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Janet's Reading 2011

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I have a brilliant memory for useless information like that! Sadly things I need to remember often elude me! :giggle2:

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I like the sound of Ella Minnow Pea - think that will be wending its way onto my wishlist this evening ;) Have managed to resist clicking on the spoiler button, which must mean I'm already planning to read the book in my head!

 

It is fantastic - I definitely recommend it!

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I finished Why I Write by George Orwell (a Penguin 'Great Ideas' book - containing 4 of his essays) and am now reading The Screaming of the Innocent by Unity Dow which I got out of Bristol library.

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I finished Why I Write by George Orwell (a Penguin 'Great Ideas' book - containing 4 of his essays)

 

Cool. :cool: I want this book. How did you find it? I have two others of the Penguin Great Ideas series: Books v. Cigarettes and Some Thoughts on the Common Toad.

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I want this book. How did you find it?

I hadn't read any of his essays before (although I have got Decline of the English Murder and Inside the Whale and Other Essays on my 'to read' pile) so I'd nothing to compare it with really, but although I enjoyed it I did find the second (and longest) essay 'The Lion and the Unicorn' a bit dry... but then I'm not a political person (although I must stress that I do always use my vote seeing as women died so I could do that) so I think that's probably why. I'm very much looking forward to reading more of his essays though. :)

 

I really need to make a list of all his essays because there are many different books and I think some of them may overlap. I will do it now before I forget! :)

 

ETA: If you meant how did I find it in the physical sense, it was sent to me by my American pen pal. :)

 

ETA Again: According to georgeorwell.org, these are they (although I thought there were more than this...?)

 

A Good Word For The Vicar of Bray

A Hanging

A Nice Cup of Tea

AntiSemitism In Britian

Arthur Koestler

Benefit of Clergy: Some Notes on Salvador Dali

Books vs. Cigarettes

Bookshop Memories

Boys' Weeklies and Frank Richards's Reply

Charles Dickens

Charles Reade

Confessions of a Book Reviewer

Decline of the English Murder

Down The Mine

Freedom of the Park

Future of a Ruined Germany

Good Bad Books

How The Poor Die

In Defence of P. G. Wodehouse

Inside The Whale

James Burnham and the Managerial Revolution

Lear, Tolstoy and the Fool

Looking Back On The Spanish War

Mark Twain -- The Licensed Jester

Marrakech

Nonsense Poetry

North And South

Notes on Nationalism

Pleasure Spots

Poetry and the Microphone

Politics and the English Language

Politics vs. Literature: An Examination of Gulliver's Travels

Raffles and Miss Blandish

Reflections of Ghandi

Revenge is Sour

Riding Down The Bangor

Rudyard Kipling

Shooting an Elephant

Some Thoughts on the Common Toad

Spilling The Spanish Beans

Such, Such Were The Joys

The Art of Donald McGill

The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism And The English Genius

The Prevention of Literature

The Spike

The Sporting Spirit

W B Yeats

Wells, Hitler And The World State

Why I Write

Writers and the Leviathan

You and the Atomic Bomb

Edited by Janet

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Hi Janet

Me No Secrets by Julie Corbin I see you have given her full marks. Which is encouraging, I have her on my to be read list. Also, I was interested in the Michael Faber novel. I have just finished, RESCUE by Anita Shreve, and NOW YOU SEE ME, by S J Bolton, which is a crime thriller. Scarey in parts. Going to start, THE UNDERSTUDY, next, David Nicholls.

Good reading.

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Hi Frodo. :)

 

I have to say that Tell Me No Secrets got a mixed reception at Book Club, but yes, I thought it was great. I've read one Anita Shreve - Eden Close. It came free on a magazine when I was going on a train journey. I haven't read anything else by her.

 

I've not heard of S J Bolton - I don't really read crime. I will check it out, thanks. :)

 

ETA: I saw a house called 'Middle Earth' somewhere in Dorset a few weeks ago!

