Dee (soupdragon) reads 75 in 2012: part three
This is a continuation of the topic Dee (soupdragon) reads 75 in 2012: part two.
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No tickers, no lists, just a bluebell wood because it is bluebell time in the UK and bluebell woods are magic!
Oh, and there should also be some reviews following in due course ;)
Book 46: The Hungry Ghosts by Anne Berry
source: ReadItSwapIt swap
reason for reading: TIOLI challenge 21
I was apprehensive about this one as it has rather an odd premise. The main story is of a rich, dysfuntional British family living in 1960s Hong Kong. There is also a back story concerning a Chinese girl who was raped and murdered during the Japanese occupation twenty five years earlier. Where things get odd is that daughter Alice becomes host to the ghost of Lin Shui!
I wasn't in the mood for a ghost story but this sounded more of a historical and family saga with a unusual way of connecting a back story. I thought that it may or may not work depending on the author's ability to pull everything together. My verdict is that Berry did manage this. Lin Sui is not only a character in her own right but reflects the emotional damage Alice has suffered and is also a spooky reminder of traditional Chinese beliefs in an area which has been taken from China. Son Harry tells us about The Festival of the Hungry Ghosts.
For a few weeks in the summer the Chinese believe that hungry ghosts, the ghosts of the dead ancestors, and people who who've been murdered, or died at sea, or in a war and haven't had a funeral or been buried properly will come tearing down to earth.
However, I didn't love this book. It wasn't as bad as I'd feared it might be but it wasn't as good as it could have been either. I would have liked a little more subtlety and light and shade regarding the characters and the historical side of the story. An interesting debut novel none the less and I'll be interested to see what Berry comes up with next.
I love the bluebells. When we lived in our huge (and very cold) Victorian Vicarage we had a few acres of woodland, a proper kitchen garden and a tennis lawn as our garden, and at this time of year the woodland was full of blubells. The local First school used to come to our garden for their weekly nature walk especially at this time, and to the glebe field next door when the lambs were born.
More bluebells, never mind the reviews! (Well no, actually reviews are good too, but bluebells are great).
Thanks for the review, Dee, and I think I'll probably skip the book unless it falls right into my lap. If you hadn't read and written, I'm sure I would have been very attracted to it.
But the BLUEBELLS!!!! Gorgeous!!! No wonder I'm an Anglophile!
Happy, lovely, New Thread!
Dee - congrats on your third incarnation. Nice to see that Peggy is an anglophile - I always believed she had impeccable taste!
Thank you so much for visiting my new thread Kerry, Genny, Kerri and Peggy!
Kerry, your Victorian Vicarage sounds wonderful. Was it a wrench to leave or were you ready for something easier to heat by then?!
Bluebells - yes! They're everywhere around Vancouver right now. And the lilac is coming into bloom. Do you have that?
Hungry Ghosts sounds interesting. I'm currently reading a story written by an Asian ghost --The Red Queen, by Margaret Drabble. if I'm still in the mood when I finish, maybe I'll track down the Berry.
And speaking of Berry, I recently read her Water Children and reviewed it for www.Belletrista.com (I believe it will be published tomorrow). I really liked it--and then half way through I didn't--but then I liked it again. And it stuck with me for a good while after reading, so I'll give it two thumbs up (even though it's far from perfect). Hope that helps!
9: And hello, Joyce! I'm not much of a gardener but yes I have spotted lilac too!
I didn't realise Berry had a new book out- I will be interested to read that review of yours. Funnily enough, your experience of it was similar to my reading of Hungry Ghosts. I liked it most at the beginning and end!
Dee, the bluebells are gorgeous!! Enjoyed your comments on The Hungry Ghosts; intriguing quote.
Beautiful bluebells, Dee! I had some at my old place, but I think they're iffy where I am now; too warm. Thanks for sharing the picture!
Thank you, Nancy. I could have said more but I was in a bit of a rush to get something book-related onto my new thread - though the bluebells do seem popular enough!
Hi, Dejah. I think we were posting on at each other's threads at exactly the same time!
#8 We knew when we moved in it would only be for 5 or 6 years and it covered the time when my children were small - 7 and 9 when we left. They were ready for friends who lived along the street instead of a car drive away. It was a brief rural idyll and we were all ready for the luxuries that came with small town living - heating, mains drainage, etc.
Taking a break from the chaos to check out your new thread. Lovely bluebells up top!
Oh my those bluebells are just beautiful Dee. But I think I'll probably pass on The Hungry Ghosts because, as you said, It wasn't as bad as I'd feared it might be but it wasn't as good as it could have been either. A book has to be mighty good to land on my teetering tower because the competition is fierce.
Yay, new thread with a beautiful picture. Oh, how I wish to be back in the UK...
Wonderful bluebells, Dee! What you're doing is very naughty, though - all these pictures from British LTers are making me want to come to Britain SO BAD! It's so tempting!
#21 Oh but Dee's obviously taken advantage of the only five minutes in the last two months when it hasn't been raining to take her photo! I am so fed up of the weather.
#22 - At least it's better than pollen! My poor nose is quite tired of allergies, and I would love some rain again to wash it all away. I wish I could take Britain's rain and you guys can have some California sun! :)
Bluebells are my absolute favourites especially when you see woodland bepatterned in such a manner. Thanks for the photo Dee but makes me long for my home village and all the walks that used to take me through sylvan paths towards delightful views like the one you captured.
Hi Dee, The Bluebells really do look like magic - or something out of a fairy tale. Beautiful!
I'd love to see them in person sometime.
Hi Dee, missing you around here! Hope you're having fun and reading lots of great stuff!
BLUEBELLS!!! *doing happy dance*
There are some lovely ones in Kew, but last time I was in Cornwall went for a trek and stumbled across an acre of them tucked away under the trees. I lay down so that my eyes were on the same level -- it was magical.
I think I dodged a book bullet. I'm not especially fond of ghost stories, unless they are extraordinarily good.
Hello, Laura, Kerry, Mamie, Bonnie, Marie, Chelle, Rhian, Paul, Heather, Joanne, Nancy and Suzanne. Thank you for visiting my neglected thread.
Nancy, I've missed you all too! Heather, I am ok but exhausted! There were some potential crises at work when certain things weren't done by the people who should have done them so I had to work extra hours to make up for that and am now drained, not only by the extra hours but the office politics too. Everyone was sympathetic to me as I was doing what should been someone elses work but it was still difficult!
At last I have a day off and the weather is lovely. Rhian, I hope you're enjoying the sun in Bishop Stortford today! Eris, I hope the pollen situation has improved and would gladly help by sending you some of our British rain!
Only problem with my relaxing day off is there is a man in the garden, demolishing our aid raid shelter- not a quiet job!
I have been reading but not quite what I'd been intending to read this month. I've put off A Game of Hide and Seek until I'm in a place where I can appreciate it (mentally and geographically)! I've recently read Lasting Damage by Sophie Hannah which was an entertainingly bonkers psychological thriller and have just started Admit to Murder by Margaret Yorke. I'm also slowly making my way through The Provincial Lady omnibus.
#30 Dee, glad you've survived the work crises, hope you recover and get your energy back soon. A Game of Hide and Seek is not working for me either at the moment.
Hi Dee: I hope work problems get solved and workmen finish noisy work. It sounds like you are in the mystery-thriller mood right now. Summer does that for me, too, especially the beginning of summer.
#30 air raid shelter?!?
That was my reaction too. Details, please . . . .
Good to hear from you, Dee. Completely understand your exhaustion and the drain of work crisis. Glad you've finally had a day off to read, though must admit I am also curious as to air raid shelter?
Dee - wonderful to have you back here. What did your son name his corgi, please? I, too, wondered about the air raid shelter - spill the beans!
32: Hmm, you could be right, Beth!
33-35: Well, we have a brick and reinforced concrete air raid shelter in our garden left over from WW2. Apparently there were a lot of them still around in the UK until the 1970s when grants were available to have them demolished. The owner of our house at that time (who was actually the mother of a friend of ours) must have chosen not to take up the offer as we still have ours. I'm not sure how unusual that is - my boss still one!
Anyway, it is rather big and Steve decided that it was time to do something with it. He's out in the garden with builder Mike now. I think the plan is to leave three walls and turn it into a kind of summer house. Steve was showing me a roof he has in mind for it on a website yesterday. I've just been smiling sweetly and agreeing to everything so far - and trying not to think about how many books one could buy with the money it is costing ;)
I was also concerned that the operation might prove a tad dangerous but the reinforced concrete roof has now been safely removed and we are just left with some brick walls and the general appearance of something that's been hit by a bomb. .
36: Hello and thank you, Mamie! J is still considering names for the corgi. I suggested Douglas as that is written on the label but J pointed out that he already has a plush labrador called Douglas.
we are just left with some brick walls and the general appearance of something that's been hit by a bomb. .
And isn't that ironic! How fascinating. I've lived most of my life in a place that's had one war on it's shore--I think it lasted 3 days and the only casualty was a pig--so living someplace with bomb shelters in your yard is positively fascinating.
Hi Dee, wow ridding our place of an air raid shelter is not something we've had to consider. England's history is just so interesting Dee.
Yes, fascinating history, Dee! I'd love to see a picture of the summer house once it's completed.
#41 & 42 - You mean that you didn't study the Great Pig War of 1859 in high school? Actually, I didn't either, but my 15 yr old daughter did, and recently told me all about it.
Here's the Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pig_War
Basically, in the mid-1800s, the United States and Great Britain (Canada wasn't a country until 1867) couldn't decide on the dividing line between western North America and Vancouver Island. There are a bunch of islands in between and no one could agree which islands went where. So things got heated and a pig got shot.
I like this line: "For several days, the British and U.S. soldiers exchanged insults, each side attempting to goad the others into firing the first shot, but discipline held on both sides, and thus no shots were fired." I'd like to have heard that. Somehow a Monty Python sketch comes to mind ("You don't frighten us, English pig-dogs! Go and boil your bottom, sons of a silly person." "Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries! ")
40,41,42,45: I had never heard of The Pig War but will now never forget it along with the Monty Pythonesque asides! Love it!
43,44: I'm not sure when the air raid shelter will reach its final transformation but will certainly post photos when it does. Maybe some "before and after"s as Steve has been taking pics throughout the process.
39: The corgi is now just being called Dog which seems wrong. I wonder what the queen calls hers?
#46 my son was never very original with his names either. We had big teddy, medium sized teddy, doctor teddy (given to him by a doctor in hospital) .... You get the general idea.
> 46 ... actually, I kinda like 'Dog' . I imagine saying "You DOG, you!" :-)
>46: I wonder what the queen calls hers? Here you go, courtesy of The British Monarchy FAQs:
Q10. What are the names of The Queen’s corgis?
A. The Queen has three Corgis – Monty, Holly, Willow. She also has three Dorgis (cross-breed of Dachshund and Corgi) Cider, Candy, Vulcan.
Bluebells, Corgis, air raid shelters... Your thread never fails to entertain, Dee. I love the idea of a summer house. It sounds so British. ;-)
47: We have those teddies too, Rhian!
48: Well I might worry about upsetting his corgi sensibilities even though he's not actually a real corgi!
49,51: Laura, thank you! Now why didn't I think of consulting The British Monarchy FAQs?! I quite like those royal dog names actually and like His Royal Dogness even more. I will run them all by J and see what he thinks!
52: Well thank you, Donna! I might even throw a book review into the mix one day ;)
At the moment, I'm still only just managing to read books let alone write about them and am in easy reading mode. I finished Admit to Murder by Margaret Yorke which was a nicely written and quite intriguing mystery uncovering dark secrets from a posh family's past but not unmissable. Now onto Past Imperfect (written by the creator of Downton Abbey) - entertaining so far.
I'm sorry to hear of your situation regarding needing to work to do what others needed to do but didn't.
I hope you can regain your energy and find time to read. Maybe finding a field of blue bells and a wonderful book will do the trick.
What Linda said!!!
As to air raid shelters, "something that looks like it's been hit by a bomb" doesn't sound like my idea of an English garden, at least not immediately. I'll be looking forward to progress and pictures. We actually have 3 underground shelters here in my little hometown (less than 50 miles from Ft. Bragg, so I guess it makes a little sense) left over from the Cold War. I remember my father taking a close look at the people who had built the shelters and deciding that if they were going to be the only ones left, he'd much prefer to go with the bomb. (If I've told that story before, I apologize.)
And I'm thrilled to have information about the Great Pig War!
Hi Dee! I enjoyed the air raid shelter discussion. It reminds me of a creepy movie I recently watched, although I can't remember the name. I hope you're having a lovely weekend and reading good books!
Just checking in on you - hope all is well, and that you are headed toward a lovely and relaxing weekend!
*edited to correct my spelling
I'll be anxious to see pictures of the finished summerhouse. Happy reading.
Hello Laura, Linda, Peggy, Kerri, Mamie and Beth and thanks for stopping by!
I would generally use a bank holiday weekend to catch up with my book recording but I have my mother staying with me at the moment so this will be the quickest of catch-ups!
I'll just say that I've started reading a Tana French novel, In the Woods and I'd forgotten how wonderfully she writes. I think this one's going in the "love, love, love" category.
Hi Dee! Happy to "see" you! Appreciate the book bullet on Tana French's In the Woods; it's been on my list for ever so long. Time to read! Your "love, love, love" category did it for me : ).
Oh dear, I have not read any Tana French. Am I hearing that I must add her to my list?
61: Yes, read it Nancy, I'm sure you'd enjoy it!
62: Thank you, Marie.
