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chesilbeach

Claire's Book List 2017

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I've been updating my records today and realised I've actually started a lot more books than I thought, so I need to update my current reading status!

 

Current reading status

 

Kindle: The Go-Between by L. P. Hartley (16%)

Kindle: Reader, I Married Him by Tracy Chevalier (7%)

Paperback: The Persephone Book of Short Stories (page 175/477)

Paperback: Mystery and Mayhem by Various (page 50/300)

Paperback: The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan (page 35/293)

Hardback: Storm in a Teacup by Helen Czerski (page 154/291)

Hardback: The Nature of Autumn by Jim Crumley (page 34/248)

Audiobook: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (14 hours 19 minutes remaining)

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The Montana Stories by Katherine Mansfield

 

Synopsis:

Eighty years ago, at the end of May 1921, Katherine Mansfield came to Switzerland, to live at the Chalet des Sapins in Montana (now Crans-Montana) in Switzerland. She was 32 and seriously ill with tuberculosis (possibly caught, according to her biographer Claire Tomalin from DH Lawrence). The next few months were to be the most fruitful period of her life; she did not have much time left to her. The Montana Stories is a new edition compiled and edited by Persephone Books of everything Katherine Mansfield wrote between July 1921 and the end of January 1922 when she went to Paris for medical treatment. For completeness there are also the two stories and an unfinished fragment that she wrote after she left Montana and before her death in January 1923; but the large proportion of her output during her final working months was written in the chalet shown on the frontispiece of the book.

 

Review:

It's been a few years since I read any short story collection, but I found this collection by Persephone in the bookshop, so I couldn't resist it. I've heard of Katherine Mansfield from both short story aficionados and also as a New Zealand writer, but this was the first of her work I'd read. It was fantastic. Despite the fact that some of the stories are actually just fragments that were published posthumously, this was like a masterclass in short story writing. Brilliant slices of life, with fantastic characterisation, and just enough to intrigue, inform and entertain. Outstanding writing, and a wonderful read - I will definitely be searching out more of her work.

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A Start in Life by Anita Brookner

 

Synopsis:

Since childhood, Ruth Weiss has been escaping from life into books, from the hothouse attentions of her parents into the warmth of lovers and friends. Now Dr Weiss, at 40, knows that her life has been ruined by literature and that once again she must make a new start.

 

Review:

I've been banging on about a book podcast called Backlisted a lot recently, but it's a fantastic podcast giving new life to old books, and one of the contributors is a big fan of Anita Brookner. I've never read any of her books, but Penguin have reissued her novels over the last few years, so I decided I'd make a start at the beginning with her first one, originally published in 1981.

 

The opening line is referenced in the synopsis, "Dr Weiss, at forty, knew that her life had been ruined by literature" and it was such a strong line, which offers an insight into the story from the very first page, but with such wit, that I knew I was going to enjoy it, and the rest of the book didn't let me down. Now, I'm someone who doesn't normally get on with character based fiction, as I need a plot to drive me on, but there are some writers who seem to engage me regardless, and I think Anita Brookner is going to be one of them. I loved how she looked at different themes of love and marriage, getting old, friendships and the affects of these themes on people. It a beautifully observed piece of writing, with a warmth and wit that gives you a nice warm glow when you get to the end. Can't wait to read more of her books.

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Raisins and Almonds by Kerry Greenwood
Death Before Wicket by Kerry Greenwood
Away With The Fairies by Kerry Greenwood
Murder in Montparnasse by Kerry Greenwood

The Castlemaine Murders by Kerry Greenwood

 

Review:

I'm not going to review these separately, but I've read a batch of Phryne Fisher Mysteries books over the last few months, and enjoyed them all. I love the feminist nature of Phryne and her individuality. She's determined and strong-minded and doesn't suffer fools gladly. I like the ongoing story of her life alongside the mysteries, and I really enjoyed the additional back story running along with the investigation in Murder in Montparnasse. Having said all that, it definitely feels like fiction, and I'm not sure how much of a foot in reality the stories have in the society of the Australian society between the wars, but I don't really care, I read them for entertainment, and entertaining they are!

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19 hours ago, chesilbeach said:

Current reading status

 

Kindle: The Go-Between by L. P. Hartley (16%)

Kindle: Reader, I Married Him by Tracy Chevalier (7%)

Paperback: The Persephone Book of Short Stories (page 175/477)

Paperback: Mystery and Mayhem by Various (page 50/300)

Paperback: The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan (page 35/293)

Hardback: Storm in a Teacup by Helen Czerski (page 154/291)

Hardback: The Nature of Autumn by Jim Crumley (page 34/248)

Audiobook: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (14 hours 19 minutes remaining)

 

Wow, you do have a lot going on.  I don't know how you juggle all these - I'd lose track big time.  I find I struggle to even maintain two, and usually land up sitting down with one and reading it intensely just so I can then get back to the other before losing the thread.

