Trifolia reads in 2023

KeskusteluClub Read 2023

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Trifolia reads in 2023

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 17, 4:25 am

Read in 2023

Affections by Rodrigo Hasbún - 3 stars
Old God's Time by Sebastian Barry - 4,5 stars
About People by Juli Zeh - 3,5 stars

22. Force of Nature by Jane Harper - 4 stars
21. Marzahn, mon amour by Katja Oskamp - 4 stars

20. Dunkelblum by Eva Menasse - 4,5 stars
19. Juli by Aya Sabi - 3 stars
18. Het lied van ooievaar en dromedaris by Anjet Daanje - 2 stars
17. Carrefour des veuves by Monique Ilboudo - 4 stars

16. The Dry by Jane Harper - 4 stars
15. The Lost Man by Jane Harper - 4 stars
14. The Draining Lake by Arnaldur Indridason - 3,5 stars

13. Agneta by Jan van der Mast - 3 stars


12. Embers by Sándor Márai - 4,5 stars
11. A Hundred Million Years and a Day by Jean-Baptiste Andrea - 3,5 stars
10. The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman - 3 stars
9. The Colony by Audrey Magee - 3,5 stars
8. Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead - 3,5 stars

7. Vida de Guastavino y Guastavino by Andrés Barba - 4 stars
6. Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller - 3,5 stars

5. Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan - 4 stars
4. Madame le Commissaire und der Tod des Polizeichefs by Pierre Martin - 3 stars
3. Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell - 3 stars
2 Africa Is Not a Country: Breaking Stereotypes of Modern Africa by Dipo Faloyin (audio)
1. A Bookshop in Algiers by Kaouther Adimi - 3 stars

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 6, 10:46 am

Reading Plans

Reading Globally
- Burkina Faso: Carrefour des veuves by Monique Ilboudo (currently)
- Burundi
- Cape Verde
- Central African Republic
- Chad
- Comoros: A Girl Called Eel by Ali Zamir
- Côte d'Ivoire
- Djibouti
- Egypt: Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz
- Eritrea
- Eswatini (Swaziland)
- Gabon
- Gambia
- Ghana
- Kenya
- Turkey: My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk
- Uzbekistan: The Devils' Dance by Hamid Ismailov

1001 Books
- Embers by Sándor Márai (March)
- The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
- The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
- Middlemarch by George Eliot (currently)

Historical Fiction
- The Abyss by Marguerite Yourcenar
- De reparatie van de wereld by Slobodan Šnajder
- The Tea Lords by Hella S. Haasse
- Viktor by Judith Fanto
- De ommegang by Jan Van Aken


Recommended by
- Circe by Madeline Miller
- The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka
- The Overstory by Richard Powers
- To the End of the Land by David Grossman
- The Doll by Bolesław Prus
- Otmars zonen by Peter Buwalda
- Baba Dunja's Last Love by Alina Bronsky
- Harvest by Jim Crace

Non fiction
- She Has Her Mother's Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity by Carl Zimmer
- Aftermath: Life in the Fallout of the Third Reich, 1945–1955 by Harald Jähner
- Beter wordt het niet een reis door het Habsburgse reis en de Europese Unie by Caroline De Gruyter

joulukuu 31, 2022, 11:03 am

Hi, I'm Monica, a 50-something historian working full time as an information manager (aka archivist). I live in Belgium (Flanders).
I've been a member of LT since 2010, but initially under a different name (JustJoey4 and monicagovers). This will be my third year in Club Read.

My reading preferences are international literature from all over the world, modern literature and classics. In stressful times, I reach for detectives and thrillers. Although I will not officially venture into challenges, etc., I do intend to focus on African literature, Nobel Prize winners, historical fiction and non-fiction.
Looking forward to a brand new reading year!

joulukuu 31, 2022, 1:42 pm

Welcome to Club Read 2023, Monica. I can't wait to see where your reading leads us this year (because I'm sure we will end up in some of the same places).

joulukuu 31, 2022, 2:54 pm

Happy New Year, Monica.

tammikuu 1, 7:57 am

Dropping my star! Happy new year!

tammikuu 1, 12:44 pm

Happy New Year, Monica. I look forward to following your reading this year.

tammikuu 2, 4:19 am

>4 labfs39: Thanks, Lisa. Yes, I'm sure we will fish in the same fish pond :-) Looking forward to that!

