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Janet

Janet's Log - Stardate 2017

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On 10/20/2017 at 9:17 PM, bobblybear said:

I know how you feel....I'm in a real slump too! My reading is going well, thank goodness (:exc:) but the updating of lists and reviews has been so poor. Not sure why, but I just seem to be so short of time lately. If you find a solution, let me know. :lol:

That's me to a tee!  Will do, Bobs.  :D

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I'm in a similar situation, I've done some reviews, but quite a few missing going back to April, and then everything from the end of June onwards. :weeping:

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On 12.10.2017 at 8:04 PM, Janet said:

I'm in such a pickle - I haven't written a review since April, or completed any of my spreadsheets.  :(  I really want to catch up, but it feels like I need to dig to Australia with a teaspoon.  :(

 

Oh Jänet :(  :empathy:   It must be terrible. I had a few unwritten reviews, but I have been keeping up with all lists and stuff. I feel like the spreadsheets are more difficult, because there's so much to consider! Not that coming up for stuff for the reviews is a piece of cake. It's also a case of getting harder and harder to get back on track the further you've slipped! :unsure: 

 

At least Kylie will be happy to see you and your spoon! :unsure::empathy:

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Has it been a slow year all round for reading and reviews...I'm just not getting through books at any great speed these days.

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On 12/10/2017 at 6:04 PM, Janet said:

I'm in such a pickle - I haven't written a review since April, or completed any of my spreadsheets.  :(  I really want to catch up, but it feels like I need to dig to Australia with a teaspoon.  :(

 

Me too :( I have been keeping lists updated but haven't reviewed any books since the ones I read in April and it seems far too daunting. 

 

I'm reading at a great pace which is only making the list worse!! 

 

I keep intending to sit down and get them all done in a day but keep putting it off. Been buying some Christmassy short stories today and that's way more fun! 

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On 12/10/2017 at 6:04 PM, Janet said:

I'm in such a pickle - I haven't written a review since April, or completed any of my spreadsheets.  :(  I really want to catch up, but it feels like I need to dig to Australia with a teaspoon.  :(

 

A bit late coming to this but couldn't help respond when I read this.  I do sympathise - it's been a bit that sort of year for me too.  However, I came to the conclusion that it doesn't matter; reading is meant to be a pleasure after all!  I'I decided I'd just cut the reviews, and start again - and this is what I've actually done.  All that you'll have is a few months missed. Are all your spreadsheets important to you?  I had a few on the go, but when I came to think about it, only one really mattered to me (my core record of what books I've read), and I chopped the rest.  Equally, I chopped a number of lists, challenges etc, as they were getting in the way of my actually enjoying my reading.  I therefore now have one spreadsheet, one challenge (US States), and have just posted reviews of my last two books (but am not going to commit myself to reviewing everything from now on either); the rest are all mothballed.  I  can come back to any of them if I want, but I have a suspicion I might not.  I'm enjoying myself a lot more now.

 

Whatever you decide to do, good luck!

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On 11/18/2017 at 1:47 PM, Alexi said:

 

Me too :( I have been keeping lists updated but haven't reviewed any books since the ones I read in April and it seems far too daunting. 

 

I'm reading at a great pace which is only making the list worse!! 

 

I keep intending to sit down and get them all done in a day but keep putting it off. Been buying some Christmassy short stories today and that's way more fun! 

Have you caught up, or did you decide not to bother, @Alexi?  I've decided to write this year off and try again, albeit more streamlined, in 2018.  :)

 

On 11/25/2017 at 3:05 PM, willoyd said:

 

A bit late coming to this but couldn't help respond when I read this.  I do sympathise - it's been a bit that sort of year for me too.  However, I came to the conclusion that it doesn't matter; reading is meant to be a pleasure after all!  I'I decided I'd just cut the reviews, and start again - and this is what I've actually done.  All that you'll have is a few months missed. Are all your spreadsheets important to you?  I had a few on the go, but when I came to think about it, only one really mattered to me (my core record of what books I've read), and I chopped the rest.  Equally, I chopped a number of lists, challenges etc, as they were getting in the way of my actually enjoying my reading.  I therefore now have one spreadsheet, one challenge (US States), and have just posted reviews of my last two books (but am not going to commit myself to reviewing everything from now on either); the rest are all mothballed.  I  can come back to any of them if I want, but I have a suspicion I might not.  I'm enjoying myself a lot more now.