63: Yes, you too, Mamie! Oh, I have more bookclub news to share. I went to my second meeting, joined in with a great discussion on State of Wonder, met some more members who seemed very nice. Then towards the end someone mentioned in a casual sort of way that when the members started the group they made certain rules. One: Everyone must live in the road that I (and everyone else) live in. I thought it was just a coincidence! Two: There should be no more than eight members. I am the 9th. Gulp. I did wonder if there was also a rule that everyone has to be a social worker married to a university professor but the fact that most of them are does seems to be just coincidence. And pretty typical of the road that I live in so...
Dee - next time take the corgi in case things get out of hand! They seem kind of...um...uptight if they have to reiterate the rules. Tell them that maybe they should think of the rules as
>64 There should be no more than eight members. I am the 9th. Gulp. Wow, Dee I've never known a book club to have so many rules but my question is will they let you stay and do you want to?
>64: makes me wonder if there's some sort of process yet to come in which one member is cast out. Yikes!
Dee: My book group has only one rule; the book has to be available in paperback. That has served us well -- we are in our 11th year. It seems ridiculous to set limits on numbers; I'm sure everyone does not come to all meetings?
Enjoy your holiday. I haven't read any Tana French either. It sounds like this is another to add to my list.
#64 Glad to hear you enjoyed your second book club meeting Dee :-) Seems strange that the lady you met casually mentioned those rules to you - let us know what happens!
Hi Dee! I'm also looking forward to the next installment of the book club story. I've never been a book club member (oddly enough), but - bless their hearts - they seem a bit uptight (I hope that's ok to say.)
Eight is a strange little number, isn't it? You should remind them that with nine, they will never have a tie when they sit down to adopt new rules.
(I continue to love the bluebells.....When I come to your thread without my glasses, I always see them first as an incredibly blue body of water.)
You should remind them that with nine, one of them doesn't have to die or mysteriously disappear in order for you to enjoy being a member of their club.
Thank you all for your supportive book club comments! To be fair, the rules were mentioned not in a laying down the law kind of way but more in a, "gosh, do you remember when we started and we made all those strict rules?" kind of way. I think they meant to imply they were less strict now but I would have felt more comfortable if they'd actually confirmed that. Or not mentioned the rules at all! They actually seem like lovely women (not sure if there's a gender rule) but I think there are probably one or two of them who are worried that all nine will turn up when it's their turn to host and they won't have enough space or tortilla chips or something. I probably won't go again but will have a chat with my friend about it. She had to leave early and missed the rules conversation!
73, 74: Wow yes, they would be far too terrified to make me leave then!
Ok, I am starting to get embarrassed about how badly I'm keeping up with my reviews. There's a definite downwards slide going on this year. Here's a quick overview of May books not already mentioned.
47: Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson
Not my favourite Brodie. I agree with the person (Paul I think, or possibly Nancy) who said she does better with the odd numbers. My favourites were the first and third. The story just seemed too convoluted and Atkinson appears to be getting tired with Brodie. I have a feeling I'm copying or at least paraphrasing someone elses (Nancy's?) thoughts but whoever they were, I agree with them! I wouldn't want to put anyone off though. My good friend Emma loves Atkinson and thought this was her best yet!
48: The Fortnight in September by R C Sheriff
A lovely but ever so slow paced story which follows an ordinary 1930s family on their weekly summer holiday by the sea. Each member has their own concerns which are both mundane and all consuming for the character involved. I was impressed how R C Sheriff avoids condescension and creates an affectionate portrait. A poignant and nostalgic read.
49: Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes
The narrator is asked by an old friend he has since fallen out with, to unravel a mystery concerning women from their past. Started as a compulsive read but became slightly less so, the further I read. Recommended if you're fascinated with the British Upper Classes but probably not otherwise.
50: Lasting Damage by Sophie Hannah
A woman contacts the police after seeing a murdered woman on a property website but no-one else has seen it. One of my favourites of Hannah's but a tad too ambitious and complicated and ultimately unconvincing. I think it would have been a better novel with less twists and ambiguities.
51: Admit to Murder by Margaret York
I read this when I was feeling too brain fried to read anything else and enjoyed it at the time but now can't remember anything except that it involved a missing woman and a posh family. That may well say more about my state of mind than the book! I gave it 3.5 stars at the time.
52: Frost in May by Antonia White
The first published Virago Modern Classic, I've been meaning to read this for ages and wasn't disappointed. A sensitively written account of life in a convent school experienced by a creative young girl new to catholicism.
53: Park and Ride: Adventures in Suburbia by Miranda Sawyer
Meh! 2.75 stars
54: The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright
I was quite impressed by this. On the surface, the first person account of a married woman with unreliable parents (one of whom has just died, the other some time ago) and her ongoing affair with a family man. The writing is understated and there's more going on than is immediately obvious. The story felt true and all too believable.
June Reading so far
55: The Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
I'm glad I read it but felt more detached from the story than I had in the previous two books.
I also finished In The Woods and did in fact love, love, love it but hope to write a proper review of it and try to do it justice. Very highly recommended!
I am now reading The Sleeping Beauty by Elizabeth Taylor and Divergent by Veronica Roth with my older son. Thanks to Mamie for that last recommendation, we're both really enjoying it.
78: *Waves* to Nancy! Thanks for stopping by. I've more or less caught up now but as I said, I do still want to write a proper review of In the Woods. Not now though as I'm on my way to work - or should be!
Great catchups Dee. I hope things are less stressful at work now. Did you give up on A Game of Hide and Seek in the end?
#77 I agree completely with your Brodie comments - I also think her odd-numbered books are the best (I think the sane thing seemed to happen with the Star Trek films)
I'm glad you enjoyed The Fortnight in September because that's one of the two Persephones I seem to be hoarding rather than reading. For some reason I feel like I should wait until September to read it!
The Forgotten Waltz and Frost in May sound interesting - I have a copy of the latter on its way to me from bookmooch. I'm hoping that it's an original green but as long as it's a Virago I don't really mind. I've also heard a lot of good things about In the Woods.
*phew* Caught up at last. And de-lurking to point out one of the amazing coincidences that tickle my fancy. I had never heard of "The Great Pig War" either. Until it was the subject of a Jeopardy! question last night. (Nobody got it right, and Alex Trebeck always looks so disappointed when people don't know their Canadian history.) And today I come here to bring myself up to date on your thread, Dee, and there it is again!
Add me to the list of those who loved In the Woods and is a wee bit down on Jackson Brodie these days.
81: Hello Heather! Things a bit calmer at work now, thanks. I hope things are good with you and that you're enjoying your weekend. I didn't very far at all with A Game of Hide and Seek last month. I just kept picking it up, reading the first few pages and putting it down again. However, I am enjoying The Sleeping Beauty very much. It's rather bleak with occasional moments of laugh-out-loud humour which seems to be suiting my mood right now!
82: That is a coincidence, Linda! I'm sure once you know about The Pig War, you could never forget it - or was it just the way Joyce told it, Monty Python voices and all!
Following the trend set by trend-setting Paul, here is my list of ten favourite novels from the 21st century. I've excluded short stories and non-fiction to make the task slightly easier. It is a list of the books which I enjoyed most and which have made the most significant impression during this time but I'd be very wary of saying they were actually the best books of this century. They probably say more about me than anything else!
Ten Favourite Novels from the 21st Century
Half of a Yellow Sun - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I'll Take You There - Joyce Carol Oates
Mary George of Allnorthover - Lavinia Greenlaw
The End of Mr Y - Scarlett Thomas
Thursbitch - Alan Garner
The Night Watch - Sarah Waters
Molly Fox's Birthday - Deirdre Madden
Memory - Margaret Mahy
This is How - M.J Hyland
The Good Parents - Joan London
Blue Sky July - Nia Wyn (memoir)
Stuart: A Life Backwards - Alexander Masters (biography)
And from the nineties:
Ten Favourite Novels from the 1990s
The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy
Little Sister - Carol Birch
Human Croquet - Kate Atkinson
Burning Bright - Helen Dunmore
Faith Fox - Jane Gardam
Felicia's Journey - William Trevor
Alias Grace - Margaret Atwood
A Change of Climate - Hilary Mantel
Digging to Australia - Lesley Glaister
Body of Glass - Marge Piercy
Edited to replace a book from the eighties (I just realised) with Alias Grace!
I also considered Possession as I loved it in the nineties but can't remember why now!
#77 - Hi Dee! I'm having a similar problem with reviews lately. However, I find that I enjoy reading these mini-review posts quite a bit. Someone else just did a bunch - AnneDC, I think.
Dee - I actually really enjoyed your mini-reviews, too. The Forgotten Waltz and The Fortnight in September sound interesting. I have not read any Kate Atkinson, but think I will have to look into her as I keep seeing this series come up. I loved reading through your lists even though I have not read even one of those books. It is so remarkable how many lists I have seen of the best of the 90s and the best of the 21st century, and I have hardly read any of the books on them - gives me a lot of excellent suggestions for further reading. It also makes me want to make my own lists just to see what would be on them!!
Book 56: In the Woods - Tana French
Source: Bookhopper swap
Reason for Reading: TIOLI challenge about reading an author with two of the same letters in their first name.
Tana French caused a bit of a stir in the bookworld a few years ago and you may well have read this then. I went straight onto French's excellent second novel, The Likeness as I was concerned about the theme of child abduction in In the Woods. I'm not sure why I thought I would be any more ready for it now but I'm very glad I did.
I was hooked from the first paragraph which told me this was no run-of-the-mill police procedural.
What I warn you to remember is that I am a detective. Our relationship with truth is fundamental but cracked, refracting confusingly like fragmented glass. It is the core of our careers, the endgame of every move we make, and we pursue it with strategies painstakingly constructed of lies and concealment and every variation on deception. The truth is the most desirable woman in the world and we are the most jealous lovers, reflexively denying anyone else the slightest glimpse of her. We betray her routinely, spending hours and days stupor-deep in lies and then turn back to her holding out the lover's ultimate Mobius strip: But I only did it because I love you so much.
We follow murder squad inspectors, Rob and Cassie as they investigate the death of a young girl in suburban Ireland. Twenty years ago, three twelve year olds disappeared from the same site which was then a wood. One child returned with no memory of what had happened but his friends were never found. Unknown to anyone else except Cassie, Rob Ryan is the child who came back.
His gradually returning memories add an evocative feel to the story as we and Rob learn more about the past. It also becomes increasingly apparent how damaged the apparently cool Rob is which starts to affect the bond he has with Cassie, initially characterised by fun, banter and an unspoken affection.
I think the characterisation was possibly my favourite part of this book but really it has it all. Perfect characterisation, a satisfying police procedural, psychological suspense, beautiful writing and a page turning story. I found it completely absorbing.
I know from reading other reviews that some people found the ending unsatisfying because of what we still don't know. I, however, loved the ending. I would have been annoyed if everything had been tied up too neatly and the continued uncertainty seemed to fit in perfectly with Rob's wistful and slight childhood memories of a long, hot summer.
If you haven't read In the Woods yet, then do!
Oh how productive you are, Dee. Reviews and lists - this thread is one stop shopping!! I am adding In the Woods to my WL because of your terrific review. Like you, the theme of child abduction has kept me from picking this one up. I try to be careful about what I read with those kinds of themes because after I put the book down, the content stays with me.
Dee, that is a fabulous review of In the Woods! I went to the main page to drop a thumb, but you haven't posted it; are you going to? Love this line from the quote: The truth is the most desirable woman in the world and we are the most jealous lovers .... Also enjoyed your thoughts on the ending; it doesn't sound like a story/subject that would do well with a nicely tied up ending. I've GOT to move this one up the list!
this thread is one stop shopping
91: That really did make me laugh out loud, Mamie!
I thought I would have a problem with the theme of In the Woods but I didn't. It may have been because the abduction from the past was mainly told from Rob's point of view rather than the parents.
It is a subject I can get upset by and think it's even worse when you've become attached to the characters. If you haven't already read Every Last One by Anna Quindlen, then don't! I think what happens in that book will always stay with me!
92: Thank you, Nancy. I really do think you would like In the Woods (prediction confidence: very high!)
I'm not sure if I will post the review as I don't think I've much to add to the many reviews already there but thanks for thinking it should be there!
>93 That's good to know about Every Last One - will avoid that one for my own peace of mind.
95: I'll Take You There is an intense and powerful book which some people seem to love (me!) and some people hate.
Oates really does "take you there" right into the world of her intelligent but awkward young protagonist. If you're usually a fan of JCO then I definitely recommend!
96: Yes, please do! I read a review of Every Last One which said every mother should read it because it makes you appreciate what you've got but really I was appreciating it just fine before I read that book!
Dee, I've really enjoyed browsing your lists of favourite novels. There are lots of books on there that I hadn't heard and that I will now be looking out for :-)
And In the Woods sounds really, really good. I would also like you to post your review on the work page please!
I have In the Woods, picked it up at a used bookstore. Glad to hear it's so good!
Ah, Dee. You read so much, and most of it is very good. I'm delighted that you put The End of Mr Y on your best-of list. I loved that book too - a revelation! And I liked In the Woods but have never gotten back to The Likeness. I simply must live forever to get it all in! I'll certainly put The God of Small Things and Alias Grace on my 90s list if I ever get around to making it. Meanwhile, thanks for suggesting some new stuff to me by way of those lists. (There's no review of *Mary George* on LT. I don't mean to add to your burden, but.....)
Thanks for all your input here Dee. So much good stuff I hardly know where to begin but I guess I'll start with I'll Take You There and Half of a Yellow Sun which I also loved but not enough to include them on my list. And thanks for reminding me to read books that I already own including In the Woods, Human Croquet, Night Watch, A Change of Climate and Alias Grace. One stop shopping indeed.
Love that Mamie's expression this thread is one stop shopping has become something of a mantra here, Dee. Me, three! (or is it four?)
99: Well maybe, Heather! I'll have to go back and check for spellings and typos first though as I wrote it in a bit of a rush!
