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    Does anyone actually write reading in here? :-), cats, going to gigs, dreaming.
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  1. I hope you do give it a chance and enjoy it Viccie. It did that thing good books do, left me wanting more and missing spending time with the characters.
  2. I'm a fan of the Who's music but not of Mr Daltrey's politics so I was giving this book a miss but your review has confirmed that decision.
  3. From the blurb on Amazon - "'One of the most brilliantly inventive writers of this, or any country' (Independent) turns his unique eye on the dark end of the 1960s in his enthralling new novel, a story of music, dreams, drugs and madness, love and grief, stardom's wobbly ladder and fame's Faustian pact." In the beginning there is desperation, the searching for sustenance for the body and the soul. There are trials and tribulations, soaring ethereal moments of musical connection, personal growth, awakenings and chemical enhanced imaginings. All fairly standard fare for a band on the rise in the swinging sixties. To write a novel about the sixties Mitchell will have been well aware there was a huge rabbit hole of cliches he could have fallen foul of. The conundrum, to write about a rock band in the sixties, to populate it with the people and the sounds and images of the day but without turning each page into a tabloid headline diatribe. Of course, this is David Mitchell, he deftly swerves round the obvious cliches but still paints a picture of London midst the time changing, free thinking, coffee bar to cocaine years that you will believe in. Enough name dropping to satisfy without saturating and suffocating the stories of the main characters. There is a slightly odd sub plot involving an ancient being inhabiting the mind of one of the band members. For this reader, this sub plot was superfluous, it detracted from the story, the musical journey of the band. Another annoying thing about any book of fiction about creativity is that as the reader you want to hear the music or see the paintings etc being described. Utopia Avenue’s music is very much a part of this story and I really wanted an accompanying CD so I could listen to the songs. But these small gripes aside, I loved spending time with this band, as a lifelong music lover who has absolutely no musical talent it was good to indulge in that age old pastime of pretending it was me in the band.
  4. Take one family of six, four brothers and two sisters. Add in a history of service within the fading Empire, a sprinkle of entitlement and a whole barrel load of dedication and personal fortitude. Introduce a World War and send them off to fight, to heal, to survive. From Devon to India, Burma, Malaya, Italy and the hospitals of London this fast paced, biography reads like a cross between a thrilling action novel and a thoroughly researched family history. They are of course all dead now, but when, in the epilogue, the author lists the nature and the times of their deaths I felt sadness, so well had I become to know them throughout the book. This book has almost everything, military history, family history, medical history. Tales of courage and perseverance. Reminders of the horrors of war, the indiscriminate and sadistic. I highly recommend this book. From Amazon - "The miraculous story of the Walkers, six siblings who survived Blitz, battle and internment and whose incredible experiences tell a new social history of WW2, told by historian and Walker descendant Annabel Venning."
  5. And for all the reviews you post Mr HG. I've said before I rarely respond to them but I do read them and if they interest me they get added to my reading list.
  6. Well I did eventually read the next book Desolation Island and I am so glad I did. Previous contributors to this thread have intimated that this is possibly the best book in the series. It definitely kept this reader hooked, a great blend of human interaction and suspenseful action at sea. Reading the whole series is back on the agenda!
  7. I've been meaning to read this for years. Must bump it up the reading list.
  8. It's interesting how many words or phrases seem so modern and yet as in this case are from many, many years ago.
  9. It does take me awhile to adjust back into the 19th century style of writing. The extended sentences creating an elongation of the narrative. But once I have acclimatised myself once more to the resplendant verbiage that Mr Dickens excels at I am quickly drawn into the story. The characters are vivid and vibrantly real in all their eccentric mannerisms and physical perculiarities. I can understand in our (normally) busy lives, full of extraneous distractions, why some people won't take the time like you Luna to explore Dickens but they really are missing out.
  10. Thanks Mr HG, this sounds intriguing. Added to the list.
  11. Over the years I have read a few Dickens but two years ago I decided that I was going to try and read them all in Chronological order. I missed out Pickwick Papers as I didn't enjoy that one when I previously read it. So started with Oliver and now just up to Barnaby Rudge, many more to enjoy. I hope you continue to enjoy them as well Luna.
