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About poppyshake

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  • Birthday February 25

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  • Reading now?
    The North Water by Ian McGuire
  • Gender
  • Location:
    Cirencester, UK.
  • Interests
    Reading, Music, Cross Stitch, Teashops, Renovating a Victorian Property

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  1. Your Book Activity - December 2017

    Started The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa and loving it so far ...but I know it’s going to get sad 😞 Recently listened to the audiobook of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol ....an absolute must for this time of year. I’ve watched a film adaptation too Also recently listened to Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend ... very enjoyable. I’d like to read something wintry but haven’t really got anything that fits the bill. Was going to buy Mr Dickens and his Carol by Samantha Silva yesterday but Waterstones had sold out! Thwarted!
  2. Your Book Activity - November 2017

    Ooh that reminds me Claire ... I've got it on the shelf to read I'm reading Nigel Slater's The Christmas Chronicles .. part recipe book but part homage to Winter! It's fabulous
  3. Poppyshake's Reading Year 2017

    Some sentences on books that didn't exactly set me alight. Please excuse me if I'm just a bit brutal. Time has done nothing to heal the wounds of disappointing reading. The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marion Keyes Thoughts: I'm a big fan of Marian Keyes. I moved on to her after exhausting Maeve Binchy and she didn't disappoint .. I particularly loved all her books about the Walsh family (Watermelon, Rachel's Holiday, Angels and Anybody Out There? although I've yet to read the last one The Mystery of Mercy Close) very readable and absolutely guaranteed to put a smile on my face. Alan bought me this book for my birthday and so I had an extra reason to love it but I just couldn't. Unlikeable characters, implausible plot and dialogue and just perplexingly awful. I couldn't believe it was the same author. It's a tome too .. I would have given up on it if it hadn't been a present (why is there always a reason!?) I trudged through it. I've since read a lot of rave reviews about her latest book The Break but I'm not sure now .. I think she may have gone off the boil .. she could of course boil again .. but can I take the risk? Disappointing! The Secrets of Wishtide by Kate Saunders Thoughts: I've actually wiped this from my memory so can't really remember much of it but I do remember being annoyed. I was unaware that the story was, in part, a re-imagining (God! .. a word to strike fear and all that) of David Copperfield and so alarm bells were ringing when I recognised a particular plot situation from that book in this (nothing up to that point had put me in mind of it so I just thought the author was taking liberties until such time as the liberties became so blatant that I realised it must be intentional.) All very well to write in the style of Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins if you can live up to them .. few can .. I didn't think Kate Saunders was one of them. There's more in the series apparently. No thanks. The Sign of the Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Thoughts: Now, I'm not for one minute saying that this isn't a work of genius or that it is defective in any way .. millions of readers can't be wrong it's just that it didn't hold my interest. As soon as Audible advertised their wonderful Sherlock Holmes: Definitive Collection read by Stephen Fry I rushed to download it. Never was an Audible credit parted with so willingly. I haven't heard all the stories yet, I've only really dipped my toe in but what I have heard has been marvellous .. for the most part. This was the one story though that I couldn't seem to get involved in. It couldn't have been Stephen's reading .. we all know he could read from the cornflake packet and make it riveting so it must have been that the story didn't suit. I don't think there was enough Holmes and Watson in it. I usually always listen when out walking and I was wandering off constantly (in my mind .. not feet!!) I did like the denouement though (which of course I can't tell you about) and what it led to. Mrs Zant and the Ghost by Wilkie Collins Thoughts: It's a bit rich of me to include Wilkie here after hailing him as a genius earlier. It's not that I didn't enjoy the story it's just that it was a bit slight and didn't really go anywhere. It's only a short story and I felt it suffered a bit from being squashed down into 76 pages. On the plus side, I listened to it (free .. thank you Audible) .. Gillian Anderson narrated and she was excellent. Wouldn't appear on Wilkie's Greatest Hits .. not volume 1 anyway. Talking to Addison by Jenny Colgan Thoughts: Again, Jenny Colgan has written better books .. much better books. This was one of her earlier efforts I think and as such she was probably testing the water etc. It was readable, I didn't at any point want to hurl it and I was interested in the outcome so not a disaster just not up to the standard I've come to expect of her. It did get sillier as it went along. Books often do though .. take Frankenstein! The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean by David Almond Thoughts: Oh dear! What a struggle. I bought this book many moons ago seduced by it's beautiful cover. So seduced that I bought it in hardback and put it in my glass cabinet in the lounge where all my beautiful books live. Once books get put in the cabinet they stand even less of a chance of being read than any of the others in the house as they're in (neatish) piles and the faff involved in unlocking the cabinet and disturbing the piles is more than I'm equal to most days. I think I must have been at a bit of a reading low ebb when I decided to liberate this book. It's time had come .. ta-dah!! Obviously I was hoping for a tale that lived up to the great cover .. I've rarely been let down in this department so I had confidence but imagine my face when I realised that the whole book was narrated by Billy and, given that he has never learnt to write or spell, it was written phonetically! By the end of the first page I had a headache!! Here's a taste: 'Next day he brout a groop of men. They tarkd in foren voyses & kept ther eyes turnd away from us. They set to work reparing the room as best they cud. They prepard it as the plays wer I wud grow. They put loks on the dore & went away.' There was never any let up, I willed for one of the other characters to take over the narration just to give me five minutes break but nope! Now, it wasn't necessarily difficult to decipher as you can see but it meant that the story never flowed because there was always something on the page that was incomprehensible so I just stuttered and stumbled my way through it. NOT RELAXING!! There is a good story here and that's what kept me reading. Fool! I've just seen that the new edition of the book is subtitled 'Telt by Hisself' and I feel this may have forewarned me and so now feel cheated as well as exhausted. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells Thoughts: This is not to be compared with the others here that I've been complaining about. I love H.G.Wells and think The War of the Worlds is THE best science fiction story I have ever read .. or am ever likely to .. and I loved the beginning and the end of this story. It's just that I didn't like the middle much (so in other words .. I hated the time travel!! ) .. it seemed a bit preposterous and I didn't feel the story had aged well. I know it's much beloved so again, it's probably just me. Vintage sci-fi and me usually get on okay but this time we didn't really get past a friendly handshake etc.
  4. Poppyshake's Reading Year 2017