100: Read it when you're in the mood for a crime novel, Laura. It's certainly a good one.
101: Hi, Lizzy. Mary George of Allnorthover was a very personal read for me and I don't know whether other people would feel the same about it. Lavinia Greenlaw is also a poet and can write very evocatively but I'm sure another reason why she so perfectly re-created my teenage years is that she grew up in a village in the South East of England, just a few miles away from the village I grew up in and just a few years before me. I completed my A levels at the same college in Colchester that she did! The novel is a coming of age story of an awkward teenage girl in a rural area with surrounding villages named very closely after the ones I knew! It completely took me back to that time, as did her memoir The Importance of Music to Girls but I can't say how it would read without that shared experience. I would like to re-read it one day though and when I do, will attempt a review!
102: Bonnie, I would love to read your thoughts on those books when you get to them.
103: Another smiley wave for Nancy :)
104: Thank you, Beth!
105: Hi, Lori. I read The Likeness first and it reads perfectly well on its own but after I read In The Woods I wished I'd read that first as I would have understood a relationship of Cassie's in The Likeness better.
Book 57: Divergent by Veronica Roth
Source: My son's school library
Reason for Reading: Recommended by Mamie - it sounded like a good one to read with my older son.
This one certainly kept both me and J turning the pages though I did put it down to go to sleep unlike J who was found at 1.30 am in the morning, still reading!
It was a similar reading experience for me as with The Hunger Games though I think I enjoyed Divergent slightly more. The book is set in a dystopian society, told in the first person by a strong teenage girl who is forced into violent situations where she has to make difficult moral decisions. I think the character development is stronger in Divergent than with The Hunger Games. By the end, Tris has developed strengths she didn't know she had but she also had to make a decision she would have never have expected to make and I suspect this will continue to haunt her in further books.
Tris's world is divided into different communities or factions according to personality type. Each faction lives their lives according to their own principles based on this. For example, The Abnegation live selfless lives, the Candor always tell the truth and the Erudite value knowledge and searching for the truth. When one of the factions' ideals are corrupted for their own gain leading to mass violence and destruction, Tris finds herself one of the few able to rebel. Oh, and there is also a rebellious romantic interest, of course!
There was something archetypal about the distinct factions and I get the impression that Roth may explore the symbolism of the different groups further in the trilogy. I look forward to finding out how Tris develops in the next book, Insurgent which should be arriving at my home soon!
My ten favourites from the 1980s:
The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
Good Behaviour - Molly Keane
Loitering with Intent - Muriel Spark
The Name of the Rose - Umberto Eco
Sleepwalking - Meg Wolitzer
Gone to Soldiers - Marge Piercy
The Book of the Damned - Tanith Lee
Moon Tiger - Penelope Lively
Cat's Eye - Margaret Atwood
Solstice - Joyce Carol Oates
Hmmmm. The farther back in time we go, the more I have read. The Name of the Rose will certainly be on my list if I ever make it and maybe Cat's Eye too.... I investigated the *Mary George* and find it available used and for $14.40 on Kindle. Good grief! I believe I'll wait, but thanks for the word about it, Dee.
Oh! I loved Gone to Soldiers too, but when I read Piercy again last year, whatever it was didn't work so well for me. I have Moon Tiger, Solstice, and Good Behavior waiting on the shelves.
I am really loving all of these lists by everyone - so much fun to look through and also a great way to get ideas for the WL...um...not that mine needs any more additions, but...
Dee, so glad that you and J enjoyed Divergent and are going to dip into the next one - I NEED to get to that.
I agree with Mamie; the lists are great ways to add books to the wishlists -- as if we need more books! They are also a wonderful way to remember great books. I love Gardam but have not read Bilgewater; I'll have to look for it. Cat's Eye is one that has been sitting hear the top of my pile for a while, and I have to pick up Elizabeth Taylor soon. Great lists, Dee.
I'm enthralled with your review of Divergent, too, Dee. How old is your son? I'm curious about the recommended age group for this one.
#111 - Enjoying your lists! And I think the 70s were a fine time for literature, even though they perhaps weren't a fine time for anything else. I'll hopefully read Bilgewater next year and I definitely have to get to more Marge Piercy after my wonderful experience with Woman on the Edge of Time earlier this year.
112:Hello, Mamie. J has finished Insurgent now and I've just started it. I like the way it picks up the story exactly where Divergent left off. J is now desperate for book 3 and has been checking on Veronica Roth's blog for clues on when it might be out. He is still none the wiser but found the blog very entertaining. Apparently Roth has given book 3 the (joke) working title of Detergent!
113: Hello, Beth. I love Jane Gardam too and Bilgewater is probably my favourite of hers though I've just finished and adored God on the Rocks which is a very close second.
114: Thank you, Nancy. J was fourteen last month. I also have a younger son who is eleven but he still prefers Mr Majeika to most things Young Adultish! I'd say these books would appeal to the same people who enjoyed The Hunger Games Trilogy - from early teens to any age. There seems to be a little more mushiness than with The Hunger Games which might put some younger boys off but J was quite happy with it. We're not talking Twilight fortunately!
115: Hi, Kerri. I noticed you rated God on the Rocks 5 stars (as I did) so am sure you'd enjoy Bilgewater. I haven't read Marge Piercy for years but she was my favourite writer when I was in my late teens. I loved the earthy, militant women characters in her books and wanted to be like them even though I was really nothing like!
- I've read some real gems over the last week or so, including books by some of my favourite authors. Reviews to hopefully follow very soon.
God on the Rocks by Jane Gardam
source: ReadItSwapIt swap
reason for reading: TIOLI challenge:1 plus compiling my lists made me want to read Gardam!
The qualities that I love about Gardam's books, particularly her earlier ones are those I associate with my favourite early twentieth century writers such as Barbara Pym or Elizabeth Taylor. She can appear to do (deceptively) light and comical whilst also revealing emotion and depth of character.
God on the Rocks has a particularly vintage feel as it is set in the 1930s although it was first published in 1978. Maybe because of her affinity with 1930s writers, the period feel is utterly convincing. The characters eat brawn and shape for high tea ("the brawn was glossy and the shape was matt. Otherwise there was little between them and they were both pale brown"). Only towards the end when things became a little farcical with a married woman accidently losing her clothes in the house of a childhood sweetheart, did I think, maybe we are in the 1970s after all!
We are introduced to the story through intelligent, eight year old Margaret who has been brought up a strictly religious father and a mild, accomodating mother. When her mother has a new baby, Lydia the vivacious maid is encouraged to take Margaret for afternoons out. This leads to new characters entering her world such as as painter Drinkwater and Cambridge graduates Binky and Charles. Margaret starts to see the world as something different but can't quite make sense of the new things she hears and the odd relationships between those around her.
As the book develops, the reader learns more about these characters who tend to be delightfully unpredictable yet wholly believable. Events are eventually resolved in a satisfying ending which is almost an epilogue where we find out what ultimately happened to whom!
5 stars eh, that's one to watch out for. But tell me Dee, what exactly are brawn and shape?
Red Dust Road by Jackie Kay
source: local library
reason for reading: Reading group choice and I have wanted to read it since reading an extract in a sunday paper when the book was first published.
Poet Jackie Kay tells the story of her decision to search out her birth parents. As is often the case, the reunions are not entirely comfortable. Scottish birth mother Elizabeth has struggled with mental health issues and now has memory problems. Nigerian birth father is an obsessive born again Christian and is determined that Kay should also become born again to cleanse herself of her sin. He tells her he acknowledges her but is determined that none of his other family should know about her existence.
This could have been a sad story but it isn't. Kay was lucky enough to have two loving and politically aware adoptive parents who helped her grow into a warm, confident, optimistic woman who dealt with this wonderfully. She develops an odd but genuine relationship with her birth mother and with the help of Nigerian friend Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, she makes heart warming connections in Nigeria.
As well as telling this story, Kay lets us know about the discrimination she has come across growing up as a mixed race, lesbian woman in Scotland. Again, I am full of admiration for both Kay for how she deals with this and to her parents for providing an environment where she was able to do so.
An interesting story made utterly readable by Jackie Kay's warmth and humour.
I have also enjoyed poetry, short stories and a novel (Trumpet) by Jackie Kay and have her new collection of short stories Reality, Reality near the top of my wishlist.
4.25 stars (which really means I couldn't decide between 4 or 4.5)
118: Hello, Laura! It's good to see you here.
Well, I have come across shape in Viragos or Persephones and have always had the impression it's a kind of sweet, blancmange type of thing. A milky jelly, I think. Brawn I associate with offal but wasn't really sure. I have now googled it and...yeuch, as a vegeterian you may prefer not to know!
Just had a thought that what I call jelly is probably called something else by Americans as you call what Brits call jam, jelly?! Help, I'm confused!
#120 I have a feeling that jelly in the UK might be jello in the States but I'm not sure. I've never heard of shape either.
God on the Rocks looks well worth a read. I've enjoyed Jane Gardam before.
Great reviews, Dee. Don't know why I haven't read any Jane Gardam, but you've definitely piqued my interest with God on the Rocks.
>120: thanks Dee! I think I'll remain ignorant of brawn and avoid it should I see it on a menu :)
>122: correct, UK jelly is US jello. Or, more accurately, Jell-O, which is a brand name that has come to mean all forms of the stuff:
121: Thank you, Beth.
122: Looks like you were right, Rhian!
123: Jane Gardam is definitely my sort of writer, Nancy. She does remind me of authors, no longer with us whose books are now published as Virago Modern Classics. I wouldn't be surprised if her books do become VMCs one day. She is currently published by Abacus which like Virago, is part of Little Brown.
124: Wow, love that image, Laura! Well, you can't go wrong with a naturally fat-free gelatin dessert with cherry artificial flavour - beats shape and brawn anyway!
#117 Great review of God on the Rocks Dee. You had me with this sentence:
"The qualities that I love about Gardam's books, particularly her earlier ones are those I associate with my favourite early twentieth century writers such as Barbara Pym or Elizabeth Taylor."
#119 Wow, Red Dust Road sounds like a powerful book.
Wow, Jell-O is called Jelly in Britain? I learn something new about British culture every day! :D
Lovely reviews, Dee. Think I have to add both of those to my WL.
Love the discussion of Jell-O and jelly!
#127, 128 When I visited the US I remember being really surprised to discover that you have biscuits, whereas I always thought that you only had cookies. Then I discovered that US biscuits and British biscuits are completely different, I think I would call a US biscuit a scone whereas a British biscuit is what you call a cookie. To make it more complicated we also describe some biscuits as cookies, but they are just a chewy subset of biscuits.
>125 Well, you can't go wrong with a naturally fat-free gelatin dessert with cherry artificial flavor
Uh , well you might change your mind if you knew what Jello was made from. Wikipedia's definition:
Gelatin, a protein produced from collagen extracted from the boiled bones, connective tissues, and intestines of animals, has been well-known and used for many years. Yum!
Anyway Dee, I love your review of God on the Rocks, which now sits atop my teetering tower.
Dee all caught up on your consistently fascinating thread. Some great reading and intriguing lists - all of the books on your lists that I have read are books I enjoyed.
The Gelatin or Gelatine comments are interesting because amongst muslims there is a debate about whether products containing it can be eaten or not. Many of the bones and connective tissues etc are from the decidedly non-halal porker, but there is a school of thought that once something has been chemically reconstituted it becomes something else entirely and is therefore not prohibited. I am very much from the school that it is very much up to the individual to decide - SWMBO won't eat anything wih gelatine unless it has a halal stamp on it whereas I am not converned at all.
>130: yeah, I sort of swore off Jell-O when I turned vegetarian. So much for those festive holiday Brawn & Jell-O feasts.
So much for those festive holiday Brawn & Jell-O feasts.
Not sure where you grew up, but in Vancouver in the 60s and 70s, my mom just did Jello with carrot shavings, or maybe tinned pineapple and marshmallows. What the heck is a Brawn feast???
>134: What the heck is a Brawn feast???
Sorry Joyce, let me explain. Back in #117 Dee wrote a review that mentioned something called "brawn," and I asked what it was. In #120 she wrote, Brawn I associate with offal but wasn't really sure. I have now googled it and...yeuch, as a vegeterian you may prefer not to know! So I still don't know what it is but it's not vegetarian and neither is Jell-O.
Putting fruit and vegetables in Jell-O was quite popular in 1970s US also. I vividly remember a side dish made of lime jello with a can of mixed vegetables stirred into it, and each serving topped with a dollop of mayonnaise. I actually liked it. Makes me gag, now, just thinking of it.
I did not know that Jell-O was not vegetarian - never thought about it actually, but I really don't like it, so...
Back up to your earlier post, Dee, where you said that you are reading and J had read Insurgent - I still need to get to that. It's cracking me up that she is jokingly calling the third one Detergent for the time being - too funny! I would guess that the third one would be out some time next summer - tell J that I am betting on end of May, early June. Please ask him to pet the corgi for me.
Putting fruit and vegetables in Jell-O was quite popular in 1970s US also. I vividly remember a side dish made of lime jello with a can of mixed vegetables stirred into it, and each serving topped with a dollop of mayonnaise. I actually liked it. Makes me gag, now, just thinking of it.
People have done some gag-worthy things with Jello. (If you want to see more, with entertaining captions, go to: Gallery of Regrettable Food
137: Just a very thin slice for me, please!
Further research on brawn reveals that it is still around today but no longer tends to be made from a pigs head which was the thing that horrified me most. It can now be made from any meat and is moulded into a.. er.. shape. Apparently brawn is known as headcheese in the USA. Really?!!!
136: Thanks for the tip on the new book, Mamie. I didn't realise how young Veronica Roth was until J showed me her blog. Only 22, can you believe?
Apparently brawn is known as headcheese in the USA.
