Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Watcha Reading? #2

Our first thread, What Are You Reading (May 2012), is full.  It seems that 200 comments is about the limit.  To avoid confusion, I've changed the title a little.  Please continue to tell us which books you have enjoyed and warn of books to avoid.

205 comments:

  1. Moi27 December 2013 09:44

    Santa left an interesting little book under the tree : Me Cheeta , My Life in Hollywood as told to James Lever.

    Its a Hollywood expose through the eyes of Cheeta the Chimp from the Tarzan movies commencing way back in the 30's. Parts are decidedly tacky ,or do we need to know this stuff and hey, the people in question are dead and are unable to defend themselves .......However, it is well written, sarcastic, clever, and I can't put the wretched book down .

    Did Santa bring you some new reading material ?

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    1. Jaywalker 27 December 2013

      Despite telling my other half I had so many unread books that he didn't need to buy me any for Christmas I got the new Inspector Lynley mystery plus How to Create the Perfect Wife - sounds odd I know but is the follow up book to Wedlock - see below: Thomas Day, an 18th-century British writer and radical, knew exactly the sort of woman he wanted to marry. Pure and virginal like an English country maid yet tough and hardy like a Spartan heroine, she would live with him in an isolated cottage, completely subservient to his whims. But after being rejected by a number of spirited young women, Day concluded that the perfect partner he envisioned simply did not exist in frivolous, fashion-obsessed Georgian society. Rather than conceding defeat and giving up his search for the woman of his dreams, however, Day set out to create her. So begins the extraordinary true story at the heart of How to Create the Perfect Wife, prize-winning historian Wendy Moore’s captivating tale of one man’s on [Sorry, that's all I could retrieve]

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    2. Jaywalker 27 December 2013

      Just did a long post and it vanished! Grrr! Despite telling my other half I already have too many unread books I got the new Inspector Lynley mystery and How to Create the Perfect Wife - sounds odd I know but is the new book by the author of Wedlock: With the death of her fabulously wealthy coal magnate father when she was just eleven, Mary Eleanor Bowes became the richest heiress in Britain. An ancestor of Queen Elizabeth II, Mary grew to be a highly educated young woman, winning acclaim as a playwright and botanist. Courted by a bevy of eager suitors, at eighteen she married the handsome but aloof ninth Earl of Strathmore in a celebrated, if ultimately troubled, match that forged the Bowes Lyon name. How to Create the Perfect Wife is about: Thomas Day, an 18th-century British writer and radical, knew exactly the sort of woman he wanted to marry. Pure and virginal like an English country maid yet tough and hardy like a Spartan heroine, she would live with him in an isolated on ..................

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    3. Sylvia 6 January 2014

      Despite putting about 4 books on my Amazon wish list I didn't get one for Christmas mainly due to the fact that my eldest son Elliot (who normally buys me books) got married on 15th December and is away on honeymoon so Christmas presents weren't top of his list of things to do! However, a friend did buy me "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand" by Helen Simonson. The author is English born but now lives in America and this is her first book so I look forward to reading it. I'm now reading "Kathleen MacMahon's "This is how it Ends" and expecting a sad ending!

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    4. Sylvia 8 January 2014

      I tried to post something a couple of days ago and it wouldn't load so here goes again. Despite asking for some books on my Amazon Wish list for Christmas I got none; mainly due to the fact that my eldest son, who normally buys me books, got married on the 15th December and went off on honeymoon for 3 weeks! However I did receive from a friend "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand" by Helen Simonson which I look forward to reading, Meanwhile I am coming to the end of a love story, "This is How it Ends" by Kathleen MacMahon. Methinks I will need a tissue soon!

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    5. Thankyou Sanmac and I do hope you are on the road to recovery now!
      I finished "This is How it Ends" - the story of a middle-aged American who flies to Dublin in search of his roots and finds the love of his life. A good read, never boring, characters that come to life.
      "Major Pettisgrew's Last Stand" is proving very different apart from the fact it is another emerging love story, quite Upper class English in style but enjoying it so far.

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    6. I just finished Intimate Lies - oldish bio of F Scott Fitzgerald's last affair with the columnist Sheilah Graeme ( by her son who is probably Robert Taylor's son and not her second husband's). Found the account of their lives in 1930s Hollywood quite fascinating. A great deal I didn't know about film making and film makers in those "golden days" of Hollywood.

      Now have moved on to something totally different - Compass Error by Sybille Bedford, an English writer of the 1950/60s. I read two of her other books last year and thoroughly enjoyed them:

      (A Legacy, Bedford's second book and first novel, was published in 1956 (successfully dramatised by BBC television in 1975), and was described by Francis King as "one of the great books of the 20th century".)

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  2. It was my eldest daughter whom insisted that I read "A Thousand Splendid Suns" after her partner's deployment to Afghanistan. Written by Khaled Hosseini, the author of the much lauded "The Kite Runner", it is a powerful story about female suffering and endurance under the Taliban. It is a book that is hard to put down, although in parts it is not an easy read because it is so bleak. I can't say that it helped me that much in understanding the politics of Afghanistan and why we are losing our sons and daughters on foreign soil ( which was what I was hoping for ). Nor did it enlighten me about the Taliban, although the gender discrimination in health care threw me for six. This book made me sad about the state of humankind in that part of the world. And as with my viewing of Philomena where I became totally disenchanted by religion, this book left me shaking my head about the psyche of men.

    I am ever so thankful to be living in Australia and that strong, intelligent, and caring women of previous generations had the courage to strive for personal independence. End of rant

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    1. I read this book a few years ago after reading "The Kite Runner". Yes it is a bleak story at times and I do feel I should read it again one day and I also think EVERY woman should read it. Last autumn I read Hosseini's latest book "And The Mountains Echoed"; beautifully written though I did get a little confused with the characters as it covers a numbers of years and two generations. I still think "The Kite Runner" was his best!

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    2. Sylvia, have just ordered And The Mountains Echoed. Thanks for your input

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    3. I look forward to your comments on it Moi. For a slow reader I got through it quite quickly!

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    4. Just finished "And The Mountains Echoed" and found it an entertaining read with some beautiful imagery. Due to your advice I did create a mud map to help me keep on top of the characters, though I still managed to get a tad confused back in Afghanistan with the Taliban three quarters of the way through.

      Interestingly, if you have a look at the author's biography there are some familiarities.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khaled_Hosseini

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    5. Glad I wasn't the only one to get confused with the characters! I must have a look at the link you've posted Moi. Thankyou.

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  3. Back on the 2 hour commute for a few weeks so getting through the books like you would not believe. Just reread Alex Haley's "Roots", the 30th Anniversary Edition. I remember enjoying this book many years ago, and older, and I hope a little wiser, I have appreciated this story so much more with a different perspective.

    Just signed up for a reading challenge - 100 books this year. Might be a wise move if I moved away from these 700 page plus epics. LOL

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  4. Just finished Dan Brown's Inferno. Its not a book I normally would have picked up to read : it was a lucky door prize at a recent social function. Its not a pinch on the Da Vinci Code but it is an easy read and I thoroughly enjoyed the references to the icons of Florence, Italy. This also means that I keep referring to my Lonely Planet book on Italy which makes Brown's effort the more interesting

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  5. So after exactly two months of trying, I've finally finished Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer. This is the longest I've ever needed to finish a book and it's not even a particularly lengthy one (I swear, I finished War and Peace in half the time).

    I went into the book totally cold. It was a book club nomination, and while I was aware of its history (written in the early 1930s, it was banned in the US and UK for thirty years because of its sexually explicit themes), the first page came as a bit of a shock. Not exactly the tone I was after when I opened the book on the first day of my Christmas holidays.

    I'll have to admit, I really did not follow the book. Not that there's much to follow: it's another of those stream of consciousness diddies where things rarely actually happen. The narrator is a writer who has left his wife and New York home for 1930s Paris to write The Book to beat all books. There, he meets other American writers chasing the literary dream and a cast of eccentric extras from around the art world.

    I won't comment on the treatment of women in the book (I'm sure there are books about it!) or on the actual storyline - like I said, it's pretty scarce and when there are things happening, it is generally either sad or offensive. I will say that Miller clearly set the foundation for later writers (the random murmurings of Kerouac's On the Road come to mind).

    Miller also describes Paris beautifully: "When Spring comes to Paris, the humblest mortal alive must feel that he dwells in paradise. It was his Paris. A man does not have to be rich, nor even a citizen, to feel this way about Paris". (Just wait while I book my next plane ticket). It's those type of moments that I was waiting for, that ultimately what got me through the book, but unfortunately they were few and far between.

    It's an interesting book and I am pleased I read it. But I really can't say much more. And would it be called "one of the books of a generation" if it hadn't have been banned for so long? Is it otherwise worthy of classic status? I'll leave those questions to you.

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  6. I do admire you for battling through the book Number2. There was a time when I insisted on finishing a book I had started no matter what but it's all changed now I'm afraid. There are too many books out there that I would like to read and if one doesn't appeal from the beginning I give up as I feel I am wasting precious time. The last book to be slung aside by me was "Gone Girl" by Gillian ?? Flynn, can't remember offhand.

    I do agree with Miller's quote on Paris; it is truly a wonderfully romantic city.

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    1. You are so right Sylvia. There seems to be so many books and so little spare time to read these days...........I too did not like having a defeatist attitude when it came to finishing a book but times have changed and so has my attitude. The last book I tossed aside, three quarters of the way through mind you, was "A Fine Balance" by Rohinton Mistry. It is a fascinating read and a good story about living in India and dealing with all the poverty, illness, and deprivation. It was just too ,too bleak for me to finish. Why go there when there are books that carry you to different places, to your - apologies Mary Poppins - your "happy place"?

      Interestingly, the lass whom recommended this book became so intrigued with India after her reading that she holidayed there. Camping and backpacking !!!!! Different courses for different horses I guess.......

      Any other books that have proved just not "do-able" for whatever reason ?

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    2. I generally enjoy any literary or historic biographies and picked up Constable in Love (the painter not the policeman!) cheap somewhere and it started well enough but he really had a pretty ordinary life apart from courting Maria Bidnell for seven years before their family relented and allowed her to marry. It's difficult to make anything riveting out of that. I read the first two chapters, skipped to the end chapter and left it at that.

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    3. Two books come immediately to mind Moi, that I have started but not finished and they are the good old "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" and "Life of Pi", both of which I still have so who knows one day when I have absolutely NOTHING else to read I might try again! Another more recent one was "The Glass Palace" and the author's name escapes me for now so will have to look it up and come back.....

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    4. The author was Amitav Ghosh who also wrote "Sea of Poppies" and was recommended to me but I just happened to come across "The Glass Palace" in a charity shop and tried it but couldn't get into it.

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    5. I don't mind Louis de Bernieres' novels, Sylvia, though I think I enjoyed "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" more because I had seen the Nicholas Cage movie of the same name first. I just read a review that stated "readers had to work for it" which seems to be a fair appraisal. LOL

      Last year all the young things in the office were reading Paullina Simons' "The Bronze Horseman" which is the first of a trilogy. Basically, its a romantic epic which commences in Leningrad during the beginning of World War 11. In the beginning, this book really touched me, as one of my colleagues of Ukrainian heritage opened up about the ordeals her parents had suffered during this period, including their escape and ultimate immigration to Australia. Its another big read, and I happily waded through the war, the dead bodies on the side walk, the freezing conditions, the lack of food........ Until about page 600 when the hero and the heroine are reunited after 2 or 3 years and finally get it together, and the female lead pulls out a pair of silk knickers that she has been lugging around throughout the years of deprivation and starvation, just for such special occasion.
      Lost me completely and I was crushed. ( An age issue- I'm too cynical )

      I note that the popularity of this trilogy was such that a book was marketed subsequently of Tatiana's ( the heroine) favourite recipes.