 

Whatever you decide to do, good luck!

Thanks, @willoyd   I have decided not to stress about this year.  What is the point?  I won't catch up.

 

I have so many spreadsheets on the go that it got out of hand.  In 2018 I am going to concentrate on what I've read and not bother about other details - I might continue to record books purchased, but not all the details that I put with them - after all, does it really matter where I bought them our how much I paid for them?

 

I'm glad to hear you've been enjoying your reading more as a result of your changes and wish you a good 2018.  :)

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I abandoned J :D My spreadsheets are updated but I’m moving onto 2018 now. 

 

I might write reviews for the English Counties Challenge (which I’m about to finish, around 50 pages to go) but that’s it. 

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Oh, well done.  I've still got a long way to go on that challenge!

 

I've given some of my 'to read' books to charity - but I forgot to make a note of which ones!  I'm not sure I can be bothered to try to work it out!

 

How are you, @Alexi? :) I haven't spoken to you for ages. 

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3 hours ago, Janet said:

I'm glad to hear you've been enjoying your reading more as a result of your changes and wish you a good 2018.  :)

 

Thank you, and the same to you.  Lovely to hear from you again - I was worried you might have packed in altogether.  Just don't forget (and you almost certainly don't need me to remind you) that bit about reading being meant to be fun!

Edited by willoyd

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1 hour ago, Janet said:

Oh, well done.  I've still got a long way to go on that challenge!

 

I've given some of my 'to read' books to charity - but I forgot to make a note of which ones!  I'm not sure I can be bothered to try to work it out!

 

How are you, @Alexi? :) I haven't spoken to you for ages. 

 

Will send you a Pm :) 

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36 minutes ago, willoyd said:

 

Thank you, and the same to you.  Lovely to hear from you again - I was worried you might have packed in altogether.  Just don't forget (and you almost certainly don't need me to remind you) that bit about reading being meant to be fun!

Thank you. :)  I decided to take a bit of a break from forums for a while (I only really post on this and one other regularly) but I'm back now. 

 

9 minutes ago, Alexi said:

 

Will send you a Pm :) 

Thanks  :)

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On 1/4/2017 at 12:55 PM, Janet said:

1. The Christmasaurus (2016) by Tom Fletcher - 01.01.17 - 3½/5

2. The Girl Who Saved Christmas (2016) by Matt Haig - 02.01.17 - 4/5

3. The Go-Between (1953) by L P Hartley - 07.01.17 ( EC - Norfolk) - 4/5

4. Grief is the Thing with Feathers (2015) by Max Porter - 08.01.17 - 4/5

5. Walking Away (2015) by Simon Armitage - 10.01.17 - 3/5

6. The Bookshop (1978) by Penelope Fitzgerald - 11.01.17 ( A / EC - Suffolk) - 3½/5

7. The Palace of Curiosities (2013) by Rosie Garland - 14.01.17 ( BC ) - 2½/5

8. Coffin Road (2016) by Peter May - 21.01.17 ( A ) - 4/5

9. Howards End (1910) by E M Forster - 27.01.17 - ( K / EC - Hertfordshire) - 3/5

10. A Child in the Forest (1974) by Winifred Foley - 30.01.17 ( EC - Gloucestershire ) - 4/5

11. The Secret of Nightingale Wood (2016) by Lucy Strange - 01.02.17 - 4/5

12. The Reader on the 6.27 (2015) by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent (trans. Ros Schwartz) - 04.02.17 - 3/5

