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Everything posted by poppyshake

  1. My Day in Books

    I've pinched this meme (and I've no idea what the word means) from another booksite, just fill in the missing bits with book titles (preferably from books you've read this year) for a bit of fun. My Day in Books I began the day with On my way to work I saw and walked by to avoid but I made sure to stop at In the office, my boss said, and sent me to research At lunch with I noticed under then went back to my desk, Later, on the journey home, I bought because I have then settling down for the evening, I picked up and studied before saying goodnight to
  2. Strictly Come Dancing

    So .. first show .. what did we think? My first thoughts ... most of them start with why Why oh why are the judges still dancing on? It's only half working, someone is always out of time and it sort of flags up the question 'who are you to judge?' .. I know they're knocking on a bit and not without their ailments but they don't let that hold them back when criticising others. I'm mainly talking about the male judges. Darcy is of course pretty flawless. Why have we still got the comedy VTs .. who likes them? .. anybody?? Embarrassing and amateur. I want to see more training. Ditto the terrible concepts and props .. save all that for Halloween or movie week .. let's just have dancing otherwise. The leering over Gleb is going to get pretty boring (unless I start leering .. in which case I won't notice ) Aljaz is easier on the eye imo .. and I think nicer but early days. Oti is amazing .. but Anthony can hardly get his right arm moving at all. That's going to cause probs .. unless it eases. Shame though as he has great potential. Kellie slightly irritated me .. but that may have been nerves (either her's or mine ) .. thought she danced well though. I liked both Anita and Helen. Hope Helen will be good at Latin though .. ballet dancery (think I've made that up) types sometimes only excel in Ballroom. Think Anita will be all round good. I nearly fell asleep when Daniel was talking .. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. His dancing wasn't as bad as I expected but I'm dreading the Latin Oh dear .. Carol .. bless her. Lovely, lovely lady but a comedy routine already? All the other pro dancers have a chance to catch up with Pasha's tally of 10s :D I doubt he'll be getting any this year Think she'll stay in for a while .. as she is a bit of a darling and it's always nice to see real beginners improve .. that's assuming she does Like Judy though she is embracing it .. which is great. The voters will sympathise/empathise. I'm imagining poor Natalie has been hampered with some terrible comedy chef routine .. which will somehow be shoehorned into a tango. Ainsley irritated me just by walking down the stairs .. well the bit before that actually .. but I love Nat so will be sad to see her out early. The person I'm most looking forward to or interested in is Jay .. not sure what's going to happen there. I think he suffers from nerves .. so that's endeared him to me already. Love Claud as always! Anyway, what do you think so far?
  3. Poppyshake's Reading Year 2017

