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About Tay

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    Does anyone actually write reading in here? :-), cats, going to gigs, dreaming.
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  1. I finished this book with a certain amount of relief. By half way through I was bored. Cora as a character didn't have enough depth or dialogue to keep me interested. In fact the whole novel was for me more tell than show. It's a personal thing but I like lots of dialogue (good dialogue obviously) to progress or enhance story telling rather than just the narrator laying everything out before me. Like JFP I found the 'actual' railroad preposterous. It took a serious subject matter, stories that, like the holocaust, need to be told and told especially in our current trying political times and reduced it to nonsense. The whole idea that there could be an underground railroad. That the hundreds of men already ravaged by the constrictions of slavery would have the time and the energy to create the railroad. And where would they get the materials from? I understand it was a metaphorical tool but for me it failed and took away from the validation of the novel. I would much rather have read more about the ordinary people who risked their lives to save the runaways than have this imagined artifice foisted upon me. There were parts of the history I was unaware of, the enforced sterilisation, and the bounty hunters being able to travel to all states and retrieve the 'property' so for those aspects I'm pleased I read the book. Other than that I found it a very disappointing book.
  2. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Good-Me-Bad-Richard-thriller/dp/0718182928 I'm not sure I would have picked this up in a bookshop but it came up as a daily deal on Audible. Written in first person narrative we are constantly in the head of Annie/Milly. Her thoughts and the voice of her mother are the soundtrack to this book. But it is so much more than just the inner thoughts of a traumatised teenager. Ali Land carefully spreads a story before us, finds space for time and place and lets slip little clues along the way (perhaps a little too obvious at times). Fills the story with strong instant characters. This is a very good debut novel. A great holiday novel where you have time to just immerse yourself in the story in one sitting. I was painting doors etc while reading it and the time just flew by.
  3. Nicholas Nickleby

    Recently finished reading this on audio. An amazing performance by David Horovitch managing to come up with a different voice for all the many characters. As for the story I found it a bit slow to begin with but as the story progressed I came to enjoy it and liked most of the characters. I thought Mr & Madame Mantalini fairly redundant characters. They did nothing for the story apart perhaps to show the kind of work Ralph Nickleby did. But that was demonstrated in other parts of the book. The book was also too similar to Oliver Twist in the school/workhouse situation and the fact of Nicholas being befriended by the Cheeryble brothers while Oliver was befriended by Mr Brownlow. Perhaps a case of publishers pushing for something similar to the successful Oliver. The Cheeryble brothers were a brilliant invention, a pity more successful businessmen/women didn't treat their employees so well. The world would be a better place.
  4. The Theatre, dahling.

    Last Saturday night went to see All My Sons at the Dundee Rep. As expected another powerful thought provoking play by Arthur Miller. Telling the story of a family coming to terms with the loss of one of their sons in WW2, Miller reveals his story like a weaver producing a patterned rug. As the story progresses we find out more and more about the family and what happened to them during the war. This is currently on at the National Theatre ( different actors of course - Sally Field being one of them I think) and is being broadcast into cinemas soon. Highly recommended. You won't come out laughing but you will be captivated by the power of his story telling.
  5. Are there any books that you regret reading?

    There are no books I have regretted reading due to the content. Humanity has the capacity to be evil and depraved and some books reflect that aspect. If it was a book that was advertised as one genre (mild drama etc) but then without warning (and for no realistic reason other than to shock) contained graphic descriptions of violence etc then I would be annoyed about that. I have regretted giving time to some books such as Moby Dick which in my opinion is hugely overrated. On the subject of Of Mice and Men I didn't find anything in this novel shocking. It just told a story and elements within are things that will have happened throughout humanities sordid history. To shy away from such things is to allow them to happen again and again.
  6. The Robber Bride

    It was the same for me, as usual I found Atwood's command of language captivating and I engaged immediately with the characters but as the story wore on I became less enthralled and more just reading to get to the end. I found the ending a bit of a let down, as if Atwood had run out of ideas for her characters and the major event at the end was just an easy way to finish it all. What began as intriguing just slowly became mediocre. Though of course I wish I could write mediocre a tenth as well as Atwood can
  7. An Officer and a Spy

    Just finished reading this and like previous comments I was very impressed by how Harris handled the telling of the story. Almost unveiling the events in a methodical way (though never boring), mirroring the process of investigation. The 'characters' were very believable, of course they were real people but some novellists tackling historical people and event don't always capture the essence of the characters. Like Viccie I was struck by how easy it would be for this kind of conspiracy to be played out in our 21st century political landscape, especially given the events in America over the past couple of years. It re-enforced my belief that we should never fully trust any of our 'leaders'. Once power has been gained politicians have a tendency to do whatever they can to remain in power and become remote from the very people they are supposed to be serving. A thoroughly enjoyable book. I will try more of the books by Robert Harris.
  8. I read most of, if not all of her books when I was younger. I enjoyed them then but I think I would probably find them very dated now. The Christie the BBC put out last year seemed dated and the recent film version of Murder on the Orient Express also felt very dated. The forensics etc just don't stand up. But I really enjoyed this version of ABC Murders. It felt like it was set in the era but was a contemporary story. I liked the portrayal of Poirot, I felt it made him more human rather than the camp effeminate caricature Suchet portrayal. I appreciate Suchet may have been portraying him more accurately as far as the books go but his Poirot always felt two dimensional rather than this new 'warts and all' version of him.
  9. Book Lists 2019