Oh, I know what that is. (Shudder). I won't touch it, and I also won't touch the blood sausage that my Italian in-laws treasure.
Oh, headcheese, I know about headcheese! It's actually quite good.
I love how all three of us just started our sentences with "oh" - apparently headcheese is a very "oh" provoking food.
Brawn = headcheese or souse... Not for me.
Another shape/blanc mange equivalent is apparently vanilla pudding or custard. And of course, when I read that Brits were having ice cream or whatever as pudding when I was younger, I was totally confused.
As to "congealed salads," you all have definitely been to a southern church's covered dish supper lately.
Meanwhile, I know that I need to read more Gardam. Thanks, Dee.
Dee, I'm so glad to see Cat's Eye and Fifth Business on your favorites lists for the 80s and 70s lists. Cat's Eye was my first book by Atwood, and I've been a fan of hers ever since. I still need to read the other two books in The Deptford Trilogy. I think Davies will be on my favorite author's list after I read more of his books. So many books...
I love the brawn and shape conversation. I grew up in the age of Jell-O; I'm fairly certain we had it several times per month. I never trusted a "food" that shakes and has a rubbery texture. My husband and kids like it so I mix it with some fruit and Cool Whip for holiday meals. I leave the brawn to those with a stronger stomach than mine!
#144 And of course, when I read that Brits were having ice cream or whatever as pudding when I was younger, I was totally confused
Now I'm confused as to why that's confusing! Is it called something else in the States?
I think the fashion for jelly/jell-O savoury products can't have been so strong in the UK. I certainly don't remember any from my childhood. Jelly was very much a children's food and always sweet. I remember when I was little my Mum used to make a pink blancmange rabbit sitting on chopped green jelly grass for my birthday parties - all the 4 and 5 year olds thought it was very impressive. But my husband does make an impressive summer fruit terrine, basically strawberries, raspberries, currants all glued together with a pint of jellied rose wine. That one's definitely for the adults!
>146: it's "pudding" that's confusing. In the UK pudding is both a type of sweet food (i.e.; sticky toffee pudding) and a general term for dessert of any kind. In the US, pudding is like a less sophisticated mousse. The Jell-O brand makes pudding, too!
"A special type of consommé that was boiled solely with tendons and cartilage without the addition of salt was sweetened, flavoured with fruits and served as dessert. These sweetened consommé creations are essentially the forerunners of present-day gelatin desserts." (Wikipedia)
Don't we all remember Pollyanna taking calves' foot jelly to the miserably invalid lady? That one always puzzled me, until I came to understand that calves feet were probably involved in pretty much anything that "gelled". My husband used to be fond of jelled consomme, also known as aspic when molded with bits of meat, vegetables, etc. suspended in it. It's a slightly more sophisticated version of headcheese.
#147 In the US, pudding is like a less sophisticated mousse.
Oh that makes sense now - I was thinking that it was ice cream that had a different name. Yes we do say pudding whatever type of dessert it is.
Hi Dee - Excellent review of God on the Rocks! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Yay!! I especially agree with the following sentence from your review:
She can appear to do (deceptively) light and comical whilst also revealing emotion and depth of character.
Help, I'm neglecting my own thread again!
Thanks for visiting and joining in with the jello debate Joyce, Eris, Laura, Peggy, Donna, Rhian, and Linda.
That jell-o packaging is very in-your-face isn't it? I'm quite terrified of it even without the added shredded carrot. I don't think adding vegetables to jello/jelly ever caught on in the UK. My experience is, like Rhian's, pretty much limited to jelly and ice-cream at birthday parties though Rhian, my inner five year old is quite jealous of your blancmange rabbit with shredded jelly grass!
Kerri, I was delighted to see your name along mine on God on the Rock's main page in the list of those who rated it as five stars.
Now to try to catch up with those books I read in June...
Chosen by Lesley Glaister
Source: City library
Reason for Reading: I wanted to read more Glaister and this fitted last month's TIOLI challenge about single word titles and women authors.
Lesley Glaister writes dark stories, really dark stories yet they are also a joy to read. I've just been struggling to find the words to describe how and why this is so without diminishing their darkness but have spotted this line by Hilary Mantel on the back cover so I will hand over to Hilary to do my work for me...
"Frightening yet eerily beautiful, her novels are fresh, inventive and deeply-felt!"
Thank you, Hilary! I always really feel for the characters in a Glaister novel and the character who initially appears to be central to Chosen was particularly easy to empathise with. Dodie is a young mum whose teenage brother has disappeared after the death of their difficult mother. When it is apparent that Seth is staying in a religious sect she travels to America to bring him home but finds that members of the sect have their own reasons for wanting her to stay.
Just when things are looking particularly sinister, the book switches to the back story of Dodie's mother and aunt. It is not immediately apparently why though I quickly became engaged with story of the two neglected girls in the 1960s who become caught up in a bohemien lifestyle they are too young to understand. Connections are then made between the stories which is at first satisfying and then terrifying as the reader starts to see where things are heading.
Towards the end of the book, I started considering what rating I would give it. I thought around 4.5 depending on how it ended. I loved the ending (which was actually quite uplifting without being a cop-out) so I gave it five stars!
Other Books Read in June:
Faithful Place by Tana French.
Evocatively written but the story seemed too well sign posted and predictable. I might have appreciated it more if I hadn't been so wowed by the first two in the series. It had a lot to live up to!
The Sleeping Beauty by Elizabeth Taylor
Typically exquisite writing from Taylor with laugh out loud lines and bleak images of loneliness sitting side by side. During this year's reading of Taylor I've acquired a real appreciation of her writing which made this a joy for me but I don't think I would have liked it nearly as much if it had been the first of her's I read. There's a real distance from her characters which might have bothered me before I "got" Taylor. Recommended for Taylor fans but probably not one to begin with. 4.5 stars (nonetheless!)
Spiderweb by Penelope Lively
Quietly absorbing story of retired anthropologist Stella who has moved to a village in Somerset and is looking back at the path which sent her there.
When Stella contemplated her own progress through time and space, she saw lines - black lines that zig-zagged this way and that, netting the map of England, netting the globe, an arbitrary progress hither and thither. And sometimes these lines crossed one another. The intersections must surely be points of insignificence - these places to which she had been twice, three times, many times, but as different incarnations of herself, different Stellas ignorant of the significance of this site - that she would revisit it as someone else. But this progress of hers took place on two different planes. The web was not flat but of three or indeed four dimensions - it had to incorporate both space and time in the way that only physicists can imagine. Stella thought of those spiderwebs that form an airy complex density of minutely connected strands. Her space-time progress was something like that, the whole thing shimmering with these portentous nodes, at which the future is hidden. You walk blindly past the self that is to come and cannot see her.
A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon
I've already sent this on to someone as a swap so can't check for names or quotes for this one. As Heather said on her thread, it's a darkly funny account of a family in crisis over a wedding which nobody thinks should take place. Even the bride and the groom have their doubts. The story alternates between different members of the family, some of whom I found more convincing than others. My favourite was the father whose anxiety and panic attacks were too believable for comfort at times!
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Very much a middle of the trilogy book with Tris struggling to come to terms with that incident at the end of book one and events leading gradually to a big reveal. If you enjoyed Divergent, I don't think you'll be disappointed but you will be itching for book 3!
Spiderweb looks very good and I think I better put off A Spot of Bother until after I've attended a family wedding later this year:)
Fortunately the library has a copy of Spiderweb so I should be able to pick it up on my next visit to town.
Maybe I should read A Spot of Bother ... it might help with the anxiety:) My brother has made it a themed wedding so I have had to research 1930's fashion and try to find something suitable without blowing my book budget!
155: My brother has made it a themed wedding so I have had to research 1930's fashion and try to find something suitable without blowing my book budget!
Sigh! I really don't think people think that sort of thing through or realise how many good books we could be buying rather than new outfits for their special occasion which we may never wear again! Still, no doubt it will be a stylish affair and you will feel so happy and relieved when it's all over!
>152: There's a real distance from her characters which might have bothered me before I "got" Taylor. Excellent point, Dee. I thought this was a wonderful book but agree it's not the one to start with. And by the way, let's all wish her Happy 100th Birthday today, shall we?
Hi Dee, you've been busy! What a fabulous reading month you had in June! You've sold me on a new author in Lesley Glaister. Wonderful 5* review of Chosen; there's only one on the book page so maybe you will post? Tana French is another author I'm meaning to get to; will probably start with In the Woods. Delighted you are still enjoying Elizabeth Taylor so much.
Hi Dee. I've not read anything by Lesley Glaister before but you make them sound so good!
I'm edging toward Glaister too, Dee. And I agree about Taylor and your particular Taylor!
157: A View of the Harbour or Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont might be good Taylors to start with, Mamie. And I'm sure you will enjoy Insurgent when you get to it.
158: Laura, of course! How could I have discussed her without mentioning it! Yes, it would have been Elizabeth Taylor's 100th birthday today - the author, that is, not the actress!
159: I'm glad I sold you Lesley Glaister, Nancy (with a bit of help from Hilary Mantel, probably)! I do think you'd like her. I hadn't intended to put my thoughts up as a main page review but as she doesn't get the attention she deserves, maybe I will.
Re. Tana French, In the Woods is definitely the one to start with. I read The Likeness first and whilst it reads perfectly well on it's own, I would have understood the central character better if I'd read In the Woods first.
160: If you're ok with dark, I definitely recommend Glaister, Chelle. Digging to Australia and Nina Todd has Gone are also very good.
161: Hello Peggy, I'll be interested to see what you make of Glaister when you've edged right in!
Oh and as you're there, Peggy, I'll share something with you something which happened earlier! When I was writing an earlier message thanking various people for posting, I had just got to your name when the delivery van with my Toast delivery arrived. I was so excited, having ordered a much craved for tunic from them in the sale, that I dashed to the door but must have still had you on my mind because I started to sign my name as Peggy! I panicked but then realised the delivery guy had no idea how I usually signed my name and turned it into a generic squiggle!
Some good reading Dee. I have the first Tana French book out from the library although I don't know when I'm going to fit it in...
Also glad you enjoyed A Spot of Bother - I suppose you could look at it as a book that would reduce anxiety before a family wedding. However bad your wedding goes, it would be difficult for it to be worse than the one in the book!
Wow you've been doing some great reading Dee. I've got to get back on the Elizabeth Taylor bandwagon. I loved the two that I read and I have A Game of Hide and Seek but other books seem to have pushed hers down which is ridiculous. I also own the first Tana French which I've been meaning to read.
Oh, Dee! That sounds so like something that I would do that it's downright scary! I hope that the tunic is wonderful, wonderful! Oh, to be young and Toast-worthy!!!
164: Oh, I do hope you manage to fit in In the Woods, Heather. As you know, I loved it. I think you're right about A Spot of Bother possibly reducing family wedding anxiety. It puts things into persepective and it's funny!
165: Hi Bonnie. I hope you get back to Taylor soon. I'm planning to read Angel this month along with various Orange reads. I'll be interested to see what you think of Septembers of Shiraz as that's a maybe for me this month.
166: Hello, Kerri. I loved Digging to Australia too but the sequel to it, Partial Eclipse was the one Glaister I've not been so keen on it. It's as well written as ever but I'd been hoping for a happy ending for the central character and then in Partial Eclipse, things get even more grim.
167: Thank you, Peggy! I don't think you have to be young for Toast but having plenty of money probably helps. I've been drooling over their catalogues for years but have never been able to afford (or justify buying) anything. This year, I particularly liked this tunic so grabbed it when I saw it in the sale even though the sale price was still twice what I'd usually pay!
Anyway it is wonderful, so I'm not disappointed. Simple but a lovely fit....
Back to books: I've finished my first Orange this month, Scottsboro and a crime novel, The Blackhouse. I would rate both somewhere around 3.5 stars. Review(s) may follow soon if I don't get distracted by real life...
Scottsboro: A Novel - Ellen Feldman
source: Giveaway prize from Jill last Orange July
reason for reading: It's Orange July again!
In Scottsboro, Feldman has written a fictionalised account of the prolonged trial in the 1930s, of nine young black men and boys (the youngest was thirteen) who were accused of raping two young white women on a train to Memphis. In the novel Alice, a fictional journalist is created who has a strong interest in human rights and befriends Ruby Bates. Bates is one of the girls who initially accuses the boys of rape but she later testifies that rape had not taken place.
The Scottsboro story is well worth re-telling. It is a chilling reminder of the dangers not only of race hatred but also of poverty and ignorance. I liked the way Feldman makes clear the kinds of lives Ruby Bates and her friend Victoria Price led and how the events leading to the injustice occurred. However, there was something missing for me. Although the facts in themselves were powerful and shocking, Feldman's writing fell a little flat to me and didn't seem to add much to the facts. I never felt very involved in fictional Alice's story and in the end, it seemed to detract from the main one.
I am glad I read the book however and it has motivated me to read more about the case. Many thanks to Jill for sending it!
I never felt very involved in fictional Alice's story and in the end, it seemed to detract from the main one. I felt that way too, Dee. It's the "truth is stranger than fiction" phenomenon, I think. Weaving a fictional story through the telling of actual events is a challenge many authors can't quite meet, and I didn't think Feldman was up to the task she set for herself. Too bad, with such compelling material. Great review!
I haven't read Scottsboro yet, so thank you for your review, Dee. I will let it rest on the shelf another little while.
I checked out TOAST, and blanched! Your tunic is lovely, though, and I'm sure that you'll be able to wear it forever.
>171: ditto. The main story is really compelling and there have probably been loads of non-fiction books written about it, but I remember thinking this would have been better as narrative non-fiction.
Dee, love your tunic! Downloaded a catalogue from TOAST to have a look. Beautiful garments!
Excellent review of Scottsboro. Sounds like a lot for a writer to pull off: a fictionalized account of a trial so emotionally charged.
