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SecretRiver-KateGrenvilleI can't believe this is the first book I'm posting about this year, but then there's been alot going on. I have been reading, but mostly comfort-reading (Astreiant, at the moment). But The Secret River was the first book in 2017 for my book group, and my last one for them, of course, so it had to be squeezed in!

London, 1806 - William Thornhill, happily wedded to his childhood sweetheart Sal, is a waterman on the River Thames. Life is tough but bearable until William makes a mistake, a bad mistake for which he and his family are made to pay dearly. His sentence: to be transported to New South Wales for the term of his natural life. Soon Thornhill, a man no better or worse than most, has to make the most difficult decision of his life.

The Secret River is... )
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ReadersOfBrokenWheelRecommend-KatarinaBivaldSara has never left Sweden but at the age of 28 she decides its time. She cashes in her savings, packs a suitcase full of books and sets off for Broken Wheel, Iowa, a town where she knows nobody.
Sara quickly realises that Broken Wheel is in desperate need of adventure, a dose of self-help and perhaps some romance too. In short, this is a town in need of a bookshop.
With a little help from the locals, Sara sets up Broken Wheel's first bookstore. The shop might be a little quirky but then again, so is Sara. And as Broken Wheel's story begins to take shape, there are some surprises in store for Sara too...


This was the perfect book to read when I'd just got back from holiday to ordinary life again, because it's one of those gorgeously cosy-adventuresome reads that is just sunshine from one end to the other. *g* It's not what the blurb says though - the first paragraph is right, but the second makes me think that the blurb-writer didn't actually bother to read it at all. In fact, Sara had struck up a letter-writing relationship with a women from Broken Wheel when she was still in Sweden, and when the bookshop she works for closes down she decides to take Amy up on her offer, and go and visit her for a holiday - just to do something different with her life, so that one day she can look back and say when I was young I lived in a small American town for two months...

When she gets there... )
byslantedlight: (BD AllHallowsEve (empty_mirrors))
StringOfMurder-OscarDeMurielEdinburgh, 1888. A violinist is murdered in his home. The dead virtuoso's maid swears she heard three musicians playing in the night. But with only one body locked in the practice room - and no way in or out - the case makes no sense.
Fearing a panic over another Ripper, Scotland Yard sends Inspector Ian Frey to investigate under the cover of a fake department specializing in the occult. However, Frey's new boss, Detective "Nine-Nails" McGray, actually believes in supernatural nonsense.
McGray's tragic past has driven him to superstition, but even Frey must admit that this case seems beyond reason. And when someone loses all reason, who knows what they will lose next...
.

This has been on my shelf for a while - though not quite long enough to count for my Mount TBR challenge, according to the photo of my shelves - but it seemed to fit the Readers Imbibing Peril challenge nicely, with a murder and supernatural elements... And I enjoyed it! In some ways I shouldn't have... )

SelectedGhostStories-MRJamesI also started my Peril of the Short Story challenge this morning, with two wee stories written by Mr M.R. James. The first was A School Story, about... well, I won't tell you what it's about, cos that's kind of a spoiler. *g* But it starts off with two men chatting about the ghost stories that schoolboys tell - and of course one of them has come across something himself... *g* Actually, what I thought was the spookiest bit has nothing to do with the story, it's the kind of throw-away that is done very well in this tale - one of the men is thinking of the different stories he'd heard - "Also there was the lady who, on locking her bedroom door in a strange house, heard a thin voice among the bed-curtains say, 'Now we're shut in for the night.'" - eeeh!

The second story was The Rose Garden, which is rather Nightmare on Elm Street in a way, because how often do we really know why that part of the house we've just moved into, for all its inconvenience, actually shouldn't be cleared away/altered/disturbed at all...? *g* Hmmn - it's hard, with short stories, to avoid spoilers, isn't it! I shall read more in this collection, though... *g*

2014RIP-PerilTheFirstBanner
Mystery - The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel
Suspense -
Dark Tides by Chris Ewan
Thriller
Gothic -
Raven's Head by Karen Maitland
Gothic - The Madness by Alison Rattle
Horror
Dark Fantasy
And actually that means I've successfully completed this Peril the First challenge (to read four books) even before it got to October! I shall keep going though... *g*


