
Hey Porua! Thanks for your note! So which Agatha Christie book should I start with? I was thinking the one called Sleeping Murder that you reviewed. What do you think? Don't ever worry about getting back to me quickly. I already have too books I'm reading!
Dear Porua,
I have just finished reading your review for E. M. Forester's Celestial Omnibus. The review seemed to be positive until I got to the end and saw that you only gave the book one star. I thought it must be a mistake and I was going to send you a note about it. Then I saw that you had many reviews and I went though them. I must say that you are a very thoughtful reviewer and I appreciate how much effort you put into it. I have never wanted to read an Agatha Christie book before but I think I'm going to give it a shot based on some of your reviews. Thank you!
Oh no! Hope you feel better soon!
Interesting review of Girl with a Pearl Earring. I didn't read the book but I saw the movie several years ago and just felt "eh" about it, some of it for reasons you expound on in your review.
I like your review of Rebecca (Daphne Du Maurier writes so well in so many genres!)-- In answer to your question about Rebecca winning--I think it is because she wasn't afraid to be who she was; she refused to live in Maxim's shadow. The second Mrs. De Winter finally finds her own strength when she has to bail out her husband from Rebecca's win. Perhaps the destruction of Manderley is the destruction of a seemingly beautiful place, but in reality the destruction of a terrible way of life. On a slightly different note...Rebecca seems a re-working of Jane Eyre--what do you think?
Ohh, Anne of Green Gables! I loved those books growing up :)
I haven't read any of Susan Vreeland's books yet but Girl in Hyacinth Blue and The Passion of Artemisia are both on my wishlist. I'm thinking Luncheon of the Boating Party might soon join them there!

I see you recently added A Red Herring without Mustard. I enjoyed that one - hope you do, too!
Thanks for the thumbs up, Porua. I would recommend Living Dolls to everyone!

You just added two of my all-time favorites — Anne of Green Gables and Rebecca. Have you read either before? If not, you're in for two treats! :) Hope all is well with you and that you're enjoying your summer.
Thank you very much! I am glad that you enjoyed my review. I see you around LT quite a bit and stop by your profile from time to time. :)
Ick, I have purposely tried to stay away from "The Time Traveler's Wife!" Lol.
Yeah, work and other commitments have been the major reason I've been reading The Shadow of the Wind for months now. Also, I'm having a hard time getting into it, but not having enough time to read large chunks in one sitting is probably part of that! Hope your schedule lightens up some!
I see you recently added The Shadow of the Wind. What do you think about it? I've been struggling to get through it since March.
Sorry not to get back sooner -- real life happened.

Anyway, so glad to hear that someone else felt the same way as me. I was shocked or taken aback by the attitudes in the books given the time when they were written but I am perplexed as to why others have been so gentle with it.
Aww, thanks Porua!

I saw you added P&P the other day and gave it one of your coveted, rare, and priceless five-star ratings! :) I wholly concur.
P.S. Nice review of Mrs. Lirriper's Lodgings. This is a Dickens' story I've yet to read and now I'd like to check it out!
Thanks! I was glad I finally read it, even it did fall somewhat short of my expectations.
I enjoyed your review of Mrs. Lirriper's Lodgings! Congrats on it going Hot :)
Your reviews are very well written. Thanks for sharing them.

Congratulations on your hot review listed on today's home page!
Thanks for the compliment! I'm currently reading another Cadfael mystery, and it has reinforced my initial reaction to Mistress of the Art of Death. It's been anachronism-free so far!
Very nice review of Sheridan! I always thought School for Scandal was his most famous, though, not The Rivals. I'm far from an expert, though: I've never actually read or seen any of his plays. And don't you just hate some of those notes? The worst are Barnes & Noble Classics. I recall that in their edition of Northanger Abbey, there was a footnote that explained what Oxford was!
Thanks! Happy new year to you, too!