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  7. It has been difficult for me to read for a while but I did manage Colum McCann's "Transatlantic". His "Let the Great World Spin" won my favourite award, the Impac Prize ( nominated by world libraries) is about the Frenchman's tightrope walk between the Twin Towers, mentioned here before. Transatlantic follows a matriarchal line from the first Transatlantic flight to the present. Both books are gentle, quiet and moving. [If McCann isn't a poet - he should be]. - absolutely b. brilliant -
    Enjoy.

    Have just picked up Richard Flanagan's "The Narrow Road to the Deep North" and will keep you posted.

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  8. Glad to se you posting (and reading) again, sanmac. I taught Flanagan's daughters at Ogilvie High School here in Hobart - both lovely girls and very clever. Guess it helps to have a famous author for a father. He is a very keen supporter of public education and I had no trouble getting him to support our cause when I was president of the AEU and he spoke at one of our conferences. Also taught with his sister-in-law - her husband, Richard's brother Martin, was a well known journalist here and she went on to write a column in the Herald after they moved from here.

    I enjoyed One Hand Clapping and the movie because it was very much like my own experience of migrating here to a hydro village. Several people have told me they couldn't get into Gould's Book of Fish but I haven't tried.

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    1. Thanks, JW. It's real good to be back. I may have been optimistic in my choice - a couple of false starts. I may choose a more linear structure to start reading again. How interesting is your personal connection!. I've read four of his now, including Gould's Fish and enjoyed them all, particularly Death of a River Guide.

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  9. Just finished "I'm over all that", by Shirley MacLaine.
    Love Ms Maclaines books I do..always have..usually very refreshing. The previous one was "Out on a limb" ufos, aliens, soul mates, the next realm..which I have taken a fancy to. ever since..well, we won't go into that - at this particular space/linear time co-ordinates..hey! I'm learning the lingo! Us flower power, peace and love generation-ers are always up for new experiences. Yaaas..now where was I? Ah yes. Our Shirley. Over this, not over that..early part of the book not our usual rivetting stuff..more in keeping with..lemee see; 2014 - 1934..80 year old having a general grizzle..it was getting ho hum - but then we started with ex lovers, the next realm - familiar topics..get over the loss of your dog by getting another one..- where we had the Present Encumbrant of the Aforesaid position screwing up our Shirleys efforts in Ensuring a Peaceful Transition from One Pooch to the Next one..Nope, we won't be having Any Of That, thankyouverymuch, not while I am Still Around.. I like talking in capitals..my mum does it so well.
    Book ended on a high; sort of leading on to the Next Book..what Hollywood does so well...for the most part.. with its films
    cheers

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  10. Well.Don't really know what to say after that.....all a bit overwhelming! She's certainly quite a personality.

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  11. I've tried several times this weekend to sign in under my Google a/c and have failed to do so.
    Let's hope I have more luck using just my name!

    I'm reading "The Beginner's Goodbye" by Anne Tyler, an author I believe previously recommended on here. Got into the book straight away and am enjoying it. One reviewer said they had read it all in one go and I can imagine someone doing that if they were curled up on a settee with nothing else to do or lounging on a quiet beach somewhere. Watch this space ....

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    1. Sylvia, I too am unable to sign in under my Google account. Will check with ADMIN.

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  12. Currently reading "The Story of Billy Young" by Anthony Hill, the biography of a lad whom enlisted in WW2 aged 15, became a POW at Changi, and then Sandakan , escaping again only to see the war out in solitary confinement in horrific Outram Road Prison.

    I have read many accounts from POWs so I am not squeamish. This book is an easy read as it is almost conversational in tone and in no way clinical. However, it is not one I can read before bed as the graphic details are just too disturbing.( Maybe because of the conversational tone ?) Am sticking with it because yet again there is more to learn from these frightful times, and of course, its another great tale about the strength and resilience of the human spirit

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  13. So I've just been asked by a friend to recommend a good book. I don't know how the rest of you find this question, but I find it quite difficult. It really is a lot of pressure.

    She could not provide any guidance as to genre, style etc, only that she wanted something that could fit in her handbag. My recommendation (I'm putting myself out there a bit! ) - Arundhati Roy's "The God of Small Things". Sad story but told beautifully. Couldn't say anything more than that.

    Any thoughts ?

    PS. CANBERRA READERS : Lifeline Bookfest on this coming weekend

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    1. I think it's almost an unreasonable question if you don't know what the person likes or dislikes.
      Tastes in reading matter are so personal and individual.

      For instance, I know a lot of people absolutely love Khaled Hosseini's book but they are not my cup of tea at all. I love literary biography of the 1920s and 30s but not many people I know do so it's a tough one.

      If she wants something to fit in her handbag why don't you suggest an e-reader!!!

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    2. And tastes change.......Recently told a friend that I had started the 933 paged "Shantaram " by Gregory David Robert after her recommendation and enthusiasm only a few months previous .Her response ? "You'll be disappointed". 933 pages and I'll be disappointed. The poor book has been relegated to the far end of the bedside table

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    3. It is a very unreasonable question Number2! Funnily enough I started "The God of Small Things" a couple of weeks ago but couldn't get into it so have left it for another day!
      I've just fnished "The Beginner's Goodbye" by Anne Tyler, only 262 pages long so it should fit in your friend's handbag!

      By the way this is for Jean; I've been away for a week to the Cotswolds and am home now and have tried to sign into Friendsreunited for the Booklover's group but for some reason cannot do so! Any idea why?

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    4. FE seems to be OK for me today, sylvia. Don't know what the problem might be.

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    5. Ok, thankyou Jean; will try the HELP FAQ list again but as usual it doesn't include what I want to ask!! Ha.

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    6. Just an update about the success of the Lifeline Bookfest held in Canberra last weekend. Thought it interesting.

      "Another sterling effort, hours of sweat and tears and we made it. The Autumn Bookfair was a rip roaring success and your efforts have been rewarded on many fronts, 12,500 people through the doors despite the ups and downs in the weather, I think this helped them stay longer and as a consequence they spent more and so at the end of the day, with Alex frantically banking the last bank notes we squinted at the spreadsheets and have banked in excess of $501,000 a record in so many ways. Each day was ahead of the record and despite some fears we would fall short by a matter of dollars and cents we made the $1/2 Million.



      Well done and congratulations to all. As always none of this was possible without our fantastic volunteers where ever they worked, we had people out at the warehouse all weekend and all year round, we had youngsters chaperoning people back to their cars with their loads of goodies and we had both the regulars and irregulars all seeking to make the event what it is today, a true Canberra Icon Event.



      Again Congratulations & Thankyou one and all.



      Kind Regards



      Mike Zissler

      Chief Executive Officer

      Lifeline Canberra

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  14. Just finished The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman. This is the Australian authors first novel which is set in Western Australia during the years following WW1.It focuses on a returned soldier whom finds work manning lighthouses off the coast. He takes a wife and forges a life, which of course becomes convoluted. The crux of this novel is "can a right undo a wrong"?. This is an easy read and I enjoyed references to Australian history.

    In contrast, I recently binned a cheap autobiography that I picked up on a throw out table. Yes, you heard me correctly. I binned a book. By my front door is a shoe rack with very few shoes, but rather piles of read books and raffle prizes to be regifted to various organizations. Sadly, this book was one that I am unable to regift because it was simply such a woeful read. Which is a shame because I really was a fan of this actor......but no more

    Have you ever binned a book for whatever reason ?

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    1. Move in closer, Jaywalker. Lets keep this quiet ok ... Rob Lowe's "Stories I Only Tell My Friends ". And I adored him so in the West Wing. ( I read he has another autobiography about to be released too.)

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    2. He should have paid for a better ghost writer!!

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  15. Must say, I don't ever remember actually binning a book unless it was in a disintegrating condition!

    I'm about two thirds of the way through "Farewell to the East End" by Jennifer Worth. Her tales of life as a Midwife in the 1950s have been dramatised on TV here in the UK and have been bery popular. The thought of reading what I was viewing on TV had never appealed to me but when I saw this particular book in a charity shop (where else? Ha!) I decided to buy it. Started off ok, the characters mostly compared well with the TV series but must admit after a while the descriptions of several births did tend to cause me to lose interest a little. I shall probably continue with it off and on but I feel I need a good book to get my teeth into again. This means I now have two books sitting on my bedside table half finished! Watch this space ......

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  16. Bailey's Women's' fiction awards

    http://www.womensprizeforfiction.co.uk/2014-prize/shortlist-2014

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  17. Bit of self indulgence ......Little bit sentimental and nostalgic of late as there is a school reunion coming up. I haven't been back to my home town for 25 years so am a little nervous about all the changes. The internet has played its part by locating a girl I went to kindy with way back when and as we live only 30 kms apart we have been able to catch up and swap war stories which has been delightful.

    So one of the lasses organizing the reunion recommended a book ."Goodbye Crackernight" by Justin Sheedy. It was never going to be the Great Australian Novel, but it is a great recollection of anecdotes about growing up in the 70's in Australia . Romper Room, Division 4,Cracker Night, billycarts......This is a great little read, and would make a great gift for anyone who grew up in that era.
    http://crackernight.com/

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    1. I've sent the site to my youngest son who was born in 1970. We always had cracker nights in the empty block behind our house.

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  18. I've put aside "Farewell to the East End" for now (to many graphic details of births!) and have started JoJo Moyes' "Silver Bay" set in Australia so should be interesting. Anyone else read this book or any other by this author?

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    1. Haven't read any JoJo Moyes but as I have volunteered to work for a few days at the coming book charity fundraiser I will keep my eyes open and see if I can pick one up. Let us know how you find this book and whether or not it shows Australia in a favourable light, Sylvia.

      I stayed with the Afghanistan theme and just finished "The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul" by Deborah Rodriguez. Most of the reviews are scathing and call it "chick lit" whereas I prefer to look it as a light read. Its about five women of different belief systems and cultures and how they come together, and is a nice little story. And sometimes we just need a nice little story. As expected, the information about how women are treated in this part of the world, and reading of kids using a dead calf as a soccer ball in the streets of Kabul made me so angry. Going to look for a different setting I think. Something calming sounds I order.

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    2. I'm half way through "Silver Bay" Moi, and enjoying it. It's set in a small coastal village between Sydney and Newcastle, probably fictitious? The area is known for it's whale watching and this is how most of the villagers earn their money. An English corporation send out an employee to try and get planning permission to build a holiday resort there but it seems he is falling in love with the place and is at odds to change it from a sleepy restful place to a commercial venture attracting too many tourists who in turn would affect the environment and sea life.

      "The LIttle Coffee Shop of Kabul" is next on my list to read, having been recently lent to me by a friend. I have in the past enjoyed most books base in Afghanistan and I do hope this one is not at all "chick lit" otherwise I will be very disappointed!

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    3. Finally finished "Silver Bay" by Jojo Moyes and thoroughly enjoyed it. Can recommend it and yes it does show Australia in a favourable light Moi; in fact the main character gives up his corporate lifestyle in London to live there! An unexpected twist towards the end makes it quite emotional too. I've read quite a few of her books over the years and think this is one of the best.
      Next on my list is "The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul" so I shall be transported to Afghanistan once more!