13. A Lineage of Grace (2001) by Francine Rivers - 09.02.17 - 3/5

14. Selected Poems (1982) by Laurie Lee - 09.02.17 - 2/5

15. A Man Lay Dead (1934) by Ngaio Marsh - 11.02.17 - 4/5

16. The Unforgotten (2016) by Laura Powell - 11.02.17 - 3½/5

17.The Ashes of London (2016) by Andrew Taylor - 18.02.17 - ( K ) - 4/5

18. Danse Macabre - a Novelette by Laura M Hughes - 19.02.17 - ( K ) - 4/5

19. Agnes Grey (1847) by Anne Brontë - 22.02.17 - ( K / A / C ) - 4½/5

20. In Darkling Wood (2015) by Emma Carroll - 23.02.17 - 4/5

21. My Name is Lucy Barton (2016) by Elizabeth Strout - 25.02.17 - ( BC ) - 3/5

22. The Old Wives' Tale (1908) by Arnold Bennett - 05.03.17 - ( K / C / EC - Staffordshire ) - 4/5

23. The Testament of Mary (2012) by Colm Tóibín ( BC ) - 3/5

24. The Essex Serpent (2016) by Sarah Perry ( K )  - 22.03.17 - 5/5

25. The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902) by Arthur Conan Doyle - ( C / K ) - 30.03.17 - 4/5  sherlock_zpstzyzjufr.gif

26. The Sitterford Mystery (1931) by Agatha Christie - ( A ) - 08.04.17 - 3/5

27. Beyond Black (2005) by Hilary Mantel - ( BC ) - 18.04.17 - 2/5

28. Death in the Clouds (1935) by Agatha Christie - ( A ) - 30.04.17 - 4/5

29. The Professor (1857) by Charlotte Brontë - ( K ) - 01.05.17 - 3/5

30. The Witchfinder's Sister (2017) by Beth Underdown - ( K ) - 11.05.17 - 4/5

31. Letters from the Lighthouse (2017) by Emma Carroll - 14.05.17 - 4½/5

32. The Crossing Places (2009) by Elly Griffiths- ( A ) - 19.05.17 - 4/5

33. The Road to Wigan Pier Revisited (2012) by Stephen Armstrong - 24.05.17 - 3/5

34. Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain  (2016) by Barney Norris -  ( BC )  - 28.05.16 - 4/5

35. The Blackhouse (2009) by Peter May - (  A )  - 28.05.17 - 5/5

36. The Descent of Man (2016) by Grayson Perry ( K )  - 02.06.17 - 3½/5

37. One, Two, Buckle My Shoe (1940) by Agatha Christie - ( A ) - 04.06.17 - 3/5

38. The Call of the Wild (1903) by Jack London - ( A / C ) - 18.06.17 - 3½/5

39. The House at Pooh Corner (1928) by A A Milne - 28.06.17 - 5/ [/color] :773_purple_heart:

40. The Mill on the Floss (1860) by George Eliot ( EC - Lincolnshire / K )  - 01.07.17 - 3½/5

41. Please Look After Mother (2008) by Kyung-Sook Shin - ( BC / WC - South Korea) - 06.07.17 - 2½/5 

42. Spectacles (2015) by Sue Perkins - 12.07.17 - 3/5

43. Cowboy Song - The Authorised Biography of Philip Lynott (2016) by Graeme Thomson - 21.07.17 - 5/5

The above where as far as I got in listing books read in 2017.  I have only reviewed up to #28 - Death in the Clouds by Agatha Christie.

 

Books I have read since 21st July are:

 