Edited by Janet

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I hadn't read any of his essays before (although I have got Decline of the English Murder and Inside the Whale and Other Essays on my 'to read' pile) so I'd nothing to compare it with really, but although I enjoyed it I did find the second (and longest) essay 'The Lion and the Unicorn' a bit dry... but then I'm not a political person (although I must stress that I do always use my vote seeing as women died so I could do that) so I think that's probably why. I'm very much looking forward to reading more of his essays though. :)

 

I really need to make a list of all his essays because there are many different books and I think some of them may overlap. I will do it now before I forget! :)

 

ETA: If you meant how did I find it in the physical sense, it was sent to me by my American pen pal. :)

 

:blush: I realised afterwards that my question could have been worded better. It reminds me of a scene in A Hard Day's Night where John (I think) is asked 'How did you find America?' and he replies 'Turn left at Greenland'. :giggle2: I did of course mean to ask whether you liked the book.

 

Thanks for posting the list of essays! The collector in me will greedily copy them down so I can acquire the whole lot. :)

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:blush: I realised afterwards that my question could have been worded better. It reminds me of a scene in A Hard Day's Night where John (I think) is asked 'How did you find America?' and he replies 'Turn left at Greenland'. :giggle2:

:lol:

 

ETA Again: According to georgeorwell.org, these are they (although I thought there were more than this...?)

Thanks for posting the list of essays! The collector in me will greedily copy them down so I can acquire the whole lot. :)

Hmm - although they seem to be the list of essay titles, he's written hundreds more articles. This page on Wikipedia gives more info. :)

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Yesterday I finished The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F Scott Fitzgerald. I really enjoyed it. :)

 

I had no idea how short it was when I reserved it. How they made a 2 hour 40 minute film out of 52 pages of story, I don't know, although I gather the film isn't the same story as the book and obviously it must be (very) fleshed out!

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I've just finished one of the best memoirs I've ever read - and I hadn't even heard of the author before!

 

A Beginner’s Guide to Acting English by Shappi Khorsandi. I saw this ages ago in Waterstone's and found it in the library last week.

 

Shappi's father was (and is) a famous satirical Irani writer who fell foul of the Ayatollah's new regime in Iran and had to flee to the UK. He, his wife, Shappi and her big brother settled in London. This memoir tells of Shappi and her family's life in the UK from when the family arrived and also contains passages about life in Iran before and after the family fled. I loved it! :)

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Yesterday I finished The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F Scott Fitzgerald. I really enjoyed it. :)

 

I had no idea how short it was when I reserved it. How they made a 2 hour 40 minute film out of 52 pages of story, I don't know, although I gather the film isn't the same story as the book and obviously it must be (very) fleshed out!

 

I was just going to ask you if you've seen the movie and how you would compare the novel to it, then actually finished reading your post :giggle2: I did enjoy the movie very much and want to read the book. I once borrowed it from the library but didn't get to reading it, I was also very surprised to see how short the novel was!

 

I've just finished one of the best memoirs I've ever read - and I hadn't even heard of the author before!

 

A Beginner’s Guide to Acting English by Shappi Khorsandi. I saw this ages ago in Waterstone's and found it in the library last week.

 

Shappi's father was (and is) a famous satirical Irani writer who fell foul of the Ayatollah's new regime in Iran and had to flee to the UK. He, his wife, Shappi and her big brother settled in London. This memoir tells of Shappi and her family's life in the UK from when the family arrived and also contains passages about life in Iran before and after the family fled. I loved it! :)

 

I read the first sentence of this post and thought 'my goodness, I wonder which autobiography has made Janet's socks go wild on her feet, it must be good! Then took a look at the title and the author and noticed the word 'Iran' and thought, 'hmm, not my usual cup of tea'. Then read further and realised it's just another kind of story of the Ayatollah's Iran than the one we did for August reading circle. I'm half interested, half intimidated. :giggle2: Might keep my eye open for this one, though... :)

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I've just finished one of the best memoirs I've ever read - and I hadn't even heard of the author before!

 

A Beginner’s Guide to Acting English by Shappi Khorsandi. I saw this ages ago in Waterstone's and found it in the library last week.

 

Shappi's father was (and is) a famous satirical Irani writer who fell foul of the Ayatollah's new regime in Iran and had to flee to the UK. He, his wife, Shappi and her big brother settled in London. This memoir tells of Shappi and her family's life in the UK from when the family arrived and also contains passages about life in Iran before and after the family fled. I loved it! :)

 

I love Shappi Khorsandi - for anyone who doesn't know, she's a stand-up comedian, and I've seen her on various panel shows including Mock the Week, Have I Got News For You, Just a Minute, etc. I follow her on twitter too, and love her sense of humour. This is already on my wishlist, but I'll be bumping it up the list now thanks to your review Janet! :smile2:

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I was just going to ask you if you've seen the movie and how you would compare the novel to it, then actually finished reading your post :giggle2: I did enjoy the movie very much and want to read the book. I once borrowed it from the library but didn't get to reading it, I was also very surprised to see how short the novel was!