I had a peek at the Toast catalogue too but eek at the prices!
I need some presentable clothes for a likely funeral (if I'm in London when that happens) and for jobhunting - I can't even remember what I've worn to the last funeral I went to but it was probably a bit scruffy even last summer, but I think I'll have to look elsewhere.
I have Scottsboro on my Kindle but I'm trying to prioritise library books at the moment - there's a library in the building I currently work in - I will definitely continue to use this or more likely another branch in the borough but I think it would be useful to reduce the number of books I have out from there at the moment before I leave this job.
I didn't find The Septembers of Shiraz as compelling as I hoped I might.
I've begun Angel - not the most sympathetic main character!
170 & 172: Linda and Laura, I often have a problem with fiction involving real life people or events so it's good to hear it's not just me that struggled with the journalist in Scottsboro. I probably read your review when you first wrote it, Laura because I had the idea the book had had a mixed reception before starting. I agree narrative non-fiction would have worked better - for me anyway. My favourite parts of the book were the direct quotes at the top of each chapter!
171 & 173: Thank you for sharing in my girly clothes news, Peggy and Nancy. I promise to stick to books from now - which I'm generally more excited about buying anyway!
Talking about buying books, I have a question for any Colin Cotterill fans. Yesterday, I found the second in the Dr Siri series: Thirty-three Teeth for forty pence. I couldn't resist it at that price but I don't have the first in the series. I'm tempted to try it before buying the first as I don't always like the series that are really popular on LT (confession - I've tried and rejected Maisie Dobbs, Isabel Dalhousie and Flavia de Luce).
Anyway, the question is : Is it ok to read the second Dr Siri before the first or will I just get put off and confused?
174: Hi Luci,
It's good to hear from you. I hope things are ok, a potential funeral sounds grim and I'm sorry you're having to job hunt right now. I hope you find something suitable to wear. Buying from Toast is definitely an unusual luxury for me and not actually necessary. I have a black linen dress I bought from Tesco which would be fine for smart occasions!
I keep hearing similar comments about Septembers of Shiraz. I was pretty lukewarm about Scottsboro really and wouldn't say it warrants any prioritising.
I expect to get to Angel fairly soon. I've just started The White Woman on the Green Bicycle. I wasn't sure at first and it's another which has had a mixed reception but I am now really enjoying it.
Dee, I don't think you would be confused by reading the second Dr. Siri installment without having read the first one. I enjoyed the second one more than the first. I think if you read a couple reviews of The Coroner's Lunch, you'll get enough of the set-up to introduce you to Dr. Siri's world.
Thanks Linda, that's good to know. I do like the look of Thirty-three Teeth!
(Just back to say that I'm another who was less than wowed by *Shiraz*, and I've practically stopped reading cozy mysteries. I will try the Flavia ones sometime. I'll wait for *White Woman* until I see what you think, Dee.)
#169 - Hi Dee - I hope you're having a lovely weekend! Great review of Scottsboro, although I'm sorry it was a bit disappointing.
Dee - hope the weather is a little better over in East Yorks and that even if it is not it doesn't interrupt a lovely weekend.
179: Hi Peggy, I have decided to read Shiraz, with low expectations and see what happens. Having almost finished The White Woman on a Green Bicycle, I can say I'm one of its fans but can see why some didn't like it.
180: Thank you, Kerri! I hope you're enjoying your weekend too.
181: Thank you, Paul. After bucketing it down yesterday, we have had gorgeous sunny weather today. Forecast rain again tomorrow but hey! Hope you are having a wonderful weekend - and of course, you don't have to worry about the weather!
Now I'm going to try to write a review whilst not being distracted by all the people walking down my road and occasionally peering in. (It is an open gardens weekend. Our garden isn't open but Mr Dragon has a stall outside promoting the local heritage centre he is involved with.)
The White Woman on a Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey
reason for reading: Orange July and also fits TIOLI challenge re. an author's name which is the same as a place name.
source: Oxfam bookshop
Roffey's writing is vivid, earthy and visceral but not always comfortable. When I started reading, I felt shock at the sudden immersion into a strange new world and didn't immediately take to the central characters Sabine and George, ex-pats who appeared neither likeable or sympathetic. Yet it didn't take me long to become drawn in by Roffey's Trinidad. I quickly warmed to the minor characters and started to become intrigued by the ex-pats in their seventies with a love-hate relationship with Trinidad.
The first half of the book is told in the third person and is a vibrant description of Trinidad in the present day. After a shocking conclusion to Sabine and George's story, the book goes back to the 1960s when Sabine and George first arrived in England. Sabine expected this to be a temporary arrangement but George became obsessed with the country and refused to consider leaving.
In part one of the book, Sabine accused George of never thinking of anything or anyone else once he arrived.
"You fell in love, lost your senses."
As for George,
"Truth was, he preferred Trinidad - always had. He preferred these wild emerald hills, the brash forests, the riotous and unpredictable landscape of Trinidad to the prim hazy pastures of his own country, England. He wanted this bold land. Not the mute grey-drizzle of Harrow on the Hill. He liked the extrovert people, not the prudish and obedient couples his parents had mixed with. He felt alive here, unlike Sabine."
The second part is told by Sabine and has a calmer tone. Here the reader reaches a clearer understanding of Sabine, her marriage and the events which led her to be who she was when we first met her in part one and which also led to what she eventually does. We also learn more about Trinidad's recent history. Colonalism, racism and political activism become part of the story effortlessly and without a hint of polemics.
An evocative, believable story and I think, well worth reading.
Superb review of The White Woman on a Green Bicycle, Dee. Love the quote you've included - great comparative description. And I think it's masterful when a writer can pull off Colonalism, racism and political activism become part of the story effortlessly and without a hint of polemics. Thumb!
What a lovely and thoughtful review, Dee! I Also enjoyed your review of Scottsboro - too bad it fell flat because that is a story worth telling. Love the tunic!
Excellent review of The White Woman on the Green Bicycle and I am very glad to see it Dee since I have that one sitting on my shelf.
Hello and thank you for your kind words, Nancy, Mamie, Beth and Bonnie.
I don't think I'll be posting here for a few days as I have my dad and his wife staying so will be in host mode. Having said that, my dad is happiest away from the world with a book or his i-pad so perhaps we could come to a mutual arrangement and skip the chit-chat!
Hi Dee - Have a nice visit. It's nice to have reading guests. Do you exchange books, or are your tastes very different?
Have a lovely visit, Dee. Love that your dad is happiest with a book or his iPad.
Another thumb from me too. I hope that I'll get to #1 on the list for it before too awfully long.
Enjoy your company, Dee. Not one thing wrong and a lot right with sharing air and space with a loved one and a book apiece!
Hi Dee - I'm glad you survived Garden Weekend and hope you have a lovely visit with your dad and his wife! Wonderful review of The White Woman on a Green Bicycle - on the wishlist it goes.
#183: I have had that one in the BlackHole for a while now. I need to check and see if the local library has a copy yet. Thanks for the reminder, Dee.
#194 Stasia, you never fail to make me laugh with your BlackHole expression. It's perfect!
Dee, your dad sounds like a great house guest. I end up watching TV when my kids come to visit and get bored out of my mind. I keep the iPad handy for quick peeks at LT and Words With Friends.
Belatedly catching up with posts. I don't think I'll have time to catch up with my reading and I'm about to go on holiday for a week so it will be August before I can record my July reading!
189: Hello Beth. A little book exchanging goes on with my dad. I've just got him into the Sansom, Shardlake books and now he's a big fan. He's into some young adult fantasy so has passed on Angie Sage and Artemis Fowl books for the boys in the past. Less swapping goes on with his wife as she is a Danielle Steele fan but I did lend her an Elizabeth Chadwick last time and she returned it saying she found it challenging to start with but eventually really enjoyed it!
190: Thank you, Nancy. Actually my dad was surprisingly chatty this visit which was surprising and lovely too, although reading still went on, of course :)
191: So true, Peggy!
192, 193: Thank you, Kerri and Heather.
194: Good to see you back, Stasia!
195: I agree, Nancy!
196: Yes Donna, enforced television watching can be so grim. Funnily enough I don't think we watched any TV when my dad was with us. I did offer as his wife kept mentioning how she was missing Neighbours but any time I offered to put it on she said not to as she had it recording at home and she needed to catch up with the others she'd missed first. Shame ;)
So now to get ready for a week in Somerset which I'm looking forward to partly because it will include catching up with some old friends and family.
It seems a little odd to be going into August without rounding up July's reading. Also I'm not sure what books to pack. Since starting TIOLI, that has guided each month's reading but I don't suppose the August challenges will go up before I go. It is Virago August though so maybe a VMC or two. I've just started A Note in Music by Rosamond Lehmann which if I don't finish by the end of the month, will be my first August Virago.
#197 Have a great time in Somerset (I can't even write the word without hearing it in my head in a bad Somerset accent).
We'll miss you, and I hope that you have such a good time that you don't miss us at all!!!
Oh, have fun, Dee! Wishing you days filled with delightful things.
Thank you all for your good wishes, Rhian, Nancy, Heather, Beth, Peggy, Mamie, Laura, Bonnie, Eris and Kerri (and know what you mean about the accent, Heather)!
Well, I am still in Somerset but am borrowing Mr Dragon's laptop while he makes tea and toast.
We have had a wonderful time. Spent a couple of days in Bristol catching up with friends and family which was great in itself and even more so because I love Bristol. I was born there but my parents moved us away when I was very young. I think part of me still wishes they hadn't! Also had an interesting day in Glastonbury. A national goddess conference was taking place whilst we were there so the place was full of goddess types with garlands in their hair and bare feet, wifty, wafting around and generally adding to the Glastonbury experience!
Possibly most exciting of all, when we were approaching our holiday cottage on our first day, I noticed a sign advertising millions of books! Somehow I had managed to overlook the fact that I was staying a few miles from the The Bookbarn! Much excitement and book buying ensued, they really do have a Virago shelf! Every book on display was £1 and you could check their vast catalogue for the others which they were advertising on the Internet.
I had to be a little restrained about buying from their catalogue and just bought a couple of Molly Keanes but bought about eighteen for a pound each from the shop. Other purchases have been made from a book fair in Stourton and charity shops in Wells!
I will attempt to list them all before Steve wants his I-pad back.
Full House by Molly Keane (VMC)
Loving without Tears by Molly Keane (VMC)
That's How it was by Maureen Duffy (VMC)
The Microcosm by Maureen Duffy (VMC)
Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott (VMC)
A Death in the Life by Dorothy Salisbury Davis (VMC and Virago crime classic)
Where the Apple Ripens by Jessie Kesson (VMC)
A Fine of Two Hundred Francs by Elsa Triolet (VMC)
Blue Skies & Jack and Jill by Helen Hodgman (VMC)
Roughing It in the Bush by Susanna Moodie (Virago Traveller)
Death's Other Kingdom by Gamel Woolsey (Virago Traveller)
Up the Country by Emily Eden (Virago Traveller)
Sylvia Townsend Warner by Claire Harman (proof copy of Chatto & Windus biography)
The Child that Books Built by Francis Spufford
Odd Girl Out by Elizabeth Jane Howard
Next to Nature, Art by Penelope Lively
A Long Night at Abu Simbel by Penelope Lively (penguin 60s mini-book)
Year King by Penelope Farmer
(plus a couple of duplicate VMCs for the Virago thread!)
From Stourton book fair
Talking of Jane Austen by Sheila Kaye-Smith and G.B Stern
More Talk of Jane Austen by Sheila Kaye-Smith and G.B Stern (been looking for theses since Heather's review)
Seven for a Secret by Mary Webb (VMC)
Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym
From charity shops:
The Journey Home by Dermot Bolger
The Dervish House by Ian Macdonald (have wanted to read since janetinlondon's review)
Now must go as Steve is laughing at me and saying if he only had his I-pad, he would take a picture with me of me typing away with my books beside me!
Hi Dee - How exciting - new books. I'm not familiar with a lot of the titles, so I look forward to hearing about them as you read them -- eventually. It sounds like you're having a wonderful vacation.
>208: OMG, what luck Dee! Although you may now need to buy more luggage ... :)
Enjoy the rest of your holiday!
I'm off to Bristol for a long weekend in mid-August (for a literary conference, actually) so I shall take directions to The Book Barn, it's bound to be on our way home. Is there anything left on the Virago shelf?
Wow, Dee, that's some haul!! Were you doing the happy dance when you saw the Virago shelf? Glad to hear you are having such a wonderful time - keep up the good work!
Oh, Dee, how sublime to have discovered a book barn near your holiday cottage. Perfection!
Congratulations on all your books finds! Nothing more happy than that! ^_^
#208 The Book Barn sounds great. The Child That Books Built is very good - one of my favourite books about books - hope you enjoy it. Glastonbury is lovely isn't it, and weird at the same time.
#208 - That's a very exciting book haul!! I never find Viragos in the U.S., let alone that many. Wow!
Oh my goodness!!! What a great vacation - but what will happen to top that book haul?!?!?!????? All those VMCs and Travelers!!!!!!!!!
Somerset, btw, was the home of my parish priest James Woodforde in the late 18th century; his town was Anston????? It's too late and the book is in another place, but speak to the Someset air for me in his memory!
#208 Wow Dee - what a haul! I'd never heard of the Bookbarn before - I will have to make a visit the next time I'm in that part of the country.
I hope you enjoy Talking of Jane Austen and More About Jane Austen - rather jealous that you managed to find a copy of the second actually...
Hope you enjoy the rest of your holiday although I agree with Peggy that not much could top that!
I am back home after a fab week and a bit. Thank you all for popping by!
Beth, some of the books are quite obscure ones which Virago briefly reprinted and then dropped again so I don't know much about them either but I can't resist a Virago Modern Classic in a green spine!
