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  1. A Happy New Years' reading to us All! I'd go for David Copperfield myself, Mrs B. It's long, but very entertaining, with a nice range of fun-to-creepy characters, and can easily be left aside for a week if you feel like something different, without losing the plot. Parts are a bit heart-wrenching (no-one likes following the suffering of children, and David goes through a few tough times) but we're reassured that he comes out of it just fine, and a mature, confident man. Whatever you choose - I hope you enjoy it.
  2. Happy New Year, David. I hope you enjoy "Devil" - it's perfect to start another year of reading with! I think his attitude to everyone is the key to Pauls' success - even "stars" know he's a genuine person, and will de-freeze quite noticeably with him. He's an all-round entertainer, too - books, T.V. and radio - all very enjoyable. Get between those covers - and start 2011 with a giggle, David.
  3. "Earth Healer" is a recent addition to the impressive Library of books produced by the White Eagle Lodge mystery school. Very apt too for this time in the history of our planet, as we grapple with correcting the gaffs of decades resulting in serious pollution, worldwide. There are suggestions for amending lifestyles here, meditations, guidance for those who would like to support our world and all/any of her lifeforms (even humanity! ) - and some beautiful prayers for use or guidance, too. The book itself is plentifully illustrated in colour, and the pictures themselves can be used as meditation focus. There's something here for the more practically-minded Earth Healer, and there's for instance - "O Great White Spirit, who art in all things visible and invisible, from whom all life cometh; Thou who art the song of the birds, the perfume of the flowers: Thou who art the sweet music of the wind, Thou who art all beauty and truth, all wisdom; Thou who art only to be found in the deep tranquillity of Spirit. O Divine Love, we pray that we may become aware of Thee in ourselves, and in our companions, in all Life. Amen." White Eagle.
  4. I hope it's O.K. for a former humble library assistant to join the chat? It was too-many years ago of course - and just as well, for I needed that late-teen/early twenties energy to cope! The building I worked in was large, open plan, and on a busy day I must have covered miles at a brisk trot! Certainly no problems with weight issues, though, and I enjoyed myself. I do agree - the nature of the job has changed a lot, and I must say I miss the more "human" element which we were trained to regard as one of the most important services we provided. As a shy teenager, I was horrified when told that I had to chat to the readers, but before long ... I could pass the time of day with an utter stranger without a problem, and that particular life-skill has never left me. My own local Library has just recently become self-service - and I hate it! A reduced staff are still around, of course, but the readers issue and return their own books etc., and even fines or request fees can be paid automatically. Less jobs for librarians and library assistants, and less human-contact for readers, many of whom value that bit of chat and a friendly smile, during their regular visits. Human beings can't be replaced with machines, folks, so stand firm and let the bosses know just how valuable a commodity you all are, or will be. You're all providing a valuable service. Thanks - from one of the masses.
  5. Does anyone feel in "Dickens" mood at this particular time of year? I rarely ever read any of his work in Spring or Summer, but when the darker days come in ....! I think it's largely due to childhood programming. As a family, we always watched the televised serials of classic novelists which inevitably came on during the run-up to Christmas. Fantastic they were, too. The Beeb has never been outdone in producing like quality dramas, have they? So now - my reading follows the same pattern. Of course "A Christmas Carol" is obvious, and also the other Christmas stories. Other favourites are "Oliver Twist" (or "The Pickwick Papers" which for some reason is the most difficult "Dickens" to get - ?!) or "The Old Curiousity Shop" despite it's tragic loss of Little Nell. Anyone else out there a "Winter" Dickens fan?
  6. Crikey Binker - I didn't know that! I can't help wondering what the point of surgery is at all, then. Of course, many people in the public eye are sensitive about being seen wearing specs (we don't often see actors wearing them, do we?) and rarely is a specs-wearer the hero or heroine of a movie. They're held to be "ageing" by some - but I think the right pair can be very flattering - and contacts can be used as fall-back, if necessary. Aren't we human beings strange folks at times?
  7. A new author is born among us! "Celtic Maidens" is Ceri Norman's first historical/modern/past lives/romantic/magical novel - which it's pretty difficult to classify, as you'll guess. The modern characters are Sian and Ryan, who come to be influenced by their past-life selves of Morwyna and Owein, whose love was brought to a tragic end by Badden (the bad guy) in Iron Age Wales, due to his obsession for Morwyna. Not content with that, Badden follows both lovers through time to try again to wrest the re-born Morwyna (Sian) from re-born Owein (Ryan). His evil influence is felt by Sian's local community, as present day Druidic magic combines with past life aid, to battle for control. In some places this a very creepy "read" and there's a real sense of unease in the effects the influence of Badden and his spirit allies have, over Sian's life and friends. I found Ceri's style of writing very refreshing. A great balance of from-the-shoulder straightforward, to beautifully artistic. Two of my favourite examples are - In a paragaph where Sian is clearing up some broken window glass - "As she swept the glass sang ... notes were sounded bright and lucid ... the song was bright and cheerful, yet barren and forlorn ... it was the most beautiful sound she had ever heard ... the song that snow and ice would sing." and then later, as she and Ryan finally acknowledge their love for each other, (he racing to her rescue, as she lies bound hand and foot by Badden on an altar) "His heart reached out to Sian and pulled him onwards. Ryan: I'm coming love. I love you. Sian: I love you too, Ryan. Now get your arse over here and help me." (I loved it!) You'll find plenty more, as you read through this entertaining (and teaching) novel, which is liberally sprinkled with magical symbolism, depicts the power of Nature, human relationships, and the responsibilities (and consequences) that come with the use of magic. Not so far available on the bookshelves of your local store, but can be had in online stores - and very worthwhile getting. I've got the start of my "Ceri Norman" collection.
