Vivienne's reading in 2019

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Vivienne's reading in 2019

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1VivienneR
Editado: Abr 3, 2019, 1:50am



Rossland, one of the many ski resort towns around here. This one has a wonderful winter festival in January. I love how the mountains turn pink at sunset.

I can also be found at the Category Challenge here

Read in January:
1. Shatter the bones by Stuart MacBride 4★
2. Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie 4★
3. The Professor and the Madman: a tale of murder, insanity, and the making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester 4.5★
4. Becoming by Michelle Obama 5★
5. Queenpin by Megan Abbott 4★
6. Black Book by Ian Rankin 4★
7. The Healer by Antti Tuomainen 3.5★
8. Rounding the mark by Andrea Camilleri 4★
9. Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje 4★
10. Vivienne - Gently Where She Lay by Alan Hunter 3.5★
11. The Radium Girls: the dark story of America's shining women by Kate Moore 2.5★
12. Best of Women's Short Stories 2 narrated by Harriet Walter 4.5★
13. The Song of Achilles by Madeleine Miller 4.5★
14. The Reader by Bernhard Schlink 4.5★

Read in February:
15. The Janissary tree by Jason Goodwin 3.5★
16. Mozart's brain and the fighter pilot by Richard M. Restak 4★
17. The Chessmen by Peter May 4.5★
18. Sidetracked by Henning Mankell 4★
19. Flower net by Lisa See 3★
20. The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie 3.5★
21. Thinking like a mountain by Robert Bateman 2★
22. I think I love you by Allison Pearson 3.5★
23. Paris for one and other stories by JoJo Moyes 3.5★
24. On writing by Stephen King 4★
25. Never hit a jellyfish with a spade: how to survive life's smaller challenges by Guy Browning 3.5★
26. A room full of bones by Elly Griffiths 4★
27. The cat who came in from the cold by J. Moussaieff Masson 3★
28. Winter Chill by Jon Cleary 4★
29. The Shrimp and the Anemone by L.P. Hartley 4.5★

2VivienneR
Editado: Jun 1, 2019, 8:20pm

Read in March:

30. Cold is the Grave by Peter Robinson 4.5★
31. Point Blanc: the Graphic Novel by Anthony Horowitz 4★
32. A Likely Story by Jenn McKinley 2.5★
33. Summer of '69 by Todd Strasser 4★
34. This was a Man by Jeffery Archer 4.5★
35. In Other Words: How I Fell in Love with Canada One Book at a Time by Anna Porter 4.5★
36. Best of Women's Short Stories 3 3★
37. The Secret Place by Tana French 4★
38. The Last Kashmiri Rose by Barbara Cleverly 4★
39. Lost words: a spell book by Robert MacFarlane, illustrated by Jackie Morris 5★
40. Into the beautiful north by Luis A. Urrea 4.5★
41. Pretense by John Di Frances 2★
42. The boy in the striped pyjamas by John Boyne 4.5★
43. The Children's Homer: the adventures of Odysseus and the tale of Troy by Padraic Colum 4★
44. Blowing the bloody doors off and other lessons in life by Michael Caine 4★
45. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides 4.5★

Read in April:
46. The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout 2.5★
47. Homes: a refugee story by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah 4★
48. Ordeal by innocence by Agatha Christie 4★
49. Circe by Madeleine Miller 4.5★
50. Thirty-three teeth by Colin Cotterill 3.5★
51. The Lost Man by Jane Harper 4★
52. Some lie and some die by Ruth Rendell 3★
53. Milkman by Anna Burns 5★
54. The truth and lies of Ella Black by Emily Barr 1★
55. Something in the water by Catherine Steadman 4★

Read in May
56. The golden tresses of the dead by Alan Bradley 4★
57. High Plains Tango by Robert James Waller 3★
58. The sixth heaven by L.P. Hartley 4★
59. Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster 3★
60. Great job, Mom! by Holman Wang 5★
61. What are you doing, Benny? by Cary Fagan and Kady Macdonald Denton 4★
62. Death of a Valentine by M.C. Beaton 3.5★
63. Hamlet by William Shakespeare 4★
64. Solo Hand by Bill Moody 3.5★
65. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen 4★
66. The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters 3★
67. Death of an Effendi by Michael Pearce 3★
68. Aftermath by Peter Robinson 2★

3NanaCC
Jan 27, 2019, 4:26pm

I’m glad you are here, Vivienne. You know I’ll be following, and picking up many suggestions.

4dchaikin
Jan 27, 2019, 4:53pm

Nice to see your thread show up, and lots of January books. Wondering what was wrong with Radium Girls (haven't read it)

5avaland
Jan 27, 2019, 4:59pm

Nice to see you back, Vivienne. I enjoyed the Peter May trilogy that began with The Chessmen

6VivienneR
Jan 28, 2019, 2:57pm

>3 NanaCC: Thank you, and I'll be picking up many from you too.

>4 dchaikin: I was expecting to enjoy the novel but that just didn't happen. While I found the subject fascinating, and the book well-researched and comprehensive, I found Moore's writing repetitive, overwrought and with too many characters. I felt bad giving this book a low rating, when so many young women suffered greatly in providing the story, but just it didn't work for me.

Note: Before switching to the print version, I listened to the first part of the audio version but found Angela Brazil's reading absolutely unbearable.

>5 avaland: Thank you, it's good to be back. Isn't The Chess Men the third in the trilogy? I thought The Black House was the first. Have I got it backwards?

7VivienneR
Editado: Abr 11, 2019, 7:03pm



The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Before beginning I did a little review of the Trojan Wars just as a reminder but really it was unncecessary, Miller's storytelling skills are outstanding. As expected it's an excellent tale, but Miller enhances the action, the tenderness, the love story, to new levels.

8Petroglyph
Editado: Jan 28, 2019, 3:34pm

Oh, I loved The song of Achilles: one of the stand-out reads that year. Glad to hear that you liked it too!

9NanaCC
Jan 28, 2019, 3:35pm

>6 VivienneR: LT says The Chess Men is third.

10SassyLassy
Jan 29, 2019, 6:11pm

Well no wonder you started late, you were so busy reading. Glad to see you here.

11VivienneR
Jan 29, 2019, 9:00pm

Thank you Sassy! Believe me, my reading has suffered this month. I started The Chess Men three days ago and have read exactly three pages. At this rate I might just have it finished by next January!

12VivienneR
Jan 29, 2019, 9:05pm



The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

This novel is set in post-war Germany where a teenage boy forms a relationship with an older woman. He reads aloud to her and she comments on the books although he doesn't get to know much about her. Only much later as a law student he finds out more about her life before he knew her. In a well-reasoned manner, the story weighs degrees of guilt.

The author says: "Since the book came out, I have been facing the charge that in the character of Hanna Schmitz, the perpetrator becomes a heroine and gets an unacceptably human face. But if the perpetrators were all monsters, the world would be simple."

I saw the movie years ago and was delighted to find the book. With its beautifully lyrical writing it more than lived up to expectations.

13AlisonY
Jan 31, 2019, 5:17am

>12 VivienneR: as I said on your other thread, just loved this book too.

14VivienneR
Jan 31, 2019, 12:20pm

>13 AlisonY: Usually if I've seen the movie version first, the book can be ho-hum. Not this time.

15AlisonY
Jan 31, 2019, 1:33pm

Nice thread pic, btw. Seems like you live in a beautiful part of the world - I love the mountains. We're back in the Alps for our summer holiday this year - hard to beat mountain views and that beautiful clean air.

16VivienneR
Fev 1, 2019, 7:08pm

Thanks, Alison. I love the clean mountain air too. Regarding the photo, the ski hill is aptly called Red Mountain and I believe it's right beside this hill. It was crowded in the lead-up to Vancouver's winter Olympics in 2010 as athletes from all over the world trained there prior to the games. The streets are on a steep slope which isn't apparent in this photo that must have been taken about September to have so little snow!

17NanaCC
Fev 2, 2019, 10:59am

>16 VivienneR: I love that picture at the top of your thread. Stunning!

18VivienneR
Fev 2, 2019, 11:53am

Thank you, Colleen. I love that little town, it's so beautiful.

19Nickelini
Fev 3, 2019, 12:21pm

Love your picture of Rossland at the top of your thread! I have to agree that Rossland is beautiful -- in fact I'd say it's one of the prettiest small towns in British Columbia (for such a stunningly beautiful place, we sure have some ugly towns!)

