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Everything posted by Lilliputian

  1. SEPTEMBER Loving it Snakesleeper by Ann Chamberlin Definitely one to love if you like historical fiction that thinks out of the box. Set at the time of the Old Testament monarch, King David, she borrows heavily from the book, When God was a Woman by Merlin Stone, but nonetheless she manages to weave a truly alien world, where a goddess might have just as much clout as a God. Her attention to historical detail is impressive, and she draws the reader in through the eyes of a very unusual little girl, who grows to womanhood while straddling two entirely different cultures. Hating it 1Q84: Books 1 and 2 by Haruki Murakami Recommended to me by an (ex) friend, I knew nothing of Murakami when I started. And, honestly I wish I had remained in blissful ignorance. I had been told that the style was unusual, and that much I can agree on. Characters endlessly repeat things they already know to each other, while the plot unfolds like a poorly written fairytale and magic solves everything. I realise many people loved the book, but it left me cold.
  2. Lily's Library

    August Loving it Foucalt’s Pendulum By Eco Umberto https://www.amazon.co.uk/Foucaults-Pendulum-Umberto-Eco-ebook/dp/B00MWT548U/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1504465629&sr=1-1&keywords=foucalt%27s+pendulum Like the pendulum, I vacillated on whether to love or hate this book. It isn’t for the faint-hearted. The language in the first chapter is trying to reflect a mind on the brink of breakdown, and it mimics it so well that it can be exhausting to get through. However, without giving too much away, the satire of conspiracy theorists is fascinating and well worth the effort. At times the many references, put in presumably to show that the author has done his homework, get a little wearing, but overall this is a clever book by a master writer. And a writer, who does not feel the need to revert to the same old formula with every book. Hating it The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert https://www.amazon.co.uk/Signature-All-Things-Elizabeth-Gilbert-ebook/dp/B00BXI0IHS/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8 I tried to love this book. I was lured in with promises of the ‘mysteries of evolution’, but instead found a dry fact-list on botany. Trying much too hard to be scholarly, while the story seems to take second rate to the endless botanical detail.
  3. Your Top 10 Authors!

    Hmmmm... Donna Tartt Lyndsay Clarke Howard Fast AS Byatt George Orwell Tanith Lee Robert Holstock Hilary Mantel
  4. Lily's Library

    May Loving it The Night Ocean By Paul La Farge https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01HNJIJYE/ref=oh_aui_d_detailpage_o08_?ie=UTF8&psc=1 If you’ve read any of my reviews, you’ll know by now that I hate books that follow a rigid stereotype, so I was pleased to come across this one when trawling Amazon. It’s probably best if you’re a big Lovecraft fan if you want to get all the references. I am not, and I was still impressed. The plot winds tighter and tighter, with nothing being as it seems. The characters are strongly written and believable. If there’s a downside, it’s probably that there isn’t anyone to directly sympathize with, but the Machiavellian plot twist more than make up for it. I’ve one other gripe, which is probably not the author’s fault, but the Kindle price is ridiculously high, and not quite justified by the quality of the book. Hating it Ragnarok by A S Byatt https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B005FWCOSO/ref=oh_aui_d_detailpage_o05_?ie=UTF8&psc=1 I’ve already said that I loved Possession, and I was keen to give this a chance. Perhaps I was a little biased as I’m not a great lover of the Norse myths, but I found this book painfully dull. I cannot believe making long lists of adjectives really makes for great writing. The story, such as it is, is smothered by the completely unnecessary retelling of the myths. Throughout, the protagonist is referred to as ‘The Thin Child’. Perhaps the author should have also talked about ‘The Thin Plot’.
  5. John Steinbeck

    I have to say that my fave Steinbeck is East of Eden. It's one of the best descriptions of a sociopathic mind I've ever read. Way ahead of its time.
  6. Lily's Library

