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VivienneR's 2020 reading

Club Read 2020

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1VivienneR
Edited: Jan 11, 1:59pm Top



Pond hockey, an everyday sight in Canadian towns. If the pond isn't accessible, any icy surface such as streets and back lanes are good substitutes. This painting is by Canadian artist, Doug Laird.

I've participated in Club Read since 2013. Mysteries are my go-to reading choice but actually I'll read just about anything. This year I hope to reduce my collection of mid-20th century women authors. Now that I"ve put it in words, I may have jinxed the plan.

Originally from Northern Ireland, I now live in the eastern side of British Columbia surrounded by snowy mountains.

I can also be found at the Category Challenge here and if some of my reading choices seem odd, they were probably chosen to fill a challenge.

Currently reading:
Eustace and Hilda by L. P. Hartley
The case of the missing servant by Tarquin Hall

3VivienneR
Jan 1, 10:49pm Top

Second Quarter books read:

4AlisonY
Jan 3, 4:04am Top

Happy new year, Vivienne! Dropping off my star - glad to see you set up a CR thread after all!

5NanaCC
Jan 3, 10:48am Top

I love the picture at the top, Vivienne. It almost feels like it’s moving.

6VivienneR
Jan 4, 2:11am Top

>4 AlisonY: Thanks, Alison, I just needed encouragement! Happy new year to you too!

>5 NanaCC: You're right, it does look like it's moving.

7VivienneR
Jan 4, 2:13am Top



Behind the beautiful forevers by Katherine Boo 4★

A harrowing account of a Mumbai slum. The appalling poverty is matched by ubiquitous corruption as India's capitalism soars and the poor pay. Sadly this includes children who take their lives of scavenging for granted. Boo, a Pulitzer winning journalist, has written a page-turner, no matter how abhorrent the topic. The title is taken from advertisements posted on a wall for tiles that will be "beautiful forever", not than any Annawadians will ever own them.

8ELiz_M
Jan 4, 8:09am Top

Mid-20h century female authors sounds like a fun plan!

9dchaikin
Jan 4, 9:40pm Top

Tough 1st book. Nice to see your new thread.

10VivienneR
Jan 5, 1:11am Top

>8 ELiz_M: Thanks, I hope it turns out that way!

>9 dchaikin: It was. Nice of you to drop by.

11rachbxl
Jan 5, 5:48am Top

Happy New Year! Glad you have a thread again.

12AlisonY
Jan 5, 10:01am Top

>7 VivienneR: I have this on order from the library, Vivienne, so I expect I'll be getting to it this month or next (depending on when it comes in). Glad to hear that it's a good read.

13raton-liseur
Jan 5, 10:25am Top

>7 VivienneR: It seems to be a tough book, but really interesting. Thanks for putting this on my radar!

14NanaCC
Jan 5, 12:22pm Top

>7 VivienneR: The library has it, so I may get to this one. It sounds interesting, but tough to get through. I’ll have to pick my time.

15VivienneR
Jan 5, 8:44pm Top

>11 rachbxl: Thank you, it's good to be starting another year of reading and visiting the threads of other readers.

>12 AlisonY: I found that it was necessary to raise a mental protection barrier of sorts.

>13 raton-liseur: Yes, a tough book but worthwhile to understand the culture.

>14 NanaCC: Good idea to pick the right time.

16VivienneR
Edited: Jan 5, 10:57pm Top



Victoria the Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire by Julia Baird 5★

Well-researched and well-written, this sweeping biography held my interest throughout. I've read other books about Victoria and her ministers but this one puts them all in the shade. The social and cultural history of the era is a combined naturally with the Queen's story. What impressed me most was that Victoria abhorred race and class discrimination, and cruelty to children and animals, not qualities common at the time. Highly recommended.

The cover image is the portrait she placed in Albert's hands before his burial.

17AlisonY
Jan 6, 3:58am Top

>16 VivienneR: I'm going to note this one, as I've got several Queen Victoria books on my wish list but have never known which is the best one to start with.

I'm thinking that the cover portrait is particularly kind to her - no wonder she wanted Albert to be buried with it!

18NanaCC
Jan 6, 8:18am Top

>16 VivienneR: I’m looking forward to the new season of Victoria on Masterpiece. Your five stars is putting this book on my wishlist.

19VivienneR
Jan 6, 1:51pm Top

>17 AlisonY: My first thought about Victoria is that her mourning went on forever. In fact she went on working just as hard, but just didn't appear in public. Baird's book is so well-researched that I'd put it at the top of your list.

>18 NanaCC: I think I read that the Masterpiece series was taken from Baird's book. I don't watch tv but will watch out for that show.

20dchaikin
Jan 6, 2:19pm Top

When in Bath (UK) recently our (unreliable) tour guide told a funny story about Queen Victoria that made me realize I don’t know anything about her. Noting this book.

21VivienneR
Jan 6, 3:36pm Top

>20 dchaikin: A funny story about Victoria? Intriguing!

I've been looking for your thread but it seems you haven't started yet. I look forward to seeing your reading list.

22dchaikin
Jan 6, 3:53pm Top

It’s coming. I have had trouble deciding how to go about it...and I haven’t finished a book yet. So, just reading other threads now.

23VivienneR
Jan 6, 4:11pm Top

Well, that's good news! I'll look forward to it.

24VivienneR
Jan 6, 7:20pm Top



A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote

Not really a children's book, but one that can be enjoyed by anyone. This is a beautiful autobiographical story from Capote with fabulous illustrations by Beth Peck.

I placed a hold on this in December and it just arrived, which is ok, because this book is a worthwhile read anytime.

25auntmarge64
Jan 6, 10:04pm Top

Got you starred!