20VivienneR
Fev 3, 2019, 2:26pm

>19 Nickelini: I agree, most of them have the highway breezing through the middle of town lined with with big box stores, fast food eateries and gas stations. You have to go off the highway to see the pretty streets. I think many of those small towns are starting to realize the benefits of moving away from that model. I was impressed on my last visit to Creston, which is much prettier than it used to be. There are some lovely towns though, like Invermere and Kimberley and many others.

21VivienneR
Fev 3, 2019, 7:50pm



Mozart's brain and the fighter pilot by Richard M. Restak 4★

Lots of good tips and exercises to help the brain function well. It was interesting all the way although there was barely a mention of Mozart or the fighter pilot.

22Nickelini
Fev 3, 2019, 9:19pm

It was interesting all the way although there was barely a mention of Mozart or the fighter pilot.

Well that's disappointing.

(What is this book even about?)

23VivienneR
Editado: Fev 6, 2019, 3:18pm

>22 Nickelini: It's a self-help book aimed at improving memory and brain function. There is some very good information about how the brain functions and how to take advantage of that knowledge (some of which I had already figured out myself). I won't try all of the 28 exercises but will definitely use some.

The Mozart reference was about Mozart being able to play a piece of music after hearing it only once. There were only three copies of the music all held by the Vatican so it was not possible for him to have seen it. The power of memory! I'd like a bit of that.

24VivienneR
Fev 6, 2019, 3:19pm



The Chessmen by Peter May

I had a couple of issues with this book, the final volume of the Lewis Trilogy, but the quality of the overall story and writing won me over. A number of flashbacks were a bit confusing, and a detailed past for Fin that was never mentioned in the first two books suggested the author didn't plan well. That Fin chose to keep information to himself throughout the investigation was unreasonable and would have got him bumped off taking the secret to the grave in many other mystery novels. However, May's characters are excellent and he describes the Hebrides so well that it's almost like being there. For that he gets credit.

The ending doesn't suggest any additional volumes but doesn't exactly close the door on the idea, leaving me with hope that I'll read about Fin and Mairsaili at some later date.

25VivienneR
Fev 9, 2019, 2:27am



Sidetracked by Henning Mankel translated by Stephen T. Murray

With no clues to go on, a horrifying suicide combined with a brutal serial killer proves tough for Wallander and his team. Managing his private life while investigating the crimes is challenging him even more.

26NanaCC
Fev 9, 2019, 9:50am

>25 VivienneR: I enjoyed this series. i was sad when it ended.

27VivienneR
Fev 9, 2019, 2:53pm

>26 NanaCC: I still have a few to go and they are already on the shelf waiting. I have to do a better job of keeping up with series, including this one. I like Wallander and his team, they are believable characters.

28VivienneR
Fev 14, 2019, 11:43am

Life has been busy and curbed my reading, posting, and visiting threads. I hope to get back to normal soon.



The secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie

International political intrigue and murder, laced with a hint of romance, set mostly in Lord Caterham's country home of Chimneys. Written in 1925 before Christie reached her prime, this is still a very enjoyable golden age mystery.

29VivienneR
Editado: Fev 14, 2019, 3:20pm



Thinking like a mountain by Robert Bateman

The essays describing his youth were the best in the book. It is obvious that as he aged, he has become more preachy. On long-term conservation Bateman claims "politicians can't see beyond the next election" yet it's often the electorate who provide opposition to long-term plans. At first glance some of the essays appeared to relate pleasant stories about nature, which I would have enjoyed, but turned negative as the author contemplates how humans are destroying nature. He also claims our public transit system isn't working (as far as the environment is concerned), yet omits mentioning that many public transit systems are much less threatening to the environment than the internal combustion engine in cars. Living on an island as he does, I wonder just how often Bateman takes the bus or train. For such a small book he squeezed in a lot of pessimism and some ideas that could bear rethinking. Using his fame as a nature artist to lecture on the effects humans are having on the environment, turned this into a disappointing read.

30AlisonY
Fev 15, 2019, 3:53am

>29 VivienneR: interesting - I don't know much about Bateman, but feeling the preachiness of this book from your comments! It does irk me when people who have become famous for one thing suddenly assume the position of being the fountain of all knowledge on something else. He'd get on great with Bono....

31VivienneR
Fev 15, 2019, 1:39pm

Alison, he is well known here for his beautiful art. He lives on Salt Spring Island, one of the Gulf Islands in the body of water between Vancouver and Vancouver Island. I know the islands well and have passed his house many times (car or boat necessary, no public transit on the islands). I've written him off as a GOG (Grumpy Old Guy). Yeah, he'd make a great pal for Bono!

32VivienneR
Fev 16, 2019, 2:39am



I think I love you by Allison Pearson

The first half of the book is set in Wales in the 1970s where thirteen year old Petra and her friend Sharon are besotted with, obsessed by, David Cassidy. They have an encyclopedic knowledge of him based on their reading of The Essential David Cassidy Magazine unaware that the material is made up and spouted by a young wannabe journalist, Bill Finn. Pearson's young Cassidy fans are portrayed perfectly, down to their colour-coordinated nails. There are many humorous moments where we might recognize our young selves no matter who or what created the obsession. Pearson rendered the teenage girls and the 1974 stage perfectly, right down to the Mary Quant eyeshadow (that I remember well). The girls enter a contest, sure they will win a trip to California to meet the beloved Cassidy. Before the results are known, they sneak off to a concert where a girl is killed in the crush, which brings the worship crashing to a halt.

Twenty-four years later, Petra finds a letter from the magazine that her mother kept hidden informing her that she won the contest. This one-time, Cassidy fan, now music therapist, goes in search of the magazine to claim her prize. The resulting trip forms the second half of the story that examines how we change, how we stay the same, and accepting the results. A slow section around the middle allows the reader to take in Petra, Sharon, and Bill's current lives but the pace picks up again when they fly to California. I adored Sharon, honest and forthright to a fault.

Unfortunately I can't remember who recommended this book to me. I've had it for a few years because I've never had the slightest interest in David Cassidy nor have I seen him in any of his tv shows. I’ve no idea what he looks like or sounds like. Sorry I waited, it was more than the chick-lit that I expected. I really enjoyed Pearson's funny, bittersweet story. I'm sure Cassidy fans would enjoy it even more.

33VivienneR
Editado: Fev 18, 2019, 8:50pm



Paris for one and other stories by JoJo Moyes

Nell is a timid woman in her mid-twenties who hasn't travelled or made any big decisions in her life. After overhearing her boyfriend joke about her unadventurous ways, she surprises him with two tickets to Paris for a long weekend. During the journey, he sends her texts about being delayed and eventually the weasel stood her up. Nell is faced with the prospect of staying in the hotel room the entire time, or facing the formidable front desk clerk for advice. Bravely, she went out for dinner alone, and from there she progressed step by tiny step, never to look back. The main story was accompanied by ten short stories, all irresistible and with just a hint of romance.

Favourite quote: "I realized I couldn't marry a man without a bookshelf"

This was a very enjoyable read for We Need a Break challenge.

34VivienneR
Fev 19, 2019, 1:40pm



On writing: a memoir of the craft by Stephen King

A great book about King's writing experience since he was a child. It is mainly biographical but has some excellent advice on writing too. I really enjoyed this audiobook narrated by the author.

Favourite quote: "This is a short book because most books about writing are filled with bullshit."

35AlisonY
Fev 20, 2019, 4:35pm

>34 VivienneR: I've fancied reading that Stephen King book for ages - thanks for the reminder. Love the quote :)

36VivienneR
Fev 21, 2019, 6:50pm

>35 AlisonY: You will enjoy it, Alison. It was the most interesting book about writing that I've read.

37VivienneR
Fev 21, 2019, 9:44pm



Never hit a jellyfish with a spade: how to survive life's smaller challenges by Guy Browning

I couldn't resist a book with a title as weird as this one. It's a hilarious "how to" book although most of the advice, while right on the mark, is not meant to be taken literally. Even if "How to flatter" or "How to be romantic" is not on your need to know list, Browning's advice will entertain royally. If you appreciate British humour, or even if you don't, this will tickle. Every line was funny. Fortunately it was very short, too much would be akin to a sugar high.

Mine was an audiobook read magnificently by Simon Vance.

38AlisonY
Fev 22, 2019, 5:13am

>37 VivienneR: sounds fun. Or in the case of my son when he was very young, never poke a jellyfish with your fingers and then start stuffing crisps in your mouth (on my husband's watch, not mine, I might add).