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    4. Have only read a few pages of "Little Coffee Shop ..." and already the abbreviations of must've, could've etc. are irritating me! Expect I will get used to it!

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    5. Just made the book club meeting at the local library. Hadn't made it since February due to commitments . Which book was up for review ? "The Little Coffee Shop..." Looking forward to what you thought about it , Sylvia.

      Next months read is The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes. Never read a Keyes before. Will start on it tonight.

      And thought of you, Sylvia, during the week as the whales are starting their annual migration up along our eastern coast to warmer waters for breeding and calving purposes. They've been spotted , just north of Sydney ,in the area where your Moyes novel was set.

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    6. I'm about half way through "Little Coffee Shop...." and must admit am not loving it as I imgained I would be. It's probably due to Deborah Rodriguez's style of writing which is ok but just not wonderful. Maybe I've been spoilt by Khaled Hosseini! It will be interesting to hear what your library book club reports Moi. I've never read a book by Marian Keyes either although she is a very well known author. Hope you enjoy it.
      There is new TV series here in the UK on "Coast" and this time it follows the coast along Australia so I'm looking forward to seeing which part of Australia it starts with. Watch this space...

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    7. Lot of comparisons discussed at Book Club about the different styles of the authors of these Afghanistan books ,Sylvia. General consensus was that Coffee Shop is a good light read written to formula. Not so much chic lit but more Mills and Boon in style.

      As for the Marian Keyes book......Made myself finish it. Jaywalker must be rubbing off on me because as I am skimming through it with gritted teeth all I could think was that there are so many good books out there waiting to be read, yet I'm wasting my time on one that's not so good.

      Could be me however. Seems to be a prolific output of books by female, Irish authors of late, thinking Cecilia Ahearn and others, targeting the same market. A sign I am sliding into old age perhaps ?

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    8. No, you stick to your guns - some authors are popular with the masses just as are crappy TV programs but us discerning readers and viewers can tell the difference. My motto is that if I think it's rubbish then it is - even though it may not be to others!

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    9. Yes Moi, I don't feel there's much depth and emotion in "Little Coffee Shop .." but plenty of interesting facts of the way of life etc. Haven't read any Mills and Boon! ;) but perhaps I should just to get an idea!

      I don't see any point anymore in continuing to read a book I'm not keen on when there are so many others I want to try.

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    10. Is it cheating to arrange for someone else to read your nominated text for book club, providing you also with a summary in order that you are able to contribute to the conversation ? I'm already looking at trouble in the face when I score the Irish lassi's book a 2 out of 10. No strength to get through another dud book at the moment.

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    11. Was it Celia Ahearne who wrote "Ps I love You"? If I remember rightly couldn't get past page 3 or 4, it was so slushy!!!
      I'd be no good in a Book Club; I just would not read a book I really disliked!

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    12. Great little romcom movie though

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  19. Dan Brown..whose book about the dim dark secrets of popes and suchlke..ang on, whas it called..ah..da vinci code..knew I knew it..has castapaulted him into the best sellers list..and yes I read it..but this review is about..ta da..the digital fortress. Think I read it yonks ago..also think I scored it ih a raffle fest..anyway...Dan has had to read up about..oh..firewalls and suchlike..internet and whathaveyou..but he has had to make it all sound as though It Could Happen..and its plausible..er..from the point of view that the technology sounds..reasonable, scenario sounds..about right..and aspirators have aspirations to ..greatness and Being Recognised for it...and I just remembered a quote that was on the desk calender..its amazing what you can achieve if you don't care who gets the credit..now who said that?..todays trivia..might have a word or two different btw....um..where was I..ah! In the Beacon telecentre..year before last must have been, was a desk calender..full of interesting quotes..like this one..oh, one of the popes..entertainment is for those people who cannot think...and the desk calender featured european quotes in the main. This one I have was..um..somewhat lowered in price..heh..and features a lot of..american people..different presidents, that sort of thing..along with an occasional ancient greek or english poet..
    Yes.
    Young Dan..good read, lots of paranoia, few bumpings off, was a bit of a roller coaster ride..enjoyable in the main..apart from the odd occasion where he remembers that there is half the world who like to know what the Girl worries about, her uncertainty and fear..that sort of thing..interrupts the otherwise good flow of the narritive. Wilbur Smith did the same thing..aaaargh! turns a great story into a side alley, where we look at this stuff..then its back to the main story..we are just getting into it, when we..step into that side alley again..sigh..we describe in excruciating detail what the Girl is wearing, and put a recipe or two down..God! An early Wilbur Smith is to die for...
    Dan does it here and there..blighter..but the story does carry you on.
    On the whole, an 7 out of 10..a la Margaret and David of ABC fame..thats the Australian A...
    Cheers

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    1. Thank you Muppet for your reminder that I should look out for some Wilbur Smiths at the coming Bookfest.

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    2. And now for some great reading!
      Recently attended another presentation by the local branch of the U3A,this time the discussion being led by Madonna King on the power of the press. Madonna has a daily radio program throughout Qld and a weekly column in a Sydney newspaper. She is an entertaining speaker and worth seeing if you have the opportunity.
      She is also the author of the biography of Dr Ian Frazer, whom patented the vaccine against cervical cancer. This is a good read - a beaut story, warts and all, about a good man, without the dramatic bells and whistles so prevelant in biographies thesedays.
      Madonna is currently working on a book about politician, Joe Hockey.

      I have just started a book I picked up from one of those $5.00 book shops that pop up and then disappear within weeks. It's called "The Searchers, The Making of an American Legend" by Glenn Frankel. Now, having been raised on John Wayne cowboy movies I am familiar with the movie The Searchers which is considered Wayne's best. I've only just started the book which details the history of the whites moving into native Indian territory in America and is the basis of the movie. So interesting !

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  20. The Partner In Crime has been volunteering in a book sorting environment and came home with some bargains today. Not sure how I will find time to read them though...They are :
    The Life and Death of Peter Sellars by Roger Lewis
    J Edgar Hoover, The Man and the Secrets, by Curt Gentry
    My Week with Marilyn by Colin Clark.

    I believe the latter was adapted to a movie which proved successful last year. Anyone see it or know anything about it at all ?

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  21. You may have been wondering whereI was (or not). I was due to have overnight keyhole surgery for gall bladder last week which unexpectedly turned into full blown open surgery and five nights in hospital. I am home now and mobile and recuperating though still sore.

    Gave me time to finish my light murder mystery!! Now reading Sarah Waters' The Little Stranger which I can hardly put down. I have the book of Marilyn Monroe and we saw the film a couple of years ago both quite interesting. The OH has The Life and Death of Peter Sellars and I seem to remember he found it quite enlightening.

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    1. Take care of yourself Jaywalker, and give the body time to heal ....Our warmest thoughts are with you.

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  22. Just announced the winner of the Bailey's (previously Orange) Women's Prize for Fiction is:

    Eimea McBride and "A Girl is a Half Formed Thing".

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    1. I should have added that Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche was on the short list with her book "Amercannah" which I really must read one day as I loved her "Purple HIbiscus" and "Half of a Yellow Sun".

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  23. Oh no I've just writen a whole paragraph and it's disappeared!!!

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  24. What I sometimes do. Sylvia, is to write my paragraph in Notebook, and then copy and paste top Bookworm. That way, if it disappears you can simply copy and paste again, rather than rewrite the entire spiel. I'm wondering if your jottings disappeared because a visitor from Egypt was posting at the same time ?

    More importantly - Welcome Back ! Hope you have some fun news to share with us !

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    1. Not sure what happened there Moi but my computer had been a bit slow all evening and I didn't have the patience to type it all out again! :) Might take up your suggestion but meanwhile a condensed version of books I read whilst away on holiday. I managed three and a bit in 2 weeks ; I should go away more often!
      First was "The Cleaner of Chartres" by Salley Vickers, recommended and thoroughly enjoyed, didn't want it to end. Set in France and had the mysterious "feel" of a Joanne Harris novel. After a troubled life the main character finds solice and safety in the grounds of the Cathedral of Chartres and becomes its cleaner. The story goes back and forth to the present but once you work that out it all comes together.
      The other two books I found in the villa's bookcase luckily for me as the other book I took out "The Snack Thief" by Andrea Camarelli was not my cup of tea so left it there.
      So another new author for me and new genre, a thriller by Catherine Dunne called "Set in Stone" and set in Dublin and during the time of the collapse of the big banks; tells the story of a sadistic and jealous man who seeks to take revenge on his successful brother and family.
      Kate Atkinson's "One Good Turn" - brilliant book and a real page turner; set in Edinburgh at the time of the August Festival. She introduces her characters who are queing to watch one of the shows and the story unfolds as they all become connected. Apparently her previous novel "Case Histories" is the one where she introduces the private detective Jackson Brodie who features greatly in this one so must look out for that book too. The ending has a nice twist to it. Better get on; we have a viewer coming to see the house this afternoon - fingers crossed!

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    2. made a couple of spelling mistakes up there, sorry!

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  25. I seem to have made life harder than necessary for myself, by selecting a series of 800 plus page reads these past months! Currently well into Book 3 of A Song of Ice and Fire by George R R Martin, more commonly known as the Game of Thrones, or GoT series. Fantasy has never been my thing, but am loving these books, and will have to complete the series just to see who comes up trumps! Don't you just hate that!
    However, there is so much bloodshed in all its technicolour glory, that it's been banned before bedtime. So, I have also been reading some fluff by an English lass, who emigrated to Western Australia in the 1980s. The Gang of Four is a contemporary story set in W.A. about four women friends in their fifties, all looking for something extra to add to their lives. I will look for another novel by Liz Byrski, as this one has been an enjoyable read.
    This month s book club nominee has been Emma by Jane Austen. I gave that a wide berth, thanks very much.
    And has anyone seen the shorts for the up and coming movie adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey? Peals of laughter from my part of the world, and I don't believe it was meant to be a comedy.

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    1. I read A Gang of Four by Liz Borski a few years ago Moi, and didn’t keep the book but must have enjoyed it a little! Ha.
      I try not to read a novel more than 800 pages long as I’m a slow reader but good to hear you are enjoying Throne of Games. I am still struggling to read Rutherford’s “London” which is well over 1000 pages long.
      My light bedtime read at the moment is “Summer by the Lake” by Erica James, a bit of a chic lit but lent to me by a friend so feel I must read and return it asap.
      Next on my list is “The Shoemaker’s Wife” by Adriana Trigiani.

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  26. Have just seen my second post disappear AGAIN despite the fact I am logged in!!
    Better take your advice Moi and paste it on from Word.!

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    1. No why has this one appeared and the others NOT???

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  27. I read A Gang of Four by Liz Borski a few years ago Moi, and didn’t keep the book but must have enjoyed it a little! Ha.
    I try not to read a novel more than 800 pages long as I’m a slow reader but good to hear you are enjoying Game of Thrones. I am still struggling to read Rutherford’s “London” which is well over 1000 pages long.
    My light bedtime read at the moment is “Summer by the Lake” by Erica James, a bit of a chic lit but lent to me by a friend so feel I must read and return it asap.
    Next on my list is “The Shoemaker’s Wife” by Adriana Trigiani.
    Let's see if this gets published!!

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Oh my goodness, it's duplicated now!! Ha!