44. The Lewis Man by Peter May – 5/5

45. The Mystery of the Painted Dragon by Katherine Woodfine – 4/5

46. Call for the Dead by John le Carré – 3/5

47. The Chrysalids by John Wyndham – 4/5

48. On the Marshes: A Journey into England's Waterlands by Carol Donaldson – 3/5

49. The Misses Mallett by E H Young – 4/5

50. Hot Milk by Deborah Levy – 3/5

51. Pattern: The Secrets of Lasting Design by Emma Bridgewater – 3/5

52. Holding by Graham Norton – 4/5

53. Strange Star by Emma Carroll – 4/5

54. The Trouble with Henry and Zoe by Andy Jones – 3/5

55. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith – 4/5

56. Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel – 4/5

57. Lorna Doone by R D Blackmore – 3/5

58. The Mystery of the Midnight Peacock by Katherine Woodfine – 4/5

59. The Trumpet-Major by Thomas Hardy

60. Kitchens of the Great Midwest by Ryan J Stradal – 3/5

61. Pax by Sara Pennypacker – 4/5

62. A Literary Christmas: An Anthology – various – 4/5

63. The Invisible Child and the Fir Tree by Tove Jansson – 3/5

64. The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton – 3/5

65. Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak – 3/5

66. A History of Britain in 21 Women: A Personal Selection by Jenni Murray – 4/5

67. The Last of the Spirits by Chris Priestley – 4/5

68. Pablo Picasso's Noël by Carol Ann Duffy – 3/5

69. Winter Magic by various, selected by Abi Elphinstone – 4/5

70. The Nutcracker by E T A Hoffmann – 3/5

71. The Chessmen by Peter May – 5/5

72. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – 5/5

73. A Very English Scandal: Sex, Lies and a Murder Plot at the Heart of the Establishment by John Preston – 4/5

74. A Murder of Quality by John Le Carré – 4/5


So many of those books I can't really remember what happened in.  :(  I do worry about my memory sometimes!

 

Not as many as last year, but I'm happy with that total. 

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029-2017-May-01-The%20Professor_zpsosxmw

 

The Professor by Charlotte Bronte

 

The ‘blurb’

The hero of Charlotte Bronte's first novel escapes a dreary clerkship in industrial Yorkshire by taking a job as a teacher in Belgium. There, however, his entanglement with the sensuous but manipulative Zoraide Reuter, complicates his affections for a penniless girl who is both teacher and pupil in Reuter's school.

 

Less famous than her novel Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë's The Professor is the story of a young man called William Crimsworth, who, having turned down an offer from his uncles to join the church as rector of Seacombe, goes to live with his much older brother. His brother, jealous of the fact that William had an education at Eton, offers William the position of a lowly clerk at one of his factories and treats him badly. Undeterred, William gains a job at a boys' boarding school in Belgium, where his fortunes change, but when he takes on extra work giving English lessons to a seamstress employed by the next door girls' school and starts to develop feelings for her, the manipulative and jealous head, Madame Reuter, determines to come between the pair…

 

Published posthumously two years after Charlotte's death, this book got off to a good start, but didn’t really seem to keep the momentum up. It's not a very long book and yet felt quite rambling in places. The overall story was enjoyable but I felt it could have done with a bit of editing (just my opinion of course – I'm no writer so what do I know?!). That's not to say I didn't enjoy it – I did, and I am looking forward to reading Vilette at some stage.  :)

 

The paperback edition is 320 pages long and is published by Penguin. It was first published in 1857. The ISBN is 9780140433111.

 

3/5 (I liked it)

 

(Finished 1 May 2017)

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030-2017-May-11-The%20Witchfinders%20Sis

 

The Witchfinder's Sister by Beth Underdown

 

The 'blurb'

 

'The number of women my brother Matthew killed, so far as I can reckon it, is one hundred and six...'

 

It has been waiting in the dark, Matthew's history - our history. But now I must turn over the stone: that you might see it, wriggling to escape...

 

When Alice Hopkins' husband dies in a tragic accident, she returns to the small Essex town of Manningtree, where her brother Matthew still lives. But home is no longer a place of safety. Matthew has changed, and there are rumours spreading through the town: whispers of witchcraft, and of a great book, in which he is gathering women's names.

 

To what lengths will Matthew's obsession drive him?

 

And what choice will Alice make, when she finds herself at the very heart of his plan?

 

Arguably the Salem witch trials are the most famous trials of their type, but many years before they took place something similar was happening in England. This book is based on the career of Matthew Hopkins, self-styled Witchfinder General in the East of the country who is believed to have been responsible for the death of hundreds of women accused of witchcraft in the mid sixteen-hundreds.

 

When Alice's husband dies she is forced to return to her hometown of Manningtree in Essex to accept the charity of her brother Matthew. Relations between the siblings have been strained since Alice married the adopted son of their former servant – a union that Matthew felt to be beneath her. Now, Matthew has taken on the role of Witchfinder and he has a list of women's names in his book who he believes are witches – and Alice is coerced into accompanying Matthew as he travels around the area testing women to see if they are guilty of witchcraft. As neighbour turns on neighbour, old family secrets come to light and even Alice finds herself in peril…

 

Although Matthew Hopkins is a real person there is no evidence that he had a sister. However, Beth Underdown writes a convincing story with convincing characters. I very much enjoyed this – it was fairly fast moving and I liked the history element of it. It's one of those books that makes one want to read more about the subject. It's laughable these days that anyone could consider a woman (in some cases, a man) to be a witch - and therefore a threat - just because of the way they chose to live, and yet in the 17th century this was a very real and serious threat. This book is Beth Underdown's debut novel – I'm looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next.