39VivienneR
Fev 22, 2019, 1:15pm

>38 AlisonY: Oh, that sounds painful! I grew up by the seaside so learned very early - but not the hard way like your son.

40VivienneR
Fev 24, 2019, 2:02am

https://www.librarything.com/work/11508577

A room full of bones by Elly Griffiths

Not my favourite Ruth Galloway tale - not enough archaeology, too many relationship threads. However, the colourful characters, suggestions of spells and wizardry keep this series vibrant. Griffiths gets a pat on the back for keeping the issue alive in support of repatriating Aboriginal bones held in museums.

41NanaCC
Fev 24, 2019, 8:22am

>40 VivienneR: I don’t think the relationship stuff gets in the way of my enjoyment of a book as much as the mystical oddness. On the whole, I think the series is pretty good.

42VivienneR
Fev 24, 2019, 2:23pm

>41 NanaCC: Colleen, this series is one of my favourites. Ruth is so likeable, well, actually all the characters are likeable and obviously well developed because they are individual and memorable. Even though this one wasn't my favourite I still gave it 4 stars. Can't wait to get to the next one. Have you read it?

43NanaCC
Fev 24, 2019, 2:36pm

>42 VivienneR: I’ve read the next two, Vivienne. I really like the series too.

44VivienneR
Fev 24, 2019, 3:42pm

>43 NanaCC: So often authors write their main characters well but forget to flesh out secondary characters. Griffiths has embraced all her characters in the series.

45VivienneR
Fev 24, 2019, 3:45pm



The cat who came in from the cold by J. Moussaieff Masson

A philosophical tale that will particularly appeal to cat lovers. Billi (the Indian name for "cat") is an Indian feral cat who has been observing a family of "two-foots" and is curious to know what it would be like to live with them. He spends months travelling and questioning other animals but none has anything good to report about the way they are treated by humans. Despite this, Billi is not put off. "I would like to associate with two-foots but I don't want to do anything for two-foots. I must be allowed to come and go as I please." In other words Billi is typical of the cats that share our lives.

I read this to fill a Bingo challenge for a fairy tale or fable.

46VivienneR
Fev 26, 2019, 9:16pm



Winter Chill by Jon Cleary

In this novel, Scobie Malone is investigating the death of the president of the American Bar Association who was in Sydney for a conference with a thousand other lawyers. When the person who found the body and one of Malone's team are also murdered, the job becomes much more challenging. It's an interesting look at an Australian police investigation with an American interest, all wrapped up with the appealing Scobie Malone.

It's no surprise that the Scobie Malone mysteries were penned by a giant of Australian books and movies. His first important work was The Sundowners (1951), made into an acclaimed movie in 1960 starring Deborah Kerr and Robert Mitchum.

47Jim53
Fev 28, 2019, 9:08pm

>45 VivienneR: I saw this title and wondered if there would be any sly references to Le Carre.

48VivienneR
Mar 1, 2019, 1:41pm

>47 Jim53: As a fan of John le Carré I wondered about this too but it seems to be just a play on words. However, being a fable, just about anything can be read into it, although it was more a rebuttal of the major Indian religions.

49VivienneR
Mar 3, 2019, 9:57pm



Cold is the Grave by Peter Robinson

Full of surprises, this page-turner is one to keep the reader up late. It is a complex mystery without being convoluted, enough twists to keep the interest level without getting too bewildering or inconceivable. The outcome was a surprise but it fit completely without being forced. I've enjoyed all Robinson's Inpector Banks books, maybe this one more than the others. Enjoyed Annie Cabbot's presence in this one too, as well as all the references to music that had me checking my own collection.

50NanaCC
Mar 4, 2019, 9:33am

>49 VivienneR: You put this series on my wishlist a while ago, Vivienne, but I haven’t started it. I’ll have to remedy that. :-)

51VivienneR
Mar 4, 2019, 1:25pm

>50 NanaCC: Hi Colleen! Robinson has lived in Canada for a long time but is originally from Yorkshire where the series is set. I got far behind on the series, this last read was published in 2000. I'm going to make an effort to catch up. I loved the series on tv and that always delays my reading because I think I know the plots.

I've noticed your name on FictFact, my name there is VeeJay, just so you'll know who I am.

52NanaCC
Mar 4, 2019, 9:18pm

VeeJay... :-)

53VivienneR
Mar 10, 2019, 3:42pm



My December Early Reviewer snag:

Summer of '69 by Todd Strasser

The sixties are spoken of so often that we think we know, or remember, what life was like. To many they represent the halcyon days of youth but for Lucas Baker and his friends they were not so idyllic or carefree but filled with uncertainty. With his long hair he is regarded as a hippie to be scorned or threatened by more traditional types, and handles things badly if he happens to be tripping on acid, which is often. Just out of high school, he applied to one college to be near his girlfriend but failed to secure a place there, too late to apply to another. That makes him draft material, and Vietnam looms.

Strasser captured the essence of 1969 when a new generation was beginning to evolve and wield their influence. He illustrated the difference between this new crop of kids and their parents, many of whom were WWII veterans, proud of what they accomplished in that war and since. This was a different kind of war, made obvious in the graphic letters from a friend in 'Nam. And when they returned - if they returned - veterans were not revered as the older generation had been in '45. Young men like Lucas were constantly thinking about being drafted and seeking alternatives such as an illegal move to Canada, self-harm, or any weird thing that would make the army turn them down. Lucas often considered cutting off a finger and stopped eating in an attempt to appear too scrawny to fight. His frequent drug use and long hair didn't endear him to anyone - except perhaps the reader. And his straight girlfriend Robin was one of those who were not impressed. When she is away at camp his letters to her are full of undying love and promises to cut his drug use, while hers are what amount to Dear Johns. All the while he is being seriously tempted by Tinsley, a proponent of free love. The culmination of the story was Lucas and Tinsley at Woodstock, related vividly through the author's first hand participation.

Strasser held my interest throughout and I enjoyed this return to 1969, although living in the UK gave me a different experience of life than what Lucas had. Our current teenagers, another generational shift, would probably enjoy this account of an iconic year even more.



This was a Man by Jeffery Archer

This is the 7th and final volume in the Clifton Chronicles - an exceptional culmination to an exceptional series. The story follows the Clifton family from early 20th century to the Thatcher era. Archer's personal life has given him the information necessary to write knowledgeably about politics, aristocracy, and high-powered business. Combined with his remarkable writing talent, the series is nothing less than addictive. It was a nice touch to have Harry Clifton writing his last novel that he titled Heads You Win, actually the title of Archer's latest novel. And I loved Lady Virginia's intricate unprincipled dealings.

It is recommended to read the series in order, the books are not standalones.

54NanaCC
Mar 11, 2019, 10:26am

>53 VivienneR: You’ve hit me with both of these, Vivienne. I’d be curious to see the take on Woodstock. Both of my brothers were there.

I haven’t read anything by Archer in years. And I remember enjoying what I read.

55VivienneR
Mar 11, 2019, 1:01pm

>54 NanaCC: Colleen, I tore through the first five volumes of the Clifton Chronicles urged on by the cliffhanger endings. The sixth was a while back but as soon as I started reading this one, it all came back to me.

I'm sure your brothers have more to say about Woodstock than Strasser. I thought my daughter-in-law would like to read about it but really, it was a short passage and she has probably read much more about it in other places. What surprised me was the amount of drug use throughout the book, which was non-existent in my youth.

56VivienneR
Editado: Mar 11, 2019, 8:52pm



In Other Words: How I Fell in Love with Canada One Book at a Time by Anna Porter

Arriving in Canada in 1968, Anna Porter managed to secure a job with McClelland & Stewart, a publisher aiming to whip up interest in Canadian authors. In this chatty memoir she describes her experiences with writers like Leonard Cohen, Pierre Berton (Poo Bear), Margaret Laurence, Margaret Atwood and countless others. Porter was in at the beginning of many books, helping the authors personally with publicity and encouragement throughout the process. And she has much to say about the flamboyant Jack McClelland who said he published authors, not books. Eventually in 1980 Porter started Key Porter Books. This is a delightful warmhearted memoir celebrating her achievements and that of many memorable Canadian authors. The perfect opportunity to learn more about them.

