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Your Book Activity - August 2019

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Can you believe it's August already?!

 

Anyway.. what's your book activity today? Are you reading anything? Did you buy any books recently?

 

I'm currently working through my library loans. I'm reading Simone Kortsmit - Turntoppers 3: Gymroddels, I read book 1 yesterday (I didn't see book 2 at the library).

 

 

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Finished Stasiland by Anna Funder.  Eye-opening, and very moving in places, concentrating very much on the personal experience rather than the overall picture, although effectively illustrating the latter.  4, possibly 5, stars out of 6.

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I've not long started reading The Well by Catherine Chanter and I have to say, so far it's great! It's an intelligently written psychological thriller type thing, and it's all very intriguing so far. The writing is really good so I'm hoping to rattle through it! :readingtwo:

 

Edited by ~Andrea~

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On 8/3/2019 at 9:03 AM, willoyd said:

Finished Stasiland by Anna Funder.  Eye-opening, and very moving in places, concentrating very much on the personal experience rather than the overall picture, although effectively illustrating the latter.  4, possibly 5, stars out of 6.

 

Glad you liked it, it's one of my favourite books, so much so that my copy is really dog eared.

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Just finished Sad Cypress by Agatha Christie.  Enjoyable, but not one of my favourites.

 

I'm now about to start This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel, about a little five-year-old boy who realises that he wants to be a girl, and how his family deal with all that entails.  It's had a lot of good reviews, so I'm looking forward to it.

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I'm reading a Dutch book about introverts at the moment, Ik moet nog even kijken of ik kan by Liesbeth Smit. So far it's nice and interesting. I have Quiet by Susan Cain on my TBR, though this Dutch book does reference it, it's more focused on Dutch society rather than the US.

 

59 minutes ago, Onion Budgie said:

I'm now about to start This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel, about a little five-year-old boy who realises that he wants to be a girl, and how his family deal with all that entails.  It's had a lot of good reviews, so I'm looking forward to it.

 

I've heard good things too! I have the book on my TBR, I look forward to hear your thoughts on it. I hope you enjoy it :).

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22 hours ago, Athena said:

I've heard good things too! I have the book on my TBR, I look forward to hear your thoughts on it. I hope you enjoy it :).

 

A couple of chapters in, and so far so good!  It's a chunker -- almost 500 pages. 

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On 05/08/2019 at 3:32 PM, Brian. said:

 

Glad you liked it, it's one of my favourite books, so much so that my copy is really dog eared.

 

Borrowed it from the library, so it was definitely also a bit dog-eared!  Although I was aware of many aspects of the Stasi and conditions of East German life (Thomas Harding's The House by the Lake is particularly interesting on this topic), I hadn't realised quite how much down the route of Big Brother they had gone.  Really, really scary.  By focusing on just a few individuals, I think Funder said a whole lot more than many/most broader histories could have done, and, of course, made it a whole lot more personal.  BTW, I thoroughly recommend the Harding book - one of the best histories I've read in the past few years: another book successfully telling a broader history through the intensely personal.

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Just finished with Tom Holland's Dynasty, his history of the Julian-Claudian Roman emperors.  Stopped almost exactly half way through: the language and narrative was somewhat over-blown and over-worked, yet nothing really being added to the histories from Tacitus and Suetonius (who are much more succinct). I Claudius makes for better history too.  Just couldn't take any more padding. Really surprised at the number of 5 star reviews, but suspect they're mostly from people who've not read much else on the subject, and are more interested in the story than the history.   2 stars out of 6.  Not sure what's next, but will read Alistair Moffat's The Wall soon, as we're going to spend a few days exploring Hadrian's Wall in the near future.

Edited by willoyd

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Spent many hours listen to audiobooks recently, and the best were 1 and 2 of the Gerald Durrell's The Corfu Trilogy  My Family and Other Animals and Birds, Beasts and Relatives.

 

Nigel Davenport was a wonderful narrator, and with Durrell's storytelling it was so enjoyable to listen to them. 

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19 hours ago, Marie H said:

Spent many hours listen to audiobooks recently, and the best were 1 and 2 of the Gerald Durrell's The Corfu Trilogy  My Family and Other Animals and Birds, Beasts and Relatives.

 

Nigel Davenport was a wonderful narrator, and with Durrell's storytelling it was so enjoyable to listen to them. 

 

They would be fabulous to listen to! The Corfu Trilogy is one of my favourite books ever, my go-to book if I ever need cheering up :)

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A few days away, exploring Hadrian's Wall and around.  Finished 3 books (stars out of 6): 

A Walk Along the Wall by Hunter Davies: description of a year's exploration of Hadrian's Wall back in the 70s. Very interesting comparing with today!  An enjoyable read ****

A Death in the Dales by Frances Brody: enjoyably insubstantial, fun.  Not exactly a whodunnit, more a 'how are they going to find out?'.  Likeable, if fairly stereotypical, characters. Will probably read more. ***

The Descent of Man by Grayson Perry, examining the state of masculinity. Some good points, and very engaging in parts, but needed clearer structuring and more coherent progression. ***

Edited by willoyd

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On 15/08/2019 at 10:18 AM, poppy said:

 

They would be fabulous to listen to! The Corfu Trilogy is one of my favourite books ever, my go-to book if I ever need cheering up :)

The Corfu Trilogy is wonderful, and I laughed so much at Gerald Durrell stories. I haven't felt so happy reading for some time, until I read these. :)

 

I was completely lost in the 1st and 2nd audible versions, and I now started the 3rd as the Kindle, and it's just like meeting an old friend, like Gerry meeting Spiro or Theodore. These books really did cheer me up, and I know that I'll be able read them again! :D