 

The paperback edition is 384 pages long and is published by Penguin. It was first published in 2017. The ISBN is 9780241978054. 4/5 (I really liked it) (Finished 11 May 2017)

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7 hours ago, Janet said:

030-2017-May-11-The%20Witchfinders%20Sis

 

The Witchfinder's Sister by Beth Underdown

 

The 'blurb'

 

'The number of women my brother Matthew killed, so far as I can reckon it, is one hundred and six...'

 

It has been waiting in the dark, Matthew's history - our history. But now I must turn over the stone: that you might see it, wriggling to escape...

 

When Alice Hopkins' husband dies in a tragic accident, she returns to the small Essex town of Manningtree, where her brother Matthew still lives. But home is no longer a place of safety. Matthew has changed, and there are rumours spreading through the town: whispers of witchcraft, and of a great book, in which he is gathering women's names.

 

To what lengths will Matthew's obsession drive him?

 

And what choice will Alice make, when she finds herself at the very heart of his plan?

 

Arguably the Salem witch trials are the most famous trials of their type, but many years before they took place something similar was happening in England. This book is based on the career of Matthew Hopkins, self-styled Witchfinder General in the East of the country who is believed to have been responsible for the death of hundreds of women accused of witchcraft in the mid sixteen-hundreds.

 

When Alice's husband dies she is forced to return to her hometown of Manningtree in Essex to accept the charity of her brother Matthew. Relations between the siblings have been strained since Alice married the adopted son of their former servant – a union that Matthew felt to be beneath her. Now, Matthew has taken on the role of Witchfinder and he has a list of women's names in his book who he believes are witches – and Alice is coerced into accompanying Matthew as he travels around the area testing women to see if they are guilty of witchcraft. As neighbour turns on neighbour, old family secrets come to light and even Alice finds herself in peril…

 

Although Matthew Hopkins is a real person there is no evidence that he had a sister. However, Beth Underdown writes a convincing story with convincing characters. I very much enjoyed this – it was fairly fast moving and I liked the history element of it. It's one of those books that makes one want to read more about the subject. It's laughable these days that anyone could consider a woman (in some cases, a man) to be a witch - and therefore a threat - just because of the way they chose to live, and yet in the 17th century this was a very real and serious threat. This book is Beth Underdown's debut novel – I'm looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next.

 

The paperback edition is 384 pages long and is published by Penguin. It was first published in 2017. The ISBN is 9780241978054. 4/5 (I really liked it) (Finished 11 May 2017)

I haven’t read your review too closely as I bought the book yesterday, at Windsor Waterstones, but it is good to see you enjoyed it, hopefully I’ll get to it soon! :) 

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031-2017-May-14-Letters%20from%20the%20L

 

Letters from the Lighthouse by Emma Carroll

The ‘blurb’

We weren't supposed to be going to the pictures that night. We weren't even meant to be outside, not in a blackout, and definitely not when German bombs had been falling on London all month like pennies from a jar.

February, 1941. After months of bombing raids in London, twelve-year-old Olive Bradshaw and her little brother Cliff are evacuated to the Devon coast. The only person with two spare beds is Mr Ephraim, the local lighthouse keeper. But he's not used to company and he certainly doesn't want any evacuees.

Desperate to be helpful, Olive becomes his post-girl, carrying secret messages (as she likes to think of the letters) to the villagers. But Olive has a secret of her own. Her older sister Sukie went missing in an air raid, and she's desperate to discover what happened to her. And then she finds a strange coded note which seems to link Sukie to Devon, and to something dark and impossibly dangerous.

