VivienneR's 2020 reading - part 2

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VivienneR's 2020 reading - part 2

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 29, 2020, 3:41pm

This is Walking Alone by Ted Harrison, one of my favourite artists. He was English/Canadian and known for his colourful paintings of the Yukon, land of the midnight sun. He died in Victoria, British Columbia in 2015.

I live in British Columbia, the province to the south of the Yukon territory. I've been a member of Club Read since 2013. Mysteries are my go-to reading choice but I'll read just about anything.

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

Currently reading:
A Promised Land by Barack Obama

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 24, 2020, 1:06pm

Read in January:
1. Behind the beautiful forevers by Katherine Boo 4★
2. Victoria the Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire by Julia Baird 5★
3. The Breathing method by Stephen King 3★
4. A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote 4.5★
5. Lucky Us by Amy Bloom 1★
6. The word is murder by Anthony Horowitz 4★
7. This boy by Alan Johnson 5★
8. Nothing Ventured by Jeffrey Archer 2.5★
9. Transcription by Kate Atkinson 4★
10. An Unfinished Season by Ward Just 3★
11. French women for all seasons: a year of secrets, recipes and pleasure by Mireille Guiliano 3★
12. Now You See Them by Elly Griffiths 4.5★
13. Shadow of the wind by Carlos Ruis Zafon 2.5★
14. Thunderstruck by Erik Larson 4★
15. A Murder of Quality by John le Carré 3.5★
16. The mysterious affair at Styles by Agatha Christie 4.5★
17. War is over by David Almond illustrated by David Litchfield 5★
18. Somewhere in France by Jennifer Robson 3.5★
19. The case of the missing servant by Tarquin Hall 3.5★

Read in February
20. Provence A - Z by Peter Mayle 3★
21. The Chain by Adrian McKinty 4★
22. Eustace and Hllda, the final volume of Eustace and Hllda : a trilogy by L.P. Hartley 5★
23. The Old Ways: a journey on foot by Robert Macfarlane 2★
24. The BFG by Roald Dahl 4★
25. The tale of Despereaux: being the story of a mouse, a princess, some soup and a spool of thread by Kate DiCamillo 3★
26. Neither here nor there: travels in Europe by Bill Bryson 3★
27. Noah Barleywater runs away by John Boyne 4★
28. The Falls by Ian Rankin 4★
29. Not quite dead enough by Rex Stout 3★
30. Austerity Britain 1945-1951 by David Kynaston 4.5★
31. The Hiding Place by C.J. Tudor 4★
32. Another part of the wood by Beryl Bainbridge 3.5★
33. Dance me outside by W.P. Kinsella 4★
34. They came to Baghdad by Agatha Christie 3.5★
35. Live and let die by Ian Fleming 4★
36. Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce 4★

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 24, 2020, 1:42pm

Read in March
37. In the country of men by Hisham Matar 4★
38. Eric Clapton: The autobiography by Eric Clapton 2.5★
39. The flatshare by Beth O'Leary 4★
40. The summer that never was by Peter Robinson 4★
41. The Button Book by Sally Nicholls, illustrated by Bethan Woollvin 5★
42. Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford 4.5★
43. The Misunderstanding by Irène Némirovsky 2★
44. Gone tomorrow by Lee Child 4★
45. The beautiful ones by Prince 4★
46. Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs by Caitlin Doughty 3★
47. Effie: the passionate lives of Effie Gray, John Ruskin and John Everett Millais by Suzanne Fagence Cooper 4★
48. Five little pigs by Agatha Christie 4★
49. Paper Money by Ken Follett 3.5★
50. I know who you are by Alice Feeney 3.5★
51. The Honourable Schoolboy by John le Carrê 4★
52. The Unfinished Clue by Georgette Heyer 4★
53. Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie 4★
54. The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson 2★

Read in April
55. Trust your eyes by Linwood Barclay 4.5★
56. As though I had wings: the lost memoir by Chet Baker 4★
57. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 1★
58. The caller by Karin Fossum 4★
59. Of wee sweetie mice and men by Colin Bateman 3.5★
60. Broken Ground by Val McDermid 4.5★
61. The rat catchers' Olympics by Colin Cotterill 3★
62. Dream Wheels by Richard Wagamese 4★
63. Killman by Graeme Kent 4.5★
64. The Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu by Michael Stanley 3.5★
65. The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie 4★
66. The girl in the polka dot dress by Beryl Bainbridge 4★
67. Sweet caress: the many lives of Amory Clay by William Boyd 3★
68. Bramton Wick by Elizabeth Fair 4★
69. Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen: the body under the piano by Marthe Jocelyn 4.5★

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 2, 2020, 2:32am

Read in May
70. Dead Beat by Val McDermid 4★
71. Death of Yesterday by M.C. Beaton 3★
72. Between by Angie Abdou 3.5★
73. Wings of the Sphinx by Andrea Camilleri 3★
74. Notes on nursing by Florence Nightingale 4★
75. Florence Nightingale by Laura E. Richards 4★
76. The Silent world of Nicholas Quinn by Colin Dexter 4★
77. A Better Man by Louise Penny 4★
78. One perfect lie by Lisa Scottoline 3★
79. The Murder Room by P.D. James 4★
80. Kick back by Val McDermid 3.5★
81. Fer de lance by Rex Stout 3★
82. The Whisper Man by Alex North 4★
83. Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq 4★
84. Talking to the Dead by Harry Bingham 4★
85. The Tale of Mr Peter Brown - Chelsea Justice by Vita Sackville-West 3★
86. Mozart, the man and the artist, as revealed in his own words by Mozart, compiled by Friedrich Kerst, translated by Henry Edward Krehbiel 5★

Read in June
87. Bad Ideas by Missy Marston 4★
88. You bet your life by Stuart Kaminsky 3★
89. April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King Jr's death and how it changed America by Michael Eric Dyson 3★
90. Fried green tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg 3★
91. Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams 4★
92. Trafalgar: the Nelson touch by David Howarth 4.5★
93. Bird Lives! : an Evan Horne mystery by Bill Moody 4★
94. Home by Toni Morrison 4★
95. The last voyage of the Karluk by Robert Bartlett 4.5★
96. Stieg Larsson, my friend by Kurdo Baksi 4★
97. Crack Down by Val McDermid 3★
98. Weekend at Thrackley by Alan Melville 3★
99. The Plant-Based Power Diet by Leslie Beck 4★
100. Blind Fury by Lynda La Plante 4★
101. Just What Kind of a Mother are You? by Paula Daly 4★
102. The fire next time by James Baldwin 4★

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 30, 2020, 9:54pm

Read in July
103. The day of the Jack Russell: spooks, crooks and a puppy dog's tale by Colin Bateman 4★
104. The Crime at Black Dudley by Margery Allingham 2.5★
105. Monday or Tuesday by Virginia Woolf 3.5★
106. Do no harm : stories of life, death and brain surgery by Henry Marsh 3★
107. The indigo notebook by Laura Resau 3★
108. Lovebirds and Other Wild Sweethearts: learn from the animal kingdom's most devoted couples by Abbie Headon, illustrated by Liz Temperley 4.5★
109. The Tower Treasure by Frank Dixon, illustrated by Walter S. Rogers 4★
110. A Bear called Paddington by Michael Bond, illustrated by Peggy Fortnum 4★
111. Tangerine by Christine Mangan 3★
112. The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa, translated by Philip Gabriel 5★
113. Five Ring Circus by Jon Cleary 3★
114. The Burning by Jane Casey 4★
115. Lampedusa by Steven Price 4★
116. Push by Sapphire 3.5★
117. The Other People by C.J. Tudor 4★
118. Country Notes in Wartime by Vita Sackville-West 5★
119. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel 5★

Read in August
120. The House in Charlton Crescent by Annie Haynes 3.5★
121. Emerald City and other stories by Jennifer Egan 3.5★
122. Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard 3.5★
123. All Thirteen: the incredible cave rescue of the Thai boys' soccer team by Christina Soontornvat 5★
124. Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux 2★
125. An Amateur Corpse by Simon Brett 3.5★
126. With wings like eagles: a history of the battle of Britain by Michael Korda 4★
127. My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite 4★
128. Galway Girl by Ken Bruen 4★
129. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman 4.5★
130. Playing With Fire by Peter Robinson 4★
131. The next sure thing by Richard Wagamese 3.5★
132. When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald 5★
133. A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton 1★
134. Moral disorder and other stories by Margaret Atwood 4★
135. Feeding my mother: comfort and laughter in the kitchen as my Mom lives with memory loss by Jann Arden 5★
136. Amy, my daughter by Mitch Winehouse 3.5★
137. Classic detective stories narrated by Edward Hardwicke 3.5★
138. Looking for Chet Baker by Bill Moody 4★