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8 hours ago, willoyd said:

 

Wow, you do have a lot going on.  I don't know how you juggle all these - I'd lose track big time.  I find I struggle to even maintain two, and usually land up sitting down with one and reading it intensely just so I can then get back to the other before losing the thread.

 

It's not as bad as it looks ... three of them are short story collections so made for dipping in and out of, two non-fiction which also work well for occasional reading, so it's only then two novels, one of which I'll have to start again as it's been a long time since I started it!  I never worry about the audiobooks either, as I find that because you take them in through listening, they're completely different to reading off a page, so it's easy to keep pace with them.

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Current reading status

 

Kindle: The Go-Between by L. P. Hartley (16%)

Kindle: Reader, I Married Him by Tracy Chevalier (7%)

Paperback: The Persephone Book of Short Stories (page 175/477)

Paperback: Mystery and Mayhem by Various (page 50/300)

Paperback: The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan (page 35/293)

Hardback: Storm in a Teacup by Helen Czerski (page 154/291)

Hardback: The Nature of Autumn by Jim Crumley (page 98/248)

Audiobook: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (12 hours 46 minutes remaining)

 

Read some more of TNoA during my lunch break, but if the author references and quotes his own previous books one more time, I think I might scream!!!  Also listened to some more of JE on the commute so it's moving on nicely.

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I'm a bit behind on this, but I'm glad you enjoyed The Smell of Other People's Houses. It's an unusual one, and I enjoyed it quite a bit myself.

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18 hours ago, Little Pixie said:

Hurray for  Phryne Fisher. :) I hope they get round to doing a film to round off the  TV series.

 

I still haven't watched the telly series - I was waiting until I'd read all the books as I didn't want to spoil them!

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7 hours ago, Nollaig said:

I'm a bit behind on this, but I'm glad you enjoyed The Smell of Other People's Houses. It's an unusual one, and I enjoyed it quite a bit myself.

 

That's alright, I'm way behind with reviews ... I read that one in early March and only just written a review :doh:  It was something a bit different, made a nice change. :)

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Current reading status

 

Kindle: The Go-Between by L. P. Hartley (16%)

Kindle: Reader, I Married Him by Tracy Chevalier (7%)

Paperback: The Persephone Book of Short Stories (page 175/477)

Paperback: Mystery and Mayhem by Various (page 50/300)

Paperback: The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan (page 35/293)

Hardback: Storm in a Teacup by Helen Czerski (page 154/291)

Hardback: The Nature of Autumn by Jim Crumley (page 168/248)

Audiobook: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (8 hours 52 minutes remaining)

 

Read more of TNoA during my lunch break again, and the author is now referencing something he said in an earlier chapter!!! I know what you said   mate, I read it an hour ago! :banghead:   It's so frustrating, as there are some lovely observations in here too, but the persistent self referencing is driving me mad. 

 

Thandie Newton's narration of JE continues to be wonderful.  I had to sit in the car for 10 minutes when I got home so that I could finish off the chapter as it was completely compelling.

 

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1 hour ago, chesilbeach said:

 

I still haven't watched the telly series - I was waiting until I'd read all the books as I didn't want to spoil them!

 

I don`t know if you saw there are plans afoot for a prequel TV show ? :) 

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6 minutes ago, Little Pixie said:

 

I don`t know if you saw there are plans afoot for a prequel TV show ? :) 

 

Really?  Sounds intriguing :D

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Current reading status

 

Kindle: The Go-Between by L. P. Hartley (16%)

Kindle: Reader, I Married Him by Tracy Chevalier (19%)

Kindle: Sally by M. C. Beaton (finished)

Paperback: The Persephone Book of Short Stories (page 175/477)

Paperback: Mystery and Mayhem by Various (page 50/300)

Paperback: The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan (page 35/293)

Hardback: Storm in a Teacup by Helen Czerski (page 154/291)

Hardback: The Nature of Autumn by Jim Crumbly (finished)

Audiobook: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (finished)

 

Finally finished TNoA on Wednesday evening, and needed a light break in-between Wainwright books, so I read an M. C. Beaton Edwardian romance, Sally and also finished listening to JE.  Because I'd just listened to JE, I thought I'd go back for a few stories from R,IMH, and one of them was a superb story by Helen Dunmore told from Grace Poole's point of view.

 

Might have another quick read of some fiction tomorrow, before heading back into the Wainwright longlist, and I'll probably read Where Poppies Blow by John Lewis-Stempel next, as it's on loan from the library and will need to go back soonish.