Nice review of Great Expectations by the way -- makes me want to read it all over again!
Thanks, Porua! I haven't been in your thread lately (it's so hard to keep up!) but I wanted to say I'm glad you enjoyed Goodbye, Mr. Chips so much. I haven't read it for years but I remember really liking it. Now I want to revisit it! Do you think you will look for more by Hilton? The only other book of his I've read is Lost Horizon, which I also liked.

Happy New Year! :)
Porua, so glad you liked GOOD-BYE, MR. CHIPS. James Hilton is one of my favorite English authors; unfortunately, except for CHIPS and the great LOST HORIZON, most of Hilton's books have fallen into obscurity. If you haven't read it, I strongly recommend LOST HORIZON to you, and if you can find copies, other noteworthy reads are RANDOM HARVEST, KNIGHT WITHOUT ARMOUR, ILL WIND, and WE'RE NOT ALONE. Also, though I know you're reluctant to see the films of your favorite books, I have to recommend the 1939 version of GOOD-BYE, MR. CHIPS; Robert Donat, who played Chips, was so good he stole the Oscar from Clark Gable as Rhett Butler in a little old film called GONE WITH THE WIND :-) P.S. Hope you had a great Christmas!
Thanks! I hope his works get translated too. It's always interesting to see Science Fiction from another culture's perspective. They may not be earth shattering, but I'm sure they're unique.
Thanks, that"s high praise from a Salonista! How dare they un-thumb you!
Philip K. Dick was way ahead of his time wasn't he, which ties in with the contemporary feel of his novel -- most novels he wrote. If you get the chance, check out the director's cut of Blade Runner.
Top of the hot reviews, yay! Congratulations :)
Hi Porua,

Thanks for the information about Buddhadeva Bose. I think I read somewhere that one of his major works, maybe Tithi Dor, was soon going to be translated into English; however, none of his works are amongst the Forthcoming Titles from Archipelago Books. Please let us know if you learn anything about this, and I'll do the same.

Porua, you might want to check out the PBS film of SEIZE THE DAY, with, of all people, Robin Williams as Tommy. You can get it on Amazon and it's actually pretty good. Though Bellow isn't my favorite author, I enjoyed SEIZE THE DAY and some of his early works like THE VICTIM and ADVENTURES OF AUGIE MARCH. Afterwards, I thought he tended to over-intellectualize. Be interesting to see your always perceptive take on some of his other stuff. Happy reading!
It works! Many thanks, Porua.

Hello Porua

How did you manage to put the Hornung book in your 'Currently Reading' slot? I've had the same five books in my profile for ages and just can't seem to change them. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks.

David (aka Cappybear)
Hi Porua,

I had to go back and read your review of Dracula and it was excellent. I loved the part where you pointed out that the reader saw the climax from Mina's point of view. You hit the nail on the head with that. I understand that Stoker was friends with Wilkie Collins and I have two of his on my shelf that I'd like to read soon also.

I'm on a quest to read the classics that my woeful public education didn't provide for, hence, my recent reading of Pride and Prejudice. I've got several other Austen books on my shelf and hope to get to the next one, Persuasion, soon.

I see you've done a lot of rereads this year. That's something I almost never do but I am going to reread a couple Wallace Stegner books that I originally read almost twenty years ago sometime next year.

Happy reading :)

Hi, Porua. We have so many books in common, and not just Dame Agatha's, that I added you as an interesting library. I'm also a fan of A Passage to India, the one you mentioned today. Thanks for all the insightful and supportive comments!