>5 dchaikin: Thank you and to you too, Dan.

>6 Simone2: Thank you, Barbara.

>7 BLBera: And thank you too, Beth.

I've been gone for 24 hours and look what happened to CR2023. I already have to catch up . I know there is always a lot of activity and excitement at the beginning of the year, but still...
I often struggle to find a balance between reading, reviewing and attending discussions. I'm a little jealous of people who manage to keep that balance. How do they/you do that?

tammikuu 2, 6:14 am

Happy New Year, Monica. I'm looking forward to your reading year.
I've been mostly absent last year and will try to do better in 2023. Happy reading.

tammikuu 2, 7:42 am

>8 Trifolia: I hear you. I love the excitement and chatter at the beginning of the year, but it is a serious impediment to my reading! I find it a little stressful until things calm down, but for some reason, I felt like this year wasn't as full-on chaos as last year. I'm not sure if that is supported by data or just perception. Perhaps because it was my first year as admin last year that I felt more pressure.

tammikuu 2, 9:09 am

>9 Ameise1: Thanks, Barbara. I'm looking forward to our renewed meeting here and on your thread which I always liked even before your presence in CR.

>10 labfs39: Oh yes, last year was hectic and I can only imagine what it must have been like for you as an admin. I remember the flood of posts I had to process for Rebecca's tribute. But it was fun too!

tammikuu 2, 9:22 am

1. A Bookshop in Algiers / Our Riches by Kaouther Adimi - 3 stars

Author’s nationality: Algerian
Original publication date: 2017
Author’s age when first published: 31
Written in: French
Read in: Dutch translation
Format: e-book

Why I read this :
In my search for suitable books for the African novel challenge in January, this book caught my eye. It wasn't quite what I was looking for, because I actually wanted an Algerian story by an Algerian author in an Algerian context and the French context therefore seemed less interesting to me. But since France is an integral part of Algeria's history and since I have a soft spot for bookstore books, I read it anyway. The fact that it is a short novel made the choice easier.

Based on true events, the book tells the story of Edmond Charlot, a young man in his twenties, who opened a bookshop (Les Vraies Richesses) in Algiers in the 1930s and also became a publisher and champion of a literary scene that transcended borders. His bookshop became the place to be for writers, poets, publishers, students, a.o. Albert Camus (who had some of his first works published by Charlot).

My comments:
In this book we follow three storylines: that of Charlot through fictionalized diary fragments, that of Ryad who has to clean up the bookshop in 2017 and the author who's the voice of the Algerian people.
Charlot's diary fragments are interesting because they depict the hectic pace of the entrepreneur and enable the author to give a lot of information in a very concise manner. But sometimes it was a bit too much name dropping without the necessary context. Ryad's story seemed a bit superfluous to me, but perhaps necessary to complete the circle. Perhaps the most impressive was the anonymous voice of the Algerian people, although it is very limited. However decisive the storyline of Charlot's bookstore is, this is also the story of Algeria, a colony of France that tried to become independent and pays a very heavy price for it.
I must admit that I know very little about colonialism and the struggle for independence. That lack of knowledge is one of the reasons I've joined the African Roman Challenge. Ailthough this book offers no more than a very concise look at a complex and painful history, its merits are that it is well written, it rescues Charlots bookshop from oblivion and it has made me curious enough to explore this topic further, so it does have its value.

Recommended for:
Anyone who likes to read about booksellers or wants to take a cursory glance at a small aspect of Algeria's history.

tammikuu 2, 9:31 am

This does sound good. I, too, love bookstore stories.

tammikuu 2, 10:00 am

>12 Trifolia: that’s a lovely review. Algeria made a quiet appearance in The Colony (on last year’s Booker longlist) and left a lingering impression in me.

“I'm a little jealous of people who manage to keep that balance. How do they/you do that?” - yes, how does anyone do that?

tammikuu 2, 11:38 am

>8 Trifolia:, >14 dchaikin: Monica, if you figure it out, let me know! Happy 2023!

tammikuu 2, 12:08 pm

>12 Trifolia: This title caught my eye when you mentioned on the What are You Reading thread. I already have a book on my shelves for Algeria, So Vast the Prison, but I will keep an eye out for this one.

tammikuu 2, 12:08 pm

Happy New Year! Looking forward to following your reading this year. (I won’t even try to answer your question about juggling reading, reviewing and commenting on others’ threads - I fell off CR completely last year).

tammikuu 4, 2:42 pm

>13 BLBera: Bookstore stories are the best!

