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Posts posted by Ooshie

  1. And a very late entry ... :lol:


    BOOKS READ IN 2017

    A Country Road, A Tree –  Jo Baker

    A Family Romance –  Anita Brookner

    A Private View –  Anita Brookner

    A Spool of Blue Thread –  Anne Tyler

    Autumn: A Folio Anthology –  Various

    Behind Her Eyes - Sarah Pinborough

    Black Water –  Louise Doughty

    Cast Iron –  Peter May

    Dark Fire –  C J Sansom

    Days Without End – Sebastian Barry

    Dead Man’s Walk – Larry McMurtry

    Dissolution –  C J Sansom

    Double Fault – Lionel Shriver

    Eats, Shoots & Leaves - Lynne Truss

    Eileen – Ottessa Moshfegh

    End of Watch – Stephen King

    Falling Slowly – Anita Brookner

    Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain –  Barney Norris

    Fraud –  Anita Brookner

    I See You – Clare Mackintosh

    Last Seen Alive – Claire Douglas

    Latecomers – Anita Brookner

    Mrs Dalloway –  Virginia Woolf

    Ms Derby Requests – Sean Chapman (e-book)

    My Name is Lucy Barton - Elizabeth Strout

    Olive Kitteridge –  Elizabeth Strout

    Playing with Fire – Tess Gerritsen

    Rushing Waters – Danielle Steel

    Slade House –  David Mitchell

    Small Great Things – Jodi Picoult

    SS-GB – Len Deighton

    The Blood in the Moon – Sean Chapman (e-book)

    The Blue Flower –  Penelope Fitzgerald

    The Couple Next Door - Shari Lapena

    The Dandelion Years – Erica James

    The Drowned Boy – Karin Fossum

    The Giver – Lois Lowry

    The Hellbound Heart – Clive Barker

    The Lake House –  Kate Morton

    The Leftovers – Tom Perrotta

    The Lesser Bohemians – Eimear McBride

    The Mistletoe Bride – Kate Mosse

    The Novel Habits of Happiness – Alexander McCall Smith

    The Shining – Stephen King

    The Sport of Kings – C E Morgan

    The Swimming Pool – Louise Candlish

    The Tobacconist – Robert Seethaler

    The Waters of Eternal Youth – Donna Leon

    The Widow – Fiona Barton

    Uncle Silas – J Sheridan Le Fanu

    What Belongs to You – Garth Greenwell


    Most unexpectedly enjoyable - The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride

    Most disappointing  - The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta (a bit unfair, perhaps as my disappointment was mostly due to the book being nothing like the series, which I loved)

    Disliked most - Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh (all I can remember is that I found it a thoroughly unpleasant little book from beginning to end)

    There was no overall favourite as I thoroughly enjoyed lots of my reading this year :)  If I had to pick just one book to keep and read again... no, can't do it, too hard!

  2. I would definitely have Hilary Mantel in my top five; although I have only read a few of her books, they are all among my favourites.


    A quote from an article in The Guardian mentions that  "each of her novels is a new world, freshly imagined in a special language, but in every one the twists of human desire and fear are exactly charted", and I would say that is a very good description.  Her books stay with me long after I have finished reading them, in all sorts of different ways.


    For me, she does qualify as a 'great' writer rather than just an 'entertaining' one.

  3. FutureLearn (owned by The Open University) are starting a free course which looks interesting on Monday 24th July.  It is with The University of Edinburgh, some details below:


    How to Read A Novel


    We will be looking at four of the main building blocks in fiction: plot, characterisation, dialogue, and setting. We’ll show you how each of these elements work, exploring different examples from modern and classic texts, and showing you what to look out for when reading novels for yourself.

    This course will teach you how to be a more incisive reader, giving you skills to apply in all your future reading.

    We’ll also be looking at examples from some of the very best in contemporary fiction, exploring what makes them work so successfully, and what effect they have on us, the reader.

    We look forward to you joining us in July on this fascinating journey into the world of fiction.

    I do love my reading, but don't usually spend much time analysing the books I read, so hope it might give me a deeper understanding and add to my enjoyment in that way!

  4. That my first encounter with Mitko B. ended in a betrayal, even a minor one, should have given me greater warning at the time, which should in turn have made my desire for him less, if not done away with it completely.


    What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell (which I have just finished)



    From the doorway I can already smell the scent of old books, a perfume of crumbling pages and time-worn leather.


    Playing with Fire by Tess Gerritsen (which I have just started)


  5. I have just finished What Belongs to You  by Garth Greenwell; I found the writing very similar to that of Alan Hollinghurst, so anyone who has enjoyed AH's books might enjoy it.  I found the ending of the book very moving.


