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  2. Claire's Book List 2018

    'Only'! (I'm contentedly on 17).
  3. Anna Begins reading in 2018

    *hug* I hope you like it!
  4. Vicarage Family by Noel Streatfeild The ‘blurb’ A Vicarage Family is the first part in a fictionalized autobiography in which Noel Streatfeild tells the story of her own childhood, painting a poignant and vivid picture of daily life in an impoverished, genteel family in the years leading up to the First World War. In the story there are three little girls - Isobel, the eldest, is pretty, gentle and artistic; Louise the youngest, is sweet and talented - and then there is Vicky, 'the plain one', the awkward and rebellious child who doesn't fit in at school or at home. Growing up in a big family Vicky feels overlooked but gradually begins to realize that she might not be quite as untalented as she feels. The Vicky of this story is, of course, the much-loved Noel Streatfeild who went on to write so many wonderful family stories, the most famous being. Ballet Shoes I love books about social history and the Edwardian era is one of my favourite periods. Vicky (Noel herself) is a real character – she's constantly trying to behave whilst managing to get into trouble, much to the exasperation of her parents, and particularly her father with whom she is very close. Although the family were from an upper Middle Class background they were not wealthy, having to live on a Vicar's stipend, and they had their fair share of hardship in terms of keeping up with their peers, although they weren't poor. I had had this book on my wish list for a long time so was chuffed when I came across it for 50p in a charity shop! Despite Streatfeild being a very prolific writer I haven't read any of her books (I don't think – I may have as a child), although I have seen the TV adaptation of Ballet Shoes! I really enjoyed this. There are two more volumes - Away from the Vicarage and Beyond the Vicarage, both of which I will look out for. The paperback edition is 416 pages long and is published by Puffin. It was first published in 1963. The ISBN is 9780141368665. 4/5 (I really enjoyed it) (Finished 23 February 2018)
  5. Claire's Book List 2018

    Oh, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I didn't know it was going to be a series when I read it last year. Like you, I won't continue if it goes on for too many books (I gave up on the Rivers of London series - I can't keep up!) but I will try #2. I have only read 21 books this year (one more than you read in March! ) - I'm normally fairly equal in terms of Male vs Female authors but this year I have (so far) read F/M: 14/7!
  6. Word Association

  7. What's Up In April? - 2018

    Great news about both Penny and the job.
  8. What's the weather like?

    You're so lucky to be able to get out into the garden! Lovely again today.
  9. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

    I still have both books unread, but loved the TV series.
  10. Willoyd's Reading 2018

    A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor ***** This was the April selection for one of my book groups - my choice in fact! I chose it because at the time I had read one of the author's other books (Blaming), and I was both intrigued by the author and felt that, on that limited experience, her writing lent itself well to book group discussion. In the intervening period, I read two more of her books (The Soul of Kindness and Mrs Palfrayman at the Claremont), both of which confirmed my growing fascination with Elizabeth Taylor's works, and her choice as a book group read. I wasn't mistaken either, as we had plenty to discuss! Essentially, the novel is set in the small, post-war (it was first published in 1948), rather run-down seaside town of Newby, and examines the interactions of a small group of largely near neighbours living on the harbour front: Robert and Beth Cazabon (a name that struck an immediate chord!) and their children Prudence and Stevie, next door neighbour and Beth's best friend Tory Foyle and her son (largely away at boarding school, and the source of some perceptively funny letters), nosy and irrascible invalid Mrs Bracey and her two long-suffering daughters Maisie and Iris, recently bereaved Lily Wilson (owner of one of the few local attractions, a wax-work museum as run-down as the town), and a rare, but long-term, visitor, Bertram Hemingway, retired naval officer and aspiring (but mediocre) painter. As with all her titles, A View of the Harbour is soon seen to be very carefully chosen. Superficially, it's the title of a painting hung up in the pub where Bertram is staying, and one to which he has promised a companion piece. As well, It obviously alludes to the reader's perspective, the view of the harbour's inhabitants and their lives, but we gradually realise that it also refers to the fact that this book is all about what people see, don't see, think they see, and don't understand even when they have seen! The threads connecting, even entwining, the various characters are many, and often become rather entangled. Our discussion centred very largely on these interconnections, what the author told us overtly, and what was actually bubbling up underneath. This was all very much mixed up in a discussion about the way Elizabeth Taylor writes. Her style reminds me of Virginia Woolf and Muriel Spark: incisive and focused very much on the internal characters and how they see the world. Just like these two, her books are slim but full of meaning, not a word wasted. ("...and, with one of those impulsive gestures she thought out so well beforehand, she tucked her hand under his elbow and strolled with him along the waterside towards the cliff-walk"). I also find it fascinating how she draws on and refers to other writers: the name Cazabon is surely no coincidence, so close to George Eliot's Casaubon in Middlemarch, although the roles are reversed her, with Beth being the writer buried in her own work and Robert the frustrated one. The allusions are just that though, as the narrative takes its own distinctive line, perhaps showing how an accumulation of small differences can lead to distinctly different outcomes. In similar fashion, Taylor's employment of the lighthouse is surely a direct reference to Woolf's most famous work. Again, one can see the parallels and allusions, underlined by Taylor's use of the weather to introduce chapters, as in The Waves, but the final product remains very much Taylor's own. There is much else here, and the author keeps one thinking right the way through to the very last line (literally!); it's definitely a book that merits a good discussion!. Suffice to summarise it here as another outstanding read from an author whose relative obscurity I find completely bemusing, but hopefully part of a wave of writers who are beginning to be rediscovered and appreciated. I found it interesting to read (somewhere!) that whilst it was the Angry Young Men (Osborne, Braine, Sillitoe etc) who dominated the literary scene at the time and for a while after, longer term it is the generation of female writers who are actually lasting and being read - Spark, Taylor, Pym etc, not least because of the work of publishers like Virago and Persephone. I hope so. I found it rather sad that the only previous stamp in the book I borrowed from the library was in 2004, but encouraging that it's not so difficult to find Elizabeth Taylor on bookshop shelves. I think the best accolade I can pass on this is to say that I've now bought my own copy, as this is a book I am already dipping back into. As I usually do in this situation, I give it 5* to start with, it is one of the best so far this year, and reserve judgement on the sixth for later.
  11. Continue the Story game 4,

