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About France

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    Settling In
  • Birthday 06/27/1954

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  1. What's the weather like?

    I agree and I can't imagine the guests wanting to spend 45 minutes walking around in that heat even if I say we'll keep to the shady side of the street. The evening one doesn't start till 9.30 but it's forecast to still be 33° at 9.
  2. Too Hot To Cook

    It's salad, salad, salad here... and I always keep bottles of cold tap water in the fridge. My laptop has just informed me that it's 38.5°C (101°F) so I'd n=better call the dog in who is catching some sun.
  3. What's the weather like?

    Lower mid thirties would be warm but pleasant here in SW France! It's forecast to be 41 in Bordeaux tomorrow and I have three shifts, two of which involve taking groups on walks, one in the afternoon and one in the afternoon.
  4. France's reading 2022

    Oh William! - Elizabeth Strout I have liked pretty everything Elizabeth Strout has written (with the exception of Amy and Isabelle which just didn't gell for some reason). Her style tends to the episodic, many of her novels are loosely linked short stories, some of them hardly mentioning the main protagonist. She writes beautifully, has the knack of making even her tiresome characters appealing and making you feel that you truly understand them and why they behave as they do. This is the third of her books about Lucy Barton, the second in the series, Anything is Possible was one of the best books I read last year. Lucy is a widow in her 60s and is asked by her first husband William who she has remained on distant but friendly terms with to go on a road trip with him as he attempts to discover more about the family he is beginning to realise he doesn't know much about. it's not a long book and is written in a conversational style as if Lucy is talking to you. I enjoyed it a lot, not as much as the first two books, but still something I can wholeheartedly recommend. This could be read as a standalone but you'll get far more out of it if you've already read the first two books.
  5. France's reading 2022

    A Short History of the World According to Sheep - Sally Coultard One of those niche books covering how sheep and their use by humans has altered history. It's written in a bright breezy style and is full of the sort of facts that make you say, 'Did you know this?' Such the oldest woolen garment yet discovered is over 6000 years old, Viking sails were made from wool and they are actually rather intelligent and sociable. Really good fun, recommended.
  6. Quotes on backs of books

    Blurbs are the write ups on the back of books and they aren't necessarily very true to what happens in the book. My blurbs were written by my editor and I was usually rather surprised to see what she thought was happening in my books. Taglines are as you say something like 'Winter is coming', again it doesn't have to be particularly relevant. In my experience, going back 20 years so before the lines from "review Goodreads" etc, stuff taken off proper reviews were just quotes, I think I heard of puff quotes and yes they usually came from another author, usually with the same editor who had been asked to say something nice!
  7. I think this is probably my favourite of Jasper Fforde's books, I love nearly all of them though I didn't think the last one, The Constant Rabbit, was up to his usual standard.
  8. France's reading 2022

    Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead is set in the world of ballet, starting in the 1970s with Joan who knows she'll never make it to the top. She helps a Russian ballet star defect (shades of Mikhail Baryshnikov's escape), then after he dumps her retires from the ballet world to marry her high school sweetheart and the focus moves to her son and his best friend who are both highly talented. I wasn't expecting to like this book much, I wasn't overly impressed by Maggie Shipstead's first book Seating Arrangements, but I absolutely loved this. It didn't matter that I don't know a lot about ballet, the world drew me in and kept me totally engrossed. The ending was a bit flat but still can't spoil the effect of the book. It's beautifully written too. Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler. If you don't like Anne Tyler you'll think this is more of the same, if you do, and I automatically read everything of hers that comes my way, this is one of the best and most beguiling that she's written for ages. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. Two sisters in 18th century Ghana, one marries a slave trader, the other becomes a slave. There are two threads following the descendants of both sisters, in Ghana and in various parts of America until they intertwine a little at the end of the book. I'm a little torn in my reactions, it's an incredibly vivid book, there are scenes and events I won't forget but I found the structure, alternating chapters from each side of the family, a little bitty, particularly as we moved into more modern times there didn't seem to be time to get to know the characters and it detracted from the emotional effect of what happened to them. I don't often want books to be longer, I did here. It's still a really good book though. American Dirt by Jeanine Cummings . Lets not go into whether this book should have been written by a Mexican etc, I honestly don't know enough about the migrants, who they are and the real difficulties they face to have a knowledgeable opinion, all I can say is that as a page turner this works brilliantly. It's fast paced, the tension hardly ever lets up and if one or two bits are not very credible Jack Reacher isn't either and no-one gives that as a reason for not reading Lee Child.
  9. I've been eyeing LJ Ross. I listened to part of one of his books on Audible (a freebie) and though it seemed like it was developing into a terrific story it was so horribly descriptive of the torture inflicted on a young woman that I had to stop. Are they all like that?
  10. Your Book Activity - June 2022

    I read Patrick Gale's Mother's Boy in under two days (I was working too). It's wonderfully written and he has the knack of making characters who are not always very likeable extremely sympathetic. Loved it. On the other hand The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune which I wanted to read for ages was so overloaded with syrup that it could have given you diabetes. Childishly written too. I gave up.
  11. Your Book Activity - June 2022

    I agree, this was compulsive reading. It's one I would be happy to reread if it came up for a book group choice.
  12. Your Hobbies, Collections, and Obsessions

    Knitting is also a terrific way to help with anxiety. It also help with blood pressure.
  13. The British Book Awards 2022

    .I had a quick look at the link, it seems the books have been selected as much for how well they sold as any merit.
  14. Hello from Ireland

    I adore Pride and Prejudice, both as a book on on audio, I love listening to books I've already read and enjoyed. I used to be a firm paper book lover and just used my Kobo for travelling and in the gaps at work (I'm a tour guide and for some reason it's not seen as slacking between shifts to be immersed in an electronic device, having a real book in your hands is!). However I upgraded to a larger screen Kobo and it's so much more enjoyable.
  15. The Scarlet Pimpernel

    A lot shorter than The Three Musketeers! I agree, packed with swash and buckle, huge fun!