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About Viccie

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    reading, writing, wine, dawdling around
  • How did you hear about this site?
    Sunday Times article

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  1. Book Chain

    What A Carve Up - Jonathen Coe
  2. If you're asking was there a neat answer - no. Was it immensely satisfying and intrigueing? Yes.
  3. Have you seen the film of Picnic at Hanging Rock. Knocks spots of that overblown TV version both for content and looks.
  4. I'm quite enjoying Vanity Fair, it's a bit crass in places but Becky seems pretty true to the character I remember though I read it ages ago.
  5. Hazel, can you put a spolier in this please? I really want to read Stillman Creek and think I managed to stop reading just in time.
  6. The Dead - Discussion Proper

    I have to admit that I'm not a great fan of short stories but I adored this for the quality of the writing, and because it is a short story I didn't get frustrated with the lack of plot-driven narrative as I often do with literary novels.
  7. Eagerly anticpated

    Unless you go to Paris (next trip October) English language books are in fairly short supply in bookshops in France, even the English ones which are usally pretty small, and they often only order in one or two copies of even the most popular books so they go quickly. I doubt I'd find any of the books on my list in Bordeaux. I do most of my thumbing though books and browsing type book shopping at a twice yearly charity booksale for English books whch involves a lot of impulse buys - and a lot of books going straight back in the bag to be sold at the next sale - but as they only cost 1€ each I look on it as a sort of subscription to a library and the ones returned prctically unread are a donation t charity. Of course there don't tend to be any very new books there and a lot of emphasis on David Baldicci and aga sagas, neither of which are my cup of tea.
  8. Introduce Yourself

    Welcome Ducky and Harlequin.
  9. At the end of the second world war intelligence officer Gus Clifton arrives home to London, where his two sisters are living in what is now his house, with a new bride, Krista. The problems are that she's German and he already had a fiancée. I'd read an Elizabeth Buchan in the past and had no particular desire to read another but several warm reccommendations made me get this. It starts off really well in 1974 with the discovery of a skeleton in the garden of a Clapham house and then the story shifts back to post war London. This is definitely a curate's egg book. I was completely absorbed in it while I was reading it but have become increasingly dissatisfied with it since I finished it. The good points are the sense of place, Buchan really brings post war London to life- I lived in Clapham for 14 years and I loved reading about places that I knew.She handles the deep rooted antagonism to Krista, as a defeated enemy, with a light touch which makes it even more easy to visualise. Krista is a strong charecter, a survivor, not over likeable but admirable for her fortitude in the way she gets on with life and doesn't dwell on the appalling things that happened to her. She's utterly believable, she worked in the propaganda ministry and believed in Hitler, because everyone did, until nearly the end and is desperatly homesick for her own country, even though it's in ruins. And there's a disturbing light thrown on the interrogation techniques used by the British too (hinted at, not described) which adds another slightly equivocal dimension. So what am I niggling about? Basically all the rest of it - once you've lifted yourself out of post war England neither the plot nor the charecterisation of most of the other personages really hold up. Even at the end I didn't believe why Gus and Krista got married, especially as he never told her he already had a fiancée, and his sisters are cardboard cut-outs, as is Teddy, the bitter brother of Gus's ex-fiancée. Teddy's motivations for what he does are particularly clichéd and the ending is contrived. Finally, Buchan has a strange writing style, most of the time she's utterly fluent then she lapses to sentences which read as if they're the sort of Latin translations we did at school, "Caesar,the asses having been thrown over the ramparts, retired to his winter quarters...'
  10. And it's a wonderful book, inventive and funny.
  11. This book is the first in a series and isn't the best written, the best charecterised or the best plotted but my goodness does it kick off with a great premise and it's also huge fun. Isaac Vaanio is a libriomancer, a magician who can reach into book and draw out objects in a world where if enough people read and believe what they've read they can bring that type of character to life. The plot's a bit of the same old, outsider has been cast aside by the organisation he works for and then is the one who has to save said organisation with only the help of a dryad (created via a soft-porn fantasy novel) and a fire spider he got out of a book some years ago and can't return (go figure, fire and paper) but it's energetic and an absolute pleasure for someone who used to spend lunch hours in Dark They Were and Golden Eyed (London's first sci fi bookshop) and knows far more about B list sci fi than she's prepared to admit. It's full of great touches, Isaac is attacked by vampires int hefirst chapter, the hand of one of them catches the light and sparkles - he's knows instantly it's the Meyeris variety which has only been around since 2005 (the year Twilight came out). I'm looking forward to reading the next one but will probably leave it a bit.
  12. Eagerly anticpated

    i've got the Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle on the wish list, but it's not calling quite as urgently as the ones I listed.
  13. Eagerly anticpated

    I think I need to do the lottery. My list of books that I'm itching to read, want to read so much that I'm looking the books up while they're still in hardback and wondering if I can justify the cost (with the size of my TBR pile there's no way) is growing on a daily basis. So far I've got: Early Riser - Jasper fforde Stillhouse Lake - Rachel Caine The Craftsman -Sharon Bolton Transcription -Kate Atkinson Clock Dance Anne Tyler Take Nothing With You -Patrick Gale The Rules of Magic - Alice Hoffman Lies Sleeping - Ben Aaronovitch The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock - Imogen Hermes Gower And that's just for starters... (Mods, I seem to remember there was a thread like this before but for the life of me I can't find it.)
  14. Book Chain

    The Good Soldier Schweik - Jaroslav Hašek
  15. Have you read the Cazelet chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard, Momac? If not, I think you'll love them (having an idea of your reading tastes from your posts over the years!) There are lots of charecters but I had no problem in following who was who as she creates her personalities so well.