It's 1941 and 12-year-old Olive Bradshaw and younger brother Cliff are having a night out at the cinema, but they become separated from their big sister Sukie when there is an air-raid and Sukie vanishes. Olive was wearing Sukie's coat and finds a mysterious piece of paper in the pocket.  The siblings are evacuated to stay with the sister of their London neighbour, a woman called Queenie who is Sukie's penpal who lives in the small coastal town of Budmouth Point in Devon.  However, things don't work out with the young evacuees and so they are sent to stay on the lighthouse.  There, they become aware that there are secrets to which the whole village seem party, and which appear to have something to do with Sukie's disappearance…

Another great offering from Emma Carroll.  I really like her books and I particularly loved this one.  I liked the characters and especially the setting – not just the location, but the period of history too.  Carroll paints such a vivid picture of life for a 1940s evacuee and this book had just the right levels of history and excitement.  It was Waterstones' Book of the Month in May and I read so many comments on Twitter from schools who had used it in their lessons.  Emma Carroll remains my favourite contemporary children's author and I am looking forward to more from her.

The paperback edition is 288 pages long and is published by Faber & Faber. It was first published in 2017. The ISBN is 9780571327584. 

4/5 (I really liked it)

(Finished 14 May 2017)

 

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032-2017-May-19-The%20Crossing%20Places_

 

The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths

 

The ‘blurb’

Dr Ruth Galloway is called in when a child's bones are discovered near the site of a pre-historic henge on the north Norfolk salt marshes. Are they the remains of a local girl who disappeared ten years earlier - or are the bones much older? DCI Harry Nelson refuses to give up the hunt for the missing girl. Since she vanished, someone has been sending him bizarre anonymous notes about ritual sacrifice, quoting Shakespeare and the Bible. He knows that Ruth's expertise and experience could help him finally to put this case to rest. But when a second child goes missing, Ruth finds herself in danger from a killer who knows she's getting ever closer to the truth...

 

When a child's bones are found on the salt-marshes of Norfolk, DCI Harry Nelson calls on Archaeologist Ruth Galloway for her expertise. 10 years earlier a girl went missing, and since then letters have been arriving anonymously. It is thought that the bones might belong to the missing girl and when a second child also disappears it is a race against time to find her, and Ruth finds herself in grave danger…

 

This is the first in a series of books featuring Ruth Galloway. I really liked the character of Ruth, and also the DCI Harry. The story was fast moving - we listened to it on Audio Book on a trip to Norfolk (albeit not exactly the part that this is set in). The narrator, Jane McDowell did a good job – I would definitely listen to, or even read, more.

 

The paperback edition is 320 pages long and is published by Quercus. It was first published in 2009. The ISBN is 9781786481863.

 

4/5 (I really enjoyed it)

 

(Finished 19 May 2017)

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I really love this series, Ruth is a great character, some of her observations are very funny, and the she develops well over the series.  Well worth carrying on with these!

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Thanks, @Madeleine I would like to listen to them in the car with my husband, but although he enjoyed it, he said it wasn't fast moving enough for him so I will probably continue with reading them rather than listening. :)

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033-2017-May-24-The%20Road%20to%20Wigan%

 

The Road to Wigan Pier Revisited by Stephen Armstrong

 

The ‘blurb’

You think that the recession isn't biting? Look again. You think that the riots in August 2011 were unpredicted? Think again. 75 years after George Orwell's classic expose on life in the North, Stephen Armstrong returns to find that many things have changed, but not always for the better. Here he finds how young girls go missing because of the intransigence of the benefits systems, how fragile hope can be in the face of poverty and why the government stands in the way of a community helping itself. In his journey, taking in Bradford, Sheffield, Liverpool and Wigan, Armstrong reveals a society at the end of its tether, abandoned by all those who speak in its name.

 

In 1936, George Orwell set out to Northern England in order to study the effects of high unemployment and poor social circumstances on the people of Barnsley, Sheffield and the titular Wigan as research for his book The Road to Wigan Pier (if you like books about social history, you'd love Part one of this book - the second part of the book looks at politics). In 2011 Stephen Armstrong decided to follow in his footsteps to see how much this had changed in the succeeding 75 years.