26VivienneR
Jan 7, 7:35am Top

>25 auntmarge64: Thanks for dropping by. I haven't managed to visit all threads yet but I'l make it soon! Happy New Year!

27VivienneR
Jan 10, 1:23am Top



The word is murder by Anthony Horowitz 4★

I love it when crime writers do something out of the ordinary, which is exactly what Horowitz has done here. It's fresh and exciting and the reader has no idea what might be on the next page. Well done!

Thanks to rabbitprincess for this BB.

28NanaCC
Jan 10, 8:20am Top

>27 VivienneR: I really liked this one too, Vivienne. I should read another. I think he’s quite clever.

29VivienneR
Jan 10, 10:23am Top

>28 NanaCC: Yes, he is clever. I see there is another one (is this a series?) that I will read soon: The Sentence is Death.

30VivienneR
Jan 11, 1:59pm Top



This boy by Alan Johnson 5★

After a childhood that makes the reader redefine the word poverty, Johnson went on to become a leading and popular politician and cabinet minister. That he survived the severe hardships of his childhood is amazing in itself, that he was unscarred by it and able to succeed in politics sends my admiration soaring. I'm looking forward to the second book in his autobiography, Please, Mr Postman, which I already own, followed by The Long and Winding Road. He was a devoted Beatles fan and used the song titles as appropriate book titles. A memorable book, memorable individual.

31dchaikin
Jan 11, 2:57pm Top

I had never heard of Alan Johnson (apologies UK), his memoir sounds terrific.

32kidzdoc
Jan 12, 8:07am Top

I also loved This Boy, although I gave it 1/2 star less than you did. I own Please, Mr Postman and The Long and Winding Road but haven't read either one yet, so thanks for the reminder.

33VivienneR
Jan 12, 3:22pm Top

>31 dchaikin: I had never heard of Johnson either, although it's been a while since I lived in the UK.

>32 kidzdoc: I've had it on my wishlist since it won the Orwell Prize and at last I decided it was time to spring for a copy. My husband read Please, Mr Postman and thought it was just OK, although I don't think that was the right book to read first.

Having grown up in the UK in approximately the same era, I've seen families in poverty, but was shocked at the level Johnson experienced.

34kidzdoc
Jan 12, 9:08pm Top

>32 kidzdoc: IIRC I also purchased This Boy after it was chosen as the winner of the Orwell Prize. One of my British friends who read that book also felt that Please, Mr Postman was good, but nowhere near as strong as the first book in the trilogy.

The poverty described in This Boy was surprising to me as well.

35VivienneR
Jan 13, 4:00pm Top



Nothing Ventured by Jeffrey Archer 2.5★

I believe I've had my fill of Jeffrey Archer. In this novel Archer has followed all the rules for creating a bestseller yet it fell flat for me. My copy was an audiobook narrated by George Blagden whose girlish voice was all wrong for the novel. As well, he had to strain to get something close to an upper crust accent, a painful experience for the listener. My rating was reduced even though it wasn't high to start with.

36BLBera
Jan 13, 7:33pm Top

>27 VivienneR: I do like clever mysteries; I'll add this to my WL. I've never been a huge Archer fan, so good to know I'm not missing anything.

>30 VivienneR: This memoir sounds wonderful.

37AnnieMod
Jan 13, 8:56pm Top

>35 VivienneR:

I suspect that this one will get better when he writes the next volumes - it has too much of a "first volume" feeling to it, doesn't it? :) I read it late last year and I liked it better than you did apparently but it is not his greatest...

38VivienneR
Jan 13, 11:25pm Top

>36 BLBera: I'm hoping this is the first in a series from Horowitz.

>37 AnnieMod: Did you listen to the audiobook? I might have enjoyed it more if I'd read the print version. And yes, it did have that "first volume" feel.

39AnnieMod
Jan 14, 12:47am Top

>38 VivienneR: Nope - read it on paper. I rarely listen to books - I prefer to listen to audiodrama when I am listening to something or to a few very special combinations of narrators and authors... I can imagine how an inept narrator will make a disaster of it though... - it is a period novel after all. Oh well - I am planning on picking up the next one when it is out so we will see.

40VivienneR
Jan 14, 10:52am Top

>39 AnnieMod: A "disaster" is exactly what it was. I don't know why I stayed with it. I'll watch out for your opinion of the next one before I consider it.

41valkyrdeath
Jan 14, 6:18pm Top

>30 VivienneR: It usually would never even occur to me to read a memoir from a politician, but it sounds like I might have to consider this one. Also glad to see another positive review of the Horowitz book, since I've been trying to decide whether I want to read it.

42VivienneR
Jan 16, 12:44pm Top

>41 valkyrdeath: This Boy just covered Johnson's life until he was about eighteen years old. I'm looking forward to his other books.

I have enjoyed all of the books I've read by Horowitz, and The Word is Murder even more than The Magpie Murders.

43VivienneR
Jan 17, 1:11pm Top



Transcription by Kate Atkinson 4★

While not my favourite Atkinson novel, the writing as usual is fantastic and the story has a surprising twist at the end. Atkinson never fails to entertain.

44NanaCC
Jan 17, 1:49pm Top

>43 VivienneR: I enjoyed this one too, Vivienne. I remember getting to the twist at the end, and thinking I should read it again to see what clues I must have missed. I didn’t, of course, too many books....

45VivienneR
Yesterday, 2:42pm Top

>44 NanaCC: I know what you mean, Colleen! I kept the book so that I could read it again sometime knowing the twist was coming. I have a feeling I'll enjoy the second reading more.

46arubabookwoman
Yesterday, 5:11pm Top

I liked Transcription too. Atkinson is an author I try to read everything of, but I've never gotten into her mystery series, having tried the first two.

Group: Club Read 2020

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