Best wishes - Joe
I believe that yours is the first negative review of "Still LIfe" on LT.
What a relief! I thought I was the only one in the universe who doesn't want to live in Three Pines, the only one for whom none of the characters resonates and the only one for whom the words "improbable" and "ludicrous" leap to mind as the mystery is revealed. I've read the entire series because I'm paid to - I narrate them for the US LIbrary of Congress. (I don't have to love them, I just have to sound like I do.) But after all the raves on this site I was starting to feel a bit churlish about Louise Penny's writing and wondering if it was me!
So thanks for your review: it felt like listening to a lone voice in the wilderness!
I think we may be in the minority: I read "The Time Traveler's Wife" for a book group, most of whom claimed it was amazing and left them in tears. I pointed out that it left me in tears as well - of despair and disgust. Easily the worst novel I have read in recent years; so much so, that whenever I see someone is reading her new novel I want to ask them, "Why?"
I'm adding Girl in Hyacinth Blue to my wish list after reading your review. Sounds delightful!
Lovely review of Wuthering Heights. You summed up my own feelings nicely. I went back to look at a notebook where I kept notes on my reading (prior to finding LibraryThing) and found that I rated Wuthering Heights 5 stars ... despite being disappointed that I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. I think that, unlike with her sister's Jane Eyre, there are no characters to like in Wuthering Heights .... but it is nonetheless written so well that you have to admire it.
Hi Porua,
sorry for taking so long to reply - been offline for a while. Hope you've had better luck finding covers - I've still a thousand or so without them, mainly because I've not been able to find them online, and my copy is so battered it's not worth scanning. Hey ho!
Yes! Jane Austen is my favourite novelist, with the exception of Oscar Wilde. Persuasion is my favourite and then Pride and Prejudice. I do love Catherine in Norhanger Abbey - so warm and a trifle foolish. Very easy to like.

Excellent review of The Killer Inside Me! I'm debating whether I should see the movie now. I'm glad that you decided to read the book:)
It's always heartening to see classics like Henry James and Wilkie Collins in people's collections. Your library's a nice blend of popular and canonical literature. Agatha is brilliant isn't she? I've been reading her notebooks and it's fascinating to see how shambolic her thoughts about books were until she began the process of writing.
I loved The Twelve Dancing Princesses when I was a kid, even though I wasn't (and still am not) a huge fan of fairy tales. I don't know what it was, but something about it always appealed -- I think the illustrations in the one I had really helped a lot, too. The book is from the late 80s/early 90s; it doesn't appear to be in print anymore but there's some used copies available on Amazon ( and probably other places, too.

I read your review of London Lavender; it sounds like an interesting book. Once again, you wrote a compelling review. In terms of LL's structure, the first book that came to mind is Daniel Handler's (aka Lemony Snicket) book Adverb, a series of loosely related vignettes. Of course, I found that book odd, even being a fan of Snicket/Handler, so I wouldn't necessary recommend it.

I see you are reading The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie now ... how are you liking it?

And, I love the rose in your profile picture ... what a beautiful shade of lavender! Almost beautiful enough to make me forget my love of blue roses!
You'll be very happy to know that I picked up a collection of Miss Marple novels today, containing The Mirror Crack'd, A Caribbean Mystery, Nemesis, What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw!, and The Body in the Library. Would you recommend any of these as my intro to Marple?
Hello Porua!

Sorry for the delay in replying to your question (it's been a very hectic year for me so far), I actually added you to my Collection of the Interesting due to your wonderful review of Thomas Love Peacock's Nightmare Abbey. I thought you did a marvelous job and in fact, was compelled enough to pick up my OWN copy of the book, which I intend to devour, er, "read", very soon. :)

Much Bliss & Happy Reading,
David Copperfield is not important?!

"You heard me."

Oh yes it is!

"No it's not!"

Is so!

"Is not!"