A School Story by M.R. James
The Rose Garden by M.R. James
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MountTBRchallengebannerI'm catching up on all sorts of things today - or at least that's the plan. Trouble is, one thing leads to another - I went to check whether my current R.I.P. challenge book was one I could use in my Mount To-Be-Read challenge, and couldn't find either thing. Which meant I was slightly confused, cos I thought I'd posted about this when I started it, but maybe I just did it via Goodreads or something. Anyway, for the sake of knowing where I'm up to (cos I'm further than I thought, though not much, cos I keep buying books)... I'm supposed to be reading 24 books from this challenge for 2016 - ack, I'm only up to...

1. Truckers by Terry Pratchett
2. The Humans by Matthew Haig
3. Fire from Heaven by Mary Renault
4. Savage Magic by by Lloyd Shepherd
5. The Raven's Head by Karen Maitland
6. Valentine Grey by Sandi Toksvig
7. Ways To Live Forever by Sally Nichols
2016 MountTBR-01-10-2016-30percent
Of course the real problem is that my books-to-read have actually expanded this year to take up another shelf, not one less... *headdesk*
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Madness-AlisonRattleSomersetshire, 1868. Marnie leads a lonely existence in a seaside village famed for its 'sea-cures'. Visitors flock from London every summer, but the ladies in their fancy clothes are like foreign creatures to Marnie. When she meets Noah she can see a future for herself for the first time. A future where she is no longer an outcast; a future of love and happiness. But Noah doesn't share Marnie's vision. He thinks they're simply having fun. Marnie has to make him understand that they are meant to be together; she has to make him see the truth... no matter what it takes.
A completely engrossing story of love gone wrong...


I actually thought this might fit the Readers. Imbibing. Peril reading challenge, oddly enough, and it sort of does in a way, but I don't think I can actually crowbar it into any of the categories (Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Gothic, Horror and Dark Fantasy). It's almost Gothic again ("combines fiction and horror, death, and at times romance") but the horror element is probably a bit too subtle really, though I find it pretty horrific. The only creeping around in the dark is the exciting kind involved with a touch of romance, although there's certainly death. Hmmn! (ETA - actually I decided it would fit, in the end! Horror is perhaps what we find horror-ful?)

The Madness (spoilers abound, if you're likely to read it) )
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I am so hugely behind in my book reviews on lj that I'm mostly just going to list what I've been reading since the last time under a cut, and then get on with being a bit more up-to-date (but there were some fab books, so if you're after recs, do look!)

When we last saw our heroine, it was... )

2016 RIPbannerI hadn't been sure whether I'd sign up for Carl Anderson's Readers Imbibing Peril Challenge this year (and review site here), but it turned out my penchant for books had other ideas, and when the 1st September hit, I was choosing a book from my shelves that fit the challenge perfectly - so here I am! Also, it's coming on for autumn, which is my favourite time of year, and somehow it seems right to turn to the darker side of the bookshelves... *g*

I'm going to go for Peril the First, which is "Read four books, of any length, from the very broad categories earlier defined as perilous. They could all be by the same author, a series of books, a random mix of classic and contemporary or whatever you like." The categories are Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Gothic, Horror and Dark Fantasy. There's also Peril of the Short Story and Peril on the Screen, and I shall see if I can manage those too. Maybe this will be the year I finally watch Thirty Days... *g*

80. The Raven's Head by Karen Maitland
RavensHead-KarenMaitland
This was a very dark story, although much of the darkness simply came from its medieval setting, and what people believed and so how they treated each other back then. It's a story of alchemists and men of religion, and girls caught up in it, but mostly of a boy who's too ambitious for his own good, and more lucky than clever alot of the time. To be honest, another part of the darkness of this book came from the fact that I didn't really like any of the characters - Vincent was a runaway librarian trying to better himself, so I was sure he'd grow on me when he settled into himself, but he didn't at all, he just didn't seem to be a nice person, and I do want to feel at least a bit sympathetic to the people I'm reading about. I suppose I did just a bit, just enough to keep going, and with Gisa too (who is oddly left out of most of the reviews I've seen of the story, though she's definitely a major character!) But not quite enough - I felt it was more a story about the times, and I don't empathise much with times, no matter how much I might enjoy reading about the people who lived in them. Definitely a good R.I.P challenge book - though which category it fits into is another question! It's got supernatural elements, but it's not a fantasy, it's a bit of a mystery I guess, but not specifically... maybe Gothic - according to wiki that "combines fiction and horror, death, and at times romance", and there's elements of all those things, definitely!