57Nickelini
Mar 11, 2019, 9:39pm

>56 VivienneR:

Interesting! I started kindergarten in 1968, and I think in all my school (and home) reading the only Canadian book we covered was the Secret World of Og by Pierre Berton (my bff loved it but it whisked over my head like a shooting star). I didn't start actually reading Canadian books until probably in my 30s. I have a great background in British literarture, and too much US literature.

Remind me when you moved to Canada?

58VivienneR
Mar 12, 2019, 2:13am

>57 Nickelini: As I was reading I kept coming across names I know and have read and yet the writers I usually think of first are the "big" names I mentioned. I sought out Canadian writers before coming to Canada in 1971 - I specifically remember Margaret Laurence and Robert Kroetsch but there were others. And you were just a kid.

59AlisonY
Mar 12, 2019, 4:34am

>56 VivienneR: sounds like an interesting read. You've definitely put some new Canadian authors on my radar with your thread over the years.

60VivienneR
Editado: Mar 12, 2019, 2:00pm

>59 AlisonY: I'm glad of that. British and American authors usually take the limelight by their sheer numbers.

61auntmarge64
Mar 12, 2019, 11:00pm

>56 VivienneR: That book by Anna Porter looks really interesting. Definitely one to watch for.

62VivienneR
Mar 13, 2019, 2:21pm

>61 auntmarge64: Nice to see you drop by, Margaret. Yes, especially if you are interested in Canadian authors.

63VivienneR
Mar 14, 2019, 2:03am



Best of Women's Short Stories 3

Ten excellent stories by Wilkie Collins, Edith Wharton, Louisa May Alcott, Sabine Baring-Gould, Marcel Proust, and Katherine Mansfield. However, not quite as good as volume 2. Outstanding narration by Juliet Stevenson, Harriet Walter, and others.

I was intrigued by Perilous Play by Louisa May Alcott, where a group of socialites get together to enjoy hashish bonbons. Rose (one of the characters said to be based on Alcott) tries the hashish because "I hoped it would make me soft and lovable, like other women. I'm tired of being a lonely statue." It ends with her love interest declaring, "Heaven bless hashish if its dreams end like this!" Her accurate description of the effects suggests Alcott a familiarity with the drug. Alcott scholar Madeline Stern states that at the time it was freely available at six cents a stick.

64rachbxl
Mar 14, 2019, 10:27am

You've got me with I Think I Love You. I'd never have given it a second look, but your comments have convinced me otherwise, and I've just downloaded a sample on to my Kindle.

65VivienneR
Mar 14, 2019, 1:09pm

>64 rachbxl: It was a lot of fun, I hope you enjoy it.

66ELiz_M
Mar 14, 2019, 7:32pm

>63 VivienneR: hmm, the title and the contents seem to be mis-matched.

67VivienneR
Mar 15, 2019, 12:18am

>66 ELiz_M: If you mean the gender of the authors, yes, that surprised me too. It's the first of the series that has male authors. However, all the stories are about women. But still, not what I expected.

68VivienneR
Mar 18, 2019, 10:18pm



The Secret Place by Tana French

As much of a character study as a mystery, French can really get inside the heads of both detectives and schoolgirls. The silent interpersonal skirmishes between detectives Stephen Moran and Antoinette Conroy are as eloquent as the over-the-top rivalry among attention-seeking teen suspects. Although the investigation takes place at a girls boarding school in a single day, with some flashbacks, it's a doorstop of a book and could have done with some trimming. French has proved herself to be an excellent writer but parts of this book didn't win my heart: I didn't see the point in the supernatural elements and the "teenspeak" was just too prolific. Still, even with those criticisms this was another great novel from Tana French.

69NanaCC
Mar 18, 2019, 10:20pm

>68 VivienneR: This was my least favorite of the Dublin Murder Squad series. The supernatural elements were so odd.

70Nickelini
Mar 18, 2019, 11:51pm

wow, that sounds so different from the others in this series that I've read. I'm kinda intrigued tho . . .

71VivienneR
Mar 19, 2019, 12:21am

>69 NanaCC: Yes, they didn't fit in well with the story. On the other hand, Moran's thoughts as he interviewed the girls were really well done.

>70 Nickelini: You're right, it was very different from others by French. And even with my gripes, I still gave it four stars.

72NanaCC
Mar 19, 2019, 10:05am

>71 VivienneR: I definitely enjoyed the book. I just found that supernatural element so out of character for the series. I think I gave it four stars, as well. I really enjoyed the next book, The Tresspasser, but I think that Faithful Place is my favorite.

73VivienneR
Mar 19, 2019, 11:53am

>72 NanaCC: Exactly how I felt too, Colleen. The Trespasser is next up for me and Faithful Place is my favourite so far. What I like most about Tana French is that she hasn't developed a formula to follow, all her books are quite different.

74SassyLassy
Mar 19, 2019, 6:54pm

>56 VivienneR: Does Porter feature any francophone writers? They often seem to be ignored even if they have been translated into English.

>66 ELiz_M: >67 VivienneR: That left me kind of confused too.

75VivienneR
Editado: Mar 19, 2019, 10:01pm

>74 SassyLassy: I've returned the book to the library but I specifically remember Gabrielle Roy, one of my favourite writers. I think I'm going to have to borrow it again and read without jumping around. When she mentioned someone, I immediately thought of someone else and turned to the index. As well, there were names that I didn't know and I want to go back to them.

It was so disappointing (insulting?) to find male authors in Best of Women's Short Stories 3. If that had been the first volume, I'd never have continued. A dismal finale.

76VivienneR
Mar 21, 2019, 10:22pm



The Last Kashmiri Rose by Barbara Cleverly

This was Cleverly's first novel and maybe that was the reason I determined who the perpetrator was (or who I wanted it to be) quite early. The reasoning was trickier but she pulled it off with the help of Scotland Yard detective Joe Sandilands. I love the era and setting of the British Raj and Cleverly did a great job of taking the reader to 1920s India.

I've read Cleverly's Laetitia Talbot mysteries, but this was my first Joe Sandilands and I intend to keep reading

77NanaCC
Mar 23, 2019, 2:21pm

>76 VivienneR: Another author I don’t know. I’ll have to check her out.

78VivienneR
Mar 24, 2019, 4:52pm

>77 NanaCC: Good, I think you'll like her.

79VivienneR
Mar 25, 2019, 1:55am



Looks like this will be my book of the month:

Lost words: a spell book by Robert MacFarlane, illustrated by Jackie Morris

This oversize book is simply gorgeous. In a recent edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary, some words related to nature were dropped in favour of words like blog, attachment, broadband, and bullet-point.

To have words from the natural world lost to the language of children only to be replaced by those of a virtual world is a concern. MacFarlane has taken some of these lost words, spelled them out in poetry to be read aloud and conjured back into memory and the mind.

The illustrations by Jackie Morris are magnificent, a perfect match for MacFarlane's poetry. This is a book that will be appreciated by all ages and will be read over and over again.

As flake is to blizzard, as

Curve is to sphere, as knot is to net, as

One is to many, as coin is to money, as
bird is to flock, as

Rock is to mountain, as drop is to fountain, as
spring is to to river, as glint is to glitter, as

Near is to far, as wind is to weather, as
feather is to flight, as light is to star, as
kindness is to good, so acorn is to wood.

80VivienneR
Mar 25, 2019, 3:37pm



Into the beautiful north by Luis A. Urrea

A beautiful story of the search for seven "magnificent" men (like the movie) to protect a Mexican village where most of the men have gone to the U.S. leaving it at the mercy of criminals in the drug trade. Nayeli and her friends bravely set off for the U.S. to find and bring the seven back to Mexico. I thought this would be a sad tale but although there are moments of anguish and misery there is much lighthearted humour to lift the spirits. Recommended highly.

81AlisonY
Mar 26, 2019, 5:29am

>80 VivienneR: sounds interesting - adding that one to my list.

>79 VivienneR: that review got me thinking. Looking at my own kids (11 and 9), I think it's not just the internet that is reducing and changing their vocabulary (although for sure that definitely is), but also the quality of children's fiction nowadays. My younger daughter was suffering from headaches a couple of weeks ago so I offered to read to her during the hour before bedtime when she normally reads herself. She first handed me one of her Dork Diary books (which are all the rage for girls in that age group), and I got as far as finishing one paragraph before I put it down and told her it was such rubbish I wasn't going to read her any more and to hand me something else. It was full of (sorry American friends) American teen-talk like "she's totally not my BFF any more", and I was shocked at how dumbed down the writing was and yet the series is a best seller. I notice in our large bookshop in town that so many celebrities are also now on the bandwagon of writing children's fiction as well, and surprise surprise most of them aren't that good at it.