    11 - The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (audio) 10 - Death by Fire by Mala Sen 9 - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John Le Carre (audio) re-read 8 - Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land (audio) 7 - Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens (audio) 6 - Wizard and Glass by Stephen King - re-read 5 - Exorcising Hitler by Frederick Taylor 4 - Whisky From Small Glasses by Denzil Meyrick (audio) 3 - The Pale Horseman by Bernard Cornwell (audio) Last Kingdom book two. 2 - The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood 1 - An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris (audio) Films 1 - Old Man and a Gun - cinema 2 - Bookshop - Streaming 3 - Man Up - BBC iplayer 4 - Stan & Ollie - cinema 5 - Sweet Bean - Film Society 6 - Close - Streaming 7 - Green Book - cinema 8 - The Guardians - Film Society 9 - Oceans Eleven - streaming 10 - Nae Pasaran - BBC iplayer 11 - Fighting With My Family - cinema 12 - Amadeus - DVD 13 - What We Did On Holiday - streaming 14 - The African Doctor - streaming 15 - World's End - streaming 16 - The Space Between Us - streaming TV 1 - ABC Murders 2 - Endeavour - Season Two 3 - Made in Scotland - Billy Connolly 4 - Million Joke Man - Bob Monkhouse 5 - Endeavour - Season Three 6 - Christmas University Challenge 7 - As Time Goes By - Season One 8 - Endeavour - Season Four 9 - As Time Goes By - Season Two 10 - Endeavour - Season Five 11 - As Time Goes By - Season Three 12 - Tenko - Season One 13 - Foyle's War - Season One 14 - Tenko - Season Two 15 - Foyle's War - Season Two 16 - Tenko - Season Three & Reunion 17 - Foyle's War - Season Three 18 - Morse - Season One 19 - Foyle's War - Season Four 20 - Morse Season - Two 21 - Foyle's War - Season Five 22 - Billion Dollar Railway - Season Two 23 - Foyle's War - Season Six 24 - Foyle's War - Season Seven Gigs, theatre, exhibitions etc 1 - Babel with Gabriel Montero and Scottish Ensemble - Perth - 13/02/19 2- Ocean Liners exhibit - V&A Dundee 3 - Da Vinci Exhibition - Kelvingrove, Glasgow 4 - Spirit of Bad Company & Free - Kinross - 02/03/19 5 - All My Sons - Dundee Rep 6 - Jack Lukeman with Lucas & King supporting - Perth - 11/03/19 7 - Brian Kennedy - Perth - 08/04/19 8 - Simon Kennedy Band/Helias - Perth - 15/04/19
  10. If ever there was a reason, a justification needed for the existence of BGO it would be this book. I can only reaffirm all the previous praise lauded on this book in the many reviews. This really is a very special novel. Not only are we immersed in the lives of these two great men, we are transported around the world and into the past. A past that still reverberates in our daily lives. This book really is a revelation, not just in all the historical fact it imbues but in the skillful way in which Thompson handles the writing. As deft as Fitzroy himself handled the Beagle. A huge thank you to Jen for starting this thread and Meg for bringing this book to my attention.
  11. Elevation

    I had this on pre-order but sent it back on arrival as I didn't think it was worth the money for 132 pages. I'll look out for it when it starts appearing on the second hand lists .
  12. Thanks for the review MisterHG this sounds like a good book for my audio listening, I'll add it to the list.
  13. Just finished reading this and enjoyed it until the last part where Roth tries to explain the reasons why Lindberg behaved the way he did. This just didn't work for me it was as if he was trying to say a 'great' American could only do the things he did in the book if he were influenced by other parties (I'm trying to say this without giving away any salient information - and probably failing!). Of course we are all influenced by others but this was a specific kind of influence which just made a complete mockery of the rest of the book. The narration was very believable and I very quickly became immersed in the story. Unfortunately the ending was dreadful, as Roth just got bored with the book and thought "Oh I can't be bothered with this anymore I'll just stop here".
  14. I have been a member for years now and really like service. I pay £7.99 a month for one book but they don deals of the day and I find I'll usually buy at least a couple of those (£1.99 or 2.99) a month and those last me the full month. I've always got credits to use and I have plenty of books on their cloud waiting to be read. I listen using my phone and the app is easy to use and everything works fine.
  15. The City and The City (TV adaptation)

    After reading Luna's (review/comments - can't remember which) on this book I tried to read but I found I really didn't care for it. I tried watching the series tho as I thought I liked the concept of the novel but still it didn't click with me. I just don't like the characters and the not seeing people thing doesn't work for me.