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  28. Been doing the weekend market rounds in search of the next books in the Game of Thrones series. I have borrowed the DVD of the first series made for TV which came with instructions to" always have a blanket on hand under which to hide throughout the battle scenes" . Gulp
    Sylvia, did pick up my first Jo Jo Moyes novel : The Ship of Brides. Enjoying it so far and its a tale which resonates as my m-i-l was a Western Australian lass who married her British sailor and travelled by bride ship back to the UK after WW2 to forge a new life. ( Aussie folk-rock band The Waifs had a hit with a song in a similar vein, The Bridal Train. YouTube it !)
    This months bookclub read is The Ghost by Robert Galbraith which I have on order from the local library.
    Which reminds me, read a great article by a local journo in the local paper on the weekend ( Hey, doesn't that make a change!). Anyway, Kathleen Noonan provided information about Indigenous Literacy Day coming up on September 3. I wont go into all the details - basically its a fundraiser that promotes literacy that you can read about yourself at indigenousliteracyfoundation.org.au. Anyway, the article has prompted me to suggest at the next bookclub meeting that we all donate a gold coin for the cause , as well as take a wrapped preloved book to swap at the table. My daughter is going to host a pot luck dinner for ten mates with the same bent. Good friends, good meal, good deed and a book swap. Just the weather for it too....
    And lastly, the local drinking establishment, The Grand View in Cleveland QLD, is hosting a literary luncheon for the launch of John Williamson's autobiography, Hey True Blue, on Tuesday 5th August. Refer :reception@gvh.co.au ( For o/s readers YouTube the song Hey True Blue. Rightly or wrongly, it's become an anthem of sorts.

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  29. Pleased you found a Jojo Moyes Moi and that it relates to your own mother-in-law's experiences.
    I've just finished a lightweight read by Erica James and now need something deeper so might go for Audrey Niffenegger's "Her Fearful Symmetry".

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  30. Erred with the book club nominees above. Should read:
    The Ghost Writer by Robert Harris and
    The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith aka J K Rowling
    Only a week left to read them. Wish me luck!

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  31. A friend recently lent me The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, which tells the story of a missionary family that goes into the deep heart of Africa armed with the scriptures, garden seeds and goodwill. I haven't got that far into the book yet, but I already have fears about the ending. I''ll come back in a few weeks.....

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    1. Welcome The Offspring!

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    2. We look forward to hearing what happens in The Poisonwood Bible?

      I'm two thirds way through "Her Perfect Symmetry" by Audrey Niffenegger who wrote The Time Traveller's Wife. A woman dies leaving her flat near Highgate cemetery to her twin nieces who live in America on the stipulation they have to come and live in it for a year. It has a ghostly element to it and I'm wondering if there is a twist to the tale!

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  32. The only thing I have read of any note these past few days are wine labels , as I have been playing tourist in the Hunter Valley with my eldest daughter. I did take The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith ( AKA J K Rowling ) but its not working for me. The daughter has recommended a book which I have since started by Rachael Treasure - "The Cattleman's Daughter". It is apparently "chook literature", which had me stumped. Chook Lit is " a uniquely Australian take on romance, and features a feisty female protagonist who loves the land, farming or the outback." .

    Whilst away, I picked up Sinatra in Hollywood by Tom Santopietro about the films Cranky Frankie appeared in at a fete. Some great old black and white photos and I will regift to my other daughter, the movie buff. But I have to get back to the wretched Cuckoo's now........................

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  33. Colleen Hoover and Abbi Glines – my two favourite authors. Both are New York Times bestselling authors and write young adult fiction. I have never been much of a ‘reader’ until I came across these two ladies who books captured me in the first page. Forbidden love, hardships and conquering both those things are what these two ladies write about so fantastically! The endings are unpredictable and it makes it that much more exciting. I highly recommend getting your hands on their books, especially ‘Maybe Someday’ by Colleen Hoover – unbelievable!

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    1. If we are all very sweet to Rhianna we may be able to keep her on as our Generation Z spokesperson, which would be cool. Would that make the rest of us cool by association?

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    2. What is a Generation Z person please Moi?

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    3. Sylvia, Generation Z is one name used for the cohort of people born in the mid 1990's, just as we more mature folk are grouped as Baby Boomers. I think it would be great to hear the voice of some younger, and perhaps fresher, readers. Don't you agree ?

      And despite previous protestations about The Cuckoo's Calling, I ended up really enjoying it and looking forward to the next in the series ," The Silkworm". What turned me ? The lead character , P I Cormaran Strike. Overweight, one leg blown off in Afghanistan, and a real softie deep down. * sigh

      Any characters in a book that have drawn you in ?

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    4. Thanks Moi. Well the more the merrier I say!

      A character that has drawn me in? Jane Eyre my old favourite but will have to think of another more up to date; trouble is the older I get the more forgetful so will have to browse recent books and see what I come up with!

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    5. Recognising, and then admitting to a problem, are the first steps according to all the self help paraphernalia so readily available in the marketplace.

      I hereby admit that my addiction has taken control and I am openly seeking your help and guidance. Is it the chocolate ? Is it the wine ? Is it wild men with wicked ways ?( Oh, how I wish....)

      No, I admit to an addiction for Private Investigator Cormoran Strike, major character in The Silkworm. Although I was well into a Colleen McCulloch epic to soothe the soul during the daily train travel, I had the need for an urgent fix somewhere between Norman Park and Morningside stations, only to find myself downloading the latest offering by Robert Galbraith, aka J K Rowling. Paid $20 for an ebook - how stupid is this! Finished the book in two sittings and twiddling my thumbs for book 3 which is due for release in February 2015.

      Why the fixation ? Is it the unrequited sexual tension, is it the hero's war caused disability? It is certainly not because it is a brilliant read. Think i'd better get back onto the chocolate and wine.

      And here's one for scrabble. Abibliophobia. Uh-bib-li-uh-fo-bee-uh. The fear of running out of reading material.

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    6. I really will have to "peek inside" this Silkworm book on Amazon!
      I also have this abibliophobia - which is why I have a pile of books bought at charity shops waiting to be read.

      Now reading Adriana Trigiani's "The Shoemaker's Wife" set in Italy and America.

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    7. This is strange as despite signing in under my Google ID my post is published no problem when I fill in my own name in the box below!

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  34. Hello everyone - back from OS and finally got back on here. Been very busy as I had to go straight back to work at Hansard the day after getting back!

    Like Sylvia I'm getting more forgetful the older I get but I agree about Jane Eyre and strangely enough when I tried to think of another the only one that popped into my mind was Sebastian Faulks' Engelby. Of all the detective fiction I've read, it would have to be Wallander - a very well drawn detective.

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    1. Welcome back,Jaywalker!

      Day off today so have been to the local library where I picked up:
      Notes From A Small Island by Bill Bryson and
      Family Secrets , a more recent novel by Liz Byrski, set in Tasmania.

      The library is also ridding itself of some older ,much worn books and I couldn't help myself. Five dollars a bag. I now have a new Colleen McCulloch to read, a couple of light and fluffys, another chook lit, and a travel book on Scotland.........just for when I have the spare time.Lol

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    2. Is this your first Bill Bryson novel Moi? If so, am sure you will enjoy it; read it years ago as well as "Notes from a Big Country" and "Made in America". Let me know how you get on with Liz Bryski; read her "Gang of Four" years ago but nothing since.

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    3. No,Sylvia, this is not my first Bill Brysen. I had tears of laughter running down my face on the train trip to work reading his first account of Australia, In A Sunburnt Country.......The following is my favourite paragraph from the book which I feels hits the nail on the head.

      "The people are immensely likeable- cheerful,extrovert,quick witted,and unfailingly obliging.Their cities are safe and clean and nearly always built on water. They have a society that is prosperous, well ordered, and instinctively egalitarian. The food is excellent. The beer is cold. The sun nearly always shines. There is a coffee shop on nearly every corner. Rupert Murdoch no longer lives there. Life doesn't get much better than this". All True

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    4. That is one book I've not heard of Moi so shall look out for it!

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  35. The bit about Bryson thinking what a boring place Milton Keyes is and then finding he had come out of the back door of the train station instead of the front has become legend in our household. Every time we go to England or the Continent and go to a new place by train we ask ourselves if we are going out of the right door. Also loved the part about the seaside boarding house.

    Last year I put together a Course for my U3A based on his At Home and they loved it.

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  36. Hi Jaywalker and Moi, My son must have read every single copy of Bill Brysons books, he loved them, as they can be so funny. One of these days I must read them also, I think I may have read one or two of them but cannot remember, as these books are now quite old. I have just been to our little book library in the back room and found the following titles: 1) Made in America, 2) The Lost Continent 3)Shakespeare 4) A Short History of nearly everything 5) Neither here nor there. 6) The Complete Notes (Notes from a small island ) (Notes from a Big Country)in Hardback. There is a book mark in this book, so I must have started it and never finished it, which is shame,as I know it will be very funny and well written. I will definately start to read this one again.


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  37. Hi Moi
    I had written a rather large paragraph all about Malala, but when I went to publish it, for some reason it wouldn't let me, no doubt my fault as it let me comment about Bill Bryson. The end story is, I lost it, and was so mad, I decided to leave it alone for a while, but I will have another go soon. :D
    It keeps telling me select profile, but when I do choose one, it dosn't let me type in my name. so I will go with anonymous, and see what happens. Joy

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    1. Hi Joy, we look forward to hearing about Malala. Please persist. What I have suggested to others to prevent mass hair pulling/nail biting/resorting to gin is to type your comments onto word or notepad, and then copy and paste to bookworm. That way you can always go back to the original should there be issues. I cannot provide an explanation as to the issue when selecting profile. You should be able to click name and URL and simply add Joy. Having said that I have been unable to post all week - but then my luck with computers at work this week has had me in tears. Nightmare things at times ! Someone suggested that the site doesn't like multiple people trying to contribute at the same time ? Where's that gin ?

      You girls have given me the impetus to start on the Bill Bryson this weekend .I will report back..........And Joy.....:)

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    2. Joy, I had a similar problem when logging in under my Google a/c, lost a few posts which is so frustrating. Last couple of times I just added my name and hey presto my post was published and I hadn't even logged in! Not sure if it will work each time though. Here goes!

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  38. I will try again with Malala,

    Malala was born and raised in The Swat Valley North of Pakistan and a place which she loved as it was mountainous with gushing waterfalls and crystal clear lakes. She loved her home, even though it was small and they didn’t have much. She was a very lucky young girl who had the most loving and encouraging parents any girl can have. Her father ran the local schools and saw the importance of teaching girls as well as boys.

    When the Taliban arrived they tried to close all the schools down and even smashed some of them down. Malala and her father kept the school going in secret, encouraging the other girls to keep on with their schooling. It was very frightening for them during this time.

    Eventually they were told the Taliban had left. They had been driven out, but that wasn’t absolutely true. But Malala felt safe once again, and continued with her schooling along with her friends. The Taliban knew of Malala and her voice for girls education, as she had won many prizes for speaking out about it. One day on the bus with her friends, the bus stopped and a Taliban fighter appeared and asked “Who was Malala” When she spoke up, she was shot in the head, at close range, and her friends got caught up in the gun shots too.

    They were all rushed off to hospital, Malala did make a good recovery along with her friends, but Malala had to be flown to Birmingham in England for specialized treatment, as she would have died had she stayed in Pakistan. Because she had become a target, the authorities told them Malala and her family would be better off in England and so they did.

