lit_chick's 2012 Reading (2)
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Welcome again! Can't believe we are already at the end of March! For numerous reasons, this year is proving to be a much slower reading year than last year, and at this rate I'll not get through anywhere near 75 books. Need to remind myself that keeping track of my reading is the goal, not the end number. Happy reading!
24. The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro
23. The Stranger's Child, Alan Hollinghurst
22. Mary Barton, Elizabeth Gaskell
21. Fifty Shades Freed, E L James
20. Fifty Shakes Darker, E L James
19. Fifty Shades of Gray, E L James
18. The Sisters Brothers, Patrick deWitt
17. Far From the Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
16. The Cruellest Month, Louise Penny
15. A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
14. The Detour, Gerbrand Bakker
13. A Good Man, Guy Vanderhaeghe
12. The Last Chronicle of Barset, Anthony Trollope
11. A Fatal Grace, Louise Penny
10. Still Life, Louise Penny
9. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, Alan Bradley
8. Hamlet, William Shakespeare
7. The Siege, Helen Dunmore
6. The Small House at Allington, Anthony Trollope
5. Voices, Arnaldur Indridason
4. The Weight of Water, Anita Shreve
3. The Outcast, Sadie Jones
2. The Girls, Lori Lansens
1. The Lure of the Labrador Wild, Dillon Wallace
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, Alan Bradley
Precocious eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce lives at Buckshaw, her family’s ancestral Victorian manor, in the sleepy English village of Bishop’s Lacey. Flavia is mostly left to her own devices by her father and two older sisters who are preoccupied with their own interests: stamp collecting, romance novels, and boys. An aspiring chemist, she spends most of her time in Buckshaw’s well-equipped chemistry lab. At the start of summer 1950, Flavia makes two inexplicable discoveries at Buckshaw: a dead snipe is found on the doorstep, with a Queen Victoria postage stamp impaled on its beak; and a stranger is found dead in the cucumber patch. Flavia instinctively turns sleuth, grabs her trusty bicycle, Gladys, and is off to “help” local authorities solve the crime.
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is the first of four Flavia de Luce novels. Bradley is well written, witty, and sharply humourous; and Flavia herself is an absolute delight! The Sweetness will, I think, delight both adult and young adult readers. Recommended!
Still Life, Louise Penny
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surete du Quebec, along with his team of investigators, is called to the scene of a suspicious death in the quaint village of Three Pines, near Montreal. When resident and artist Jane Neal is found dead on a walking trail near her home, locals initially assume her to be the victim of a tragic hunting accident. However, preliminary investigation by Gamache and his detectives reveal Ms. Neal was lured to the woods by and murdered by a skillful archer. As few strangers other than seasonal hunters pass through the remote village, the murderer is one who must live among the local population. None will be safe from the keen observances of Gamache and his team.
Still Life is the first of Louise Penny’s Armand Gamache series. Penny establishes herself as a well-written and engaging mystery writer; the drama here unfolded believably and with just the right number of red herrings to keep my reading chair warm! Her lead character, Gamache, is one I want to read more about: quiet, unassuming, capable, and charismatic. Recommended!
I wouldn't give the number of books read a second thought, Nancy. The important thing is that you read what you like... and you keep up with your LT friends. ;-)
Nice new thread. Your ticker always makes me smile. It must be nice to have one designed especially for you!
Oh! Great to see you back, Nancy! Thumbed both of your reviews. Nicely done! Like Dee, I hope you had a wonderful, restful holiday!
No pressure, or anything, Nancy!;) I just wanted to let you know that Dee " talked' me into ordering A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor . I see you have that on your wishlist - it comes up in my feed. And Dee and I are pulling out our hair waiting for the group read of The Detour by Gerbrand Bakker... oh it's been difficult! ;)
I got mine from the Book Depository. Now, where is Carsten!
#4 Thanks, Dee, holiday was fabulous! So happy to see you, too!
#5 Hi, Donna, you're right that keeping up with LT friends is far more important than number of books read!
#6-7 Hi Deb, thanks for thumbs! Holiday was fabulous. Dee's review of A View of the Harbour was wonderfully persuasive! (She's like you in that regard, hehe!) I'm first in line for The Detour from my library, but it's still showing "On Order"; however, I see Kobo Books offers a digital copy, so I'll go that route if we're ready to read before the library comes through. Now, we need to find Carsten!
Hi and welcome home! Any fun stories to share about your holiday? Looks like your last 2 reads were well worth the effort, here's to more of that :)
Oh I can see that you will probably be joining us on the bus to Three Pines Nancy. Keep in mind that Still Life is the weakest of the bunch and they just get better and better.
Glad to see you here again, Nancy! A holiday surely sounds like a GOOD THING. And A View of the Harbour is a wonderful book and it's absolutely necessary that you read it. So there. I should and will reread it, but I can't get to it now. Enjoy though!
#9 Hi Megan, best holiday story: lounging on a beach chair, one foot up and the other dangling in soft, white, granular sand; enjoying a gorgeous view of endless turquoise ocean, sipping exotic pineapple drink, wonderful book in hand! Yes, my last two reads were good ones!
#10 Hi Bonnie, I'm definitely on the bus to Three Pines. Thanks for letting me know Still Life is the weakest of the lot; in that case, these are getting to get VERY good!
#11 Hi Peggy, holiday was definitely a good thing! Appreciate your endorsement of A View of the Harbour; I have such wonderfully well-read, persuasive LT friends!
Ohh! I was out at the Library and picked up The Translation of the Bones by Frances Kay. On the main page I've linked up 4 reviews from different sources. It sounds like it will be good -and it's one of the Long Listed Oranges for 2012. Have a gander. You may or may not like the looks of it.
But oh! Island of Wings - swoon! I hope your library gets it soon!:)
Welcome to the Three Pines fan club! I agree with Bonnie that Still Life was the weakest. They just get better and better!
Will you be continuing with Flavia as well? I have the next three in the series but I am not feeling a rush to get to them. I think I'll wait until I am in a proper mood to put up with Flavia's quirks
Flavia has quirks? ;) You should meet me then! ;) I think The Translation of the Bones kinda grabbed due to : What looks to be a pleasant and easy reading style, as well the idea of a/ the stigmata - you know, a statue of Christ bleeding briefly . That happens in the first few pages , so I don't think that is a spoiler, really. I wondered - where would the author go with that? So far everyone is very skeptical - and I think that how people react to that is more the story than the actual incident. The woman who saw the blood has a low IQ and also fell and suffered a concussion ,so much doubt is shed on the incident around it. But I'm only 75 pages in.
Say Hello to The Inspector , will you! Inspector Gamache. ;)
#15 Thanks, Chelle! Inspector Gamache is just the thing! Love the Burberry trench coat, along with all the rest! If Three Pines was a real place, I'm ready to move there! As for Flavia, I may continue with the series at a later date. Like you, not in a rush.
#16 Hi Deb, thanks for some interesting comments on The Translation of the Bones. I must read a little more about it. Yes, I'll say hello to Armand (we're on a first name basis now), LOL.
Hi, Nancy. I see you're around right now, so I just had to stop and speak. I'm at sea with your current reading - will have to wait awhile for *Bones*, have read a couple or 3 *3 Pines* and still like them O.K. but am not on the bus, haven't broached Flavia yet although I have the first 2 thanks to a friend's generosity. I am eager to get to *Wings* though, but I have several new Oranges lined up ahead of it.
Just remember,Nancy, Armand has a wife whom he adores ! Careful you don't get too attached to Inspector Gamache. We don't want your heart broken now, do we!
#18 Hi Peggy, so glad you decided to stop by! Interesting you've also explored some Three Pines and will probably wander into Flavia territory at some point. I'm also looking forward to Island of Wings, but don't know when it will hit the top of the pile. My reading choices are always made on a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants principle: "What do I feel like reading right this second?" It works for me : ).
#19 Hi Deb, good advice. I must guard my heart by keeping in mind that Gamache is married, LOL!
Hi Nancy. Welcome back from your holiday. Sounds like you could easily get used to the exotic beach-life sipping Pineapple drinks. Well, who couldn't :)
Another Flavia fan. I have to get to that book this year. It sounds like a funny read.
And an inspector in a Burberry trench coat. Another crime series to look out for.
I'm on for a Detour-group read. Good tip on the Kobo ebook. I'll get it there.
#21 Hi Carsten, so happy to see you! And delighted that you're in on Detour. I think you would enjoy Flavia; I've only read the first one and don't know when I might decide to get to the others, but Bradley is funny and original. And certainly there is only one Flavia! As to Chief Inspector Armand Gamache in his Burberry trench, you must add him to your "CandiCrime" (Canadian Crime) adventures. A new genre ...
#22 Hi Deb, we're on for Detour! I can't commit immediately, and I know Dee is presently away; how about Apr 15-30? (if that works for both you and Carsten) Will you create a discussion thread for us?
I'm just out for the rest of the day. Yes, I'm on for The Detour. Apr 15 is a fine start time for me...Create a discussion thread? Okay,will you tell me how? Okay, I've got to run... * talk* to you soon!
#24 Hi Deb, perhaps I should have asked if we even want a discussion thread. What do you think? They're easy to create: go to our Group Wiki and create a new thread under Group Reads. Wish I could PM you, Dee, and Carsten all at the same time!
Hi, just loitering about.....people watching etc.
See you :)
A Fatal Grace, Louise Penny
Ruthless socialite and self-proclaimed wellness guru, CC de Poitiers, is electrocuted at a Christmas curling competition in Three Pines, and Armand Gamache is back on the scene with his team. CC, a callous, vicious woman, has alienated the entire community of Three Pines over the course of her relatively short residence there; and in business circles, she is something of a cheap joke. Thus the challenge for Gamache is not to find someone with motive for murder, but rather to narrow down a long list of those with motive.
“Murder was deeply human, the murdered and the murderer. To describe the murderer as a monstrosity, a grotesque, was to give him an unfair advantage. No. Murderers were human, and at the root of each murder was an emotion. Warped, no doubt. Twisted and ugly. But an emotion. And one so powerful it had driven a man to make a ghost.” (Ch 20)
Penny masterfully manages not only the murder mystery in Fatal Grace, but also an intriguing backstory. Her sense of place, Christmas in rural Quebec, is wonderfully evocative. And I laughed more than once at her good-natured Anglo/Franco ribbing, so characteristic of that part of Canada. My single criticism is of Penny’s tendency to occasionally overwrite, which causes otherwise interesting and important details to be launched outside the realm of believability.