Read in September
139. Who do you think you are? by Alice Munro 4★
140. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot 4★
141. Amsterdam by Ian McEwan 3★
142. Piece of my heart by Peter Robinson 3★
143. Reykjavik nights by Arnaldur Indridason 4★
144. A conspiracy of faith by Jussi Adler-Olsen 4★
145. Mystery mile by Margery Allingham 4★
146. Convenience store woman by Sayaka Murata 3★
147. Broken promise by Linwood Barclay 4.5★
148. The devil by Ken Bruen 4.5★
149. The artful egg by James McClure 3.5★
150. Why Buddhism is true by Robert Wright 4★
151. Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne 4.5★
152. There's nothing to be afraid of by Marcia Muller 3.5★
153. Death of a macho man by M.C. Beaton 3.5★
154. Diary of a bookseller by Shaun Bythell 3★
155. Three Jack Reacher Novellas: Deep Down, Second Son, High Heat, and Jack Reacher's Rules by Lee Child 4★
156. Bats in the belfry by E.C.R. Lorac 3★

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 29, 2020, 3:42pm

Read in November
180. Watching you by Lisa Jewell 3.5★
181. Cider with Roadies by Stuart Maconie 3.5★
182. All the devils are here by Louise Penny 4.5★
183. Miss O'Dell: My Hard Days and Long Nights with The Beatles,The Stones, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, and the Women They Loved by Chris O'Dell 2.5★
184. The Collected Poems of Rupert Brooke by Rupert Brooke 3.5★
185. Bridget Jones: the edge of reason by Helen Fielding 3.5★
186. Purgatory by Ken Bruen 4★
187. Soap and water and common sense: the definitive guide to viruses, bacteria, parasites, and disease by Dr Bonnie Henry 4★
188. The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L. Sayers 4★
189. Cold Comfort by Quentin Bates 3.5★
190. Ice Harvest by Scott Phillips 4★
191. Washington Black by Esi Edugyan 4.5★
192. The Studio Crime by Ianthe Jerrold 3.5★
193. The Mistletoe Murder and other stories by P.D. James 4★
194. The Glass Hotel by Emily St John Mandel 4★
195. Autopsy of a boring wife by Marie-Renée Lavoie 4★
196. The boat people by Sharon Bala 4★
197. Bring me Back by B.A. Paris 3★

Read in December
198. Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole 3.5★
199. Getting to Happy by Terry McMillan 3★
200. Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell 5★
201. The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura 2.5★
202. The Attenbury Emeralds by Jill Paton Walsh 3★
203. Menace at the Christmas Market by Sara Rosett 2★
204. Mr Campion's Lady: an Allingham omnibus by Margery Allingham 4★
205. As birds bring forth the sun by Alistair MacLeod 4.5★
206. The Stupidest Angel: a heartwarming tale of Christmas terror by Christopher Moore 3★
207. Wreck the Halls by Sarah Graves 2.5★
208. Murder under the Christmas tree 4★
209. Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett 3★
210. Deck the Hounds by David Rosenfelt 4★
211. The Guest List by Lucy Foley 1★
212. Death of an Englishman by Magdalen Nabb 4★
213. Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella 3★
214. Festive Spirits by Kate Atkinson 4★
215. A Perfect Spy by John le Carrê 4★

heinäkuu 2, 2020, 9:28am

Happy new thread, Vivienne. From your last thread, I was also impressed with Queenie. At first I thought it was going to be millennial chick lit, but it was more than that. She did a good job showing the microagressions that Queenie had to go through every day, without hitting us over the head with them.

heinäkuu 2, 2020, 1:12pm

>8 BLBera: Thank you, Beth. I was surprised by Queenie too. It turned out to be quite different to what I expected and the result was impressive. I found Queenie's reactions were understandable. I'll watch for more from Carty-Williams.

heinäkuu 3, 2020, 2:07am

The Crime at Black Dudley by Margery Allingham 2.5★

This one certainly wasn't Allingham's best but I didn't have high expectations before beginning and read it mainly because it introduces Albert Campion.

heinäkuu 3, 2020, 2:34pm

I keep meaning to read through the series in order, Vivienne. I love the Campion books and didn't read them in order, and I think there may even be a couple I haven't read.

heinäkuu 3, 2020, 3:15pm

>11 BLBera: Same with me, Beth. I'm looking forward to the next one in the series. I've read some but so long ago that they've been forgotten. Now I can enjoy them all over again.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 11, 2020, 1:37pm

Monday or Tuesday: Eight stories by Virginia Woolf 3.5★

A collection of Woolf's early short stories, each in an experimental style but representing the lyrical, expressive style for which she is known. Not an easy read but worthwhile.

heinäkuu 4, 2020, 11:43am

This is one I am not familiar with, Vivienne. I will look for it.

heinäkuu 4, 2020, 5:27pm

>13 VivienneR: I've never heard of this collection either, Vivienne.

Love the thread picture!

heinäkuu 5, 2020, 1:53am

>14 BLBera: & >15 AlisonY: It's an early work when she was still experimenting. Most of it required concentration, which is what I meant when I said it was not an easy read. A lot of it went over my head, except one joke she made about an author who wrote a piece that she deliberately misnamed. I immediately recognized the title because I own it: From a College Window by Arthur Benson. It made me feel clever that I got the joke. I hope you both read it and share your opinions.

>15 AlisonY: Glad you like Harrison's art too.

heinäkuu 10, 2020, 1:30am

Tangerine by Christine Mangan 3★

Menacing, right from the beginning. The setting of 1950s Tangier adds a little to the atmosphere and underlying secrecy, but not significantly. The prose is uninspired and I was never able to get a mental picture of the characters or the location. I read somewhere that this book was like The Talented Mr Ripley by Highsmith, an opinion that I now realize was much too generous.

heinäkuu 10, 2020, 1:47pm

The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa, translated by Philip Gabriel 5★

What a beautiful story, mostly told by Nana, a cat. This is the best cat book I've read since Mrs Chippy's Last Expedition: the remarkable journey of Shackleton's polar-bound cat by Caroline Alexander. This story, about love and loyalty, would be enjoyed by all those who love pets, not only cats. Highly recommended.

heinäkuu 17, 2020, 8:52pm

The Burning by Jane Casey 4★

This compelling mystery might have rated higher except that some passages, notably the plot reveal at the end, was somewhat long. In addition, a big clue at the beginning was overlooked. Still, an excellent mystery. This begins a new series by Irish author Casey, who set this story in England. I'll be reading more.

heinäkuu 22, 2020, 1:15pm

Push by Sapphire 3.5★

There is so much to say about this short book but others have said it so much better. My copy was an audiobook and at the beginning I thought it would end up in the "unfinished" category because the profane language was so hard to listen to and I barely understood the patois in between the swearing. But I stayed with it and was glad in the end to find that the life, language and communication skills of this abused child was to improve as the book progressed. The story was similar to Flowers for Algernon but without the experimental drug that Charlie was given. Instead, Precious' life was helped along because she was fortunate to meet an effective and understanding teacher, confirming the value not only of education but of compassion.

Sapphire, a "performance poet", has written a remarkable story and I will always remember Precious. However, I have to add that it may not be to everyone's taste.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 24, 2020, 1:08pm

The Other People by C.J. Tudor 4★

Another excellent mystery from Tudor, this time with a note of horror. As I read the book I thought I could see the pieces falling into place, but turning the page brought more pieces to be fitted. Tudor can keep her audience enthralled all the way to the last page.

