This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
  • LibraryThing
  • Book discussions
  • Your LibraryThing
  • Join to start using.

VivienneR reads on the Streets of London - Part 3

This is a continuation of the topic VivienneR reads on the Streets of London - Part 2.

This topic was continued by VivienneR's free and easy winter reading.

2015 Category Challenge

Join LibraryThing to post.

This topic is currently marked as "dormant"—the last message is more than 90 days old. You can revive it by posting a reply.

Edited: Oct 1, 2015, 7:17pm Top

Hyde Park, London

Welcome to the third section of my category challenge 2015 that was inspired by 15 streets of London. My goal is 120 books. I will try to read at least 8 books on each street, but that's not set in stone. Books related to CATs & KITs will be integrated.

Edited: Nov 15, 2015, 9:50pm Top

plus 4 Outsiders (not included in the challenge)

1. Abbey Road - 8 read
2. Baker Street - 8 read
3. Caxton Street - 8 read
4. Charing Cross Road - 8 read
5. Cromwell Road - 8 read
6. Downing Street - 8 read
7. Fleet Street - 8 read
8. Great Ormond Street - 8 read
9. Lamb's Conduit Street - 8 read
10. Oxford Street - 8 read
11. Pall Mall - 8 read
12. Portobello Road - 8 read
13. Pudding Lane - 9 read
14. Strand - 8 read
15. Trafalgar Square - 9 read

Up Next
The Sin Within Her Smile by Jonathan Gash
Death Cloud by Andrew Lane
The Mammy by Brendan O'Carroll
The Edwardians by Vita Sackville-West

Edited: Oct 16, 2015, 2:27am Top

1. Abbey Road
Icons, music, books published or set in the sixties, especially 1969, will be on this street.

1. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
2. The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time by The Editors of Rolling Stone
3. Paul McCartney : a Life by Peter Ames Carlin
4. Between a heart and a rock place by Pat Benatar
5. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
6. Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
7. The Question by Jane Asher
8. A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood

Edited: Nov 1, 2015, 2:56pm Top

3. Caxton Street
William Caxton merchant, diplomat, writer, introduced the printing press to England in 1476. A good spot for books that won't fit in anywhere else. Food-related books will also be here, a salute to Caxton Grill http://www.caxtongrill.co.uk/

1. Descent by Tim Johnston
2. Leave the Grave Green by Deborah Crombie
3. Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx
4. Toast : the story of a boy's hunger by Nigel Slater
5. The Tea House on Mulberry Street by Sharon Owens
6. Whitewater Cooks with Passion by Shelley Adams
7. A Bit on the Side by William Trevor
8. Bound by Jo Napoli

Edited: Oct 1, 2015, 7:19pm Top

4. Charing Cross Road
Not just bookshops, the statue of Edith Cavell (1865 – 1915) stands at the bottom of the street. As an English WWI nurse in Belgium, she cared for wounded from both sides and helped Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium. For this act of treason she was executed. This street will commemorate strong women - and books of course!

1. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
2. Longbourn by Jo Baker
3. Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear
4. The Good Thief's Guide to Venice by Chris Ewan
5. Ex Libris : Confessions of a common reader by Anne Fadiman
6. The Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam by Chris Ewan
7. A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr
8. A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

Edited: Oct 11, 2015, 8:40pm Top

Edited: Nov 11, 2015, 7:20pm Top

7. Fleet Street
News, birthplace of Samuel Pepys, home to Sweeney Todd. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese pub has been In business here since 1598 and was frequented by Twain, Goldsmith, Tennyson, Doyle, Chesterton, and Dr Johnson among others. It was the subject of the excellent book The Cheshire Cheese Cat by Carmen Agra Deedy.

1. Prince Harry: Brother, Soldier, Son by Penny Junor
2. Stiff : The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
3. The Final Silence by Stuart Neville
4. Cross by Ken Bruen
5. The Guards by Ken Bruen
6. Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder
7. The ghost map: the story of London's most terrifying epidemic--and how it changed science, cities, and the modern world by Steven Johnson
8. Trudeau Albums

Edited: Sep 21, 2015, 2:06am Top

8. Great Ormond Street
The Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children was given the copyright of Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie: a major source of funding for 100 years. A good spot for books about health and for or about children.

1. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
2. Last Night at the Blue Angel by Rebecca Rotert
3. Al Capone Does My Homework by Gennifer Choldenko
4. Silverfin by Charlie Higson
5. The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje
6. 22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson
7. Being Sam Frears : A Life Less Ordinary by Mary Mount
8. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

Edited: Nov 4, 2015, 2:39pm Top

9. Lamb's Conduit Street
Location of Persephone Books and the one-time home of Dorothy Sayers. Located in Bloomsbury, where blue plaques on houses indicate where writers, scientists or philosophers once lived. Persephone, Virago, Bloomsbury, and Sayers' books will be here.

1. Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
2. The Nine Tailors : changes rung on an old theme, in two short touches and two full peals by Dorothy L. Sayers
3. Strong Poison by Dorothy L. Sayers
4. Vanessa and her sister by Priya Parmar
5. Poor Cow by Nell Dunn
6. Unnatural Death by Dorothy L. Sayers
7. Jane and Prudence by Barbara Pym
8. The London scene: six essays on London life by Virginia Woolf

Edited: Sep 30, 2015, 1:57am Top

10. Oxford Street
Known for Oxford Circus, Marble Arch and shopping. The last time I was on this street I went to Thomas Cook, travel agent, so books set in other countries will be here.

1. The Shepherd by Frederick Forsyth
2. Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life by Nina Stibbe
3. The Book of Murder by Guillermo Martinez
4. The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
5. Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner
6. Djibouti by Elmore Leonard
7. The Story of Lucy Gault by William Trevor
8. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

Edited: Nov 15, 2015, 9:51pm Top

11. Pall Mall
In 1630 first court for pall-mall was laid in this location, a mallet and ball game similar to croquet and golf. Now home to Victorian and Edwardian gentlemens' clubs such as the Athenaeum.

1. A Pelican at Blandings by P.G. Wodehouse
2. My Man Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
3. A Room with a View by E.M. Forster
4. Miss Mapp by E.F. Benson
5. The Moon and Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham
6. Tiger in the Well by Philip Pullman
7. A Prisoner of Birth by Jeffrey Archer
8. Inside the Lines by Earl Derr Biggers

Edited: Nov 11, 2015, 7:21pm Top

12. Portobello Road
Between Paddington and Notting Hill. Despite waves of gentrification and the recent arrival of High Street chain stores, its Bohemian and creative spirit has survived. Known for markets, antiques, unique shopping.

1. Dream Angus by Alexander McCall Smith
2. Mourn Not Your Dead by Deborah Crombie
3. Nocturne by Deborah Crombie
4. Stone Bruises by Simon Beckett
5. Portobello by Ruth Rendell
6. The Majolica Murders by Deborah Morgan
7. Mr Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
8. Kissed a sad goodbye by Deborah Crombie

Edited: Nov 11, 2015, 7:22pm Top

13. Pudding Lane
Named for the "puddings", a medieval name for offal, that fell from butchers' carts. More famous because the Great Fire of London began in a bakery here. Since the name makes me smile, humour will go here.

1. The Pigeon Pie Mystery by Julia Stuart
2. To Fetch a Thief by Spencer Quinn
3. Smut : two unseemly stories by Alan Bennett
4. Belfast Confidential by Colin Bateman
5. Death of a Chimney Sweep by M.C. Beaton
6. The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson
7. The Marseille Caper by Peter Mayle
8. The good thief's guide to Berlin by Chris Ewan
9. Canapes for the kitties by Marion Babson

Edited: Sep 21, 2015, 12:57pm Top

14. Strand
Location of the Australian Embassy so Australian books will be here. Once home to a number of writers and the Strand magazine (1890-1950, revived 1998) that published mystery stories by a host of famous writers, even one by Churchill, and an illustration by Queen Victoria.

1. Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood
2. Murder Most Foul
3. Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan
4. Bleak Spring by Jon Cleary
5. I am the messenger by Markus Zusak
6. The Killing of the Tinkers by Ken Bruen
7. The little red yellow black book : an introduction to indigenous Australia by Bruce Pascoe
8. Death at the Chase by Michael Innes

Edited: Oct 16, 2015, 5:27pm Top

15. Trafalgar Square
Canada House and the National Gallery is located here. Commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar. Accordingly, Canada, art, and history finds a home.