83. Dark Tides by Chris Ewan
DarkTides-ChrisEwanOddly enough, this is a book I was eyeing way back in April - because it was on bookshelves on the Isle of Man, which is where it's set. I picked it up a few times, and wasn't quite convinced enough to buy it, but when I was in Wells Library last week it was on the shelves as the Somerset Big Read book, complete with author talk (tonight, as it happens) and what with it being about Hop tu naa (which is the Manx halloween, only it's not halloween at all, though they get confused nowadays of course) (pronounce it hop-choo-nay, btw *g*) - well anyway, I had to borrow it, didn't I? *g* I couldn't really tell it was set in the IOM, apart from the place names, and the childhood hop-tu-naa traditions (though I never heard of them when I was spending more time there, though to be fair I was never there in October - and when I asked my cousin when I was over, she said oh yes, hop-tu-naa!) but it was definitely a suspenseful read, and it kept me guessing, even after I thought I knew. Again though, I wasn't particularly fond of the characters - I think they were supposed to be realistic and flawed, but there was something missing for me that crossed them into properly sympathetic. If you like murder mysteries though, I'd recommend it. It'll be interesting to see what Ewan is like, and what he says about the story - he's from Somerset, and lives back here again, but he lived on the Island for eleven years (which is more than I've done! *g*)




The Perils I've Imbibed! )
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I have been writing this post for days - well, weeks actually - since... oh, the beginning of May, according to Goodreads. Oops. Oh well - here we go! Besides, reading is healthy - the headline says so, so it must be true, right? And who doesn't want to live longer so that you can read more books, right? *g*

Some Luck by Jane Smiley )

The Bull from the Sea by Mary Renault )

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater )
Room by Emma Donaghue )
The Looking Glass House by Vanessa Tait )

The Charm of Magpie books by K.J. Charles )
On the Road to Mr Right by Belinda Jones )

Liar's Waltz by Becky Black )

The Society of Gentlemen books by KJ Charles )

Between the Lines and Off the Page by... )
No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay )
Gently Through the Mill by Alan Hunter )
Ellan Vannin by Lynn Andrews )
Somerset Tales of the Supernatural by Roger Evans )
The Temeraire books by Naomi Novak )
The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant )
Strange Star by Emma Carroll )
The Lady in the Tower by Marie-Louise Jensen )

And that brings me to today! I am currently reading several books, but mostly I am re-reading Harlequin Airs by Ellis Ward, cos sometimes it's got to be Pros fic set in a circus. *vbg*
harlequinairs
*sighs happily*

Actually I'm also reading Larton for my bedtime book, and have just got to In the Deep Midwinter. *sighs more happily*

Once Upon A Time... )

But I'm still on book not-very-many from my Mount To Be Read Challenge... I must stop buying new books!

And if you actually read all the way to the end of this post then you deserve to live for 23 months longer! *g* I rather think I'd better keep up with my book posts better, if I'm going to make them at all... *vbg*
byslantedlight: (Books-OnceUponATimeX)
KingMustDie-MaryRenault Theseus is the grandson of the King of Troizen, but his paternity is shrouded in mystery. When he discovers his father's sword beneath a rock, his mother reveals his true identity: Theseus is the son of Aegeus, King of Athens, and is his only heir. So begin Theseus's adventures. He undertakes the perilous journey to his father's palace, escaping bandits and ritual sacrifice in Eleusis, and slays the fearsome Minotaur in Knossos. Weaving legend and historical research, Renault breathes new life into the Theseus myth.

I can't get enough Mary Renault at the moment, I love her lyrical, thoughtful, clever storytelling - and she fits the The Once Upon a Time Challenge beautifully, with her re-telling of Greek myths as historical stories! This one, of course, is the myth of Theseus facing the minotaur of Knossos, and she makes it looks so easy to weave between the worlds of that story and of actual possible history.