    Books Read 2009 Books Read 2010 Books Read 2011 Books Read 2012 Books Read 2013 Books Read 2014 Books Read 2015 Books Read 2016 Total Books Read 2009 ... 49 - incomplete list (39 fiction, 9 non-fiction & 1 audio } male authors: 24 .. female authors: 25) Total books read in 2010 ... 141 (94 fiction, 9 non-fiction, 4 short stories, 2 plays & 32 audio } male authors: 75 .. female authors: 66) Total books read in 2011 ... 109 (71 fiction, 26 non-fiction, 1 short story & 11 audio } male authors: 54 .. female authors: 55) Total books read in 2012 ... 89 (50 fiction, 27 non-fiction, 3 short stories, 1 poem & 8 audio } male authors: 48 .. female authors: 41) Total books read in 2013 ... 109 (67 fiction, 21 non-fiction, 5 short stories, 1 poem, 1 essay, 1 collection & 13 audio } male authors: 57 .. female authors: 51 plus all those in the short story collection) Total Books Read 2014 ... 73 (47 fiction, 15 non-fiction, 6 short stories & 5 audio } male authors: 36, female authors: 37) Total Books Read 2015 ... 113 (83 fiction, 14 non-fiction, 2 short stories & 14 audio } ) Total Books Read 2016 ... 91 (57 fiction,15 non-fiction, 2 poetry books & 17 audio } ) Quicklinks Mount TBR 1001 Challenge Wishlist Conquering Mount Virginia The English Counties Challenge BCF Recommended Reads - Fiction BCF Recommended Reads - Non-Fiction Poached Quotes on Toast Poppyshake's 130 Books You Must Read Before Teatime I think I'll go back to scoring again this year as there's a definite difference between 3/5 and 4/5 on the liking it scale 5/5: Loved it! 4/5: Liked it enormously .. would have been a 'loved it' but for .... 3/5: Liked it! 2/5: Not really my cup of tea but, you know, tolerable! 1/5 Hated it .. probably abandoned it or SHOULD HAVE!!! Again, I didn't abandon any books last year. There was one that I should have and would have abandoned only I wanted to keep on with the series so I had to plug on. Was annoyed at it for taking up precious minutes .. not to say hours of reading time January 2017 1. Five Give Up the Booze - Bruno Vincent 3/5 review 2. St Lucy's Home for Girls Raised By Wolves - Karen Russell 4/5 review 3. The Evenings - Gerard Reve 4/5 review 4. Grayson Perry: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl - Wendy Jones 3/5 review 5. Magpie Murders - Anthony Horowitz 3/5 review 6. My Family and Other Animals - Gerald Durrell 5/5 review 7. Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain - Barney Norris (audio) 4/5 review 8. Olive Kitteridge - Elizabeth Strout 5/5 review 9. No Time Like the Past (The Chronicles of St Mary's #5) - Jodi Taylor (audio) 4/5 review 10. Cogheart - Peter Bunzl 4/5 review February 2017 11. The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes from a Small Island - Bill Bryson 5/5 review 12. A Kestrel for a Knave - Barry Hines 5/5 review 13. Hag-seed - Margaret Atwood 4/5 review 14. The Light Between Oceans - M.L. Stedman 5/5 review 15. The Secret of Nightingale Wood - Lucy Strange 4/5 review 16. The Flight of the Mind: The Letters of Virginia Woolf 1888-1912 (Vol One) - Edited by Nigel Nicolson 4/5 review 17. Strange Star - Emma Carroll 4/5 review March 2017 18. The January Man: A Year of Walking Britain - Christopher Somerville 4/5 review 19. The Muse - Jessie Burton (audio) 4/5 20. Another Little Christmas Murder - Lorna Nicholl Morgan 21. The President's Hat - Antoine Laurain 22. So Bright and Delicate: Love Letters and Poems of John Keats to Fanny Brawne 5/5 23. A Study in Scarlet - Arthur Conan Doyle (audio, short story) 4/5 24. Vaudeville - Gaetan Soucy 4/5 April 2017 24. Wide Sargasso Sea - Jean Rhys 4/5 25. The Lie Tree - Frances Hardinge (audio) 4/5 26. Sea (The Huntress #1) - Sarah Driver 4/5 27. The Essex Serpent - Sarah Perry 5/5 28. The Radleys - Matt Haig 4/5 29. Rock Stars Stole My Life - Mark Ellen 4/5 30. Beetle Boy (The Battle of the Beetles #1) - M.G. Leonard 4/5 May 2017 31. The Wee Free Men - Terry Pratchett 5/5 32. The Cider House Rules - John