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About Viccie

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    reading, writing, wine, dawdling around
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  1. "When a woman unexpectedly loses her lifelong best friend and mentor, she finds herself burdened with the unwanted dog he has left behind. Her own battle against grief is intensified by the mute suffering of the dog, a huge Great Dane, and by the threat of eviction: dogs are prohibited in her apartment building. Isolated from the rest of the world, increasingly obsessed with the dog's care, determined to read its mind and fathom its heart, she comes dangerously close to unravelling. But while troubles abound, rich and surprising rewards lie in store for both of them." I don't know what to make of this book, the blurb makes it sound like a tale of a relationship beween woman and her initially unwanted dog, the reviews and quotes made it clear the writer was aiming at a lieterary market so i thought I was getting something a bit different. The problem is twofold, firstly it is mostly about the woman and the dog only has a bit part even though he's supposed to be driving the action, secondly, and most important there are lengthy musings on what other writers think about grief and the art of writing, so loads of quoting and little in the way of original thought. At times it seemed to descend into a form of literary navel gazing and I began to feel uneducated because I hadn't read and don't want to read many of the authors she's quoting. I did finish it though and the ending is horribly sad.
  2. Lies Sleeping, Ben Aaronvitch. Seventh in the Rivers of London series and no signs of it running out of steam.
  3. Clock Dance by Anne Tyler. One of those books that remind you just what a sheer pleasurea good book can be.
  4. Clock Dance by Anne Tyler. One of those books that remind you of what sheer pleasure a good book can be.
  5. An elderly woman is found gruesomely murdered in a park in Dublin and the investigative team is led to a nunnery which housed one of the infamous Magdalen launderies, supposedly charitable insititutions set up to help waywayd girls and fallen women. This is Jo Spain's first novel and has a slight air of feeling its way, the pacing could be better i places, but nonetheless it's still an excellent read and the revelations of what went on in the laundry is well pitched, horrifying, all too believeable but not melodramatic. Jo Spain has now written 5 books with DI Tom Reynolds, I've read the second and it's better than this one so I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the next three.
  6. It's coming up to the 20th anniversary of Chocalot by Joanne Harris whch I loved, it was fresh, different, just a bit strange though I know some people didn't get on with it at all. The Strawberry Thief is the fourth in the Chocolat series, Vianne is back in Lansquennet-sous-Tannes with her chocolate shop and her younger child feeling threatened by the arrival of a mysterious stranger who seems to know all too much about everybody in the village. Loads of peole seem to love this book; I thought it was cloying, repetative, unoriginal and went on for far too long. Vianne doesn't seem to have changed in the least from the first book, once you've read about the wid changing (in the first book also and the second and thord) you're thinking "give it a rest" and there's a folderwith a confession in it that seems to pass from person to person at just the right time by a series of implausible co-incidences. I also started getting really bugged by Joanne Harris's cavlier attitude to time and geography eg. Lansquennet is near Agen and she makes a passing reference to the villages going city shopping in Toulouse - or Marseille which is about 5 hours drive away! Bordeaux is 80 minutes from Agen. She isn' clear about when exactly the story is set but they have mobiles, yet the schoolchildren have their half day on Thursday - it was changed a good 30 years ago to Wednesday. It may be all part of her trying to put Lansquennet and it's villagers into a different, not quite real place but for this reader all it did was confirm by disbelief. No, I didn't like it!
  7. I thoroughly enjoyed this though I agree with you Mr HG the beginning was very slow.
  8. Yes, a lot of them are unabridged. I subscribe to Audible (I find I'm much more willing to do the housework of I've got a book to listen to) and they do lots of deals.
  9. I discovered I could read when my mother had to answer the telephone while reading me Black Beauty. It was at the bit where BB sees a train for the first time and I picked up the book and realised I could understand the words. Haven't stopped since, however my mother stopped reading to me though she always told stories on car journeys. I read to my children until they were about 8 and stopped going to bed at a time when I could read without having to go off and do other things. We all love audio books. I don't like reading poetry in general but I love it read aloud.
  10. I loved this one too. I've got the third one on my Kindle and am keeping it for that moment when I know I'm going to need a book I can be totally wrapped up in.
  11. Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father’s too kind-hearted to collect his debts. They face poverty, until Miryem hardens her own heart and takes up his work in their village. Her success creates rumours she can turn silver into gold, which attract the fairy king of winter himself. He sets her an impossible challenge – and if she fails, she’ll die. Yet if she triumphs, it may mean a fate worse than death. And in her desperate efforts to succeed, Miryem unwittingly spins a web that draws in the unhappy daughter of a lord. Irina’s father schemes to wed her to the tsar – he will pay any price to achieve this goal. However, the dashing tsar is not what he seems. And the secret he hides threatens to consume the lands of mortals and winter alike. Torn between deadly choices, Miryem and Irina embark on a quest that will take them to the limits of sacrifice, power and love. Loosely based on Rumplestiltskin with a hefty dose of Jewish folklaw, a powerful imagination and some very strong female characters, this is a wonderful book. It passes the Bechdel test hands down, the main characters are all strong women, three of them not two, and when they do talk about men it's not about attracting them - won't say what for risk of spoliers, and the plot twists and turns in some unexpected and satisfying directions. So there's a bit of happy-ever-afterness at the end, this is a traditional tale after all, but it's on the women's terms, not anyone else's so isn't too cloying. Theonly minor quibble I'd have is the amount of head hopping - it didn't worry me but I know that lots of people hate that, however I'd recommend this to anyone who likes fantasy.
  12. We read this for our book group this month. I'd read it sometime ago and got bored as I found the mystery surrounding Ellie Deacon unconvincing and predictable, though the modern day killing of the family was far better done. To be honest it didn't improve that much on a second go. Generally everyone thought that the descriptions of place were terrific, the mystery less so. However I've also just finished listening to The Lost Man, her third book, which doesn't feature Aaron Falk, and I really enjoyed that one. She's definitely developing as a writer and I'm looking forward to her future books
  13. The Vanishing Pont - Val McDermid
  14. I read Catch 22 when I was about 18 because it was the in book of the moment. I liked it well enough then but not enough to want to re-read it.
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