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About Raven

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    Happy-go-lucky scamp

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  • Reading now?
    V2, by Robert Harris
  1. Pretty sure I've seen the hardback in Waterstones (though not recently). Paperback's out in October.
  2. Kindle and ebooks deals

    The first 8 Aubrey–Maturin books by Patrick O’Brian are 99p each today, on the Kindle.
  3. Drinks Cabinet? Do you have a hostess trolly as well?
  4. I Miss...

    But that's not actually the case, is it? When this forum had more active members people used to comment on all sorts of things - and they did so a lot! If a book was popular it got more traction, but more obscure books also got promoted as well and other members ended up reading them as a result. The current forum is quite by comparison so the number of people jumping on a single title is consequently lower but even so, members do still draw inspiration from the reviews and comments of other members. Personally, I think the forum is currently below the level of active members required to keep it running in the long term, but I hope that can be reversed (it will mean a lot of work on the part of the members running the forum and the engagement of the remaining members as well if it is to be a success in the long term, but hopefully it is something that can be achieved!) I do think a "Like" button would be useful, as it is a way of acknowledging a post without having to post a reply. How well it would encourage more meaningful interaction, however, I'm not sure...
  5. Kindle and ebooks deals

    A combined volume of all of the Witcher books is on the Kindle today for just 99p! (as is Stephen Fry's Mythos).
  6. Raven's Reads

    Writing this whilst it is still fresh in my mind... V2 By Robert Harris It is the winter of 1944. On the Dutch coast a disillusioned German engineer goes about his duties without enthusiasm, preparing V2 rockets for firing at London, knowing he is fighting a war that is already lost. In London, concerned that they have no way of countering the V2 threat, the Air Ministry authorises a new initiative to find and destroy the V2 launch sites... The story in V2 spans a five day period and is told from the point of view of two characters on the different sides of the battle. Like Harris's other novels, this is a fictional account of historical events, and although it contains historical figures the two leads are fictional; the German scientist Rudi Graf, and British WAAF Kay Caton-Walsh. V2 is the third Robert Harris book I have read, and I would have to say it is the weakest by quite a way. Whilst the historical side of the story is interesting and well researched - covering both the development, construction and operation of the V2 rockets as well as British photographic intelligence work at RAF Medmenham - the book doesn't really have a plot to underpin it. Unlike Fatherland (with its quest to uncover a truth) or Enigma (which is a spy story), V2 is really just a sequence of events. Quite a bit of the novel actually reminded me of Enigma, and not just because of it's war time setting. Graf, though interesting, is really a watered down Tom Jericho; another intelligent, well educated character who seems to be on the edge of a breakdown, and as with Jericho it is questionable how much the character would really have been able to get away with, despite his position. Kay Caton-Walsh is possibly a bit more rounded, but again I found some of the events she was caught up in stretched credulity. Whether there was a better way to tell the same story I don't know, but some parts felt like padding and it sometimes came across as two or possibly three stories trying to work as one. I got through the book quite quickly (for me!) mainly because of the factual side of the story, but the longer it went on the more I increasingly found myself wondering where the plot was! (the ending is somewhat contrived as well). Overall, and despite some of the comments above, I did for the most part enjoy the book, but I suspect I would have enjoyed the next George Smiley I have to read more. Interesting for the historical information, a bit light on story. 3/5. I have a suspicion someone else read this recently, but I cannot remember who!
  7. Raven's Reads

    I enjoy them, and I've just finished the latest book in four days - which is pretty good going for me these days!
  8. The Last Film You Saw

    The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Return of the King, over two consecutive nights. I haven't seen either for a number of years now, so I quite enjoyed watching them again (the recent re-read of both books added to the experience as well!)
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings

    Not a huge amount to comment on in these chapters, because - with the exception of Helm's Deep - not a huge amount actually happens! - I suppose comparisons with the films are inevitable, but one of the differences that really sticks out for me is how surprisingly short The Battle of Helm's Deep is in print (just over 20 pages, compared to nearly a third of the film!). - Yes, two chapters of people just travelling to places for very long winded chats (and food!) where very little really happens! - Rather than being told first or third-person as something happens, Tolkien spends a lot of time explaining events after they have occurred, so in some ways any potential peril and tension is lost because the the person (or persons) in the exposition are usually the ones telling the story! - I don't know if anyone else thought this, but I don't find a huge difference between Pippin and Merry as characters. Pipping might be a little more reckless, and Merry a little more thoughtful, but by and large there isn't a huge difference between them! - Not something that is specific to these chapters, but Middle-Earth society seems to be split cleanly between the ruling classes and their servants. People are either Kings, Lords or lesser forms of nobility, or they are the ones polishing their boots (the exception appears to be those who have distinguished themselves in some way, which is usually in battle!). It's interesting that Tolkien does mention framers and millers etc, especially in the Shire, but there is not a lot of talk (if any) of merchants and trade routes. Been a bit busy for the last few weeks, and what free time I have had I've largely been trying to finish The Return of the King, before the next Rivers of London novel drops this week! The next four chapters, however, are: 10. The Voice of Saruman 11. The Palantír Book Four 1. The Taming of Sméagol 2. The Passage of the Marshes Precious....
  10. Less than a week to go before Amongst Our Weapons is released!
  11. Kindle and ebooks deals

    And today, the most recent Rivers of London book - False Value - is also 99p!
  12. Tracking Your Reading

    I don't read a huge number of books ever year, but I keep track of the ones I have in an old red Silvine notebook, that goes back to when I went to university in 1989 (I didn't start adding dates until '92!).
  13. Your Favourite Book when a Child?

    No, the book I am thinking of was a landscape picture book. I would only have been 7 or 8 at the time, as well, so I doubt there were a lot of words!
  14. J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings

    The next four chapters are: 6. The King of the Golden Hall 7. Helm's Deep 8. The Road to Isengard 9. Flotsam and Jetsam Don't go into the the trees...