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About shirleyz

  • Birthday April 3

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  • Reading now?
    Room - Emma Donoghue
  • Gender
  • Interests
    I love reading and gardening, and try to catch up on these two hobbies between caring for my family and cats :)
    Currently reading for a Masters degree in Communication Studies

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  1. Happy Birthday Shirley. I hope all is good with you. Have a lovely day. : )

  2. needs to sleep...

    1. Maureen



  3. I like your line of thought Sara - Gaiman seems to have made the scary places and people into safehavens and protectors, while the man Jack disguises himself as a meek friendly person
  4. 6. Why do you think Liza Hempstock is shunned by the other 'inmates'? Do you think it is just because she was a witch? I think Bod, as an “outsider” could feel the loneliness experienced by Liza. He too was one of a kind, and although he had a sort of family and was well accepted by the other ghosts, he still felt lonely... in fact he mentions at one point that he outgrows the other boys he used to play with as a child. Liza proves to be a good friend, and he in turn wants to grant her something that she has always wanted, a headstone to mark her grave. Even if it’s not as grand as he had planned it, I think the glass paperweight is even more significant than a stone marker. I like Maureen’s take on prejudice, I hadn’t quite thought of it that way 7. Do you think Neil Gaiman means Jack as in Jack the ripper? Why? Yes, I think he could be implying Jack the Ripper (the knife, the killings...) however, this never really crossed my mind while I was reading the story!
  5. 1.Is fantasy a genre that you feel comfortable reading? I am not a fantasy reader – I’ve only started reading this genre over the past couple of years and I only read books which have been “tried and tested” by friends. I am always very wary of reading this genre, as I hate starting books which “turn wrong” so I have to quit mid-way, but this has really surprised me 2. Is this the first Neil Gaiman book you are reading? Yes this is the first Gaiman book I have ever read, and I have really liked his style, which is to the point, however quite descriptive. I have Coraline and Neverwhere on my wishlist – they’ll probably move up the waiting list now! 3. What made you read this book? What did you think of this story? I read it for the Reading Circle. At first I thought “young boy in a graveyard... sounds weird!” But when I started reading I was pleasantly surprised, as Gaiman manages to turn the book into a sort of adventure. Another thing which I noticed is that you can feel yourself in the graveyard surrounded by ghosts, however you don’t feel afraid, but rather protected and look forward to meeting them as friends. 4. Miss Lupescu is a Hound of God in the novel - in other words - she is a werewolf. What do you think of having a werewolf as a benevolent creature rather than a monster? The ony other book I’ve read with werewolves nvolved was Harry Potter, so I must say that I’m used to these creatures being benevolent. 5. I have always thought of vampires as scary beings, certainly not creatures that I would imagine as protectors - Twilight notwithstanding however here an important character in Bod's life is Silas, the Vampire protector. What do you think of this grumpy, but charismatic being? I really liked Silas, even though he appears to be so detatched from his protegee... however he proves himself a worthy protector, he watched out for the child and makes sure ther is a reliable substitute when he needs to leave. I got the impression that Silas always knoew that one day he and Bod would part ways, so possibly his grumpy exterior was meant to help prepare Bod (and himself?) for this event...
  6. looking forward to my loooong weekend :)

  7. Hi Kylie, I have this book on my wish list so I'd love to join. Will order the book asap (as good an excuse as any to buy another book ) And it's great to join in a "Rory read" - I LOVE the Gilmore Girls
  8. a life changing day!

    1. Show previous comments  9 more
    2. madcow


      congrats x


    3. Kidsmum


      Fantastic news Shirley definitely a cause for celebration :)

    4. shirleyz


      thank you all for your kind wishes :)