Thank you, Laura. Actually Mr Dragon did comment on how much more luggage we seemed to have when packing to leave our holiday!
Kerry, the Bookbarn is easy to find. I was going to post the link to the website but it seems to be down at the moment. This alibris page has the full address and directions though. Worth adding to your Sat Nav if you have one, I think!
Mamie, yes I was happy dancing like Snoopy! Mr Dragon found it all quite amusing (fortunately really, as I was there for some time).
Thank you for sharing in my joy, Nancy, Eris, Rhian and Kerri. Rhian, it's great to hear that The Child That Books Built is a good one. I thought it looked potentially interesting and slightly remembered hearing good things! Kerri, look out for Viragos at the LT Virago group as collectors often offer duplicate copies. I'll be putting a couple on myself soon, once I've finally got myself organised.
Peggy, I did speak to the Somerset air of your late parish priest. Somehow one feels more comfortable talking to the air when you're near Glasonbury than say, Hull ;) I do have quite an emotional attachment to the place, partly as a consequence of leaving it very early in life and then visiting friends and family there ever since.
Thanks Heather! If I ever get More Talk of Jane Austen completed I will pass it onto you, though as I feel I first need to read the Austens I haven't yet read and the first Talking book, you will probably have found your own copy by then! I had read about the Bookbarn at the Virago group a couple of years ago but forgotten it was near where I was staying. I think I'd forgotten anyway. Perhaps it was hidden away in my mind somewhere and played a sub-conscious role in my keeness to visit Somerset this year ;)
There was another exciting moment when travelling back from the Bookbarn a (ahem) second time when I noticed that a designer clothes outlet which I'd sort of ignored last time we passed, had a discount Toast shop! As I mentioned last month, I'm a big fan of their clothes but not their prices so we stopped fairly sharpish there and I came out with a double layered top reduced from £55 to £29 and a lovely petrol green tunic dress which will be great for work in the autumn, reduced from £115 to £27! So more happy dancing!
I should probably point out that I didn't just shop in Somerset though! We caught up with friends living in Wincanton who we haven't seen for twelve years but it didn't seem like it at all. Also had a great day out with my brother, my sister and my sister's children at the Bristol Science Museum. Special as I don't see my brother or my sister very often. There was less walking in the beautiful countryside than in previous years as my arthritis doesn't appreciate the hills but I did manage a great day at Cheddar Gorge. Just love those caverns!
I hope to catch up with my book recording soon but want to catch up with other people's threads first. I'm sure I saw some activity on Vancoverdeb's thread?!
Dee - So happy to have you back safe and sound from your travels. Sounds like you had a fabulous time. What a bonus to find the discount Toast shop - very exciting! Welcome home - you were missed!
I think I need to go to Somerset! Sounds great. Cheddar Gorge is somewhere I haven't been since I was about seven years old.
Woot! A discount Toast shop, Dee, on top of your book barn find! Couldn't ask for a better holiday : ). Glad you had such fun.
#219 Discounted from £115 to £27 - wowee! Sounds like you had a good holiday :-)
Dee - Your holiday sounds wonderful - as if it were the right mix of everything. I'll be anxious to see what books you get to next.
Dee, I am always in favor of bargains on books and
Ugh- headcheese! Shudder! I'm glad to know that puddings refer to sweets in general. I had wondered at the love of puddings in the UK - because I really dislike the Jello Pudding as pictured above...
In the Woods sounds fabulous!
Hi and thank you to Mamie, Rhian, Nancy, Heather, Laura, Beth, Bonnie, Donna, Stasia, Kerry, Peggy and Deb!
Rhian- I hadn't been to Cheddar Gorge for years and was worried it might be disappointing but the caves were just as magical as when I was a child. I was aware of the cost and commercial aspects more but think they were probably there when I went years ago and I just didn't notice!
Desperately time for some quick book updates.
68: The Black House by Peter May
Weeks after the death of his eight year old son, Detective Inspector Fin Macleod is sent from Edinburgh to the island of his childhood, the Isle of Lewis to investigate a brutal killing. Frequent flashbacks to Fin's childhood reveal secrets from the past as well as the mystery in the present.
There was much to recommend in this book but I still had mixed feelings. May is a great storyteller and provided all the right ingredients for a real page turner with twists in the right places, an evocative sense of places and plenty to tug your emotions. Yet at times I thought he over-did some of these ingredients to the point where I could no longer believe in the story. Most difficult for me to believe was that Fin would enbark on this journey to his past weeks after the death of his son and be prepared to desert the mother of his son and partner of some years without a second thought. However Fin has definite reason to be messed-up (the book provided more reasons each chapter) and there is another book following this one which I will probably read. If things do not convince me any more in that one, I will be reduced to throwing book two violently across the room into the to-be-swapped-or -recycled-bag!
I couldn't find a touchstone for this book so follow links via author page if you want to read more about it!
69: Reality, Reality by Jackie Kay
A new collection of short stories by poet and author Jackie Kay which glow with Kay's characteristic warmth, sassiness and which also have a real empathy with the marginalised in life. Some of Kay's characters have mental health or memory problems. Others are unlucky in love or struggling with diets or smoking. They all feel like people you know or might easily meet in your everyday life. One lovely story celebrates a fictional first marriage between women to take place on the Shetland Islands!
70: Sister Ships by Joan London
Another short story collection. I really love London's writing which is fluid and sets a mood, place and emotion so quickly. These stories reminded me of Alice Munro's as they deal with women's lives and you understand the women in question so quickly and so completely. The stories are probably a little shorter than Munro's however.
71: Family Album by Penelope Lively
A superior and thoughtful family story though the hints of the family's dark secrets suggested a different type of book with possible big reveals and twists which never came. Well there was one but it was quite obvious early on and didn't such a very big deal once it was officially revealed! The family as a whole didn't seem to me as unusual as the author thought! This was my fouth Lively and not my favourite but I still liked it and will definitely be reading more.
72: In a Summer Season by Elizabeth Taylor
Kate has married a younger man with a domineering mother but the marriage is a happy one until some old friends return. More quintessential Taylor. Not much plot but some wonderful characters who Taylor manages to treat sensitively but be humourous about at the same time. How does she do that? This wasn't one which called me back once I put it down but I enjoyed it each time I did pick it up.
73: Angel by Elizabeth Taylor
This one felt a little different to other Taylors I've read partly as it focused on one character. And what a character Angel is. We follow her from childhood where she can be empathised with if not quite pitied to her adult life as a successful writer of trashy, best selling romances. By this point she is narcissistic and self-centred and almost monstrous. However for me the worst parts of her personanality were all too human. I've also known people who had no sympathy for ill health of others as they believed that any illness was somehow self-inflicted or a sign of self-neglect. Until they become ill themselves! I didn't enjoy Angel quite as much as other Taylor's I've read. I think my horror of her meant I missed the humour but it was certainly an interesting character study!
74: An Inventory of Heaven by Jane Feaver
Seventy year old Mavis is living alone in Devon when Frances and her young son arrive in the village. Frances is related to another woman who once lived in the village which causes Mavis to look back at the past and recall some tragic events. The book then becomes divided between the present day story of Mavis and her developing friendship with Frances and her son and the story of Mavis's youth and past. The allusons to tragic events led me to read the book wrongly at first, assuming the initial back story was just leading up to a big reveal. Actually this isn't that sort of book. Once I realised that, I enjoyed the book for what it was, immersed myself in Feaver's excellent writing and became absorbed in the little details of Mavis's life. I found the ending very moving and eventually gave the book:
75: This is Shyness by Leanne Hill
Young Adult fiction and fantasy can be so hit and miss for me. This one was hugely enjoyable. It follows teenagers Wolfboy and WildGirl (not their real names though there are good reasons for them to be called these) through one fantastical night in a world which is ours but where some odd things have happened so that in the area of Shyness, the sun never shines. Wolfboy is suffering after the death of his brother. Wildgirl is running away from events at home. She reflects she had been looking for a night that would erase the day, a night with dark secrets and alley chases and passwords. Be careful what you wish for. I close my eyes.
Entertainingly freaky and also evocative and moving!
****OOOh Look! 75 books!!*****************
75 books! Thou art truly amazing, Dee! Many congratulations on making your goal! :D
Woot! Congratulations, Dee, on 75!! Your holiday reading looks fabulous! Interesting review of Angel and your thoughts on it as compared to other Taylor novels you've read. Inventory of Heaven sounds like one for the list, and you said it all under This is Shyness with Young Adult fiction and fantasy can be so hit and miss for me. When YA is good for me, it's really good! This is Shyness sounds like one of those.
75 - and such good books! Congratulations, Dee, and thank you for the helpful reviews.
Wow! Dee, congratulations on hitting 75 books so early in the year!! Amazing! Good for you!
Congratulations on getting to 75. I've just finished This is Shyness as well and really liked it too. It was totally not what I expected and the sequel Queen of the Night came out earlier this year. The manuscript of This is shyness won the Text Publishing Prize so I knew it would have to be a good read.
Congratulations on reaching 75 already Dee and for a nice bunch of reviews too.
#232 - Hi Dee! I enjoyed your mini-reviews. Angel has been on my TBR pile and I'll probably read it this year. However, I did just have a similar experience, while reading A Five Year Sentence - I was so disturbed by the characters and depressed by the subject matter, that I failed to appreciate the humor that is supposedly there. I liked it quite a bit though.
Hi Dee - I too loved your reviews. I have got to get to Taylor soon. I'm a Lively fan but haven't read Family Album yet. The other two that caught my eye were the London stories and the Feaver novel. I don't know her, but the book sounds wonderful. Onto the list it goes.
Congratulations on reaching 75.
Hello and thank you calm, Mamie, Eris, Nancy, Paul, Laura, Rhian, Heather, Peggy, Deb, Jim, Kerry, Valerie, Kerri and Beth!
Deb - I've actually been back from holiday for a while now but it's been a bit of a funny couple of weeks. My concentration span seemed to have become shot into pieces and I've been all over the place mentally, worrying about silly things, unable to consider anything like writing reviews and I even went a whole week without reading a book which is most unlike me! I think the heat's got a lot to do with it. My brain just seems to fry up in the heat. Today is nice and cool and I feel like I can think properly at last!
Can't believe I'm such a fairweather bookworm ;)
Kerry- I am really grateful to you for alerting me to Leanne Hall. Queen of the Night was difficult to find but a copy from New York via Amazon marketplace arrived yesterday. I'm really looking forward to reading it.
Nancy and Beth- I would love to know how you get on with Jane Feaver if her books do eventually come your way. She's not for everyone as her books are rather slow paced but I think you'd both like her.
Well, I look forward to your coming back to LT, when you ready, Dee. I think we all have our times when we need a little vacation from LT. Hot weather - yeah, I'm not keen on that either.
just stopping by to say hi! I noticed in my " feed" that you had loaded up quite a few new books. Good for you - enjoy!
Hello Deb and Mamie. Thank you for still remembering me when I've been mostly absent!
Yes Deb, there was a lot of book uploading going on yesterday as I bought six books from the charity shop near my work and then came home to the Edmund Crispin set which I'd ordered from the Book People!
I've been a bit busy with family visits over the last few weeks but also as I said strangely lacking in concentration. It's probably a good job I live in the north of England rather than anywhere more glamorous as my brain doesn't seem to cope with the short amount of heat we have each year. Fortunately there's a bit of a nip in the air now and my thinking power seems to be restored!
Another issue was that some of the books I was trying to read wouldn't have been particularly readable on a good day.
I read Blue Skies and Jack and Jill for Virago August. It is made up of two novellas first published in 1976. Blue Skies was an account of a Tasmanian housewife's boredom and affair. She has a new baby but only talks about the baby when she is dropping her off or picking her up from her mother-in-law. The tone is very cool and dispassionate. No emotion is revealed but I think we are supposed to tell a lot about the narrator's state of mind and lack of choices for women for women in the 1970s from reading between the lines. Jack and Jill was the story of a dysfunctional relationship but I'd got a bit tired of Hodgman's style by then and skim read much of it!
I needed to read The Day of the Locust for that reading group which my friend persuaded me to return to! West did have a way with words but story was depressing with descriptions of exploited characters used seemingly to shock and/or entertain. No-one else in the group enjoyed it either but when West wrote it in the 1930s, I don't suppose he had in mind as readers, 21st century, middle-aged women who joined reading groups (if allowed and living on the right side of the avenue, etc!)
Actually group was fine. My friend had convinced me that it was really just the one person who was a problem and that she and I would challenge her if necessary. Not sure if I would have been brave enough but fortunately all went well! Funnily enough though, we spent more time talking about that Fifty Shades book which no-one had actually read (or admitted to having read) than the book we were supposed to be talking about!
I did read one completely fab, loved, loved, loved book in August, a YA novel called The Eclipse of the Century. I will try to write a proper review of it soon.
Just had to quickly pop by and " warn ' you about The Lighthouse that I so enjoyed. The theme is very different from - say The Detour and I found it easier to understand, but it's one of those that is at heart a quite a sad book and full of ambiguity. I think that you are totally up for that - just had to tell that it was not an " ordinary read." I liked it quite a bit better than The Detour and just think - if you read it - you can say - I've read one of the 2012 Long Listed Bookers! :)
Looking at your recent reads, no doubt you will find The Lighthouse a piece of cake, Dee.
Thanks, Deb. The Lighthouse is certainly now on my radar but when I read your review I thought it was probably not one for the very near future and having had a bit of a reading block, I'm trusting my instincts on that sort of thing! I have The Lighthouse filed mentally under "will read one day but not right now"!
