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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. On Friday evening at Toppings Bookshop in St. Andrews, Markus Zusak spoke with wit and intelligence about the writing process. How he creates his books, where his ideas come from and the editing process. He was entertaining and informative, openly receptive to questions and gave (what seemed like) very honest answers. He talked briefly about his family life and then the Book Thief and finishing with his new book Bridge of Clay. At the end of the talk he took up a seat behind a desk and started signing books. There was a sizeable audience that evening and it took approximately an hour for the signings. We were the last customers to have our books signed and he was still engaging and chatty. Answering further questions from us and at all times remaining interested and polite. A true gentleman. If he does a book signing near you I would recommend you go along.
  2. Like others on this thread I had tried before and never finished this novel. It came up on Audible with Kenneth Branagh as the reader. He made a valiant effort but I still wasn't interested in the story but I did at least finish it this time. I've read through all the posts on this thread and I still can't see why it is considered such an important book. Given it was published in 1899 surely a lot of people knew and condoned the behaviour of colonialism? So why would it be considered so shocking, which it wasn't. Man hurts other men in pursuit of wealth ............ nothing new there then. Some of the language was impressive but on the whole the book was dull and boring and I didn't care about any of the characters. We are told Kurtz was this bewitching orator but we were given no example of his magical way with words. Sorry but this was an extremely dull, dull book and the idea of giving it to teenagers to read is just cruel!!
  3. I'm near the end of East of Eden by Steinbeck. I've read about eight of his novels and they never fail to please. This one is on the list though it could be a while before I get round to it.
  4. Thanks Luna, I loved The Heart is a Lonely Hunter so will add this to the list.
  5. I have just finished this and like others was bemused and confused by the extraneous characters and the minutae minded Christopher Banks. A lot of the novel felt more like rough sketching, creating characters to see if they fitted in, moving location to see if it woke anything in the main characters naration. Unfotunately it seems Mr Ishiguro decided these rough sketches, these partial thoughts could all be bound together to produce a pastiche, a homage to the great fictional detectives of the 1930's. A search on Google found a Q&A with the author and in it he says "What I began with was the notion of taking one of these Golden Age detectives and setting him down, completely out of his depth, in the turmoil of the twentieth century, as the world hurtles form one horror to the next. I had this rather comic idea of a detective going about high society London with his Sherlock Holmes magnifying glass, who by the end of the story is examining dismembered corpses in a war-zone, with the same magnifying glass, desperately wondering ‘who-dunnit.’". The Q&A is quite interesting but the questioner fails to raise any of the concerns raised on this thread so I am none the wiser as to why Banks thought finding his parents would avert the coming world war or even that his parents would still be alive and in the same place after 18 years. I listend to this on audio and have to praise the narator, Michael Maloney his soft toned measured pacing sat perfectly with the prose.
  6. Thursday night went to see Eleanor's Story. A one woman play performed by Ingrid Garner based on her grandmother who at the age of nine in 1939 moved with her family from USA to Berlin. An excellent capitvating performance from Ingrid gracefully capturing the various family members as she relays this story of youthful survival. Highly recomended though beware you may just have the odd tear in your eye by the end.
  7. I was very surprised they choose Robert's design this week but thought the way they tweaked it worked well. They definitely didn't look happy when he started moving their sofas around. And there was no mention of the craft room come bedroom thing with those stupid huge doors he had included in the original design. Obviously they sensibly decided not to have those either.
  8. Ah yes of course, I don't know why I had forgotten about that because I muttered to myself about it when I watched it. Apart from the lack of privacy whilst on the loo the shower didn't have a door either and so (unless a super powerful extractor fan used) would have caused condensation in the bedroom. A 30K cooker ............................ that's called a private chef isn't it?
  9. The bench seating is silly isn't it? There may be a property that it would work in but mostly a big no for me. The sleeping pods were definitely crazy, so unpractical. There didn't appear to be any provision for wardrobes, chest of drawers etc. But I don't remember the open plan loo one?? Which design was that one in?
  10. They really are amazing and it just shows the potential in very ordinary houses if had the budget for an architect. Though I would suspect some architects would produce mostly mundane work.
  11. Anybody watched Your Home Made Perfect? On the face of it just another home makeover programme but this one has the added wow factor of utilising a virutal reality set up. Two architects compete to come up with best design for ordinary family homes. The owners of the homes need major changes to their homes but can't decide how to resolve the problems. The architects come up with two equally amazing but totally different designs for each house. Then the owners step into the virtual reality set up and walk through their house with the architect as the he/she explains their reasoning for the changes they are advocating. Then using the VR they reveal the transformed house. The use of the VR is very impressive, watching walls fall away and new kitchens etc rise from the floor. The designs really are stunning though as always with these kinds of programmes sometimes they aren't that practical. The owners have a set budget (relatively ordinary budgets - one of 30K & another of 55K) the architects have to work to and once both designs revealed, the owners choose one and then make those changes to their house, so we get to see the VR of the architects vision and then the tweaked version made real. It's on BBC iplayer, first series and four episodes available now. Highly recomended if you like design. But be warned you will start looking at your house and imagine knocking down walls and moving stairs etc.
  12. You Don't Know Me A trial for murder, the jury has heard all the evidence and the prosecution has delivered their summation. The defendant then sacks his barrister and proceeds to tell the whole story, not just the parts his barrister advised him to tell. There is a sense of urgency through this narrative, the defendant knows he is fighting for his freedom, the evidence is stacked against him, the Judge doesn’t approve of this deviation from normal proceedings. The defendant speaks in the vernacular of his peers, slang and swear words fill the courtroom. But it all sounds so natural, believable, scene setting. He takes us through his short life, the main characters and slowly reveals how and why the murder took place. He opens a door onto a world most of us, thankfully, will never have to live in. This is a fast-paced novel, an impressive debut, a compelling narrative with fairly strong characters though I think the girlfriend was only half drawn. Whilst I read, I imagined the scenes unfolding in black & white, colours are mentioned but it reminded me of Brighton Rock and the sparse dark underworld where colour is predominantly the result of nefarious acts. edit: "illegal" link replaced with the BGO/Amazon hyperlink. Author name removed from the thread title. Author name added as a tag and as item prefix. by megustaleer (moderator)
  13. I too found Emotionally Weird hard to get into but I had the added incentive that it is set in my home city and so the memories it revived helped me warm to the characters and in the end I enjoyed the novel. Still think her best book is Behind the Scenes at the Museum.
  14. I couldn't finish this volume. I just couldn't connect to the characters this time and felt the writing had lost its fluidity. Very disapointed and now don't know if I'll read anymore of these.
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