    A couple more for the list are The Spell and The Stranger's Child.  I found them both good reads, but didn't enjoy them quite as much as The Line of Beauty.

  6. On 24/06/2017 at 1:43 PM, frankie said:


    Oooh, thanks Ooshie for the recommendation! :smile2: I checked the library if they had copies of it, and the cover of the book looked suspiciously familiar. I think they only recently acquired their copy at the library and I've seen the book in the new acquired books -online list. The title doesn't mention anything about books so I didn't inspect the book more closely. I reserved a copy and it's already arrived :D  I hope I will get to it soon. 


    Another book related book that I reserved a few months ago has also arrived, so I don't know which one I'll read first. But as you are into these books, too, I'll reveal the title and blurb for your advantage, should you like to read it, too :D


    The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan 


    Nina Redmond is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion ... and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more. 


    Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling.


    From helping her grumpy landlord deliver a lamb to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there's plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that's beginning to feel home ... a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending. 


    (I think chesilbeach recommended the author to me, and when I checked her work, I thought the best book to start with would obviously be the one about books :D ) 



    I've never even heard of Erica James myself, I don't think! :) I'm glad to hear you've liked her other books at least. I hope this one will be fun, too! :)



    Other books in the genre that I would recommend off the top of my head are The Secret of Happy Ever After by Lucy Dillon and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. Lovely reads :wub:   My most favorite ones in this genre, off the top of my head. 


    I'm so glad you found it so quickly, @frankie, I really hope you enjoy it - hopefully you will as chaliepud liked it so much too!


    Thanks for the extra suggestions; the title of The Bookshop on the Corner is ringing a bell with me, although the storyline isn't.  I have had a good search and can't find it on any of my TBR piles, though.   I wonder whether I have seen it at my Mum's house?  I will need to look next time I am there!  I haven't heard of the other two so they can go straight on my wish list :)

  7. On 25/06/2017 at 9:36 AM, chesilbeach said:


    According to Fantastic Fiction, she wrote 26 novels...


    ...I have to admit, before I started listening to the Backlisted podcast, I'd only heard of Hotel du Lac and I'm surprised that was only her fourth novel.  I do love a nice matching series of books, but I'm not keen on the Penguin reissues, as they use the same typeface that would have been used in the original editions, and they seem very low quality, in that the paper is very thin too.  I do like the look of the covers, a clean white cover with a simple title and picture so they all match, but I think I might start looking out for second hand editions too, to see if they're any better quality.  It's not a hard and fast challenge for me, but I can see it might be come one in the future, so I will keep an eye out for them and see how it goes.



    Good to know I still have a quite a lot to go!  Those I have read so far are marked in green:#


    A Start in Life (1981)
    Providence (1982)
    Look At Me (1983)

    Hotel Du Lac (1984)
    Family and Friends (1985)
    A Misalliance (1986)
    A Friend From England (1987)
    Latecomers (1988)
    Lewis Percy (1989)
    Brief Lives (1990)
    A Closed Eye (1991)
    Fraud (1992)
    A Family Romance (1993)
    A Private View (1994)
    Incidents in the Rue Laugier (1995)
    Altered States (1996)
    Visitors (1997)
    Falling Slowly (1998)
    Undue Influence (1999)
    The Bay of Angels (2001)
    The Next Big Thing (2002)
    The Rules of Engagement (2003)
    Leaving Home (2005)
    Strangers (2009)


    and I still have The Next Big Thing on my TBR pile.


    I agree with you about the quality of the paper and the typeface, though I have checked the older editions I have (with the coloured covers) and they don't seem to be of better quality; hopefully you will manage to track down some nicer ones.  Like you, I do prefer the covers of the reissues but, much as I would like to, I don't think I will replace those I have with the coloured covers unless the price drops very significantly! 


  8. Looks like your reading is going really well this year!


    I had read a few Brookner novels in years gone by and enjoyed them, so when they started to be reissued (after her death?) I began to read them in order, too.  I think I have missed a couple, though, as they weren't available when I was ready to buy a couple more, so I will need to check whether I can get hold of those yet.  I have fourteen of them altogether, with one still to read; I really like to have one or two waiting now, so I can start right away if I am in the mood for her writing.


    I remember getting through The Go-Between fairly quickly, but I think that was because I left it in the office as my 'lunch hour' book, so there was nothing else to distract me from it!