I enjoy reading your thoughts on the reading group, Dee. I'm intrigued by the group dynamics and hope you're able to challenge the troublemaker if need be. Funny about Fifty Shades. I wonder how many have really read it but don't want to admit it? My older daughter worked in a bookstore this summer and came home every day appalled at how many copies she sold (individual books, the entire trilogy, etc.). A few days into the experience she took a peek inside the book and found it god awful and just generally icky. That was all I needed to know! I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole.
Hi Dee - Book groups can be challenging. I've been in one for 11 years, and it has worked well. Generally, I think people are honest and feelings aren't hurt if there are disagreements. It is funny how often we stray off the book we read to other reads.
We laughed last month because one of the members read Fifty Shades -- she talked about how awful it was, but she read all three!
I'll wait for your review of The Eclipse of the Century and maybe pass on the other two for now although I do want to read The Day of the Locust at some point.
I couldn't help jump in when you mentioned Tana French. Her books are terrific! Each book features a character from a former book. Her latest, Broken Harbour is particularly creepy although her books are not horror stories. My favorite is The Likeness.
257: The 50 shades books do sound rather icky! I have this horrible fear that there will be all sorts of creeps out there now ready to pose as Christian Greys for any impressionable young ladies who have read the books.
258: she talked about how awful it was, but she read all three! Yes, I've just read a reader's review in a magazine where the reviewer said she thought they were badly written but had to read all three to be sure! The books are definitely doing something for a lot of women!
Re: The Day of the Locust: I think I was in the wrong mood for it when I read it but I can see how the right person in the right mood could appreciate it.
259: Hi Lily. I was very happy to see a new name on my thread - once I got over a sudden irrational fear that you might be from my reading group!! Tana French is great isn't she?! I'm looking forward to getting to Broken Harbour before too long.
After years without a reading group I suddenly have two. The library group is focused but quite short as it's around the end of opening hours after work at 6.30 to 7.30 - the library worker doing the group (either one of two people) locks up as the library normally closes at 7. The NCT group (a parenting group so all mums of fairly young children at the moment, though we wouldn't exclude a dad I don't think!) is less focused on the books but we have a good chat. We did spend a bit more time talking about The Slap than most of the others.
Hi Dee - Good to see you back, but sorry your recent reads have been a bit disappointing. I read Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathanael West last year and it left me with an icky and uncomfortable feeling that made me want to avoid him in the future. I do know that he's loved by many, but it's just not for me. I doesn't seem like he had women in mind as audience members for his novels. Or something like that.
#261 My book group also started out as a NCT one - all of twelve years ago. We've got one Dad (my husband) but it's sort of lost its focus on parents now.
Hope all is well with you, Dee. Missing you on the threads and just checking in over here. Have a great weekend!
Ohh, I've been busy catching up with everyone's elses threads and didn't notice I had messages waiting for me here! Hello all!
Luci, I like the sound of your book groups. We have a local library book group too but it is on an afternoon when I work. The first reading group I joined was mostly new mums and as I remember, we didn't talk much about the book. I still have some reservations about my group but will continue for a bit longer at least.
Kerri, Nathanael West isn't loved by me either though I could see something in his writing to possibly admire. I won't be reading Miss Lonelyhearts!
Rhian, that is great that your NCT group is still going strong!
Mamie, Thank you for checking in! I've just been to your thread and admired your wonderful new home to be and it's back yard!
Despite the continuing lovely weather, it feels like summer is over and the new academic year is certainly here! M joined J at secondary school this week. I'd been worried about the new start but he has settled in fine. As long as the food's good, he's usually happy and apparently the new menu passes muster. This has been the sort of converstions we've been having
Me: So how was school today, M?
M: Mmn yes, lovely thanks. Cheesy pasta again, great!
He has also made some new friends and likes his teachers who are apparently mostly "nice ladies" and not as scary as he had been led to expect!
It is actually my older boy who is in his fourth year and starting GCSEs who is less happy this year as he has found that he is no longer with his friends for most of his classes. I'm hoping he adapts to the new situation as it is quite upsetting him, mainly because he feels more vulnerable to the attention of some of the rougher kids who will target him basically because he is different from them. He didn't share classes with them last year as the classes tended to be organised according to ability but this year they are mostly in mixed ability groups.
Back to books: I am currently reading The Pendragon Legend by Antal Szerb. Written in the 1930s, this is a wonderful romp, entertaining but with an intelligence behind the froth! I have also enjoyed reading various short stories for Luci's short story challenge. It had never occurred to me before that you could enjoy short stories one at a time, varying the books you selected them from but it's surprisingly enjoyable. Like enjoying one chocolate now and again instead of gorging on a whole box and then feeling you've overdone it!
Dee, it's back to school time here as well. Those secondary school transitions can be such a challenge. It's funny what can turn a bad day to a good one though -- cheesy pasta would make me happy, too! I hope things settle down for your older son. I know my girls always felt anxious about whether they would have lunch at the same time as their friends. My younger daughter changed schools this year for both academic and social reasons, and we are feeling good about it after the first 3 days, but it's early days yet. So just saying I can relate to your maternal anxiety!
Thank you, Laura. I'm all too prone to maternal anxiety. I remember Michelle Obama saying that mothers are only as happy as their least happy child and that is certainly the case with me!
I do appreciate that my boys share their worries with me though. I'm sure I don't get told everything but they're generally pretty open. If they ever got all reclusive and refused to tell me what was wrong, then I really would worry!
Dee - Stopping by to say hi. Good luck with the school year; it seems that once school starts, time speeds up. I hope you can get some reading in.
Thank you, Beth. Just noticed that you and I posted on each other's threads at exactly the same minute!
Dee - Great minds! I was just trying to get caught up before turning to some school work.
Hi Dee! Sorry to hear that your eldest is having a bit of a difficult time with adapting to his classes without his friends. That is difficult. What a wise woman Michelle Obama is. I too suffer with maternal anxiety, though it was worse when my two were younger. mothers are only as happy as their least happy child. How true! Though my sons are 22 and 27, I worry that my eldest is not quite happy and settled in life. And even my younger son, who seems perfectly happy and balanced, thrilled with his new job and happy with his girlfriend of 4 years - well, when he made the transition from University to full time work I worried - would he like it? And he does. Oh this job of mothering!
#266 Dee - I hope your older son manages to find some new friends in his classes that he can settle down with. It seems a bit strange tht they are moving them from streamed classes to mixed ability groups for the start of the GCSE's - I would have thought that it would be the other way around usually?
Dee - lovely to see your thread whizzing again. I can identify with your comment on your eldest's difficulties to adapt to having his friends in different classes. Yasmyne my own eldest has the same experience as her chosen subjects don't coincide with many of her friends'. Going to an international school she has the added problem that many of her contempories are not permanent residents as she is - her two best friends have returned after 10 years to Indonesia and Korea respectively and she is struggling to fill their void.
The Paternals can be just as anxious as the Maternals!
Have a lovely weekend. Btw is he doind English Lit?
Hi Dee, the great thing about children is that they are wonderfully resilient. I hope your elder son bounces back once he's adjusted to his new situation and I'm pretty sure he will. Your support must be a great comfort to him and will probably give him the fortitude to get through this tough time.
Michelle Obama was quoting, among other people, Jackie Kennedy. Hmmm it seems like First Ladies have all the answers;-). At any rate, it's very true.
271: Beth, I hope you managed to get the school work done and are now able to enjoy the weekend. I used to be a primary (elementary) school teacher and remember how time consumimg all the out of class work is!
272: Deb, I'm glad I'm not the only
273: Rhian- it does seem odd doesn't it? I think it was partly because he took or started some GCSEs early last year so was with the more able children for that. Perhaps the others remained in mixed ability groups. I will say though, that proud of him as I am for being chosen for that, I do cynically believe the current trend for putting kids into GCSEs early seems to be more to do with improving a school's stats than the sudden, precocious talent of many year 9s!
274: Thank you, Paul. Yes, I had noticed that Yasmyne is the same age as Joe. That's tough for her having two friends leave the country. It's tempting to remind Joe that he is lucky that his friends are still in the same school, town, country etc but I've noticed that sort of approach never goes down too well with one's ungrateful offspring ;-) And yes, it's parenthood I'm talking about really isn't it, not motherhood?
Is he doing English Lit?
But of course! I must ask him what books he studying, actually. I think Romeo and Juliet is one of them.
275: Thank you for your wise words, Bonnie. Joe is tough and will be bouncing along quite happily before too long while I'm still fretting, I know!
I didn't know Michelle Obama was quoting Jacke Kennedy! I suppose those mums have had to do a lot of looking out for their kids whilst their husbands were distracted by other things!
It's funny, I have a strong belief that we are all on a path and there will be tough times that are there for a reason and that we learn and grow from them and that this is how it should be. Except for my children, where I want life be all rainbows and fluffy bunnies!
I've just finished The Pendragon Legend and would like to say more but RL commitments are calling me. It looks like I will have a busy week ahead of me but a nice clear weekend at the end of it so hopefully I will catch up properly then!
"It's funny, I have a strong belief that we are all on a path and there will be tough times that are there for a reason and that we learn and grow from them and that this is how it should be. Except for my children, where I want life be all rainbows and fluffy bunnies! "
So true! I know just how you feel. Sending good thoughts for Joe's school year - and you're right, reminding him that he is lucky when he is feeling low is probably tantamount to parental insensitivity in his eyes. Sounds like you're doing an excellent job, Dee. It's hard to be a parent when they reach the age where you can no longer fix everything. I love the quote about only being as happy as your least happy child - so very true.
#273 because he took or started some GCSEs early last year My J will be doing the same thing. Apparently, most of the top set for maths will be doing their GCSE at the end of Year 9 and they'll also do their German GSCE at the same time. But it is a language college so they have a lot more focus on languages than a lot of schools. Generally, I think I don't have objections as long as they are actually ready to do them at an earlier stage, and it doesn't impact on their results.
Thank you, Mamie, I appreciate your encouraging words!
Rhian, There's a definite trend towards it in many schools, state and private. I agree with what you say and our children will probably end up with more GCSEs than they would otherwise have got which can't be a bad thing! I do suspect it's been introduced with the schools rather than the children, in mind though.
Hi Dee. I hope J settles into his new classes and M continues to enjoy the cheesy pasta!
280: Thank you, Heather. M is still enjoying his school dinners and J is much happier, I am pleased to report. It turned out that rather than every class being full of nasty bullies and no class having any of his friends in, it was one particular class that was a problem. After talking to the Head of Year, he has changed this class and now seems more or less fine. The annoying kids will probably continue to be annoying but I think he now seems in a place where he can manage that!
I have decided to finish my 75 challenge thread for this year as it has been increasingly difficult to contribute to it and looks likely to become more so. I have volunteered/been asked/been pushed (not quite sure which) to help set up a new project at work. It's only temporary as funding will soon be available to employ new staff to take over but there's some weird issue with the funding requirements which means the project has to be partially set up before staff to work on the project can be taken on! I also have a presentation and some additional training to deliver in addition to my usual day-to-day work and I can see that my usual part-time job will be less part-time over the following weeks!
I did achieve the challenge's 75 books goal so will be happy with that and bow out for this year. However, I do plan to start again next year and will definitely still be checking in on everyone's threads and also continuing with the TIOLI challenges.
If I read anything particularly worth mentioning, I will probably post it on the Virago group thread and I will carry on continuing with the Elizabeth Taylor group reads, partly in preparation for my own hosting of December's group read of Blaming on Laura's blog!
So not goodbye but many thanks to everyone who has stopped by here and helped make this my most enjoyable LibraryThing year, yet!
thanks for letting us know rather than just disappearing. I always worry. Looking forward to seeing you again.
Very nice of you to post the announcement, Dee. I'm glad we'll still see you in the Virago group. Good luck with your new project!
Good luck with the project, Dee. I hope it's more challenging than frustrating, and that you get some credit for what you do with the bosses. Glad we'll still see you around.
Thanks for letting us know - I enjoy reading your posts however occasional they are. Good luck with the work project.
Oh, Dee - thanks for letting us know, but it makes me a bit sad. Good luck with the project and with everything else. SO glad to hear that J's school issues were made more manageable - will continue to keep him in my thoughts. I'm thankful that we'll still see you around the threads, but have no doubts that you will be missed in a big way.
I'll be looking forward to your thread for next year! Hope your project goes OK.
Ah, Dee, we'll miss you! Do well with the initial work on the project - I'm sure that you will. I'll be looking forward to seeing you occasionally at the Virago Group.
I will certainly miss you and stopping by your thread Dee but I certainly understand. Godd luck with your new project at work.
I'll also miss your thread updates, though can understand your need to stop. Good luck with your project.
Oh I will certainly miss you Dee! Thanks for letting us know! I can understand though , with your new project! Best of luck with that!
Thank you dear LibraryThing Friends!
I will definitely still be around and have no intention of missing Mamie's big move!
Thanks for letting us know Dee! Looking forward to catching up with you next year. :)
Good luck, Dee. See you next year. Congratulations on your special project.
Hopping and skipping through your thread to catch up, I find you are winding it down - and wish I'd been quicker to visit it.
I understand how additional work pressures can make it hard to find the time to keep a thread up to date as well as visiting other people's threads too, so it does make sense that, having achieved the 75 books of the challenge, you should not feel you have to keep this going. Good luck with the work project.
I don't remember to check into the VMC group often enough, I must do so more often to catch you there. And of course look forward to seeing you back with a new thread in 2013!
Dee, I wish you good luck with your work project and hope that you do drop by the 75ers on occasion :)
I hope your project goes well, Dee, and I can't wait to follow your thread next year. Good luck!
Glad to hear J's issues with that class have been sorted. Sorry to hear work will be taking you away from us for a bit but I'll hopefully still see you around the Virago group and other threads (I lurk in the Virago group more often than I post).
Hi Dee! I will miss you and your book comments, but I certainly understand that it's hard to keep up when life gets busy. Take care!