I would like to see the film now! It was on TV here a few weeks ago but I resisted the urge to watch because I wanted to read the book first. Such a clever story!

 

I read the first sentence of this post and thought 'my goodness, I wonder which autobiography has made Janet's socks go wild on her feet, it must be good! Then took a look at the title and the author and noticed the word 'Iran' and thought, 'hmm, not my usual cup of tea'. Then read further and realised it's just another kind of story of the Ayatollah's Iran than the one we did for August reading circle. I'm half interested, half intimidated. :giggle2: Might keep my eye open for this one, though... :)

There is really nothing to be intimidated about here, frankie. :) It mainly focuses on how the family adapt to life in the UK and it's warm and funny. The bits about Iran are very well written and totally accessible.

 

At the time of the revolution in Iran I was 13 and whilst the word Ayatollah was being bandied about all over the place (and a British comedy TV show called Not the Nine O'clock News even did a sketch/song with the chorus "Ayatollah Khomeini closer and I will fall for your charms Ayatollah don't come any closer or I will send out an alarm and rush into your arms") I really didn't know a great deal about the situation so it was great to learn a bit more.

 

[The bolded bit is a play on the words "Come Any Closer", in case it doesn't translate very well, although I'm sure you'll get it as your English is so fantastic. :) ]

 

I love Shappi Khorsandi - for anyone who doesn't know, she's a stand-up comedian, and I've seen her on various panel shows including Mock the Week, Have I Got News For You, Just a Minute, etc. I follow her on twitter too, and love her sense of humour. This is already on my wishlist, but I'll be bumping it up the list now thanks to your review Janet! :smile2:

I can't believe I haven't come across her on TV because I watch the shows you mention. I will have to look out for her now!

 

I hope you enjoy it. I think I could read it again actually and I don't often do that with books. :)

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I would like to see the film now! It was on TV here a few weeks ago but I resisted the urge to watch because I wanted to read the book first. Such a clever story!

 

I would definitely recommend it. It was a long movie, I can't remember whether I thought they could've kept it down to a more convenient 2 hours or so, or whether I didn't notice time go by at all (:blush:), but I did enjoy it! :)

 

There is really nothing to be intimidated about here, frankie. :) It mainly focuses on how the family adapt to life in the UK and it's warm and funny. The bits about Iran are very well written and totally accessible.

 

It sounds a lot more fun than Reading Lolita in Tehran :giggle: I'm more keen on it now. And it's got to be funny, since chesilbeach has informed us Khorsandi is a stand-up comedian.

 

 

At the time of the revolution in Iran I was 13 and whilst the word Ayatollah was being bandied about all over the place (and a British comedy TV show called Not the Nine O'clock News even did a sketch/song with the chorus "Ayatollah Khomeini closer and I will fall for your charms Ayatollah don't come any closer or I will send out an alarm and rush into your arms") I really didn't know a great deal about the situation so it was great to learn a bit more.

[The bolded bit is a play on the words "Come Any Closer", in case it doesn't translate very well, although I'm sure you'll get it as your English is so fantastic. :) ]

 

It must've been really interesting to read about stuff that was happening to people when you were only a teenager and didn't know about it so much and probably had other things on your mind. It ties the story into your own history.

 

I'm pretty sure Not the Nine O'Clock News has been shown in Finland sometime, I don't think I've seen it myself, but I've seen DVDs of the show in the shops.

 

I wouldn't have spotted the word play if you hadn't pointed it out to me, then it hit me. Brilliant stuff :lol: You're right, it doesn't translate well at all. The brilliance of the English language is that words are mostly short, you pronounce different words with different spellings in the exact same way (e.g. 'eight', 'ate'), so it's just this endless source of wordy witticism. It's sometimes just impossible to translate into Finnish and the translator has to either completely ignore the joke or come up with a substitute joke of their own.

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It must've been really interesting to read about stuff that was happening to people when you were only a teenager and didn't know about it so much and probably had other things on your mind. It ties the story into your own history.