  9. Your reviews of the 'Dark Tower' books are really useful, @ian.  I have read most of Stephen King's other fiction (and have just finished 'End of Watch') but for some reason have never picked up the DT series - it was good to be reminded they are there waiting for me!


    I'm glad you enjoyed the Desmond Bagley;  I read all his books in the 70s/early 80s, and liked them a lot.

  10. 5 minutes ago, Athena said:

    I haven't read The Dandelion Years myself (it's on my TBR), but I have read 3 other books by Erica James and liked those. The Dandelion Years does sound like something Frankie might like :).


    I think I had read another two books by her quite a few years ago and enjoyed those two, so as well as the bookshop/books/library theme appealing to me very much I did think I should enjoy it.  It was nice to be proved right! :)

  11. Hi Frankie, just a heads-up about another book you might enjoy - The Dandelion Years by Erica James.  The main character restores antique books, her father runs a second-hand bookshop, and there are quite a few mentions of a large house with a big library...  my mother passed it on to me just the other day, and it is quite a light, easy read for when you are in the mood for that. 


    The blurb on the back is:


    'Someone had made a perfect job of creating a place in which to hide a notebook... there was no address, only a date: September 1932...'


    Ashcombe was the most beautiful house Saskia had ever seen as a little girl.  A rambling cottage on the edge of a Suffolk village, it provided a perfect sanctuary to hide from the tragedy which shattered her childhood.


    Now an adult, Saskia is still living at Ashcombe and as a book restorer devotes her days to tending to broken and battered books, daydreaming about the people who had once turned their pages.  When she discovers a hidden notebook  and realises someone has gone to a great deal of trouble to hide a story of their own - Saskia finds herself drawn into a heart-rending tale of wartime love.

  12. 37 minutes ago, David James said:

    I guess it comes down to where you decide to read in public. It doesn't matter really but there are some books out there or even specific genres that will make people think of you 'negatively'. I posted an image in an earlier post of a front cover of Lolita, would it bother you to see someone reading that near a school or where lots of children were about? That's the point I'm trying to make. Your age, gender, dress sense, etc, would also play a part in someone's judgement of you. 


    I have already stated that the reading of Lolita doesn't bother me, and the front cover you have posted doesn't alter my feelings on that.  It wouldn't bother me at all seeing someone reading it near a school or where lots of children are about.


    I do think I have entirely understood the points you have been trying to make in all your previous posts.  It is purely that I don't have the reactions you mention, and have never encountered anyone in any part of the country I have lived in having an openly negative reaction to anything being read by someone else either.  It seems that no-one who has posted on this thread has encountered such a reaction. 


    I'm just somewhat puzzled by why you keep pushing your hypothesis.  Everyone who has posted seems to understand it perfectly well; it's just that no-one has had any experiences which support it.

  13. 7 hours ago, David James said:


    Everyone judges though. Some people do it more openly than others. Some do it on a conscious level as opposed to the subconscious mindset etc. I don't it's necessarily always a bad thing, making assumptions (even if they later turned out to be false) could possibly save you from certain situations and so on. 


    How many people have you ever seen books about serial killers? Let's be serious. The infamous serial killer Ian Brady died recently, read a book about The Moors Murders in public and see the responses you will get from people.




    I have never lived in an area where anyone would dream of openly reacting to the reading matter of another with even a very British 'tut'!  And if they are not openly reacting, what does it matter if they are thinking negatively or positively about the work in question?


    Really - I would happily read a book about the Moors Murderers in public.  I wouldn't think twice about it, and wouldn't give a second thought to seeing anyone else read a similar book. 


    Thank you for the discussion though - it is amusing me greatly!

  14. 24 minutes ago, David James said:


    It's the same as reading about serial killers, etc, anything that is considered outside of what society defines as "normal" would put you open for possible confrontation.



    Goodness, you must live in a very judgemental area.  Probably good then that you have such a developed sensitivity to what might be considered 'normal', it will no doubt save you from a lot of difficulties.

  15. 32 minutes ago, frankie said:


    This is exactly why I picked this book to read :yes:  :D 



    And again, you've hit the nail! I've been unable to read anything other than romantic novels and thrillers for quite a few months now, for some reason. Maybe work tires me too much. Anyhow, there's another book set in a bookshop I read earlier this year and I would recommend it over the one I've just reviewed. It's name is How to Find Love in a Book Shop and it's by Veronica Henry.



    Thanks, frankie, that's my next two purchases sorted! :readingtwo:

  16. 9 minutes ago, frankie said:

    19. The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts by Annie Darling 



    Blurb: Once upon a time in a crumbling London bookshop, Posy Morland spends her life lost in the pages of her favourite romantic novels. 