Irving 4/5 33. Letters from the Lighthouse - Emma Carroll 4/5 34. The Sign of the Four - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (audio) 3/5 35. Himself - Jess Kidd 5/5 36. The Stolen Child - Lisa Carey 4/5 37. All the Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr 5/5 38. Island Summers: Memories of a Norwegian Childhood - Tilly Culme-Seymour 4/5 39. The Time Machine - H.G. Wells 3/5 40. A Scandal in Bohemia (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes #1) - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (audio - short story) 4/5 41. The Red-Headed League (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes #2) - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (audio - short story) 4/5 42. H is for Hawk - Helen Macdonald 5/5 June 2017 43. The Invisible Man - H.G. Wells 4/5 44. Mrs Zant and the Ghost - Wilkie Collins (audio - short story) 3/5 45. A Rare Book of Cunning Device (Peter Grant short story) - Ben Aaronovitch (audio exclusive) 4/5 46. Bleaker House - Nell Stevens 5/5 47. Who Let the Gods Out? - Maz Evans 4/5 48. Big Little Lies - Liane Moriarty 5/5 49. Around Britain by Cake - Caroline Taggart 4/5 50. Golden Hill - Francis Spufford 4/5 51. The Secrets of Wishtide - Kate Saunders 2/5 July 2017 52. The Legend of Podkin One-Ear - Kieran Larwood 4/5 53. The Movie Doctors - Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo 4/5 54. The Amulet of Samarkand (The Bartimaeus Trilogy #1) - Jonathan Stroud (audio) 5/5 55. Talking to Addison - Jenny Colgan 3/5 56. The Golem's Eye (The Bartimaeus Trilogy #2) - Jonathan Stroud (audio) 5/5 57. What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (The Chronicles of St Mary's #6) - Jodi Taylor(audio) 4/5 58. Down Under - Bill Bryson 4/5 59. Beetle Queen (The Battle of the Beetles #2) - M.G. Leonard 60. Ptolemy's Gate (The Bartimaeus Trilogy #3) - Jonathan Stroud (audio) 5/5 61. The Goshawk - T.H. White 4/5 August 2017 62. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman (audio) 5/5 63. The Woman Who Stole My Life - Marian Keyes 2/5 (and that's generous!) 64. True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean - David Almond 3/5 65. An Almond for a Parrot - Wray Delaney 4/5 September 2017 66. A Walk in the Woods - Bill Bryson 4/5 67. How Not to be a Boy - Robert Webb (audio) 5/5 October 2017 68. How To Be Champion - Sarah Millican (audio) 4/5 69. The Diary of a Bookseller - Shaun Bythell 4/5 November 2017 70. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling (audio) 5/5 (re-listen) 71. The Princess Bride - William Goldman 4/5 72. Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink - Elvis Costello 4/5 73. The Secrets of Gaslight Lane (The Gower Street Detective #4) - M.R.C. Kasasian 3/5 74. The Affair of the Bloodstained Egg Cosy (Burford Family #1) - James Anderson 3/5 75. La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust #1) - Philip Pullman 4/5 76. The Christmas Chronicles: Notes, Stories and Recipes for Midwinter - Nigel Slater 5/5 December 2017 77. Dragon's Green (Worldquake Sequence #1) - Scarlett Thomas 4/5 78. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens (audio) 5/5 (re-listen) 79. The Girl Who Saved Christmas (Christmas #2) - Matt Haig 4/5 80. Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor #1) - Jessica Townsend (audio) 4/5 81. The Travelling Cat Chronicles - Hiro Arikawa 5/5 82. Thin Air - Michelle Paver 4/5 83. Wolf Brother (Chronicles of Ancient Darkness #1) - Michelle Paver 4/5 84. Mr Dickens and His Carol - Samantha Silva 3/5 85. The Wizards of Once (The Wizards of Once #1) - Cressida Cowell (audio) 4/5 86. Spirit Walker (The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness #2) - Michelle Paver 87. Father Christmas and Me (Christmas #3) - Matt Haig 88. The Keeper of Lost Things - Ruth Hogan 3/5 89. Dark Matter - Michelle Paver 4/5 90. A Poem For Every Night of the Year - Edited by Allie Esiri 4/5
  4. Claire's Wainwright Prize challenge

