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Janet

Janet's Log - Stardate 2016

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I hope you enjoy The Herring Seller's Apprentice! It's such a pretty cover :).

Thanks, Gaia. :)  I read a little of it last night before bed.   At the moment I'm finding two characters (the main ones) that have appeared so far rather irritating, but hopefully it'll pick up!  

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Yesterday I started Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton which a friend lent me some time ago and said it was one of her favourite books but it quickly became apparent that it wasn't the book for me.  

 

It's fantasy, which is not something I've read a great deal of.  It started off with a dying dragon who wanted to make a confession to his son - a priest dragon! (Incidentally a dragon with tethered wings to stop him flying).  But their religion changed and confession and absolution are now forbidden.   However, after saying he couldn't possibly do it... it's against the law... it's morally wrong... the son dragon changes his mind, gives absolution and then as his father dies, son dragon eats his eyes before allowing the rest of the family to feast on the dead carcass!    Nope, definitely not my thing!  :mellow:

 

I happened to see the book in Waterstone's yesterday in the fiction section, but it read more like a children's book to me?

Wait, what?! That sounds weird, even to me as a fantasy-lover. I can understand it's not your thing, that doesn't sound like something I'd enjoy, either.

 

Thanks, Gaia. :)  I read a little of it last night before bed.   At the moment I'm finding two characters (the main ones) that have appeared so far rather irritating, but hopefully it'll pick up!

I hope it will pick up for you :).

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Wait, what?! That sounds weird, even to me as a fantasy-lover. I can understand it's not your thing, that doesn't sound like something I'd enjoy, either.

Tooth and Claw has some great reviews on Amazon. One reviewer describes it as 'Pride and Prejudice with dragons'! :lol:

 

I hope it will pick up for you :).

Thanks. :)

 

Edit - I love this review...

 

If you're buying this just because - as I had - you've read that it's like Anthony Trollope, you might want to reconsider. None of the characters are likeable and there is neither the humour or the lyricism of Trollope.

 

:rolol:

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No, sadly not!   I meet up with friends in Birmingham fairly regularly (once a year, generally), but we've already had our 2016 meet, but if I go back I shall be sure to look out for them.   Thanks for the tip!  :D

 

Here`s another tip - their cheesecakes freeze really well...  :chef:

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Great review of Love in a Cold Climate, Janet! 

 

I'm really excited to read The Pursuit of Love now, I might reserve it from the library :)

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Tooth and Claw sounds absolutely bizzare! Read a few more reviews on Goodreads:

 

"I have no real issue with the characters in this book being dragons, but the fact that some of them were described as 60 feet long yet they still went about in carriages (more than one dragon per carriage!) and sat at dinner tables kept causing pretty significant difficulties for my imagination."

 

Hahahaha!

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008-2016-Feb-02-Fingersmith_zpsmurueo80.

 

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

 

The ‘blurb’

London 1862. Sue Trinder, orphaned at birth, grows up among petty thieves - fingersmiths - under the rough but loving care of Mrs Sucksby and her 'family'. But from the moment she draws breath, Sue's fate is linked to that of another orphan growing up in a gloomy mansion not too many miles away.

 

Orphaned Sue Trinder has only known one family – a gang of assorted thieves and pickpockets headed by Mrs Sucksby, a baby-farmer who is like a mother to Sue. They live in a chaotic house in Borough, South London where they buy and sell stolen goods. One day, “Gentleman” Rivers, a man of former wealth who now relies of thievery to get by, turns up with a scheme which will make him rich and will also benefit Sue financially, and so Sue sets about learning how to be a ladies’ maid and heads off to the country to work for a wealthy girl called Maud who is central to their scheme…

 

The blurb is short and I think that’s for good reason because to give too much away would really spoil things. I have embellished it a little, but hopefully without giving anything away. The book is in three parts and although I enjoyed all three, the middle section was not as gripping as parts one and three. The novel twists and turns and there were a couple of big twists that I just didn’t see coming. The first made me gasp out loud – and I was on a train to Birmingham at the time so I got a few funny looks! Cheerful.gif The novel has a definite Dickensian feel about it and feels authentically Victorian. This wasn’t my first book by Sarah Waters – I’ve already read The Little Stranger which I very much enjoyed – this one was even better and has definitely made me want to read some more. Good stuff.

