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About Viccie

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    reading, writing, wine, dawdling around
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  1. From Here To Eternity - James Jones
  2. Where The Wild Things Are - Maurice Sendak
  3. Elsa is seven years old, nearly eight, and her best friend in the world is her grandmother. Her granny is an unusual person, she flirts with policemen, breaks into zoos, stands on the balcony ib gher dressing gown and shoots people who come to the door peddling religion with paintballs and tells wonderful, outrageous stories. Some people call Granny crazy, Elsa thinks she is a superhero, but even superhero Granny can't fight everything. Her last wishes are for Elsa to go on a secret quest delivering letters to various people Granny has encountered in the past with a message that she's sorry, and one letter leads to the next and so on. This is a bestseller in Sweden, it's quirky, whimsical, very funny in parts and equally sad in others. It is definitely not for anyone who wants a novel to be totally realistic, Elsa is definitely not a typical seven year old, in some ways she has the understanding of a 20 year old, in some ways it's as if she were 5, and Granny is too outrageus and omniscient, things fall too neatly into place etc etc but the book has oodles of charm, is immensiely readable and I have to say I loved it.
  4. From the blurb "Samantha Whipple is the last remaining descendent of the illustrious Brontë family, of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre fame. After losing her father, a brilliant author in his own right, it is up to Samantha to piece together the mysterious family inheritance lurking somewhere in her past - yet the only clues she has at her disposal are the Brontë's own novels. With the aid of her handsome but inscrutable Oxford tutor, Samantha must repurpose the tools of literature to unearth an untold family legacy, and in the process, finds herself face to face with what may be literature's greatest secret. " I've seen a lot of good reviews for this book in the press and on-line magazines, describing it as witty and fast moving, and as I'm a sucker for funny and books that play around with the classics I thought I'd give it a go. What a disappointment it is. The good things first: Catherine Lowell obviously knows her Brontes and the plot she weaves around the relationships of the Brontes to each other is clever and convincing, and her writing is smooth and fluent. But, and it's a major but, there is absolutely no sense of place at all. It's set in Oxford, "Old College", Oxford with a brief foray to the parsonage at Haworth and I get the feeling that Catherne Lowell, who is American, has never seen a picture of Oxford, let alone watched an episode of Morse or read up on how Oxford Colleges operate. The result is a background that's rather less convincing than an Am Dram backdrop and makes the reader sharply aware of implausibilities that would have been overlooked had the scene setting been more believable. Samantha appears to have got her place despite not passing any exams or knowing anythng much about literature, her tutor is called James Orville the third (he's English not American), she has a single one-to-one tutorial in his rooms per week and that's it for her studies really - and that's for starters. I kept reading it - there is a literary mystery in there, which sadly is a bit of a damp squib, and the Bronte part is interesting but if I hadn't had a very dull shift at work with loads of time to read I might have just put it down and not bothered to pick it up again.
  5. When Will There Be Good News? - Kate Atkinson
  6. Put the manuscript in a completely different font - preferably one you find quite ugly, and in a larger size than you usually use. It stops that blindness all writers have when reading their own work - you know what you wanted to write and don't always see when you haven't quite succeeded. Mistakes and awkward phrasing seem to leap out
  7. Shallowish. 1/4 of an inch or so, enough to cover the bottom of the frying pan properly but we aren't talking deep frying here.
  8. The Passion Flower Hotel - Rosalind Erskine
  9. The new absolute winner in our household that came out of making too much risotto. This is a version of Italian street food Risotto Balls Left over risotto gets sticky so it holds its shape really well. Left over risotto - any type will do Eggs Flour Breadcrumbs from a stale loaf. Mozzarella (optional - this turns them into Aracini). They are good with or without the cheese. Make golf-ball size balls of risotto (wet your hands so the mixture doesn't stick). If you are making arancini put a small piece of cheese in the middle) Roll them in a little flour Roll the floured balls in well beaten egg, shake off the excess and then roll them in the breadcrumbs. Leave the balls in the fridge for an hour or so if possible (this helps them stick together). Heat some oil in a frying pan and when smoking add the balls. Fry till crisp and golden brown on all sides. Enjoy! Even my rice-disliking husband loves these
  10. I agree that this book is compulsively readable. I thought that the depiction of the strain on Rachel was really well done and utterly believeable, and the internet campaign against her was completely chilling. Also I too found some of the plot twists unconvincing but the pace was good enough to keep me absorbed. However I finished it a couple fo days ago and I've found it less and less satisfactory each time I think of it. The first was the number of red herrings Also Lastly, and the nub of it is that looking back I can't believe All this nitpicking sounds like I didn't enjoy it which isn't true, I found it hard to put down and I really like her writing style and want to read her next book. This would be a good choice for a book group as there's masses to talk about. I also agree with you, Binker, that this doesn't bear much resemblance to either The Girl on the Train or Gone Girl, I liked it much better than both f them.
  11. The no 1 Ladies Dectective Agency - Alexander Mcall Smith
  12. From Here to Eternity - James Jones
  13. The Days of Abandonment - Elena Ferrante
  14. I agree, Christopher North's book are huge fun.
  15. Jessie Burton

    I remember racing through The Minaturist but finding when I finished it that Ifelt bit let down and meuh. Too many loose ends, too many themes not properly explored. My daughter and I were discussing whether we were going to read The Muse and we both agreed that we'd be happy to if someone lent it to us or it was in the library but neither of us were prepared to pay full price for the book.