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Everything posted by Nellie

  1. Thanks Luna and Meg! Dr Newton and the pack are still going strong!
  2. Hello?... It's been a very long time since I was here... sadly life got me by the throat and wouldn't let go. I am back firing on (almost all) cylinders now, and am email reminded me of this lovely place. In all the time I have been away, I have still been reading, and it would be lovely to share bookish chat again. 😀 Note for admin - I just put this post in the wrong board, so please feel free to delete it from the "board business" thread - Sorry!
  3. I can see why people get hooked on the books, I read the first one, but don't want to invest anymore time in the others. I love the TV series though. I do spend some time hiding behind a cushion when the gory bits start.
  4. Great summary of Brautigan's life, i hadn't realised he had committed suicide, that's very sad. You are right when you say he was an original writer, I have never read anything quite like Sombrero Fallout before. Would you recommend any of this other books in particular?
  5. LOL - Probably not one for you!
  6. The book is available from Fox, Finch and Tepper. They are a brand new independent publishing company. It is also a stunning read! http://foxfinchtepper.com
  7. From my blog Published by the utterly marvellous folks at Fox, Finch and Tepper, this is a stunning novel, which frankly had turned me into an emotional wreck by the end. Macauley takes temporary jobs he finds as he walks between the towns of New South Wales. He is used to life on the road, camping and walking and hard labour. The Shiralee of the title, is Buster, his four year old daughter he took from his estranged wife. The pair are on the road together, and Buster's childlike view of the world, and complete trust in her father helps very slowly close the distance between them. Before I started reading this book, I was so taken by the cover, but I wasn't sure why. It is lovely, but for some reason it had a real hold on me. When I finished the book, I closed it, and stared at the cover, and it seemed to have changed... I won't say how as that would spoil things. I found this a hard read, not due to the language, or even the content on a superficial level, but because Niland really puts these two characters through the wringer. It got to a point where I could only read it for half an hour or so at a time as the tension was so high. Right up until the last moment, it isn't clear what the outcome of the story will be. There are some moments of light relief too, Buster's love for an ugly cuddly toy is joyous, and there are some superb supporting characters, all with their own interesting backstory. The Australian outback is captured in subtle detail, it isn't a place I have visited, but I feel as though I have now. All in all this is an astonishing book, not what I expected, and Buster and Macauley will sit on my shelves and in my literary memory as characters I wish I could meet.
  8. From my blog Long time readers will remember that I reviewed The Howling Miller by Arto Paasilinnaa couple of years ago, and raved about it. It is still one of my all time favourite reads. The Year of the Hare is better, in my humble opinion. I read it with a group of colleagues for a little reading group at work. The hare of the title is hit by a car one evening, and one of the car's occupants, Vatanen goes into the woods to see if he can help the injured animal. Caring for the hare in the forest leads Vatanen to ditch his job at a newspaper, leave his wife and head off deep into the Finish countryside, leaving behind all the trappings of a middle class life. The hare sticks with him through his adventures which include putting out a forest fire (well, trying and then giving up), dealing with US military maneuvoures, rescuing the hare from a pagan ritual sacrifice and meeting a policeman who has a complete belief in a fantastic conspiracy theory. The book is really a series of vignettes each one showing Vatanen moving further away from society. The writing is very funny, and the characters Vatanen meets are, like him, living outside of society. It is a book which refocuses the mind away from the modern distractions to where we really should be thinking. It is a very clever, very witty and very thought provoking fairytale for grownups.
  9. From my blog Well, where to begin with this one? It is bonkers, but also brilliant. The first chapter describes a sombrero falling from the sky and landing in front of three men. There is no reason for the sombrero to fall from the sky. No building nearby, no plane overhead. The three men stare at it, each attaching their own obscure importance to the event. In chapter 2 we discover that the sombrero story is just that, it has been penned by a novelist trying to work through the grief of having been dumped by his Japanese girlfriend. From this point forward we follow the author as he obsesses through the night thinking about his ex-girlfriend, the prose interspersed with her dreams, as well as following the sombrero story as it develops its own storyline in the wastepaper basket, where the author discarded it. So far, so trippy. The thing is that these two stories are utterly compelling. The poor author’s thinking becomes more and more unhinged as he focuses on what the love of his life is doing, to the point where he is scrabbling around on the floor looking for a strand of her hair. By contrast the Japanese lady is happily asleep. In the parallel story, the events which follow the sombrero falling from the sky escalate as the thinking of the three men who have witnessed the sombrero’s appearance become more and more bizarre, resulting in the whole town becoming involved. I know this all sounds a bit odd, and in some ways it is, but both threads of this book highlight how warped and exaggerated thinking can have some very strange, and dangerous outcomes.
  10. From my blog This is a lovely edition from the folks at Galley Beggar Press as a part of their ghost story set. This little book was a really interesting read for me. An old writer, having had some friends round for dinner proceeds to tell them how, on two occasions he has been haunted by a pair of disembodied eyes at the foot of his bed. On one level it is a straightforward, rather creepy ghost story about a man who doesn’t behave very well towards his fiancée being made to pay by a malevolent sprit. However, after some consideration I wondered if there was a little bit more to this than met the, pardon the pun, eye. Several aspects of it were nagging at me. A couple of hours of research later, and it is clear that readers from around the web all have very different and inconclusive ideas about what the eyes actually were.
  11. I tried to read this a few years ago, and found it unreadable. I gave up pretty quickly. I can see that it would make a great TV programme though. We have the first episode recorded and will watch it soon!