1. Island : the collected stories by Alistair MacLeod
2. The Accident by Linwood Barclay
3. Not My Father's Son : a Memoir by Alan Cumming
4. Doors Open by Ian Rankin
5. As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by C. Alan Bradley
6. Clara Callan by Richard B. Wright
7. Eating Dirt by Charlotte Gill
8. Sing a Worried Song by William Deverell
9. More Ghost Stories of Alberta by Barbara Smith

Edited: Jun 24, 2015, 4:42pm Top

Read a book...
1. with a protagonist of the opposite gender : The Nine Tailors : changes rung on an old theme, in two short touches and two full peals by Dorothy L. Sayers
2. chosen for you by someone else : Belfast Confidential by Colin Bateman
3. you’ve owned for more than 1 year : The Tea House on Mulberry Street by Sharon Owens
4. about/with scientists : The Man Who Knew Too Much: Alan Turing and the Invention of the Computer by David Leavitt
5. about a subject of which you're unfamiliar : Stiff : The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
6. translated from a language you don't speak : The Book of Murder by Guillermo Martinez
7. with a natural disaster : Selections from the Diary of Samuel Pepys by Samuel Pepys
8. about autism : Al Capone Does My Homework by Gennifer Choldenko
9. with an LGBTQ main character : Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx
10. set in a country other than your own : Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood
11. about language : Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
12. published in 1915 : Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan
13. a CAT : Gallows View by Peter Robinson - February RandomCAT
14. that reminds you of your childhood : Stormbreaker by Antony Horowitz
15. with prophecy, signs, or portents : The Shepherd by Frederick Forsyth
16. based on a fairy tale or myth : Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
17. inspired by another piece of fiction : Longbourn by Jo Baker
18. with correspondence, or letters : Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life by Nina Stibbe
19. by an LT Author : The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
20. where an animal is of importance : To Fetch a Thief by Spencer Quinn
21. with a mythical creature : Dream Angus by Alexander McCall Smith
22. about a major historical event : Everest : Summit of Achievement
23. author has the same name as grandmother : Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
24. that’s a genre bender : The Pigeon Pie Mystery by Julia Stuart
25. that is outside your comfort zone : Descent by Tim Johnston

Edited: Nov 15, 2015, 9:52pm Top

My second Bingo card:

1. Set in a Country Other Than Your Own: Not a penny more, not a penny less by Jeffrey Archer
2. That is a Genre Bender: The Tiger in the Well by Philip Pullman
3. That Reminds You of Your Childhood: A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr
4. Chosen By Someone Else: The little red yellow black book : an introduction to indigenous Australia by Bruce Pascoe
5. Where an Animal Is Of Importance: Canapes for the kitties by Marion Babson
6. With Correspondence or Letters: Clara Callan by Richard B. Wright
7. Owned For More Than One Year: Miss Mapp by E.F. Benson
8. That Is Translated: The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
9. Centered Around a Major Historical Event: 22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson
10. Published in 1915: Inside the Lines by Earl Derr Biggers
11. With Prophecies or Portents: More Ghost Stories of Alberta by Barbara Smith
12. With Scientists: Eating Dirt by Charlotte Gill
13. Read A Cat: The Moon and Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham RandomCAT July
14. Whose Author Shares Ancestor's Name: Call for the Dead by John le Carré
15. With A Natural Disaster: The ghost map: the story of London's most terrifying epidemic--and how it changed science, cities, and the modern world by Steven Johnson
16. With a Mythical Creature: The Abominables by Eva Ibbotson
17. With a LBGTQ Main Character: A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood
18. By an LT Author: The Beekeeper's Apprentice : or, On the Segregation of the Queen by Laurie. R. King
19. About Language: Ex Libris : Confessions of a common reader by Anne Fadiman
20. Outside My Comfort Zone: The Question by Jane Asher
21. About Autism: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
22. Inspired by Another Work of Fiction: A Prisoner of Birth by Jeffrey Archer
23. On a Subject You Are Unfamiliar With: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré
24. Based on a Fairy Tale or Myth: Bound by Jo Napoli
25. With a Protagonist of the Opposite Gender: The Killing of the Tinkers by Ken Bruen

Edited: Dec 5, 2015, 8:12pm Top

January - Olympus Has Fallen: Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
February - Movies: Gallows View by Peter Robinson
March - All the Cool Kids are Doing it: Longbourn by Jo Baker
April - Aperire : the main character undergoes a huge life altering change: The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
June - On the Water: The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje
July - Let There Be Light : The Moon and Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham
August - The Dog Days of Summer : Five Days in London May 1940 by John Lukacs
September - How's the Weather : The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré
October - In the steps of a friend... :What the Psychic Told the Pilgrim: a midlife misadventure on Spain's Camino de Santiago by Jane Christmas
November: (1) With the name of a city in the title: The good thief's guide to Berlin by Chris Ewan
- (2) The London scene: six essays on London life by Virginia Woolf
December: With Home or House in the title: A Christmas Homecoming by Anne Perry

Edited: Aug 22, 2015, 3:37am Top

And just one more category for Outsiders : anything that doesn't fit the challenge

1. Puckster Plays the Hockey Mascots by Lorna Schultz Nicholson, illustrated by Kelly Findley
2. The Spider (Disgusting Creatures) by Elise Gravel
3. Outstanding in the Rain by Frank Viva
4. The Good Little Book by Kyo Maclear

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:57pm Top

Some humour for Pudding Lane

Also, this fills square 2 and completes my BINGO card!. It was a SantaThing pick. Thanks to jjmcgaffey for a great choice.

Belfast Confidential by Colin Bateman

Irreverent, ribald, and filled with that unique cheeky Belfast humour. Dan Starkey, journalist, investigates multiple murders involving the most popular magazine around: Belfast Confidential.

Jun 23, 2015, 4:43am Top

Happy new thread!

Jun 23, 2015, 5:59am Top

Happy New Thread, and congrats on completing your Bingo card!

Jun 23, 2015, 8:13am Top

I couldn't help but notice how many 4.5 and 5 star books you have enjoyed. Cool!

Jun 23, 2015, 8:39am Top

>22 VivienneR: I've read a few of the Dan Starkey series though not that particular one. Glad you enjoyed it. Similar in tone and context to early Christopher Brookmyre books with both utilising an investigative journalist with black humour.

Jun 23, 2015, 12:00pm Top

>23 MissWatson: Thank you.

>24 cbl_tn: Thanks, I considered a second card but a couple of the squares were a struggle to fill once!

>25 mamzel: I've been hitting it lucky! It's always a toss-up whether to read and get rid of the dross, or choose the most appealing book.

>26 AHS-Wolfy: Thanks for the tip about Brookmyre. I think I've already got him on my wishlist.

Jun 23, 2015, 4:27pm Top

I too noticed that you've had a lot of good reads this year. Hope your luck continues.

Jun 23, 2015, 4:40pm Top

Thanks Betty. Maybe I'm getting smarter about choosing what to read :)

Jun 23, 2015, 6:53pm Top

Congratulations on completing your Bingo Card, Vivienne. I enjoyed scrolling through your year to date reading and the pictures of London. I went for a second bingo card but I have given myself leeway in how I interpret some of the squares, thus making it easier on myself!

Jun 23, 2015, 9:04pm Top

Thanks Judy, I'm still considering a second Bingo card. I like the Art Deco one too so I may follow your lead. An easing of the interpretation of a couple would help.

Jun 24, 2015, 3:20pm Top

Happy new thread! What a wonderful shot of St. James's Park! I also enjoyed 're-visiting' London through your category pictures.

Congratulations on completing your Bingo card! I have two more books to read before I complete my Bingo card. I am hoping I can get it completed before we roll into July.

Jun 24, 2015, 4:21pm Top

Thanks Lori, good to see you drop by. Good luck on your Bingo, you'll be finished any day now. Judy (>30 DeltaQueen50:) has inspired me to start a second Bingo card although I have my doubts about being able to fill 2 or 3 of the squares.

Jun 24, 2015, 6:24pm Top

>33 VivienneR: Hooray for your second Bingo Card!

I have two squares that were giving me a little trouble, the "Outside My Comfort Zone" was hard cause I do read a lot of different genres, so I decided to read a book that even though it's the third in a quartet, I know will make me squirm in discomfort at times - Nineteen Eighty. The other square that was causing me to scratch my head was "A Book About Language" but my granddaughter and I are going to read a YA book called The Secret Language of Girls later on this year so I am going to use it for that square.