Anyway, we've started into Anne of Green Gables instead, and now you mention it in your review of Lost Words it was night and day between the descriptive words in that versus the complete lack of decent literary descriptions in the Dork Diaries nonsense, and also the likes of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. I would say that some of the language is quite advanced for that age group in Anne, but that's exactly how kids soak up new words and expand their vocabulary.

82RidgewayGirl
Editado: Mar 26, 2019, 8:41am

>81 AlisonY: Alison, I used to agree with your statement here, but then I became involved with a literacy non-profit and had to adjust my entire viewpoint. Books like Dork Diaries and Diary of a Wimpy Kid and even Captain Underpants fill an important role in creating readers. While your daughter is probably just enjoying them the way kids in the past enjoyed comic books, for many children, these are the books that teach them that reading is both accessible and fun, something that even the best of classic kid lit can't do. Once they've been convinced that books are fun, they move on to more challenging fare, although those stupid books will often remain their comfort reads. And kid lit today is so much better than it was even thirty or twenty years ago - so much more imaginative stuff is out there, with better writing because it's no longer looked down on in the way it once was.

I mean, I grew up with Enid Blyton and Nancy Drew. There's no question that the middle grades fiction is better now! Have you discovered A Series of Unfortunate Events yet?

83AlisonY
Mar 26, 2019, 9:16am

>82 RidgewayGirl: we do have one of the A Series of Unfortunate Events books in the house but it hasn't grabbed her yet.

I agree to an extent with your point, but I remain disappointed with how many poorly written books are promoted for kids now because some premiership footballer wrote it, for instance. And I'd also take Enid Blyton any day over Dork Diaries! :) But it's different times now, and whether I like it or not my daughter loves all that eye-roll / BFF nonsense that she catches on Nickelodeon at my parents' house, so I get why kids like it.

I do agree that it's important to have books that encourage reading interest in reluctant readers, but my concern is that the likes of Captain Underpants may not encourage a movement on to more challenging reading. When my son was doing his entrance exam for grammar school last year and had to do English comprehension on the kind of children's literature I would have been more familiar with as a child, a lot of the language was just totally unknown to him as he'd not ever read anything like that before except for a few books they'd done in school - it was quite a shock to me. Now, at almost 12, despite being very capable academically, he'll still only finish something like a Wimpy kid book - anything else feels too much like hard work. Is it good that at least he's reading something, or is it encouraging lazy, easy reading?

Sorry Vivienne - hijacking your thread conversation!

84RidgewayGirl
Mar 26, 2019, 9:32am

>83 AlisonY: Speaking as someone who loved Enid Blyton's adventure books, I do think there is value in books that aren't racist. And kids develop at their own pace. I've found that finding books that are slightly above someone's reading level, but about something they are interested in can pull them up a bit. But if the goal is creating lifelong readers, that does mean perhaps putting less importance on "worthy" books and more on the idea of books being more fun than all the other current options kids have now. But I'm coming at it from a specific perspective that is certainly substantially different from that of a parent guiding their already comfortable readers forward. I do know that in the schools where we've been running our program long enough for kids to have gotten books from us from Kindergarten on, the kids voluntarily choose more substantial and difficult books than those kids of the same age who are encountering the program for the first time.

85haydninvienna
Mar 26, 2019, 9:57am

>83 AlisonY: ,>84 RidgewayGirl: I have 4 children; all are adults now so their reading habits are pretty well formed. Elder son started with Harry Potter, and is apparently now reading the classics. I remember him reading Charles Bukowski and American Psycho, neither of which I was enthusiastic about, but he has now taken up with the real classics, if I can put it like that. Elder daughter reads, but mostly fantasy, although she was exposed to Madame Bovary at school and thought it terrific. Younger son (the Son who Cooks) was a fan of Captain Underpants when he was small but doesn't read at all now. Younger daughter also doesn't read. All of them were exposed to my reading habits, and their mother's while she was alive. I have no idea what that means.

86AlisonY
Mar 26, 2019, 10:05am

>85 haydninvienna: the one thing I've learnt with my two and reading is that you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink! Maybe some of us are just wired to become readers and others aren't.

>84 RidgewayGirl: sounds like a really good programme, Kay. And I completely agree on your 'worthy' books comment. I have to rein myself in on that every now and again and accept that my kids have to be able to choose what they want to read and stop being a Tiger mother.

87VivienneR
Mar 26, 2019, 2:02pm

What an interesting discussion and it's happening on my thread!

I grew up on Enid Blyton and when my son was a seven-year-old I told him about the books I'd read. The next time we were in a bookshop he chose an Enid Blyton and was immediately hooked. He's been a reader ever since although nowadays only non-fiction. He's also a good writer and became a journalist. We spend a lot of time discussing books. Not so long ago he bought me a set of Blyton's books just so that I could revisit my childhood, and although it was a while before I opened them, I enjoyed them all over again. No, they are not perfect but the she used good English with no slang in an exciting story that was not "dumbed down".

I'm reminded of George Orwell's essay "Good Bad Books" where he gave examples of books that have no literary pretensions but remain readable (Uncle Tom's Cabin, Sherlock Holmes) that he anticipated would outlive authors such as Virginia Woolf. Maybe good bad books are a jumping-off spot for some readers although it's a shame that they get so much recognition (and bad bad books get even more).

>82 RidgewayGirl: Good for you to take the time to share your enthusiasm for reading by encouraging young readers.

>85 haydninvienna: Isn't it interesting to see how siblings develop so differently yet had the same influences.

>86 AlisonY: There is something in what you say in about some of being wired to become readers. Just keep up the good work with your youngsters, Alison.

88lisapeet
Editado: Mar 26, 2019, 9:14pm

My hat is off to anyone raising kids right now and negotiating the whole screen issue. My son is 31 now and I had it easy—all I needed for a screen-free house was not to have a TV. I didn't notice it or care; he grouched a bunch but it didn't hurt him any, and I think we finally got a little TV when he was 11 or 12. These days I have NO idea how you would navigate that very slippery slope.

The worthy books conversation is interesting. Again, YA was a lot different when my kid was a YA, mostly Harry Potter as I remember. He liked sf a lot, and those Jeff Shaara Civil War novels, and we'd read adult stuff with teen characters that wasn't too off the charts, like Empire of the Sun and This Boy's Life. There's so much more to choose from now.

89NanaCC
Mar 26, 2019, 9:52pm

I’m loving this conversation. I just got back from vacation with two of my grandchildren. My grandson is 10, and loves the Wimpy Kid and Captain Underpants books. But he’s given himself the goal of reading A Tale of Two Cities and A Christmas Carol for his summer reading. He’s reading Animal Farm with his dad right now. He also mentioned War and Peace. I have no idea how he even knows about these books. I’ll really be delighted and surprised if he actually reads any of them, but I was impressed with his goals.

90VivienneR
Mar 27, 2019, 1:02am

>88 lisapeet: We didn't have a tv either, until my son was about the same age. When he left home he didn't get a tv and has never had one since. I pity today's parents who have to try to keep kids from experiencing too much screen time, but also to keep them safe. And there is just so much more to learn, beginning with the protocol of modern communications.

>89 NanaCC: I'm impressed too, Colleen. I wish him success. A reading partner would be a good idea (hint, hint).

91AlisonY
Mar 27, 2019, 5:54am

>88 lisapeet:, >90 VivienneR: interestingly, the book The Long Tail that I read last week talked about how the amount of time spent watching TV was already significantly on the decline back in 2006, particularly amongst 18-34 year old males. My oldest boy watches very little TV, but that's because he's more interested in shorter content on YouTube which seems to be the trend now amongst that demographic (and obviously gaming).

92VivienneR
Mar 27, 2019, 12:02pm

>91 AlisonY: That's interesting. We have a TV which is a waste of money considering the cost of cable. My husband only watches the news and I never watch anymore. I used to watch and read a book at the same time.

93VivienneR
Mar 28, 2019, 12:36am



The boy in the striped pyjamas by John Boyne

The book and movie have been around for several years but this was my first experience of the story. Bruno, the camp commandant's son, finds a friend on the other side of the fence. I believe in 9-year-old Bruno's naiveté that is questioned by some, after all, the entire world was just as ignorant. This is a powerful, moving novel, unforgettable, right to the tragic end.