What I disliked was that this book of just over 300 pages was very heavy and floppy making it difficult to read holding it with one hand. What is happening to the once portable paperback?

heinäkuu 27, 2020, 3:37pm

Country Notes in Wartime by Vita Sackville-West 5★

Sackville-West's lovely prose deserves to be read slowly, taking in every scene and scent. She had a wonderful ability to convert the most delicate observation into eloquent words. The book opens with a story about her scything rough grass in the orchard as the moon comes up, a charming picture even though I'm aware of how much hard work scything can be. Often seen as an aristocratic, elegant celebrity, Sackville-West is seen here as a countrywoman and gardener with grubby fingernails like any other gardener. This is a short collection of essays that first appeared as a column in the New Statesman and Nation in the early years of WWII.

elokuu 1, 2020, 8:12pm

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel 5★

I might be the last person to read Mantel's masterpiece so all the tributes have been made already. I'll just say that I enjoyed it thoroughly and IF there is anyone who hasn't read it yet, I can't recommend it highly enough. It gets the full 5 stars from me because I can't think of a single criticism. I was glued to the tv when the series was broadcast but all the hype around the book put me off reading it, besides I have read extensively about the Tudors. However, I enjoyed it so much that I know it is one of those books I will want to read again. Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to the next two books in the trilogy, and I hope the third volume makes a Booker Prize trilogy for Mantel, she deserves it.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 1, 2020, 9:21pm

Catching up, Viv. Glad you enjoyed Wolf Hall. I want to reread it now that the third book is on the booker list. Nice mixture of books you're going through.

elokuu 1, 2020, 9:17pm

Nice to see you, Dan. I enjoyed it so much that I've already placed holds for Wolf Hall on DVD and a print copy of Bring up the bodies.

elokuu 2, 2020, 4:05am

>20 VivienneR:

Did you see the film version? I thought both were very interesting at the time (it's been a lot of years for both, so forgive my memory). After reading the book, and if I look at it as someone's truth, there are children in the USA who suffer just as much as any child who lives in a hut in XXX country with illiterate parents. We think in North America that as bad as it can be, at least it's not THAT bad. But this book showed me that it's actually just beyond horrible here too.

elokuu 2, 2020, 8:04am

You have been reading a variety, Vivienne. And some good ones, too, it sounds like. I added the Casey to my WL, as well as Country Notes in Wartime; that sounds lovely.

I recently read Wolf Hall, thinking I was the last person on LT to read it! I agree, it was an amazing accomplishment. I also read Bring up the Bodies, which is also excellent, though not quite the perfection that is Wolf Hall, I think. I'm looking forward to The Mirror & the Light.

elokuu 2, 2020, 9:10am

>23 VivienneR:, >27 BLBera: No worries, I will be the last to read Wolf Hall.

elokuu 2, 2020, 1:18pm

>26 Nickelini: No, I didn't see the film version and it probably wouldn't be my choice of movie. It was one of the books I chose when the Black Lives Matter surge happened this year. I think because there is help available in first world countries we are inclined to the idea that abuse doesn't happen but of course that help only comes about after the abuse has happened. It's a wake-up call that we cannot be complacent.

>27 BLBera: I always think mysteries are my normal reading fare so I'm glad to hear I'm not so rigid. The Category Challenge group helps a lot of course.

I'm sure the sheer size of Wolf Hall discourages a lot of readers. I know a hefty book has to have a lot going for it for me to pick it up.

>28 ELiz_M: LibraryThing conversations suggest you belong to a rapidly thinning group. :)

elokuu 2, 2020, 1:24pm

>29 VivienneR:

It's actually a really good movie. I think I preferred it to the book.

elokuu 2, 2020, 2:50pm

>30 Nickelini: Good to hear. I'll keep it in mind.

elokuu 3, 2020, 5:10pm

The House in Charlton Crescent by Annie Haynes 3.5★

This was a fun Golden Age mystery using the locked room theme, although the room wasn't actually locked. There were two crimes: the theft of Lady Anne's pearls and her murder soon after the pearls were discovered missing. Like Agatha Christie, Haynes threw in a sprinkle of romance. As I read I was guessing who the culprit was and I believe I picked each of the characters but the denouement still came as a surprise. My only criticism is that Inspector Furnival did not reveal how he discovered some of the clues, just saying "then I discovered… " - a Golden Age no-no. Still, it was fun and I look forward to more of Haynes.

elokuu 4, 2020, 3:37am

>23 VivienneR: No, you're not the last! I definitely need to get to this series.

elokuu 4, 2020, 8:10am

I'm sure the writing style puts some folks off Wolf Hall—it's pretty challenging, and not your usual historical-fiction fare. But ohhh it's so good. Bring Up the Bodies is next on my reread list, in preparation for the third.

elokuu 4, 2020, 8:43pm

>33 AlisonY: & >23 VivienneR:

Me too! I own Wolf Hall & Bring Up the Bodies and will buy the 3rd book someday too. But I have no plans to read them anytime soon. Maybe when I retire? I just don't have time to commit to them now.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 5, 2020, 3:50pm

>33 AlisonY: You will love it, Alison. I even got my husband reading it!

>34 lisapeet: Yes, the writing style is challenging, more so if the reader is not familiar with the characters.

>35 Nickelini: I was surprised at how quickly I got through Wolf Hall. My husband borrowed the print version that I would not even have attempted. Thankfully, ebooks are an option for fat books.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 7, 2020, 5:46pm

All Thirteen: the incredible cave rescue of the Thai boys' soccer team by Christina Soontornvat 5★

This is an excellent account of an extraordinary rescue, made more captivating by information about Thai culture, the history of Buddhism, and the the boys' families. There are also interesting sections about the structure of caves, how they are formed, and many charts and diagrams to further describe the complexities of cave rescue. An added wrinkle in communications was the international mix of etiquette styles that added to the initial tension, with westerners speaking freely instead of adhering to the strict rules of Thai protocol. Like the rest of the world I was glued to the news reports of the story back in 2018 and although we know about the successful result, Soontornvat's book maintains a high level of suspense. Immense credit goes not only to the dedication and ingenuity of the rescuers, but also to the boys and their coach whose leadership skills and calm deliberation made it possible for the rescuers to do their job.

Soontornvat's book is published by Candlewick Press and although recommended for young adults, a reader from any age group will enjoy it.

What the boys and rescuers endured and accomplished deserves five stars but Soontornvat also gets five stars for an outstanding chronicle of the event.

elokuu 8, 2020, 8:22am

>37 VivienneR: Cool—there's a book I probably would have bypassed based on the cover, so thanks for that review. I was very taken by the story as it unfolded, and reading about it with that cultural background as an overlay sounds really interesting. Though maybe I need to wait another month or so beyond the current news cycle, since my brain apparently still thinks it's funny to pronounce the word "Thai" as "thigh." Stop it, brain.

elokuu 8, 2020, 1:34pm

>38 lisapeet: The book was an Early Reviewer snag and I have to admit I probably wouldn't have chosen to buy it in the bookstore. It still amazes me that the boys ventured so far into the cave, apparently it is a common reaction of caving to want to go just a little bit further. But then it amazes me that anyone would even enter a cave.

Just a couple of hours ago I noticed headlines referring to the "thigh" story. I have to get back to it for today's laugh.

elokuu 10, 2020, 1:24am

An Amateur Corpse by Simon Brett 3.5★

Brett's Charles Paris series never fails to satisfy. Paris is an actor but as he is not in high demand he manages to fill in his time solving crimes and drinking Bell's. The theatre makes a nice backdrop for his mysteries and this amateur theatre group provides a few unintended funny moments.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 12, 2020, 3:40pm

With wings like eagles: a history of the battle of Britain by Michael Korda 4★

This is an excellent account of the Battle of Britain, fought in the air over Kent in 1940. I recently read one of Churchill's books that dealt with the same event and it was interesting to get another viewpoint, this one primarily in support of Hugh Dowding who was about to retire when war started. When the Air Ministry tried to remove him from Fighter Command in 1940, Churchill fought to keep him, recognizing that he was "one of their best men". His exceptional organization enabled him to maintain supply of replacement aircraft and air crew, as well as a fighter reserve during the battle. He has rightly been given credit for the victory of the Battle of Britain, which has developed legendary status, joining the Armada, Trafalgar, and Waterloo.

My version was an audiobook with outstanding narration by John Lee.

A personal note: my father was on the ground maintaining aircraft at Rochester while the battle raged in the air.

elokuu 13, 2020, 1:54am

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite 4★

I really enjoyed this short entertaining book, really a novella. It was so different to anything I've read before and I couldn't wait to read what was coming next. It was one surprise after another. Braithwaite was longlisted for the Booker in 2019 and I would hazard a guess that her name will turn up in Booker nominations in the future.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 13, 2020, 2:09pm

Galway Girl by Ken Bruen 4★

Bruen's Jack Taylor series is as much about books, music and the culture of Galway as that unrepentant rogue Taylor. I love Bruen's pared-down style of writing that captures the action as well as Taylor's psyche. This is one of my favourite series.

elokuu 15, 2020, 10:39am

All Thirteen really sounds good, Vivienne. You have read a variety of things lately!

elokuu 15, 2020, 12:35pm

>44 BLBera: Hi Beth. It was an Early Reviewer snag. I don't think I would have picked it up at the bookstore, but it turned out even better than I thought it would.