    Yes .. it was me! I enjoyed it, some parts more than others but, on the whole, great read! Edit: If either of you want to borrow it you're welcome .. I'll bring it with me next time we meet
  5. Poppyshake's Reading Year 2017

    I'm also confused now I should have read about Nancy before as I've often got one leg in Bloomsbury so to speak but nope .. can't recall her at all or Lawrence (the first ) From Gerald's recollections .. I didn't much care for brothers Lawrence and Leslie.
  6. Poppyshake's Reading Year 2017

    Thanks Hayley The film is well worth seeing, it's beautifully acted. The two leads are amazing. Hi Gaia! You will have to get around to it soon, I'm sure you'll like it. Hope so anyway It all went wrong poppy Thank you lovely
  7. Poppyshake's Reading Year 2017

    ^^ That went a little wrong somehow
  8. Poppyshake's 'Conquering Mount Virginia' Challenge

    Goodness!! It's been far too long since I've been here .. mostly because I haven't got a lot further with conquering Mount Virginia though I have read volume one of her letters and have bought a copy of The Waves .. so that's progress! I thought about listening to it .. and will still keep that as an option should the reading not go well (confidence ) .. as a sort of aid. Sometimes a book read well can make a lot more sense than it does when it's just tumbling about in your head. I am a little bit daunted but also intrigued and determined although I notice that I'm not that determined as I haven't yet picked it up Anyway, I'll attempt a review of volume one of her letters. The Flight of the Mind: The Letters of Virginia Woolf, Volume 1, 1888-1912 Very insightful. By the end of this volume of letters Virginia is beginning to get her first novel (The Voyage Out) into shape .. and is a sought after literary reviewer and essayist too, writing pieces for The Guardian and The Times Literary Supplement amongst others. She goes through some extremely affecting changes during this time period. Her mother died in 1895 and her half sister, Stella, in 1897 .. and it's around this time that she experiences her first nervous breakdown (little is mentioned in the letters about any of her breakdowns .. or nothing in detail anyway as, of course, she never wrote any letters during these times so they were experiences that were only talked about with fear on their approach or loathing afterwards.) In 1904 she loses her father and his illness is much detailed here, she sends out daily bulletins to family and friends and is very instrumental in his daily care. Losing him was perhaps the biggest blow to her and it contributed to her most serious mental collapse (or thus far anyway.) Partly I think because, although extremely ill, he lingered for quite a while and Virginia was so aware of every little symptom and temperature change etc .. and then it was mostly left to her to communicate all of this to those waiting for news. Her nerves were shredded and life was practically on hold at Hyde Park Gate. Also there were financial considerations, who will provide for the family once her father has gone and where will they live? Perhaps the most sad loss of all though was the death of her beloved brother Thoby, from typhoid which he contracted in Greece. Virginia and Vanessa had also travelled to Greece but returned when Vanessa became unwell to find Thoby already at home .. extremely ill. Vanessa recovered but Thoby did not. One of the saddest things I read in this volume were Virginia's letters to her great friend Violet Dickinson during Thoby's illness. Violet herself was also extremely ill with typhoid and when Thoby died, Virginia felt strongly that she should keep writing to Violet as if he were still alive so as not to alarm her or bring about a crisis. So she wrote about his increasing appetite and how he might get up tomorrow etc and how the doctors were pleased with him etc .. and this went on for a good three weeks!!! Bearing in mind that Thoby .. next to Vanessa .. was the person that Virginia loved most .. it's almost inconceivable that she put herself through it. Perhaps she shouldn't have .. all these things were such a strain on her already fractured peace of mind. The majority of the letters printed here are to Violet, probably because she was most assiduous in keeping them, but there's a definite difference between the letters written to Violet during the first two thirds of this collection and those written after. To begin with Virginia's letters are very warm, in fact they're positively gushing .. they have pet names for each other and when apart Virginia hardly knows how she will cope before they're together again and she's always impatient for letters and news. Violet is much older (seventeen years I think or thereabouts .. and married) and Virginia is smitten with her, she relies on her for advice and comfort and there are hints that the relationship may have been a sexual one but later on, as Virginia develops and becomes more confident in her writing etc, there is a definite cooling off or a sea change anyway and it feels as if Virginia, although the younger, is leaving Violet behind .. and moving on and developing. Anyhow this is a fascinating collection of letters. Virginia has a sharp eye and a sharp tongue, is gossipy, witty and confiding and of course, highly intelligent and observant. Probably best of all is the insight into her writing and in particular her first novel. How she is shaping it and arguing with herself about it and fretting over it and deliberating over the names of her characters etc. Riveting!
  9. Your Book Activity - May 2017

    Currently reading H.G.Wells' 'The Time Machine' and 'H is for Hawk' by Helen Macdonald Need to download an audiobook to keep me company on walks but not sure which one to get!?!
  10. Poppyshake's Reading Year 2017

