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About Minxminnie

  • Rank
  • Birthday 11/12/65


  • Location
    West of Scotland
  • Interests
    travel, photography, reading (doh!), cinema, lying in on a Saturday.

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  1. I've never explored free books (I've always assumed they would be of inferior quality). But I have bought a lot from the 99p Daily Deal. They offer 3 books a day for 99p, and while they're mostly thrillers or romance, some really good ones pop up. I'm still kicking myself for missing Ann Patchett's Commonwealth: I was out and about when I saw the email and I meant to go in later and buy, and I forgot. I generally have a rule of only buying 99p books if I would have paid full price, so I'm really getting a bargain.
  2. It popped up via the Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership feed.
  3. Luna, I found this via FB which will explain why:
  4. I went into Waterstones to kill time until my car was ready. Not to buy books. Definitely not. I wanted a sandwich and a sit down in the cafe. So why have I come home with Swing Time by Zadie Smith and The Tobacconist by Robert Seethaler?
  5. I don't think our new member's first language is English, and I suspect it's a young person. If you enjoy books, thefeels96, stick around and read some of our reviews to see how you can find more to say about what you read.
  6. Colson Whitehead

    I'm reading this just now so have just skimmed this thread, but I am really enjoying it. Off to read it now, in fact.
  7. I don't really worry about things I can't control. The things that worry me are things I could have avoided if I had paid enough attention, like losing my purse, setting the house on fire by leaving the iron on or being seriously ill because I ignored the symptoms when I could have had treatment. I like to be aware of what's going on in the world but it doesn't destroy my peace of mind.
  8. Linda Grant

    Viccie, you have reminded me that I wanted to read more Linda Grant!
  9. This has also just won Theakston's Crime Novel of the Year.
  10. Anneli Lort

    Hi there, It's always good to have new members and info on new books. I've edited your post to remove the link as we like members to use our own Amazon link, which finances the site. Do you have a link to this book and the author? If so, it's better to tell us, as that way, our members can talk to you about the writing process etc. We do prefer writers to be upfront rather than pose as satisfied readers. Please join in the rest of the site and contribute to new or old threads!
  11. Catherine Bailey

    I was thinking about Chatelherault when the book looked at open mining at Wentworth. (For everyone else, Chatelherault was the Duke's hunting lodge and kennels, now centre of a a country park where Luna and I both like a walk.) The house was down where the gym/bowling greens are near the museum. The museum itself is the oldest building in Hamilton. It was a coaching inn and then became part of the estate. Have you seen the mausoleum keepers house? Approaching the mausoleum, stay on the road as it veers left, then walk down the path into the woods on the right just before the road goes into Hamilton Services. It's been called the finest working man's house in Scotland, but it's now a ruin. All a bit off topic, but it just shows how many stories are waiting to be told. I wish I had the knowledge and the leisure time to find out more about it all.
  12. Catherine Bailey

    Luna, the locals will tell you a story of a beautiful house brought down by mining, but the truth is a bit more complicated. It's told in Low Parks Museum but someone should write a book like this! I went to a talk a few weeks ago given by the museum curator. Much of the lavish interior was sold off in the late 19th C to pay gambling debts, and they eventually sold the coal seam under the house having been told that the house would survive. It didn't. An interesting postscript was that the first council housing in Scotland was built in Hamilton, and while it was being built on the site of the newly demolished tenements, the inhabitants were rehoused in the abandoned and now perilous Palace!
  13. This has been on my mental TBR for a long time, since I read Bailey's other book, The Secret Rooms. While that one was a fascinating story about dysfunctional aristocrats (one of my favourite subjects!), this was a much more important and multi layered story and, rightly, better known. It deals with the Fitzwilliam family, a mining dynasty from South Yorkshire, and how their wealth and influence declined over the course of the early 20th Century. It is in part a story about industrial relations and economic policy as well as about the family and their enormous house, Wentworth. My one criticism is that she often goes off into long digressions about topics or people whose relevance isn't immediately obvious, and the reader needs a bit of patience and trust in the writer to know it will eventually become clear, which it always does. I enjoyed it particularly because it's quite similar to the story of where I live. This used to be the land of the Dukes of Hamilton and their relatives. Like Wentworth, Hamilton Palace was an enormous, ostentatious private residence, built purely to show off their wealth. But, to maintain that wealth, they had to mine their land, and this created a population boom and industrialisation of their pastoral idyll. The Hamiltons weren't as benevolent as the Fitzwilliams and sold the mining rights (and, eventually, the rights to the coal underneath their house, leading to its demolition) whereas the "Fitzbilly" pits were directly owned by the family, and they looked after their miners well. But the story of the various disputes really helped me to understand the mining heritage where I live.
  14. This was a new crime author to me. Chris Brookmyre recommended him on Radio 4 as a new up and coming "tartan noir" crime writer, so I sprung for a couple of his books at a bargain price in Kindle. I was less impressed than I expected to be. The story concerns Martha, a journalism student with mental health issues who starts work experience in an ailing newspaper at the start of the novel. She finds herself assigned to the obituary desk and her first call is from a man dictating his own obituary. It seemed a very short book; starting it over a cup of tea, I was already 25% in. Everything in the plot seemed very rushed, with no time to develop character. By the end of her first day, Martha and her colleague Billy have saved a life, and she is talking to him like she has known him for years. The case is solved a day or two later. Other characters are drawn in broad strokes - the grumpy editor, the ageing temptress. I could have done without the fellow female journalist who wrestled and gave too much detail about her toilet habits. The stuff about Martha's mental health and ECT was a bit shoehorned in, as if the writer wanted to educate the audience about it, rather than it contributing much to the plot. It used real locations with an eye for authentic detail, and if the plot and characters had been allowed to brew a bit, it could have been a good addition to the Scottish crime canon. But it all stretched credibility a bit too much.
  15. I'm reading Derren Brown's new book Happy, about, well, happiness. I only know of him as the illusionist, and have never had any interest in what he does, but this is good - it is about philosophy and different philosophical models of happiness.