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poppyshake

Poppyshake's Reading Year 2017

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I do remember Janet saying about the animated cover .. it's brilliant :wub: The author reposted my pic of the book on Instagram  :smile: Mind you, he reposts everyone's pic of his book :lol: 

It's a lovely book for a child to read, or an adult  :smile: 

There's a follow up book due in May ... I'm looking forward to it already! :lol:

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Hi Kay, five pages in already and I am only just saying hello this year...I can't keep up but I will try and look in more regularly. Olive Kitteridge looked sort of interesting...why did she get under your skin if she was so obnoxious? Will I like it? I owe you one for reading Blue World by Jack Vance...should I read this one in return? or something else? 

Hi James :) Not sure if you would like Olive Kitteridge .. you might .. but then you might not (obvs :lol:) Olive seemed a bit obnoxious but she was just a bit grouchy really, not everyone can be bright and cheery and say all the right things and do all the right things etc. Underneath it all, she was just like everybody else .. wanting to love and be loved. She means well. I can send it to you if you want to try it? 

Have you read The Golem and the Djinni? I think you'd like that but I haven't a copy as I heard it read on Audible.

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Wonderful review!  Olive Kitteridge was my first read this year and so far has been the best read. I loved the book.

Thanks MN :) I've had a run of really great reads I'm happy to say .. it won't last :lol: My good reading nearly always comes early what with Christmas presents etc. Later in the year I'll be picking books from the shelves and that can go either way :lol: 

There's a follow up book due in May ... I'm looking forward to it already! :lol:

I know .. Moonlocket .. oooh!! :D

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Met up with lovely Claire and Janet on Wednesday in Bath :) .. perfect day except for the weather but we were all snug in the bookshop cafe so it mattered not. Lots of tea, coffee, cake and booky chat .. wonderful! Al bought me some books afterwards .. I'm not quite sure what they are yet, I'll find out tomorrow but I dropped lots of hints and did the usual pointing and making sheep's eyes thing so fingers crossed :D

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As always, it was lovely to see you all.  :)  Here's to next time.

 

I'm sure you'll have some lovely surprises tomorrow.  :)  :friends3:

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Jealous.... :angry: you three meeting up again.

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Jealous.... :angry: you three meeting up again.

Ahhh .. one day Diane :):hug:

Happy birthday, dear Kay.  :hbsign::party:

Thank you lovely Janet :hug: I feel a bit sick now :giggle: ... cake overload  :blush2: 

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Met up with lovely Claire and Janet on Wednesday in Bath :) .. perfect day except for the weather but we were all snug in the bookshop cafe so it mattered not. Lots of tea, coffee, cake and booky chat .. wonderful! Al bought me some books afterwards .. I'm not quite sure what they are yet, I'll find out tomorrow but I dropped lots of hints and did the usual pointing and making sheep's eyes thing so fingers crossed :D

 

Lovely to see you all too.  Shame about the weather ... it's not really getting much better now, is it?! :roll:  Hope you had a good birthday  :flowers2:

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Happy Birthday for Saturday :)

Thank you Lau-Lou :hug: 

Lovely to see you all too.  Shame about the weather ... it's not really getting much better now, is it?! :roll:  Hope you had a good birthday  :flowers2:

Weather was awful wasn't it? .. not quite as bad as the following day when storm Doris blew our gate down .. she was only just getting started .. but pretty awful just the same. It's got to cheer up soon surely  :blush2: 

I did have a nice birthday thanks Claire .. hope you had a nice week's holiday :hug: 

 

Will put my birthday books up soon .. I'm waiting for those nice people at Amazon to deliver a few bits and pieces still  :smile: 

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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 :lol: 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 ( :lol: .. 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 :lol:;)) 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  :D 5/5

Edited by poppyshake

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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 

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I loved A Kestrel For A Knave too, Kay.  Like you, I don't normally like having to read dialect, but it's so well done in this book, I barely noticed it and it certainly didn't take me out of the story, it just helped immerse me in it more.

 

While I enjoyed reading your review of Bill Bryson's book, I won't be reading that one.  I've only read one of his, but I found his style irritating and didn't share your view of the humour.  Isn't it odd how our senses of humour can be the same on some books and completely opposite on others! :D

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I loved A Kestrel For A Knave too, Kay.  Like you, I don't normally like having to read dialect, but it's so well done in this book, I barely noticed it and it certainly didn't take me out of the story, it just helped immerse me in it more.

Yes, definitely. I'm glad he didn't make changes :)

While I enjoyed reading your review of Bill Bryson's book, I won't be reading that one.  I've only read one of his, but I found his style irritating and didn't share your view of the humour.  Isn't it odd how our senses of humour can be the same on some books and completely opposite on others! :D

:lol: Oh well, that's what makes the world go round :DYou're not alone in your opinion of Bill's writing .. but then neither am I :lol: 

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Great reviews, Kay. I'm a big fan of Bill Bryson and enjoyed The Road to Little Dribbling.

 

A Kestrel For A Knave sounds heavy, but it also sounds like something I might enjoy so I have added it to my wishlist.

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On 3/4/2017 at 7:36 PM, bobblybear said:

Great reviews, Kay. I'm a big fan of Bill Bryson and enjoyed The Road to Little Dribbling.

 

A Kestrel For A Knave sounds heavy, but it also sounds like something I might enjoy so I have added it to my wishlist.