Knowing my son's taste in books, I was praising Michael Korda's book (mentioned at #41) but, no surprise, he already owns it and agrees with my opinion.

elokuu 18, 2020, 12:38pm

>42 VivienneR: I just saw that Oyinkan Braithwaite will be one of the speakers at an upcoming festival of crime fiction, normally near me, this year online: - it looks a very good line up.

elokuu 18, 2020, 1:25pm

>46 wandering_star: What a great line up for the festival. It's fortunate that events like this can still take place thanks to technology. Will you be taking part?

Muokkaaja: elokuu 27, 2020, 1:00am

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman 4.5★

Eleanor Oliphant reminded me of some lonely, socially awkward people I have known, each with a past concealed, deliberately or not. I was anxious that Eleanor Oliphant's life would turn out to be anything but fine. However, Honeyman told a heart-rending story without making it harrowing, with some moments of humour, and concluding with a sense of hope that will save Eleanor from becoming a Judith Hearne in her advancing years. Highly recommended.

elokuu 22, 2020, 6:04am

>47 VivienneR: definitely the Attica Locke and I hope I will have time for other events too!

elokuu 22, 2020, 2:26pm

Playing With Fire by Peter Robinson 4★

Revealing information about the likely perpetrator at the midway point is an unusual approach but it works because this mystery is just as much about why and how as who, and there are still enough wrinkles to be straightened out before the culmination, which could change everything. Annie and Winsome are heroes in the surprising and dramatic finish.

elokuu 22, 2020, 4:41pm

>48 VivienneR: Eleanor's a heartwarming read.

elokuu 27, 2020, 12:48am

When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald 5★

MacDonald introduces Zelda in this debut novel: a 21-year-old woman who was born with fetal alcohol syndrome. She is fascinated with Vikings, lives with her brother and is determined to become independent and make her own legend like a Viking hero despite knowing that she is different. While her story is quirky, it is often dark. MacDonald has combined humour with violence without showing a glimmer of condescension towards Zelda. His tale about this feisty young woman is heartening and she is utterly unforgettable. Highly recommended.

elokuu 28, 2020, 5:27pm

Moral disorder and other stories by Margaret Atwood 4★

A collection of eleven excellent stories from Atwood. The stories of a young Nell in The Art of Cooking and Serving and The Headless Horseman were my favourites closely followed by the stories featuring Nell's attempt at farming in Monopoly, Moral Disorder and White Horse, which reminded me of my own efforts at farming.

elokuu 29, 2020, 2:24am

Feeding my mother: comfort and laughter in the kitchen as my Mom lives with memory loss by Jann Arden 5★

Jann describes her mother's decline into Alzheimer's disease and the death of her father in this candid memoir. While it's a heartbreaking story, Arden infuses it with an abundance of wit while showing patience, understanding and good humour. Her amiable personality and sense of fun, which she obviously shares with her mother, shines through the despair making the story heartening rather than despondent. Photos, recipes and illustrations enhance the book. Arden's talent as a writer matches that of her music making this much more than I expected.

"I started by cooking dinner for them once or twice a week. Within a month, they were coming arm in arm across the driveway towards my house almost every evening, chattering away like two old birds chirping on a wire. If Dad had had his way, he would have been on my doorstep by three."

elokuu 29, 2020, 5:53pm

Amy, my daughter by Mitch Winehouse 3.5★

Reading this was like seeing a train crash in slow motion. By all accounts, Amy was a mischievous, bold, daring child who retained those qualities beyond adolescence. The effect of her death on her father, the author, and the rest of her very close family was devastating. Mitch's love and grief is very apparent in this tribute to his exceptional daughter.

elokuu 29, 2020, 8:55pm

Hi Vivienne: I also loved Moral Disorder. I keep meaning to read more Atwood this year, but I keep getting distracted.

I also keep meaning to read something by Peter Robinson.

You have been lucky in reading recently.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 30, 2020, 12:21pm

>55 VivienneR: I can't quite get my head around Mitch Winehouse. That he loved his daughter very much there is no doubt, but I just can't understand why he has continually sought a place in the limelight since she died. I know he set up a foundation in her memory, but there has always been something about the way in which he has courted the media that's left a bitter taste in my mouth, as if much of it is for himself and his own ego rather than to shed light on a noble cause.

It still makes me sad when I think of her - what a waste. She had a phenomenal talent.

elokuu 30, 2020, 12:19pm

I know. I would have loved to see her age into a wonderfully regal diva.

elokuu 30, 2020, 1:20pm

>56 BLBera: I have to admit that there is a lot of Atwood's writing that I don't care for, but she is terrific at short stories.

I've read some of Robinson's books here and there but in recent times I've been following and enjoying the Inspector Banks series.

>57 AlisonY: Yes, I understand what you mean about Mitch Winehouse. Often it appeared the book was not so much about Amy but about Mitch - or even his mother. I sort of attributed it to him being a performer at one time and still having that "look at me" trait. Any book with her name on the cover would be guaranteed to sell so he had a captive audience and worked it to advantage. She must have been a remarkable person to know off the stage.

>58 lisapeet: I agree. She would have enjoyed "regal diva" status.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 31, 2020, 8:39pm

Looking for Chet Baker by Bill Moody 4★

The story of Chet Baker's fatal fall in 1988 from an Amsterdam hotel windowledge is well-known so there was not much else to be detected or discovered by jazz pianist and occasional detective Evan Horne. What he found himself looking for was his academic friend Ace Buffington, who went missing while researching a book he was writing about Chet Baker's demise. Ace had asked Horne to accompany him on a research trip to Amsterdam, a request that was declined, although Horne was going to be playing in the same city. Miffed at the rebuff Ace got out of a tight spot by mentioning Horne's name before taking off back to California, thus putting his friend in a dangerous jam with Baker's Amsterdam drug dealers who never forget a debt owed.

The mystery in Moody's novels, especially this one, is not the main attraction, but the talk about jazz and jazz musicians is a big draw and is what I find most interesting and appealing. Moody is a jazz musician and music critic so knows his subject thoroughly making this series a pleasure to read.

elokuu 31, 2020, 10:15pm

>60 VivienneR: My partner is a jazz musician so might really like these. Is there a good starting place for Moody.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 1, 2020, 2:15am

>61 janemarieprice: Solo Hand is the first in the series, but I've been reading them out of order and didn't find it confusing. Bird Lives! naturally refers to Charlie Parker (but not about him) and Shades of Blue refers to Miles Davis. They are light reading, the "mystery" is secondary, but I've enjoyed all of them. So far, Looking for Chet Baker would be my favourite.

I hope your partner enjoys one or two.

Oh, BTW, according to Bird Lives! Moody obviously does NOT like commercial smooth jazz.

syyskuu 2, 2020, 7:39pm

>60 VivienneR: Thats now on my to buy list - thanks for the review.

syyskuu 3, 2020, 1:11am

>63 baswood: Glad to return the favour. You have added many to my list.

syyskuu 3, 2020, 1:14am

Who do you think you are? by Alice Munro 4★

This is an excellent collection of related stories about Rose as she grows up. It was published in 1978 and I believe she got even better. I'm keeping the rating as it was after my first read several years ago.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 8, 2020, 1:33pm

The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot 4★

I had forgotten much of this story in the years since I first read it but as it came back to me gradually the dramatic ending was no surprise. I was very happy that Aunt Glegg redeemed herself by shedding her saintly martyrdom to care for Maggie when she needed it most. Annoyingly, much of it is written in dialect, otherwise it is an accurate reflection of 19th century customs, lifestyle and mores. Eliot obviously intended a feminist message, but it was indirect and fell short.

syyskuu 8, 2020, 1:35pm

Amsterdam by Ian McEwan 3★

In his typically clever way, McEwan's book explores ethical issues before coming to the foreshadowed denouement that was certainly intended to be a shocker. Instead, it fizzled out. The description of Clive's process for composing a symphony showed McEwan's level of research and was the most interesting part. While his prose is beautiful as usual, this is not McEwan's best novel, not even close. What is shocking is that it won the Booker Prize.

syyskuu 8, 2020, 3:21pm

>67 VivienneR: Agree, Vivienne. I think they realised he should have got one for Enduring Love the previous year so they awarded it to Amsterdam the year after. I thought the plot was utterly preposterous. it got worse as it went along.

syyskuu 8, 2020, 8:45pm

>68 AlisonY: Ah, so that's what happened! The other contenders must have been beside themselves. I must check the short list for that year to find out who lost out. Enduring Love had that fabulous opening but then slowed up somewhat by comparison. I thought Amsterdam turned out to be a bit like Clive's symphony. I gave it 3 stars because he can write the most beautiful sentence and the way he wrote about music composition was excellent.

syyskuu 9, 2020, 5:19am

>69 VivienneR: Just my personal theory - I'm sure the Booker judges would strenuously disagree!

syyskuu 9, 2020, 1:51pm

>70 AlisonY: They leave themselves open to that type of theory though when they make strange choices.

syyskuu 11, 2020, 4:18pm

Piece of my heart by Peter Robinson 3★

The story begins in September 1969 where a woman's body was found in a sleeping bag in the aftermath of a rock concert. It becomes apparent that the murder has a connection with Banks' current case.