This has become a favourite series. I must have more Gamache, more Three Pines, and more of its vivid characters! Highly recommended.
Cough, cough , erhem, yes I know that you "must have more Gamache as you've mentioned, Nancy. I think that might just be PG information. I'll say no more, cough, cough, other than you have created a wonderful review The Cruelest Month. Parlez vous en francais?Hmm, Madame Gamache?
A Fatal Grace it is, Nancy. So confusing, the Canadian names and covers and the American covers and titles , never mind the en Francais titles!
I remember that cruel electrocution story! Watch your waistline while you are partaking of the fine food at the Bistro at Three Pines.
The man in the Burberry trench coat is back. That was quick. First an archer killing, now a victim electrocuted. Strange and gory things going on in Canada. I'm intrigued :)
I like the quote. So true.
#32 Hi Deb, I also find it confusing when books have different titles and covers in different countries; I've run across this several times. Appreciate the sage advice re my waistline, hehe!
#33 Hi Carsten, strange things going on in Canada, indeed! Make me smile : ). I think you'd enjoy the series, should you decide at some point to explore it. The quote rang true for me, too.
I'm glad you're enjoying the Three Pines series, Nancy. I began by listening to the series on audio, and switched to print books about halfway through the series because I can read faster than I can listen, and I couldn't wait any longer!
Glad you are enjoying your time in Three Pines! Have a happy easter weekend
#35 Hi Anne, glad you also enjoyed Three Pines! I can also read faster than I can listen!
#36 Thanks, Chelle. Happy Easter to you, too.
Hi Nancy, happy Easter. I had our big day yesterday and thought it was a bit quiet on LT for Ester greetings, then I remembered Im a day ahead! Hope yours is fun and food filled.
>29 - It is taking all my will-power not to buy A Fatal Grace right now!
Nancy - your advocacy of Gamache is infectious. The books are becoming available here (I think the stores here also read your thread)! - I will definitely get the first in the series done soon. Happy Easter.
It looks like we need to add another Three Pines bus for our Canadian readers. We'll have a convoy converging from several different directions.
I'll be following the group read of The Detour with great interest. It is not available through any Missouri library... And Amazon is out of stock! I don't think I've ever come across a new book that is so hard to find. Of course, it makes me want it even more!
#38 Thanks, Deb! Happy (late) Easter to you, too!
#39 Thanks, Megan. Hope Easter weekend was lovely.
#40 Hi Cait, you are showing great restraint! Gamache/Three Pines is infectious, non?!
#41 Hi Paul, glad I could help with setting you on the road to Three Pines!
#42 Hi Donna, happy to join the convoy to Three Pines! The Detour is very new to Canada, too, and not yet widely available. Deb got her copy through Book Depository and had it shipped. Carsten and I will buy the ebook edition available at Kobo. You might be able to download the Kobo app for your iPad and get a copy that way (that's playing devil's advocate, I know!).
Hmmmm I see a pattern - A Good Man , Armand Gamache.... I'll say no more. I can " read between the lines" , Nancy. Oh I am relentless when I am silly.
Yes, I will post the circa 1970 recipe on my thread later when my husband gets home -he's a good man, BTW, and he makes the family broccoli.
Talking about old recipes, I remember visiting my grandma when I was about 6 or 7 and she had made Nanaimo Bar. I was the eldest and the most polite of the kids. I whispered to my mom - I don't like all of those layers, I don't think I'm going to like that. My mom whispered back -your grandma made that and you will take a piece and be polite and like it. Well - I was an immediate convert!!!! Nanaimo Bar!!! Be still my heart!. Well, not really .. but you know what I mean.
Still waiting to here back from Dee.
#44-45 Deb, make me smile, A Good Man and Armand Gamache in the same sentence! Your husband, he of the extraordinary broccoli casserole, is another good man! Love the story of your grandmother's Nanaimo Bars.
I set out to read the third Three Pines novel, The Cruellest Month, and then picked up A Good Man from the library, which I'd requested some time ago. Read the first couple of pages and was sold. I find Vanderhaeghe immensely readable; I had the same experience with The Last Crossing a few summers ago: read a couple of pages to see whether I'd like it, and then I was off!
You're right about the book funk! Yay!
Yes, Nancy, on the main page of The Detour I have linked up two reviews, which if you click on them takes you to the full review. We may have Mamie aka Crazy Mamie join us, and possibly Paul as well - depending on his reading schedule. Monika aka JustJoey , has posted on the group thread that she may chime in from time to time. She is the person here on LT that made me aware of The Detour as she read it last year in Norwegian.
The more the merrier!
Hi Nancy--it looks like we were reading A Fatal Grace at the same time. I love your review--you sum it up perfectly. I hope to get to the third book soon.
#49 Thanks, Deb! I read the reviews you've linked to on the main page of The Detour; very interesting. Sounds like we may have some others joining us : ).
#50 Thanks, Anne. I hope to get to the third in Penny's series soon, too : ).
Just stopping by to say hi! Yes, The Keeper of Lost Causes was dark, but kinda fun! Department Q was more or less invented for Carl Morck, a kind of dysfunctional homicide detective and gets assigned a partner of questionable usefulness, Assad, and Assad turns out to be a little more than Carl expected. I enjoyed it ! Hope it is going well with A Good Man..... in more ways than one, of course!;)
The Last Chronicle of Barset, Anthony Trollope
The Last Chronicle of Barset
2007, Blackstone Audiobooks, Read by Simon Vance
Barchester’s well-loved characters assemble one final time in The Last Chronicle of Barset; and true to form, Trollope proves himself a worthy storyteller as he weaves the threads of this final tale. The pitiful and ornery Mr. Crawley is accused of stealing Mr. Soames’ cheque, an incident which creates all manner of grief. Major Grantly falls for Grace Crawley, and his father, the Archdeacon, is outraged. John Eames, now a wealthy man by the generosity of the late Lord De Guest, persists in his love for Lily Dale while amusing himself with coquette Madalina Demolines, an alliance of which no good can come. The affairs of the Dobbs Broughtons collide with those of the wealthy Van Sievers, and at the heart of the conflict, aside from money of course, is a troublesome painting of “Jael and Sisera.” The detestable Mrs. Proudie meets a just defeat at the hands of Mr. Crawley and Dr. Tempest. And finally, Septimus Harding, the gentle, worthy, and now venerable protagonist of The Warden, where the chronicles began, arrives at the end of his life surrounded by family; and is the subject of a beautifully poignant farewell by Trollope.
As always, Trollope kept me wholly entertained. His humour, which I adore, created this laugh-out-loud moment for me when John Eames is cautioned by his friend that his dalliance with Miss Demolines, which he believes to be a harmless friendship, is not what it appears:
“I know the bird better than you do, and I strongly caution you to beware of the bird. The bird is a bird of prey, and altogether an unclean bird. The bird wants a mate, and doesn’t much care how she finds one. And the bird wants money and doesn’t much care how she gets it. The bird is a decidedly bad bird, and not at all fit to take the place of domestic hen in a decent farmyard. In plain English, Johnny, you’ll find some day, if you go over too often to Porchester Terrace, either that you are going to marry the bird, or else that you are employing your cousin Toogood for your defense in an action brought against you by the venerable old bird, the bird’s mamma.” (Ch 75)
I’ll miss the characters of Barchester and the fabulous Simon Vance, but as all good things must come to a close, The Last Chronicle of Barset does a wonderful job of achieving that end. Highly recommended!
Great review, Nancy! Trollope truly is full of humour ,from what I can see from your review. Perhaps it was Trollope who coined the word " bird" for women in the UK? So, we are birds of prey, are we? :)
I know that you've really enjoyed your Barchester world and you will miss it!!Thumb up! :)
Keep your spirits up, because if you must let Simon Vance go -at least we have the promise of The Detour. And who knows what that will be like? Great, I hope! :)
Glad you liked it so much, I always think of you as a classic lover!
I still need to get to those Trollope audiobooks! And that reminds me--audible is having a sale. Having just convinced myself I don't need any more audiobooks and deleted the email, maybe I will take a look.
#55 Thanks, Deb! I don't know whether it was Trollope who coined the term "bird" for women, but now I am curious. I will finish A Good Man this evening or tomorrow and then start The Detour. Looking forward!
#56 Thanks, Megan. I do love classics. Since joining LT, I always have an audiobook on the go on top of whatever I'm reading. And I've discovered that I LOVE listening to the classics, particularly given a fabulous narrator. And I've found several! (and look forward to discovering several more)
#57 Hi Anne, a sale at Audbile. Hmm, pretty impossible not to take a look! I will, too. I'm quite certain you'd enjoy Trollope immensely. I'm looking forward to his Palliser novels, now that I've finished the Barsetshire series.
Oh, you're making me want to visit Barsetshire via Trollope again! I listened to The Warden last year, also narrated by Simon Vance, and I loved it. Lately I've been listening to audios of Angela Thirkell, who also set her novels (think early 20th century Jane Austen) in the fictional Barsetshire. I love them as well (narrated by Nadia May).
Well apparently I was "ignoring " you Nancy. I blame it on fat fingers on the iPad but anyway I've caught up now. You make me want to get started on Trollope ASAP. It's just these other books that get in the way plus it's my year for Dickens but next year for sure.
#59 Hi Anne, I didn't become acquainted with Simon Vance until the third or fourth Barchester novel, but I think he is absolutely fabulous! And I see he narrates the Blackstone Audio editions of Trollope's Palliser novels, too. Oh, joy! I need to listen to some Angela Thirkell; I've had her recommended by several LT Trollope fans.
#60 Hi Bonnie, I've done that! Glad you're back! I do understand that not everything we're trying to read can make it to the front of the line at the same time! I know you're enjoying Dickens, which is wonderful; and I'm certain you'll enjoy Trollope when you get to him, too. Speaking of Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities is my next-up audiobook. Looking forward.
Hmm, Nancy you seem to have the ability to make me want to read authors which I have been happily not reading for many years! First Hardy and now Trollope!
Congrats with the completion of the Barchester Series, Nancy. Good to know some of the same characters will appear in the last one also. Trollope really has a wonderful sense of irony. One can almost see him laughing while writing the story and musing over the characters.
#62 Thanks, Dee! Happy to be of service! I've enjoyed countless hours of walking pleasure while listening to Trollope, sometimes laughing out loud!
#63 Thanks Carsten, I'm delighted you are also enjoying the Barchester novels. Trollope does have a wonderful sense of irony. Love your expression that it is almost possible to see him laughing while musing over his characters!