Theseus is a real person, and the book is written from his point of view. It's a pov I'm usually less keen on these days, but I didn't even notice it in The King Must Die because it's just so naturally done. We're right inside Theseus' head, right there with him, to the point that we believe just as much in the gods, and can almost read their signs as well as he can. I love the way Renault interprets and seems to get to the heart and feeling of those beliefs too, done so deeply and yet so lightly that it's just obvious that's how the world is.

I don't want to say too much about the actual story, because it's well worth reading and everyone should (*g*) but it's just fascinating how well and how realistically Renault has tied all the elements of the mythology of Theseus and the minotaur together, so that I may well remember this more clearly than I do the myth itself. *g* I'm away now to find the sequel - this was a library book, but I spotted the second book in Waterstones the other week, when I was good and resisted... *g*

And of course it fits beautifully for The Once Upon a Time challenge! Coincidentally, I've just read a short story that echoes with this myth too, and I've also been reminded that I have a version of the myth on video, one that I've adored in the past, so there may well be connected posts... *g*

2016 OnceUponATimeXTheJourney 1/1) - Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (fantasy)




2016 OnceUponATimeXQuestTheSecond Folklore - Savage Magic by Lloyd Shepherd
Fantasy -
Mythology - The King Must Die by Mary Renault
Fairytale -


2016 OnceUponATimeX-ShortStoryQuest1 - folklore - Lord John and the Succubus by Diana Gabaldon
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Fashionable-Indulgence-KJCharles GentlemansPosition-KJCharles(England)
My most recent book has been the last in this series - A Gentleman's Position, by K.J. Charles. Please please ignore the covers, especially the last two, which are clearly just generic hunks there to look sexy - they have very little indeed to do with the actual stories, which are thoughtful, readable and excellent.

KJ Charles writes... )
byslantedlight: (Books-OnceUponATimeX)
SavageMagic-LloydShepherdCovent Garden, 1814: a centre of vice to which rich and poor alike are drawn by the promises of gin, ale and other carnal diversions. In opulent private rooms, several fashionable young men have been found murdered, each wearing a satyr's mask, each behind a locked door. Constable Charles Horton of the River Police Office is called in to investigate and soon finds himself at Thorpe Lee House in Surrey, where accusations of witchcraft have swept through the village. What connects these London aristocrats in pursuit of pleasure and a country backwater suddenly awash with folklore and talk of burning witches? In this strange, captivating world, it is savage magic indeed that holds its victims in its thrall.

Now there's a blurb! I bought this book after reading the author's The Poisoned Island last year, which I loved. That was also a blend of folklore (from Tahiti this time) and Victorian London, and it was readable and interesting and different.

Savage Magic... )

So yes - jolly good, and if you like twisty plotty edge-of-magic-and-supernatural books that are actually based in the grim real world, this could be for you!

My next book for two challenges! I bought this sometime last year, so it's the fourth book for my Mount TBR challenge (reading the books you've previously bought rather than buying new ones and reading those - I was doing quite well, but fell down in February...)

2016 OnceUponATimeXTheJourneyAnd I'd say it fits the folklore category for the The Once Upon a Time Challenge! So - I've completed The Journey, and I am now setting out towards Quest the Second - "Read at least one book from each of the four categories. In this quest you will be reading 4 books total: one fantasy, one folklore, one fairy tale, and one mythology."

2016 OnceUponATimeXQuestTheSecond1. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (fantasy)
2. Savage Magic by Lloyd Shepherd (folklore)
byslantedlight: (Doyle books)
CarryOn-RainbowRowellSimon Snow is the worst Chosen One who's ever been chosen. That's what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he's probably right. Half the time Simon can't even make his wand work, and the other half he sets something on fire. His mentor's avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there's a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon's face. Baz would be having a field day with all this if he were here - it's their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon's infuriating nemesis didn't even bother to show up.
Carry On is a love letter to love stories and the power of words - to every 'chosen one' who ever had more on their mind than saving the world...