 

Has anyone seen the BBC adaptation? Is it worth watching?

 

The paperback edition is 560 pages long and is published by Virago. It was first published in 2002. The ISBN is 9781860498831.

 

4½/5 (I really enjoyed it)

 

(Finished 2 February 2016)

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I really enjoyed Fingersmith when I read it a few years ago, but I wasn't hugely keen on the ending. I know what you mean about the first twist - shocking moment! :thud:

 

I bought The Little Stranger when it was a Kindle Daily Deal but I haven't got around to reading it yet. :readingtwo:

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I think I preferred this to The Little Stranger, mostly because I preferred the era it was set in. Both are atmospheric - I love her writing. :)

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I met up with Kay, Alan and Claire today in Waterstones (where else?! :D ). We had a great time. I slipped and bought a couple of books! In my defence I still have some vouchers so I didn't pay real money for them!

 

9.%20Woodfine%20and%20Carroll_zpsb1hvcv6

It was lovely to see you all.

Thanks for the lovely flowers, Kay and Alan. :)

Flowers_zpss7ooyc92.jpg

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Lovely to see you too, Janet.  I don't think it counts as slipping when you buy on vouchers as no money changes hands. :yes:  Excellent choices, if I may say - hope you enjoy them both. :)

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We had such a nice time with you both :wub: except for .. it whizzed by :( Normal Tuesday's don't go by that fast :( 

Does it get any better than sitting in a bookshop, drinking coffee and eating cake with your booky friends? I can tell you .. no .. it doesn't!! :D:hug: 

 

Lovely books Janet .. they look edible! :D 

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Lovely to see you too, Janet.  I don't think it counts as slipping when you buy on vouchers as no money changes hands. :yes:  Excellent choices, if I may say - hope you enjoy them both. :)

I like your thinking!  :D

 

We had such a nice time with you both :wub: except for .. it whizzed by :( Normal Tuesday's don't go by that fast :( 

Does it get any better than sitting in a bookshop, drinking coffee and eating cake with your booky friends? I can tell you .. no .. it doesn't!! :D:hug: 

 

Lovely books Janet .. they look edible! :D 

It certainly doesn't get any better!  :) 

 

Edible - that's one stage up from lick-able, isn't it?!  :P

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I like your thinking!  :D

 

It certainly doesn't get any better!  :) 

 

Edible - that's one stage up from lick-able, isn't it?!  :P

Yes :D .. it gets very messy after that :D 

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009-2016-Feb-03-A%20Whole%20Life_zpsz1zq

A Whole Life by Robert Seethaler (Trans. Charlotte Collins)

The ‘blurb’
Andreas Egger knows every path and peak of his mountain valley, the source of his sustenance, his livelihood, his home.

Set in the mid-twentieth century and told with beauty and tenderness, his story as one of man’s relationship with an ancient landscape, the value of solitude, the arrival of the modern world, and above all, of the moments, great and small, that make us who we are.


I bought this in Waterstones in Birmingham on the recommendation of one of their staff. I had seen a big display of these in Bath but had (wrongly) assumed from the cover that it was a non-fiction travel book, and whilst I really enjoy that genre I didn’t actually pick it up!

This is a very simple tale about a man’s life on a mountain in Germany. It follows him from his arrival at the age of about four to live with a relative until his death, many years later. Andreas is a man of few words but over time he grows to be respected by the people in the small town where he lives. His life has ups and downs but is not without its happiness, although some of that is short-lived. I loved Andreas and enjoyed the gentle story of his life. There are no real surprises in the story but it is the prose that makes this novel a good read. This is the first book by Seethaler to be translated into English, but I’m sure more will follow.

The paperback edition is 149 pages long and is published by Picador. It was first published in 2015. The ISBN is 9781785172822.

3½/5 (I liked it)

(Finished 3 February 2016)
 

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I met up with Kay, Alan and Claire today in Waterstones (where else?! :D ). We had a great time. I slipped and bought a couple of books! In my defence I still have some vouchers so I didn't pay real money for them!