A Good Man, Guy Vanderhaeghe
“It comes as a great relief to me to be finally disowned. Father always believed that making me his heir gave him an incontestable right to meddle in my affairs. He let himself think that the threat to disinherit me was a sword he held over my head. He has let it descend now, to no effect.” (Ch 13)
A Good Man, set in the late nineteenth century in the Canadian and American West, explores the final days of that great frontier. Wesley Case, former soldier and privileged son of a wealthy Ottawa lumber baron, ventures west with a view to escaping both his father’s imperial influence and a disgraceful secret from his military past. Before deciding to make good on a long-time dream of becoming a rancher and settling in Fort Benton, Montana, Case serves a brief term with the North West Mounted Police. Thus he is approached to act as liaison between the American and Canadian militaries, in an effort to contain the unresolved anger of the Native Americans in the wake of the Civil War. But Case will more than have his work cut out for him: Custer has recently been defeated at the infamous Battle of the Little Big Horn; and tensions will eminently give way to brutal violence between the Sioux and US forces. Case’s plans for a quiet ranch life are further thwarted when, much to his surprise, he falls in love with recent widow, Ada Tarr, and unknowingly inflames the jealousy of sociopath Michael Dunne, her disturbed admirer. As the American government unleashes its final assault on the Sioux, Dunne masterminds a plan for vengeance to eliminate Case and claim Ada as his own.
I find Guy Vanderhaeghe compulsively readable, something that came as a complete surprise a couple of summers ago when The Last Crossing was recommended to me. I had heard the word “western,” and thought, “I don’t think so.” But I decided I should at least read a couple of pages, and the rest is history. My experience with A Good Man was the same; I was immediately and completely engaged, and held captive for the duration. In fact, Vanderhaeghe leaves me wanting more frontier! Based on that accomplishment alone, I cannot recommend him highly enough.
“Church services had ended, affording the godly the same opportunity to line the bank of the Missouri as the waddies, the saloon-haunters, the bummers, the wharf rats, and the paisley-vested bottom dealers of the gaming rooms. They stood squinting into the blazing sunshine as the steamer’s paddles churned the silty water, its stubby prow laying a creamy furrow down the river, its funnels scattering smoke and cinders into a pale blue sky.” (Ch 29)
Do you listen to your audio books with headphones while going about your day, or on a stereo? Just wondering as I am considering moving in to the technological age with my reading and am wondering how it would best suit me. The only was I can see it working is if I was walking Lenny to sleep in the pram with headphones, or in the car.
Thumb up for your review. That's me - A western - I don't think so . Maybe one day I'll give on his books a try. The only " western " I've ever read was The Sisters Brothers which was 5 star read for me. But it was a genre bending western!
Excellent review of A Good Man! I haven't gotten around to this one yet.... for some reason I was under the impression it was book two in trilogy. Maybe I am mistaken - would you say this is a stand alone novel?
#66 Thanks, Heather! I hope you will enjoy Trollope as much as I have. I started listening to A Tale of Two Cities today. It always takes me a bit to get my thoughts around Dickens; I can lose track of his prose really easily before I pick up his rhythm.
#67 Hi Megan, I love to walk so I listen to all of my audiobooks on an iPod. Sometimes I'll also listen for a bit before nodding off at night. I think audibooks would be great in the car, too, but I'm never in mine for very long.
#68 Appreciate the thumb, Deb! I think you'd also find Vanderhaeghe genre-bending (great expression!) in terms of "western." Give him a try!
#69 Thanks, Lori! A Good Man is book three in a loose (very loose, I think) trilogy, but it is easily a stand-alone novel. Same for The Last Crossing, which is the second book; and was a five-star read! And I've still not read The Englishman's Boy, which is the first.
I was going to ask if A Good Man is stand alone, but I guess it's okay on its own after reading your last comment. I would never think I liked westerns, but now that I've read The Outlander by Gil Adams, which I loved, and The Sisters Brothers, which I loved, and now your review, I may have to rethink my western ideas.
Nancy - great diversity of reading from Trollope to Vanderhaeghe you got two strikes. Haven't read either but especially the latter will be placed high on my hitlist after your excellent review.
#71 Hi Elizabeth, Vandergaeghe has made me rethink my western/frontier ideas; and that in itself, for me, says volumes about an author. Both The Outlander and The Sisters Brothers are on my TBR list, so I appreciate your endorsement. Must get to them sooner than later.
#72 Thanks, Paul. I think you would really enjoy A Good Man.
Perfect! Adding Vanderhaeghe's books to my To Read Later list. Thanks!
Now here's a Canadian writer I'm not familiar with. But from your excellent review, it sounds like something I would
#74 Lori, will be looking forward to your thoughts on Vandergaeghe's work!
#75 Hi Bonnie, happy to contribute to your teetering tower! if you love westerns, I'm pretty sure you will love Vanderhaeghe. I have Lonesome Dove on my list; your description of it as one of your desert island books makes me want to read it much sooner than later.
Good review of The Good Man, Nancy. A thumb from me. It's an interesting period and conflict I would like to know more about. I read Laura Ingalls Wilder right now (I guess it's a western of sorts) and their interaction with the indians are quite interesting.
#77 Thanks, Anne, glad I could help with the ever-burgeoning list!
#78 Thanks, Carsten : ). The western frontier, or "wild west," is an interesting period. Our political relations with our native peoples remain complicated even today. I've not read any of Laura Ingalls Wilder's work (at least not yet); I'm really only familiar with her vis a vis Little House on the Prairie.
The Outlander is one that I've been considering too. Nancy , I had wondered if you could advise me on that one, but I'll have to look to Elizabeth -hear that Elizabeth! :)
#80 Deb, do share Elizabeth's advisement on The Outlander! I see my library has an audio of that one; hmm.
Okay, I posted my review for The Outlander. It was originally posted on my blog in 2009. Here's how I know I really liked it - it feels like it was only last year that I read it. I can't believe it's been three years and I still remember a lot of the plot.
There is some criticism of it that the widow lets so many men help her along her way, but I thought she was wise to take whatever help she could get!
>70 just another reason to get my iPod Nano cranking! Id love to listen in bed as I was falling asleep, how easy!!
#82 Thanks, Elizabeth! Thumb for a thoughtful review of The Outlander. Now I've GOT to read it!
#83 Hi Megan, yes, I've fallen asleep often listening to a book. Only problem with that, of course, is that when I come to I have no idea where I left off! I think you will enjoy your Nano.
Oh good, I have The Outlander sitting on my shelf. I think it was an Orange nominee so maybe I'll read it in July.
The Outlander wasn't an Orange nominee, but it is Canadian, so reading it in July is very Canadian. Canada Day is July 1st.
I too have thumbed your review, Elizabeth. Thanks for that info re The Outlander. Thanks!
#85 I'm looking really forward to The Outlander too, Bonnie. For some reason, I also thought it was an Orange nominee.
#86 Thanks, Elizabeth. Canada Day works just fine! Ah, ... July!
#87 Hi Deb!
#89 Hi Deb, great minds ... I just received an email from my library that The Outlander is ready for pickup! Yes, The Englishman's Boy is the first in Vanderhaeghe's trilogy. I've never read it, but it's on my list; I've heard that it's the weakest of the three, but I can't confirm that first hand. The other two, The Last Crossing and A Good Man I can vouch for. I hope you will read it and enjoy (and write a review for me!) It's funny, I ALWAYS read books in order, but somehow this one got messed up. Truthfully, I don't think I even realized The Last Crossing was part of a trilogy when I picked it up.
The Detour, Gerbrand Bakker
“… she sensed how vulnerable people are when they have no idea what to do next, how to move forward or back.” (Ch 4)
A Dutch woman, a university professor who has spent her academic life studying Emily Dickinson, admits to an affair with a student and subsequently abandons her life in Amsterdam and, without informing either husband or parents, moves to rural Wales and rents a farm. Ten geese are living on the property, but one by one they mysteriously disappear. As they geese are diminished in number, it becomes apparent that Emilie’s reasons for escaping Amsterdam are not as straight forward as they initially appeared. A young man, Bradwen, arrives at the farm and stays, first one night and then several more. Meanwhile, Emilie’s husband, has engaged a police officer and is working to track her down. As for Emilie, something is very wrong: “She couldn’t go on like this much longer. She wondered if she was up to it. Until yesterday she had been almost certain she was.” (Ch 31)
The Detour is a moving, provocative novel about human relationships and about the sophisticated and complex decisions even those of us living the most ordinary of lives are called upon to make. Bakker, writing in his trademark spare and simple prose, continues to impress with his ability to create a rich and intimate experience. As with The Twin, I was wholly engaged here, and will be watching for his next work. Highly recommended!
“Last night, looking at herself smoking, she saw her face change into a stranger’s: a voyeur rather than a reflection.” (Ch 9)
Nancy - I haven't got going with it yet (it is in the back of the car waiting my slow pocession through the traffic tomorrow) but am heartened by your positive review.
Great review, Nancy! Thumb up! Mine will be much longer in coming along! You are such a natural at reviews. Bravo!
#94 Hi Paul, I think you will enjoy.
#95 Thanks, Deb! Appreciate your thumb, your organizing our group read of The Detour, and all of your thoughtful input. What a ride!
Ditto. Great review, Nancy. Like your quotes. There's so much to quote from The Detour. And I like your own observation:
A moving, provocative novel about human relationships and about the sophisticated and complex decisions even those of us living the most ordinary of lives are called upon to make.
#97 Thanks, Carsten. I had so many quotes highlighted in The Detour that it was tough to choose only a couple. Thoroughly enjoyed our group read and your observations! I remember you writing at one point: "Look what Bakker has done to our thread!" Indeed!
The Detour is a moving, provocative novel about human relationships and about the sophisticated and complex decisions even those of us living the most ordinary of lives are called upon to make.
Well Nancy, what more can you ask of a novel. Thumb!
Just stopping by to say hi! It's your bestie from the Scientology Celebrity Center!;)
#103-104 Hi Deb, the Scientology Celebrity Center is not a good influence for you. Do those people even know how to read?
Nice to have a hot review! Glad you are enjoying Patient Number 7.
Just a quick visit. I got out to the library today and found myself a copy of The Outlander. I'm not sure if it will be my next read, but I am really trying hard to use the library rather than purchasing new books.
I think you would enjoy Patient Number 7. I sure it hope it catches on. I'm not quite finished it, but it's really an interesting story and I love that it's based on memoirs. It's a story of heroism during the Nazi regime, among other things. A great slice of history and very well told.