    But after living in her “Paradise” for all of her 13 years, Birmingham was a culture shock. But they adapted, and she hopes to go back to her “Paradise” one day. (JOY)

    I have had to go with anonymous again as it wont let me print my name.

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    1. Joy, thanks for persisting. You have made "I Am Malala " by Malala Yousafzai sound like a worthwhile read. I know Sylvia had seen Malala interviewed on TV but I must admit to ignorance. I went to the following website to learn a little more, which has too prompted me to put my name on the waiting list at the local library. http://community.malala.org/

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    2. Thankyou Joy for posting that about Malala. Of course as she was brought to Britian for a life-saving operation she was big news here; lots of TV coverage during her stay in hospital. Such a brave family. But I can imagine living in Birmingham is a world away from her paradise in Pakistan. Very built up but it is a multi-cultural city so I'm sure her family haven't found it too difficult to settle in. Most importantly they are safe for now.
      So far just entering my name in the Reply box has published my posts; fingers crossed!

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  39. Enjoyed my second Liz Byrski - Family Secrets - which again is a story that focuses on older women and their role in society. It was a bit of the same ol' same ol', but she is a gentle writer with a story to tell, and this is sometimes just what this old head needs. So of course, I picked up book 3 at a closing down sale today : $2 for Last Chance Café. Great for the train to work !

    Interestingly I read that she also has an e -book called Getting On : Some Thoughts on Women & Aging, in which she " examines the adventure of growing old in the 21st century: the new possibilities; the joy and the sorrow of solitude; the reality of grief and loss and the satisfaction of having travelled so far, changing the conversation about aging ". I certainly believe she knows her demographic!

    Bill Bryson continues, raising many a wee chuckle on the way . Does he talk the way he reads I wonder ? Has anyone seen him interviewed ?

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  40. Just finished On The Black Hill by Bruce Chatwin. It is a story of identical twins - Benjamin & Lewis Jones - born and lived their eighty years on a farm on the border of England and Wales. The story radiates out from the unusual strong bonds of the twins, spans their lives through WW1 and WW2 and outwards, touching family, the tight knit community and the decline of the wealthy estates in the early 20th century. It portrays the sexual, religious, and cultural repression and the economic, social pressure, love, hate and brutality of the era. Eighty years is written in 250 pages of elegant prose in this character-driven novel which allows no room for boring bits. If you lived in the 1930s to the 1960s the story will bring back memories and smiles. OB

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  41. This is a test only........see how things go.

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  42. A few things :
    1) Sylvia, please persist .We've experienced a few technical difficulties which the Phantom at back of house has been rectifying for us. He's not fond of technology either...
    2) There was some recent discussion about "I Am Malala ". Did you see that Malala was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize ?
    3) There was also some recent discussion about "The Gone Girl" and its adaptation to film. A girlfriend who saw the movie last week said she was taken aback by the "grimy sex scene". Her words, not mine.
    4) For Jaywalker, who put the group onto Alice Munro last year : Jay,I work for an educational facility that lists as part of its programs such courses as sharmanism, angels, kineasiology....you get my drift.... So I am in the College library stocktaking , and in amongst the " How To Read Tea Leaves", "DIY Tarot cards" and "Aromatherapy for Pets", I come across an Alice Munro novel ! Well, goodness gracious. Was I gobsmacked ! I will get back to with more soon....
    And Biggie,
    5) If you go to Blog Archive on the right hand corner of the page, and click on 2014, you will be taken to a link for the next Group Read, an entry dated 16th October 2014.
    We have four committed readers for this years Man Booker Prize Winner : The Narrow Road To The Deep North by Richard Flanagan. Number2 emailed me having purchased the book Thursday and finishing it Saturday, and ALL READERS WELCOME. We will commence on November 1st

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    1. Have lost yet another post!!!

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  43. right here we go again!
    I have an Alice Munro book on my Amazon wish list. Which book did you find Moi?

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    1. The Alice Munro book is called "Open Secrets" and it has been filed under Alternative Therapies / Self Healing.

      Has anyone read this book?

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  44. I am impressed with the person who read "The Narrow road ...." in 2 days"
    I certainly couldn't!
    I think Malala was the youngest to receive the Nobel peace prize.

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  45. Ok so far so good. What seems to be happening is that when I click on Reply my post is not published under my Google a/c or name but if I Add comment it seems to work under my name.

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  46. I finally finished "The Shoemaker's Wife" by Adriana Trigiani and was left disappointed with her changed style of writing. I loved her earlier books, the "Big Stone Gap" and Valentine series. The film based on the Big Stone Gap is being released soon in the USA.

    I am now reading "Olive Ketteridge" by Elizabeth Strout - very different and consisting of a series of separate stories but all with the character Olive Ketteridge within each one. Set on the east coast of America.

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  47. I meant Olive Kitteridge.

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  48. I've just finished Lisa Gardner's Touch and Go for book club which was another ordinary who dun it, but I am excited about my latest read, ,The Sandalwood a Tree by Elle Newmarket. It's an easy read, but rich in descriptions of India in the late 1800's and the late 1940's. You know, I have never been interested in travelling to India, but golly, I do enjoy reading about it !

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  49. Good Afternoon, Moi, Bernadette here. I am reading a lovely book called "Tea & Cake, London", by Zena Alkayat. It has beautiful photos of the offerings at many places in London that serve wonderful morning and afternoon teas (lunches, too). I am almost licking the pages as I read. How I would love to take off for London for a week to try out some of these establishments. On the way home I could drop into Vienna for another week, to have morning and afternoon coffee and Viennese yummies.

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    1. Bernadette, thank you for this. I too am now licking my lips - just when I've given up sugar (again!).

      I recently adopted a glorious coffee table book from a local closing down sale : Amanda Tabberer's -daughter of Maggie- "My Amalfi Coast". The photos are magnificent and the recipes littered within are achievable for those of who battle to find the domestic goddess within......This book has not made it into the kitchen with the other recipe books, but rather, is planted close to my bed for those moments when you just want to runaway from home....
      Which reminds me, at the local Rotary Bookfest this weekend I picked up another little gem : "I Sang For My Supper" ,Margaret Fulton's autobiography. Growing up I always thought she was rather staid and as boring as the proverbial, but she was another girl before her time whom had the grace to leave her private life behind closed doors.

      And Sylvia, I too am having major issues posting. I can post from the IPad but not from either of the two home computers. Technology.....grrrrrrr

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  50. I'm back on board after a fairly horrendous experience with side effects from a new medication the GP tried to relieve my burning feet syndrome - falling over, hallucinations, nausea, blurred vision - you name it I had it. Has taken two weeks to get even close to being normal again and my eyes are still not 100%. However, I am back reading and half way through Sophie Hannah's detective novel, Little Face. Not sure I'm really keen on it. Maybe the storyline of a missing baby is what's putting me off a bit but it's quite well written.

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  51. Jaywalker, they sound really nasty side effects. I thought you hadn't been on FR Booklovers group for a while. It's quite scary how some drugs can affect us.

    Bernadette, we have a TV series which has just finished here in the UK called "The Great British Bake-Off" which is a competition where a dozen amatuer bakers are asked to bake all sorts of cakes, bread and pastries and each week the two judges choose which one person has to go home. It's become very popular. I just sit there, my mouth watering, and often it takes me back to my school days when girls were taught the basics of baking.

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    1. Jaywalker, welcome back. Pleased you are feeling better.

      And Sylvia, don't go encouraging Bernadette to discuss cooking ! I'll let you into a little secret: Bernadette and I crossed paths as she tutors complementary therapies. Chatting about travels one day she mentioned that she had written an ebook about some of her journeys overseas and within Australia. Being a sticky beak I ordered Lunch at Avignon for next to nothing and travelled with Bernadette across several continents. Her book is full of the regional dishes that she dined upon and were so enticing and evocative that some idiot suggested that she include the recipes for said dishes in her book.

      Sylvia, every few weeks Bernadette comes to work loaded up with the results of her cooking experiments from the weekend.The food has been photographed appropriately for entry into her book, and we assume the role of guinea pigs and test her products. It's a tough jig but somebody has to do it.

      Bit like our recipe book collector, Lynnette, whom we met recently. She is another whom bakes, photographs, and then puts the results up on a face book page which is critiqued by the professionals.

      Icecream and fruit is my speciality dish I'm afraid!

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    2. Me too, Moi. I am not a very good cook and have no real interest in doing it, only eating someone else's creations. However, my youngest son is a qualified chef but had to give it up when he had a major car accident and crushed his lower legs badly. He has another successful but quite different business now but he still loves cooking and often puts his creations, including sauces and pickles, on his FB page. He particularly is addicted to chillies and grows herbs in his garden and makes red hot chilli sauces.

      Delete
    3. Yes, Sylvia, we have a number of cooking shows on TV here too. I don't watch them, myself. However, if there is a special show about regional cooking in countries that interest me, I will happily watch that.

      What concerns me, though, in the interests of health, there are no TV shows telling people how to cook simple, tasty, nourishing food. Just look in people's trolleys at the supermarket and you will get an idea of how they eat and the state of their nutrition.

      About a fortnight ago I put an entry on my blog page "Bernadette Mercer Community" asking if there was any healthy fast food. I gave a few simple recipes based on beef mince. Perhaps you might like to take a look at it?

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  52. How lucky are you Moi to have someone come into work with food that needs testing!! I must look up Lunch at Avignon on Amazon to see if it's listed on there.

    I do enjoy making casseroles, soups when I'm in the mood in the winter but nothing fancy anymore. Must admit I'm not a fan of chilli and can't understand why there is such a craze for it to be added to otherwise tasty food in restaurants.

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    1. Moi, I am pleased to hear that you enjoyed reading "Lunch in Avignon". As you know, it has been de-published until I have the recipes cooked and photographed. Heather, my editor, is very busy at the moment. Yesterday she held the launch of a poetry book that she and a few friends had written. However, we are planning a group of Spanish and Italian recipes and perhaps another French recipe or two, very soon. These recipes were given to me in my travels by various people, including two Spanish recipes from a delightful little waitress at my hotel in Madrid.

      Oh, and by the way, I have made Anzac biscuits and a Raspberry Slice for the opening of the new Transit Hub at Princess Alexandra Hospital tomorrow. I'll bring any leftovers in to work on Tuesday.

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  53. Bernadette, next time you add a post: press select profile,press name/ URL, and next to name insert Bernadette. Otherwise we will be identifying you as the food entry girl only. LOL

    I've once again put myself under a bit of pressure as two books that I have had on order from the local library for months have become available for collection on the same day. What are the odds!

    The first is the next 800 page instalment in the Game of Thrones series. Too much violence, too much sex, but finding it addictive and will pursue till the end to see who becomes the ruler of the seven kingdoms. Robin Maxwell's " Jane" is the Tarzan story told from the female perspective and I am really looking forward to this one as I was right into Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan books as a child. Every birthday and Christmas an old aunt would send me a book voucher through the post and it was great fun going to the local bookshop and selecting the next Tarzan in the series....I had quite the collection at one time......

    Then there is Richard Flanagan's The Narrow Road To a The North which I am still wading through...
    Might have to call December trashy magazines only month .

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  54. Moi,how are you getting on with "The Narrow Road ....."? Someone on another online bookclub I belong to found it hard going but was pleased she persevered and finished it. As I generally only get the chance to read at bedtime I am reluctant to try it but I have bought a copy for my husband for Christmas as his uncle was killed in Burma in WW2. At the moment I am reading a bit of a chic-lit lent to me by a friend so I want to return it asap. It does feature domestic abuse which I can relate to following my niece's experiences so I'm reading with interest the main character's hopes and fears.