Jun 25, 2015, 12:23am Top

I know "prophecy, signs and portents", "mythical creature", and to some extent "based on a fairy tale" will be not only tricky but could also be "outside my comfort zone". I hope to leave them for last even though I know they will irk me until they are done.

The rest is simply fun!

Jun 25, 2015, 12:41am Top

>35 VivienneR: Well, next month the SFFFCat theme is "Critters" which would make it a great time to tackle "Mythical Creatures". Have you any interest in Naomi Novik's Temeraire series? The first one, His Majesty's Dragon was pretty good. It's light, historical fiction about the Napoleonic Wars but with the added touch of dragons. It's a popular series so probably easy to get at your library.

Jun 25, 2015, 12:49am Top

Thanks Judy, I'll keep your tips in mind and "favourite" your post.

Jun 25, 2015, 1:58am Top

Seconding Judy's Temeraire recommendation! It's a really good series, and not too fantastical despite the dragons. :)

Jun 25, 2015, 7:45pm Top

Thanks Christina. It's good to get a strong recommendation. This is my most difficult square.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:57pm Top

The first book finished since starting a new card fills BingoDOG 19, a book about language.

Being about language and books, it will reside on Charing Cross Road

Ex Libris : Confessions of a common reader by Anne Fadiman

As I started reading the first essay, Marrying Libraries, I enjoyed it so much that I imagined it would turn out to be my favourite. The second essay, The Joy of Sesquipedalians, quickly became a competitor for the prime spot. Then came My Odd Shelf, essay number three. You guessed it, now there were three contenders. And so it continued. This little book was enthralling. Fadiman writes so beautifully and about authors and books I am familiar with and appreciate as much. Not only that, I learned so many new words! Keep the dictionary handy when reading this book.

Jun 25, 2015, 9:40pm Top

Think I'll be taking a BB on this one. Books about books always intrigue me.

Jun 26, 2015, 1:09am Top

Good choice, Betty!

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:56pm Top

Owned for more than a year, this fills BingoDOG 7

Set in the 1920s it goes on Pall Mall

Miss Mapp by E.F. Benson

I've read the entire Mapp & Lucia series a few times and have come to the conclusion that Miss Mapp is my favourite character. Such a crafty mischief-maker! The machinations and intrigues of the residents of Tilling are hilariously entertaining. Major Flint and Captain Puffin are known to have bibulous disagreements but it was Puffin's belligerent confrontation with Miss Mapp that made me laugh so hard it brought tears to my eyes: "You say I'm drunk, do you? Well I say you're drunk."

On this nth reading, I'm awarding 5 stars yet again.

Jun 27, 2015, 8:54pm Top

>40 VivienneR:

I really ought to track down a copy of Ex Libris.

Jun 28, 2015, 1:54am Top

>44 hailelib: I'm sure you would enjoy it very much.

Jun 28, 2015, 5:58pm Top

>40 VivienneR:
That's a BB for me as well.

Jun 29, 2015, 3:20am Top

>46 -Eva-: I wish I'd made a note of where my BB originated. I'd like to say thank you. Hope you like it Eva.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:56pm Top

Taking place in England, France and the US, this fills Bingo 1 - set in a country other than my own.

Archer was a member of the British government, so this one goes on Downing Street

Not a penny more, not a penny less by Jeffrey Archer

It was OK, but this early novel of Archer's is not his best. A shady character gets investors to part with their money. When the money is lost the four biggest losers hatch a plan to get back every penny. It was quite far-fetched to think that someone as sharp-witted as Harvey Metcalfe would have been taken in by their antics. I noticed this won an ALA Best Books for Young Adults award. I'm sure Archer didn't intend it as a YA story, but it is a suitable choice.

Jul 1, 2015, 1:58am Top

I get to celebrate twice in July. On July 1st for Canada Day, and again on July 4th, my birthday!

Jul 1, 2015, 5:07am Top

Happy Canada Day!

Jul 1, 2015, 9:04am Top

Many of my coworkers are taking tomorrow and Friday off to give themselves an extra-long weekend, so I will pretend they are doing that in honour of your birthday ;) Have a great one!!

Jul 1, 2015, 9:47am Top

Happy Canada Day!

Jul 1, 2015, 12:20pm Top

>51 rabbitprincess: I've noticed a lot of people celebrate on my birthday :) Thanks for the good wishes.

>52 lkernagh: And another beautiful day it is. I know you are enjoying the sunshine too, Lori.

Jul 1, 2015, 12:46pm Top

I've lost you, but now you're found!
I guess I need to get to Benson's Mapp series. I've only read The Freaks of Mayfair from him but loved it.

Happy Canada Day!

Jul 1, 2015, 1:14pm Top

Good to know I'm found! I haven't read The Freaks of Mayfair so it goes on the wishlist right now!

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:56pm Top

This mystery goes on The Strand

It also fills Bingo 25 - a book with a protagonist of the opposite gender

The Killing of the Tinkers by Ken Bruen

Jack Taylor might be a train-wreck, but somehow remains appealing - evident even after a thrashing. As expected in a story involving an alcoholic - and now he's on cocaine too - it can be irreverent, brutal, revolting. But this is Jack Taylor and we can forgive him. The character-driven series is enhanced by Bruen's spare style of writing giving it a poetic quality. It would be a good idea to keep pencil and paper handy to make notes about Taylor's reading and music choices. I enjoyed this a lot and look forward to following the series.

Jul 1, 2015, 6:17pm Top

>56 VivienneR: Glad to see you're continuing to enjoy the series and don't blame you with the notebook idea.

Jul 1, 2015, 6:29pm Top

Happy Canada Day and Happy Birthday (on the 4th) as well. Are you doing anything special to celebrate either event?

Jul 1, 2015, 7:00pm Top

Happy Canada Day & Happy Birthday! I loved Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less. It's one of my two favorites by Jeffrey Archer. I was a young adult when I read it. Maybe that makes a difference!

Jul 1, 2015, 7:04pm Top

>57 AHS-Wolfy: I'll be reading the series in order from here on. It seems logical. Love Jack Taylor, I don't care that he's "broken".

>58 DeltaQueen50: I had an early birthday celebration at the weekend, and we'll be going to Vancouver and Victoria at the beginning of August to celebrate birthday and anniversary. I hope you are enjoying this glorious Canada Day too.

Jul 2, 2015, 1:30pm Top

>59 cbl_tn: Thanks Carrie. Maybe Archer did intend it for a YA audience after all. I can see how it would appeal to a teen reader.

Jul 2, 2015, 7:32pm Top

>59 cbl_tn:
I agree I really liked Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less. It was amazing to me that he really pulled this off!

Jul 4, 2015, 6:30am Top

Happy birthday! :) Hope you have yet another fantastic day!

Jul 4, 2015, 9:04am Top

Happy birthday, Vivienne!!! :D

Jul 4, 2015, 9:07am Top

Happy birthday!

Jul 4, 2015, 11:20am Top

Happy Birthday!

Jul 5, 2015, 11:33am Top

>63 Chrischi_HH:, >64 rabbitprincess:, >65 MissWatson:, >66 mstrust: Thank you, all. I had a wonderful day with family.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:56pm Top

Because the child was such an important character, this one will go on Great Ormond Street

It also fills BingoDog 9 - centred around a major historical event, in this case WWII

22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson

I have a lot of sympathy and sorrow about what Europeans suffered during and after WWII, especially those families who were separated and displaced. Hodgkinson's story is a reminder that what is broken is difficult to put back together. I liked the format that intersperses the stories of Silvana, Janusz, and the their difficult reunion in England after the war. But there was something lacking in this debut novel and I find it hard to identify just what it was. Good, but not great.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:55pm Top

Because the events in Rwanda was in the news for so long, this belongs on Fleet Street

Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder

Difficulties for immigrants are abundant, but for Deogratias Niyizonkiza, a medical student who arrived in New York from the horrors of Burundi and Rwanda in the 1990s, they are magnified to what seems insurmountable heights. The situation was further complicated by language. Deo spoke French, his English learned from a phrase book. In his first job delivering groceries, he politely said "Hi" to customers and wondered why the response was strange. It wasn't until much later he discovered his French pronunciation expressed the greeting as "Hee". Kidder opened the story in New York where the reader is shocked, but has some understanding of the situation Deo faced. Then, going back to earlier events of civil war and genocide in Burundi and Rwanda, we can see why this young man struggled so hard to get his life back on track. In places Deo's story was heart-breaking beyond words, both in America and in Africa. His perseverance and diligence is inspiring. Still, Kidder omits his reason for writing Deo's story. Is this an immigrant success story or an account of the harrowing events in Burundi and Rwanda? It appears to be neither one nor the other. By combining both, the impact is significantly diminished.