    So when Bookend's eccentric owner, Lavinia, dies and leaves the shop to Posy, she must put down her books and join the real world. Because Posy hasn't just inherited an ailing business, but also the unwelcome attentions of Lavinia's grandson, Sebastian, AKA The Rudest Man In London. 


    As Posy and her friends fight to save their beloved bookshop, Posy's drawn into a battle of wills with the infuriating Sebastian, about whom she's started to have some rather feverish fantasies... 



    Thoughts: An enjoyable read, but nothing to write home about. Not awfully original, but a likable read all the same. 




    I love books where the story is set in a bookshop!  Sounds like a nice, gentle read - ideal when too stressed or tired to tackle anything requiring lots of thinking; I love to keep a few books like that on my TBR pile.

  17. 2 hours ago, David James said:


    But there is a difference between reading such material in your home compared to in public. I highly doubt someone who supports left-wing politics would be seen dead reading Mein Kampf because they wouldn't want to be judged as a Nazi, the exact same way someone who supports right-wing politics would not be seen dead reading The Communist Manifesto because they wouldn't want to be judged as a communist. 


    People are free to read whatever they want wherever they want to but they should also be aware with the reality that passersby will judge you on the book you decide to read in public. Another example without using politics or religion is would you feel comfortable seeing someone reading Lolita in public? I'm sure parents familiar with the book wouldn't be too exactly pleased. Certain books are bound to have strong emotional responses to them. 


    Is what you are saying that you have those responses to seeing people reading books of those types, @David James?  If so, all well and good, but I have literally never known anyone else (either online or in real life) who has indicated to me that they do so.


    I would never assume that someone reading a book which espouses a particular viewpoint shares that view.  Even if I did, each to their own - everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I'm not going to feel negative about someone having an opinion which differs from mine.


    And as to your example of Lolita, well, as both a parent and someone who was groomed and abused as a child, I have both read the book and seen the 1962 film several times.  Neither the film nor the book displeased me or made me uncomfortable.  If I were to see someone reading the book, all I would be likely to think would be to wonder whether they are enjoying it as much as I did, whether they are enjoying the style of the writing, Humbert as 'unreliable narrator' etc.


    As I said in my post above, I am always just delighted to see anyone reading, and interested in what they have chosen.

  18. On 13/06/2017 at 4:32 PM, David James said:


    If you were to see someone reading a political book, would you make the assumption that they were supportive of that ideology? 


    For example, if you were to see someone reading Karl Marx's Capital: Critique of Political Economy, would you assume they were left-wing inclined such as a communist, Marxist or socialist? Or, if you were to see someone reading Margaret Thatcher's The Downing Street Years, would you assume they were centre-right inclined such as a Conservative? 


    Personally, I wouldn't - I would assume that they were reading it for interest or from intellectual curiosity.  But that's probably just because it would be my own motivation for reading works like that.


    I do think people make judgements about others based on what they see them reading.  I haven't ever been aware of choosing to read a particular book in public because I thought it would give people a more favourable impression of me, but there are books I have chosen not to read in public because I was slightly embarrassed about them (they were a more 'romance/chick lit' type of book than I usually read, passed on to me by my mother).  But now, I am slightly embarrassed about having been slightly embarrassed by them!  I wouldn't think negatively of anyone I saw reading them, so it wasn't logical for me to think others would think negatively about me.


    I am always just delighted to see anyone reading, and interested in what they have chosen.


    (By the way, what you choose to read can have unexpected effects - many years ago, while working as a receptionist in a lawyers' office, a friend visiting one of the younger lawyers asked me if I ever read at my desk when things were quiet and, if so, what.  I told him I did, usually the The Economist magazine, which he was visibly impressed by.  Reader, I married him. :lol:)

  19. I can't remember the descriptions in I Am Pilgrim, I just loved the story. I will be re-reading it again at some point, so maybe I will notice them more the second time around. :smile:


    Maybe I should read it again and see if this time I notice the story more than the descriptions! :-)

  20. Oh no, why did you find I Am Pilgrim disappointing? I thought it was one of the best thrillers I have read.


    I have to agree with you on I Let You Go. I enjoyed that so much more than I was expecting to.


    I had been really looking forward to I Am Pilgrim, so was very surprised to find that I didn't enjoy it.  I think it just had too many descriptions in it for me!  I remember thinking at the time it read as though it was aimed at being a film, and when I noticed afterwards that the author was also a screenwriter that made sense to me.


    I'm glad you agree about I Let You Go!  I really did enjoy it a lot.