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I'm currently reading Leigh Bardugo - De Kraaien 2: Kraai & Koninkrijk (Six of Crows 2: Crooked Kingdom). My previous read was Leigh Bardugo - De Kraaien 1: List & Leugens (Six of Crows 1: Six of Crows). They are library loans and I'm aiming to at least have most of my loans finished before I have to hand them back in. These books have received a lot of hype in the YA book community. I didn't like the Grisha trilogy by the same author, I liked the first book a lot, didn't like the second book and DNFed/abandoned the third book (they were also library loans, translated in Dutch). I'm glad I like this duology much more so far. I'm not loving it but I'm liking it. I love the characters. The writing isn't always my thing, sometimes it's nice and sometimes it feels iffy. It could be the translation, or maybe it's just me. I'm glad I'm liking book 2 so far.

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Just finished The Beginning of Spring by Penelope Fitzgerald.  As ever, find it difficult to work out quite what I think about her books, but they are curiously addictive, and grow on my after I've finished (as this is already doing).  Muriel Spark and Elizabeth Taylor tend to have the same effect on me!  5 stars out of 6.

 

(Later edit)  And later on in the day: Felicie by Georges Simenon, the next in the series of Maigret novels I'm reading (in publication order). As good as ever.  4 stars.

Edited by willoyd

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I'm about 250 pages into an Alan Bradley/Flavia de Luce book.  Perhaps another 150 to go?  It'll probably take me through the end of the month to finish, I think.

 

I'd read it before, but didn't really remember the details.  I got it at this lovely used bookstore in town.  

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2 hours ago, Quinn said:

I'm about 250 pages into an Alan Bradley/Flavia de Luce book.  Perhaps another 150 to go?  It'll probably take me through the end of the month to finish, I think.

 

I'd read it before, but didn't really remember the details.  I got it at this lovely used bookstore in town.  

 

Love the Flavia de Luce books. There are several fans on the BCF. Alan Bradley writes wonderful characters, Flavia and Dogger being my favourites.

 

On ‎18‎/‎08‎/‎2019 at 12:30 AM, Marie H said:

The Corfu Trilogy is wonderful, and I laughed so much at Gerald Durrell stories. I haven't felt so happy reading for some time, until I read these. :)

 

I was completely lost in the 1st and 2nd audible versions, and I now started the 3rd as the Kindle, and it's just like meeting an old friend, like Gerry meeting Spiro or Theodore. These books really did cheer me up, and I know that I'll be able read them again! :D

 

Have you seen any of the TV series made about the books, Marie? I felt the two earlier ones were truer to the books than the latest one, but all delightfully escapist.

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I vaguely remember reading the first book at school.  I watched the TV series but felt the later series focussed too much on Louisa's love life, and also the scams of his brother, maybe they really did get up to those antics, but they got a bit boring after a while and felt like "padding".

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7 minutes ago, Madeleine said:

I vaguely remember reading the first book at school.  I watched the TV series but felt the later series focussed too much on Louisa's love life, and also the scams of his brother, maybe they really did get up to those antics, but they got a bit boring after a while and felt like "padding".

 

Louisa's love-life was a complete fabrication, and it seemed rather out-of-character compared to how she was portrayed in the books. She was nearly 50 when the family moved to Corfu, I felt Keely Hawes was rather young for the part. The earlier TV series with Hannah Gordan as Mrs Durrell in one and Imelda Staunton in the other seemed more believable. But I still found the latest series enjoyable ... I just suspended disbelief for a while :lol:

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Just finished reading NOONE by David Wilde

It’s an autobiography by a writer I haven’t heard of, but it tells the story of his adoption into an abusive family and his journey through childhood and torment, coming out the other end as a particularly bright teenager.

I’d love to think that others out there have read it and would be interested to see their views as it’s the first book in a long time that I have felt moved enough to comment on.

I was recommended this book by a friend who stumbled across it. It's only available on Amazon UK at the moment as far as I know, and when it arrived, I sat down to read it with some reticence, as it isn’t the kind of subject matter I tend to read.

I was concerned it was going to be an energy zapping account of systematic abuse and the failure of the system, which would leave me mentally drained. There is no shying away from the fact that it is an account of heart-breaking abuse; right through from childhood to adolescence. Rather than labouring on gruesome details of the physical, sexual and mental abuse from his adoptive father, the author alludes to it in a sensitive vein, which makes me think that they have tried to block it out; but I may be wrong. It tells of a great deal of mental abuse from the system, his peers and indeed his teachers, and I am thankful that the latter at least have changed their methods today.

The account is balanced by the uncovering of what turns out to be a brilliant mind that was nurtured by key people he meets in life; without whom things would have been very different indeed, he had survived at all. Surprisingly there was much to smile and laugh at, as well as the inevitable tears and all in all it was an uplifting story of a small boy’s battle into manhood against unbelievable pain and suffering.

The author left me invigorated by his determination and mental fortitude; I felt humbled by the way he felt the need to help others in a similar situation; taking them under his wing and trying to them along the way.

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I've just finished This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel.  It was an absolute page-turner!  If the book has a fault, then it's the tendency to sidle too far into the sentimental and unbelievable where family dynamics are concerned.  Also, I felt the dialogue at times to be wholly unrealistic.  But still, and overall, I enjoyed it very much, and wholeheartedly support books in this particular genre.

 

I have a craving to get back to Hercule Poirot!  Quelle surprise!  I'm about to make a start on Cards on the Table.  I'm not sure what I'll do when I finally run out of Poirots.  Thank goodness AC was prolific.

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