This was an audiobook narrated by the author, the narration being the weakest part of the book. Unless an author has a good reading voice, it's advisable to hire a professional for the job.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:55pm Top

Naturally, this goes on Portobello Road

Portobello by Ruth Rendell

I enjoyed this examination of obsession in many forms and how the fixation of each character dovetailed with the others. The setting is district of Portobello and its varied residents. I loved the tongue-in-cheek humour. In the new-found dignity of Portobello elite, the pub is to be renamed because no one knows who The Earl of Lonsdale was. The favoured new name is The Slug and Lettuce. This story with its widely diverse characters in an iconic neighbourhood is possibly my favourite Rendell.

Jul 9, 2015, 9:23am Top

>68 VivienneR: - Well, like, darn. I had high hopes for that one when I purchased my copy.

Edited: Jul 9, 2015, 1:42pm Top

>71 lkernagh:, Lori, don't give up hope. It could very well turn out to be one of your favourite books.

I've thought about it a lot since finishing it, and I still can't put my finger on exactly what I didn't like. The boy's name was used about 10 times too much, which irritated, but that wasn't it. I think it was because I couldn't feel any sympathy for the characters. They didn't ring true.

I will watch out for your review. And I hope you enjoy it a lot.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:55pm Top

This Canadian book goes on Trafalgar Square

It also fills Bingo 6 - a book with correspondence

Clara Callan by Richard B. Wright

Getting to know these two sisters and sharing their lives was the most important part as well as the most enjoyable part of Wright's book. The sisters, Clara and Nora, are from a village in Ontario bound by the typical social mores of the 1930s. The story is told through their letters after the younger one goes to work in the glamorous world of radio soap opera. Clara, a teacher, remains at home. I loved the gentle writing, the look back at life in the 1930s. It's hard to believe the author is male yet was able to portray the women so perfectly.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:55pm Top

As Charlie mentions selling his books in a Charing Cross Road bookshop, that's where this one will reside.

The Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam by Chris Ewan

The first of the Good Thief's Guide series introduces Charlie Howard as an author of mystery stories who appears to get his ideas from being a burglar. Charlie is quite appealing, one can almost forgive him for being a thief - presumably the source of the "good thief" epithet. In this case, he was approached by someone who asked him to steal three figurines of the wise monkey variety in connection with an old diamond heist. The plot became a little bogged down requiring a long denouement, but Charilie pulls it off and even throws in a surprise ending. This was an audiobook with excellent narration by Simon Vance.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:55pm Top

Jane Asher is well-known as Paul McCartney's one time girlfriend, so this goes on Abbey Road

It fills Bingo square 20 - outside my comfort zone

The Question by Jane Asher

Asher had me hooked in the first few pages when haughty Eleanor realizes her husband is having an affair. Her internal dialogue, not always silent, ranges from frenzied to humorous. The story has a gratifyingly dark, creepy quality. Indeed, Eleanor can be downright nasty, although some may say justifiably so. Just as the reader gets an idea of where the story is leading, Asher takes it to another level. The disquiet was erratic, and towards the end the nastiness ebbed somewhat, a ploy that only serves to calm the reader before a final assault. It is reminiscent of Stephen King's Misery, albeit in a refined, well-bred English way. Perhaps the horror was more acute because it was so unexpected, coming from the nice, fluffy image of cake-maker Jane Asher. Highly recommended.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:54pm Top

Although published in 1919, Maugham will always remind me of the Edwardian era, so this goes on Pall Mall

It is my choice for July's RandomCAT - Let there be light

That means it also fills Bingo 13 - Read a CAT

The Moon and Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham

This novel is not a biography of Paul Gaugin but was inspired by the life of the French post-impressionist. There are a few similarities in the lives of Gaugin and Charles Strickland, but the story is Maugham's creation. Strickland is a repulsive character and from my limited knowledge of Gauguin, it appears there was a distinct similarity. It's not an attractive or appealing story, but still the reader feels the urge to continue, to see it through, possibly to discover deeper motives. Maugham's writing is a joy to read: beautifully clear and precise while able to depict emotions and traits, many of which we would rather deny.

When rating this book I was torn between my enjoyment of the story and the quality of the writing. As a writer, Maugham deserves more, but the characters - they were, after all, created by Maugham - influenced my decision to give this book 4 stars.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:54pm Top

Another one for Pall Mall

Tiger in the Well by Philip Pullman

I thought I might have to abandon this book early because the crime against the protagonist is so exasperating! Sally Lockhart, a single mother, is charged with a list of crimes starting with abandonment of her husband. If she is found guilty, her daughter will be taken from her. The truth is, she's never been married. Not that that makes for a good defence for a single mother in Victorian days. The man claiming to be her husband is a complete stranger. Her solicitor and lawyer were equally exasperating in advising her to show remorse. But I kept reading because the story is gripping, there is lots of action, and the details of Victorian life were so interesting. An excellent book intended for young adults. This is a dark story, describing the treatment and persecution of Jewish immigrants and political groups.

Edited: Jul 23, 2015, 6:06pm Top

Oh! I listened to the first three books in this series (narrated by Anton Lesser.) Actually, I should say I listened to the first two-and-a-quarter. It was so dark and tension-filled, that I could barely breathe much less resume play on my iPod! I ended up getting it in print so I could peek a little at the ending and prepare myself. Child custody issues always make me feel queasy, whether in fiction or in fact! That said, I recommend both the book and audiobook editions to YA and adults alike :-)

Jul 24, 2015, 1:24am Top

It certainly wasn't like anything I read as a young adult :) Enthralling. I'll watch for the others in the series.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:54pm Top

A mystery for Baker Street

A Necessary End by Peter Robinson

Another good yarn involving Inspector Banks, the Good. He might be good, but not perfect as he flirts with a colleague. This time he is offset by Dirty Dick, aka DS Dick Burgess, who is in charge of the investigation. The case is the murder of a police constable at a political demonstration. Robinson is hard to beat for a police procedural that in this case takes an interesting look at 1990s society in England.

Edited: Jul 28, 2015, 7:25pm Top

>80 VivienneR: Peter Robinson is on my wish list of books to read. I don't remember if they are available locally or not. I may have to check because I've seen several books by him lately that have good reviews.

ETA: I just checked, and my library has the first in the series in print and e-book and audio book format.

Jul 28, 2015, 8:06pm Top

>81 thornton37814: I've read some out of sequence and enjoyed them so I decided to start at the beginning and try to get as many as are locally available. Inspector Banks' character and personal life develops through the series so I'm looking forward to getting to the more recent books. I hope you enjoy them.

Edited: Jul 28, 2015, 8:59pm Top

>82 VivienneR: The ones on my wish list were actually more recent ones, but I decided that I probably ought to start with the first.

Jul 29, 2015, 3:44pm Top

This was intended to be my choice for August's RandomCat. I will choose something else instead.

A Death in Summer by Benjamin Black

Abandoned about one-third of the way in. It was simply tedious. Enough!

I have other books by this author written under the name John Banville. I hope they are better than this one but I won't be in any hurry to read them.

Jul 29, 2015, 4:41pm Top

>84 VivienneR: I didn't finish it either. I read his Black Eyed Blonde and loved it, but Death in Summer was really boring.

Jul 30, 2015, 12:25am Top

>85 mysterymax: I realized it was the second one by the same author that I abandoned mid-way, so I got rid of all four that were on the shelf. I should have referred to you before I did as Black Eyed Blonde was one of them. The old phrase "so many books, so little time" should be remembered here. ;)

Jul 30, 2015, 7:16am Top

How one feels about Black Eyed Blonde depends on how critical you are. Even though it was a Phillip Marlowe book, I read it more as a 'in the style of the hard-boiled detective'. There are so few people who can really write a hard-boiled detective any more, that I am encouraged when one comes along. It wasn't really Marlowe, but close enough to enjoy.

Jul 30, 2015, 2:13pm Top

I tried Banville's The Sea and didn't get past the first chapter. It's a Booker Prize winner, so I'd looked forward to it, but I quickly hated his style.

Jul 31, 2015, 2:05pm Top

>87 mysterymax: That might have been one worth keeping, but too late now. It has found another home.