    April Loving it Science for Heretics by Barrie Condon https://www.amazon.co.uk/Science-Heretics-much-science-wrong-ebook/dp/B01HGDWKKQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1494445276&sr=1-1&keywords=science+for+heretics Thought I would review a nonfiction for a change. I’m not a massive reader of this sort of book. It was passed on by a friend truth be told, and I didn’t expect to enjoy it. I usually find books by physicists purporting to be for the common man are exactly not aimed at anyone with less than a PhD in quantum theory. Condon’s work is quite different. To steal the heading from an Amazon review, it’s science, but not as we know it. Condon isn’t arguing that scepticism is good in the scientific process; he’s arguing that it’s impossible. Why? Because there is just too much science we simply can’t know. He goes through the gamut of scientific research and demolishes everything you imagine you thought. In Condon’s world 2+2 don’t necessarily make four. Scary, but a must read for those who like to question why. Hating it Time and Again by Ben Elton https://www.amazon.co.uk/Time-Again-Ben-Elton-ebook/dp/B00M76WJHC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1494446460&sr=1-1&keywords=ben+elton Normally I love Elton’s work. He’s not afraid to tackle hard subjects, and his wit generally makes up for any roughness in his prose. So, I was looking forward to reading a book that promised time-travel, history and mystery in the blurb. But it wasn’t long before I became bogged down in a story that seemed about as fast as set treacle (with none of the yummy sugary taste). Apart from the slow pace, the prose was incredibly preachy. Ben Elton’s left wing views have been evident in other books, but never to the extent that they took over the narrative. To cut a long and frankly tedious story short without giving any spoilers, rich people are bad, using energy is bad, being happy with just enough to get by on good. Fair enough, but Elton is worth about three million and is hardly scraping the poverty line. It gives the book a smug air, which I hadn’t experienced reading his other work. Not my cup of tea, I’m afraid.
  7. pontalba's 2017 reading list

    Zimmer's work is certainly worth reading, but a much better Arthurian writer is the little-mentioned Parke Godwin. You might like to try him.
  8. Britain's all time top five authors

    I'm in agreement with most people in doubting JK Rowling would be in the top five. I'll probably be murdered for this, but I find her very overrated. I'm not sure who I would recommend as I'm known to love less popular authors, such as Alistair Gray and Lyndsay Clarke.
  9. Lily's Library

    March Loving it A Big Love of Small Proportion by Colin Falconer https://www.amazon.co.uk/Proportion-Classic-Horistical-Falconer-2016-05-10/dp/B01K3GJNRG/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1491170590&sr=1-12 I loved this book. At last a historical novel that doesn’t slavishly follow the stereotypes (war for boys/romance for girls). The setting is in Spain in the late 1400s near the end of the Inquisition during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, and is based on the dwarf painter, Vasquez. Falconer is a master when it comes to characterization. His men and women are poignant without sentimentality, and his prose style races along and drags the reader with it. Well worth a go if you don’t know this author. I couldn’t put it down. Hating it Wasp: or A Very Sweet Power Kindle Edition by Ian Garbutt https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wasp-Sweet-Power-Ian-Garbutt-ebook/dp/B00TNTA98W/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1492630627&sr=1-1&keywords=wasp+or+a It’s unfair to say I hated this novel. Really it had a lot of potential. Set in a Victorian brothel, the material starts of worthy of HBO. The unfortunate thing appears to be that the man, who was writing it, seemed to need to prove his feminist credentials. The book gets mired down in the oppression of women and loses the power of its own eroticism. Far better to read Sarah Waters, who manages to combine grittiness with pathos and manages to keep the rollicking bawdiness of her setting.
  10. I know what you mean. It drives me mad when I see anachronistic language. But actually, gotten is not incorrect. It comes from the same root as forgot/forgotten and really ought to be used that way even in UK English.
  11. Got into a heated debate recently on the rise of independent publishers. I've got to admit that I have always been pretty sceptical about indie publishing, assuming that it was only for the desperate, but our book group had a talk recently that said a lot of established authors are turning indie because of poor publishing deals and new authors are going down that route because traditional publishing isn't interested in marketing them. I was surprised to discover that one of my favourite authors, Colin Falconer, (I'm no relatiation or friend) seems to be independently publishing under the Cool Gus label. It's made me waver in my opinions on indie authors. Wondered what anyone else's experience had been.
  12. Books do Furnish a Room's Book Blog 2017

    Gosh , I read this book decades ago and had almost forgotten it. Your post brought back memories.
  13. Lily's Library