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    1. Nothing wrong with some chic lit to throw into the mix, Sylvia. What is the name of this book?

      I thoroughly recommend "Jane" by Robin Maxwell, as mentioned previously. If you ever lost a Saturday afternoon watching Johnny Weismuller and Margaret Sullivan in an old b & w Tarzan movie you would enjoy this novel.

      Your husband will enjoy his Xmas gift, especially given the personal history. I have finished the book , but can't say much as we still have a couple of readers yet to make comments. I didn't find the description of the treatment of POWs as horrific as some accounts. I was totally unaware that the Japanese undertook medical experiments on captured Americans without anaesthetic however and plan to do some research on this during my coming leave.

      In this vein readers, are you aware that the Australian War Memorial, in line with the 100 year anniversary of Gallipoli, for a fee will publish a bound book (multiple copies) of your relatives war experience in perspective to the rest of the war ? Go to www.australianwarstories.com.au.

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  55. Oh I forgot to name the chi lit book I was reading didn't I? ;) It's called "A Place to Call Home" by Carole Matthews. The main character Ayesha is from Sri Lanka living in England and in an arranged marriage from which she flees due to his abuse. I can't help but compare it with what my niece experienced but it is a romantic novel and doesn't go into much detail as to the difficulties faced by a woman and child in a similar situation. I suppose because she "falls on her feet" in finding somewhere pleasant to live the author doesn't have to go through the subject matter of claiming benefits, going to food banks etc. counselling etc. ... Anyway as I've said it is a light easy to read novel but I'm I shall want something deeper next time!

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  56. I've just finished reading Biggest Brother by Larry Alexander, the biography of Major Dick Winters, the man who led the Band of Brothers, Easy Company 101st Army Airborne., during WW2. A thoroughly enjoyable read which I will include in the son-in-laws Xmas parcel.

    I'm a bit busy to do much more reading in the evenings and with only nine more return train journeys until holidays will finish the year with Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas. Don't fear though, I have just been onto the internet and ordered half a dozen books which should see me through the Festive Season. Three of these books are recent releases about Errol Flynn. I used to buy these books and add them to my Flynn collection, but as my daughters recently advised me that they would put them all out in a garage sale once I'm gone, I'm choosing to spend the money on wine and chocolate instead. Lol.

    And are you too archeolibrarianologist? A person who digs old books......

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  57. I would have needed my dictionary for that word Moi! :)
    I love to see and feel old books but I don't set out to buy any. An old school-friend bought me a small 1916 copy of "Travels with a Donkey" by R L Stevenson as a present. We read it at school and we had been talking about doing the pilgrims walk to Santiago de Compostella (in our dreams!) I shall instruct my sons NOT to throw away any of my precious older books!

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  58. Bogged down with Book 6 of The Game of Thrones series by George R R Martin. I have decided that my New Years Resolution will be no more 800 page epics ! Reading this series did not help my 2014 reading challenge : 84 books read - 16 short of my goal.

    Two readers are yet to finish Flanagan's The Narrow Road....Both are finding it a hard book to complete which surprises me. Let's hope they share when they finally do get to the finish. Did you know that this novel made The New York Times 100 Notable Books List ?

    I have only three days of work left before a month long break . I am so looking forward to cleaning the house ( yes, sad, I know), tidying my bedroom which has several piles of unread books, and catching up on recently released movies. I am hoping to see The Water Diviner when it opens. Any new movies pique your interest?

    Three more days. I can do this !

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  59. We're planning to go to see Maggie Smith's new movie - My Old Lady:
    Featuring superb performances from Maggie Smith, Kevin Kline and Kristin Scott Thomas, My Old Lady is a warm and witty tale set in the City of Light. Down-on-his-luck New Yorker Mathias (Kline) inherits a grand old Parisian apartment from his estranged father. But when he arrives in Paris to sell it he is stunned to find the apartment comes with an unexpected resident – a refined and spirited old lady (Smith) who is not prepared to budge.

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  60. Your movie sounds really good Jaywalker, and if I see it here in Hobart, I will also go and see it. So thanks for the tip.
    Actually I made a comment on here last week, and it seems to have disappeared. About a book I was going to start to read, called "People who have stuffed up Australia" by Guy Rundle. It was bought for me last Christmas and so I thought it may be time to give it a go.
    Here is hoping I can post this comment without it disappearing. lol
    Joy
    Thought you had retired Edna, Didnt know you were still working.

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    1. Had four months off Joy, when I was offered a three day a week position. The best of both worlds now - four day weekends are fantabulous !


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    2. I am in Hobart too and it's on now at the State.

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  61. I've bought Flannagan's "Narrow Road ..." for my husband for Christmas so will have to wait a while to see what he thinks of it.
    As for me I'm reading a chiclit Erica James book "It's the LIttle Things" so will need something a bit deeper afterwards! All three books on my Amazon wish list have been removed and bought by sons so looking forward to making a start after Christmas; one of them is "Mornings at Jenin" Susan Albuhawa about life in trouble torn Palestine. Also "Dear Life" by Alice Munro.

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  62. If you after some inspiration for summer reading this may be helpful:-

    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/booksandartsdaily/5918578

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  63. Santa left a surprising cache of books under the tree including " Literary Listography - My Reading Life in Lists". There are over 70 different lists to compile of your personal reading history. This will be interesting as I battle to remember what I read last month! And authors names - fat chance!
    Six month ago I received as a gift Music Listography. Same deal - make your own lists. I've yet to make a start!
    Santa certainly has a sense of humour as he or she also left a Gratitude Diary. The blurb says " a diary of things for which to be grateful. Used by individuals who wish to focus their attention on the positive things in their lives".
    As well, Manu Fiedel's latest recipe book. Too bad Santa could not arrange an eight day week , or even a 26 hour day to allow me to complete all these tasks .....
    I also received the novel The Water Diviner, based upon the original film script by Andrew Kennedy and Andrew Anastasios. The book, coauthored by the latter and Meaghan Anastasios, deviates little from the movie which I saw yesterday at the local cinema. Russell Crowe tells a good yarn wearing both producer and actor pants and the landscapes are magnificent in their harsh, vast ways. Would I have enjoyed the book without having seen the movie first ? I doubt it. It's an easy two hour read without substance. What I did find interesting is that the authors met in Turkey whilst on an archeological dig, with one having a grandfather who was a water diviner. It's that thing about writing what you know about....

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  64. I also received a pile of books which included Susan Hill's latest in her DI Serrailler series, a biography of Penelope Fitzgerald, the sequel to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, 'Margot at War' (Love and Betrayal at No 10 - Margot Asquith), the Letters of Diana, Lady Cooper., and Their Lips Talk of Mischief by Alan Warner. So that should keep ME out of mischief for a while.

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    1. You certainly have a legitimate excuse to get out of having to watch the cricket, Jay !

      I still have three weeks away from work and so am starting on my library books, especially chosen for holiday reading. These include :
      Leslie Thompson Flynn, Not Just Errol's Father by Tony and Vicki Harrison , and
      Reluctant Hero by John Hickman.
      Cricket ? Who cares !

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    2. Definitely not me but my OH tells me he is watching it tonight - New Years Eve - not that we were going anywhere. So he can take his glass of bubbly into the study/TV room while I watch the BIG telly!

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  65. The Empero'rs bones
    Adam Williams

    An excellent book..a few historic anomalies..apparently..and these are detailed at the end.
    I progressed from a chapter here and there, to a more concentrated effort towards the end of the book..
    He does start to condense a story here and there towards..well, ok, at the end, whereby before you usually got the full blown version...but hey, the book has to end somewhere, and another hey..too many loose ends leads one to suspect that a volume 2..or more..is planned..detracts somewhat from the book as a whole. depending upon what the readers thoughts were at the start. Trilogy..fine! A one off..oh look, only 347 pages..or in this case, 669...talking trilogies,..which we weren't, but it Was mentioned..I usually pick up a book, and invariably turns out oto be the second book of a trilogy...on occasion, its Really cheap..but still new..and ..its a reasonable read..but the first of the series is nowhere to be found, and iffen you order the first and the third from the local library, invariably the third turns up before you have finished the second, and the first....turns up months after you have forgotten what its all about.
    Yaas..as I said, an excellent book. Heroine behaves like a man would under the circumstances..but I would have thought contraception would have been an issue back in them thar dark days...but then I am probably displaying my lack of knowledge of how we got around this in the 1920s..and in China to boot.
    Cheers

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  66. Simply grabbed the first book to hand when I ran out of the door for work on a Monday. Very slap hazard effort, as I had little interest in reading- too busy catching up on emails and newspapers from when we were on the seven seas.
    Started Matthew Reilly's Scarecrow And The Army Of Thieves on Monday, finished Thursday p.m. An easy read thank goodness. Not my usual kind of book: action-packed adventure. Indeed, I felt I was watching a Steven Segal / Bruce Willis movie. This book moved so fast by the end of the week I was wiping the sweat from my brow. And I did learn something new. Did you know that contrary to popular belief a forehead shot is the most unlikely headshot to kill some one?
    Now we can be star being more selective....

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    1. ....My apologies. The IPad would not allow me to Preview and fix up errors.Plus it has been a flat chat week- back at work and then restocking shelves with secondhand books for sale.

      Meant to say....now we can start being more selective

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  67. The Book Of Psychic Knowledge

    Herbert B Greenhouse

    Where did I get it..BookFest! When wazzit written? 1974

    Now, thats going back a bit for..a subject that tends to be very current, lots surprising, and can have heaps of little back alleys, heaps of very opinionated..detractors and..um..fortractors?
    Something like that!
    I tend to read up about psychic...stuff..here and there..must say I was pleasantly surprised as to how it held my interest from start to finish. Lot of history was the key I think. Whole book was question and answer, grouped into like subjects..
    What was..eeps! what is Dr Anderson's theory about ESP in the learning process? p148....shade over ..that popular short story genre...yuk..of one hundred words long, and talks about a 1966 journal in America. Rivetting stuff! Who'd have thought that anyone from that..place could write as well?..and sound so modern about it!
    Tongue in cheek there, btw, if you didn't pick that up!
    Chortle!
    Cheers!

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  68. Currently reading Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas. A different read for me: a look at the way Aussies put pressure on their kids to become sports stars, and the way we look up to sports stars. Bit bleak as it explores socioeconomic, ethnic and class distinctions, but it's probably quite an accurate portrayal of life as we know it. Enjoying it, but not sure if I like it, if that makes sense.

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    1. So now I am starting to haunt markets and charity shops for another book written by Tsiolkas, in particular, The Slap. This novel was written in 2008 and revolves around a child who is slapped at a suburban Australian BBQ by a man who isn't his parent. Controversial, and dramatised in an ABC series for TV in 2011.
      The local second hand book and CD store is closing down at the end of the month so I picked up a few bargains for a $1 each yesterday :
      The Six Sacred Stones by Matthew Reilly
      The Testament by John Grisham
      Friends Like These by Wendy Harmer
      The Grass Memorial by Sarah Harrison
      Will make a return visit to the store this week as the Old Boy's mother, a prolific reader and whom at 90 years of age does not get about much ,has expressed an interest in the novels of Elizabeth Caddell. Wish me luck!

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    2. Moi - I have The Slap as an e-pub file if you have either an e-reader or iPad.