    'oh stop being silly. What are you drinking?' Several hours later, Ellie Scissorhands, 23, was in her salon waiting for Debs to arrive for her perm. 'Hello love it's just Ellie from your local hairdresser. You were due for a perm thirteen minutes ago, just wondering if you're on your way.' 'Oh yes I am going to be there very soon. I have...
  12. Goodreads

    I have been having troubles logging onto GoodReads recently. As when I usually sign in it already shows my email and password saved so I just literally have to press “sign in” it did not allow that the other day. However as I hadn’t physically put my password in for so long I forgot what it was. Then proceeded to change it which it allowed me to do successfully until I came to sign in again then for it to say “we do not recognise that combination.” I finally get in and now I am trying again and having the same problems. I have sent an email again to myself for resetting but haven’t received it. It is 447AM and I should be asleep! But I can’t and it’s frustrating me.
  13. Continue the Story game 4,

    need to stick together, show solidarity in the face of rampant discrimination and sexism. A new world order, that's what we need. Women in control, turn the tables on all those chauvinistic pigs. Down with the capitalist society that discriminates against us! We've been the victims of oppression since the dawn of time. ... but the worm has turned!' Cicely's mind had begun to wander, she was thinking about her warm bed and her usual nightcap of hot chocolate laced with a generous slug of Irish Cream, 'So which worm is this, then?'
  14. Only Love Can Break Your Heart ~ Neil Young
  15. What Are You Watching Now? - 2018

    We just finished season 1 of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which I loved. Can't wait to start season 2!
  16. What's Up In April? - 2018

    Noll, that's such good news about Penny! And congrats on the new job! It's a lovely day here today, but I have a wicked headache, and BF and I have been out and about the last two days, so we're just feeling tired today. But we have the window open and we're enjoying the spring air!
  17. Never Ending Book Titles

    Witching You Were Here - Amanda M. Lee
  18. Last week
  19. Ian's reading list 2018

    Good review Ian. I'm a big Ian Rankin fan. Have you read any of the ones originally written under the Jack Harvey pseudonym. I've got them all (all 3) but only read one recently. Quite different to Rebus, but still got Rankin's excellent writing. I agree about the Fox books. I reread those recently, too, and really enjoyed them. It's a shame Rankin hasn't written more of them. Will you be getting the next Rebus when it comes out later this year? I've been dropping hints to my kids since it was announced last year.
  20. Book 11: Better be the Devil by Ian Rankin Some cases never leave you. For John Rebus, forty years may have passed, but the death of beautiful, promiscuous Maria Turquand still preys on his mind. Murdered in her hotel room on the night a famous rock star and his entourage were staying there, Maria's killer has never been found. Meanwhile, the dark heart of Edinburgh remains up for grabs. A young pretender, Darryl Christie, may have staked his claim, but a vicious attack leaves him weakened and vulnerable, and an inquiry into a major money laundering scheme threatens his position. Has old-time crime boss Big Ger Cafferty really given up the ghost, or is he biding his time until Edinburgh is once more ripe for the picking? (Taken from Goodreads) My Thoughts I'll admit that the latest couple in the Rebus series haven't been as memorable as the first ones. But they are still very good. This book has all the elements. An old case involving a murdered woman. A new one involving a beaten gangster and a missing banker. Rebus wants to solve both. And therein lies the problem that I have. Ian Rankin insisted on writing the series as real as possible, so time passed in real life is time passed in the world of Rebus. Rebus is retired, and it seems that the stand alone books for his replacement, Malcom Fox, haven't been as popular. That's a shame, because I do like the character of Fox. But Rebus being able to charm, bully or con his way into people's houses by pretending to still be a serving officer, and also being able to walk into any police station at will did stretch my credulity to almost breaking point. That's my only negative though. The series continues to throw light on what ails modern Scottish, and by extension, British society, while also delivering a good crime novel. 4/5
  21. What's the weather like?

    Hope those affected by the tornado are all okay. We have had beautiful weather today - it was definitely shorts weather and I wore mine with pride at work today. I love my job on days like this as there are so few places that allow you to wear shorts like we all do, and not that many either where you have a lovely garden to spend time in.
  22. @chesilbeach sent me card and a Ladybird edition of A Christmas Carol to add to my collection to cheer me up - which it did. Thanks, Claire.
  23. Thanks, @Little Pixie, @Michelle, @Athena, @Madeleine, @Nollaig and @~Andrea~ I'm hoping this lovely warm weather might help!
  24. Your Age?

    Am still over 50 years of age
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