    Bloomin' things Mum is on the mend now thankfully .. thanks Madeleine It was great to see you on Monday Claire Hope you've had a good holiday Thanks Di The kitchen will be a long process but it's progress .. a step in the right direction. I keep wanting to bake though .. cakes and biscuits .. also jacket potatoes .. I'm dreaming about those (and not a white Christmas as it turns out ) We could get one of those mini table top oven and hobs but we had one before when we were renovating a previous kitchen and I killed it in super quick time Probably best to steer clear. You'll all be glad to know that I have a toaster AND a toasted sandwich maker so I'm not going to be toast deprived
  5. Poppyshake's Reading Year 2017

    Thanks Gaia Thanks Poppy We're just going to have a low key Christmas this year. Alan hasn't got a lot of time off so we're just going to chill out, be together, and eat sandwiches or something It'll be bliss not to have to wrestle the turkey for once.
  6. Poppyshake's Reading Year 2017

    Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman Synopsis: Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive - but not how to live. Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend. Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything. One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted - while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she's avoided all her life. Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than ... fine? Thoughts: If I was asked just to recommend one book this year it would be this one, without hesitation. It's the best book I've read in a long while. That is to say I listened to it and I'd urge everyone to do the same .. or everyone with an Audible account anyway because the narrator brings Eleanor to life but I also know people who read the book and they equally raved about it so I'm sure the Eleanor in your head would be every bit as good. Eleanor's not your average protagonist. I've never really read about anyone quite like her. Just when you think you have a handle on her she surprises you (there are little twists and shocks all the way through and one major, major, twist.) Her story has much to say about loneliness and isolation and how difficult it is when you don't fit in, how difficult it is when you have issues .. terribly dark issues that you have learned to live with and bury deep. Eleanor isn't immediately likeable, she has no social skills and can be blunt and rude, still there's something intriguing about her and also something which strikes an empathetic chord. You start to see life through her eyes and can see the struggle but what is it that lies behind all of this? There's some terrible dark secret in her past which she only hints at but which becomes clearer as the story unravels. It's a dark and gloomy subject but for all that it's quite funny .. probably more funny than sad for the most part but then the story turns really dark and by this time you're so invested in Eleanor that it's a painful read. But it's also uplifting because, along the way, she does find people who believe in her and this is a revelation to her. I missed her so much when the story ended which is the greatest compliment you can give to a book .. some characters stay on the page but Eleanor lives and breathes. Outstanding! Read it!
  7. Poppyshake's Reading Year 2017

    Thank you xxx
  8. Poppyshake's Reading Year 2017

    I'm so behind with my reviews as usual .. I might not have read anything lately (actually, when I was updating my reading list I noticed that I did actually finish a book while I was at Mum and Dad's .. it was a book I had already got three quarters through and it took me ages to read the last quarter but it was a book finished .. so that's something!) but I'd only got as far as March with my reviewing before I left. Consequently the chances of me reviewing them all is slim .. so I'll just pick out the highlights and lowlights and go from there
  9. Poppyshake's Reading Year 2017