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    3. Yes, Jaywalker, I do have an iPad and would enjoy The Slap. Thankyou. I believe you have my email addy.
      I noticed that Christos Tsiolkas's most recent release is a book of short stories called Merciless Gods, dealing with his "usual themes of class, family, sexuality and desire". I will work my way up to that one.

      Delete
  69. Don't know how, but I seem to have lost it. Can you email me again?

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  70. The Hidden Scrolls
    Christianity, Judaism and the war for the dead sea scrolls

    Neil Asher Silberman

    Usually, something like this..tome..would last all of five seconds, but Neil has a way about him with this one.
    Dead Sea Scrolls..interested I am
    The war for them..well, I haven't heard much about them..an occasional headline in the papers, but thats about it.
    So..perhaps a reason there has been deafening silence for so long.
    War huh..
    Fairly intense we are..in the book I mean..but it does tell the story of what happened, along with who did what to who, and how the author was hard done by, and all the rest of them that managed to hang onto the scrolls, decypher, and copyright their particular piece of history. There was a published piece of ..the scrolls, the intention being that once published, all the secrecy and..bloodymindedness that went along with the whole shebang would end. I mean, once in the public domain, information cannot be restricted if we can all see it. Noble sentiments..but along with the stuff published was copyrighted stuff, that saw a lawsuit..aaand, presumably, its ongoing. It all got a bit much..if you wanted a simple answer that is. sounds as if there is another book in the offing...part 2 if you like. This book was published in 1996..so perhapssome stuff has happened in the meantime.
    Will I look around to see whats happened simce?
    Probably!

    A La Margret and David..4 all up..

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  71. Made it to Page 67 of Farewell My Ovaries, by Wendy Harmer, when I decided that mopping the floors provided more excitement. Sorry, Wendy - don't give up your day job !

    And thanks JW for The Slap. Finished it in two days and still not quite sure what to make of this book. It had promise, being set against a decidedly Australian backdrop : snags on the bbq and cricket in a suburban backyard in the height of summer. A four year old plays up and someone gives the kid a slap - except not by a family member. So far so good with examination of people's beliefs, cultural backgrounds, and all sorts of social commentary. Not so sure that the author, Christos Tsiolkas, Australian of Greek heritage, is real keen on his fellow Aussies, however, as every character in this story is dysfunctional. Not just flawed, but dysfunctional.
    This book was made into a TV series several years ago and is currently being reworked for American TV set in Brooklyn, New York, in a well heeled neighbourhood of renovated brownstones.
    Personally, I never had to slap a child - eyebrow raising and a decent scowl always did the job !

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  72. I have to admit I started it and couldn't get interested. Couldn't see what all the fuss was about. i did slap my boys occasionally, usually on the legs, and it doesn't seem to have done them any harm!

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  73. Firstly, is it just me, or are others also unable to view the previous entry about a Kate Aitkinsin book? Has this post been inserted in the old, and now full, What Are You Reading folder, I wonder. As we are all interested in your comments would the mysterious Poster please repost....Our Phantom in the wings is currently collecting seashells so that I can stop work and make wind chimes so no outside help this time folks.

    I am back at my local book club but don't envisage making many meetings this year. There are 17 new members this year which makes getting hold of resources from the local libraries much more difficult . The two reads I will attend are for Burial Rights by Hannah Kent and Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. I have started both !

    Some idiot said that life gets easier as you get older. They lied. Additional work commitments and a little paid work writing short articles means I'm only just holding my head above water. Just as well I was never house proud.

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    1. It was me Moi and I thought I posted it under Watcha reading? I thought it was strange that I couldn't find it even though it came up as a recent post.
      I have had problems posting before and thought this was another case.
      Will post again if this one gets posted ok!!

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    2. I am reading another Kate Atkinson novel with a strange title, "Started Early, Took my Dog" featuring the ex detective Jackson Brodie but this time he is in Yorkshire.
      I had previously made a start on "Moon Tiger" by Penelope Lively but it's very different from other novels of hers I've read so have sort of abandoned it, certainly for bedtime reading.

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  74. On the other book site which sylvia and I belong to, I think several of us had read all the Kate Atkinson novels. I loved the Brodie series and most of her other one-offs, except Life After Life which I couldn't seem to get into. I notice she has a new one coming out this year which is a follow up to that so don't know whether I'll look for it or not. The TV version of the Brodie novels was very good and just as I imagined him.

    I'm really enjoying the DI Sratton series by Laura Wilson and my OH is too. All set in second world war London which is just his cup of tea.

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  75. Some of you may recall that I'd been struggling through Ian McEwan's Atonement for what felt like eternity. In reality it was only 11 months but that is certainly long enough for what is actually a very simple book.

    I am pleased to announce it's finally all over. And to be honest the latter half of the book (when that annoying Briony kid finally stops talking and it's war time) is much easier to get through. Much faster paced and almost an entirely different book! I actually loved the ending. The reality that the author determines whether there is a happy ending or not was simple yet powerful.

    In hindsight, maybe the first half isn't that bad? I'll certainly never revisit it and I will always maintain that all that chatter, all that background, was tiring and unnecessary. But maybe it is a good book read at the wrong time. It had been sitting on my bedside table for ages and I thought that because it was short I would finish Atonement easily. Done within the fortnight. I'm getting older now too and my patience for the endless personal reflections is clearly wearing thin. How much did that play a part?

    Have others read Atonement and what did they think? And as for this taking one year to finish a small book debacle, I hope it won't become a habit. I'll let you all know how I go...

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    1. Totally disinterested in reading this book after having watched the movie. Also made the decision to never again watch any movie featuring Keira Knightly........

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  76. Good job we're all different. I liked the movie and don't mind Keira Knightley. Haven't read the book.

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  77. I wasn't overkeen on the film so have no plan to read the book but I admire you Number2 for battling with it!!!

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  78. The local high school is having their annual Trash N Treasure market tomorrow to raise funds for the Chaplaincy. Although a State School , and one of the first that the students held a much publicised sit-in some years ago, I still like to support the school as both my daughters have fallen on their feet, with much assistance from the opportunities the school afforded them.
    So The Muppet and I were given the task of emptying boxes of books and stacking them on tables for the big sale tomorrow. What gives ? Do we have signs on our foreheads that say Bookhounds? This is not what I've volunteered us for !
    So, three hours later , exhausted, ready for a wine or two, we calculate that as usual we have brought home more stuff than we donated for the sale. Mainly books, of course. These include :
    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
    A Dalgleish Trilogy by P D James
    The Five Greatest Warriors by Matthew Reilly
    Adams Empire by Evan Green
    Tasmania, A Place to Remember by Michelle Dale
    A Megapuzzle Book which the old boy loves!
    And two books printed in 1904 of sheet music for Handel and Bach. ( Muppet's son is an opera singer in the Netherlands)
    Five dollars well spent I would have thought !

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  79. Very well spent. Have you read the Dalgleish mysteries before?

    Interesting about Muppets's son. We've just come back from the arts cinema at MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) which shows the operas seasons from the Met in HD having seen The Merry Widow with the stunning Renee Fleming. . I'm a complete opera nut - have been since I was about 13 when I went to see The Great Caruso.

    We go to Covent Garden every year now when we are in London and I just adore it. Costs an arm and a leg but who cares. Saw Manon Lescaut last year and booked for Don Giovanni in July. We get very little live opera here in Hobart and the Baroque Festival we had for two years has now moved to Brisbane because our state gov't wouldn't commit the necessary funding. Islands have their disadvantages.

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  80. No, Jaywalker, have not read any of the Dagleish series. Not really into crime/mystery novels. Thought I would give them a try after having read that you and Sylvia both enjoyed.

    The Baroque Festival is currently advertising heavily here.The Muppet is interested.Sometimes it is necessary for us to pursue our own interests. I'm heading south to Sydney at the end of the week. He may utilize this time enjoying whatever. Seems to work well.

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    1. PS. Sylvia, have just stated Amy Tan's The Valley of Amazement. I think you were looking at getting into this book too? Have you made a start ? Nearly 600 pages!

      Delete
    2. Moi, you are right, The Valley of Amazement is in my pile of books waiting to be read and I must admit have only hesitated because of its length! Might take it on holiday in June. Because a friend has lent me a couple of books I tend to read those first so I can get them back to her. Have just finished a Kate Atkinson novel; "Started Early, Took my Dog" but didn't enjoy it as much as her others although it does feature Private Detective Jackson.
      Brodie I look forward to hearing your comments on Amy Tan's book!

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    3. P.S. The Book Thief is another long long novel so good luck with that one too! Have not read it YET!
      I've started volunteering at a temporary local library once a month following the council's closure of many local libraries. I am going to be so tempted to borrow a book but must refrain as I have so many of my own waiting to be read!

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  81. I have The Book Thief on my e-reader but haven't read it yet. We're about to leave for Melbourne to see Miriam Margolyes tonight and Bryn Terfel tomorrow night and I MUST NOT BUY ANY BOOKS because Jetstar has lowered the onboard luggage weight to 7k.

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    1. Bet you do buy one tiny book Jean!! ;)

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    2. Hope you enjoy Melbourne and the weather is kind to you, Jaywalker.

      Finished The Valley of Amazement this morning. Don't be put off by its daunting size, Sylvia - it is an easy read and a good story. I was initially hesitant as I have little interest in either Chinese history or culture ,yet I found this a really enjoyable book. The Chinese expressions were often quite humourous and lightened what could have otherwise been a very sad tale. Best book I've read this year !

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    3. That is very encouraging Moi, thankyou! I might still leave it until we go on holiday. I do enjoy reading about other cultures so am sure I will enjoy it! Isn't it satisfying to read something a bit special after a string of mediocre novels?

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  82. I was VERY good and didn't buy a book although I looked. We went to the travelling V&A exhibition on the art of illustration at the Melbourne library and I did look at the library bookshop and saw a couple I noted for looking for on amazon later. The weather was lovely until yesterday when it showered a few times. Miriam was wonderful. She is such a great mimic as well as actress and we thoroughly enjoyed her new one woman show. Bryn Terfel starred in The Damnation of Faust, along with the MSO, Sir Andrew Davis, their new chief conductor, and a choir of 160! The sound was magnificent. So a good dose of culture and a footie match for Colin which doesn't count!

    Oh, and I hadn't seen the new shopping centre (Emporium) between Myer and the Daimaru centre and did buy a jacket and a couple of cheap necklaces!

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    1. Oh Jean, you disappoint me not buying a BOOK! Haha! Sounds like an interesting and enjoyable trip, for your other half too!
      Funny, but Tasmania was mentioned on our local radio station earlier this week because two retired vicars (husband and wife) from this area in Staffordshire are travelling around the world with as little money as possible and relying on the hospitality of other churches and organisations or anyone who is impressed with what they are doing. This had been in Tasmania and were then flying to New Zealand. You might have missed hearing about them if you've been away yourselves.

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  83. According to the results of Dymocks Bookstore's booklover's 101 survey, that honor belongs to Markus Zusak's The Book Thief. More than 15,000 bibliophiles participated in this survey.

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    1. I'm a bit slow off the mark and will start The Book Thief next. Also looking forward to seeing the movie though- do enjoy young Geoffrey Rush.

      Looking forward to taking myself off to see Testament of Youth at the flicks, based on Vera Brittain's memoirs of WW1, published in 1933. The movie features Kit Harrington of " you know nothing, Jon Snow" fame. Yeah, ok, I confess. Every girl has to have a bit of fluff on the odd occassion.