  12. Ah, there are many times when reading threads here on BGO that I wish David was still with us and able to contribute. Never more so than now. I have recently finished Barnaby Rudge and would love to discuss it with him. Personally I found the book slow to begin with (like many of Dickens' novels, the characters and story take time to take shape together) but once it got going I loved this book. Barnaby Rudge is surely one of the great literary creations. And talk about a story for recent times when a wealthy man uses his money and position to turn his own personal bigotry to influence a populace to self destruction. I read this as an audio book performed by Jason Watkins. An absolute triumph, one of the best narrations I've ever listened to. Made even more impressive by the knowledge that Mr Watkins suffers from dyslexia and this audio book lasted 31 hours. I posted on Twitter how much I enjoyed the book and Mr Watkins did me the courtesy of responding, thanking me and providing a link to a Facebook page where he explained the efforts he had to go through to complete the reading. I think David, as per quote above, is right that this isn't the novel to start with if you've never read Dickens, but once you have embarked on the highly rewarding journey of exploring the never the ending linguistic ingenuity of Dickens then this is a novel I would recommend. Be interested to hear what other fans of Dickens think of this novel.
  13. How about books by solo travellers, yes they will meet up with people on their journeys but they will also have a lot of time on their own. Time for restrospection, for reallignment of their priorities. Dervla Murphy - Full Tilt - but lots of others by her - off on her bike cycling round remote parts of the world. Even books where more than one in the travel party, Polar expeditions. Plenty of solitude and isolation there. Robinson Crusoe of course. Life of Pi
  14. I have recently finished The Pyramid, the book of 'earlier' stories as reviewed by Dan previously in this thread. I had enjoyed the Swedish TV series but felt the Branagh version was too full of colour. I always had it in mind to try reading the books eventually and then found the Pyramid book in a charity shop and thought it would be the one to start with. I loved these stories, Wallander comes across as a very real character, full of ordinary flaws and ordinary daily troubles. He makes mistakes, but as previously said by other contributors he doggedly keeps going until he gets a result. The translation by Ebba Segerberg and Laurie Thompson produced an easy flowing read. Looking forward to working my way through the novels over the next few years.
  15. Books 43 - American Notes by Charles Dickens (audio) unfinished 42 - Airborne by Robert Radcliffe 41 - Educated by Tara Westover (audio) 40 - To War With The Walkers by Annabel Venning 39 - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis 38 - Seven By Five by H. E. Bates 37 - Exit Music by Ian Rankin (audio) 36 - Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami unfinished (audio) 35 - Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell (audio) 34 - Reporting Civil Rights Part Two - 1963 -1965 33 - The Deep Blue Goodbye by John D MacDonald (audio) 32 - Desolation Island by Patrick O'Brian 31 - The Germans and Europe: A Personal Frontline History by Peter Millar (audio) 30 - The Bushies by Allan M. Nixon - unfinished - one story contained factually incorrect info that spoiled it for me. (Alwich/Alnwick) 29 - If It Bleeds by Stephen King 28 - Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell (audio) 27 - Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt 26 - A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee (audio) 25 - The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan - unfinished (audio) 24 - Twelve Years A Slave by Solomon Northup - unfinished (audio) 23 - The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas - unfinished (audio) 22 - The Disappearance of Adele Beleau by Graeme Macrae Burnet - unfinished (audio) 21 - Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - unfinished (audio) 20 - The Dark Tower by Stephen King re-read 19 - Smiley's People by John Le Carre (audio) re-read 18 - A Dying Breed by Peter Hannington (audio) 17 - 24 Hours in Ancient Rome by Philip Matyszak (audio) 16 - The Naming of the Dead by Ian Rankin (audio) 15 - Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens (audio) 14 - Songs of Susannah by Stephen King re-read 13 - An Air That Kills by Andrew Taylor (audio) 12 - The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell (audio) 11 - The Choice by Edith Eger 10 - Beneath A Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan (audio) 9 - The Testaments by Margaret Atwood (audio) 8 - A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond 7 - Life of Pi by Yann Martel (audio) re-read 6 - The Pyramid by Henning Mankell 5 - The Boy Who Followed His Father Into Auschwitz by Jeremy Dronfield (audio) 4 - The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (audio) re-read 3 - CultyBraggan WW2 Prison Camp History 2 - The Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak 1 - The Help by Kathryn Stockett (audio) Films 1 - JoJo Rabbit - cinema 2 - A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood - cinema 3 - The Runaways - Keswick Film Festival 4 - Amanda - KFF 5 - Aga - KFF 6 - The Tobacconist - KFF 7 - For Sama - KFF 8 - The Farewell - KFF 9 - No Fathers in Kashmir - KFF Gigs, theatre, exhibitions etc 1 - Bowie Experience - Perth - 25/01/20 2 - The Musical Box - Edinburgh - 08/02/20 3 - The Classic Rock Show - Dundee - 15/02/20 4 - Russian State Orchestra - Puccini's Madame Butterfly - Perth - 06/03/20 5 - King Creosote & band accompaning the film From Scotland With Love - 11/03/20
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