    The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman Synopsis: Shattered by his experiences in the World War 1 trenches, veteran Tom Sherbourne returns to his home in Australia to his wife Isabel. Looking for restoration and peace the couple move to an isolated lighthouse where they try to rebuild their lives and long for a child that never comes. Then, one day, a boat washes ashore with a baby inside - a gift that offers the hope of a future they've longed for but the consequences of their actions may be more far-reaching than they could ever have imagined. Review: Though I've copied the synopsis from Waterstone's .. it's garbage Like misheard lyrics, especially the first part. Tom has returned from the trenches and he does get a job as a lighthouse keeper, on the remote (and fictional) island of Janus (in Australia.) There's nobody else on the island and it's balm to Tom, a place where he can heal. On one of his trips to the mainland (and in fact this may have happened before he went to the island for the first time .. I can't quite recall .. but they certainly didn't marry at that point) he meets Isabel. Tom doesn't have marriage in mind at all, the island is not really suitable for a young wife. It's a wild place, sometimes serene but often savage as it's situated between two oceans and completely isolating. It hasn't ended happily for some of the previous occupants. He's broken down too by his experiences in the war, not suitable company or so he thinks. Isabel though has her own reasons for wishing to escape. Her two brothers died during the war and her parents are almost suffocating her with their love (and loss) plus few eligible men have come her way .. certainly none as appealing to her as Tom. She more or less proposes to him or plants the seed anyway and after spending some more time alone on Janus .. Tom asks her to be his wife. To begin with they're blissfully happy. Isabel is as enchanted by the island as Tom and they fall head over heels in love but then follows a series of pregnancies and miscarriages .. each more painful than the last and Isabel begins to despair. She can't see a way forward, doesn't want to see a way forward .. until that is the day a boat washes up .. with a dead man inside and a live baby girl. Surely, it's a miracle. I can't say any more than this because it would be too spoilery (and you know I never spoil :lol:) but suffice it to say that I spent the rest of the book in tears and all my heartstrings were stretched to breaking point. It's such an emotional read. I watched the film adaptation of it shortly afterwards and, though they didn't strictly stick to the plotline (do they ever??,) they did an admirable job and once again I cried buckets. I really like Michael Fassbender anyway and also Alicia Vikander (saw her recently in Testament of Youth and thought she was brilliant) and they were perfect as Tom and Isabel. A really enjoyable read. Yes I spent most of it sniffing but that's good for you .. I'm all in favour of having a good cry. It didn't end as I wanted it to .. which gave me the extra sniffs. I'm not sure what I wanted actually but it wasn't what I was given but in a way it was good .. my way (whatever it was) would have been too convenient. I felt heart sore after reading it because the characters had got under my skin but it's such a page turner and completely engrossing that it was worth the pain. Keep your tissue box handy unless you are made of stone 5/5
  11. Poppyshake's Reading Year 2017

    Think I've found a way to still write in good old trebuchet .. until the alarms go off anyway Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood Synopsis: Felix is at the top of his game as Artistic Director of the Makeshiweg Theatre festival. His productions have amazed and confounded. Now he's staging a Tempest like no other: not only will it boost his reputation, it will heal emotional wounds. Or that was the plan. Instead, after an act of unforeseen treachery, Felix is living in exile in a backwoods hovel, haunted by memories of his beloved lost daughter, Miranda. And also brewing revenge. After twelve years, revenge finally arrives in the shape of a theatre course at a nearby prison. Here, Felix and his inmate actors will put on his Tempest and snare the traitors who destroyed him. Review: I enjoyed this re-telling of Shakespeare's The Tempest. I hadn't read the original play which in hindsight would have been desirable, I had an understanding of it (and there is an outline at the back of this book) but doubt I got the full picture. Possibly, even if I hadn't known a thing about it, I'd still have enjoyed this, although part of the pleasure in reading any re-telling is to look for all the parallels etc and to see how cleverly the author incorporates the old story into the new. At times it did feel a bit forced but on the whole it was smooth, easy and intriguing. It's very visual, quite dark and often funny. Intelligent too, I felt I needed to be firing on all cylinders to keep pace with it. I particularly liked the incorporation of Felix's dead daughter Miranda - she's very much alive to him and as such has huge influence on his actions. I'm not so sure about the rapping!! It was less painful to read than Tolkien's poems (shorter for a start) but I felt vaguely uneasy about it as if I could see Margaret at her desk, dressed as, and channelling the spirit of, Kanye I recently listened to (on the radio though so I haven't counted it as a book read) an adaptation of Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler which is a re-telling of The Taming of the Shrew and wasn't that impressed. Rightly or wrongly it put me off of reading the book though it had been on my wishlist before. Jeanette Winterson's The Gap of Time (re-telling of The Winter's Tale) is on my radar though .. I like her writing anyway and it's had good reviews. This one was definitely worth reading, it takes flight and invites your imagination along. 4/5
  12. Poppyshake's Reading Year 2017

