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About willoyd

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  • Reading now?
    The Deaths - Mark Lawson
  • Location:
    Wharfedale, Yorkshire
  • Interests
    birding, cycling (mainly touring), running, walking, family history.

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  1. Frankie reads 2017

    That would explain - I didn't realise it was closed to new members. A pity, as it was a lovely forum, not dissimilar to this one in terms of friendliness and atmosphere. I also remember meeting a whole bunch at a weekend away in Ilkley, near where I live - it was good to get to know people for real. (BTW, I loved the LibraryThing Challenge, which also still just about survives - might be worth introducing to people here, and seeing if there's any interest?).
  2. Frankie reads 2017

    Can only agree about forums being much better than other forms of social media for in-depth conversation and discussion. I don't really do Facebook, having never got my head around how it works - always seems a real mess, I can never track anything in order, and the privacy systems seem hopelessly complicated and open to messing up. I do use Twitter, but only for posting and communicating about my bird-watching - it's really good for keeping tabs on what's happening and what's being seen/photoed etc. Forums (fora?!) do seem to be struggling a bit at the moment. I belong to one - book based - which used to be very active, but now seems to have whittled down to only half a dozen or so, most of whom seem to post more on the equivalent Facebook page with not much about books. So glad this is going as well as it is - but do notice one or two previous regulars seem not have posted much in the past months. There's some names on the second page I'd never have expected to see there a year or so ago. Hope it's only a summer lull in their reading.
  3. Willoyd's Reading 2017

    This week (ending September 23) With OH away for the week on school residential, I expected to get quite a lot of reading done, but in the event, I actually did rather less than usual, as the weather proved so good, I spent a lot of time out of the house, especially as things are going full swing on the bird migration front! However, I did manage to finish Christopher Somerville's The January Man, an account of a year's walking intertwined with reflections on his relationship with his father, also a keen walker. Somerville is a lovely writer, and his walking accounts were always thoroughly evocative (I enjoyed especially chapters on time spent on Foula and in the Wash area), whilst the stories set around his father, particularly at an early age, reminded me so much of mine, even if they were very different people. A major enhancement would have been a set of maps to illustrate his descriptions. Without them, I was scrabbling around my copies of OS maps (and on-line when I didn't have the paper copy) to try and track what he was talking about. I can never understand why books like this either seem to completely ignore or be unaware of the usefulness of maps or, if they do include them, nine times out of ten the maps are very pretty but near useless. Having taught mapwork in a variety of contexts, it never seems to amaze me how unregarded basic graphicacy is (in its broadest sense, going far beyond simple map reading), set against the educational totems of numeracy and literacy. (Mind you, given popular inability to understand even basic statistics and financial concepts, numeracy isn't far behind). Phew, rant over! Back to the book - a good read, but needed illustration. 4 stars. I've now moved on to Helen Hanff's Letters from New York. A brief (!) visit to our local Oxfam store resulted in a bit of a haul on books this week, all non-fiction: The Last Forest by the author of one of my all-time favourite non-fiction books (A History of the Countryside), Oliver Rackham; The Triumph of Music by Tim Blanning (his The Pursuit of Glory was also a 6-star read); I May Be Sometime by Francis Spufford (on my wishlist for a while now); Small Wars Permitting by Christina Lamb (I love books of journalism, but haven't come across this before); English as a Global Language by David Crystal (always very clear sighted on a subject that can generate much emotion and not a little myth creation). All in excellent condition, and all for the price of one new, admittedly big, paperback. Popsugar Challenge: 39/52 (The January Man = book with a month in the title) US Challenge: 5/51
  4. The Last Film You Saw - 2017

    Another cracking film - they keep on coming! This time it was The Limehouse Golem. I realised part of the way through, confirmed by the screen credits at the end but never mentioned before anywhere I've found, that this is based on Peter Ackroyd's book Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem, which is on my favourites list. For me, the film fully lived up to the book's standards, enhanced by the cinematography, with the music hall scenes particularly lush and atmospheric. I thought the characters of Inspector Kildare (Bill Nighy), Lizzie Cree (Olivia Cooke) and Dan Leno (Douglas Booth) were particularly strong. I was initially worried that this was going to be a bit of a horror fest, but apart from a couple of gory but not gratuitous scenes, the focus was on telling a richly detailed mystery story.
  5. Alexander's Literary Odyssey 2017

    Checking out the specs, it looks like the Allant is one up from the FX: Great minds and all that.......!
  6. Alexander's Literary Odyssey 2017