I love your review of The Detour, Nancy. I found the group read very helpful but am now so bogged down with all the details and am finding it difficult to distinguish the thoughts I had on reading the book and what I have learnt from other people's readings! Fortunately, your review has reminded me of what I loved about the book without confusing me at all!
#106 Hi Deb, I've presently got a library copy of The Outlander here, too. But then I decided I wanted to revisit Three Pines first. Thanks for your thoughts on Patient Number 7; intriguing!
#107 Thanks, Dee! I also found our group read very helpful, but I know what you mean about sometimes getting bogged down in the details (I call it over-reading). Delighted my review reminded you of what you loved about The Detour!
That was Chelle that put that hot picture of Tom Cruise on my thread! Enjoy it, Oprah Watcher :) I know John Strombolous and Armand have turned your head, but to each our own.
( Actually I can't bear Tom Cruise either.) It's not like I don't know what's going on, what with reading People Magazine and US magazine . Really, what do you take me for? ... ;)
#111 Deb, make me smile : ). For the record, NOT an Oprah watcher; cannot bear the "happy clappy" on-cue crowd. But Cruise's couch jumping, well that was something else altogether! You're right, George and Armand are more my type: intelligent, charismatic, well-spoken, well-read ...
#113 You're in for a couple of excellent reads, Megan. Not sure what you mean "having a hard time with the inner workings of LT" - touchstone trouble? (duh moment for me, obviously)
Hehe! I never watch daytime TV either. I can't bear any of it -but I love to tease you! :) I do remember Cruise's couch jumping too. I think he's not all there upstairs, among other things.....
I admit that Mr Cruise is probably a tad crazy these days ... but come on ladies, in the 80's he was one pretty man!
Should I run away and take my Cruise back to Deb's thread? I didn't realize that he was contagious and had spread around threads ;)
#115-116 Hi Deb and Chelle, I'm in full agreement on all points: that Cruise is not all there, that he was a pretty man in the 80s, and that we should move him back to Deb's thread! hehe
Nancy, I've been catching up on your threads, a long overdue visit. I'm so glad you've enjoyed your listen through the Barchester Chronicles. I'm a great fan of those, and hope to start the Palliser series soon. I've not yet read the Twin, but the enthusiasm for Bakker is so great, I must get round to him soon.
>114 can get the touchstone working (see?....The Detour) but cant WL it as once Im trying to select it for my own library I cant find it....wont stop me reading it though :)
#118 Hi Genny, lovely to "see" you! I also want to start the Pallier series this year. I'll be "reading" on audio, and I see Simon Vance narrates several of them; he did a fabulous job of the Barsetshire Chronicles, to I'm delighted to keep company with him again. As for Bakker, I don't think you'll be disappointed. Will be looking forward to see what you think of The Twin or The Detour, or both.
#119 Hi Megan, I've also occasionally had a problem with not being able to add a book to my library using the "Add to Wishlist" feature. Try searching for the book, and hopefully you'll meet with success.
Stopping by to say hi! I finished Patient Number 7 and I really enjoyed it! I think that you would really enjoy it too. Initially it starts out a wee bit academically -but it gets very human very quickly. I remember us discussing what get's people to end up in a group like the Nazi's . To a certain extent, I think the book answers that question. One thing that I had not realized is that the National Socialists promised equality for men and women as well as prosperity for the country. Anyway, a very wonderful read.
I'm trying to slog my way through The Outlander. In some ways it is interesting, but there are a lot sections where the widow is just slogging along for pages in the wilderness. I'm on page 100 , and if it does not pick up and seem to have a direction soon - I will reluctantly abandon it.
Enjoy your weekend!
#121 Deb, delighted you enjoyed Patient Number 7 so much! Didn't realize until I read your review that the author was Canadian. Hmm, interesting comments about The Outlander; hope it picks up! I have a library copy here but I got sidetracked with Three Pines and Gamache before I got to it. I do intend at some point to at least pick it up.
I think you would really enjoy Patient Number 7 . It's much more personally told than I communicated in my review -I did not want to give away spoilers. I am always a sucker for a Canadian author. I think he used to write for the Globe and Mail, CBC and Heritage Canada. That's what grabbed me first . It's very readable, though it's " literary " sort of a book.
I'm still slowly plowing through The Outlander . There is something that keeps me going. I'm nearly at Part 2 , which I hope will " pick up" So far, the widow is just wondering from place to place, meeting with the occasional man whilst in the forest. I'll let you know.
#123 Thanks for the info, Deb. I am always a sucker for a Canadian author Yay! Will be interested in how The Outlander shapes up (or not).
>120 it worked! Thanks, I used Amazon Uk for the search instead of the default US one. ANd I see book depository still has 10% off.....
#125 Yay! I'm glad it worked, Megan. I fully recommend that you buy!
Just to note SWMBO has severally compared me to Tom Cruise - firstly I have a habit of putting my feet on the furniture and secondly entering any bookshop without coming away laden with reading material really is Mission Impossible.
Good morning, Nancy. I hope you're having a great week end with something interesting to read. Those two things go together for sure. Have you picked up The Outlander yet? Deb seems to be struggling with it. I have my own copy and will wait until the mood strikes me...or until it fits into a TIOLI challenge!
#127 Hi Stasia! Good to "see" you. I'm certain you would enjoy both The Twin and The Detour.
#128 LOL, Paul. Tom Cruise has gone back to Deb's thread.
#129 Hi Donna, I haven't read The Outlander yet, but I will. Yes, I think Deb is not finding it as good as she had hoped it would be; I'll be curious to hear her final take.
As far as The Outlander goes, I am about 3/4 of the way through. I'm finding it to be an interesting read,but it's really a S L O W B U R N E R !!!I't's interesting, but oh boy is there a lot of fumbling around , lost in the woods/ prairie - whatever it is. The story itself is doled out bit by bit by bit... I suppose it's quite beautifully written, but my goodness, it takes a fair bit of patience to wait for anything to happen. I can't really say that it's character driven - well, maybe it is, but just oh so gradually I am beginning to learn a bit more of the " widow's backstory.
I think it will end up a 3.5 star read, and my average is 4. It's interesting in way though, and I'll be happy to say - why - I've read The Outlander. You may feel completely different....
#131 Thanks, Deb, appreciate your comments on The Outlander. I'm not always a terribly patient reader, so I'll be interested to see how it goes for me. I know after "talking" to you about it, I'm no longer rushing it to the top of the pile.
I wrote a few comments about The Outlander on my thread. I think for me, part of the problem is that I never really felt drawn into the book, or that the characters were fully fleshed out. I kind of felt held at arms length from the book the whole way. But plenty of people have loved it - so you know, everyone is different.
#133 Thanks, Deb. I enjoyed your comments and hope you will post them on the main page for The Outlander. I always like to read some different perspectives from members when I'm looking at reviews.
#135 Hi, Deb! I'm cozy in Three Pines at the moment; good thing, because I've had almost zero reading time so far this week. I don't know Ann Cleeves' work, but enjoy Lerick (or wherever you are, hehe!).
I love the Three Pines series. I am glad to see you cozily settling in there too, Nancy.
I hope your time for reading is freed up soon :)
#137 Hi Stasia, delighted to have another Three Pines fan on board! Looking forward to some reading time over the weekend to see what Gamache and the team are up to!
Nancy, you know, Sisters Brothers was a five star read for me at least a year ago.
Now it's won
Booker Shortlist 2011
Governor General's Literary Award 2011
Roger's Trust Fiction Prize 2011
Giller Prize Shortlist 2011
Quill and Quire Book of the Year 2011
Morning News Tornaments of Books- Champion 2012
Walter Scott Shorlist 2012
And... Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour.
Can you really face the public/ hold your head up high/ have a thread on LT if you don't read that fabulous and literary book? I ask you that. ;) And oh so Canadian!!!!
Don't worry Nancy, I haven't read Sisters Brothers either ;)
Which book are on in the three pines series? I am looking forward to the next one coming out this summer or fall
#139-40 Hi Deb, as we speak The Sisters Brothers is sitting on my dining table. That said, I'm nowhere near through my present read, so whether I've read it by the time it's due back at the library is another matter. But it's on my list. It's certainly won an admirable number of accolades. I'm glad you're not applying any pressure, LOL, because I had to see what that might look like!
#141 Hi Chelle, I'm on the third Three Pines novel, The Cruellest Month, and am thoroughly enjoying. Expect I will eventually work my way through the rest of this series : ).
A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
2005, Naxos Audiobooks, Read by Anton Lesser
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times …”
I’ve loved those opening lines since forever, but somehow I’ve not read A Tale of Two Cities until now. As is always my experience with Dickens, I was spellbound by his haunting portrayal of the human condition. Here, his juxtaposition of “La Guillotine,” the excessively privileged and inhumanly cruel French aristocracy, with “Hunger,” the brutalized and starving peasant class, is so convincing that there could hardly have been a result other than the French Revolution. Still, I found it interesting that while Dickens is clear about the reprehensible brutishness of the nobility and the need for social justice , he does not condone the disturbing violence of the revolutionaries, a blight which creates its own stain, and perpetuates still more human suffering.
“Along the Paris streets, the death-carts rumble, hollow and harsh. Six tumbrels carry the day’s wine to La Guillotine. All the devouring and insatiate Monsters imagined since imagination could record itself, are fused in one realization, Guillotine. And yet there is not in France, with its rich variety of soil and climate, a blade, a leaf, a root, a sprig, a peppercorn, which will grow to maturity under conditions more certain than those that have produced this horror. Crush humanity out of shape once more, under similar hammers, and it will twist itself into the same tortured forms. Sow the same seed of rapacious license and oppression over again, and it will surely yield the same fruit according to its kind.” (Bk 3, Ch 15)
I thoroughly enjoyed A Tale of Two Cities: powerful, plot-driven, superbly written, and historically fascinating. Favourite characters are Dr. Manette, “recalled to life” from his shoemaker’s bench after a lengthy and wrongful imprisonment; and Sidney Carton, the most self-aware character in the novel, who, in making the ultimate sacrifice, redeems himself from a selfish, wasted life. That said, if I have a criticism of the novel it is that I missed the incredible richness of character I’ve come to expect from Dickens. Lucie, for instance, is all golden-haired goodness; but I know little about her beyond that, and I so wanted more! There’s much less intimacy of private life here. The singular motivation is the Revolution.
Anton Lesser, narrator of this audiobook, is fabulous! A Tale of Two Cities is highly recommended for lovers of Dickens, the classics, and historical fiction.