 

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Current reading status

 

Kindle: The Go-Between by L. P. Hartley (16%)

Kindle: Reader, I Married Him by Tracy Chevalier (19%)

Paperback: The Persephone Book of Short Stories (page 175/477)

Paperback: Mystery and Mayhem by Various (page 50/300)

Paperback: The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan (page 35/293)

Hardback: Storm in a Teacup by Helen Czerski (page 154/291)

Hardback: Where Poppies Blow by John Lewis-Stempel (page 158/374)

Audiobook: Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte (1 hour 52 remaining)

 

Started WPB yesterday, but haven't had too much reading time, so not made as much progress as I'd like.  

 

Also started listening to AG narrated by Emelia Fox.  It's quite a short novel, so I've almost finished it, but have really enjoyed listening to it :)

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Current reading status

 

Kindle: The Go-Between by L. P. Hartley (16%)

Kindle: Reader, I Married Him by Tracy Chevalier (19%)

Paperback: The Persephone Book of Short Stories (page 175/477)

Paperback: Mystery and Mayhem by Various (page 50/300)

Paperback: The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan (page 35/293)

Hardback: Storm in a Teacup by Helen Czerski (page 154/291)

 

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Current reading status

 

Kindle: The Go-Between by L. P. Hartley (16%)

Kindle: Reader, I Married Him by Tracy Chevalier (19%)

Kindle: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton (finished)

Paperback: The Persephone Book of Short Stories (page 175/477)

Paperback: Mystery and Mayhem by Various (page 50/300)

Paperback: The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan (page 35/293)

Paperback: Love of Country by Madeleine Bunting (starting)

Hardback: Storm in a Teacup by Helen Czerski (page 154/291)

Audiobook: Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller (7 hours 12 minutes remaining)

 

I've been taking a break from the Wainwright Prize books for a week, and I've read a couple of quick, fun Edwardian romcoms from M. C. Beaton, and I've also read the YA book RofS which was Alwyn Hamilton's debut book, and a fantastical adventure story it was.  Will definitely buy the next in the trilogy at some point.

 

I've started listening to SL which was a daily deal earlier this week, and it's very good so far, a very interesting story.

 

Going back to Wainwright Prize next with LoC and that will be my 10th book of the 12 on the longlist, with two weeks left before the prize winner is announced, so I'm hoping to finish them all before then ... at least if the library can finally get me the last remaining book in time.  It's been "in transit" for about three weeks now.  I know the library service is under resourced, and I really am grateful that they are there in the first place, but should it really take three weeks to get a book from one library to another?  I could understand if it was on loan and there wasn't a copy available, but I'm sure there was one available when I first reserved it ages ago, and it was in "pending" for ages, before moving to "in transit", but it's been stuck like that for a while now.  I don't really want to have to buy it, as it's another hardback only book, and even the Kindle version is about £10, which I don't agree with paying that price for as it's an artificially high price while the book is only out in hardback, and will drop as soon as the paperback is released, but that's not until March next year. :irked: 

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Current reading status

 

Kindle: The Go-Between by L. P. Hartley (16%)

Kindle: Reader, I Married Him by Tracy Chevalier (19%)

Paperback: The Persephone Book of Short Stories (page 175/477)

Paperback: Mystery and Mayhem by Various (page 50/300)

Paperback: The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan (page 35/293)

Paperback: Love of Country by Madeleine Bunting (finished)

Paperback: Moonlocket by Peter Bunzl (185/376)

Hardback: Storm in a Teacup by Helen Czerski (page 154/291)

Audiobook: Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller (7 hours 12 minutes remaining)

 

Read the whole of LoC yesterday, it was a great read.  Another break from Wainwright books next, and I've started Moonlocket which is the follow up to Cogheart which was one of my favourite MG books of last year, and thankfully, it's just as good as its predecessor! :D

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Current reading status

 

Kindle: The Go-Between by L. P. Hartley (16%)

Kindle: Reader, I Married Him by Tracy Chevalier (19%)

Paperback: The Persephone Book of Short Stories (page 175/477)

Paperback: Mystery and Mayhem by Various (page 50/300)

Paperback: The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan (page 35/293)

Paperback: Moonlocket by Peter Bunzl (finished)

Paperback: Fingers in the Sparkle Jar by Chris Packham (starting)

Hardback: Storm in a Teacup by Helen Czerski (page 154/291)

Audiobook: Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller (7 hours 12 minutes remaining)

 

Ending up reading late last night as I wanted to finish Moonlocket as it was such a good follow up to Cogheart.  

 

This morning I'm starting FitSJ, book eleven on the Wainwright Prize book list.  Not the biggest fan of Chris Packham as a presenter, but hoping his writing will be as full of enthusiasm as he seems to be, and looking forward to his story of his relationship with nature.