>14 dchaikin: Yes, I noticed that book. Noticing is the step right before picking it up and reading it...

>15 markon: I will :-)

>16 labfs39: I'm happy to see there is a wider choice for the African challenge than a few years ago. I read The Last Summer of Reason by Tahar Djaout in 2010 and that made a lasting impression on me. But it was one of the few books about Algeria that was available. A lot has changed since then.

>17 rachbxl: Hi Rachel. I'm so happy to see you here. You're certainly not the only one who fell off CR last year, but you're always welcome here.

tammikuu 4, 2:47 pm

Happy New Year Monica! Dropping a star for later...

tammikuu 4, 2:47 pm

2. Africa Is Not a Country: Breaking Stereotypes of Modern Africa by Dipo Faloyin - 4 stars

Author’s nationality: Nigerian
Original publication date: 2022
Author’s age when first published: ?
Written in: English
Read in: Dutch translation
Format: audiobook
Genre: non fiction

Why I read this :
In my preparation for the African Roman Challenge I was looking for some kind of overview of African history. This book came up and while it wasn't really what I was looking for (I can see a pattern emerging here…), the synopsis tickled me enough to read it.

In this intriguing book, the Nigerian journalist Dipo Faloyin who was born in the US, spent his childhood in Nigeria and now lives and works in London, challenges us to look at Africa differently. Because, for various reasons, we still use stereotypes and prejudices that are detrimental to the development of this continent.
After a first chapter in which he tells the story of how Africa was divided among the Western powers, he explains why charities such as Band Aid are so harmful, that there is much more diversity within Africa than Westerners think. There is a hilarious chapter about how Hollywood filmmakers should portray Africa to fit all the clichés, but he also explains the variety of African dictatorships and the impact of foreign influence, the link with supremacists, the outrage over the plunder of African art and heritage, he writes about the jollof rice war that Jamie Oliver unintentionally unleashed and finally also about possible future prospects for the continent. The common thread running through his story is the author's concern that Africa is being robbed of opportunities by all those wrong assumptions that drive investors away, simply giving a wrong picture of a continent in full development.

My comments:
The author sometimes rambles on and repeats himself, but it never gets boring. It may be necessary to emphasize the seriousness of the message, especially since Dipo Faloyin writes in such a disarmingly humorous, sometimes hilarious way. I can’t really say the facts he mentioned were unknown to me, but he presents them in a way that makes me think and see things from a different perspective.
I don't always agree with the author and I had hoped he would make more suggestions to improve Africa's image, but Faloyin has already given me a lot to chew on. He has made me think and I accept his invitation to try to stay away from clichés and prejudices when looking at this beautiful and fascinating continent.

Recommended for:
Anyone who’s interested in Africa and would like to look at it from a different angle.

tammikuu 4, 4:03 pm

Hi Monica! Looking forward to seeing what you read this year. I know you're going to send me to the library catalogue often...

Hope you can find the lost Agent Sonya on your e-reader. It's not a relaxing book - so many near misses and I'm only in Chapter 8 - but it's really good.

tammikuu 4, 4:46 pm

>20 Trifolia: This does not sound like a bad introduction

tammikuu 4, 9:15 pm

>18 Trifolia: I read The Last Summer of Reason about eight months after you did. It was probably a book bullet from you. I agree that it was a powerful one.

tammikuu 5, 12:10 am

Hi, interesting books you're beginning with.

>12 Trifolia:

I read this on publication so the memories are fuzzy now--may be worth cautioning that it's not a "cosy bookshop" type of read (in case anyone wonders), it's actually very sad. The past promised much, but the present is one of decay and loss, with remaining books being scattered in the street when not destroyed by the elements in the dilapidated shop. Between the Islamists' prohibition on bookselling and the degradation of education, the very memory of Algiers' one-time status as a cultural centre, let alone one with international aspirations, got lost.

tammikuu 5, 11:13 pm

>8 Trifolia: The rush does slow down. I don't try to read everything during the first couple weeks - we're nearly done with the first week and I still have a couple dozen threads I haven't opened. I also don't try to read all the threads - I follow those whose reading sounds interesting to me, or I'd be reading nothing but LT all year. But by the end of the month I should be caught up and able to read all the new posts in not too much time a day.

tammikuu 8, 10:55 am

>22 baswood: It certainly wasn't.