This was probably the disappointment of my reading year. It was next in the series for me and as I was unable to lay my hands on a print copy I settled for audio. The story may have been a winner but was ruined by Ron Keith's atrocious narration. I wish I had skipped this one entirely and jumped to the next in the series.

Based on my previous experience with Robinson, an author I've enjoyed, I'm awarding three stars. If the rating was based on the audio reading it would be much less.

syyskuu 12, 2020, 9:36pm

Reykjavik nights by Arnaldur Indridason 4★

In this prequel, we meet Erlendur as a young cop on the beat showing his interest and talent for detection as well as displaying compassion for the less fortunate in Reykjavik. I enjoyed the bit where he comes across a translation of The Laughing Policeman, a Swedish mystery by authors Sjowal and Wahloo. Very enjoyable, especially for readers following the series.

Thick smoke from the western US wildfires is shrouding much of British Columbia. Our own firefighting planes and helicopters in this area are grounded. It's so dark the street lights have been on and the sun looks like an orange blob. Nothing else to do but read.

syyskuu 15, 2020, 7:17pm

>73 VivienneR: It is very smoke-dimmed even here so far from Oregon and California (St. Louis). We haven't gotten to orange skies yet, but it should be a colorful sunset tonight.

syyskuu 16, 2020, 3:57pm

>74 sallypursell: Let's hope yours doesn't get any worse. It is amazing that it can affect areas so far away. So far, the smoke is mostly travelling north and north-east although that is a wide area. The particle count in my town was more that 20 times higher than is regarded as safe (now down to almost 20 times that safe level limit).

syyskuu 17, 2020, 2:23pm

A conspiracy of faith by Jussi Adler-Olsen 4★

Scandi crime is a genre known for its horrific content but Adler-Olsen is able to inject humour into his stories through his delightfully quirky characters. After a terrific start to the series I was disappointed with the second book that was filled with gratuitous violence. In this one the author has redeemed himself with a solid story that includes more about Morck's sidekick Assad and secretary Rose (Yrsa). Despite a rather sluggish middle section, the story builds up to an exciting finish.

syyskuu 17, 2020, 10:37pm

>75 VivienneR: Our smoke level seems to be about the same today. I'm hoping it will stay that way.

syyskuu 19, 2020, 3:24pm

>77 sallypursell: Ours got a little clearer yesterday but then worse today. The air quality measurement is still extremely high. We might have a thunderstorm today that would be very welcome and might lift some of the smoke.

syyskuu 19, 2020, 3:25pm

Convenience store woman by Sayaka Murata 3★

Misfit Keiko Furukara has learned that to survive in a country that does not tolerate the unconventional she must copy mannerisms and speech patterns to fit in. Working in a convenience store that has strict rules and role models, to say nothing of a manual, she is able keep up appearances. Pressured to marry at age 36, she takes in an employee who was fired for not obeying convenience store rules, another misfit. This is a short, comic novel that explores the conventions of Japanese life. Keiko is endearing in her odd way and the message is clear if unsettling.

syyskuu 19, 2020, 5:22pm

I really liked the oddball Convenience Store Woman, Vivienne.

Regarding the Department Q novels, I have a theory that every other one is a good one. At least that seemed to hold true for the first four or five.

The Moody mystery series sounds interesting. I'll have to check it out.

Have a nice weekend. Stay safe; I hope the air clears soon. It's even hazy here.

syyskuu 20, 2020, 3:23pm

>80 BLBera: Hi Beth, I am reconsidering my measly 3 stars for Convenience Store Woman and may go up a bit.

If your reasoning holds true I might have to pearl-rule the next Department Q.

I hope you like the Bill Moody mysteries as much as I do.

After more than a week of severe smoke we can see blue sky and the mountains today! There must have been wind overnight. I hope your air clears too. Take care.

syyskuu 20, 2020, 3:23pm

Broken promise by Linwood Barclay 4.5★

Another one of the many BBs I've had from rabbitprincess. I love Barclay's mysteries because the characters are mostly ordinary people and the stories just draw you in from the beginning. This one is a winner.

syyskuu 22, 2020, 6:26pm

The devil by Ken Bruen 4.5★

As if Jack Taylor didn't have enough demons of his own, he is hounded by the Devil in this mystery, although mysterious applies too as the story has a touch of the supernatural. I love Bruen's spare style of writing, frequent music and literary references, and that Ireland itself has a strong presence, where it is evident that times are changing and Taylor's old Galway is fading. Although he can be a bit of a train wreck, Jack is the best person to have on your side in a jam.

I can hardly wait for the next in the series and have already put book 9 on hold at the library.

syyskuu 30, 2020, 9:55pm

Bats in the belfry by E.C.R. Lorac 3★

Just as one expects in a mystery novel written in 1937, there are predictable characters and plot devices. It became a bit plodding in the middle but the solution was dramatically satisfying. Not bad but not as good as I expected. However, I am looking forward to reading more of Lorac's books.

Like all British Library Crime Classics, the cover is beautiful.

lokakuu 3, 2020, 2:12am

Goldfinger by Ian Fleming 4★

When my friends and I devoured the James Bond books back in the 1960s I remember that this one rated very high. Reading it again after all this time brought back happy memories. It's a great adventure story despite the many eye-rolling moments. I must add that Fleming's books are significantly better than any of the Bond movies I've seen.

Muokkaaja: lokakuu 4, 2020, 12:58am

Brother by David Chariandy 4.5★

Chariandy describes Trinidadian immigrants living in a public housing complex in Scarborough, Ontario where a Mother is bringing up two boys, Francis and Michael. The story is told by Michael. In very few words Chariandy is able to convey, not only their circumstances but the dreams and emotions of the characters. It is a heartbreaking story and one that continues to happen all too often throughout North America. Highly recommended.

lokakuu 4, 2020, 12:12pm

Hey, there! I just finally caught up with your thread, here. Lots of interesting reading. Thanks for the reviews. Cheers!

lokakuu 5, 2020, 12:21am

Nice of you to drop by, Jerry. I was lurking in your thread recently but didn't leave a comment. You've had a lot of interesting reading too.

lokakuu 5, 2020, 12:25am

Blood Ties by Daniel Kalla 4★

Author Daniel Kalla is an Emergency Room physician in Vancouver and in this story the protagonist, Ben Dafoe, is an ER doctor in Seattle. The story takes place in both cities. At the beginning of the book I thought, for an ER doctor, this guy is making a lot of bad choices but this is of less significance as the story becomes more complex and the twists piled up. And although there is an identical twin factor, it's not the old worn out motif but fits well into the plot. It was a first rate medical thriller with excellent characters. I can't wait to read more of Kalla's books. Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys mysteries.

lokakuu 6, 2020, 3:18pm

Dylan Thomas at the BBC by Dylan Thomas 5★

Classic Dylan Thomas prose and poetry, revealing his immense creativity and imagery in his familiar dolorous voice (it says a lot that his voice is still familar more that sixty years after his death).

That he lived for many years in Larne, in my home country of Northern Ireland, was news to me and I enjoyed the writings from that time. However, my favourites are the prose sketches remembering life from a specific time and place that is captured perfectly in "The Outing", a hilarious charabanc trip to Porthcawl that becomes a pub crawl without ever reaching the intended destination.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

The Flame: Poems and Selections from Notebooks by Leonard Cohen 4★

As the title indicates, this book embraces poems and selections from the notebooks Cohen kept all his life, but is also illustrated with many of his self-portraits. Satisfyingly, it concludes the speech he made in 2011 when accepting the Prince of Asturias award in Spain, in which he explains how a young Spaniard taught him to play guitar. It's a fabulous collection of Cohen's distinctive dark love.