    The January Man: A Year of Walking Britain by Christopher Somerville Synopsis: The January Man is the story of a year of walks that was inspired by a song, Dave Goulder's 'The January Man'. Month by month, season by season and region by region, Christopher Somerville walks the British Isles, following routes that continually bring his father to mind. As he travels the country - from the winter floodlands of the River Severn to the lambing pastures of Nidderdale, the towering seabird cliffs on the Shetland Isle of Foula in June and the ancient oaks of Sherwood Forest in autumn - he describes the history, wildlife, landscapes and people he encounters, down back lanes and old paths, in rain and fair weather. Thoughts: On the whole this was a great read. I enjoyed rambling about the countryside with Christopher and hearing him reminiscing about his father - a reserved man who Christopher struggles to get close to but eventually understands. I liked hearing all the old folk tales and legends too and February was my favourite month (as it is anyway .. birthday and all that ) because it told the tale of one Reverend E. Donald Carr, Rector of Woolstaston who was in the habit of giving a morning sermon at the pretty church in the grounds of his rectory at Woolstason, tramping four miles across extremely hilly country to preach the afternoon service at Ratlinghope and then walking back to Woolstaston for the evening service. He never missed a service in ten years despite often having to go in the worst of weather. In 1865 the countryside about Woolstaston was covered in a thick carpet of snow .. the deepest snow there had been for fifty years and the Reverend still set out for Ratlinghope. Somehow he got there and after giving the sermon the villagers begged him to stay overnight but he was anxious to get back for the evening service at Woolstaton .. he'd never missed one after all .. and so refused to stay. There followed a perilous journey, one that saw the Reverend brought to the very brink of death and one which he later wrote a little book about called 'A Night in the Snow'. In this book Christopher retraces his steps, in pretty bad weather but nothing like the calamitous conditions that Reverend Carr endured, all the same it was thrilling to hear him recount the tale as he went along. The book did become a bit samey after a while, the weather being more often dreary than otherwise (I know this is Britain and therefore sunny days are few but still!!?) and so it became a little bit of a trudge towards the end and I wanted more tales like that of Rev. Carr but didn't really get any but perhaps I should have read it more leisurely over time .. reading an extract every now and then rather than gulping it all down at once! It did make me want to get out in the countryside more but it also reminded me that I need to be properly waterproofed first.
  10. Poppyshake's Reading Year 2017

    Need to, attempt at least, to write some sentences about books read earlier in the year .. if I can remember them
  11. Poppyshake's Reading Year 2017

    Sorry to be so long in replying poppy I didn't see Life in Squares but will try and seek it out. I remember wanting to watch it but somehow not getting around to it which is the story of my life and this blog unfortunately. Since the end of August I've been away looking after my Dad as Mum had a fall and broke her femur and was herself in hospital for seven weeks. I think I may have mentioned before (after a long stint there last year) that it is impossible to read at Mum and Dad's .. the noise .. the constant babble of the TV/radio etc and just the stress and anxiety of being away from home for so long. I was only able to snatch five mins here and there and for that I picked up my crochet as I can do that even when it's noisy. I went away in August and only came back on the 15th October .. Alan came at weekends but other than that I was on my own with Dad (who is severely disabled and needs constant care.) I've been living on my nerves and not on books and cake as I normally do. I did manage to listen to a couple of audio books as night .. to aid me to sleep .. but anyhow .. I was six books ahead with my Goodreads target and now I'm six books behind I knew they'd find a way to scupper me and quite frankly I suspect them of sending the helicopter over my Mum's in the wee small hours of the morning which led to her getting out of bed and falling over in the dark!! Nothing would surprise me. Now I'm at liberty to read I find I can't quite get back into it .. I know I will but at the moment I'm finding it hard. Might be that the C word is just around the corner and I'm trying to get organised for that (big family .. lots to organise) or it might be that I've got no kitchen!!! Al ripped it all out when I was away. I've got a washing machine and a fridge/freezer in the space that once was my kitchen but that's it (and how long they're there for who knows!) .. no oven .. and worse no sink!!!! This last is what causes most of the headaches. I have to carry any washing up upstairs in a bucket and wash it in the bath! I have the deepest respect for my ancestors now. Still that, and seven weeks of dust, has meant that I'm not really getting into the frame of mind to read. It's hard because .. like all of you .. reading is like eating to me and I feel like I'm starving!! Never mind! Things can only get better. Good to see all of you again, wish me luck! xox
  12. Claire's Wainwright Prize challenge

    Yes .. it was me! I enjoyed it, some parts more than others but, on the whole, great read! Edit: If either of you want to borrow it you're welcome .. I'll bring it with me next time we meet
  13. Poppyshake's Reading Year 2017

    I'm also confused now I should have read about Nancy before as I've often got one leg in Bloomsbury so to speak but nope .. can't recall her at all or Lawrence (the first ) From Gerald's recollections .. I didn't much care for brothers Lawrence and Leslie.
  14. Poppyshake's Reading Year 2017

    Thanks Hayley The film is well worth seeing, it's beautifully acted. The two leads are amazing. Hi Gaia! You will have to get around to it soon, I'm sure you'll like it. Hope so anyway It all went wrong poppy Thank you lovely
  15. Poppyshake's Reading Year 2017

    ^^ That went a little wrong somehow