Actually Carry On is the fanfiction that Rowell's character was writing in Fangirl, and in Fangirl I must admit that I tended to skip over those bits, because what Rowell did best was show us the life and conflicts of her real character, the fangirl (it was a fangirl more than twenty years younger than me - but still *g*) That didn't stop me from being interested in Carry On though, because what we got in Fangirl was snippets from the story of Harry Potter/Draco Simon Snow/Baz, and this is a whole - and quite bulky - novel. Yeay!

More review... )

I think this counts as my first book for the Once Upon A Time X challenge too, because I started reading it on the day the challenge started, even though I hadn't actually signed up yet. It's definitely fantasy, which means I've completed one of the challenges - The Journey (By signing up for The Journey you are agreeing to read at least one book within one of the four categories - fantasy, or folklore, or fairy tales, or mythology - during March 21st to June 21st period.) So yeay!
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FireFromHeaven-MaryRenault PersianBoy-MaryRenault (AncientGreece) FuneralGames-MaryRenault (AncientGreece)I'm so sorry to have finished Mary Renault's Alexander trilogy - I loved them! My favourite was definitely the first one, even though most people seem to go for/the most renowned book of the trilogy is, I think, The Persian Boy. I liked The Persian Boy, but to be honest what I kept looking for was glimpses of Alexander/Hephaistion who'd been the focus of the first book.

In The Persian Boy, instead of continuing the story of Alexander/Hephaistion from their own perspective, we're instead given a story about Bagoas, a Persian boy from a noble family who is sold into slavery following treachery, and eventually becomes Alexander's lover. This is his story, told from his perspective, all the way through. I couldn't quite empathise with Bagoas as much as I had Alexander and Hephaistion, and I'm not entirely sure why - he seemed to be at a slightly greater distance somehow, and of course he kept the Alexander/Hephaistion story at a greater distance too, although it spanned their entire lives and Bagoas was effectively a side-event in Alexander's. It's also a less joyous book than Fire from Heaven - Alexander is in the middle of his life, his promise has come to be, and where do you go from there? - and I really felt that, too.

Funeral Games is different again... )
byslantedlight: (Doyle books)
FireFromHeaven-MaryRenaultAt twenty, when his reign began, Alexander the Great was already a seasoned soldier and a complex, passionate man. Fire from Heaven tells the story of the boy Alexander, and the years that shaped him.

Oh, I adored this book... I love Renault's lovely lyrical writing, so that you feel you're in Greece even before you know anything about the story, and I love the way she shows you the world, and the people, and just... everything! I love Alexander/Hephastion, and the gentleness of it all even through the blood and darkness. I love the way that Alexander is like sunshine that you can feel on your skin.

2016-03-16 1988PellasPhotoAnd I'm quite pleased that when I was in Greece, a billion years ago, I went to visit this place - which turns out to be where this book is set - Pella, where Alexander was born! And that I have this photo in my album... *g* I really just remember a long dusty bus trip from Thessalonika, and then a wide dusty plain with a fallen-down town in it, but it had its own beauty... and are those the mountains that Alexander rode to? So far away for a little boy!

Yes, of course I know it's not a history book, but it's so beautifully written that you could be forgiven for thinking it was the real world. And Renault doesn't skimp on anything - the gods are alive and well in Alexander's time, at least in the way people think and behave and believe. Nothing's explained, it's all just rolled out before us like a scroll so that we can see just how things were... my favourite kind of writing! And really I'm just going to keep gushing, so I shall stop now, but if you haven't already, and you like historical fiction even just a bit - read this book! *g*
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LongWayToASmallAngryPlanet-BeckyChambersI find myself on a bit of a mission this year - to find some good science fiction that doesn't revolve around the universe being as much into war as our own species has been so far, that isn't just Hollywood-waiting-to-be-made-into-a-movie (sadly similar to rule 1), that involves real female as well as male characters, and - because why make a mission easy? - preferably written by a woman. I'm happy to read it from a male writer too, but on current experience I suspect I'm alot less likely to find it written by a male writer - and also I'm bored with scanning the sci-fi/fantasy shelves and finding nothing but male authors (unless there are vampire romances involved).