Oh, look--a Dickens that I actually read in book format, and not in audio. Though the audiobook does sound good. Great review!
I have The Cruelest Month checked out from the library and will be reading it soon. I'm sure I will continue with the series because people keep saying the later books are the best.
>136 I've had almost zero reading time so far this week
eeek! That doesnt sound too good.
>143 Ive got that one lined up for soon....so wont read your review apart from your opening paragraph! (and star rating...)
#146 Hi Anne, I most often "read" Dickens by audiobook, too. While I'm listening, I keep a copy of the book in my iPad, so that I can mark passages and make notes when I feel so inclined!
I expect I'll work my way through all of the Three Pines series, too. I'm quite enjoying, and I've also heard many remark that the series continues to get better.
#147 Hi Megan, I hope you will enjoy A Tale of Two Cities. If you're into audiobooks, this one was very well done.
Great review Nancy and thumbs. I was somewhat disappointed with A Tale of Two Cities, compared to some of his best (for me David Copperfield). It lacked some of his more creative and excessive characters, still, as you, I liked the plot and theme. Also very symbolic writing. The quote is amazing - sad, but true. Just one example of Dickens genius.
Hi Nancy - have just caught up on all your reading since April (which is about when I vanished down a rabbit hole). Congratulations on finishing the Barchester Chronicles! I have got about 10 pages into Barchester Towers so far this year and still want to get through it in 2012.... just not sure how it's going to happen!
ATOTC is waiting patiently for me too.
#149 Thanks, Carsten! The writing was very symbolic, and like you I found that particular quote sad but (still) true and so spot-on in terms of our contemporary world; this is Dickens' genuis for me. In terms of excessive characters, I couldn't help but miss the likes of Smallweed from Bleak House; none of the characters in A Tale of Two Cities could touch him!
#150 Hi Cushla, delighted to see you! I know you've been busy teaching, and I completely understand vanishing down a rabbit hole I think you will thoroughly enjoy the Barchester Chronicles!
Terrific review Nancy. Thumb! I hope to get to ATTC at some point in my Dickens re-education but I'm not sure when that will be.
I couldn't help but miss the likes of Smallweed from Bleak House; none of the characters in A Tale of Two Cities could touch him None of the characters in any book could touch him. What a guy!
#152 Thanks, Bonnie! I think enjoy A Tale of Two Cities. As to Smallweed, you're right that None of the characters in any book could touch him!
Thumb up, Nancy on your review! A little late, I might add! I am doing fine, just busy with real life . Still reading - the last in the quartet of my Shetland Quartet . I am enjoying myself on the Shetland Islands! :) My brother popped into town from Edmonton for a couple of days - sans wife and four kids - and it was so fun to see him on his own !My good old carefree brother - and we had some discussions about the Wild Rose Party -which scares him - he and his family live in Edmonton. I asked him how it was to live in a " Pariah " province of right - wingers! :) It was so fun!
Glad you got hot - but aren't you always hot? ;)
#156 Hi Deb, missed you! Thanks for the thumb : ). Have been reading on your thread that the Shetland Quartet is very popular; glad you are enjoying! Awesome that you had a stellar visit with your brother.
As far as "hot" goes, of course! *blush, blush* But then you'd know more about that at your tender age of 29, hehe!
The Cruellest Month, Louise Penny
“… the answers lay in flesh and blood, not in a book and not in a report. And so often not even in things corporeal, but in something that couldn’t be held and contained and touched. The answers to his questions lay in the murky past and in the emotions hidden there.” (Ch 10)
It’s Easter in Three Pines and Gabri, effervescent bistro owner, has invited a host of friends to attend a séance with flamboyant Hungarian psychic, Madame Blavatsky. When Madame does not show, Gabri, loathe to have the evening’s entertainment thwarted, cajoles mousy guest Jeanne Chauvet, tarot card reader, into taking her place. The séance stirs just enough curiosity with locals that a second one is planned for the following night, this time to be held at the foreboding Hadley place. Only what the second séance stirs is not curiosity – but terror. Madeline Favreau, well-loved resident of Three Pines, is dead, literally frightened to death.
Gamache and his team are on the job. The dread and superstition generated by the Hadley place and the practices of séance and witchery are intensified when the coroner’s report reveals it likely that Madeline was murdered. That is to say, she had help with being frightened to death. As Gamache works to keep the investigation on track, he is betrayed by one of his own.
Penny continues to entertain with her Three Pines series. Others have said that the series gets better with each book, and it does! Highly recommended!
Nancy - glad you enjoyed the Dickens. A Tale of Two Cities still ranks for me as his most enjoyable and readable (or listenable I suppose) work.
Will hope to get to the first Penny soon and you are obviously lapping them up.
#159 Hi Paul! Agree that A Tale of Two Cities was very readable/listenable. I think you'll enjoy Penny. We've come up "CandiCrime" as a new genre. (can't remember whether that goodie came from Carsten? Deb? maybe it was you?)
As a Scandinavian I must broaden my horizon and look into other detectives - you make a compelling case with Monsieur Gamache, Nancy (look how close your name is to Gamache). A psychic, dread, superstition, witchery.....last time it was an archer if I remember correctly. CandiCrime have to be explored.
#143 Hi Nancy. Superb review of A Tale of Two Cities and I've added my thumb. I'm hoping to reread that one later this year.
Also glad to see you are continuing to enjoy the Three Pines books.
Ohh there's a new addition to CandiCrime - which I quite enjoyed The Beggar's Opera. It was an atmospheric mystery set in Cuba. New author, Peggy Blair. We have a number of dark literary crime writers - Our Daily Bread , which I have out from the Library. It takes place in New Brunswick or Nova Scotia -and I've got another, The Carpenter waiting in the wings. I've been reading , way out in the Hebrides - the Shetland Islands! Just been busy with real life in a good way to get on here but I had to say hi! I'll be back soon! Glad you are enjoying The Three Pines! .
It was Carsten I think who came up with Candi - Crime. We used to have an excellent writer, L. R. Wright. She wrote mysteries that took place on the Sunshine Coast here in B.C. I don't think they were cozies, but they were not dreadfully unpleasant. Sadly, she passed away of cancer. I think she was popular Canada wide - even my dad read L. R. Wright.
Oh sad!!! Just finished Blue Lightening by Anne Cleeves - the last in the Shetland Quartet. OH sad ending!!!! OH!
#161 Hi Carsten, would love to have you on board the Three Pines bus! You're right that Penny is keeping me interested: A psychic, dread, superstition, witchery.....last time it was an archer.
#162 Paul, I'm ashamed to say I'm unable to add to your list of CandiCrime authors. We'll need to rely on Deb in this department; see her post at #164.
#163 Thanks, Heather! I hope you will enjoy A Tale of Two Cities as much as I did.
#164 Hi Deb, good to "see" you! I am officially appointing you as our LT expert in CandiCrime, and have told Paul the same : ). Delighted you enjoyed the Shetland Quartet so much!
#166 Thanks, Bonnie. I know just what you mean about trying not to divulge too much when reviewing mysteries. I'm delighted Penny is revisiting Three Pines for an eighth novel! And good for her! She wouldn't be doing so if the demand wasn't there!
Swoon!! Be still my heart ........................ Nancy is finally reading The Sisters Brothers Ohhh good choice, Nancy!!! :) :) :) :) Wow!
#168 LOL, Deb. Must agree that The Sisters Brothers is thoroughly entertaining!
>160: CandiCrime... absolutely love that description!
I'm looking forward to the new Louise Penny book. That's the problem with staying current with a series... one has to wait forever (it seems) for the next installment. Too bad I don't have anything else to read in the meantime. Big time LOL!
#170 Hi Donna, glad you like CandiCrime! and that you are looking forward to the new Louise Penny book. I have to get through several more before I'm reading for the eighth installment, but that won't be a problem, I don't think. LOL that you are sitting around with nothing to read in the meantime!
Hi, Nancy. I started catching up devotedly but had to skim the rest in self-defense. I come away with the intention of making Nanaimo Bars and of reading The Sisters Brothers and some Barchester Trollope as soon as I can. A Good Man sounds appealing too, but Honestly! How to get to everything!?!?!?!
Just adding my 2cents worth...I have enjoyed the Joanne Kilbourn series by Gail Bowen. They take place in Regina. Just adding to the CandiCrime discussion.
This is my 3 cents worth...this is an interesting website if you don't already know about it.
#174-75 Welcome, Mary! Thank you for the great CandiCrime contributions! Will explore Gail Bowen and the website you've posted.
Far From the Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
2008, Tantor Audiobooks, Read by John Lee
Young and beautiful Bathsheba Everdene comes into fortune by way of her uncle and moves to Weatherbury where she takes over the management of his large and profitable sheep farm. She draws the attention of three men, all of whom would have her hand in marriage. But Bathsheba is as naïve, rash, and impulsive as she is beautiful. She ignores Gabriel Oaks, an honest, humble, and loyal farmer and bailiff. She teases William Boldwood, her reserved and steady gentleman-neighbour, with an ill-begotten Valentine’s card bearing the message, “Marry me.” To her third lover, Francis Troy, handsome, vain, and irresponsible, Bathsheba falls prey. Her impetuousness will have disastrous personal consequences for her as well as the men who love her. But she will eventually mature into a comfortable life with one of her suitors.
Far From the Madding Crowd, like Hardy’s other Wessex novels, celebrates the simple agrarian life of farm labourers, a manner of living not yet encroached upon by industrialization. Scenes of sheep-shearing and sheep-washing create vivid images of workers engaged in the seasonal rituals of farm life. The novel is full of rich description and breathtaking prose which reveal Hardy’s closeness to nature. One such beautiful passage:
“It was the first day of June, and the sheep-shearing season culminated, the landscape, even to the leanest pasture, being all heath and colour. Every green was young, every pore was open, and every stalk was swollen with racing currents of juice. God was palpably present in the country, and the devil had gone with the world to town. Flossy catkins of the later kinds, fern-sprouts like bishops’ croziers, and square-headed moschatel, the odd cuckoo-pint – like an apoplectic saint in a niche of malachite, – snow-white ladies’-smocks, the toothwort, approximating to human flesh, the enchanter’s night shade, and the black-petaled doleful-bells, were among the quainter objects of the vegetable world in and about Weatherbury at this teeming time …” (Ch 22)
A fabulous read, beautifully narrated by John Lee. Highly recommended!
Excellent review, Nancy. I read it two years ago and my feelings were so bound up with the sorrows of the solid and simpleminded Gabriel Oaks. I was irritated too with the foolishness of Bathsheba, but she has to learn the hard way. As you I just loved this novel.