  12. I'm doing #100daysofwellbeing as a part of the #100daysproject. Each day I am taking a photo of things that make me smile or are good for my general wellbeing. I have done 2 weeks. It's an interesting exercise, it is certainly making me more mindful. If you want to see the photos, they are here: http://fennell-books.squarespace.com/100-days-project-1/
  13. Glad you liked it Binker! It is one the best reads I have had in a long time.
  14. I love this idea, and want to give it a go. I think I might pick up a book tomorrow when I am out and about (no work tomorrow!).
  15. I loved this too. My review from my blog is below. I'm glad I'm not the only one who didn't see the twist at the end coming. It was cleverly done wasn't it? This Young Adult novel is really rather good. Cadence Sinclair is a 15 year old girl, living a privileged lifestyle, spending the summers on a private island with her extended family. Regardless of how much money a family has, there are always secrets, and slowly but surely over the duration of one summer a secret is revealed to Cadence, a secret everyone around her already knows and is trying to keep from her. So far, so young adult. However the secret, when realisation strikes both the reader and Cadence is brutal, and not one I saw coming at all. It is really all rather clever, and disturbing. What you see if the normal coming of age troubles coupled with a powerful, monied American family with the tough teflon veneer which keeps them going.
  16. I like to buy from real bookshops too. It has the added benefit that if the book I am looking for isn't in stock, I tend to find something else instead which I may not have bought otherwise Station Eleven is on my shelf waiting to get to the top of the pile!
  17. This is on my "want to read list". I don't always do very well with Ian McEwan, but this sounds fantastic.
  18. This is such a good point. I'm inclined to agree with you.
  19. I just heard this and am nearly in tears. I never met the man, but he is my favourite author, above all others. Let's hope DEATH gave him a safe journey.
  20. From my blog This was a real life book club read. Written in 1842, it is an allegory about the meaning of Christian beliefs and the nature of evil. It is a short novella set in a small Swiss mountain village. The story starts on the morning of a Christening, and the first half of the book has a great deal of detail about the preparations for the event, and I will admit that I struggled with it. The second half though was fantastic. It features an old man from the Christening party telling all the guests the reason that an old beam remains and integral part of a new house. The reason revolves around a pact with the devil made generations previously and still haunts the village. It is clearly a story meant as a sermon, but it also an early horror story and that alone makes it interesting. It isn't something I would ordinarily have picked up, but I am really glad that I have read it. It is interesting that what was considered frightening in 1842, still has that creep factor even now.
  21. I have been dithering over this too. I never seem to quite get close enough to getting it from the library. Like other, on balance I think I will give it a miss, but I quite like the idea of the Jackson Brodie books. Do they need to be read in order?
  22. I haven't seen the last episode yet, but I agree there are too many storylines: - Murder of Danny - Lee et al - Rivalry of the barristers - The barrister's son in prison I did wonder whether this was more about a commentary on justice rather than about the who/why/how dunnit. Each of those stories about justice... trying to get justice, escaping justice, getting justice, but perhaps not traditional justice. Whilst it is important to think abut this, it didn't make good telly in this instance!
  23. I was put off until I saw a physical copy. The illustrations are wonderful, and the words of the story are a part of the illustrations. It is almost like a children's book in that sense. I don't know that the experience would be the same as an audio book. I'm not going to keep my copy, so if you like I could send it to one of you, and when you have read it you could pass it on to another BGO person so everyone can see it. PM me if interested.
  24. From my Blog... I picked this up almost at random at Mr B's. I wasn't sure what I was expecting, but it wasn't what I got that's for sure. The story is set in Sweden in 1983 and follows 15 year old Nella as she struggles to look after her younger brother who was born premature and is in the remedial class at school. Her father is in prison and her mother is an alcoholic and the school bullies are relentless in their abuse of the pair of them. Her friend Tommy is off school and she can't quite understand why. After some investigation she discovers that Tommy's older brothers have caught a creature, the merman of the title, and are holding in a shed close to the sea. The merman brings out the worst in his captors, which eventually includes Nella's father when he is released from prison. Nella can see that the merman is in pain and starts to try and return him to the sea. An understanding builds between them, and it is this empathy which finally brings the bullying to a head. The story is very dark, and early on there are some very disturbing scenes of animal cruelty and bullying. Nella and Robert only have each other, and the plot pulls them from one crisis to another, seemingly without end. The early 1980s are captured perfectly, and I fear, merman aside, that this is a story being played out in many places. I should warn you that the bullying is extreme, as is the language, so if you find this sort of thing difficult, it isn't the book for you. I can't say I found this an easy read. I was constantly worried about Nella and Robert and was willing one of the adults to do something to help, which they don't of course. As a whole it is a sad, terrifying and powerful book and I am very glad I read it.
  25. From my blog... This is strange indeed. I am not a Murakami aficionado, but I know that many are and I would be interested to know whether this is typical of Murakami. Physically it is a lovely thing. Quite small, with an old fashioned library ticket pocket on the front. Inside is a curious tale of a boy on the way home from school who pops into a library to pick up a book. He is taken to a special reading room, run by an odd man who locks him there and says he will be released when he can memorise the contents of the books he wants. What follows is a strange, supernatural and rather suspenseful story rooted in whether escape from the maze of the library basement is possible. The books is beautifully illustrated by Chip Kidd with odd drawings which create an amazing backdrop for the reader to overlay the narrative. It is very short, only 88 pages, but it utterly engrossing.
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