I started by listening to an audio version before obtaining a print copy that I could peruse at my own pace. Either is highly recommended.

If I didn't have your love

If the sun would lose its light
And we lived an endless night
And there was nothing left
That you could feel
That’s how it would be
What the world would seem to me
If I didn’t have your love
To make it real

lokakuu 7, 2020, 4:45am

>91 AlisonY: I never realised Dylan Thomas lived in Larne either, Vivienne. And he still managed to remain creative despite that - remarkable!

(Am I being too cruel about Larne?!)

lokakuu 7, 2020, 4:16pm

>91 AlisonY: Yes, too cruel about Larne! :) I've always enjoyed Larne but it's been 20 years since the last time I was there. Dylan Thomas enjoyed his time there.

lokakuu 9, 2020, 4:00pm

Don't tell Alfred by Nancy Mitford 4★

This follows Love in a Cold Climate and The Pursuit of Love when Fanny is middle-aged and less confident in her abilities as she faces a life in Parisian high society attendant with her husband Alfred's appointment as Ambassador to France. Filled with eccentric characters, Mitford's writing is, as always, witty and sparkling.

lokakuu 12, 2020, 12:25am

Devices and desires by P.D. James 3.5★

I've always enjoyed James' placid, sophisticated writing style and rich character development, but if I have a complaint it is that her books are a tad long with unnecessarily intricate plotting. This one is good but not my favourite.

lokakuu 13, 2020, 4:21pm

Musicophilia: tales of music and the brain by Oliver Sacks 3.5★

How music affects individuals with conditions such as Tourette's or Parkinson's disease is astonishing and yet the benefits are far more widespread as Sacks explains. Even the author used music after a severe leg injury while climbing when he had to "row" himself down the mountain to the beat of marching or rowing songs that coincidentally alleviated the anxiety. Weeks later he learned to walk again with the the help of music: the natural rhythm and melody of walking came back to me". Music lovers will understand the results. An interesting book but lacking an aspect I hoped for.

Headstone by Ken Bruen 4★

Brutal and bloody. but I'm still hooked on Jack Taylor and Galway. Targets receive miniature headstones by mail and victims are attacked on a headstone. Perfectly fitting for the season.

lokakuu 18, 2020, 5:48pm

The Innocents by Michael Crummey 4.5★

As much an allegory as novel, Crummey's book is about two children left orphaned in remote Newfoundland in the early 1800s. Ada and Evered (Adam and Eve?) are left alone to fend for themselves when they are too young and inexperienced to know anything of life beyond their limited dwelling place. They barely survive. The atmospheric story captured my attention on the first page and did not let me go until the end. Highly recommended.

lokakuu 18, 2020, 6:03pm

Sounds fabulous. Onto the list it goes....

lokakuu 18, 2020, 6:14pm

I've still not read anything by Michael Crummey. I've heard more about Galore, but the one you reviewed sounds like a subject I'd be interested in.

lokakuu 18, 2020, 7:46pm

>97 AlisonY: Good to hear!

>98 japaul22: This was my first book by Crummey. I've always meant to read his work and when this one appeared on so many prize lists I had to try it.

lokakuu 19, 2020, 8:48am

Both Galore and Sweetland are excellent. I've had this new one on my shelf for ages and really need to get to it.

lokakuu 19, 2020, 9:55am

>96 VivienneR: The only Michael Crummey I haven't read. Every independent bookstore I went into this summer was sold out of it. I may have to do the dreaded online order. I've been looking forward to this for a while.

lokakuu 19, 2020, 5:07pm

>100 lisapeet: Thank you for the tip. I'll add both to my wishlist. I really enjoyed his writing style.

>101 SassyLassy: There is only one bookstore (that I know of) within 50 kms of where I live. I rely on interlibrary loans or online ordering. I've had Michael Crummey in my sights for a long time but for some reason never got around to his books.

lokakuu 20, 2020, 12:13am

Sleep no more: six murderous tales by P.D. James 4★

An enticing collection of short mystery stories, all with unexpected endings. They are exactly what a short story should be, perfect, nothing vague, everything fitting into place as it should. I'm keeping this one for a re-read.

lokakuu 20, 2020, 6:25pm

>102 VivienneR: Wow, I thought I was fairly rural, although I must say that those independent bookstores were in four different provinces and still no luck. - Yes I did the two week complete isolation on my return!

lokakuu 20, 2020, 6:44pm

>104 SassyLassy: We have an excellent library and can borrow from many other libraries across BC so we're not too badly off. To be honest, I'd like a clothing store before a bookstore. One fairly new clothing store closed the doors permanently when the pandemic lockdown began. Having to drive over snowy mountain passes discourages shopping trips as much as a two-week isolation would.

lokakuu 21, 2020, 2:03pm

Last resort by Linwood Barclay 5★

There are few who can give such an interesting account of their teen years. For many years Barclay's parents ran Green Acres, a cottage, trailer and fishing resort in Ontario. From the age of eleven he helped in many ways ranging from hard work to fun, like meeting girls. He comes across as a friendly, amiable young man ready to take on anything that comes his way while working to create a life of writing. In this he succeeded and is now famed for his impressive mystery novels. This book was so engaging it kept me up until the wee hours, reluctant to put it down until finished.

Muokkaaja: lokakuu 25, 2020, 3:11pm

Miss Pettigrew lives for a day by Winifred Watson 4★

A witty story set over 24 hours and said to be a 1938 reconstruction of Cinderella. Lighthearted yet with some serious undertones. A half-starved middle-aged spinster seeking a job is unintentionally led into a day-long adventure. The glitzy 1930s nightclub background was very well done, especially as Watson had never experienced the life herself.

lokakuu 28, 2020, 12:48am

Paula Spencer by Roddy Doyle 4★

This was my first book by Roddy Doyle and I found his ability to get inside the head of his character awe-inspiring. That the character was an alcoholic female makes it even more remarkable. The stream of consciousness style suits the story of Paula's relentless struggle against alcohol. The musical references added to the character and the story. I'll be looking for more by Doyle.

lokakuu 28, 2020, 4:34am

It must be 25 years since I've read a Roddy Doyle book. I used to love his writing. Not sure why I drifted away from him - I think I'd read so many if his novels I just moved on to other things.

Muokkaaja: lokakuu 28, 2020, 12:36pm

>109 AlisonY: I guess you forgot to tell me about him! :)

I really enjoyed this one, Alison. Maybe it was the mention of The White Stripes that got my attention.

lokakuu 28, 2020, 12:38pm

>110 VivienneR: Still love The White Stripes......

lokakuu 28, 2020, 7:21pm

lokakuu 28, 2020, 8:51pm

In a German pension by Katherine Mansfield 2★

A collection of related short stories, this was Mansfield's first book, published in 1911 after a stay in the spa town of Bad Wörishofen. She refused permission to reprint, believing it could contribute to post-war jingoism but after her death her husband, John Middleton Murry, reprinted them. He should have left well alone. It leaves me with a memory of choppy writing, unpleasant people, often disparaging. It doesn't compare with other books and stories from the same era. Leave this one on the shelf as Mansfield intended.

lokakuu 29, 2020, 7:54am

Listen to the artist! Has there ever been a book published posthumously against its author's wishes that was actually a hidden gem? I'm thinking not.

lokakuu 29, 2020, 7:56am

>114 lisapeet: All of Kafka?

lokakuu 29, 2020, 8:12am

>115 ELiz_M: OK, good point.

lokakuu 29, 2020, 2:53pm

>114 lisapeet: & >115 ELiz_M: I always felt sorry that Harper Lee's early draft of To Kill a Mockingbird was published shortly after her death.

lokakuu 29, 2020, 2:58pm

>113 VivienneR: Nice cover, though. :)

I've heard so many good things about the Crummley book, that I am going to look for a copy to read soon.

I am also a P.D. James fan, and I agree, some of her books are too long.

Another one that caught my eye is Brother by David Chariardy

lokakuu 29, 2020, 2:59pm

>117 VivienneR: I agree, Vivienne. From what I've heard, she never intended it to be published. And with reason. It wasn't ready.

lokakuu 29, 2020, 9:18pm

>118 BLBera: Yes, it was a beautiful cover.

You will find David Chariandy and Michael Crummey both very worthwhile to seek out. Hope you enjoy them.

>119 BLBera: I thought her sister was just cashing in. I didn't buy the book.

marraskuu 6, 2020, 1:12pm

Cider with Roadies by Stuart Maconie 3.5★

More than just a memoir from a music journalist this is a witty social history of the 70s and 80s in England. Although the punk era was a slower part for me, Maconie's entertaining stories and comments captured my interest throughout.