>23 labfs39: Those were the days...

>24 LolaWalser: Yes, you're absolutely right. It's not a cosy book. You summarize it a lot better than I did. But I'd still recommend it as I suppose you also do?

>25 jjmcgaffey: ... or I'd be reading nothing but LT all year...Yes, it's hard to keep that balance. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.

tammikuu 8, 11:05 am

I’ll be checking in from time to time, Monica. I’m already behind, but hopefully once I’m caught up it won’t seem so daunting a task.

tammikuu 8, 3:37 pm

Looking forward to following along again this year, Monica. I tend to get desperately behind on LT these days, so may do more lurking than commenting.

tammikuu 8, 5:18 pm

>26 Trifolia:

Oh yes, I liked it a lot, and just like you went on to read about the historical Charlot.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 9, 10:00 am

>12 Trifolia:, >29 LolaWalser:, Apparently A bookshop in Algiers is available in the US as Our Riches because my library has it on order as an ebook. Publication date is 2020.

tammikuu 13, 1:51 pm

>8 Trifolia: people who manage to keep that balance. How do they/you do that?
Well, I'm not the one who will answer your question as I've finally opened your thread with a two-week delay...
So Happy new year if it's still in order! And count me in to follow your reading this year again! You've already given me some interesting titles from Algeria I should investigate about a bit more.

tammikuu 14, 4:42 am

>27 NanaCC: So lovely to see you here. Seeing all these threads is indeed daunting.

>28 AlisonY: Thanks for visiting too, Alison. I completely understand.

>30 markon: Yes, I had noticed it was available under another name but did not know why and where. Thank you for solving that mystery.

>31 raton-liseur: Don't worry about being suppossedly late. I'm not exactly that punctual myself and I yet have to want to visit your thread. Happy New Year to you too!

tammikuu 14, 5:22 am

3. Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell - 3 stars

Author’s nationality: Northern Irish
Original publication date: 2020
Author’s age when first published: 48
Written in: English
Read in: Dutch translation
Format: audiobook
Genre: historical fiction
Other books read by this author: Instructions for a Heatwave / The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox.

Why I read this:
I have enjoyed reading several of Maggie O’Farrell’s books so I was interested to read this one, especially since it was a historical novel, it was well received and also won several awards.

The fictionalized story of the impact of the plague on the lives of William Shakespeare and his family, especially from the point of view of his extraordinary wife.

My comments:
I have started reading this book in december 2022 and in the beginning I liked it very much but somehow, somewhere in the middle, I became more and more frustrated with this book till I reached the point that I put it aside for a few weeks and only finished it a few days ago. It had all the ingredients for me to like it: it’s historical fiction with true to life characters with an interesting plot. Maybe a bit too sentimental and too drawn out at times, but okay, I can take that. So why didn’t I like it more and why did I become frustrated after really enjoying the first chapters. It took me a while to realize it’s probably due to the format! I actually listened to this book and I realize I became frustrated at the very moment the child died. From that very moment, the narrator’s voice was whining. Every word, every sentence: whiny. This had a huge impact on how I perceived this book. She even whined when she could or should have used a more neutral or even optimistic tone.
So, to be honest, I think the format really blew it for me because I think I would have liked the book a lot better if I had read it instead of listened to it.
I started listening to audiobooks last year and liked the experience so far, especially since it enables me to read more often. It has worked well with a few classics and mysteries but I wonder if some books are better read than listened to. Or is it all due to the narrator’s interpretation?
I wonder if you have had a similar experience.

Recommended for:
Anyone who likes intimistic historical fiction.

tammikuu 14, 9:37 am

I’ve had that experience a lot - books ruined or made worse by poor or overly dramatic readers… or readers who just weren’t to my taste. (And audio samples don’t always help me avoid it.) audiobooks change the experience, and it can make the book better or worse.

helmikuu 8, 5:18 am

Seconded! The quality of the reader makes a huge difference. Particularly if you find something annoying in the way they speak - it is really hard to listen past that.

helmikuu 9, 2:56 pm

It sounds like the audiobook ruined Hamnet for you. For me, if I don't like the narrator, I usually can't finish listening to the book.

helmikuu 15, 11:32 am

>34 dchaikin: >35 wandering_star: >36 BLBera: - Apparently, I have been rather fortunate so far because it's the first time I really had an issue with the narrator, but I'll be more careful and less indulgent in the future.

helmikuu 15, 11:40 am

It's rarely a good idea to make big plans when you have a few days off. Reality will catch up with you. Despite my good intentions, I've read less than I wanted to in recent weeks. Here's my brief update.

