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About ian

  • Birthday 04/13/1970

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  • Reading now?
    keep forgetting to update this, but definitely something!
  • Gender
    Not Telling
  • Location:
    Birmingham, England
  • Interests
    Rock music, hiking, Sci-fi

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  1. Greenmantle by John Buchan A few years ago I read The 39 Steps and only then did I find out that there are a number of sequels. This is the first. It's set in the middle of world war 1, and written I believe at the start of ww2. So, while this is a good read , probably what would have been called a "ripping yarn" there are quite a number of outdated views expressed. Still, an enjoyable, easy read. 4/5
  2. Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell I think this is one of Gaskell's earlier books. I felt it didn't have the distinctive voice of the other books of hers I've read. Still, very enjoyable and it has an interesting take on earlier trades union activity. From a modern perspective, Mary Barton herself seems frustratingly passive with her lot. All in all, an enjoyable read, with a satisfying ending 4/5.
  3. Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe This is a book I tried to read a long time ago, but only ever got a few chapters into it. I thought it about time to fully read it. It's difficult to review a book like this. On the one hand, it was written specifically to further the cause of emancipation of black slaves in America, which is obviously a great thing, but, with the knowledge that the things that befall the slaves in this book are based on real events, and that they are probably only a shadow of some of what went on, means that this is an impossible book to enjoy reading. Rating 4/5
  4. After my recent failure with Ulysses, I decided to read something I had previously failed to finish. So I picked up Uncle Tom's Cabin. I checked it out of the library years ago along with 2 other books, so ran out of time to finish it before it had to be returned. I'm about three quarters through it now and enjoying it.
  5. It's interesting as I didn't read so many classic children's books growing up. Only last year I read The Secret Garden and Anne of Green Gables. I don't think either would have impressed me much as a boy, but, as an adult I loved them. My 2 absolute favourites growing up were The Hobbit and Wind in the Willows. I still love WITW to this day and reread it regularly, but I do find The Hobbit a bit annoying in parts based on my last reread
  6. Thanks Luna, that's worth knowing.
  7. I would recommend both, but particularly the Strike novel. It really ticked all the boxes for me
  8. Ulysses by James Joyce I always said to myself that I wouldn't attempt to read this. Everything I had heard about this was that it was, at best "difficult" and at worst "incomprehensible". Well, lockdown does funny things to you, I guess. Anyway, I decided to give it a go... OK, so I managed 15% until I gave up. That was 5 chapters. Some chapters were ok, but honestly? Those streams of consciousness were just exhausting to me! At least I can say I tried. Rating: DNF
  9. The Awakening and other stories by Kate Chopin I only heard of this writer recently, watching a you tube video of lesser known Victoria era writers. Kate Chopin was from the New Orleans area and her writing is now considered to be an early example of feminist writing. The main story (The Awakening) was her only novel. Poor reviews at the time discouraged her from writing more and she concentrated on short fiction after that I enjoyed it. I can see why it shocked the sensibilities of contemporary readers and critics. A woman described as having similar sexual desires to a man. Some of the other short stories didn't always hit the mark for me, but the writing is beautiful and you get a real sense of both the beauty of the New Orleon area and her attachment to it. The story Desiree's baby is particularly good. Of course, given the age and locale of these stories there Are some outdated racial words throughout. Over all 4 out of 5
  10. Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith This is the 4th book in the series following private investigator Cormoron Strike and his now business partner Robin Ellacott. The main story concerns a case of a woman that went missing in 1974, presumed to have been murdered by a serial killer that preyed that area of London at the time. As well as this, there are sub-plots involving a couple of other cases the agency have, Robin's issues with a sexist sub-contractor, and her ongoing divorce. Strike himself is also dealing with a close family member who has terminal cancer. And both of them are separately starting to question their real feeling for each other. So, a lot going on, which in part probably explains the +900 page count for this book. However, not one sentence feels wasted. Galbraith weaves the sub-plots and scenes effortlessly. Few thriller writers are able to do both the main plot successfully, and still make the characters feel human and sympathetic (I would say only Michael Connelly & Ian Rankin do this as well). I really didn't want this book to finish, as I was enjoying being immersed in this world. Absolutely great stuff. 5/5
  11. Do it! I really can't recommend this book enough, and I haven't even finished.
  12. Maybe Station Eleven would fit into this?
  13. I really need to go back and try The Kraken Wakes again. Tried to read it as a teenager in the 80s after The Triffids and couldn't get into it.
  14. I have to agree, and I'm really glad someone else thinks so: I didn't really like A tale of two cities. I'll be honest, it makes me fell that there is something slightly wrong with me, but I love most other Dickens. (Not overly keen on The Pickwick Papers or Barnaby Rudge) Recently read Our Mutual Friend, and I think that's my absolute favourite. Long though.
  15. No more reviews to post yet, as I'm reading Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith. It's over 900 pages so I'll be awhile. But...Nice book problems to have: on the one hand, I'm really engrossed in the whole story so I always want to read the next chapter. But, on the other hand:I never want this book to finish!
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