>88 mstrust: I got to about the same spot when I gave up. And it was his style that put me off too.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:54pm Top

Although it's not exactly humorous, there is enough comedy to place it on Pudding Lane

Death of a Chimney Sweep by M.C. Beaton

Definitely the most far-fetched of Beaton's Hamish Macbeth stories. Entertaining as usual, but Beaton was having an off-day when she dashed off this one.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:53pm Top

Vacations and visitors have cut into my reading time. I'm just catching up on the books I managed to finish so far this month:

One for Downing Street
Also fills August RandomCAT : The Dog Days of Summer

Five Days in London May 1940 by John Lukacs
Of all the books written about Churchill's part in WWII this one zooms in on the few days when he became Prime Minister. It makes one think of what might have happened had someone else got the job. Not for a casual reader, this is a close examination of a political microcosm. 4*

A Canadian book that belongs on Trafalgar Square
Dealing with silviculture, this will fill Bingo #12 - a book with scientists

Eating Dirt by Charlotte Gill
An excellent book about the intrepid tree-planters of British Columbia who spend most of the year in the clear-cut forests. My image of a clear-cut was of a grim area bereft of beauty, yet Gill saw beauty everywhere despite the "permadirt" ingrained in a tree-planter's skin. In addition to describing the people who take on this relentlessly back-breaking work, she talks about forests and forestry with expertise. Her writing is beautifully poetic in places and deserving of all the accolades received. 4.5*

A natural for Great Ormond Street

Being Sam Frears : A Life Less Ordinary by Mary Mount
I picked this up after enjoying Love, Nina : despatches from family life by Nina Stibbe. She wrote letters to her sister describing her experience as nanny to Sam Frears, a child with familial dysautonomia, a disorder with multiple difficulties. Her charge was portrayed as a talented child with a very definite and defined sense of humour. This book is a brief account of life for the adult Frears who is living independently and working as an actor, and still has that unique sense of humour. 4*

An Australian book for The Strand
This book was a gift so will fill Bingo #4 - chosen by someone else

The little red yellow black book : an introduction to indigenous Australia by Bruce Pascoe
As an introduction, this slim little book packs in a lot of information. From history through to culture, arts, educaiton, and governance, this is a good spot to launch more reading on Australian indigenous peoples. The illustrations and photographs are beautiful. 3.5*

An Early Reviewer snag, this one is an Outsider

The Good Little Book by Kyo Maclear
This is the story of a book: not just any book but the favourite of one little boy, who wanted to read it over and over again. When it was lost he was filled with sorrow. In his search for the beloved book, he found many others, opening a new world of discovery. A charming story told beautifully in words and colourful illustrations. 5*

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:53pm Top

This one's for Downing Street

It also fills Bingo 14 - author shares an ancestor's (my father's) name

Call for the Dead by John le Carré

I've been collecting le Carré's books to re-read. This one, the first in this series, introduces George Smiley, the self-effacing antithesis of Fleming's James Bond. The story has kept its appeal, and while depicting London in the sixties, has not become dated. Le Carré's custom of summarizing events here and there throughout the story helps the reader follow intricate plots. It's been close to fifty years since my first reading. It was just as enjoyable this time around.

This was a re-introduction to the series. I'm looking forward to reading The Spy Who Came in from the Cold for September's RandomCAT.

Vacations and guests cut into my reading time in August. This wraps up my measly reading list for the month.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:53pm Top

A Canadian book for Trafalgar Square

Sing a Worried Song by William Deverell

The first half of this book is taken up with a murder trial in Vancouver 1987 when Arthur Beauchamp was retained as prosecutor, not his usual position. He won the case. As the murderer was led away he threatened Beauchamp with "I'll see you in hell".

Fast-forward to 2012 when Beauchamp is living on one of the Gulf Islands just off Vancouver's coast. With the many distressing events he has experienced in his life, worry and self-doubt has become habit, escalating when the 1987 killer has been given parole.

The characters, especially on the island, are eccentric in a believable way (I know these islands) and provided much comic relief in an otherwise straightforward courtroom mystery. Although the story is fairly slow, it was fun and interesting. I enjoyed all the local references that show some of the unique West Coast character.

Deverell, a Vancouver lawyer, is founder of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and creator of the CBC television series Street Legal. He adds a note to this novel, explaining the real case that inspired it. It seems also that some of the characters were based on real people. Beauchamp's second wife, Margaret, appears to be Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party in Canada.

Sep 4, 2015, 2:04pm Top

Great to see you back posting, Vivienne. Here's to a September that's loaded with good reads!

Sep 4, 2015, 8:29pm Top

It's good to be back Judy. I had to wait for my husband today, during his medical appointment. The doctor's office was right next to a bookstore! With a lot of self-control, I only bought four books. Luckily it wasn't last month when I was suffering withdrawal symptoms :)

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:52pm Top

A good detective story for Baker Street

The Last Detective by Peter Lovesey

The detective of the title, Peter Diamond, is one of the last of the old-school detectives who are known to be scornful of modern methods. The story alternates between Diamond's story and the account of Greg Jackman, a university professor in Bath who has been assigned the job of holding a Jane Austen exhibition. When his beautiful, famous wife is found dead the investigation misses some essential information - not that it would have been caught by the police computer records anyway. The mother of a boy Jackman rescued from the river becomes the prime suspect. I really enjoyed this old-style mystery. It has plenty of intrigue, excellent characters and the Jane Austen sub-plot gave the story added interest.

Sep 6, 2015, 9:13pm Top

>96 VivienneR: That one has been on my wishlist for several years. I'll have to bump it higher since it has a Jane Austen connection.

Sep 7, 2015, 3:21am Top

I hope you enjoy it, Carrie. I have more by Lovesey on the tbr shelf that I'm planning to bump up too.

Sep 7, 2015, 7:42pm Top

>96 VivienneR: Peter Lovesey is on my TBR list. One of these days I'll get to it.

Sep 9, 2015, 1:04am Top

I've enjoyed all the Peter Lovesey mysteries I've read. I'm looking forward to catching up to the more recent stories to find out if "the last detective" ever modernizes his methods.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:52pm Top

This one is for Downing Street

It also fills September RandomCAT - How's the weather?

And, as I know nothing about spying, it fills BingoDOG 23 : a subject you are unfamiliar with

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré

The lines become blurred when trying to determine on which side an agent belongs, or in fact, how many sides. Le Carré's writing is intelligent and the story unfolds well, providing a puzzle of who might be telling the truth. It has been many years since I first read this and all I remembered was that Leamas wanted out of the service and to "come in from the cold". An enthralling story, that will hold the reader's attention to the last page.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:52pm Top

With the statue of Edith Cavell in the neighbourhood, this one goes on Charing Cross Road

Because of the look back at a perfect English summer, it fills BingoDOG 3 - reminds me of my childhood

A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr

Written in 1980 but set in 1920 this slim novel tells the story of shell-shocked Great War veteran, Tom Birkin, who has taken on the job of restoring a medieval mural in a village church. Moon, another veteran, is searching the grounds for a lost grave. This is a story of recovery and restoration for the men as much as the church. It is a beautiful look back at rural customs and a way of life that no longer exists. The recollection of that gentle, warm English summer is a balm to characters and reader alike. Carr has written an unforgettable story that continues to kindle thought and reflection long after the reading is done.

Thanks to RidgewayGirl for recommending this excellent book. Five stars!

Sep 10, 2015, 9:07pm Top

>101 VivienneR: My BF and I watched the movie a few years ago and I couldn't remember if that was how the book ended too (it seemed like a surprise), so I really should get around to rereading it!

Sep 10, 2015, 9:37pm Top

>103 rabbitprincess: I haven't seen the movie, so can't compare. I've been told it's on YouTube so I'll have to check it out. This is definitely the type of book that will be re-read regularly.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:52pm Top

For Caxton Street

A Bit on the Side by William Trevor

Not being a fan of short stories, my opinion may not do this book any justice. The stories are deceptively mild, understated, yet providing insight into the human psyche even while it might appear that nothing much happens. Nevertheless, whether the subject is pleasant or repellant Trevor writes beautifully, eloquently capturing moments in time.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:51pm Top

Searching for antiques on Portobello Road

The Majolica Murders by Deborah Morgan

Ex-FBI agent, Jeff Talbot, is now an antiques picker in Seattle. His friend, Lanny, also a picker, was Jeff's informant in his FBI days. Lanny has been arrested and charged with the murder of an antiques dealer. This was my first by Morgan. Despite a weak plot, poorly developed characters, and being far-fetched, I got a few hours of mild entertainment following the twists.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:51pm Top

A Virago Modern Classic for Lamb's Conduit Street

Poor Cow by Nell Dunn

Although superbly written, this story is not dressed up, it's a stark look at life for a young woman of the 1960s in the East End of London. Under-educated, no prospects, a new-born baby, and a serious shortage of money, Joy maintains a positive, bright outlook. In spite of the heartbreaking deal life has given her, Joy is a delight. Many of the moments she shares with her little son, Jonny, are so soft and loving compared with the harsh realities of her life.