So when I spotted A Long Way to an Angry Planet in Waterstones, I was a bit excited. Female author - tick; non-war plot - tick; main character's female - tick; gorgeous cover - bonus tick; and here's the blurb:

When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn't expecting much. The Wayfarer, a patched-up ship that's seen better days, offers her everything she could possibly want: a small quiet spot to call home for a while, adventure in far-off corners of the galaxy, and distance from her troubled past.
But Rosemary gets more than she bargained for with the
Wayfarer. The crew is a mishmash of species and personalities, from Sissix the friendly reptilian pilot, to Kizzy and Jenks, the constantly sparring engineers who keep the ship running. Life on board is chaotic, but more or less peaceful - exactly what Rosemary wants.
Until the crew are offered the job of a lifetime: the chance to build a hyperspace tunnel to a distant planet. They'll earn enough money to live comfortably for years... if they survive the long trip through war-torn space without endangering any of the fragile alliances that keep the galaxy peaceful.
But Rosemary isn't the only person on board with secrets to hide, and the crew will soon discover that space may be vast, but spaceships are very small indeed.


Review plus surprise source of book )
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ThankYouJeeves-PGWodehouse(England)"Thank You, Jeeves" is the first novel to feature the inncomparable valet Jeeves and his hapless charge Bertie Wooster - and you've hardly started to turn the pages when Jeeves resigns over Bertie's dedicated but somewhat untuneful playing of the banjo. In high dudgeon, Bertie disappears to the country as a guest of his old chum Chuffy - only to find his peace shattered by the arrival of his ex-fiancee Pauline Stoker, her formidable father and the eminent loony-doctor Sir Roderick Glossp. When Chuffy falls in love with Pauline and Bertie seems to be caught in flagrante, a situation boils up which only Jeeves (whether employed or not) can simmer down...

Well, that's not the most accurate blurb I've ever read - Bertie plays the banjolele (which is a cross between a banjo and a ukelele) not a banjo. Bertie is never in danger of being caught in flagrante, it's just that he rather gets tangled up in things that other people are doing, and Jeeves is always employed in the book, just mostly not by Bertie... But apart from all that - okay... *g*

This was my next... )

My favourite quote from the generator (under the cut) doesn't come from Thank You, Jeeves, but there are other reasons it makes me smile... *vbg*
WodehouseScotsmanSunshineQuote
Now there's a plot bunny... *vbg*
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Human-MattHaig (England Cambridge)There's no place like home. Or is there? After an 'incident' one wet Friday night where he is found walking naked through the streets of Cambridge, Prfessor Andrew Martin is not feeling quite himself. Food sickens him. Clothes confuse him. Even his loving wife and teenage son are repulsive to him. He feels lost amongst a crazy alien species and hates everyone on the planet. Everyone, that is, except Newton, and he's a dog. Who is he really? And what could make someone change their mind about the human race...?

The Humans is described in the flattering-blurb-y stuff as "a novel with enormous heart", "a laugh and cry book", and "heart-warming", and while I usually read that kind of blurb-y stuff from deep within the salt mine, it might actually be true with this story.

Spoilers, I expect... )
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I've been reading Pros fic this year too, mostly old favourites so far, but I have been reading book-books too. I posted about The Poisonwood Bible, and I'm determined this year to keep up with reading posts - so!

Truckers-TerryPratchett (England Fantasy)The second book I finished this year was actually Terry Pratchett's Truckers (The First Book of the Nomes, which I bought before Christmas undecided about whether my nephew would be old enough for it yet (I suspect not quite), and deciding that since I'd meant for years to read it myself anyway - well, that I should. *g*

And it's such a fun book - just as you'd expect of Pratchett! It's also lighter than the Discworld books, which is also to be expected as this is officially a "children's book" - but it's still full of very grown-up insights into life, and worth reading at any age, I reckon. It's all a sort of relativity. The faster you live, the more time stretches out. To a nome, a year lasts as long as ten years does to a human. Remember it. Don't let it concern you. They don't. They don't even know. Okay, so that's all about nomes (and why we can't see them - they move so fast! *g*), but think about how elastic time is - the way you can jam so much more into it when you're young and moving faster and just getting on and doing it. Being settled in my own place is weird like that - time rushes by and I get nothing done, even though in theory I have all the time in the world. It's cos I'm here, in one place, all slowed-down... Well, that's what I reckon - and whether it's true enough, Truckers made me think about it!