Thanks bobbs :hug: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.

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:wibbly: 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! :D

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 :lol: 

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Think I've found a way to still write in good old trebuchet .. until the alarms go off anyway :lol:

 

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!! :D 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 :lol: 

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

 

 

 

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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 :D 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 :lol: 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 :lol: 5/5

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I loved The Light Between Oceans, it was so beautifully written. :wub: I must watch the film, apparently it does the book justice, which doesn't happen too often! A lovely review as always, Kay. :friends3:

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Hi Kay :friends3:.

 

I bought The Light Between Oceans quite a few years ago but I still haven't read it. Nice to read another good review of it :).

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On ‎26‎/‎04‎/‎2017 at 5:52 AM, poppyshake said:

:wibbly: Oh! .. I'm having to type in the default font .. bear with!

 

Yes, Tilly! :giggle2: It is a bit of a cross to bear, I agree :blush:

 

Then I saw this ... smarty pants!! :D

Quote

Think I've found a way to still write in good old trebuchet .. until the alarms go off anyway :lol:

 

On ‎26‎/‎04‎/‎2017 at 7:56 AM, poppyshake said:

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

 

 

Excellent review, Kay, will add this to my Kindle wishlist. :)

Edited by poppy

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On 1.2.2017 at 9:26 PM, poppyshake said:

My Family & Other Animals - Gerald Durrell
 

 

I'm confused by the Durrells! Well that is no wonder because I don't know who they are, all I know is that some have written books. I just tried googling which Durrell was which. This Gerald bloke is the son of Lawrence Durrell? Had to google again.... " Lawrence Samuel Durrell (23 September 1884 – 16 April 1928) was a British Indian subject and engineer, and is best remembered as the father of novelist Lawrence Durrell and naturalist Gerald Durrell. "    So there were two Lawrences... So these Lawrence and Gerald Durrells who wrote the books were brothers. Okay now I've got it. 

 

The reason why I'm rambling is that when I visited the uni library the other day, I ran into a book on Nancy and Lawrence Durrell. It was titled Amateurs in Eden: The Story of a Bohemian Marriage, and of course it sounded like an interesting read. 

 

"Nancy Durrell was a woman famous for her silences. Anaïs Nin said 'I think often of Nancy's most eloquent silences, Nancy talking with her fingers, her hair, her cheeks, a wonderful gift. Music again.' As the first wife Lawrence Durrell, author of The Alexandria Quartet, it is perhaps surprising that she is an unknown entity, a constant presence in the biographies of Durrell and others in the Bloomsbury set, yet always a shadowy figure, beautiful and enigmatic. 

But who was the woman who was with Durrell during the most important years of his development as a writer? Joanna Hodgkin decides to retrace her mother's fascinating story: the escape from her toxic and mysterious family; the years in bohemian literary London and Paris in the 1930s; marriage to Durrell and their discovery of the 'Eden' of pre-war Corfu and her desperate struggle to survive in Palestine alone with a small child as the British Mandate collapsed. Amateurs in Eden is a fascinating biography of a literary marriage and of an unusual woman struggling to live an independent life
."

 

It's written by Joanna Hodgkin who is Nancy's daughter. 

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On ‎14‎/‎05‎/‎2017 at 10:00 PM, frankie said:

 

I'm confused by the Durrells! Well that is no wonder because I don't know who they are, all I know is that some have written books. I just tried googling which Durrell was which. This Gerald bloke is the son of Lawrence Durrell? Had to google again.... " Lawrence Samuel Durrell (23 September 1884 – 16 April 1928) was a British Indian subject and engineer, and is best remembered as the father of novelist Lawrence Durrell and naturalist Gerald Durrell. "    So there were two Lawrences... So these Lawrence and Gerald Durrells who wrote the books were brothers. Okay now I've got it. 

 

The reason why I'm rambling is that when I visited the uni library the other day, I ran into a book on Nancy and Lawrence Durrell. It was titled Amateurs in Eden: The Story of a Bohemian Marriage, and of course it sounded like an interesting read. 

 

"Nancy Durrell was a woman famous for her silences. Anaïs Nin said 'I think often of Nancy's most eloquent silences, Nancy talking with her fingers, her hair, her cheeks, a wonderful gift. Music again.' As the first wife Lawrence Durrell, author of The Alexandria Quartet, it is perhaps surprising that she is an unknown entity, a constant presence in the biographies of Durrell and others in the Bloomsbury set, yet always a shadowy figure, beautiful and enigmatic. 

But who was the woman who was with Durrell during the most important years of his development as a writer? Joanna Hodgkin decides to retrace her mother's fascinating story: the escape from her toxic and mysterious family; the years in bohemian literary London and Paris in the 1930s; marriage to Durrell and their discovery of the 'Eden' of pre-war Corfu and her desperate struggle to survive in Palestine alone with a small child as the British Mandate collapsed. Amateurs in Eden is a fascinating biography of a literary marriage and of an unusual woman struggling to live an independent life
."

 

It's written by Joanna Hodgkin who is Nancy's daughter. 

 

That book does sound interesting, Frankie! And you're correct, Lawrence and Gerald were brothers, both writers and their father was also Lawrence. I started reading a Lawrence Durrell novel one time, but couldn't get into it at all. Big fan of Gerald, though, his writing is quite different.

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