One can smell and feel the nature in Hardy's novels. Surely a spiritual presence...love the line:
God was palpably present in the country, and the devil had gone with the world to town.
Nancy - Hardy of late has many detractors but my view is that when he was good he was very good indeed and you seem to agree.
Far from the Madding Crowd was the first of his masterpieces in 1874 and I think it ranks with four of his other novels as being front ranking Victorian literature:
The Return of the Native 1878 (my own favourite)
The Mayor of Casterbridge 1886
Tess of the D'Urbervilles 1891
Jude the Obscure 1895
Makes me long to read the few others I haven't got round to yet Desperate Remedies and The Hand of Ethelberta
#177 Another great review Nancy. I tried a few Hardy novels as a teenager but never quite got the hang of his books. I'd like to try reading him again but probably after I've gone through Dickens, Wilkie Collins and Trollope (in about 20 years or so then!)
177: Ooh, sounds good even if not narrated by dear Alan ;)
Edited to add:
180: Heather, I hated Hardy as a teenager but Nancy and Alan Rickman have converted me!
#178 Hi Carsten, delighted you enjoyed Far From the Madding Crowd as much as I did. I know exactly what you mean by being caught up with Gabriel Oak's solid loyalty. I was SO irritated by Bathsheba's foolishness that I detested her for probably the first third of the novel. She does redeem herself; Troy was the perfect antagonist in that regard. I also love the line you've quoted: God was palpably present in the country, and the devil had gone with the world to town.
#179 Hi Paul, I remember that The Return of the Native is your favourite; that was a five-star read for me last year. Eustasia Vye is a fabulous character; in fact, I liked her much better than Bathsheba Everdene. But Far From the Madding Crowd is also an unforgettable story. I'm going to read the rest of Hardy's Wessex novels, the ones you've listed here. I read most of these in university, but the pace was so frantic, there was little time to just savour and appreciate; so I'm doing that now : ).
#180 Thanks, Heather. I know just what you mean about having time in twenty years to get to that next great book! I could not have appreciated Hardy as a teen.
#181 Hi Dee, Far From the Madding Crowd is another fabulous read. You're right, it's not Alan Rickman, but fabulous nonetheless : ). I highly recommend!
Hi Nancy, Thomas Hardy is one that I feel I should read but dont necessarily feel like reading ;)
One day, when I have a whole lot of time on m hands (I actually envisage this happening, against all odds), I will get to it.
Excellent review Nancy and I actually have this one on my shelf after Lucy raved about it last year. I hope to get to it at some point along with Tess of the D'Ubervilles. All of these books that I want to read will actually get read if only I live to be 100. Well my mother lived to be 94 so maybe that's not so far fetched after all.
#183 Megan, Hardy's writing is so beautiful and his characters so full that I've absolutely loved listening to this one as well as The Return of the Native in the past year. Chuckled at your remark that you actually envisage having time on your hands one day.
#184 Thanks, Bonnie. I think you'll love Hardy. I also want to revisit Tess of the D'Ubervilles, along with The Mayor of Casterbridge and Jude the Obscure. I'm not sure if I'd get to everything I want to read supposing I did live to be 100! Retirement would help, as I'm sure you've been delighted to discover : ).
Hello Nancy! I'm trying really hard to catch up on all the threads....impossible task! Loved the mopvie of Far from the Madding Crowd Terrence Stamp. Sigh. Drool. Haven't read the book - must do!
#186 Wonderful to "see" you, Prue! I must look for the movie, Far From the Madding Crowd; would love to see it!
177: lovely, lovely review, Nancy. A belated thumb from me. As usual, I'm behind on reading threads....and so many other things...
I really liked Hardy's writing when I read Tess s few years ago. I might try to fit in either this one or The Return of the Native sometime this summer. I see Native is Paul's favorite Hardy and you gave it 5 stars. Win-win!
Have a great weekend. Is school out yet?
#188 Thanks, Donna. I'll happily cast another vote, along with Paul, for The Return of the Native. It is fabulous! (one of my bests from 2011.) Far From the Madding Crowd is also a 5* read, but in terms of lead characters, Eustacia Vye from The Return of the Native wins hands down over Bathsheba Everdene.
School is out last week of June. Looking SO forward to summer!
Tempted terribly by your reviews of Louise Penny - went in and ordered Still Life....And I wasn'y meant to be buying any books at present! Ah well, it was under $10....
#190 Oh, Prue, I think you will enjoy! There are many of us on the Three Pines bus. I'm a bit late to the party, but I know Bonnie, for one, has read all of the first seven novels and is (im)patiently waiting for eight.
The Sisters Brothers, Patrick deWitt
“It’s a good place to kill someone, I have heard. When they are not busily burning the entire town down, they are distracted by its endless rebuilding.” (Ch 2)
The Sisters Brothers, Eli and Charlie, hired guns out of Oregon Territory, are en route to San Francisco to kill one Hermann Kermit Warm, prospector. The Commodore is the money behind this latest job. Charlie has signed on as The Commodore’s new lead man, a fact which does not sit right with Eli, who reminds his brother, “I got my leg gouged out and my horse burned to death working for him.” (Ch 2)
The trail to San Francisco is littered with quirky characters: prostitutes, prospectors, merchants, innkeepers, a dentist, a weeping man, and other assorted movers and shakers. When the brothers finally arrive in San Francisco, they find it entirely deranged by gold fever, a madness of possibilities devoid of any sense of thrift and sensible spending. Charlie, dumbstruck at the cost of a whore and a decent meal, grumbles that only a moron would pay such prices and is assured by a local, “And I am happy to welcome you to a town peopled in morons exclusively. Furthermore, I hope that your transformation to moron is not an unpleasant experience.” (Ch 36)
Undoubtedly, deWitt’s genius is his characters. I loved that Eli, hired killer and also narrator of the story, is sensitive, compassionate, and lonely. While Charlie is just what one would expect of a hired gun: ruthless, a loner, devoid of conscience – Eli is something else all together. He is gentlemanly and generous with prostitutes, and moved to compassion by the suffering of his unfortunate horse, Tub. He longs to fall in love, settle down, and earn a respectable living. And somehow deWitt pulls this off so that Eli is an entirely believable warm-hearted, cold-blooded killer.
“I had in the last year or so given up whores entirely, thinking it best to go without rather than pantomime human closeness; and though it was unrealistic for a man in my position to be thinking such thoughts, I could not help myself: I saw my bulky person in the windows of the passing storefronts and wondered, When will that man there find himself to be loved?” (Ch 15)
The Sisters Brothers is a charming, unforgettable, darkly comic, and yet warmly humourous portrait of the Old West. Highly recommended!
Great review! I've been meaning to get to that book for a while now and you make me want to get to it sooner than later!
Ah- the Sisters Brothers, I knew I shouldn't have taken that book back to the library unread, and now there's a waiting list....grrr :)
#193 Chelle, I think you will really enjoy : ).
#194 Megan, that's happened to me so many times! I've waited on a library book, finally picked it up, and then for one reason (or several) ended up returning it weeks later unread! It's absolutely unseemly how life interferes with our reading plans!
Nancy, I really enjoyed your review of The Sisters Brothers. The quotes you chose reminded me of why I liked the book so well. That book cover makes me smile every time I see it. :-)
#196 Thanks, Donna. The cover of The Sisters Brothers makes me smile, too : ).
What Anne and Donna and everybody else said about your review Nancy. Now I'm off to apply the thumb!
t's absolutely unseemly how life interferes with our reading plans
Here here! Or as my mother would say...DIS-graceful ;)
#198 Thanks, Anne : ).
#199 Thanks, Bonnie, and thanks for the thumb : ).
#200 Megan, make me smile. DIS-graceful is a keeper!
Just posted this list at Paul's (whose thread I can never keep up to) of my top 21st century reads. The list is a little haphazard; will be interesting to see how it stands the test of time. Not all of these are five-star reads, but they are books I'll never forget reading:
The Twin, Gerbrand Bakker
Memory of Love, Aminatta Forna
Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson
The Birth House, Amy MacKay
The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini
Where White Horses Gallop, Beatrice MacNeil
Out Stealing Horses, Per Petterson
The Last Crossing, Guy Vanderhaeghe
The Glass Castle, Jeanette Walls
The Book Thief, Marcus Zusak
eta: duh moment; see #205-06
I love looking at everyone's top 10 lists! Of yours I have only read Water for Elephants but I agree that it belongs in a top 10 list!
Hello Nancy - a few of your listed books are in my Shelves of Shame - such as the Canadian novels - but I regret to say I don't share your enthusiasm for The Kite Runner - it was an ok story, but I just thought it wasn't very well-written.
Hey Nancy, great list! We don't have any overlap on ours (I also posted mine on Paul's thread), but I agree that The Birth House was a brilliant read. I have been eyeing The Glass Castle and Memory of Love for a while now, must bump them up my list!
I also liked The Return of the Soldier, but I thought the list was for books published from 2000 on, no? :)
Good to see another positive review of The Sisters Brothers Nancy. One day I will succumb to all the recommendations and read it...
#203 Hi Chelle, I agree the lists are great fun to review! Glad you also loved Water for Elephants.
#204 Prue, I know just what you mean with "Shelves of Shame"; looking at everyone's fabulous lists, I realize how heavy these shelves are getting! I didn't love The Kite Runner for the writing, but rather the story.
#205 Hi Orlaith, I'll have to head back over to Paul's to check out your list! Glad you loved The Birth House and that I could help with some bumping! You're absolutely right that my sorting skills got confused with The Return of the Solider; it's one of my best reads of the 21st century, but published 1918. Duh moment!
#206 Heather, you sound like me! I balked the hype for the longest time and finally decided decided to just read it already, LOL. Glad I did!
I'm up soon for The Sisters Brothers from the library. Glad to see another good review; really looking forward to it!
#207 Hi, Carol! I hope you will enjoy The Sisters Brothers as much as I did!
Sent from sunny Gatineau where we are visiting our grandson. Sure agree with your best 10 list and I have a couple more to sample. Yeah! Reading The Detour and having fun reading the threads.
#210 Hi Mary, enjoy beautiful Gatineau! Delighted you are reading The Detour; hope you like it as much as I did.
#211 Thanks, Bonnie, our lists have been great fun! I've also been reminded of several superb books I've read but which aren't on my own list, and I've been reminded of several more I've been meaning to get to. Loved A Thousand Splendid Suns, and I'm all for Hosseini being due for another : ). You won't be disappointed inThe Birth House; it's one of my bests of all time.