4. Madame le Commissaire und der Tod des Polizeichefs by Pierre Martin - 3 stars

The third part of a cozy police series set in Provence. In this part, the police commissioner investigates the suicide of a colleague which turns out not to have been a suicide. Especially nice because of the atmosphere and the well-typed characters.

helmikuu 15, 11:46 am

5. Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan - 4 stars

I read this little book, actually more of a novella in January and was very charmed by it. Although I actually expected something completely different, more historical facts about the Magdalena sisters, it did not disappoint me at all. It's the story of a man who grew up without a father, is now the father of a happy family and looks his past into the eye by being confronted by a girl in the convent where he has to deliver coal. A bit of an open-ended Christmas story, but very nicely told.

helmikuu 16, 9:42 am

>39 Trifolia: I loved this one. After I read it, I listened to it, and the reader did a fine job.

helmikuu 19, 7:00 am

>38 Trifolia: I have read a few books from this series, but not this one yet.

helmikuu 20, 3:47 pm

>38 Trifolia: Thanks for the reminder, I am reading the first 'Madame le Commissaire' now.

helmikuu 21, 2:19 pm

Nothing to add, but popping up to say hello.

maaliskuu 20, 5:35 am

Hello everyone, I’m back after a long absence due to covid. It was a tough time for me and my family, but we are slowly getting better. I’m still very tired and have trouble concentrating, but I miss reading and participating in this wonderful group.

I managed to read and listen to a few books in the past few weeks: an epic historical novel about a female aviator who disappeared in 1950 while attempting to fly around the world; a cozy mystery with a lot of humor and charm about four elderly residents of a retirement village who solve crimes; a contemporary novel about two middle-aged twins who live with their mother in rural England and have to cope with her sudden death and the secrets she left behind; and a literary novel about a paleontologist who goes on an expedition to find the skeleton of a dragon in the Alps.
Can you guess which books they are?

I hope you are all doing well and having a great reading year so far. I’m ready to get back into the swing of things and catch up with you all. I also hope to post some reviews soon. It might take me some time though, as my brain is still foggy from covid. But don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten how to write!
Take care and happy reading!

maaliskuu 20, 5:44 am

So sorry you and your family caught covid. I hope the brain fog lifts soon!

maaliskuu 20, 7:25 am

>44 Trifolia: Oh, no, Monica. I'm sorry to hear you caught covid. It figures that my book twin and I would have it at the same time. I caught it around the third week of February, and still feel crummy. I've probably cracked that same rib coughing, and I started reading a "real" book for the first time on Saturday. I simply couldn't focus. Yesterday I had a fever again, go figure. How is your mom?

maaliskuu 20, 7:46 am

>45 Dilara86: Thank you, Dilara. I hope so too!

>46 labfs39: Lisa, I’m so sad to learn that you have covid too. That’s terrible, especially since you and your daughter have already had it and suffered so much then. I wish you a speedy recovery and a return to good health. It’s hard to be sick and not able to enjoy reading or anything else.

Thank you for your concern about my mom. She had a mild case and didn’t have to go to the hospital, which is fortunate given the fact that she's still frail from her other treatments. She’s still feeling a bit weak but she’s doing well, all things considered.

I’m happy that you managed to read a “real” book on Saturday. What was it? I’ve been reading mostly e-books and listening to audiobooks because they are more convenient. It seems my energy-levels are not up to par with my ambitions yet.

Please look after yourself and rest as much as possible. I’m sending you lots of good thoughts and virtual hugs.

maaliskuu 20, 8:52 am

>47 Trifolia: I'm glad your mom's case was mild. I hope your brain fog lifts soon. I started reading The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta for the African Novel Challenge. I think I'm about 100 pages in.

maaliskuu 20, 9:03 am

I checked if this book is available since I do want to commit to the African Novel Challenge and I might as well read a book with you then but it 's only available in the Portuguese version. I can handle a few languages, but unfortunately Portuguese is not one of them :-)

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 20, 11:47 am

6. Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller - 3,5 stars

Author’s nationality: UK
Original publication date: 2021
Author’s age when first published: 54
Written in: English
Read in: English
Format: e-book

Why I read this:
I had read rave reviews or mentions about this book (thanks BLBera, Nickelini, RidgewayGirl, Caroline_McElwee, arubabookwoman and I may forget more) and it seemed like a book I would enjoy.