Dunn's exceptional writing goes from first person to third person, often using phrases of local dialect, with some letters in the vernacular from Joy to her boyfriend in prison. Put together, they create the picture that is essentially Joy: frivolous, loving, childlike, unwittingly vulgar, unfailingly cheerful. It's not everyone's taste, but I loved this book, loved Joy.

"To think when I was a kid I planned to conquer the world and if anyone saw me now they'd say, 'She's had a rough night, poor cow.'"

This Virago Modern Classics edition includes Preface by the author: Memories of Battersea in which she describes her own experience of the 1960s, which was lived in a poor neighbourhood similar to Joy's. It also has an excellent introduction by friend of the author, Margaret Drabble.

Thanks to nickelini for the book bullet.

Sep 16, 2015, 7:01pm Top

>91 VivienneR: I really enjoyed Eating Dirt too. I didn't expect such a poetic work about tree planting.

Sep 16, 2015, 9:37pm Top

>102 VivienneR: A Month in the Country has been on my TBR list for ages. I must make more effort to fit it into my reading plans. It sounds like a book I would enjoy.

Sep 17, 2015, 1:01am Top

>108 mathgirl40: I found it unexpected too. I keep recommending it to friends and they wonder why I'm suggesting a book about tree planters (a well-known group in this forested province).

>109 cbl_tn: Carrie, I'm quite sure you would enjoy it. It is a perfect example of halcyon days.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:51pm Top

Another five-star read for me. Definitely belongs on the funny Pudding Lane

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson

This is Bryson's nostalgic memoir of growing up in the 1950s in Iowa. He uses factual information enhanced with his own memories. I laughed out loud many times, was helpless with laughter a number of times. I sympathized, empathized, agreed, cheered, or took a shocked intake of breath as young Billy's story progressed. Although anyone who grew up in the same era might get a special enjoyment in revisiting their youth, it is not limited to a specific generation or gender; anyone can enjoy this story. And I thoroughly enjoyed it.

This was an audiobook with an excellent narration by the author and included a short interview at the conclusion. Count me in as a fan.

Sep 17, 2015, 7:24am Top

I've only read A Walk in the Woods so far, but I have a few others on my "in the future" list and I'll be adding this to that list also.

Edited: Sep 17, 2015, 12:48pm Top

Thanks, that's one for my tbr list.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:51pm Top

One for Great Ormond Street

This also fills Bingo 21 - a book about autism

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

There is little I can say about this book that hasn't been said already. Haddon has written an innovative and entertaining story about an autistic teenager, a condition that is difficult for most of us to understand. He has done it in a way that is clear, perceptive and empathetic without any hint of pathos or condescension. Christopher Boone is in fact more perceptive than most people and makes many intriguing and interesting points. This book will make the reader look at several things differently. Very enjoyable.

Sep 21, 2015, 11:14am Top

>114 VivienneR: At the time I read that book it was very different than anything else I had read in a long time. I was captivated by it, and it stuck with me a long time. It's probably time for a re-read of it, but I've got so many other books vying for my attention that I'm not likely to get to it soon.

Sep 21, 2015, 12:44pm Top

>115 thornton37814: I'll probably think about it for a long time too, Lori. It is definitely a book I will read again at some point.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:50pm Top

This one will go on the Strand

Death at the Chase by Michael Innes

After a couple of long-winded passages I was tempted to abandon this book. That's something I don't like doing, so I kept going. The most I got from it is that Innes is a pretentious writer, the plot was poor, and the characters were either snobs or just silly.

"All appeared to have been very fond of chimneys; clusters of these, some weathered smooth and others still distinguishably carved with Tudor elaboration, sprouted from a grey stone roof which had turned sinuous and undulant with the years. The effect was rather that of some improbable monster in a medieval Bestiary, horripilant like the porpentine against its foes."

"In the silence which for a moment followed this the rising wind continued to murmur and whisper in the interstices of the roof. According to one's mood, one might have concluded the effect to be either maleficent or benign; a sinister stirring of those natural forces by which the pyramids themselves will one day be worn away, or a comfortable cradle song crooned by earth over a structure which, although venerable to a human eye, must nestle in a mere infancy to the eye of time."

Sep 21, 2015, 2:28pm Top

That you continued with this is impressive. I would have given up on it. Pretentious, indeed!

Sep 21, 2015, 2:36pm Top

>117 VivienneR: LOL! My eyes glazed over before the end of the first sentence!

I've been warned that Innes is very hit and miss. I have only read one of his so far, The New Sonia Wayward and even though very far-fetched I quite liked it, but I have been leery of trying him again.

Sep 21, 2015, 6:12pm Top

It was a mercifully short book! If Innes had left out all the pompous language it would have been an essay!

I hate to admit it, but another Innes book, Death at the President's Lodging, arrived in the mail today. I may not even enter it in my library, but just toss it in with the donations for the library booksale. What was I thinking??

Sep 25, 2015, 12:21pm Top

>120 VivienneR: Ugh. I hate it when I change my mind so soon after buying a book.

Sep 25, 2015, 2:50pm Top

>121 Nickelini: I've often said it: "It seemed like a good idea at the time". Fortunately I've got lots of great books on the shelf just waiting to be picked. Right now I'm enjoying A God in Ruins by favourite author Kate Atkinson which is making up for my bad choices.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:50pm Top

Naturally, being Sayers' old address, this one goes on Lamb's Conduit Street

Unnatural Death by Dorothy L. Sayers

In this mystery, Wimsey tries to determine, not who, but why, and most importantly, how, it was accomplished. The labyrinthine 1925 Administration of Estates Act features strongly. Although the plot would not pass muster in modern mystery writing, it was a fun read. This one introduces Lord Peter's elderly assistant, the meticulous Miss Climpson. Well-written and entertaining, this is a perfect example of the golden age of mystery writing.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:50pm Top

For Oxford Street

This also fills Bingo #8 - a translation

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

The Chinese Premier is planning a visit to India to investigate how entrepreneurship works there. In a series of letters, Balram Halwai, a poor man from "the Darkness" describes the system. Perpetual servitude is the rule in India, where millions of impoverished people of "the Darkness" are trapped. The analogy of the white tiger at the zoo demonstrates that imprisonment. Balram takes matters into his own hands eventually creating his own "startup". Is socialism on the way? Has entrepreneurship succeeded? Or has Balram just joined the bosses. This excellent novel, winner of the Booker prize in 2008, is by turns ribald, funny and yet ultimately disheartening. The reader cheers for the amenable Balram but there is no way out.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:50pm Top

My last book for September is a five-star winner.

It goes on Charing Cross Road

A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

So many books describe the happenings of WWII yet Atkinson has written a fresh, compelling story with a unique approach. This book is about Teddy, brother of Ursula, whose story was told in the companion book Life After Life. Although both books are individual, reading them in sequence enhances Atkinson's superb creativity. She has a genius for creating an intricate web of storylines that all come together with an impact that is masterful and elegant.

Atkinson portrays characters so well that, whether we like them or not, we become as familiar with them as with family. We know them well enough that we can almost predict their attitudes, responses, opinions on any topic. However, like living mortals, they can surprise us. Viola, is not a likeable person, but she is well aware of that, demonstrated by her frequent protestations to her imaginary "jury". Teddy, despite being a Bomber Command pilot, is truly humanitarian; certainly the person I most admired.

The reflection on the ethics and wisdom (or lack of it) of strategic bombing was interesting. Teddy considers this more as he grows older, and although the losses on both sides haunt him, his actions at the time can be justified. It is hardly coincidental that the controversial memorial to the RAF Bomber Command was just unveiled in 2012. The 55,573 crew who were killed accounts for almost half of the total aircrew. Atkinson adds a very informative epilogue where she describes "borrowing" from everyone, even real life accounts. She also helpfully includes a bibliography.

Now I want Izzie's story.

Oct 2, 2015, 2:29pm Top

>125 VivienneR:
Sounds like a very interesting storyline, and I know I like Atkinson, so it's a BB for me - thanks!