Easily done Nancy. I was just checking as I would definitely have to revise my list if it was to be *my* best reads for the 21st century! Don't tempt me, I have list mania at the moment. :)
#213 Orlaith, what is it with us book people and lists, LOL! I'm the same. Agree that a list of my best reads of the 21st century would be a worthy list : ).
Fifty Shades of Grey, E L James
I succumbed (poor word choice, perhaps!) to Fifty Shades of Grey because I was curious about the hype and craved an escape read. The novel scored on both counts. First, the hype: sex, check; more sex, check;
Yes, Anastasia Steele has finally fallen for a man. Christian Grey is a “hot, sexy billionaire.” (Ch 6) He is charming, and “His voice is warm and husky like dark melted chocolate fudge caramel … or something.” (Ch 2) He has “beautifully chiseled lips” (Ch 2 ) and he repeatedly reduces Ana to “a quivering mass of raging female hormones.” (Ch 2)
In case it is not already painfully obvious, there is no literary merit to Fifty Shades of Grey. That said, I’m planning to read the next in the trilogy, and probably the third. How to rate such a train wreck, then? Well, I can hardly give it less than one star while planning to read more. And “obsessive diversion from report cards” is not really a legitimate criteria. The writing, um, speaks for itself ...
>215 What, nothing to say about it? You must want to make some comment Nancy.
#215 Hi Peggy, between Guy Vanderhaeghe and Patrick deWitt, I've been enjoying a Western fix myself this past while. I think you'll enjoy The Sisters Brothers if you decide to read it.
#216 Hi Bonnie, Fifty Shades of Grey is a mess that I sped-read my way through. How does one rate that? Anyway, I've done my best, LOL.
Nancy - thanks for your review - that book is not coming into my home!
OIC I caught you in the middle of evaluating it, eh? Hmmm, I could go for a little of that "dark, melted chocolate fudge caramel" myself. I'll probably pass though since I don't have the report card excuse to fall back on and 2.5 stars doesn't really tempt me much. LOL
#219 Paul, I think that's a good decision!
#220 LOL, Bonnie. That "dark, melted chocolate fudge caramel" stuff does sound pretty good, doesn't it! I can make up any number of excuses at report card time; of course, reading trash doesn't change the fact that they still need to be done!
I am happy to welcome you to a town peopled in morons exclusively. Furthermore, I hope that your transformation to moron is not an unpleasant experience.
Ha, ha. Another crime and laugh, Nancy. I like the cover. Think I want to follow the hired killer in stead of steaming Mr. Grey :)
Laughed also while reading the ironic review of Shades of Grey. There are also 50 Shades of Literature, I guess.
192: Pre- LibraryThing there is no way I would have picked up The Sisters Brothers but you, Bonnie and Deborah have made it sound so wonderful!
202: I was interested in your list. I loved The Twin and The Memory of Love too but gave up on Water for Elephants quite early on. Should I have continued, I wonder? I was also interested to see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on your list. I have that on my TBR but haven't been in a rush to get to it, thinking of it as probably over-hyped. Is it really that good?
215: I have a horrible feeling that I will eventually read that book!
#222 Carsten, make me smile. I really like the cover of The Sisters Brothers, too, and I just loved the line which you've quoted! Think you make a wise decision in deciding to follow the hired killer instead of steaming Mr. Grey! Your expression, "50 Shades of Literature" is a keeper : ).
#223 Hi Dee, I hope you will enjoy The Sisters Brothers if you decide to read it. I read Water for Elephants some years ago, and loved it, but there certainly seems to be two schools of thought on it; here on LT, readers have had a love it/hate it experience. For my part, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was that good! It was far outside of my comfort zone, not something I would usually even read. But I wanted to see what the fuss was about, and ended up devouring the trilogy one after the next. I found both Larsson's writing and his intrigue captivating and intelligent. As for Grey, make me smile with I have a horrible feeling that I will eventually read that book; perhaps you can take solace in the fact that the "writing" is easily sped-read!
#215 :-) If it was a different genre I think I might be tempted to try it just to see what the fuss is about. Enjoyed your review though.
“a quivering mass of raging female hormones.” UGH!
Some new friends were trying to talk me into reading this book with them but I can't bring myself to join in. I won't fall to the peer pressure ;-)
#225 Hi Heather, it's one I can't stop reading but can't recommend either, LOL.
#226 Hi Chelle, your friends obviously can't stop reading Fifty Shades either!
#228 Donna, glad you enjoyed the review of the report card wreck, LOL. Interesting that you've read seven of my 21st century list! I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy The Birth House, Where White Horses Gallop, and The Last Crossing. I remember you saying that you enjoy a frontier novel, and, based on my limited experience with that genre, they don't get much better than The Last Crossing.
'obsessive diversion from report cards'
Awesome phrase, and I completely understand.
Nancy, one of the reviews says it is #2 in a trilogy? LT doesn't have it listed as such. Have you read other books by Guy V?
#230 Thanks for understanding, Elizabeth, LOL.
#231 Donna, The Last Crossing is part of a loose (very loose, I think) trilogy, but it is easily a stand-alone novel. The Englishman's Boy, which I still have not read, is first. The Last Crossing and A Good Man are books two and three. Both of these were fabulous novels, 4.5 and 5 star reads. I think you would really enjoy!
>215 I probably won't succumb :) Especially with your not so ringing endorsement .....
Yay, you made it through Fifty Shades! I still have the third one to read, whenever my colleague finally finishes with it. Good for you for succumbing to the ultimate in Brain Candy, Nancy :) I'm with you - if they make a movie, I'll watch it!
#236 Thanks, Cait! The ultimate in Brain Candy, to be sure! A new genre, LOL. Your thread was my introduction to Mr. Grey, so thanks for that, too. And bring on the movie!
Mary Barton, Elizabeth Gaskell
2011, AudioGO Audiobooks, Read by Juliet Stevenson
Mary Barton is set in 1840s working-class Manchester. The young heroine, who lives alone with her hardened and bitter trade-unionist father, John, has attracted the attention of two suitors. Jem Wilson, also working class, is an intelligent, hardworking young man who loves Mary deeply and wishes to marry her. Henry Carson, privileged son of a wealthy mill owner, also has an eye for Mary, though his intentions are decidedly less honourable. Mary, naively thinking to secure a comfortable life for herself and her father by marrying her wealthy suitor, turns Jem down. But immediately following her refusal, she realizes how deeply she loves him. Shortly thereafter, Carson is found murdered, and Jem is arrested and charged. Mary, set on proving his innocence, inadvertently discovers that the true murderer is John Barton. She is faced with saving her lover without disclosing her father’s guilt.
Gaskell’s portrayal of working-class Manchester is ingenuous. She writes vividly of a society governed by labour strife, social strife, and extreme poverty. Mill workers and their families are destitute, keenly aware of the ever-widening inequality between themselves and their wealthy capitalist employers.
“For three years past trade had been getting worse and worse, and the price of provisions higher and higher. This disparity between the amount of the earnings of the working classes and the price of their food, occasioned, in more cases than could well be imagined, disease and death. Whole families went through a gradual starvation … The most deplorable and enduring evil that arose out of the period of commercial depression to which I refer, was this feeling of alienation between the different classes of society.” (Ch 8)
I enjoyed Mary Barton, but found it over-long and prone to lags in plot. To be fair, it is also Gaskells’ first novel. And criticism aside, it is a worthy read, and one I recommend without hesitation to classics’ lovers and those interested in the social history of the Industrial Revolution. Finally, about the fabulousness that is Juliet Stevenson, there are not words.
And now its back to the classics!
My friend was stuck in an airport for 6 hours recently and succumbed to the Shades of Grey trilogy....her review went something like this. Nyeh. (I think that means neither here nor there)
Have Mary Barton on my kindle. My complaint about North and South was also that it was too long, but still it was good. Perhaps Barton will be one of my next audiobooks. I like her writings about social conditions, poverty and riches etc. Good "thumb" review as always, Nancy.
#239 Hi Megan, love your friend's "review" of Fifty Shades. Summed up very nicely: ).
#240 Thanks for the thumb, Carsten : ). North and South is undoubtedly my favourite Gaskell, but Mary Barton is certainly a worthy read. I know you are also a fan of Juliet Stevenson; this Audible find is recommended! I also enjoy Gaskell's writings about social conditions. Her astute observation about "the feeling of alienation between the different classes of society" has certainly stood the test of time.
Nancy - enjoyed your review of Mary Barton - I haven't read it but I will look for some of her others first I think.
#246 Thanks, Orlaith. I loved BBC's North and South. As for Mr. Thornton ... oh, swoon!
I am adding Gaskell to my list of authors to read. I think I am moving beyond my wishlist of book titles when I add an author. yikes.
I happen to own Cranford. I adored the mini series and have been afraid that the book will fall short. Sort of a reversal of my usual way of thinking. Thank you for that lovely review, Nancy, and a nudge to read something - anything - by Elizabeth Gaskell.
#248 Make me smile, Megan! hello Mr. Thornton indeed!
#249 Hi Dee! Juliet Stevenson is narrator extradinaire. Mary Barton did tend to lag in places; and JS helped immeasurably on that count. I can see how a radio serialization would be hard to stick with.
#250 Thanks, Donna. Delighted you will add Gaskell to your list of authors! Yay! I adored the Cranford mini-series, too, but also have not yet read the book. Like you, this is reading-in-reverse for me.
The Stranger's Child, Alan Hollinghurst
“He was asking for memories, too young himself to know that memories were only memories of memories.” (Pt 4, Ch 10)
The Stranger’s Child begins in the early 1900s and spans several generations. Cecil Valance, mediocre poet and wealthy school chum of George Sawle, visits the Sawles at Two Acres, their modest country home in Middlesex. Cecil and George are lovers, secretly of course, given the era. George’s younger sister, Daphne, is also attracted to Cecil, an attraction which is encouraged by the poet for self-serving reasons. On taking his leave of the Sawles, Cecil writes a poem entitled “Two Acres” in Daphne’s journal. When he is killed in WWI shortly thereafter, his poem becomes ridiculously famous and Valance is elevated to greatness. Incredibly, the lives of the Sawles come to be defined by their acquaintance with Cecil Valance. Some generations later, a young biographer seeks to tell Cecil’s story – all of it. Needless to say, the truth will be hard gained.