All the devils are here by Louise Penny 4.5★

Another excellent Armand Gamache novel with the action taking place in Paris. Although I missed Three Pines, the characters were often brought to mind, and the Parisian setting was well done and interesting. I highly recommend the audio version with an outstanding reading by Robert Bathurst.

marraskuu 7, 2020, 1:09am

>121 VivienneR:

LOL Cider for Roadies. I'm going to have to take a book bullet on that one.

marraskuu 7, 2020, 2:55am

>122 Nickelini: The other book of Maconie's that I own is titled Pies and Prejudice. The author is from Wigan in northern England where pies are a traditional working man's lunch.

marraskuu 7, 2020, 8:01pm

Miss O'Dell: My Hard Days and Long Nights with The Beatles,The Stones, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, and the Women They Loved by Chris O'Dell 2.5★

O'Dell's memoir is only notable as an insider's view of famous rockers, details that have become widely known in the intervening decades. Her own life story, even with the prize job. is unremarkable. Unlike Cider with Roadies by Stuart Maconie that I finished a few days ago, there was no spark in O'Dell's writing, just a comparatively dull account after the initial joy of getting a job with Apple Records, A job that only came about after a lot of hanging around, hoping, and running errands. Hats off to her success when most teens would have given anything for the opportunity, although later drug abuse blurred the euphoria.

marraskuu 7, 2020, 8:31pm

>123 VivienneR:
Oh, I've heard of that. It's even on my wishlist

marraskuu 8, 2020, 1:03am

>125 Nickelini: I'm looking forward to it, Joyce. I hope we enjoy it.

marraskuu 10, 2020, 2:26pm

The Collected Poems of Rupert Brooke by Rupert Brooke 3.5★

While known as a war poet most of Brooke's poetry was written prior to the Great War. When war was declared in 1914 he had his first experience of war on the disastrous expedition to Antwerp, spending a few days and nights being shelled in trenches. Early in 1915 he sailed with the Expeditionary Force to the Dardanelles, but died of blood poisoning on a French hospital ship at Scyros, Greece on April 23rd, Saint George's Day. He was buried at night, by torchlight, in an olive grove.

I found much of his words pompous by modern standards, generally glorifying war although he had so little experience of it, yet his voice called to mind all the young men lost. Although his most famous lines are in "The Soldier", I found this poem particularly appealing:

All suddenly the wind comes soft,
And Spring is here again;
And the hawthorn quickens with buds of green,
And my heart with buds of pain.

My heart all Winter lay so numb,
The earth so dead and frore,
That I never thought the Spring would come,
Or my heart wake any more.

But Winter's broken and earth has woken,
And the small birds cry again;
And the hawthorn hedge puts forth its buds,
And my heart puts forth its pain.”

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 10, 2020, 7:38pm

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding 3.5★

Despite being the dreaded chick lit, this was very entertaining and had me laughing out loud on a few occasions.

marraskuu 11, 2020, 6:29am

>96 VivienneR: I will add my voice to the others recommending more Crummey (if I haven't already done so). I've read most of his novels, and several volumes of his poetry. I think he prefers not to write the same novel twice, if you know what I mean.

marraskuu 11, 2020, 12:50pm

>129 avaland: Thank you for that recommendation. It's good to know that he doesn't have a formula for novels. Crummey has been on the radar for a long time but this one was my first novel. I will definitely look for more.

marraskuu 11, 2020, 3:27pm

>129 avaland:, >130 VivienneR:

Oh, I like that. I do have to get to him. I have Galore on my shelf. It has such a lovely cover, but it looks long so I always pass it by. Must. get. to. it.

marraskuu 11, 2020, 3:27pm

Purgatory by Ken Bruen 4★

In Bruen's quintessential spare style that I enjoy, this episode in Jack Taylor's renegade life is darker, maybe becoming too dark even for me.

marraskuu 11, 2020, 3:31pm

>131 Nickelini: The length of Crummey's books (or anyone's) is always discouraging to me too. I have arthritis in my hands and can't handle heavy books. Ebooks have been a blessing.

marraskuu 11, 2020, 3:34pm

I'm having trouble with touchstones in lists at the top, they come and go, mostly go. It appears to be a bug because my thread over at the Category Challenge is unaffected, but I'm not getting any response to queries.

marraskuu 13, 2020, 10:13am

I read the first Bridget Jones years ago and enjoyed it; it might be time to try another.

I'm glad you enjoyed the new Louise Penny; I can't wait to read it.

marraskuu 13, 2020, 3:57pm

>131 Nickelini: You absolutely have to get to Galore! It is superb. It also doesn't seem that long once you get into it, as you just keep reading.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 13, 2020, 6:46pm

>136 SassyLassy: It was fun but I might feel differently if I'd seen the movies.

I particularly liked that it was set in Paris, I mean, how many murders can you get in a small Quebec village? Robert Bathurst's narration was superb.

>136 SassyLassy: Now that I've sampled Michael Crummey I will definitely read Galore. It sounds fascinating.

marraskuu 13, 2020, 8:18pm

>128 VivienneR:
Re: Bridget Jones the Edge of Reason

I read and loved the first Bridget Jones book way back before the film even came out and dearly loved it. When this sequel was published, I didn't want to read it because I had been disappointed by sequels too many times. Years later my sister-in-law gave me her copy and said it was quite good, but it still took me probably a decade before I actually read it. In the meantime I had seen the movie, that is mostly a hot mess. So when I finally got around to it, I actually ended up loving Bridget Jones The Edge of Reason. So much better than the movie.

>137 VivienneR: You absolutely have to get to Galore! It is superb. It also doesn't seem that long once you get into it, as you just keep reading.

Thanks for the encouragement! I do feel like that's how it would go, so this one is always near the top of my to-read-next pile. 2021 for sure!

marraskuu 13, 2020, 11:56pm

>138 Nickelini: When a movie-from-a-book is hyped so much it discourages me from reading it, but this time I was glad did, it was witty and had some real life topics that most of us consider at one point or another.

We will both be reading Galore in 2021.

marraskuu 14, 2020, 8:29am

Another Galore fan here.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 15, 2020, 8:22pm

>140 lisapeet: Welcome to the fan club, Lisa. Galore is on my "must read" list for 2021.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 15, 2020, 8:23pm

Soap and water and common sense: the definitive guide to viruses, bacteria, parasites, and disease by Bonnie Henry 4★

Dr Bonnie Henry is the Provincial Health Officer for British Columbia, BC's most senior public health official. She is one of our most recognized faces as the person responsible for delivering daily pandemic updates. She is also the most trusted, her advice is (mostly) heeded, and her calm demeanour and leadership is heartening even while delivering unwelcome news. Dr Henry has built her considerable skill while working during many health outbreaks around the world including Ebola, polio, H1N1, and SARS.

The book was published following the H1N1 epidemic in 2009 with a brief update to include COVID-19. Although we are all familiar with rules to live by during the current pandemic, the information was clear, pertinent, and best of all, interesting. I was particularly interested in the vaccines that have come about during my lifetime, including those for polio, pertussis, diphtheria, measles, rubella, and TB, all diseases common when I was a child. Thanks to vaccines the lives of so many children born in my generation and later were saved.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 15, 2020, 11:00pm

>142 VivienneR:

I read that earlier in the year too. Who doesn't like Bonnie Henry? She's loved by all

marraskuu 16, 2020, 12:24am

>143 Nickelini: Loved by all, even her shoes! And she has a sense of humour, shown when she was asked about her hair during lockdown. No, she didn't go to a stylist, she "tinkered" with it herself.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 21, 2020, 5:47pm

Ice Harvest by Scott Phillips 3.5★

I almost abandoned this Christmas noir crime novel because it is so crude but glad I stayed with it. The sleazy characters provided some comic spots and the ending is darkly excellent. Not for everyone.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 21, 2020, 8:26pm

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan 4.5★

Washington Black is a young slave on a sugar plantation in Barbados until his master's brother, Titch, takes an interest in him, and trains him to be an assistant in his scientific projects. The story takes a fanciful turn and Wash begins his world travels to Canada, Europe, and Morocco. It's a combination of adventure story and fairy tale, but beyond comparison with other adventurous fairy tales. Beautiful writing, artistic and elegant.

marraskuu 21, 2020, 8:27pm

The Studio Crime by Ianthe Jerrold 3★

Jerrold only wrote two crime novels and that's a pity. This one was good, maybe a bit convoluted, but entertaining. However, she was no match for the great mystery writers of the era like Christie and Sayers.