 

The answer he found was that not a great deal had changed in terms of poverty and people struggling to support themselves. Since Orwell's time we at least have a National Health Service (please, God, that we keep hold of it), but there are still families without basic necessities, and since this book was published I'm not sure there has been any improvement in that situation. We are also blighted (and this is just my opinion) by zero hours contracts – how can people make ends meet with an irregular (and presumably occasionally non-existent) income? Correct me if I'm wrong, but presumably people are unable to claim benefits for the periods when their contracts don’t cover their outgoings – at least, not enough to cover mortgages/rents, etc? I don't claim to know a lot about this situation, but it seems to me that they should not be allowed – but please tell me if there are plus sides to them. For the most part I enjoyed this book (if that's the right word), although I did find the writing rather dry on occasion. In light of this book I really ought to make time to re-read the book that inspired it.

 

The paperback edition is 288 pages long and is published by Constable. It was first published in 2011. The ISBN is 9781780336916.

 

3/5 (I enjoyed it)

 

(Finished 24 May 2017)

 

 

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034-2017-May-28-Five%20Rivers%20Met%20on

 

Five Rivers Met on a Wooden Plain by Barney Norris

 

The ‘blurb’ '

There exists in all of us a song waiting to be sung which is as heart-stopping and vertiginous as the peak of the cathedral. That is the meaning of this quiet city, where the spire soars into the blue, where rivers and stories weave into one another, where lives intertwine.'

 

One quiet evening in Salisbury, the peace is shattered by a serious car crash. At that moment, five lives collide – a flower seller, a schoolboy, an army wife, a security guard, a widower – all facing their own personal disasters. As one of those lives hangs in the balance, the stories of all five unwind, drawn together by connection and coincidence into a web of love, grief, disenchantment and hope that perfectly represents the joys and tragedies of small town life.

 

This novel tells the story of five people who are affected by a car crash, and each of them narrates their tale in separate chapters in the book. There's Rita, a flower seller who is estranged from her son. Sam, a schoolboy, whose father is sick. A farmer called George. Army-wife Alison, and finally Liam, a security guard. These people seem to be unconnected, but Norris weaves their stories together quite cleverly in this skilfully crafted novel. I had picked this up a few times because Salisbury is a town I really love and, after chatting to a bookseller in Waterstones, I decided to suggest this for our Book Club. It made a great Book Club choice as there was plenty to discuss. I am looking forward to reading more by this author.

 

The paperback edition is 288 pages long and is published by Black Swan. It was first published in 2016. The ISBN is 9781784161354.

 

4/5 (I really enjoyed it)

 

(Finished 28 May 2017)

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035-2017-May-28-The%20Blackhouse_zpsf7qv

 

The Blackhouse by Peter May

 

The ‘blurb’

A brutal killing takes place on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland: a land of harsh beauty and inhabitants of deep-rooted faith.

 

A MURDER Detective Inspector Fin Macleod is sent from Edinburgh to investigate. For Lewis-born Macleod, the case represents a journey both home and into his past.

 

A SECRET Something lurks within the close-knit island community. Something sinister.

 

A TRAP As Fin investigates, old skeletons begin to surface, and soon he, the hunter, becomes the hunted.

 

When the body of 'Angel' Macritchie is found in an old boathouse, it is DI Finlay 'Fin' Macleod who is sent to the Isle of Lewis to investigate. Fin grew up on the island, but left after going away to the Mainland to university and only returned once, when his Aunt, his former guardian, died. Despite having been gone for a long time, he soon picks up with former friendships, although some are rather strained. But as Fin investigates, it appears that there are many buried secrets coming to the fore, and soon Fin finds himself in grave danger…

 

This is the second Peter May book we've listened to. It was faced-paced and exciting. I loved the author's use of past tense when Fin was talking about his time on the Island as a youth, and in present tense when he was discussing the case as he was investigating. He's a flawed character, but a very interesting one. It kept us guessing until the very end. It's the first part of the Lewis Trilogy, and if this one is anything to go for then we're in for a very exciting ride!

 

There are lot and lots of Gaelic names/references in this book. I have managed, with the help of Google, to establish that 'Artur' is spelt Atair and 'Marshally' is spelt Marsaili! I still don't know how 'Fionlich' is spelt! :D In this respect, I was glad I was listening rather than reading!

 

The paperback edition is 502 pages long and is published by Riverrun. It was first published in 2009. The ISBN is 9781849163866.

 

5/5 (loved it)

 

(Finished 28 May 2017)

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