After the unexpected death or their mother, the 51-year old twin-brother and sister Julius and Jeanie are left unprepared. They have lived a very sheltered life but now have to face the hard reality that their mother had secrets which have a huge impact on their lives and future.

My comments:
I liked the characters, especially Jeanie, who was strong and loyal. The writing was clear and atmospheric, creating a vivid sense of place and time. The plot was engaging, with some twists and revelations that kept me hooked until the end. The book explored themes of identity, family, loyalty, love and survival with honesty and grace.
However, I also felt that the author was sometimes too harsh or unrealistic with the twins’ struggles. The writing was sometimes too slow or repetitive, making the story drag in some parts. Some twists and revelations were predictable, leaving me unsatisfied.
So all-in all, I had mixed feelings: it had some flaws but overall I liked it.

Recommended for:
I recommend this book to anyone who likes character-driven novels with a touch of mystery and social commentary.

maaliskuu 20, 11:46 am

7. Vida de Guastavino y Guastavino by Andrés Barba - 4 stars

Author’s nationality: Spanish
Original publication date: 2021
Author’s age when first published: 46
Written in: Spanish
Read in: Dutch
Format: e-book

Why I read this :
I came across this book by chance on my ereader (KoboPlus-account and I was interested.

This book tells the story of two Spanish architects, Rafael Guastavino, a bit of a rogue, and his son, who emigrated to New York in 1881 and became famous for their innovative vaulting technique. They worked on iconic buildings such as Grand Central Station and St. John the Devine, but they also had a complicated father-son relationship.

My comments:
The Guastavinos really existed and this story is based on real facts. But the author has worked his own story around it. I liked this book for its historical and artistic interest, but especially for its description of the father-son relationship.
However, the book lacked some emotion and suspense, making it hard sometimes to connect with the characters.

Recommended for:
I recommend this quick read to anyone who likes historical novels with a touch of art and social commentary, but be aware that it’s an very short and not a very exciting or moving book.

maaliskuu 20, 10:02 pm

>49 Trifolia: Too bad, as The Joys of Motherhood has lots to mull over. Not a very cheerful book though, the title is ironic at best.

>50 Trifolia: Hmm, this one was in my tickler file, but based on your review I'm not going to advance it up the queue at this point.

maaliskuu 27, 8:37 am

8. Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead - 3 stars

Great Circle is a novel about two women trying to find their own way in life: Marian Graves, an adventurous pilot who disappeared without a trace over Antarctica in 1950 while trying to fly around the world over the poles, and Hadley Baxter, a modern film star. who wants to change her life by playing her role in a biopic about Marian. The book follows the adventures and misadventures of both women and a host of major and minor secondary characters.

The book is well written and the story reads smoothly, but my interest and initial enthusiasm faded with each chapter. And even after I finished the book, this feeling remained.

I felt that the book captured the atmosphere and history of the different periods and places in which it was set rather well, but some characters and storylines were not very realistically developed. And there were way too many details, sidetracks and loose ends that slowed the story down. Hadley Baxter's side story was also more of an excuse to tell the whole life of Marian Graves than a fascinating story in itself. So the book was way too long for my taste and could have been shortened more than a bit.
But one of my biggest annoyances was that I had the impression that the author wanted to include sexual relations in all possible forms without really adding anything to the story or character development. Once I started noticing this, I even considered compiling a checklist to see which variation hadn't been used, only to find out a few pages later that it was after all.

While I initially considered giving this book 4 stars because of its story and elegant style, I've since revised it to 3 stars and even that now seems flattering. It seems that where some books score better with me over time, the reverse happened with this book.

