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About vodkafan

  • Rank
    TBR now out of control
  • Birthday 01/27/1961

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  • Reading now?
    Re-reading all George Gissing
  • Gender
  • Location:
    Deepest England
  • Interests
    Jack Vance, George Gissing, Sarah Waters, Victorian England, Old sailing ships, anything about Norway, anything about London, sci fi films, what makes women tick, going to the gym, swimming, walking, travelling, art galleries,drawing, buying something really good cheap from a charity shop, theatre, writing my first novel.

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  1. I felt the same way about Normal People and agreed with a lot of your review , but I still felt a little bad for Marianne at the end.
  2. A Book Blog 2020 by Books do Furnish a Room

    The Salt Path sounds sad but good.
  3. I will probably try to pick up Murder At The Fitzwilliam and The House On Vesper Sands, they sound like fun. By the way have you read The Shivering Sands by Victoria Holt?
  4. Shelving books

    Yes they are safe as houses in there. There was simply no room back in the house, every bookshelf is already full.
  5. I see you have got Convenience Store Woman behind you now! Congratulations too on your upcoming new house. Will you have more space for books, or will you be ditching some you have read?
  6. Did you think I had them about right? Did you feel the same about the last book being much more female?
  7. Shelving books

    Since I moved back all my own books are in 32 litre plastic tubs anyway in my shed. There are no shelves for them in the house.
  8. Shelving books

    Great article ! I don't fit into any of those tribes though! And yet I thought my way would be one of the most natural and obvious - I arrange them according to size! Because sometimes you have a small shelf which can only take the old size paperback (I am talking the ones from 50s, 60s, 70s) , then all the newer larger standard paperbacks of the same size on another shelf, and then hardbacks, then at the bottom you usually have a deep shelf for those big coffee table hardbacks , right?
  9. Tehanu 4/5 Ursula K. Le Guin This book follows on directly from events in The Farthest Shore, but luckily I don't have to allude to any of that, because this book ploughs a different furrow. Out of the four, this book is notably by far the most female book. The main characters are all women, their interactions and relationships are examined. The men are either ignorant (ie they don't listen ) or they have lost their powers and are enfeebled, or are simply bad. Through the characters the author discusses much the basic differences between men and women. As far as the world of Earthsea is concerned, we learn that Male and Female magic is different and comes from a different source; women's magical power seems to be innate to them, while men have to learn it and give up something big in exchange. Despite this, only men are taught the high magic of Sorcerers, there has never been a female Sorcerer. (Much like every woman can cook but only men get to be a Michelin chef. ) It was a very satisfying book and everything went full circle and wrapped up pretty well. I have heard there are two more Earthsea books, but it feels like these characters have done their bit, so perhaps their stories have finished?
  10. The Farthest Shore 4/5 Ursula K. Le Guin Book number three is different again. Time has jumped forward a lot of years. There have been some changes in the world since the events of The Tombs Of Atuan, but now something has happened, something very bad, emanating from somewhere on the edge of the world in the far West . It is spreading outwards and Eastwards slowly like a plague . A young prince is sent to Roke by his father to offer his services. But the council of the arch wizards of Roke are undecided of what action to take, or whether to take any at all; safe in their island where magic is strong they hope it may sort itself out. The Archmage Sparrowhawk disagrees; something must be done . He suspects it is no pure accident that the prince is the one who came to warn them. But although brave, the boy is young and untried: will he be up to the task? In this one we learn a lot more about the ancient dragons and their power. Plot wise, there is a sub-plot which I saw the ending of from about a quarter of the way in, but that didn't detract from my enjoyment.
  11. The Tombs Of Atuan 4/5 Ursula K. Le Guin The second book of the Earthsea series. The titular tombs are mentioned a couple of times in the first book, but at first there seems no connection at all with the main character of that book, in her unhurried style the author tells the story of a completely new person to the same small level of detail. Which confused me no end, I wondered if Ged would not show up at all and maybe all four books were each based around a different character? But Le Guin knows what she is doing and this story is as rich and enjoyable as the first. We find in this story that there are different forces in the world, the Wizards of Roke are not all powerful. The first book reminded me a bit of Jack Vance's Dying Earth series ; this one did even more so. I think it was that the use of magic is very structured. It is well thought out, there are rules and logic to it.
  12. A Wizard of Earthsea 4/5 Ursula K. Le Guin I had heard of Le Guin of course, but somehow had only managed to read one of her books before now (The Left Hand Of Darkness) way back when I was a teenager, which I had enjoyed but found markedly different to all the SF I was reading at the time, by authors such as Roger Zelaney, Damon Knight, Samuel Delaney, Jack Vance, Asimov. I put this down to being a female voice, which when I lost myself in the main character made me feel the story events in a totally different way. It was something I kind of wondered at. Fast forward forty plus (cough) years and here thanks to my daughter I have that voice in my head once again. (General overview, no plot spoilers!) This first book is a Bildungsroman and introduces us to both the central character (of all the first four books) and to the fantasy world of Earthsea. Earthsea is a world of perhaps a thousand islands, large and small in a vast archipelago surrounded by navigable seas. The level of technology is in the early iron age I guess although not too much use seems to be made of metal. Wooden sailing ships which trade between islands are the only method of transport. It is a human world, and there are a few different human types and several languages. The default physiology is brown skinned, and the only white skinned people live in the North East Kargish islands. They are a bit aggressive at times. There are also Dragons, (proper fire breathing ones) , an ancient race who mostly keep to themselves. There is also magic. Low level magic is everywhere. Most ships carry a weather maker who can put wind into the sails, and every village has a witch. However, there are only a few hundred proper Sorcerers, who learn their craft at the Institute on Roke, the island of wizards. The boy Ged, a simple goatherd shows early promise and is after some time with a kindly Mage is sent to Roke. He is gifted but not yet wise and early in his training is goaded into doing something truly terrible. I won't say anymore than that. I found the writing style very gentle and unhurried, but never slow; it keeps up a tension. It was satisfying in that as a reader I could see the seeds of conflict brewing, while the characters in the story could not, which kept me reading. We are often told that good writing should "show, not tell" but Le Guin breaks this rule; she is a "teller". Dialogue is used adequately; the characters say what is needful but no more. But it works.
  13. Thanks Willoyd. Oops yes that should have been Peter Ackroyd of course, well spotted.
  14. Thanks Gaia, my new kindle is more than a bit of a mystery to me, I was trying to get to grips with it today. I feel sure I will read the Earthsea books again, there was much to savour in them. Will review on Saturday!
  15. Convenience Store Woman 5/5 Sayaka Murata Another Christmas gift book from my daughter. This was a quick read, about 3 hours, I couldn't put it down. It is weird, wacky and hilarious and slightly disturbing, I can't say any more! Except to urge everyone to go out and buy, borrow or steal this and read it!