  9. Hi Kylie - yes I enjoyed this book. It was a very fast read and I think the author found a very original way of linking past events with the present story, helping the reader to better understand the reasons behind some of the characters' actions/points of view. Besides that, the present day story is actually quite funny (nothing to do with tractors), and it made me look at family duty, ageing parents and growing siblings in a different light...
  10. 10. Discuss the significance of the title A Home at the End of the World. Does it suggest hope, despair, or both? Explain I think the title conveys peace – after their turbulent life, everyone has managed to find a base where they feel they belong. Bobby knows he will always be the family’s point of reference, Jonathan is learning to accept himself (and the possibility that he could be ill), Erich is close to the end of his life, finally in a place where he is accepted and well taken care of. Even though Clare leaves the household, I think she does so with a changed mindset – she is part of something bigger, a family, and not a loner trying to fit into life on her own. Ned’s ashes are finally laid to rest close to the house, the boys have a thriving business where another gay couple works (more acceptance, the family becoming larger?) – they have definitely started to set some roots... Surprisingly even Jonathan’s mother is finally at peace – she is doing a job she enjoys, and is sharing her life with an “unsuitable” younger man, so probably her old rebellious trait is coming out again in her old age!
  11. that's a good point Weave, Clare tried to get the best of both worlds - a daughter with Bobby, with Jonathan as a father figure. Someone also mentioned that Bobby hardly has any relationship with his daughter, while Jonathan cares for her as well as (if not better than) Clare... However, he thinks of the legacy he leaves her - a home at the end of the world where she can retire to be safe away from the world and find peace, just like her parents before her
  12. Hi all, I’ve been following your discussion with interest, even if I haven’t been very active over the past week, due to an assignment. Now that is thankfully out of the way, so I can participate more actively! I’m doing this on Word, as it’s going to be a long answer, so the quotes will be in red... Frankie says: A thought that came to my mind at some point: I had problems with the names Clare and Alice, I sometimes thought of Jonathan's Mum when I was reading Clare's thoughts and vice versa. I came to realise that the two names have so many alphabets in common that it might be the reason behind my confusion. Then I started to think if this was intentional on Cunningham's part, and I went even further than that: I began to think maybe Clare is the mother figure Jonathan left behind when he left for college. The one he grew annoyed with, partly because she was interrupting his and Bobby's alone time and partly because Bobby didn't seem to mind, he actually welcomed her company. Maybe on some subconscious level Jonathan needed a new mom figure in his life and Clare offered him that That’s a really interesting point. Actually, if you think about it, both these women are quite hateful in their own way. They are both selfish, want to “possess” Jonathan, and are quite unhappy with their own lives. They have both rebelled against their parents, with very different outcomes – while Alice is holed into an unhappy marriage in a small backwater, Clare has had different lovers and has moved to a buzzing city. I’m not sure I agree with the fact that Clare served as a mother figure; I think she was more of a counterbalance to him – she was full of life and colour, while he was very bland and cautious... Frankie says: In my opinion, one could say there are two families, sometimes separate, sometimes overlapping, in one's life. First there is the family one grows up in, whether it be a 'normal' family, a foster home, some kind of institution. The second family is the one you make for yourself when you move out and start your own life. It's not only your partner and the possible children, but your friends who you go to and who come to you when in need. It's the people you WANT to spend your holidays with. I think the book is basically saying families come in all different shapes and sizes, and it's not only about blood lineage. It is saying that a family life is not always continual, it's a complicated, ever-growing, ever-evolving mixture of people who touch your life daily. In the end, a family is something one can define for themselves. I completely agree with your take on this Frankie – I find this is very true to life. While you are inevitably linked to the family you are born into, you move on to have your own family and circle of friends, who sometimes get to know you much more than your own parents / siblings. Jonathan, Bobby and Clare made their own family which worked well for them; actually much much better than any of their own families. Frankie says: Did anyone get the sense that Jonathan felt already during his childhood that his mother was suffocating him? Not that I'm questioning the suffocating, I'm just wondering when Jonathan made this discovery. I don’t believe that Jonathan ever expressed that he feels suffocated by his mother... he is definitely annoyed when she tries to impose her presence on his friendship with Bobby; I get the feeling he consciously chooses to go to a college far away, and he doesn’t go back to his home town, his visits to his parents’ house are few and far between... I get the feeling he tries to live his life away from his mother; I never get the impression he is trying to put distance between himself and his father... This is the first time I have participated actively in a reading circle, and I’ve really, really enjoyed it! I’ll stop here for now as otherwise it will be a never-ending post... more to follow
  13. In the rush of bodies to board the ferry leaving Istanbul for Golcuk, Sinan lost his son. Gardens of Water, Alan Drew
  14. will be curled up in front of the telly with a good book tonight - such bliss!

    1. Maureen


      Enjoy it. You certainly deserve it :)

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