Oh boy.
Thanks for commenting on my reviews of the Karla Trilogy. Have you read "A Perfect Spy"? I think this is le Carré's masterpiece, and much more than a spy story. (I am not a huge thriller reader either but I think le Carré transcends the genre.) Rebecca
I hear you on not liking romances! My least favorite genre...
1 star for The Moonstone? (Rhetorical question.) Still, liked your review of Queen of Hearts. Thanks for bringing it to our attention!
Addendum: I also just read your review of David Copperfield, which is my absolute favorite Dickens novel --- perhaps we love Dickens for different reasons. I agree entirely with what you have to say about Dora though. It's horrible to say, but I was glad that she died and David wasn't stuck with her forever.
Hi, Yes, that's the way I feel about Tale...I read it first for school and did not appreciate it as a good story ,for its writing or characterization. But somehow, the audio book did that for me. I think I was able to focus on the tale itself and didn't get caught in the complexity, because it is a very complex story and when that was unraveled I could make out the different aspects that brought the whole thing together. I enjoy reading classics also, and even some books that are probably not considered classics as we know them,but are best-sellers from say, the 50's. I recently picked up a few and they are Virago Modern Classics per the cover. One is by the author of Mrs. Miniver, it is Try Anything Twice and the other is Treasure Hunt by Molly Keane who used the pseudonym M.J. Farrell. Now, I don't know how much I'll like these in particular but I am interested in reading them and others from that time period. Mary Beth
Hi P, After reading some of the posts here I guess I have to look at some of your reviews. They have received so many commendations! I truly enjoyed A Tale Of Two Cities, but only after I read it many times. I finally listened to it in audio book form, and I followed its many twists and turns and realized the complexity of its plot and the simplicity of its message. I think that enjoying a good book is sometimes a matter of timing. When the right time comes, it all falls into place. I think I was never ready for its dense world, its complicated characters and Dickens mastery of moving the tale forward to its climax. When the time came it all fell into place for me and it has been my favorite book ever since. I think it will soon be time for a re-read. I saw you on the thread with Carrotlady,by the way, and hope to see you on there and other threads again. Keep up the good reviews! I'm going to read The now. Mary Beth
Good review on Dickens Porua. Just thumbed it up !


Fabulous review of A Tale of Two Cities. You're right the opening line has been so over quoted and recited as to become a cliche, but in the context of that entire opening paragraph (perhaps my favorite ever opening paragraph) it's still a stunner. And so is your review!

No one is ever so damaged, so far gone, that they cannot rise up out of the mud of their miserable existence, and do something truly heroic and self-sacrificial like Sydney Carton - a character I admire a lot too.

I just love your Time Traveler's Wife review! I HATED those selfish nasty characters - the thought that they would even CONSIDER trying to have a baby appalls me - she's going to be appearing NAKED in some random place? Just what you'd want for your daughter.... The self-absorbed paper making scenes alone made me throw the book in the fireplace.
Yes, I think there aren't many of us, but not everyone loves The Pillars of the Earth. I agree with you on Dickens; even though his books are long, you get so attached to the characters, you don't want it to end. I didn't read Austen until I was around 16 or 17, when I was introduced to her by a high school English teacher. After than, I gobbled up everything she wrote, probably within a year or two. I think that's interesting some gave P&P to your parents as wedding present. I wouldn't think of that myself, but it's pretty cool.
Greetings from Michigan. I was reading your 50 book challenge thread and was happy to find one where the reader was reviewing books I was interested in. Most of the threads are filled with books that I have no interest in, but I liked your enthusiasm for Agatha Christie's mysteries. I read a few many years ago after reading Holmes and didn't like Poirot as much and never picked up another until this summer. I bought The Murder of Roger Ackroyd for a friend for Christmas and he implored me to read it after he felt both enlightened and cheated. It was great (in my opinion) and I've read several more since. I hoped to find Murder on the Nile at my local library today, based on your short review, but it was checked out so I got By the Pricking of my Thumbs instead. I'll follow it up with Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes, as both titles are taken from a line by one of the witches in MacBeth. Then I should read MacBeth again afterwards. Anyway, over the weekend I'll finish your 50 BC and check out your reviews. I use the interesting libraries feature to mark the obvious as well as those who write funny or informative reviews and I check out alot of them to get an idea of something new or out of my normal genres to read.
Thanks! I read your review of The Pillars of the Earth and you said everything I've been thinking as I'm reading it. Your library has a lot of books I'd like to read some day. Plus, we share two favorite authors, and we actually have more books in common than show up here as I've by no means added all my books on LibraryThing yet. I can't believe you read A Tale of Two Cities at age 10! I think tried to read it the first time around that age, but it was too difficult for me.
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