    Oh! .. I'm having to type in the default font .. bear with! I'm sure I shall get used to it but at the moment .. it's like a scone without butter/winter without Christmas/Kate without Bush etc. I'm going to have to man up! Something very odd happened to one of my earlier posts during the update but I think I have it sorted now. I still have colours .. that's a comfort isn't it? Actually one of the reasons I didn't use my iPad for writing posts here was that I couldn't change the font so perhaps I will use it now .. suddenly the world is opening up to me
  13. Poppyshake's Reading Year 2017

    Thanks bobbs Sorry for the huge delay in replying ... life swallowed me up for a bit. Hope you do enjoy A Kestrel For A Knave if you get around to it.
  14. What are you listening to?

    Another one-off! and ... Ooh .. abrupt ending! There's not many songs where you'd get lines like these ones .. 9.15 Monday morning at the printing works the boss notices someone's not clocked in. And the water department of the council offices have a message that Mrs Park's daughter is missing. Meanwhile the Carlisle turn-off of the M6 Motorway, drinking cold black coffee, eating hot cup-cakes. She stares at him with his beard unshaved. Wonders at his power of staying awake. He whispers slowly 'you did just fine', they shared the driving all through the night. She laughs 'my mother will have lost her mind, we're only ten miles to Gretna they're three hundred behind.' Fabulous .. and I love it even more that he works at the printing works
  15. What are you listening to?

    This can still move me to tears .. along with Alone Again (Naturally.) I loved Gilbert in his 'schoolboy' phase in particular .. such thought provoking lyrics. He was a one-off.
  16. Your Book Activity - March 2017

    Awww .. so glad you enjoyed it It always gets such good reviews so I thought I'd be pretty safe with it but you never know. Most Persephone books meander along though don't they? .. the ones I've read have anyway, but I love them for that. They're not hectic at all .. it's always so relaxing to read them
  17. Claire's Book List 2017

    Of course he has
  18. Poppyshake's Reading Year 2017

    Yes, definitely. I'm glad he didn't make changes Oh well, that's what makes the world go round You're not alone in your opinion of Bill's writing .. but then neither am I
  19. Poppyshake's Reading Year 2017

    A Kestrel for a Knave by Barry Hines Synopsis: With prose that is every bit as raw, intense and bitingly honest as the world it depicts, Barry Hines's A Kestrel for a Knave contains a new afterword by the author in Penguin Modern Classics. Life is tough and cheerless for Billy Casper, a troubled teenager growing up in the small Yorkshire mining town of Barnsley. Treated as a failure at school, and unhappy at home, Billy discovers a new passion in life when he finds Kes, a kestrel hawk. Billy identifies with her silent strength and she inspires in him the trust and love that nothing else can, discovering through her the passion missing from his life. Thoughts: This was so harrowing and painful. I knew the content would be hard hitting as I'd seen the film Kes .. many moons ago and once seen never forgotten but there was so much more here. The author has really captured what it means to be lonely and outcast. I wanted to shake the people in it until their teeth rattled. It came close to being unbearable at times but the writing is sublime and Billy, though constantly un-appreciated and bullied, is not entirely cast down. He's a survivor, he'll stick two fingers up to the world and give back as good as he gets. That doesn't mean to say that you don't feel immense sympathy for him. I felt in pain reading most of it. Billy lives at home with his mum and brother, it's not what you would call a loving home. They are poor and there's nothing in the way of home comforts. It's the sort of household where your morning greeting might well be a slap. At school Billy has got a champion in Mr Farthing, his teacher, somebody who can see that all he lacks is encouragement but sadly there are far too many tormentors. There is one gleaming beacon of light in Billy's life and that's his kestrel, Kes. Billy took Kes from her nest when she was just a young chick. He's trained her and lavished upon her the sort of care and attention that is entirely missing from his own life. She's not the sort of pet that will love you though. She's not really interested. She's an independent spirit and Billy loves that about her. There's an afterword in this edition by Barry and in it he says that he wouldn't use dialect if writing it today (alas Barry died last year ) but I liked the dialect, it gave such a strong sense of place and added to the authenticity. Such a raw and biting story and so painfully honest. The ending will shake you. This is a book from the English Counties Challenge list (and the 1001) so hooray, I've ticked another one off and, by doing it, read one of the most outstanding British novels ever. It's a constant on school curriculums and rightly so. 5/5
  20. Poppyshake's Reading Year 2017