 

9.%20Woodfine%20and%20Carroll_zpsb1hvcv6

 

It was lovely to see you all.

 

Thanks for the lovely flowers, Kay and Alan. :)

 

Flowers_zpss7ooyc92.jpg

 

'In the Darkling Wood' sounds great and I love the cover ~ happy reading :)

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010-2016-Feb-04-A%20Moveable%20Feast_zps
 

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

The ‘blurb’
Hemingway's memories of his life as an unknown writer living in Paris in the twenties are deeply personal, warmly affectionate and full of wit. Looking back not only at his own much younger self, but also at the other writers who shared Paris with him - James Joyce, Wyndham Lewis, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald - he recalls the time when, poor, happy and writing in cafes, he discovered his vocation. Written during the last years of Hemingway's life, his memoir is a lively and powerful reflection of his genius that scintillates with the romance of the city.

I bought this as a special BOGOF deal in Waterstones on a recent visit to their Birmingham store. It’s a collection of Hemingway’s reflections of his activities during his time living in Paris with his first wife in the 1920s. He spent his time there as a struggling and slightly impoverished writer, rubbing shoulders with literary giants such as Ezra Pound, Ford Maddox Ford and Gertrude Stein (and a good number of others) and sitting for hours in bars, cafés and restaurants writing and watching the world go by.

Peter and I spent a brilliant few days in Paris a couple of years ago where we saw large areas of it on foot by just wandering and seeing where we ended up! We visited some of the places mentioned in this book (including the famous café Les Deux Magots where we were begrudgingly served a café noir by a waiter who obviously felt we shouldn’t have dared to enter!) and It was good to read this and remember that holiday so fondly!

The book was published after Hemingway’s death and I think that’s probably a good thing for some of the people he mentions! A friend described it as “a brilliant book, even if Hemingway is a bitch” – I think that certainly sums up parts of this book, particularly the bit when he tells of how F. Scott Fitzgerald had a conversation with ‘Hem’ about how is wife, Zelda, said his manhood wasn’t sufficient to satisfy any woman! Poor chap!

It’s not my favourite travel memoir but I very much enjoyed it. I definitely liked it more than the person who left this review on Amazon…

 

(tagged for ‘shoutyness’)

The book A MOVEABLE FEAST IS ONE OF THE MOST BORING BOOKS I HAVE EVER READ. BECAUSE THE STORY HAS NO PLOT, IT'S SIMPLY ABOUT HEMINGWAY AND HIS WRITING, AND HOW OTHER PEOPLE SAW HIM AS A WRITER. I WOULD NOT REFER PEOPLE TO READ THIS BOOK, UNLESS THEY ARE LOOKING FOR A GOOD BOOK THAT WILL PUT YOU TO SLEEP...


I think he somewhat missed the point!
:lol:

The paperback edition is 182 pages long and is published by Vintage. It was first published in 1964. The ISBN is 9780099285045.

3/5 (I liked it)
(Finished 4 February 2016)

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011-2016-Feb-05-The%20Blue%20Lagoon_zpsr

The Blue Lagoon by Henry de Vere Stacpoole

The ‘blurb’
Two children survive a shipwreck in the South Pacific and must learn to fend for themselves on a remote island, where their love blossoms amid a tropical paradise. Stacpoole's popular 1908 romance inspired two sequels and three movie versions.

The Blue Lagoon is billed as a romance, and I suppose it is – but it’s also more than that – it’s a story of survival and of human instinct. A man called Arthur Lestrange is travelling on a ship with his son and niece when disaster strikes and the ship sinks during a storm. The two cousins are shipwrecked with the ship’s galley cook, Paddy, and don’t know the fate of the rest of the crew and passengers. Paddy takes charge and looks after the children, teaching them many useful survival skills and warning them away from a particular plant which is poisonous. The island has had other visitors but is now uninhabited. Paddy discovers a barrel of rum and this discovery is to be the undoing of him. Now the children, who are growing up, must fend for themselves in their island paradise. Eventually their feelings develop and nature takes its course. Will they ever find a way off the island…?