    February Loving it One Night In Winter by Simon Sebag Montifiore https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00CBVSVAM/ref=oh_aui_d_detailpage_o03_?ie=UTF8&psc=1 This is a fascinating exploration of paranoia set in Stalinist Russia. In keeping with the ‘Russian novel’ form there are more characters than you can shake a stick at, but they’re all intricately intertwined. As the plot unfolds you uncover their secrets, some so innocent you can’t imagine they could do harm, and yet at a time when it was deemed better to kill a hundred innocent men than to let one guilty one go free, the more guileless a secret appears the more suspicious become the authorities. The style of the writing is a little sparse for my taste, but it suits the book, and allows the drama to effortlessly unfold. Hating it The Water Theatre by Lyndsay Clarke https://www.amazon.co.uk/Water-Theatre-Lindsay-Clarke-ebook/dp/B004XCDJ54/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488623041&sr=8-1&keywords=the+water+theatre I adored Clarke’s, Chymical Wedding, and would strongly recommend it to anyone who loves beautiful prose. Her prose is so lyrical in fact that I would have sworn that I could adore reading it devoid of content. Alas, not so. The Water Theatre bored me stupid. It spans countries, times and relationships, but try as I might, I found myself simply not caring. The plot moves at a snail’s pace, and I don’t think I can sum it up better than to agree with one Amazon reviewer, who said it felt like dragging yourself through a set work for an exam. Sorry, Lyndsay, I haven’t given up on you yet.
  14. Your favourite narrator

    I can't disagree with Stephen Fry, but I also love Juliet Stevenson. She doesn't get the attention she deserves as an actress, and what a voice.
  15. What's the weather like?

    It's Scotland. It rained. Which is the same as saying, it's Scotland!!
  16. The Last Film You Saw - 2017

    Fifty Shades Darker. It is the comedy of the year. I laughed so much I nearly had an accident. If you're looking for an erotic turn on, however, I recommend the Muppet Show. Kermit and Miss Piggy's relationship was far steamier than Christian and Anastasia's!!!
  17. New companion trilogy from Philip Pullman

    I can't wait to get my hands on these. I'm a much bigger fan of his writing than JK Rowling's. Pullman doesn't get the recognition he deserves.
  18. Lily's Library

    Hi, Late in my replies as always. How does everyone manage to be so organized. Don't worry about Cloud Atlas, it's brilliant. As is The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. After that the books get paler until they fade into rubbish. I've heard people saying I shouldn't judge Murakami by 1Q84. I'll maybe give him another chance.
  19. Lily's Library

    JANUARY Loving it Foxlowe by Eleanor Wasserberg https://www.amazon.co.uk/Foxlowe-Eleanor-Wasserberg-ebook/dp/B0191GZ4EK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1486146029&sr=8-1&keywords=foxlowe Well, anyone reading my reviews probably knows that I hate formulistic works so no surprise that I love Eleanor Wasserberg’s description of a young girl’s experience growing up in a cult. It’s a poignant pleasure to see the protagonist grow to maturity, while the forces of the cult vie in her psyche with the lure of the outside. The power struggle within the cult provides the background on which ‘Green’ must make her decisions. Well worth a read. The prose has a light touch and the novel is short enough to appeal to those who are nervous about trying something new. Hating it Slade House by David Mitchell https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VEEYCJ6/ref=pdp_new_dp_review I feel mean putting up a bad review of this author. I am normally a huge fan of his work, including Cloud Atlas and The Thousand Summers of Jacob de Zoet. But, having worked my way through this flat, uninspiring tale, I feel the need to rant. Previously, I was attracted to the breadth and sophistication of Mitchell’s work. But Slade House barely feels like the same author. Essentially, it’s a story about vampires, dressed up in a purple prose, with amateurish stylistic errors, where characters explain the plot to each other. It largely reminded me of a sponge cake I once made that went terribly wrong. Instead of simply throwing it away, I kept adding frills of icing, and sprinkles. End result? A sticky mess that did nothing to hide the lack of substance.
  20. Lily's Library

    Thank you for your good wishes. I hope your year is less hectic than mine. I have already broken my new year's resolution to be more organized.
  21. Lily's Library

    Thanks, and to you also.
  22. I'm a size doesn't matter kind of a gal, and on Kindle you don't have the carrying issues. I try to make my reading as eclectic as possible. Having read about the barriers publishers are putting up to new others, my 2017 resolution is to read more indie authors. I'll let you know how it goes.
  23. WWI Historical Fiction

    I quite like Black Poppies by J J Kennard. Has a bit of a Hemmingway feel to it.
  24. Ben's Books 2017.

    I agree with your thoughts on this book. And it is nice to go a bit out of your comfort zone. Glad to see how eclectic and challenging your reading is. I've added a few of your listings to my TBR.