94edwinbcn
Mar 28, 2019, 4:11am

As I just started reading Robert MacFarlane's Landmarks, yesterday, I read about that in the introduction. From that recent edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary words such as acorn, adder, ash, beech, bluebell, buttercup, catkin, conker, cowslip, cygnet, dandelion, fern, hazel, heather, heron, ivy, kingfisher, lark, mistletoe, nectar, newt, otter, pasture and willow were deleted, among others.

Included are words such as attachment, block-graph, blog, broadband, bullet-point, celebrity, chatroom, committee, cut-and-paste, MP3 player and voice-mail.

95VivienneR
Mar 28, 2019, 1:12pm

>94 edwinbcn: I can understand that it's necessary to include new words in an updated edition of a dictionary but I'd like to hear the rationale behind removing a word like "cygnet" for example.

I will watch out for MacFarlane's Landmarks.

96VivienneR
Abr 1, 2019, 2:39pm



Blowing the bloody doors off and other lessons in life by Michael Caine

Actors' biographies or memoirs don't usually interest me, but Caine's memoir is unpretentious, self-effacing and light-hearted throughout, a pleasure to read. There is no resting on laurels or blowing his horn, he recognizes exactly what he is, a cockney lad who was lucky enough to find his passion. Now in his 85th year, he looks back on his life and shares the lessons he learned. Wise and funny at the same time, his voice is evident on every page.

The title comes from a bit of acting advice for stage actors on a film set. On stage they need to be big and loud, but screen actors must be more restrained: "Don't blow up the whole car. You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off."

97avaland
Abr 1, 2019, 4:32pm

Someday, when I run out of Scandinavian works, or Nordic crime, or crimes in generally cold places, I will get to Tana French.

98VivienneR
Abr 1, 2019, 5:48pm

>97 avaland: I have no illusions that you will ever run out of crimes in cold places! :) But if you want a break, Tana French would fill the space.

99Nickelini
Editado: Abr 2, 2019, 8:28pm

>97 avaland: & >98 VivienneR: - and it's not like Ireland is exactly the Sahara Desert, so . . .

>96 VivienneR: - after reading Educated & Born a Crime and enjoying them so much, and also because my daughter gave me Becoming* for Christmas and everyone raves about it, I think I'm going to make 2019 the year of reading biographies again. I hadn't heard of this one and have put it on the list. Thanks!

*once again, LT can't touchstone a famous book. Weird.
--

Did you see the film The Trip where they keep speaking in Michael Caine accents? I love this clip:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFIQIpC5_wY

LOL I just watched it again and he says "You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!"

100VivienneR
Abr 2, 2019, 9:54pm

>99 Nickelini: I enjoyed Becoming more that I thought I would. Now I'm at the bottom of an amazingly long list for the audiobook. But, having read the book I can wait. (Annoying that there is no touchstone, but they have been acting strange recently.)

Thank you for that clip, it's hilarious. I don't think I've seen that movie. Michael Caine actually explained the accent. Apparently most people speak from the diaphragm and produce a deeper sound, while Cockneys speak from higher up giving them a high-pitched sound. In the clip the guy on the left reproduces both perfectly. Great clip!

It was also interesting that for one movie set in the US, he had to tone down the Cockney accent so that he would be understood by Americans.

101VivienneR
Abr 3, 2019, 1:52am



The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

I'm not going to review this psychological thriller because I've no idea where to start without spoiling some part of it. It's a real page-turner and uses a plot that I haven't come across before in all my years of reading mysteries. I love getting a nice surprise like that. 4.5 stars - maybe it should be a 5 but I'll keep that in hand for Michaelides next book, which I hope is soon.

A great end to March.

102wandering_star
Editado: Abr 3, 2019, 9:08pm

>97 avaland: Don't wait that long!!

>101 VivienneR: Now that's an intriguing review. I will try and get hold of this book without reading any of the blurbs...

103lisapeet
Abr 3, 2019, 9:43pm

>101 VivienneR: I have this and am saving it for sometime when I need something totally immersive.

104VivienneR
Abr 4, 2019, 1:21am

>102 wandering_star: I agree - try Tana French sooner rather that later.

>102 wandering_star: and >103 lisapeet: Same goes for The Silent Patient.

105NanaCC
Abr 4, 2019, 9:17am

>97 avaland:, >102 wandering_star:, >104 VivienneR: Lois, here is another push. Tana French is really worth your time. Start with In the Woods.

>101 VivienneR: Great set up for a book recommendation. Onto the wishlist it goes.

106VivienneR
Abr 4, 2019, 11:41am

>105 NanaCC: I've been reading the Tana French books out of order but In the Woods is now on my bookshelf.

I hope you enjoy Alex Michaelides. I heard about his book in the Guardian newspaper.

107VivienneR
Abr 6, 2019, 1:55am



Homes: a refugee story by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah

Abu Bakr is an appealing boy whose family moved to Syria in 2010 when life became too dangerous for Sunnis in Shi'a dominated Iraq. When civil war erupts in Syria, his happy life shared with cousins and filled with the normal activities of a 10 year old is punctuated by gunfire, bombs and incessant danger. Somehow soccer, prayer, happy Friday night rituals mingle with the horrors of war to become part of life.

Eventually the family are delighted to be accepted as refugees by Canada and after a long journey arrive in Edmonton, Alberta. There are many difficulties to be faced in the new country too. He was introduced to a translation app to help communicate the briefest conversation. My heart went out to Abu Bakr and his family. The reader is happy that they found a safe haven, but we are reminded of the many who are still seeking refuge. When he told the story of his past to teacher Winnie Yeung, she offered to write it for him. His young voice comes through clearly in this captivating story about his family and his life.

108VivienneR
Editado: Abr 11, 2019, 7:02pm



Circe by Madeline Miller

Before reading this, my knowledge of the Greek myths consisted of bits and pieces that I had to fit together like a jigsaw in my mind. Miller has not only put them all the characters in context for me, but produced a narrative that flows beautifully. The story of Circe, daughter of Helios the sun god, has been retold in a way no one else has ever achieved. Like Miller's Song of Achilles, I can recommend this one heartily.

109NanaCC
Abr 11, 2019, 9:19pm

>108 VivienneR: I think my daughter put this one on my kindle. I’ll have to double check to see if we have it.

110VivienneR
Abr 12, 2019, 1:02am

>109 NanaCC: It's well worth the read, Colleen. What a nice daughter you have, putting books on your kindle.

111Petroglyph
Abr 12, 2019, 7:06am

>108 VivienneR:
I loved The song of Achilles when I read it a few years back -- Miller made the whole Trojan war seem so fresh and new (as opposed to old news). My SO loved it, too, and she's not one for Ancient stuff. She recently acquired Circe, too, and suggested it could be a jointly owned book...

112NanaCC
Abr 12, 2019, 8:16am

>110 VivienneR: We have a family membership, Vivienne, so we can share books. We can both be reading the same books. She set it up with me on it. I just ask her for the books I want even if they aren’t something she would like. I just give her an Amazon gift card every so often to keep my account replenished. We do get a lot of them from the library though.

113VivienneR
Abr 12, 2019, 1:28pm

>111 Petroglyph: Miller certainly has widespread appeal. I don't think I would have picked up a retelling of the Trojan war without the recommendations I've read here at LibraryThing.

>112 NanaCC: I didn't know a family membership was available. What a great way to share books. My son only reads paper books and that's what we share. In most cases I've forgotten the original owner, but he always says it doesn't matter, they are our books.

114VivienneR
Abr 13, 2019, 9:23pm

>112 NanaCC: Colleen, thanks for the pm explaining the kindle account. I should have been able to figure that out for myself. :)

115VivienneR
Abr 13, 2019, 9:27pm



Thirty-three teeth by Colin Cotterill

Having thirty three teeth, as Buddha had, indicates being born as a bridge to the spirit world. Turns out, Dr Siri also has the requisite number giving him mystic connections. This is a delightful story about the national coroner of Laos and his comrades. The mystery isn't up to much but that doesn't matter, the story is fun.

116VivienneR
Abr 15, 2019, 5:00pm



The Lost Man by Jane Harper

Another excellent novel from Harper set on a hot, dry, dusty cattle ranch around Christmas. Harper is superb at depicting the surroundings so as to transport the reader.

I'm very grateful for this bullet from roro8. It might be my favourite Harper novel so far.

117rhian_of_oz
Abr 18, 2019, 10:55am

>116 VivienneR: This is on my TBR pile so I was pleased to read your positive thoughts.