Oct 2, 2015, 3:55pm Top

Eva, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Oct 3, 2015, 5:16pm Top

I haven't got to Life After Life or A God in Ruins yet but I am looking forward to both as I love her writing!

Oct 3, 2015, 8:41pm Top

>128 DeltaQueen50: Then you know you are in for a treat, Judy. I liked A God in Ruins even more than Life After Life.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:49pm Top

This bit of fun belongs on Pudding Lane

The Marseille Caper by Peter Mayle

"Caper" accurately conveys the content of this book: a short, amusing mystery that will while away a few hours. Sun, sea and mouthwatering descriptions of food are a bonus.

Oct 8, 2015, 4:58pm Top

Sun, sea and mouthwatering descriptions of food

That description immediately made me think of the Inspector Montalbano series, so I think it is likely that I would enjoy Mayle's stories.

Oct 8, 2015, 5:49pm Top

Hi Vivienne! I keep meaning to read something by Peter Mayle. It sounds like one of the Capers might be just the thing for me.

Oct 8, 2015, 6:34pm Top

>131 lkernagh: & >132 cbl_tn: I am sure you would both find Mayle to be fun. He's like candy, too much is not advised, but a little now and then is a treat.

Oct 8, 2015, 11:53pm Top

In an attempt to complete some reading for BingoDOG, I started three books in the last week. The first, an audio version of Midnight in Europe by Alan Furst, was abandoned about one-third in. I just couldn't abide the narrator for one more minute. Instead I picked up another book by Furst, The Foreign Correspondent and couldn't get interested. However, I haven't given up entirely on this one and may try again another time. This is the type of book I usually enjoy.

I also abandoned Warhorse by Michael Morpurgo, a heartbreaking story about a horse. This is not surprising, I've never been able to get through Black Beauty either. Why are stories for children and young adults often the most harrowing?

Let's hope my reading picks up soon.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:49pm Top

One for Cromwell Road

It fills October RandomCAT - In the Steps of a Friend...

What the Psychic Told the Pilgrim: a midlife misadventure on Spain's Camino de Santiago by Jane Christmas

A couple of friends convinced me to read this book because one of them is planning to walk the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in a few months. Christmas made a huge error at the beginning of her odyssey, when she allowed her 14 travel companions, most of whom she had never met, to believe she was leading the group. The misunderstanding continued when she neglected to set them straight. Most of her account deals with the interpersonal relationships within her group and other people she met on the Camino. I found her attitude somewhat irritating. It appeared that she was more concerned with being accepted, and that didn't necessarily involve forming friendships.

I suspect the consultation with her psychic before heading out may have been fictional, but it gave the story a whiff of drama that was a fun touch. Apart from ripping off a fingernail, she didn't suffer any injuries beyond the expected wear and tear of walking 800 kilometres. That she finally reached the end of the walk was surprising, but it was an anticlimactic finish instead of being the grand conclusion of a pilgrimage. I hope my friend has a better time on "the Camino".

I didn't enjoy the story enough to give it any more than three stars, but as an aid to would-be pilgrims it clearly deserves more, so, four stars.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:49pm Top


Caxton Street and BingoDOG - based on a fairy tale

Bound by Jo Napoli

This retelling of Cinderella provides a look, not only at the custom of binding feet, but at other social conventions of ancient China. The writing has an illusory, other-worldly style that enhances the fairy tale mood. Xing Xing (Cinderella) is an appealing character, strong and smart. In keeping with the original, whether Chinese or Grimm's, parts of the story are painful, unlike the unbloodied modern version. Again I wonder why books for young people continue to be distressing. It makes me think of a Victorian ploy to encourage children count their blessings. Napoli is a talented writer and this book is recommended to anyone who enjoys fairy tales.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:49pm Top

For Cromwell Road

It also fills Bingo 16 - with a mythical creature

The Abominables by Eva Ibbotson

A sweet story about sweet yetis brought up by the young daughter of a Victorian botanist who was collecting rare plants in the Himalayas. Lady Agatha taught them to be well-mannered and thoughtful. It paid off when, fleeing tourists, they had an adventurous journey from the Himalayas to her manor home in England. Did you know the reason a yeti hasn't been discovered is because their feet are on backwards? Their footsteps take the tracker in the opposite direction.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:48pm Top

This one is a natural for the unique shopping on Portobello Road

Mr Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
This is a hip 21st century story about codes hidden in books; a mix of fantasy, adventure, mystery, secret societies, all combined with geeky ingenuity. My interest flagged somewhat in the middle, and although it rebounded soon after, I have made a slight reduction in the rating.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:48pm Top

Written in 1964 this will go on Abbey Road

It also fills Bingo 17 - with an LBGTQ character

A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood

An intimate, poignant novella describing a single day in the life of George, an English college professor living in California. A year after the death of his partner Jim, he is still trying to recover from the loss. Isherwood's writing is excellent, portraying George's roller coaster of emotion; a melancholy spirit that would dearly love to feel joy again.

The Guardian puts this at number 83 on the 100 Best Novels list. It is well-deserved.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:48pm Top

With the Canadians, this goes on Trafalgar Square

It also fills Bingo 11: with prophecies or portents - only 5 more to go for Bingo card #2

More Ghost Stories of Alberta by Barbara Smith

All the usual suspects appear, if you will pardon the pun, but some of these stories gave me shivers down the spine. I particularly liked the stories set in places or buildings I know. Although I have no personal experience of the ghost of the Alberta Provincial Museum and Archives, I worked there when I lived in Edmonton and many of the staff told me of their encounters.

This sort of collection should be spread out over a period of time because the stories can quickly become annoyingly repetitive.

Reading this creepy collection has been in process for a while and now finished appropriately in time for Halloween.

Oct 16, 2015, 9:54pm Top

I have a collection of ghost stories set aside for later in the month, but you are right, they probably need to be spaced out more. Maybe I'll start it later tonight.

Oct 17, 2015, 2:08am Top

You are so brave to read ghost stories late at night. My insomnia doesn't need any help :)

Oct 17, 2015, 5:32pm Top

I love a good ghost story, but I don't find many of them scary. So I'm always open to recommendations and suggestions from others. I like creepy and suspense, don't like gore.

Oct 17, 2015, 9:49pm Top

I've thought about trying a ghost story. I haven't read any since childhood except in gothic novels or something like that.

Oct 18, 2015, 2:54pm Top

> 142 I am reading a collection of ghost stories by M.R. James, they are more gothic and chilling rather than violent or bloodthirsty.

Oct 19, 2015, 1:14am Top

I might like fiction ghost stories better than ghostly personal accounts. There is often a reasonable explanation for the experience, or there is only one person's word, or they didn't tell anyone until decades later. Or some other reason to doubt. Despite that, I stand by what I said: some of the stories in Smith's book gave me shivers.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:48pm Top

A Virago Modern Classic for Lamb's Conduit Street

Jane and Prudence by Barbara Pym

I expected to like this but instead was disappointed. Jane's uselessness was infuriating, enough to make her unconvincing. Prudence, intended to be a strong, modern woman, was instead insubstantial, weak. This was my first Pym but I doubt that I'll be picking up another. I imagine it worked as a comedy of manners in the 1950s, but I found the characters to be silly.

Oct 19, 2015, 2:24pm Top

Sorry you didn't like it, but you did point out a title from her that I didn't know about : )
I've read several from Pym and really enjoyed them. The plots tend to be more character driven, mostly about undervalued single women in a time when the word "spinster" was used. If you ever give her another go, try Excellent Women.

Oct 20, 2015, 1:36am Top

From reviews here on LT, I believed I would enjoy Pym. I like older books, appreciate the more formal language, good English, lack of slang and the social history part so I was surprised that this one didn't work. Having said all that, I loved Poor Cow by Nell Dunn that had a lot of slang and swearing as well as a poor downtrodden (undervalued) young mother in the 1960s.

There are several Barbara Pym titles at the library. On your recommendation alone, I'll have a look at them. :)

Oct 24, 2015, 5:54pm Top

>140 VivienneR: Looks like a fun collection. There are similar collections of ghost stories set in Ontario that I'd like to read sometime. I also like it when I read about a setting that's familiar.