    Unless you intend to go off road, I would suggest that if you're looking for a bike to make some speed, a mountainbike is possibly the worst sort of bike to get - that's not what they're built for after all. Equally, unless you actually intend to use your bike for sport, then a sports-oriented bike certainly has zip, but doesn't provide the greatest ride for biking to work/library etc. For that sort of thing, I ride a reasonably tight geometry hybrid (an older model of the current Trek FX2) which has enough nippiness to be really fun to ride, whilst being an excellent utility/commuter bike, and which has been used for short tours too. Also, if it gets stolen, it's not going to wreck the bank, although I'm rather fond of it!
  7. First line of current book - 2017

    So, on to the wish list it goes! Thanks bobblybear.
  8. Willoyd's Reading 2017

    This week The kitchen was finally finished this week - a big job but a rewarding one. I also managed to complete two books. I started The Sportswriter (Richard Ford) before going on holiday at the end of July, but put it aside as it really wasn't working in our setting. I came back to it this week, and it proved a real pleasure to read, almost unputdownable. I'm certainly going to follow up on the other Frank Bascombe books that succeeded this; 4*. The other was the next in the Maigret series, Liberty Bar, set in the south of France, in and around Cap d'Antibes. There's not much I can add to previous reviews - these make up one of my favourite collections, with Maigret one of my favourite literary characters; 4* again (as are most of the individual books), but the series as a whole is a full 6*. This was also my fiftieth book of the year. Current reading is split between two books. The non-fiction is Christopher Somerville's January Man, a year of walking round Britain (mostly England, although the chapter on Foula is one of the best so far), borrowed from the library. The fiction is CJ Sansom's Winter in Madrid, which, being on the Kindle, is the one I can read on the move (and in bed!). I'm about half-way through the former, but only some 50 or so pages into the latter. Both are looking good. As a result, my Popsugar Challenge figure remains at 38 (out of 52), whilst the US States Challenge figure advances to 5/51, as The Sportswriter was my choice for New Jersey.
  9. Ask a Mod

    Due to my incompetence, I've posted the same post three or four times to chesilbeach's blog thread. Done in the past 10 minutes. I've hidden all but one, but wondered if the hidden ones need to be actually deleted.
  10. Claire's Book List 2017

    Pretty much everybody I've heard or read reviewing Autumn has liked it, although several have said that they think she'll be a runner-up, so that's promising if you're a fan already! Apparently, Smith herself has said she's pretty relaxed about winning (although what else can she say?), not least because Angela Carter never won either. Which says a lot about the Man-Booker methinks.
  11. Claire's Book List 2017

    About par for the course with the Man Booker for me then! It's favourite to win too. The House at the Edge of the World looks intriguing though. (8 books in one week, that's going some!).
  12. First line of current book - 2017

    Wow - I just love that. For me that's very Austenesque (can't pay a better compliment!), and so makes me want to keep reading. Bernie had lain at the foot of the knoll for hours, half conscious. Winter in Madrid by CJ Sansom
  13. Willoyd's Tour of the States.

    No detailed reviews yet, but three more books read in the past couple of months to bring the total up to 5/51. First up was the book for Washington, David Guterson's Snow Falling on Cedars. This was a reasonably interesting read, a murder mystery where much of the story is told in flashback as the murder trial proceeds. It goes much deeper than a simple mystery, particularly in terms of the way an outsider is treated by a close knit community and looking at issues of prejudice and cross-cultural relationships, but I thought it was still a bit more cumbersome than completely necessary, and just a bit too predictable to really grip. 3 stars. Next up was The Bridges of Madison County by Robert Waller (Iowa). I was surprised by how much I became wrapped up in and was moved by this. A slim, quick read, this still had space to fully develop its characters, and felt very reflective of both a place and a time. Read it in only a couple of sittings. 4 stars. Most recently completed is The Sportswriter by Richard Ford (New Jersey). The whole book is set over one Easter weekend, and has the main character, Frank Bascombe, narrating the story of his marriage (to the unnamed X), its breakdown and its aftermath through the events of that weekend. I struggled to get into this initially. Indeed, I set it aside for a few weeks as I was on holiday and it really didn't fit my mood, but picked it up soon after returning and found that I couldn't put it down! Goes to show a book can be just as much about one's mood and setting for reading as the content itself. Frank is a fairly hopeless character, committing some pretty horrible self-inflicted and toe-curling wounds on himself, although they do creep up on you as they are recounted in such 'normal' and rational voice, but one can't help but root for him. 4 stars for sure, possibly 5, and I'll definitely be reading the others in the series.
  14. How many books have you read this year?

    Fifty up! No target for the year; down on last year (56 at this stage, 80 by the end), but up on all previous years. Averaging just over 300 pages per book.
  15. Willoyd's Reading 2017

    Thank you - I don't feel very retired yet, and hopefully won't as I'm now doing some voluntary work, both in local village and in conservation education, and will do some paid work to keep my hand in, but it's nice to have some space to breathe now, and to be able to enjoy evenings and weekends. Yes - I want to see that museum too!