118NanaCC
Abr 18, 2019, 12:49pm

>115 VivienneR: I haven’t read one of these in a long time, Vivienne. The last one was the eighth book, and that was in 2016. I might have to read the next one thanks to your reminder. :-)

>116 VivienneR: I haven’t read anything by Jane Harper, so adding this to my wishlist.

119VivienneR
Abr 18, 2019, 6:12pm

>117 rhian_of_oz: You will enjoy it! Harper really does a great job of wowing the reader with climate and setting. It was hard to put down - although that only happened once! I see you are from Perth. My friend who will be visiting me for three weeks, arriving this weekend, is also from Perth. It looks like such a gorgeous city.

>118 NanaCC: Cotterill's books are so much fun. A frequent phrase was "Hot, isn't it?" "Damned hot!" Then I followed up with Jane Harper's even hotter climate. :) Of Harper's books I enjoyed The Dry and The Lost Man best.

120rhian_of_oz
Abr 19, 2019, 7:22am

>119 VivienneR: Perth is normally lovely but at the moment it is rainy and cold- though I'm not sure I should be complaining about cold to a Canadian :-).

121VivienneR
Abr 19, 2019, 2:28pm

>120 rhian_of_oz: We are just about to warm up but right now it is cold and rainy here too - maybe a tad colder than Perth. :) The rain is coming down as snow on top of the mountains around here, which is very pretty.

122VivienneR
Editado: Abr 19, 2019, 4:06pm



Milkman by Anna Burns

There is so much to say about Milkman that it would be easy to write a thesis: a perfect candidate for courageous book clubs and reading groups.

The image Burns has created is chilling when every spoken word, every gesture, quirk or mannerism can be interpreted as being on the "wrong" side. And when an innocent reputation can be sabotaged simply by having an uninvited companion from the "other side" tag along on walks. The previously insignificant woman is now regarded as a threat, with gossip and rumour enlarging the infamy. The potential retribution is frightening, all the more so because it is threatened, imagined. Burns describes a way of life that is real, as it has been for many in communities and countries held in sway or influenced by terrorist groups.

Milkman is not an easy read. It is "middle sister's" stream of consciousness account consisting of long unbroken passages, long sentences and long paragraphs. It also contains local idiom, not exactly dialect, but turns of phrase common in Northern Ireland. There are many occasions when middle sister's soliloquy induces a smile. While certainly not funny, her recovery after poisoning by tablet girl is one of those times. However challenging this innovative book is, the reward is clearly evident after reading the first few pages.

One of the interesting aspects of Burns' novel is that none of the characters are named. It was clever to give the villain the soubriquet of "milkman", a person who is often seen as an anonymous perpetrator, always around and seemingly harmless. It may be limited to Northern Ireland humour, but the child who doesn't resemble the rest of the family is jokingly attributed to the milkman.

Congratulations to Anna Burns for her well-deserved win of the Man Booker Prize with this clever, perceptive, intelligent book.

123NanaCC
Abr 19, 2019, 9:16pm

>122 VivienneR: I just downloaded the audio version of this book earlier today. I’m intrigued.

124VivienneR
Abr 20, 2019, 12:33am

>123 NanaCC: If my library ever gets the audio version I will definitely listen to it. I'd love to hear it. And it might not be as challenging to listen to instead of reading. Let me know what you think of it.

125VivienneR
Abr 20, 2019, 3:03pm



Something in the water by Catherine Steadman

Erin and Mark are enjoying a scuba diving expedition while on a luxurious honeymoon in Bora Bora when they find a bag full of money and diamonds. The decisions they make soon become complicated. They both acted remarkably foolhardy but Erin's actions especially made me want to shake some sense into her. Athough it could have been a tighter story, it was filled with suspense, a real page turner.

126valkyrdeath
Abr 20, 2019, 6:23pm

Just catching up and enjoyed reading all your reviews.

>80 VivienneR: I really liked the sound of Into the Beautiful North and made a note of it ages ago but never got to it, so I'm glad to hear you liked it. Time to push it up the list I think.

>108 VivienneR: I just read Circe myself and loved it. I wish it didn't take so long between Miller's books, but then I guess it's worth waiting for quality.

>122 VivienneR: Milkman really sounds interesting from all I've seen about it recently, though I can't decide whether it sounds like something I'd like or not. I'm getting tempted though.

127VivienneR
Abr 20, 2019, 7:58pm

>126 valkyrdeath: I have no doubt that you will enjoy Into the Beautiful North.

I hope Miller continues with the topic. I loved Circe and The Song of Achilles. Can't decide if I liked one more than the other, or even which one that would be.

Milkman will be one of those books that have readers polarized - either loving it or hating it, with few in betweens. I knew that I was one of the former after the first few pages. I hope you give it a try.

128AlisonY
Abr 29, 2019, 3:45am

Enjoyed your review of Milkman. I'm really curious to read it, but I'm holding out for copies to turn up in the Oxfam bookshop (surely here, of all places, there should be numerous copies after a while?).

I expected that it would be difficult for Burns to write a book set in West Belfast without including a lot of typical Norin' Iron slang, and from your review it sounds like that's the case. Mind you, Lucy Caldwell I think also includes quite a lot of NI sayings but many Club Readers have enjoyed her work, so perhaps it's more the stream of consciousness style that makes it a little hard work.

I'll have to get to it soon to find out for myself!

129Nickelini
Abr 30, 2019, 12:13am

>128 AlisonY: but I'm holding out for copies to turn up in the Oxfam bookshop (surely here, of all places, there should be numerous copies after a while?).

LOL. I've tried that trick with books for my book club that were popular or esteemed in Canada and had a tough time hunting down a copy. My success depends on how stubborn I am. Of course, once you buy a new copy, full price, then the used bookshops have zillions of copies. Or you could go to Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon

130AlisonY
Abr 30, 2019, 3:48am

>129 Nickelini: you're right - everyone here will probably hang onto Milkman in perpetuity simply because Anna Burns is from NI. There's a for profit secondhand bookshop in Belfast as well that will no doubt have some copies of it, but I'll hang out for Oxfam for a while simply out of pure stubbornness.

Oh my - that Powell's Books site. That is actually a proper book city, isn't it? But expensive, or is that just with the FX conversion? Shipping aside, Milkman would be the equivalent of GBP £12, whereas it can be bought on Amazon for just under £6.

Sorry Vivienne - hijacking your thread...

131Nickelini
Abr 30, 2019, 7:23pm

Sorry Vivienne, still hijacking . . .

>130 AlisonY: Wow, that is quite a $$ difference. I was going to add that I meant for you to take a trip there, but then a someone dropped by so I just hit "send." Ordering it from Powells would be cheaper than a trip to the western US, but if you're ever in the neighbourhood, Powells is worth 3-4 hours. It's a 6 hour drive for me, so I've only been once. They had every obscure used book on my list though, so that was exciting.

132VivienneR
Maio 2, 2019, 11:42am

>128 AlisonY: I hope you find a copy of Milkman. I'll be interested in your take on it. Burns didn't use "Norin Iron" slang, but just managed to give the text a Belfast flavour. I returned the book to the library so can't give you any examples.

>131 Nickelini: Feel free to to hijack! My Australian friend is visiting so reading has come to a complete standstill. I'll be back in a week or so to catch up on everyone's threads.

133Nickelini
Editado: Maio 11, 2019, 3:48am

I’m away on my holidays so no reading going on with me either

134VivienneR
Maio 15, 2019, 1:31am

>133 Nickelini: Enjoy your holiday!

135VivienneR
Maio 15, 2019, 1:32am



High Plains Tango by Robert James Waller

This is the third in the Bridges of Madison County series. I haven't read the first two so cannot comment on how this one compares. Waller's writing has a dreamy, flowery quality, and like the overly romantic story, it is not to everyone's taste. Carlisle McMillan, the son of of Robert Kincaid (Bridges of Madison County) is a drifter who settles down in a small town and perfectly restores an abandoned house. Carlisle's idealistic life contrasts sharply with the land speculators and developers who plan to ruin his peaceful life.

It's difficult to form an opinion of the story. The characters are either real rotters or they are unbelievably good, or beautiful, or talented, or intelligent. However, this novel has allowed Waller to bang his drum against development and destruction of nature.

In the struggle for domination, one bystander said of the standoff "It was a first-class tango."

136VivienneR
Maio 18, 2019, 1:17am

My March and April Early Reviewer books arrived on the same day.