    The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson Synopsis: Bill Bryson's The Road to Little Dribbling marks the return of the world’s favourite anglophile to his beloved Britain, and the result is a still properly-funny, and sometimes withering, summary of where we are today. Two decades ago saw the publication of Notes from A Small Island, Bryson's often-ascerbic and sporadically baffled gazeteer of our fair isle; his humour and evident love for Britain found a legion of fans, with Waterstones in particular providing a certain kinship for Des Moines' most famous son. Now many, many shop events and a number of equally-superb books later, The Road to Little Dribbling reminds us of just how clear-eyed his vision is: there's much humour here, but it's a humour laced with a certain quiet truth that Blighty has undergone massive change - and not all necessarily to the good. In a journey that takes us from Bognor Regis to Cape Wrath (by way of a myriad of other destinations, largely as yet unobserved by the gimlet-eyed Bryson), we are served with his unequalled delight in obscure fact and ability to cast a new light on the deeply familiar, presenting a version of Britain that is at once revealing and strangely compelling. Thoughts: Oh how I laughed I do love comedic ranters and especially those whose bark is worse than their bite and Bill is definitely one of those. He says it all with a twinkle in his eye so you can't get too offended even if he does rubbish your favourite places. Actually he pretty much said what I was thinking .. that the place is going to the dogs!! That a lot of what we should have held dear has been thrown away or is in the process of being thrown away and that nothing is as good as it was (well, a few things/places are .. Oxford has gone up in his estimation for one.) Places that were once thriving and busy (Dover for example) are now suffering a slow and painful death. We don't value our countryside as much as we once did, ditto the butcher/baker/candlestick maker, we are one of the worst litter droppers in the world, we are not the polite apologists we once were .. we don't want to spend any money on infrastructure (well .. not us .. the powers that be) .. and the National Trust want to fleece us of every penny we have ( .. they did come in for some stick here but I believe he re-joined at some point so he wasn't as anti as he was making out and it's true they do clobber you with charges .. you can't even breathe without it costing you ) God bless them though. Yes he is grumpy about it all but he's very funny when he's grumpy and he still loves this island just as much as he ever did. His love of it actually shines out. There's plenty of really informative history too which I always like reading about. If you like him already I think you'll like this (although it seems to be a bridge too far for some former fans) but if not then this definitely won't convert you. I laughed so much though and read bits out and basically annoyed anyone who was sharing room space with me. Long may Bill continue to rant and grumble 5/5
  21. What are you listening to?

    You've got to love a song that includes the words 'bibbity-bobbity hat'!!
  22. Frankie reads 2017

    Excellent news .. what a weight off your mind I like the sound of your traveller's notebook .. you will have to travel now or else what will you write in it? Hope you enjoy your new books .. I've read A Man Called Ove .. it's delightful
  23. Claire's Book List 2017

    Al bought me this for my birthday I only half read what you've just written but I can tell you liked it which is encouraging
  24. Health and Fitness

    It is a big problem because I feel tired all the time anyway .. so they've not helped .. the first time I took them it scared me half to death because my heart felt like it was only beating once every hour!!!! A really strange feeling. Like being slowed down to an almost stop. To a certain extent I'm used to them now but they take all the zip out of you. I've hit the age now (actually I hit it a long time ago ) where high anxiety will take its toll though (I once went to a course of relaxation classes at the local hospital .. I was never so stressed in all my life! ) so adjustments have to be made. You're doing amazing with your new diet and everything Hayley You're so disciplined too .. that's key I think. You're welcome .. hope it helps You might notice patterns etc.