I watched the film of this when it first came out – I was about 14 at the time, from memory and went with a group of friends from school but I don’t actually recall a great deal about the story so I don’t know if the film was a faithful adaptation or not. I very much enjoyed the story and the way the characters developed. It’s not great literature, and I suppose it’s a bit far-fetched in places, but I loved the story and the character development. There are two sequels but sadly both are out of print – I would have liked to see where the author took the story next.

Only one criticism - I was initially a bit irritated by the author’s use of Irish slang – the man who was shipwrecked with the children spoke in a rather stereotypical ‘Oirish’ brogue, (“Musha, musha. Oh begorra”. That sort of thing – if you’ve seen the Disney film Mary Poppins just imagine the fox…) but it turns out the author was born in Dún Laoghaire so perhaps he’s entitled to write like that, although Noll says he should have known better! :)

The paperback edition is 314 pages long and is published by Duey Press. It was first published in 1908. The ISBN is 9781446521052.

4/5 (I really enjoyed it)

(Finished 5 February 2016)
 

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012-2016-Feb-06-The%20Rabbit%20Factory_z

The Rabbit Factory by Marshall Karp

The ‘blurb’
Welcome to Lamaar Studios. Once a small animation house, it has grown into an entertainment conglomerate encompassing movies, television, music, video games, and a sprawling theme park called Familyland. When an actor portraying Familyland's beloved mascot, Rambunctious Rabbit, is brutally murdered on park grounds, Lamaar executives fear that their idyllic public image will be shattered. Feeling pressure from the studio, LAPD Detectives Mike Lomax and Terry Biggs must conduct their investigation while avoiding the public eye.

But as more murders are committed, Lomax and Biggs uncover a sinister plot. Someone has a vendetta against Lamaar, a vendetta worth killing for. With the media closing in and political pressure mounting, the partners must race to discover the Lamaar-hating madman before he brings the family entertainment giant to its knees. Bringing a fresh duo of cops to the thriller set, "The Rabbit Factory" is both suspenseful and satiric, a taut mystery wrapped in sharp, comedic prose.


A friend was raving about this book last March (she’s someone I know from another forum and also works in a library) – she sent it to me as a surprise Christmas present which was lovely of her.

Rambunctious Rabbit is one of the flagship characters of Lamaar Studios, a rival company to Disney. When he is murdered, Lomax and Briggs are sent to investigate and it soon becomes clear that the man inside the rabbit costume is not as squeaky clean as Lamaar Studios would like. The pair think that this is the reason for his murder, but another death reveals that there is more to this than meets the eye. A third murder within the company takes place and as customers leave in their droves the crimes have far-reaching consequences for the company and Lomax and Briggs must race against time to find the perpetrator…

This is the first book to feature Lomax and Briggs. As well as the crime there is a secondary tale that features Lomax’s family. It’s not my normal type of read – American crime books have never really appealed to me - so I wouldn’t have ever chosen this for myself, but the reading style is easy and the story quite fast-paced and I enjoyed it. I don’t tend to read series books so I’m undecided whether to read any more, but never say never…

The paperback edition is 632 pages long and is published by Allison and Busby. It was first published in 2006. The ISBN is 9780749080570.

4½/5 (Enjoyed it a lot)

(Finished 6 February 2016)

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I've acquired some more new books!  :blush:

 

Yesterday I bought a copy of A Month in the Country by J L Carr.  I already own it, but I liked the illustrations in this version. 

 

10.%20A%20Month%20in%20the%20Country%201 10.%20A%20Month%20in%20the%20Country%202

 

I also bought a very poor copy of The Harpole Report, also by J L Carr.  It's readable, but it's falling apart!

 

11.%20The%20Harpole%20Report_zpskslrpnyu

 

Both cost £1.

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Today I bought To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis.  It's not a genre I often read but I read an article about somewhere and liked the premise.  I used some of my Christmas Waterstone's voucher to pay for it. :)

 

12.%20To%20Say%20Nothing%20of%20the%20Do

 

I also got an audio book of Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell from the library.  :)

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