Great job, Mom! by Holman Wang 5★

Not only is this a beautiful picture book featuring Mom, two children and pets, but the reader will learn the names of some jobs taken care of by Mom: carpenter, general, scientist and more. The unique illustrations are the best feature.

The part I liked best is Behind the Scenes at the end of the book that might inspire young artists. Wang shows how he makes the models, sets the scene and then photographs the results for the book's illustrations. Some are photographed with a short focal length against a real life background in his home or outdoors. The mountains on the cover are those seen from Vancouver. Five stars!



What are you doing, Benny? by Cary Fagan and Kady Macdonald Denton 4★

Benny and his little brother are two beautifully illustrated young foxes. Benny is always doing something interesting but will not let his young sibling join in - until the end of the book. I would like to have seen more positive responses from Benny although this is often how it happens with real life siblings. The colourful detailed illustrations give the characters lots of expression and make up for the lack of encouraging message in the text.

137VivienneR
Maio 19, 2019, 1:03am

  

The Sixth Heaven by L.P. Hartley

(Is it Hartley or Eustace who is keeping a seventh heaven in reserve?)

In this, the second part of the trilogy Eustace and Hilda, the story resumes with Eustace a languid undergraduate at Oxford and Hilda running a clinic for "crippled" children. They are invited to a weekend visit with the upper-crust Stavely family who awed Eustace, the impressionable child, on the beach of Anchorstone. Hartley conveys the delicate class distinctions that fill the weekend with anxiety. Eustace is willing to see it through if it means a liaison between Hilda and Dick Stavely who go for a distressingly prolonged plane trip. The simple yet subtle story is captivating.

Although a trilogy originally published separately between 1944 and 1947, the three volumes have been published as one book with the title Eustace and Hilda since 1958.

138rhian_of_oz
Maio 19, 2019, 10:57am

>137 VivienneR: I highly recommend The Go Between if you've not already read it.

139VivienneR
Maio 19, 2019, 1:31pm

>138 rhian_of_oz: Thank you for the recommendation! I just ordered a copy. Not that I needed any more books on the shelves but I can't resist those mid-century novels.

140VivienneR
Maio 20, 2019, 11:52am



Death of a Valentine by M.C. Beaton

According to my catalogue I've read this one before although I hardly remember it. This time I listened to an audiobook that I enjoyed more (rated an extra half star) because of narrator Graeme Malcolm whose Scottish accent is so entertaining.

141VivienneR
Maio 23, 2019, 4:36pm

Today is my 12th Thingaversary! I'll be celebrating at the FOL booksale next weekend. I'll let you know what I bring home.

142Petroglyph
Maio 23, 2019, 5:42pm

>141 VivienneR:
Congratulations!

13 new books, eh? Will it be harder to limit yourself to only 13 or to select that many?

143VivienneR
Maio 24, 2019, 12:24am

>142 Petroglyph: Thank you! It might be more difficult to limit myself to 13. Although the library is just five minutes walk from my house, my son, his wife and I usually have to take the car to bring home all the bargains.

144AlisonY
Maio 24, 2019, 5:15am

>141 VivienneR: congratulations. Well if that's not a reason to go out and buy some new books then what is....

145NanaCC
Maio 24, 2019, 9:46am

Congratulations on 12 years, Vivienne. I think I forgot my 6th in January. To be honest I never think about it. But I’m pretty sure I’ve fulfilled any buying obligations. :-)

146VivienneR
Maio 24, 2019, 2:17pm

Thank you, Alison. Buying books, one of my favourite things!

Thank you, Colleen. I usually forget mine but someone else mentioned their thingaversary just a couple of days ago and it jogged my memory. Like you, I don't have any trouble buying books, there is rarely a week goes by without new titles added to the shelves.

147VivienneR
Maio 24, 2019, 2:21pm



Solo Hand by Bill Moody

After enjoying one of Moody's mystery series last year I went back to the first in the series. This one takes place as world-class jazz pianist Evan Horne is recovering from an injury to his right hand leaving him unable to play but allowing him plenty of time to investigate a case of blackmail against his friend and fellow jazz musician. There is much name-dropping and casual references to familiar names in the jazz world. It's obvious Moody knows his stuff where the recording business is concerned when a royalties scam is uncovered. Evan Horne, aided by his flight attendant neighbour, Cindy, make a fine pair of investigators.

148VivienneR
Maio 25, 2019, 9:49pm



Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

I've had this on my tbr list forever, believing that it was unread. However, as soon as I opened I immediately recognized the words. I stayed with it because a Jane Austen re-read is never a waste of reading time.

149NanaCC
Maio 26, 2019, 9:22am

I listened to the audio version of Sense and Sensibility earlier this year, and loved it. I thought I had read it previously, but I may have been mixing it up with one of the film adaptations. And a re-read of Jane Austen is always welcome, as you said, so either way it was worth it. :-)

150RidgewayGirl
Maio 26, 2019, 1:24pm

Happy belated Thingaversary! I'm looking forward to seeing what you find at your FOL sale.

151VivienneR
Maio 26, 2019, 2:12pm

>150 RidgewayGirl: Thank you! I've just been admiring my recently re-arranged books and wondering where I will put any new ones. I might have to be more choosy about what I bring home.

152VivienneR
Maio 29, 2019, 6:04pm



The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

I just longed to get to the end of this one. Two thirds into the book I wanted to abandon it but I felt I had too much time invested in it so kept on going. What a slog!

Set in 1922 the story begins with a mother and daughter in straitened circumstances being forced to open their home to lodgers. The background of genteel poverty opens up many opportunities, after all, it's been a topic for many writers in the history of English literature, but Waters can't pull it off. The characters, are poorly developed, the writing is repetitive and overwrought, there is just too much going on and even then it's boring, especially the graphic sex element. The bloody parts were bloodier than the seriously grisly crime novel I'm reading. Far too long, it could have been cut by half and would have been improved.

What I didn't like about this book would fill pages. However, Juliet Stevenson's flawless narration raised my rating far above what it would have been if I'd read the print version.

153janeajones
Maio 29, 2019, 6:37pm

>152 VivienneR:: Definitely going to avoid this one!

154VivienneR
Maio 30, 2019, 12:51am

>153 janeajones: It appears to be one of those books you either love or hate and lots of people here at LT loved it. Not long ago I read The Little Stranger by the same author and gave it 4.5 stars.

155Nickelini
Maio 30, 2019, 1:33am

>154 VivienneR: - I loved The Little Stranger too, but I'm leery of The Paying Guests based on Vivienne's review and others' . . . every author can have an off book.

156VivienneR
Maio 30, 2019, 2:31pm

>155 Nickelini: I agree, Joyce, every author can have a book that doesn't hit the mark for everyone. But there are so many solid writers out there, that I don't need to take a risk if I can avoid it. Waters is off my list.

157Nickelini
Maio 30, 2019, 9:19pm

>156 VivienneR: But there are so many solid writers out there, that I don't need to take a risk if I can avoid it. Waters is off my list.

I try not to do that, but I TOTALLY do that! I tend to give a bit more leeway to writers who have won high accolades (reader or critic). And some authors write books that are very different from their other books, so I try to give them a bigger chance . . . so many books to read though, I certainly don't need to keep trying, do I! (I'm looking at you, JM Coetzee)

158VivienneR
Maio 30, 2019, 11:49pm

>157 Nickelini: Finding the right book is not an easy task, especially when it might be "right book, wrong day". But it's fun to try. And yes, I agree that its a good idea to give a tried and true author a break when they are writing something different.

159VivienneR
Maio 30, 2019, 11:49pm



Death of an Effendi by Michael Pearce

A confusing tale that would have been clearer if I was more familiar with the history and politics of 20th century Egypt. However, this political mystery set in 1909 shows that not much has changed in politics when the governments of other countries are involved.

161VivienneR
Jun 1, 2019, 8:22pm



Aftermath by Peter Robinson

Had I known that this novel was inspired by an infamous Canadian crime from the 1990s I would not have read it. It annoys me when authors create stories (and make money) from recent real life crimes where individuals are still suffering. Robinson even mentions that horrific crime on more than one occasion. For this reason I find it difficult to rate this book rationally, and even more irrationally, to think kindly of Banks.

Cheap shot, Robinson.

162AlisonY
Jun 3, 2019, 4:57am

Good haul! I'll be looking forward to your thoughts on the Sadie Jones book in particular. I've not read that one yet.
Este tópico foi continuado por Vivienne's reading in 2019 Part 2.