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Current reading status

 

Kindle: The Go-Between by L. P. Hartley (16%)

Kindle: Reader, I Married Him by Tracy Chevalier (19%)

Kindle: Dancing in the Wind by M. C. Beaton (finished)

Paperback: The Persephone Book of Short Stories (page 175/477)

Paperback: Mystery and Mayhem by Various (page 50/300)

Paperback: The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan (page 35/293)

Paperback: Fingers in the Sparkle Jar by Chris Packham (finished)

Hardback: Storm in a Teacup by Helen Czerski (page 154/291)

Hardback: The Wild Other by Clover Stroud (page 25/273)

Audiobook: Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller (7 hours 12 minutes remaining)

 

I finished FitSJ yesterday, and needed a quick easy read on my Kindle today, so I've read DitW and just finished that too.

 

On to my last Wainwright Prize book for this year now, The Wild Other.  I decided to buy the hardback in the end, because the library couldn't guarantee it would arrive in time and the Kindle edition was actually more expensive than I thought at £13.41, so I figured I might as well get the book itself.  I've read the first chapter and I like her writing, so at least it doesn't look like it'll be one of the others I bought on the list, that I had to buy in hardback and then didn't really enjoy.

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Current reading status

 

Kindle: The Go-Between by L. P. Hartley (16%)

Kindle: Reader, I Married Him by Tracy Chevalier (19%)

Paperback: The Persephone Book of Short Stories (page 175/477)

Paperback: Mystery and Mayhem by Various (page 50/300)

Hardback: Storm in a Teacup by Helen Czerski (page 154/291)

Hardback: The Wild Other by Clover Stroud (finished)

Audiobook: Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller (finished)

 

I finished off the last of the Wainwright books, TWO last night, and it's been another great list of books I've read off it.  Only a couple I really didn't enjoy much, and only one book that I thought should have made the short list but didn't.  Can't wait to find out what wins on Thursday.

 

I've also finished listening to SL which was an impulse read on the daily deal a few weeks ago, and probably not something I'd have chosen if I've had more time to consider it, but I actually really enjoyed it.

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Current reading status

 

Kindle: The Go-Between by L. P. Hartley (16%)

Kindle: Reader, I Married Him by Tracy Chevalier (19%)

Paperback: The Persephone Book of Short Stories (page 175/477)

Paperback: Mystery and Mayhem by Various (finished)

Paperback: Simply the Quest by Maz Evans (finished)

Hardback: Storm in a Teacup by Helen Czerski (page 154/291)

 

I sat and read StQ in one sitting yesterday evening - very funny, actually laughed out loud a few times, and read bits out to my other half!  I think I actually enjoyed it more than the first book, Who Let The Gods Out?

 

Today, I picked up MaM again, and I've just sat down and finished that one too!  That brings my monthly total up to 20 books read and listened to - it's been a long time since I got near that I think! :D

 

Hoping to pick up another book next that I've already started - not sure which one, but probably either SiaT or maybe TPBoSS.

 

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Current reading status

 

Kindle: The Go-Between by L. P. Hartley (16%)

Kindle: Reader, I Married Him by Tracy Chevalier (19%)

Paperback: The Persephone Book of Short Stories (page 175/477)

Paperback: Poppy Pym and the Sumggler's Secret by Laura Wood (finished)

Paperback: The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein (page 79/392)

Hardback: Storm in a Teacup by Helen Czerski (page 154/291)

 

Had a bit of a middle grade fest since I've finished the Wainwright Prize books, and yesterday I read PPatSS which was smashing.  Today, I've moved up to YA :giggle2: and I'm now reading The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein

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Current reading status

 

Kindle: The Go-Between by L. P. Hartley (16%)

Kindle: Reader, I Married Him by Tracy Chevalier (19%)

Paperback: The Persephone Book of Short Stories (page 175/477)

Paperback: The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein (finished)

Paperback: Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland (finished)

Hardback: Storm in a Teacup by Helen Czerski (page 154/291)

 

Really enjoyed TPT, a coming of age tale with a mystery of stolen pearls set in the late 1930s Scotland.  An interesting, different take on a standard mystery.

 

I've also read LfW today.  A deceptive cover which made me think it was going to me a light, breezy read, but was actually quite a rich story, told in partial flashback, with a young woman looking back at an event that changed her life forever, and how she did and didn't cope with it, and the impact on her life and relationships with other people.  Set in a bookshop, with some strong associations with reading, books and poetry.  I found it compelling, and could barely put it down all day, and read it within a few sittings today.

 

Now that I've read all the Wainwright Prize books for this year, I'm hoping to not be tempted to buy any more books for a while and work on reducing my TBR a bit.  I'd like it to be steady around the 20 books mark, but it's been wavering close to 50 most of this year.  I've been on a major reading spurt this last couple of months, and it's now down to 41, and hoping to try and get that down to 30 by the end of August.  I've only got 13 physical books left on the shelf to read, so I'm going to try and make those my priority first. :)

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