I also wonder to what extent the form has played a role in the experience of this book. I listened to this as an audiobook. Aside from the fact that it takes me much (but really much) longer to listen to an audiobook than to read it, I can imagine I'd be skimming through some passages faster than an audiobook would allow. And maybe that skimming would have made me feel less annoyed by some of the elements in this book. But since you can never read a book twice for the first time, I will never be able to answer this question.
Have you already experienced something similar?

maaliskuu 27, 11:52 am

I mostly listen to audiobooks in the car, and I haven't been out much so I don't have a lot of recent experience to draw upon. The vast majority of audiobooks that I've listened to in my life were children's books as I carted my daughter too and from school (45 minutes each way). I think there's a way to speed up the playback. Perhaps that would help during the less interesting sections? This particular book holds little interest, unless some of it takes place on Antarctica. I'm just not that interested in this type of fiction. Did you pick it up because it was a Booker finalist?

syyskuu 14, 12:28 pm

The attack on LT made me realize I missed you all and the vibe around here. Trying to revive my thread with reviews of the books I read since I was last here. So here goes:

9. The Colony by Audrey Magee - 3,5 stars

This book caught my attention because several of you read it and loved it. The subject and setting also appealed to me. Remote regions, personal and social conflicts and contradictions always sound promising to me.

The book is about an Englishman who goes to an Irish island to paint for a summer, much against the wishes of a French researcher who studies the Irish language and fears that the arrival of the Englishman will corrupt the language of the local population. The small local population of a handful of residents watches rather passively when tensions and conflicts arise.

The chapters alternate with objective and therefore heartbreaking accounts of IRA attacks.
This alternation between the events on the isolated island and the horrors of the attacks gives the book a special dynamic. The dynamics between the main characters on the island were interesting enough and were also partly unrelated to the attacks. The Englishman is there to paint and does not shy away from making certain demands and manipulating the locals. But the Frenchman is also not so selfless and has underlying motives, while the locals are the victim of a situation that they neither asked for nor wanted. Hence the title.

Ultimately, in my opinion, the book is about power and the position one takes in that dynamic, but also about the shadows from the past that have an impact on the present.

I sometimes had the feeling that the author wanted to suggest too much and that the book went in too many directions but it contains captivating passages and memorable characters so all in all I really liked, didn't love this book.

syyskuu 14, 3:19 pm

Nice to see you back! Interesting review, but one that confirms my decision to pass on it for now.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 11:33 am

10. The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman - 3 stars

Author’s nationality: British
Original publication date: 2022
Written in: English
Read in: English
Format: e-book

Why I read this :
I read and enjoyed the first two books in this series (Thursday Murder Club) so when I needed something light during my covid-infection, this was an obvious choice.

The Thursday Murder Club is determined to solve the murder of a television star whose body has never been found. In between, one of the members must make sure to kill an old opponent if she doesn't want to be killed herself.

My comments:
The plot lines are far-fetched to say the least. But the characters are so wonderful and the situations and dialogues so hilarious that it was a pleasure to read this book. Not high-quality literature, but still a few hours of pure entertainment.

Recommended for:
Recommended for anyone who needs a break and enjoys a light-hearted detective novel.

syyskuu 27, 9:09 am

11. A Hundred Million Years and a Day by Jean-Baptiste Andrea - 3,5 stars

It seems I have a craving for books set in the mountains. Or is it the desolate aspect that appeals to me? I haven't quite figured it out yet. The brief content of this book immediately appealed to me: an elderly paleontologist hears the rumor that a unique dinosaur fossil is hidden somewhere in a glacier in the Dolomites and sets up an expedition to find it. Together with a former student, his companion and a guide, they spend a summer searching in a harsh and inhospitable landscape. Ultimately it becomes a race against time, against the elements and against themselves. And in doing so, boundaries are crossed.
This book is more than just an adventure story in the high mountains. It is above all the character study of a man who wants to deal with his past and is willing to pay a high price for it. The story is beautifully written and the main character's battle with his own demons is well developed. Still, it was just a bit too theatrical for me to consider it a brilliant book. Or the wrong book at the wrong time?

syyskuu 27, 4:51 pm

>58 Trifolia: Even the title is theatrical, lol. Otherwise sounds interesting.

Eilen, 2:25 am

I’ve been finding myself drawn to books set in the mountains recently too. I want to say it’s coincidental in my case, but at the same time I wonder if there isn’t some subconscious choice being made - some yearning for the permanence of the mountains and their majestic beauty. And yes, the desolate aspect, as you say.

As for the Thursday Murder Club books, I couldn’t agree more! The plots are preposterous, the characters are impossible (I wish they existed, though), they don’t have much literary merit…and at times over the last few months when I’ve needed a pick-me-up they have hit the spot perfectly.