I am touched that you "have no intention of missing Mamie's Big move" - thanks for that, Dee!
Missed gambolling off to East Yorkshire. Happy new year Dee.....I hope to see you back in 2013.
Thanks to everyone who joined me here before I ducked out in September and now I've just spotted a last post from Paul!
It's been a mixed kind of year. Work has been fulfilling and I feel blessed to have a job that I love. But another notice of redundancy arrived through the post today, though there is hope that a particular source of funding will be confirmed so that redundancies aren't necessary. We have had so many notices of redundancy over the last few years that my boss joked about papering her loo with hers, but there's always the fear that this is the real thing. Yet, with the upcoming changes to the benefit system, people will need the sort of advice we offer more than ever.
I've had some great times this year with family and friends. I thought I'd miss my boys being babies but seem to enjoy their company even more as time goes on. I've made new friends and loved meeting some LT friends at the Elizabeth Taylor event in Reading. But in October, I lost a dear friend to cancer. It was a tremendous shock as no-one realised (included M herself) that she was so ill. She had been given the all-clear from breast cancer six years ago and no-one knew it had returned and spread to her spine until she suddenly lost all feeling below her neck and was rushed to intensive care. She never came out. I also have a lovely cousin in her early thirties, who has cancer which has spread widely and there is now little hope, though she has had treatment which should hopefully mean she can get married in the Spring. That will be a bittersweet occasion.
I thought I'd be joining the 75 challenges again in January but have decided to opt out. If I do become redundant and suddenly have a lot of time on my hands, I'll probably change my mind but whilst my job continues I will be busy. Not too busy to keep a thread going really but I tend to start worrying that my reviews aren't doing the books justice and don't want reviewing to become a chore.
I will never give up LibraryThing however and will continue to check on your threads and see how you're all doing, though apologies in advance as I'll probably struggle to keep up with the more prolific ones!
These are my favourite reads of 2012, copied and pasted from a Virago thread.
Favourite novel from the first half of the twentieth century
A View of the Harbour - Elizabeth Taylor
The Slaves of Solitude - Patrick Hamilton
Favourite novel from the second half of the twentieth century
Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont - Elizabeth Taylor (a re-read and was rated less highly first time round)
God on the Rocks - Jane Gardam
Favourite Young Adult novel
The Eclipse of the Century - Jan Mark
Bog Child - Siobhan Dowd
Favourite collection of short stories
Something I've Been Meaning to tell You - Alice Munro
The Blush - Elizabeth Taylor
Favourite individual short story
Tebic - Sylvia Townsend Warner
Favourite contemporary novel
Chosen - Lesley Glaister
Wishing you all joy in 2013!
One final post while I still have a thread.
Should I buy a Kindle Paperwhite?
I've never liked the idea of e-readers before and don't much like the original Kindle but have had a go on the Kindle paperwhite and it is really very nice. I kept dropping hints to Mr Dragon in the hope that he'd buy me one for Christmas but it didn't happen. My older son said that husband didn't believe I really wanted one as I'd been anti-kindle for so long. So do I want one? My birthday's coming up in February and I have over £100 of Amazon vouchers so now might be a good time. These are my reasons for and against buying:
Not really owning the book and not being able to pass it on to friends, swap or keep on shelf and maybe sell one day when it is old and rare.
Electricity needed to charge
I have over 700 books already to read on my tbr
Like the feel of real books
Feel like I should also put something about wanting to support real books here but not really an issue as I know it wouldn't stop me buying real books in large quantities ;)
Free out-of-copyright books available
Reading about Luci and Heather's cheap Kindle deal purchases
Books like Bloomsbury Readers which are a quarter of the price as e-books
Downloading beginning of book for free to check whether I really want it
Convenience when travelling
Storage not a problem
Being able to change font size now that I am of an age when some print is too small!
Like the feel of the paperwhite!
I'm definitely very tempted!
Hi Dee! I enjoyed following your thread this past year, and you will be missed in 2013.
Also, I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of your friend.
I'm very happy with my Kindle Fire. It hasn't replaced print books, but I tend to use it for the following books:
*The free out of copyright books
*The frequent deals
*Mass market paperbacks (because I don't really want to collect the paper variety in my house anymore)
Also, it's great for travel.
Take care and I hope to see you around. Perhaps in the Virago group?
I am sorry to hear that you will not be joining us in 2013. I do hope you will drop by often and update us as to how you are doing!
Happy New Year!
Dee, I'm sorry you've suffered so much loss this year. That's so sad. And job stress too -- ugh. I hope there are flowers and unicorns and chocolate at the end of the tunnel. I really enjoy our online friendship and while we will miss you in this group I know I'll still see you around the Virago group.
On the Kindle question, I say "go for it". I've had one for about 18 mos. and completely agree with your pros and cons as well as Kerri's. An additional reason "for" is that it makes reading chunksters (Trollope, Dickens, etc.) so much easier. Also, Santa brought my daughter a Paperwhite this year and it's lovely. It fits in a handbag even better than mine. And while mine works perfectly well, messing about with hers still brought on a case of gadget envy.
Dee - I am sorry for your losses this year.
I do like my ereader for traveling and I can read it in the gym.
Good luck with your job. I hope your 2013 is a happy one.
Sorry to hear about your friend.
I would say yes, go for it with the Kindle Paperwhite - I agree with your pros and cons but still think on balance it's a great invention. I do wish they'd give us the facility to lend Kindle books over here - I like the idea of being able to share something but it coming back without me having to ask for it.
Two more pros - I find the idea of being able to download really big books on Kindle really attractive - 19th century novels, and when on offer at a good price, new books - I recently bought Dominion for £5.99 whereas in the past if I couldn't wait for paperback even cheap hardbacks were over £8 - I paid £8.48 for Winter in Madrid in 2006 (and only read it a month or so ago!) and £9.33 for The Night Watch by Sarah Waters! All of those are chunky enough to deter me from reading them, and I'm happy reading longer books, just don't like hard to carry and hold.
I use the free sample feature for introductions for new editions of books that I already own, particularly for VMCs and some other classics type reprints, as I can't really justify buying again, and if I did, I'd want to keep both copies (space is a bigger issue than money).
My heart is broken for your friends. ((hug)) I understand why you won't be in the 75 group next year, but I hope to see you around.
I think getting the Kindle doesn't sound like a bad idea, and your pros and cons sound about right. My grandma has one, and she loves it because it makes the fonts easier to read, and it's convenient to carry around. It's not a bad thing to have more than one option when it comes to reading.
Ouch! That was a tough year for you. I hope 2013 is better, and I'll see you over with the Viragos. Take care!
Hi Dee, it was so nice to see your thread pop up today. I'm sorry you won't be starting a thread for 2013 but hope things go well for you this year. I'm very sorry about your friend and cousin. I hope your cousin still has some good days ahead.
I can't really offer much advice about the Paperwhite Kindle. I've never seen one. I had one of the original Kindles but reading on it aggravated some old issues I had with repetitive stress injuries from overusing the computer so I stopped using it. I did love it for travel though.
Hope to still see you around LT!
ETA: Happy New Year!
Dee, lovely to see an update from you, even if it is to say that you won't be starting a thread in the 75 challenge for 2013! But I too will be glad to see you over in the Virago Group.
I'm sorry to hear of your difficult autumn with bereavement and the anxiety about redundancy too; I hope the coming year is more settled and has fewer shocks.
I've avoided buying any kind of Kindle but can still take advantage of some of the pros by having a free Kindle app on my smartphone. The screen is a lot smaller than dedicated eReader devices, but I find it very agreeable to read from both at bedtime and while eating, when I can hold it easily in the palm of one hand and turn pages with a squeeze of the same hand. I've mostly used it for free 19th century classics, but have even paid real money for some newer books too, either the special deals or when it is the quickest and cheapest way of getting hold of my latest book group choice. It hasn't noticeably slowed down my acquisition of real paper books...
Dee. Real life sucks. You don't. You're great. I'll try not to be so prolific next year if it means I'll get to see you once or twice. Take care. x
Thank you all for your warm and wonderful messages. This group is such a lovely place and I will miss being a fully "paid up" member. Maybe next year!
Hi Stasia, it's great to see you're still around!
Thanks Kerri. I enjoy your threads too and was pleased to see that you loved God on the Rocks as much as I did.
Thanks Luci. I'm 99.99% determined to get a Kindle now! You've mentioned before about being able to download new introductions to books and that's another definite reason "for".
Thank you Laura, you've been a great online friend, hey you even lent me your blog ;) . The year wasn't all bad and there were some ponies and rainbows along the way!
Thank you, Beth. I appreciate it.
Thank you, dear Eris and yes, I think the Kindle font size option is a big plus for grandmas and for me!
Thanks Joyce, yes will see you at the Virago section and I will no doubt still be lurking here around here too!
Lovely to see you her, Pat. The possibility of RSI is something else which has put me off e-readers in the past but I'm hoping the new touch screens are more wrist friendly. If not, then Kindles and me definitely won't get on.
Nancy, it is so lovely to see you back here. I will definitely be visiting and starring your new thread.
Genny, thanks for the warm words and the kindle tips. My eye sight is not up to reading on my phone but I'm reassured that you find e-reading worth doing.
Paul, bless you for offering to try to be less prolific! Fortunately for you, it's really not necessary as I didn't mean I'd be avoiding the longer threads, just that I'll probably not catch up with all the missed threads between visits! Good job as I think that really would be a challenge for you ;) I won't be able to resist popping by now and again to check in on you and your lovely family!
You are right Real Life can suck but on the whole things are good right now as I have a wonderful family and a job which I love. No, I don't really know how long I have it for but that's the nature of working for a charity theses days and if necessary I would probably carry on working as a volunteer - but please don't tell my bosses that!
Wishing you all happiness in 2013!
Dee, so sorry to hear about the situation at work and you friend and cousin's illnesses. I've missed your thread and book comments over the last few months but I can understand that keeping it up to date can become a chore when you have so many other things in life going on. I'll look forward to seeing you over in the Virago group next year. I hope 2013 is better for you but I guess that depends on how things go at work and with your cousin's health. Hugs.
#303 "Reading about Luci and Heather's cheap Kindle deal purchases"
Oops - sorry! A lot of independent publishers do very good kindle deals though so you could think of it as a way of supporting those lesser known authors and publishers (although I guess it's also supporting amazon too).
I would say yes to a paperwhite. If you read a book on the kindle and really want a copy for your shelves too then there's nothing to stop you getting a print copy as well (apart from the fact you're paying twice).
Luci also makes a really good point about being able to download introductions. I have the original green Virago of ET's Angel but actually prefer Hilary Mantel's introduction to the new version which I was able to read by downloading a sample of the new ebook to my kindle.
2012 has been tough on a lot of people. I'm so sorry you're included in that list, and I wish you ease from your losses, as well as less job stress and anxiety in the new year. Reading is such a blessing...may you find more time for it than you expect in 2013.
Dear Dee, it's GOOD to see you back here! I'm sorry also for your losses in 2012 and hope that 2013 opens up new joys for you and some better job security. I do hope you also make an appearance from time to time at the places here that we hang out.
I join in the praise of the Kindle. I love my old one. It's not an either/or question for me, and I think that everybody has covered the points in its favor very clearly. The size of the page did cause me some unhappiness at first, but I quickly came to feel perfectly comfortable with it, and you will too, I'm sure. And as far as I'm concerned, I do own those books on my Kindle because I'm not a lender anyway. Go for it, and let us know how you like it and what you're reading!
I'm going to miss your thread (more of a lurker than a commenter) but real life often intervenes.
A final 2 cents on the Kindle. Check what your library has for free downloads and see if the Kindle is compatible. Here in Canada many of the public libraries use OverDrive and the Kindle won't work with it. OverDrive & Kindle have a deal in the States but I'm not sure about the UK. Free books are the best!
Wishing you well for 2013.
Hello Soupdragon - I will miss seeing your postings on this thread. Living in Lincolnshire, UK, I've always imagined you as my closest fellow LT-er and enjoyed wondering if we might have visited some of the same second hand bookshops. It sounds as if there has been an awful lot of upheaval and uncertainty for you recently. I hope there are some positive developments for you in 2013. I 'gave in' and bought a standard Kindle a year ago. Like many of the other contributors, I tend to use it for free out of copyright material and bargain offers. I think of it as a supplement to my bookshelves rather than a replacement and am happy to have it. I have let my VMC reading tail off rather in the past year or two but visit the group from time to time, so I may run across you there. All best wishes, Sue (vestafan)
Thank you for your kind words Heather, Linda, Peggy, Dee and Sue. I certainly hope to carry on seeing you all around LTland, I would miss you all massively if not!
Sue, I'd forgotten you live in Lincolnshire. So we're probably the only two Lters to watch Peter Levy on local news! Or don't you?!!
Thanks also for the helpful Kindle advice. My Kindle Paperwhite arrived today and I am very happy with it but torn between shock and delight at the speed of buying and downloading e-books from Amazon! I plan to check out girlebooks and the Gutenberg project very soon.
Yes, a hazard of Kindle ownership I forgot to mention - the potential for instant gratification once One-Click is operational! I still find the idea of paying as much as a paperback for an electronic file off-putting though.
Yes, I am aware of the cultural phenomenon that is Peter Levy, in fact a Lincolnshire expatriate told me about him while I was still working in London. A pleasure peculliar to our area I think!
Hmm, I used to live in Lincolnshire for 5 years, but don't remember Peter Levy - but then I didn't often watch TV news either national or local, so I suppose that explains it! I'm glad you are enjoying your Kindle and all those readily available books! Until very recently, I stuck to free books only, but I must admit I got a bit carried away with the recent 12 days of Kindle and ordered quite a few at 99p or £1.49.
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