The novel is written in five parts, but the next does not follow where the last left off. Rather, Hollinghurst leaves the reader to determine when and where he has picked up the narrative. Themes include the instability of memory, the way it shapes and reshapes our lives, even inaccurately, with time. Through the young biographer, Paul, Hollinghurst seems to advocate how unlikely it is that we might ever really know another, but through the first person. There’s a theme somewhere in the focus on homosexuality, too; but truthfully, I’m not sure what Hollinghurst’s intent was here. I do know it seemed odd to me (and was somewhat grating, if I’m honest) that not a single heterosexual relationship in the novel appeared contented or sustainable.
The strength of The Stranger’s Child is Hollinghurst’s writing, which is unquestionably beautiful. The first part of the narrative, highly reminiscent of Brideshead Revisited, drew me in easily. But neither the story or the characters were able to sustain my interest over the novel’s considerable length. Suffice to say the Booker acclaim fell somewhat flat on me.
Thanks for that review, Nancy. It was very timely for me as I've been wondering about whether to buy this now that it's out in paperback. It sounds as if there's no rush but I do like the quote about memories. I think it may be true!
#253 Thanks, Dee, and thanks for the thumb : ). The quote on memories also struck me as spot-on (made me think of The Sense of an Ending, actually, which I loved). I will be curious to see what you think if you do decide to read The Stranger's Child. It has garnered high praise from a lot of LTers, but has fallen very average on a lot of others (I'm obviously of the second camp).
I have gone back and forth on this book too many times to count Nancy. And now you've pushed me away from it once more. I'll probably never read it but I appreciate your review. Thumb!
#255 Thanks, Bonnie : ). Like you, I lost track of how many times I went back and forth on this one before deciding to read it. I don't think you'll miss much if you never pick it up, but that's me. On another book note, I've just picked up Gone Girl on your recommendation; I'm going to enjoy that one!
Hi Nancy, was about to wax lyrical about the talking books available at my library, for no other reason than the only one I recognised there was North and South , but realised that it wasnt really that interesting so, stopped.
I bet you're glad i didnt mention anything. It could have been boring. :)
#257 Hi Megan, do you mean Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South? I know you were talking some time ago about exploring audiobooks. Did you go for it? (I think your comment may have gone right over my head - DUH moment here, LOL).
Nancy - liked your review of the Hollinghurst - am also a bit ambivalent about him - a heterosexual writing constantly negatively about homosexual love would be rightly frowned upon so I don't understand why more people don't take issue with writers such as Hollinghurst usually protraying hetero relationships as he does. He is a gifted writer and I have most of his work but I do agree with your comment. Same sex relationships can be dealt with sensitively and often with lyrical beauty and Toibin pulls this off with ease but I have noticed that he does female characters better than Hollinghurst does IMO.
HI Nancy! Glad to see you will be reading Gone Girl. I've seen good reviews on that one so I just bought it one audio. I'll keep my eye out for your thoughts on it
#259 Hi Paul! Agree wholeheartedly that a heterosexual writing constantly negatively about homosexual love would be rightly frowned upon and also wondered how Hollinghurst has not been seriously taken to task on this. He is a gifted writer, such beautiful prose, but the bias was very grating, IMO. Not familiar with Toibin's work, but I know that Bakker dealt with homosexual love sensitively and without prejudice in The Twin.
#260 Hi Chelle, I've got Gone Girl in audio and in print, so I may do a little of both. I started listening to it today while I was walking and was taken in! If the narrator can't read fast enough for me, I'll need my print version, LOL. Hope you will enjoy, too!
Nancy - quite right. Have a lovely weekend and I hope it is nicely capped off by Canada Day.
Hi, Nancy. Thanks for the review of the Hollinghurst. I have The Line of Beauty, but I haven't gotten to it yet. Someday - but I don't think I'll be pushing....
#262 Thanks, Paul. Canada Day is a wonderful way to kick off summer!
#263 Hi Peggy! According to several reviews I read of The Stranger's Child, many LTers preferred The Line of Beauty. Honestly, I'm not sure I'll read any more Hollinghurst, and I realize that may be a bit of a snap judgment. But there's simply too much stuff out there I want to get to ...
Hi Nancy - Your latest review reminded me that I should try to read Brideshead again.....Have not heard of Hollinghurst before, probably will soon forget the name :)
#265 Hi Carsten : ). Brideshead Revisited was one of my five star reads last year. If you can find it, the audio version narrated by Jeremy Irons is FABULOUS!
Great review of Mary Barton Nancy - I've been meaning to read that for a while now and your review has reminded me that it fits one of next month's TIOLI challenges quite nicely (although how I'm going to fit it in I have no idea).
And another lovely review of The Stranger's Child. I've been pondering that one for a while; I think I will certainly try to read Brideshead Revisited first in any case.
#266 Ooh, I love Jeremy Irons' voice...
#267 Hi Heather : ). I think you will enjoy Mary Barton though I empathize 100% with exactly how you will fit it in! Brideshead Revisited is another classic piece; and Jeremy Iron's voice is intoxicating. I've been watching The Borgias on the tellie in which he plays a corrupt Cardinal. He is fabulous!
Good audiobook-suggestion, Nancy. Jeremy Irons voice would be great for this british classic, I'm sure.
#269 I hope you will find the audiobook and enjoy Brideshead Revisited as much as I did, Carsten : ).
The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro
“Today’s world is too foul a place for fine and noble instincts.” (224)
The aging butler of Darlington Hall, known only as Mr. Stevens, embarks on a five-day “motoring trip” (12) at the invitation of his new American employer. The leisurely pace lends itself easily to personal reflection, and Stevens becomes lost in a contemplation on the years of service which have comprised his life: his unrelentingly rigid commitment to duty; his deference to the gentry who have employed him; and his commitment to “dignity,” which, by his own definition, amounts to a barricade of professional armour never to be removed in the presence of another.
Stevens recalls the events of Darlington Hall in the years preceding WWII, when Lord Darlington was yet alive. He remained loyal to his Lord, despite overwhelming evidence, which escaped none but him, that Darlington was a Nazi sympathizer. And Stevens reminisces of his long working relationship with Miss Kenton, which, but for the impenetrable fortress of his dignity, might have been something more. Haltingly, he begins to question his misguided loyalties. He says of his relationship with Lord Darlington:
“He chose a certain path in life, it proved to be a misguided one, but here, he chose it, he can say that at least. As for myself, I cannot even claim that. You see, I trusted. I trusted in his lordship’s wisdom. All those years I served him, I trusted I was doing something worthwhile. I can’t even say I made my own mistakes. Really – one has to ask oneself – what dignity is there in that?” (243)
I came to The Remains of the Day by way of Never Let Me Go, which I read last year and loved. I decided I needed to read more Ishiguro, and having long been aware of the literary and film accolades attached to The Remains of the Day, it seemed a logical place to start. It did not disappoint. In fact, Ishiguro is becoming a favourite author.
The Remains of the Day is beautifully written, its quiet musings unforgettable. Stevens, all moral and dignified, and tragic, is as enduring a character as I’ve come across. A must read!
Wow. What a review, Nancy. Thumbs :)
This story lives for me through Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompsons performance in the movie adaptation.
I often wondered about the inner life of the main character. The quote is very revealing, and nails the main conflict about choices. He's hiding behind his master and the inability to brake free is almost to hard to bear when you watch the movie.
I have to get to the novel. Now more than ever.
The Remains of the Day is definitely a five star read for me as well. Great review.
One of my favorite books and your review quite does it justice Nancy. (I've yet to find another Ishiguro that I've liked as well, however--still working on it.) And I have the disk on loan from Netflix just waiting for a quiet evening when I can revisit it.
Great review Nancy - it's one of my favourite books too. It's also the only Ishiguro I've read.
Sorry you didn't like The Stranger's Child more but it does seem to be one of those books to which people either gave 3 or 5 stars. I was in the 5 star group - but I did like the first part of the book more than the last part. I haven't read any of Hollinghurst's other work yet.
#272 Thanks, Carsten : ). I've never seen the movie adaptation with Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson, but I've presently got it on request at my library. Can't wait! In the novel, too, Stevens' inability to break free of his "dignity" is hard to bear. I can see Hopkins' genius being a great fit!
#273 Welcome, Rhian! Delighted you stopped by to share that The Remains of the Day is also a favourite of yours.
#274 Thanks, Anne. Hope you will find something else of Ishiguro's that you like as well as this one; I'll be following along! I'm also looking very forward to watching the movie.
#275 Hi Cushla! Delighted that The Remains of the Day is one of your favourites, too. I'd be really curious to know what you think of Never Let Me Go, if you decide to pick it up. It's another one of those that seemed to garner very mixed reviews.
I saw your review of The Stranger's Child, and wished I had enjoyed it as you did. As you point out, its reviews were very mixed. I also haven't read any of Hollinghurst's other work; honestly, I'm not sure I will.
Nancy, if I had given it 3 stars I wouldn't be reading any more Hollinghurst either. Life is too short!! I think we own Never let me Go but I have read too many spoilery reviews, so that has put me off. But one day I will read it.
#278 Life is too short!! Agreed! Sorry that spoilery (excellent new word!) reviews have put you off Never Let Me Go, Cushla. But then, I'm sure you're not short of reading material, ha!
Nope, and eventually I will forget more than the vague outline and someone on here will say that it needs to be read NOW and I will ;)
>271: Hi Nancy! I'm pretty certain that The Remains of the Day will garner multiple stars from me too if I ever get to it. *Hanging my head in shame* This is another book I will read "in reverse" after enjoying the wonderful film years ago.
#281 Hi Donna! This was also my first read of The Remains of the Day, so I'm reading in reverse with you. I saw part of the film years ago, but remember little of it. Can't wait for my library to deliver Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson! I know you will enjoy the book when you get to it.
#282 Thanks, Dee! Hmm, yes, which one should we read next. Sometimes I go browsing through reviews and choose one that way, based on how many people have read it, or based on the star rating, or some other in-the-moment chooser-helper. Maybe we should try for another Ishiguro later in the year?
eta: Dee, have just been doing some of my chooser-helper work. I'm thinking either Pale View of the Hills or When We Were Orphans.
283: It'll probably be When We Were Orphans for me as I have a copy of that!
#280 Cushla, missed this post earlier. Sorry about that. Our reading strategies are very similar, LOL!
#284 Dee, sounds like a good choice!
Oh my I somehow missed this excellent review yesterday but I've found it now and thumbed it. I loved The Remains of the Day much more than Never Let Me Go which was just a little to close to SF for me. I also have An Artist of the Floating World sitting on my shelf. When We Were Orphans was quite good too.
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