Oct 24, 2015, 7:34pm Top

>150 mathgirl40: Yes, it was fun. I might make it an annual read around Halloween. The stories were grouped into categories so that haunted homes appeared together in one chapter, as did businesses etc. It was nice to mix them up. I can assure you I won't be camping in the near future :)

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:48pm Top

As this is based on a retelling of a Victorian story, it will go on Pall Mall

It also fills Bingo 22 - inspired by another work of fiction

A Prisoner of Birth by Jeffrey Archer

Archer is a fine storyteller and this retelling of Dumas' popular tale The Count of Monte Cristo is a gripping page-turner. Yes, it is a trifle beyond belief in places, but the reader is prepared to be amazed if a miscarriage of justice might be overturned. Although there are no real surprises in the plot, the court scenes were satisfyingly clever. Very enjoyable.

I usually have a few books on the go at the same time, but Archer commanded my attention with this one, all the others had to stand by.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:47pm Top

There are a few options for the location of this book but I'm choosing Fleet Street

It also fills Bingo 15 - with a natural disaster

The ghost map: the story of London's most terrifying epidemic--and how it changed science, cities, and the modern world by Steven Johnson

This book describes the cholera epidemic in Victorian London and the research done by Dr John Snow to discover the source. Snow's methodology created a map identifying the spread of the disease combined with the source of drinking water thus disproving the widely-held miasma theory. Johnson's account was very interesting in the early part of the book and then it became mired in detail with much repetition, eventually veering into an unnecessary look at modern times.

To illustrate the horror of the 54,000 epidemic-caused deaths in one year, Johnson bizarrely asks the reader to imagine such an event happening in Manhattan!

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:47pm Top

There is no doubt that this one belongs on Baker Street

It also fills Bingo 18 - by a LibraryThing author

The Beekeeper's Apprentice : or, On the Segregation of the Queen by Laurie. R. King

There are lots of reviews already for this appealing tale about Sherlock Holmes and young Mary Russell. I will just say that I enjoyed it more that Doyle's original stories. Well done!

Nov 2, 2015, 5:09am Top

I enjoyed it too and am hoping to get to book 2 next year.

Nov 2, 2015, 12:12pm Top

>155 dudes22: It seems like a series that would be best read in order. We have a lot of catching up to do.

Nov 2, 2015, 10:40pm Top

>154 VivienneR:
I thought she did a really decent job with keeping the characters true, but haven't picked up any of the others (although I don't know why not).

Nov 3, 2015, 12:38am Top

>157 -Eva-: I agree about the characters. I expected they would be quite different or that they would be mere caricatures.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:47pm Top

This one is for Pudding Lane

It also fills RandomCAT - November - with the name of a city in the title

The good thief's guide to Berlin by Chris Ewan
Nothing outstanding, but Ewan is always good for an entertaining read. The good thief, Charlie Howard, is a very likeable burglar who takes pride in his profession. This is an enjoyable, lighthearted caper to while away a few hours quite pleasantly.

Nov 3, 2015, 9:26pm Top

>159 VivienneR: - Happy to see that the Good Thief's Guide series ranks as an entertaining read. Entertaining doesn't have to be stellar for me.... I like to have books I can just mindlessly sink into when the brain isn't up for much else. ;-)

Nov 3, 2015, 9:37pm Top

>160 lkernagh: That's exactly where Ewan fits. A little bit of humour but not too much, always goes down well.

I've picked up the bookbullet you sent my way: The Mammy by Brendan O'Carroll. Although my husband got first dibs on it :(

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:47pm Top

Another one for Lamb's Conduit Street

It is also another one for RandomCAT - November - with the name of a city in the title.

The London scene: six essays on London life by Virginia Woolf

This is a short collection of five essays about London: The Docks of London, Oxford Street Tide, Great Men's Houses, Abbeys and Cathedrals, and This is the House of Commons.These diverse stories give us an idea of how much time has passed since they were written, how much has changed, how much remains unchanged. Through Woolf's eyes, I can share her view of London, together with a mental image of the metamorphosis to the modern city.

Woolf's lyrical prose is so enticing that the reader is happy to read the same page over and over before reluctantly moving on.

About Westminster Abbey she writes "The company seems to be in full conclave. Gladstone starts forward and then Disraeli. From every corner, from every wall, somebody leans or listens or bends forward as if about to speak. The recumbent even seem to lie attentive, as if to rise next minute. Their hands nervously grasp their sceptres, their lips are compressed for a fleeting silence, their eyes lightly closed as if for a moment's thought."

"Voice and organ vibrate wirily among the chasings and intricacies of the roof. The fine fans of stone that spread themselves to make a ceiling seem like bare boughs withered of all their leaves and about to toss in the wintry gale. But their austerity is beautifully softened. Lights and shadows are changing and conflicting every moment. Blue, gold and violet pass, dappling, quickening, fading. The grey stone, ancient as it is, changes like a live thing under the incessant ripple of changing light."

Nov 4, 2015, 6:36pm Top

>162 VivienneR: Another BB goes on the wishlist!

Nov 4, 2015, 9:17pm Top

>163 cbl_tn: Carrie, the essays were written for a woman's magazine so the writing is more down-to-earth than her later writing. You'll enjoy it.

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:46pm Top

Another one for Fleet Street

Trudeau Albums

A study of the Trudeau years in Canada from several journalist contributors. These are honest pieces, but it's safe to say all respected Trudeau whether they agreed with him or not. Excellent writing, balanced coverage, this is Trudeau in a nutshell.

Alison Gordon wrote: "Early in his political life, Trudeau was asked how badly he wanted to be prime minister. "Not badly at all," he said at the time, quoting Plato to the effect that people who wanted power badly were the wrong people to give it to. It was a disingenuous response, perhaps, but the voters of Canada bought it, over and over again. The man who was out most unlikely politician went on to become the longest-serving elected head of his government. An no matter what he did at home, he never embarrassed us abroad, which is more than you can say for any prime minister since."

And one of my favourite journalists, Peter Gzowski wrote: "He was... as private at the Sphinx, apparently incapable of small talk, intolerant of pretense or stupidity, certain of his own opinions. But his mind was as penetrating as an épée and his erudition as formidable as a broadsword. He seemed to relish being challenged, provided you had thought your way through your question, and to delight in the Jesuitical adroitness of his response. As someone once said of Bobby Orr at his peak in the NHL, "he should play in a higher league.""

Humour for Pudding Lane

It also fills Bingo 5 - where an animal is of importance

Canapes for the kitties by Marion Babson

A humorous cozy featuring a community of mystery writers. Babson's fictional characters are reflected in their fictional characters and in their respective pets. She pokes fun at the authors who are searching for ways to kill off their stale sleuths and start afresh. Or is the authors that are threatened? And what are the cats up to? This is an entertaining and satirical jest about writers of cozy mysteries, just like Babson.

For Portobello Road

Kissed a sad goodbye by Deborah Crombie

This series is getting even better as it progresses. I particularly enjoyed the mixture of past and present as well as the retrospective look at the London Docklands area.

Nov 11, 2015, 7:37pm Top

I've gone over in a couple of categories, but to complete the challenge I have one more book, my current read - Inside the Lines by Earl Derr Biggers - for Pall Mall that will also fill the last Bingo square. After that there is only December's RandomCAT left and I'm done!

Nov 12, 2015, 11:13pm Top

>165 VivienneR: I need to try that Babson book if only for the title!

Nov 12, 2015, 11:23pm Top

Ha ha, it was the title that caught my attention too!

Nov 14, 2015, 12:15pm Top

>166 VivienneR: That should be doable. Congrats!

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 8:46pm Top

For Pall Mall

This completes my second Bingo Dog by filling square 10 - published in 1915.

Inside the Lines by Earl Derr Biggers

An uncomplicated spy story set in Europe just as the Great War begins. It was easy to tell where the plot was going which just shows how much more sophisticated spy stories have become. It was a short enjoyable read, although I preferred The Agony Column by the same author.

I will be reading a book for December's RandomCAT but at this point I consider my 2015 category challenge is done!

The rest of the year will be free and easy winter reading in part 4 of this thread. I hope you join me there!

Nov 15, 2015, 11:12pm Top

Congrats on completing your challenge!

Nov 16, 2015, 2:13am Top

Thanks Dave. With all the discussion and planning for 2016 I'm ready for something different.

Nov 16, 2015, 6:06am Top

Hooray for your completed challenge!

Nov 16, 2015, 12:24pm Top

Congrats on finishing the challenge!!

Nov 17, 2015, 9:30am Top

Congratulations on finishing your challenge! Enjoy your free reading time!

Nov 17, 2015, 12:52pm Top

Thanks everyone. It's been a great reading year.

This topic was continued by VivienneR's free and easy winter reading.

Group: 2015 Category Challenge

175 members

35,270 messages


This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.




About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 129,620,364 books! | Top bar: Always visible