marraskuu 24, 2020, 3:14pm

The Mistletoe Murder and other stories by P.D. James 4★

Some short stories, especially in the Christmas mystery category, leave me unsatisfied, wanting more. James' stories are gratifyingly complete. This is a perfect selection for the season.

marraskuu 25, 2020, 10:38am

The Glass Hotel by Emily St John Mandel 4★

Mandel lives up to her reputation as a creator of magnificent stories. The hotel of the title is located in a remote part of Vancouver Island, which Mandel captures beautifully. The story is filled with a wide group of diverse, well-developed characters centering on one who created a ponzi scheme. Mandel is a fabulous storyteller. And although I preferred Station Eleven, this latest book does not disappoint.

marraskuu 25, 2020, 10:51pm

>149 VivienneR:

I also read this this month and shared about the same thoughts although I dropped it another half star to 3.5. I just didn’t think this book had as much to say as Station Eleven.

marraskuu 25, 2020, 11:35pm

>149 VivienneR:
I keep hearing about this and it always sounds intriguing, but I didn't know it was set on Vancouver Island. That's a big plus for me. I was thinking maybe I would get to this one after I finally read Station Eleven, since I own that one. But I started it once and I was so bored, and I knew it turned into a dystopia, which is not my jam at all, so I've never been able to make myself pick it up again. The Glass Hotel isn't a dystopia though, right? It sounds way more interesting to me.

marraskuu 26, 2020, 1:22am

>151 Nickelini:

The Glass Hotel is not is a dystopia but it is about a huge bunch of miserable people -- who remain miserable -- which feels more dystopic than Station Eleven that, while it takes place in dystopic America, is much more uplifting and has a positive outlook on the future. Also, if you felt Station Eleven was boring then I fear you'll find The Glass Hotel even more boring.

marraskuu 26, 2020, 12:09pm

>150 lilisin: and >152 lilisin: You describe it perfectly and I agree completely. Yes, Station Eleven had more to say, and the miserable people in this one removed much of could have been enticing. I'm beginning to think my four star rating has become habit because I'm often obliged to retroactively reduce (or increase) the rating. This could be one that goes down.

>151 Nickelini: The Vancouver Island setting attracted me too, but take note that it's only partly set there. Like >152 lilisin: said, you may find The Glass Hotel even more boring that Station Eleven. I'll be interested in your opinion if you do decide to read it.

marraskuu 26, 2020, 12:10pm

Autopsy of a boring wife by Marie-Renée Lavoie 4★

Diane's husband has left her for a younger woman, claiming that Diane is boring. This is the story of her reactions, some typical and some unexpected, often funny but the kind of funny that could easily end in tears. Kudos to Lavoie for writing a novel about a serious issue yet injecting it with just the right amount of humour to make it entertaining. I heartily admired Diane and enjoyed this novel immensely.

>151 Nickelini: Joyce, this is one you might like better.

marraskuu 26, 2020, 5:09pm

>154 VivienneR:

Okay! I'll look into it. Sound good so far

marraskuu 29, 2020, 3:42pm

The boat people by Sharon Bala 4★

Based on the real story of a ship arriving in Vancouver filled with refugees from Sri Lanka. Bala does a fantastic job of telling their story and the stories of the officials who must determine if they are legitimate refugees or potential terrorists. When I see refugees arriving I've always thought they were safe, but from now on I will remember this book and know they have a long difficult time ahead to prove their case.

marraskuu 29, 2020, 7:19pm

The Bala book sounds really good, Vivienne. I will have to look for it.

I also loved The Glass Hotel, but I agree, Station Eleven is better.

marraskuu 29, 2020, 8:10pm

>157 BLBera: Hi Beth! I really enjoyed The boat people especially when there has been so much in the media about the topic.

I also liked an early book of St John Mandel's, Last night in Montreal. Have you read it?

marraskuu 29, 2020, 9:56pm

Yes, I did read Last Night in Montreal. I remember liking it, but I don't remember too much about it. I'll have to look back on my comments.

joulukuu 7, 2020, 12:25pm

Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell 5★

This is a truly captivating tale. I've always tried to picture Shakespeare's home life from the scant details available. O'Farrell's expressive narrative completed the image like no other author has done. I liked that she mentioned Agnes' disdain for the grand new bed claiming that her marriage bed was all she wanted. No doubt inspired by the entry in Shakespeare's will that has puzzled many, in which he left Ann his "second best" bed. By not mentioning the name of Shakespeare or even his first name meant the focus remained on the rest of the family. A fascinating, tender, and heartbreaking story that I am certain to read again. O'Farrell has a beautiful way with words. Highly recommended.

joulukuu 12, 2020, 7:36pm

As birds bring forth the sun by Alistair MacLeod

I borrowed this collection of short stories in order to read the Christmas story To every thing there is a season: A Cape Breton Christmas Story, which was excellent and brought back memories of my own childhood. Of course, I couldn't return the book without reading the whole thing, although the Christmas story remains my favourite.

joulukuu 14, 2020, 4:19am

>160 VivienneR: Really looking forward to getting my hands on this one at some point soon. I've not heard anything less than glowing reviews to date.

joulukuu 14, 2020, 4:51pm

>162 AlisonY: I hope you do get to read it soon. Maybe Santa will oblige! Mine was borrowed from the library but I hope to buy my own copy because I will definitely want to read it again. After looking over all I have read this year Hamnet will be my book of the year, with The Travelling Cat Chronicles a close second.

joulukuu 15, 2020, 3:16pm

So sorry to hear of the death of John le Carré. 2021 will open with a re-read of some of his works beginning with The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life

joulukuu 15, 2020, 4:17pm

>161 VivienneR: That can be a difficult collection to find, and no wonder - it's probably snapped up every time it appears on the shelves. MacLeod is one of my favourite writers. Have you ever heard him read? His voice and accent add so much to his stories, sadly now silenced.

joulukuu 21, 2020, 1:41pm

joulukuu 23, 2020, 4:12pm

>165 SassyLassy: Sadly, I've had no success in finding Alistair MacLeod's voice but will continue with the search. He is one of my favourite writers too.

joulukuu 23, 2020, 4:13pm

joulukuu 24, 2020, 8:41am

Happy Christmas, Vivienne. Nothing for it this year but to hunker down with some good books!

joulukuu 25, 2020, 8:18pm

I hope you get some of those at least, Vivienne, as we all look forward to a better 2021.

I think you are the only one to get two of these from me this year as I wasn't sure which thread you would be looking at first. Thank you for keeping up with me this year. x

joulukuu 26, 2020, 3:39pm

>170 PaulCranswick: Lucky me, getting two posts from you! Thank you, Paul, and the same wishes to you too.

joulukuu 26, 2020, 3:40pm

Death of an Englishman by Magdalen Nabb 4★

This mystery is set in Florence where the author lived for a long time. Marshall Guarnaccia has 'flu and the murder of an Englishman must be investigated by his superior assisted by two Scotland Yard detectives who speak little Italian and Carabineire Bacci who is able to translate. A very enjoyable mystery with well developed characters and an engaging story.

joulukuu 26, 2020, 7:02pm


Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella 3★

A funny entertaining Christmas read that could be described as a profusion of materialism, and a bit like having one chocolate too many.

joulukuu 26, 2020, 7:22pm

>173 VivienneR:
If you're not going to have one chocolate too many on Christmas, then when will you? Here's to doing something fun and different from the usual, whether it's Christmas chocolates or Christmas novels.

joulukuu 26, 2020, 7:47pm

>174 Nickelini: Good point, Joyce!

I just kept thinking the character must be really wealthy to be able to keep buying online for what seemed like 24/7. But I think she touched on buying mistakes we have all made at some point (too small, I'll keep it and go on a diet). In the end it felt like too much of everything.

joulukuu 27, 2020, 9:11pm

Festive Spirits by Kate Atkinson 4★

Three stories about ordinary people at Christmas. Each displays Atkinson's exceptional writing style and quirky ideas that are simultaneously down to earth. I just wish this book was longer.

joulukuu 29, 2020, 3:47pm

A Perfect Spy by John le Carrê 4★

No one can write spy stories like John le Carré, and his writing is beautiful. Characters are so well-developed that the reader begins to see them as real people. His plots may not appeal to those who like the modern high-velocity action style, but for me, le Carré will always be the ultimate in espionage novels.

joulukuu 31, 2020, 3:24pm

Wishing everyone here health and happiness in the new year!