The story is about... )

CryBelovedCountry-AlanPaton (SouthAfrica)My third books was Cry, the Beloved Country, assigned to me for the [livejournal.com profile] books1001 community (and reviewed over there too, so sorry if you're a member and seeing this bit twice). I'm afraid I put off reading this for a long time, partly because of life, but also partly because I was confusing it with the film Cry Freedom, also set in apartheid South Africa, but about Steve Biko. It wasn't that Cry Freedom wasn't an excellent film, it was that I knew it would be a difficult book to read, and perhaps needed easier times in which to read it. My first book read this year was The Poisonwood Bible, also set in Africa (the Congo), and when I'd finished I knew I wanted to read more African books, and so at last I picked up Cry, the Beloved Country. And of course it was a completely different book to the one I was expecting! But it begins There is a lovely road that runs from Ixopo into the hills. These hills are grass-covered and rolling, and they are lovely beyond any singing of it. - and I was caught. Beyond any singing of it...

Cry, the Beloved Country )

And this means that I've also read 2/24 books from my Mount TBR Challenge, where I said I'd try for Mount Blanc - 24 books. Here's the mountain - two down!
2016 MountTBR-Accomplished
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My first book-read this year!
PoisonwoodBible-BarbaraKingsolver Told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959, The Poisonwood Bible is the story of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa. They carry with them all they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it - from garden seeds to Scripture - is calamitously transformed on African soil.

I must admit I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy this. It's told from the pov of five different people, alternating, and there's a bit of back-and-forth with time too, bu-u-ut it turned out that didn't matter at all, because every single person added something different to the story, a different perspective, and it was as much about the different ways they saw things as it was about what happened to each of them, and being Barbara Kingsolver it was beautifully written.

...and a wee Pros connection, if you'd like that )
byslantedlight: (BD MixedDoublesBreakfast (annacoriander))
Hello! It's the Monday after Christmas, and it's a bank holiday Monday, and after three days of mostly sitting on my couch and reading books, interspersed with watching telly, I think I should probably try and be a bit more active today... *g* So - a post isn't a bad place to start, I think? Hope you all had good days over the break - and still are having! Hello. *g*
2015-12-28 01ChristmasProsCards
(My Pros-y Christmas-y view from the couch... Hurrah Pros, and ProsFandomCards, and thank you all! *g*)

There's been reading... )

2015-12-25 ChristmasSpecialWatching telly... )

What else? Astreiant fanfic! Three new ones - A Life in Star Signs, Wicked Grace and Four Things Philip..., all by Anonymous (I suspect the same one, but not sure). And of course lots of Pros that I'm catching up (too slowly) on. So much to read in the world, so little time... *g*

So now I'm at the bit between Christmas and New Year where you're thinking about all the possibilities and potential that next year has. What will I do? What's my plan? This year has been - well, okay, but it's involved far too much work and whinging about work, and not enough brilliant things in the world! I lost all my weekends away and holidays a couple of years ago, and I don't seem to have replaced them yet - so I guess that's part of my plan for 2016. And I'm enjoying reading still (well, as ever *g*), so more of that please. *g* But what else...? I'm toying with the idea of doing a 365 photography project (where you take a photo and show it to people every day for a year - guess who that would be. *g*), cos I seem to have put down my camera a bit- no reason other than work and all, really. There's a course I've got my eye on, not far away. There's bookbinding. Fiddling. National Trusting. Those all seem sort of background things though. What d'you reckon? What should I do in 2016? All ideas and thoughts welcome!

And what are you thinking of doing in 2016?
byslantedlight: (Books-RIP2016 (AbigailLarson))
LollyWillowes-SylviaTownsendWarner After the death of her adored father, Laura "Lolly" Willowes settles into her role of the 'indispensable' maiden aunt of the family, wholly dependent, an unpaid nanny and housekeeper. Two decades pass; the children are grown, and Lolly unexpectedly moves to a village, alone. Here, happy and unfettered, she revels in a new existence, nagged only by the sense of a secret she has yet to discover...

This book arrived from... )

This is Me

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A ship is safe in the harbour - but that's not what ships are for.

I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night. (Sarah Williams)

Could've.
Should've.
Would've.
Didn't. Didn't. Didn't.

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