 

I'm pretty sure Not the Nine O'Clock News has been shown in Finland sometime, I don't think I've seen it myself, but I've seen DVDs of the show in the shops.

 

I wouldn't have spotted the word play if you hadn't pointed it out to me, then it hit me. Brilliant stuff :lol: You're right, it doesn't translate well at all. The brilliance of the English language is that words are mostly short, you pronounce different words with different spellings in the exact same way (e.g. 'eight', 'ate'), so it's just this endless source of wordy witticism. It's sometimes just impossible to translate into Finnish and the translator has to either completely ignore the joke or come up with a substitute joke of their own.

You're right - it's something that was there - I was sort of aware of what was going on, but not really how bad it was for the normal, everyday people rather than those in charge. There is an event in the book which they say sparked the revolution which I had no idea about, but thanks to this book (and a bit of further Googling) I know now more about it.

 

I went to work straight after I posted about the song in NtNON and then worried you might think I was patronising you, since your English is *so* good, so I'm glad I didn't think that. :)

 

Our words like eight and ate (I thought these were called homonyms but apparently they're called heterographs!) must make life difficult and I totally understand how it must be difficult for translators!

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I've just started my first ever Thomas Hardy (in honour of the fact that Peter and I are staying in Dorchester on Monday night -and the fact it's been on my 'to read' pile for such a long time) - The Mayor of Casterbridge . I've only read a few pages so I can't gauge how I feel yet.

 

This morning I bought Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood for my Book Club (I just typed 'Boob Club' :giggle2: ) - I haven't read any of her stuff before either so it'll be interesting to see what it's like. I think she's a bit of a 'Marmite' writer?

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This morning I finished The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy. I *loved* it! How did I get to this age without having read him before? Definitely a 10/10 book - I've had a little run of great books! :)

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The Mayor of Casterbridge is a great book so glad you enjoyed it, I love Hardy with the exception of Tess of The D'urbervilles & I never did quite manage to get through Jude The Obscure but hope to rectify that at some future point in time :) The Woodlanders is another one of his I wouldn't hesitate to recommend.

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Thanks, Kidsmum. :) I am definitely going to read some more. I have Far From the Madding Crowd on my bookshelf (I have no recollection of buying it! :lol: ) so I will probably give that one a go next time I'm in the mood for one. :)

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I listened to the Mayor of Castorbridge on audio earlier this year. It was great. I remember audibly gasping at one point while listening in the car :lol: It was really gripping. Far from the Madding Crowd is a great read. I'm sure you'll enjoy it when you do get to it.

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Thanks, Andrea. :) It was nice having stayed in 'Casterbridge' whilst I was reading the book too - I was able to visualise the town whilst I read it! :)

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I am hopelessly behind with my reviews! This is one from July.

 

029-2011-July-07ATravellerinTime.jpg

 

A Traveller in Time by Alison Uttley

 

The ‘blurb’

'Aunt Tissie. I opened a door and saw some ladies sitting in a room. Who were they?' I whispered.

 

She started. 'You saw them? You've seen them?' She looked at me with astonishment.

 

Penelope lives in the twentieth century, and it is only when she goes to live with her aunt at Thackers, a remote, ancient farmhouse, that she finds herself travelling back in time to join the lives of the Babington family, and watching helplessly as tragic events bring danger to her friends and the downfall of their heroine Mary, Queen of Scots, whom they are seeking to rescue.

 

This book was recommended to me some time ago and I found it in a second-hand shop. I was pleased that it also fitted in with my decade challenge!

 

It’s a really enjoyable time-switch tale about Penelope who, with her siblings, is sent to stay with her aunt and uncle in the country to recuperate after an illness. They live in an old farmhouse and Penelope finds that she slips between the twentieth century and the sixteenth century where she becomes involved in the plot by the Catholic Babington family to save Mary, Queen of Scots from death at the hands of her sister Queen Elizabeth I and restore her to the throne.

 

It’s been quite a while since I read this so it may be that I just don’t remember, but the top bit of the ‘blurb’ is where Penelope tells her Aunt about the people she met from the other time, and her Aunt exclaims “you saw them?” but I don’t remember them discussing it ever again!!

 

Anyway, maybe not as enjoyable as Tom’s Midnight Garden (another time-slip children’s book) but still a good read. :)

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