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    2. My apologies- computer issues.

      Should have read : Voted as Number 1 Book in Australia for 2014.....

      Technology can be such a pain!

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  84. Yes, were going to go and see Testament to Youth too. We have the DVDs of the TV series from a few years ago so will be interesting to see the difference.

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    1. Moi and Jaywalker, I look forward to hearing your views on Testimony of Youth. Vera Brittain was born in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffs, near where we live. As we don't get to the cinema I will probably have to wait till the DVD comes out.

      I have so far resisted reading The Book Thief due the book's length! When will I have time to get through it!!! The film got mixed reviews but I'm tempted to buy the DVD.

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    2. Well, I've put The Book Thief aside. I'de seen the movie shorts and heard the blurb about it being such a great book. Sorry, but I am not in the headspace to read a book narrated by "Death". Another time, perhaps....

      So reading a three generational family saga centered in rural Australia. Why? Because it has a cheerful cover, and that's reason enough at the moment.

      Sylvia, how many books have followed you home from your volunteer position ?

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    3. Moi, I have only so far taken out one book "Moon Tiger" by Penelope Lively as I've enjoyed a couple of her other books but I just Could NOT get intot this one so gave up on it. I think Jaywalker commented on it too at the time. I only volunteer once a month as the library is only open one afternoon a week and last time we were so busy dealing with a new stock of books to be put on shelves etc my shift had finished!
      Did you see Testament of Youth?

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    4. Am off to see Testament of Youth next Monday, Sylvia. In need of some ME time so fully intend to buy new shoes and a couple of outfits for winter, and then relax at the movies. No guilt. I've earned it!

      Now reading Susan Duncan's Gone Fishing. A nice little read and sequel to The Briny Cafe.

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  85. Just finished reading Susan Duncan's Gone Fishing which follows on from The Briny Creek ( which I had not read and made no difference). Some years ago I read the House at Salvation Creek , about the middle aged authors attempts to restart a life with her new husband. The house in the book title is a lovely old home once owned by Dorathea McKellar in bushland in the middle of Pittwater, Sydney. This novel is also set in a similar setting and as a Sydney girl I found myself quite at home reading about the humidity, the smell of seaweed, mullet jumping out of the water, and those cooling afternoon southerlies on the coast
    The local charity book sale started this afternoon and came home with an armful of bargains. My next book club read is a biography or memoir so I am about to commence Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, the story of Louis Zamperini, the athlete who went on to become a POW during WW2.
    The Muppet also bought numerous books including one that I had donated only two weeks ago. What's with this ? I asked him at the time if he wanted to read it and he looked at me appalled. Anyway, a Matthew Reilly novel is back in the house.
    As for Testament of Youth, Sylvia, just as well I am taking my blood pressure tablets. It only played at the local cinema for one session due to lack of interest and was replaced by Shaun The Sheep. I will persue this but have just been flat chat with work and other commitments , including a little freelance writing. Here's my spin for the local book sale, if you're interested:
    http://www.weekendnotes.com/capalaba-rotary-bookfest/
    And Jojo Moyes has a new one out: The One Plus One.

    What's your news ?

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    1. The Offspring4 May 2015 at 22:06

      It has been nine months since I started reading The Poisonwood Diaries which would indicate that I'm not enjoying this book. This is not the case at all. I have just been busy reading policy and legislation for my new job role, travel books for an overseas holiday, books about real estate and renovations, as well as wedding magazines. I hope to finish the novel over my holidays.

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    2. May, I am waiting for your comments on "Testament of Youth"!! Only one session to be replaced by Shaun the Sheep! I had to laugh at that, thankyou!! Could you count the number of people in the audience?? ;)
      Also had a chuckle about your Muppet (husband I presume?) buying a book you'd donated!! Oh dear me ...
      Will look out for the new Jojo Moyes book. I have 2 books on the go so finishing them will take time!

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  86. The Offspring
    I admire you for sticking with The Poisonwood Diaries and expect it's a real change of subject from your new job reading material.
    When is the Happy Day?

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  87. Looks like I will have to wait for Testament Of Youth to be released on DVD. It is only in a select few arty cinemas in the city.
    I'm battling with Unbroken, the biography of Olympian Louis Zamperini by Laura Hillenbrand.
    It's a well written book and I have enjoyed learning about the Americans war in the Pacific, as any previous knowledge was courtesy only of John Wayne movies.
    We were introduced to Zamperini just after his plane crashed and he in his crew are drifting in a raft, injured, starving, sunburnt and surrounded by sharks. What a story! I'm in ! Then we backtrack to his childhood, schooling, and interest in athletics. Louis was nothing but a petty criminal and a thug and because I genuinely don't like this character I really have no interest in how he survived his years in a Japanese POW camp. So 300 pages to read before book club and I'm procrastinating.
    Seem to have battled through most books this year. Is this old age, I wonder? Amy Tan's is still my best read for the year. Hop to it, Sylvia.
    I've just ordered a crime novel by Peter Corris, only because it's called Lugarno, which is where I grew up in Sydney.
    Lifeline Bookfest in a few weeks and we have again volunteered to pack, rack, and stack books for a couple of shifts. Guess it means I'll be re homing a few - again. Does Bookfest make it to Tassie, Jaywalker ?

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    1. Well you and me both Moi re waiting for the DVD release of Testament of Youth!
      I am now speeding up my reading of "Mornings in Jenin" - in fact can hardly put it down. I feel that EVERYONE who has any interest in the Palestinian/Israeli conflicts should read this book. Though the characters are fictitious the accounts of what happened over the decades in Palestine are true, shocking and sad. Still have about 50 pages to read but might finish it this weekend.

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    2. We don't have Bookfest in Tasmania but we do have something similar in that the Variety Club stages a huge book fair at the Wrest Point convention centre (ie the casino) but it's in August while we're away - which might be a good thing in some ways!

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  88. We finally got to Testament to Youth and I can honestly say it was one of the best films I've seen in several years. So do get the DVD. I'm not a cryer in movies but I did in this one even though I knew what was coming. The filming was outstanding.....slow build-up of the happy pre-war summer and the carelessness of youth, beautiful recreation of 1913 Oxford and Vera's struggle with her family to get there. The war scenes were pretty horrific but you were left in absolutely no doubt about the futility and waste of war. It is special too in that it's about war from a woman's point of view.

    I saw the earlier TV series but it wasn't as moving as this version. When we're in London we stay at the Tavistock near Russell Square and we almost always walk past a blue plaque showing where she lived with author Winifred Holtby after the war and before she married. It's impossible to conceive of how people lived through the losses of that war but this film gets as close.

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    1. The DVD is being released here in the UK on 25th just after my birthday so have put it on my Amazon Wish List!

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    2. Yes, you've sold me - I cant wait till the DVD is released !

      I've just started reading Bittersweet by Colleen McCulloch. An easy read so far and I am enjoying reading about nursing in Australia in the 1920's when Registered Nurses came into play.

      We've lost several authors of late : Ruth Rendell, Terry Pratchett and very recently, Michael Blake. Who, they ask . shaking their heads ? Blake was the author of Dances with Wolves which was later turned into a movie with Kevin Costner. Book 10. Movie 5. I've just learned that Blake wrote a sequel, 15 years down the track from the original, called The Holy Road. Locating this book is my current obsession........

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  89. My reading has been a bit wayward of late - so many other things on the go. Finished a couple of Sue Grafton's private investigator novels featuring Kinsey Milhouse. I don't even attempt to solve the crime- it's all in one ear and out the other.

    Jaywalker, you certainly don't allow the grass to grow underfoot. Hope your UK visit is just delightful.

    Lifeline Bookfest yesterday and I was really to weary to bother looking through 145 trestle tables of books. Did pick up some great CDs though, and a friend whose Dad was a POW in Changi asked me to look for a book called "One Fourteenth of an Elephant" which is about the English POW experience.
    She actually thinks she lent me the book six or seven years ago but is wrong on two counts :
    A) I never lose books
    B) Never heard of this book.
    Anyway she will be thrilled as I simply stumbled across this book, signed by the author , for $2.00, Bargain'
    After a quick coffee in the city before heading home another find : The Event bookstore specialising in movies, music and theatre and with a great line of gifts too. Oooooops, there went the rent money. LOL

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  90. My reading is all over the place at the moment, as I have four books on the go at the same time. Guess that is in sync with the rest of my life as I currently have so many projects happening.
    Am reading yet another Sue Grafton detective novel, W is for Wasted, which is easy during train travel. At 3 a.m when I play the insomniac I read John Wayne, The Life and The Legend by Scott Eyeman. Then for laughs I pick up Life As A Teenager, Living in Australia During the 50s and the 60s by Jonquil Graham, as well as a fascinating non fiction book about Nurses during WW1 for the Australian Author Challenge. Don't even mention required reading for book club next Monday. Biting off too much to chew.....and choking on it.

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  91. Oh four books on the go Moi! I can just about have two; one on my bedside table and the other on the kitchen table! Just finished "Americanah" by Chimamanda N Adiche; a long story starting and ending in Nigeria with a a few years in America growing up, being educated, having relationships and generally struggling with the ups and downs of life but never forgetting her first love and the soulmate she left behind. The small print made it a strain to read but I enjoyed it; though preferred her "Blue Hibiscus" Now needing something lighter to take on holiday and have started JoJo Moyes "The Girl I left behind" set in WW1. Might also take with me Elizabeth Strout's "Amy and Elizabeth". I first read a book of short stories by this American author called "Olive Kitteridge" where all the stories in some way featured this caustic character Olive. A TV series was made of Olive and it's now available on DVD; highly recommended for a non slushy, superbly acted film.

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  92. So I thought I'd I would retry The Book Thief since it was the most popular book for 2014. Read five chapters and decided to give it away. Literally.The book has gone to a good home.. Did watch the DVD recently which I loved ! Geoffrey Rush just gets better.......I didn't finish One Fourteenth of An Elephant either - just skimmed through it. I just think with the all the media attention given to Gallipoli - and current world events - I have had enough of sadness and aggression. So more froth and bubble. Finished Melissa Gilbert's autobiography today - she of Half Pint fame from Little House on The Prairie which was the usual Hollywood saga of bad parents/bad boys/bad debts blah blah blah.For bookclub this month I will be reading Frederick Forsyth's The Kill List.
    A poor effort for June. I will lift my game for July :)

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    1. I have the DVD but not seen it yet! Been too busy. Explanation follows:
      We had an offer for our house on 8th June!
      Went to Menorca for 2 weeks holiday on 15th June and
      got back on the 29th.
      1st July our first grandchild was born, a BOY name Liam Alfred.
      12th July drove down to Suffolk to view a house, loved it and our offer was accepted on Monday. So full steam ahead to prepare for a move after 32 years living here in Staffordshire.
      Moving to Suffolk will mean we will be nearer to our eldest son and family. Exciting times!
      AS for reading; I finished Elizabeth Strout's "Amy and Isabelle" and am now on another Kate Atkinson, "When will there will be Good News" - one of the Jackson Brodie novels.

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  93. Good news ! I've moved on from the lethargy and am reading good books again.
    Just finished Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes which was recommended by one of the young things in the office. It's a tale about an intellectually handicapped young man who is operated by scientists to cure his mental handicap and thereby pave the path for a change in the human race. Unfortunately, the young man in question discovers the hard way that an IQ of 178 does not ensure happiness. I won't reveal any more , but it's beaut to finally get engrossed in a good read again!
    Sticking to one book at a time too.....

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