  8. Well worth the price you paid for them then, Tagesmann. It's something non-specs wearers fail to appreciate - once you've got a comfy and practical pair - you don't want to let 'em go!
  9. Still happy with your specs, Flingo? I find that after a while they get to be a part of me - and I hugely resent having to choose new frames, when next I get tested! Of course, strictly speaking it's not necessary to choose new frames (a new prescription can often be put in the current specs) but "new" prices are so low nowadays that often it's cheaper to buy new, than re-cycle. It's so hit-and-miss too, isn't it fellow-wearers? The number of times I've spent quite a bit on a pair of frames, and found them to be uncomfortable for long-term wearing is too many! I've often find that the less expensive frames (with the nose-guard incorporated into the frame itself) are much more comfy, and am actually favouring a pair of those currently, with the costlier ones in "reserve". Yes - specs can be a nuisance sometimes, but I'd never go for laser surgery. A friend of mine did - and it didn't come off. She's not better off - and she had to pay for it, too. (There's always a "plausible" escape clause for the people responsible, isn't there? ) My face feels "undressed" without my specs - and I'm told (kindly meant) that I look unlike "me" without them. So I'll stick with them, and allow them to frame the windows-of-my soul in the lovely colours and styles of nowadays.
  10. Good Luck with snaffling "Charlotte" Diane. You'll probably have to order it online or from a "real" bookshop, but it should be gettable. Did anyone watch the Pride & Prejudice-fest at the weekend? The whole Firth/Ehle thing was on "Yesterday" on Saturday - and again on Sunday! I recorded it, even though I already have the discs. It's such a nuisance to have to actually get up to change discs (!!) when I'm snuggled down to enjoy the story - it can break the mood, and that's a real crime. Then, having recorded it on Saturday, I found myself watching it again the next day ... and had to tear myself away. It seems I just can't get tired of this lovely story.
  11. Have you got "Charlotte" Diane? It's a fragment of a last novel by our Jane which was completed by Julia Barrett - whom I've always found to be good in writing in Austen-style. There's also Stephanie Barron - an Amercian author - who has made a very praiseworthy job of a series of the "adventures" of Jane Austen herself, entitled "Jane and the ..." The latest one I think is "Jane and the Barque of Fraility". The style is glorious (with only an occasional americanism/spelling creeping in) Stephanie made a point of spelling and writing as much as the original as possible, for these are meant to be the memoires of J.A. herself. I have a few for "keepers" as I love the style, but one big drawback (for me) is that they're murder mysteries solved by Jane, and they're pretty graphic ... no-one dies peacefully in their beds! Still, as Austen-comfort, they're very good.
  12. It's a lovely story, luna - I'm sure you'll like it. It brings the human-being side of the story into focus, and my only complaint is that it ends where it does, and we don't hear any more about the family, or what happened to the Wise Men. All good things must end though, I suppose.
  13. Well - there's an argument for saying this is a historical novel, even if you aren't a believer in the basic story. If it's in the wrong place, I'm sure someone will reprimand me, shortly. This book has become one of my Christmas traditions. For quite a while it was out of print, and has only reasonably recently (2007) been reprinted by Tree of Life Publishing in paperback. I've actually read quite a few of the novels of Norah Loft (they're oldies but goodies) but this is my runaway favourite. Leaving aside the Big Message of the story itself (which you can, if you wish) this is an interesting tale about the journey of a carpenter and his wife (a couple of thousand years ago) from their home village, to the town of the husbands's birth. It's also the story of three widely different characters who find themselves meeting and travelling together to the same location, and from various sources they bring gifts for the new-born child they visit together. During their journeys the travellers meet up with a selection of other characters who are bit players from the Big Story itself, and we find out how each got to the place where they fit into the main picture. It's quite fascinating - there's nobody nosier than us folks, and I find this a very interesting "read" as I always wondered about those scantily mentioned people who played a part in the story. What really draws me in each time is the character Mary's attitude to the old donkey she has to ride on the journey. Mary is very fond of donkeys, and worries about it to the extent that she tries to walk, heavily pregnant, when her husband would prefer her to ride, in order to give the old fellow a rest - and when the time comes for them to move on into Egypt, the old donkey is to carry her and the baby safely onwards, too. It's one of the lovely little touchs of individuality added by the author to the basic familiar details. Ideally, I'll start my reading in a week or so as my "bedtime story" and finish it on Christmas Eve ... just to keep in step with the traditional timing! You might like to give it a try - or it'd make a nice Christmas present, maybe?
  14. Has anyone else ever noticed that they read different "Austens" at certain times? I pick up "Pride and Prejudice" when I feel like a bit of lively entertainment. "Mansfield Park" when I need something "grittier" - the slavery\poverty issues and efforts to force Fanny into marriage, make it the "darkest" Austen, in my humble opinion. "Persuasion" - when I'm feeling cynical about the older-person and romance. (well, for her day, Anne is an "older person") "Northanger Abbey" when I'm in frivolous mood - Catherine's silliness maturing into wisdom, is just the thing. "Emma" - when I yearn for the quiet life in a friendly little commuity. "Sense & Sensibility" when I'm trying to balance out some problem in my life. How about the rest of you?
  15. What a sad ending to the last in the first series last night - losing the longed-for son in such a pointless way! I couldn't have been more upset if it had been someone I know in real life. Then, those two warring sisters finished it off - scotching each other's chances of marriage. Thank goodness for Sybil the "middle-est" sister, who seems to be best of the three. I love how the Bates/Anna romance is developing - a lovely touch to brighten things up for us. Looking forward to the next series - especially the growing friendship of the senior ladies of the families. We'll get good value from them!
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