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About Viccie

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    reading, writing, wine, dawdling around
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  1. I've just re-read this for my book group and it is one of those books that is every bit as good on the second time round. If you haven't already read it I urge you to do so.
  2. City of Stairs - Robert Jackson Bennet
  3. I read this when it first came out and couldn't remember an awful lot about it apart from feeling vaguely that it wasn't one of my favourites. Second reading has cinfirmed that. The beginning iis brilliant but I felt it started to loose its way about half way through as if Anne Tyler wasn't sure herself where she was going. The problem was that Delia wasn't just invisible to her family, she was pretty invisible to me too. It wasn't that she was a nonentity - she made herself a new life and friends with ease and was obviously valued by a lot of people but I couldn't relate to the later Delia at all. Not a bad book, far from it, she's far too good a writer for that but not up there with Baltimore Blues or The Accidental Tourist.
  4. I think my favourite book of the year has to be Trio by Sue Gee which was a re-read for the book group and every bit as good the second time around. Discovery of the year; audio books, especially Timothy West reading Trollope. Not seen a lot of films this year, but I reallyenjoyed Bohemian Rapsody which didn't come to our local cinema untilFebruary. Favourite TV programme. not sure if Spiral counts as a favourite but it was the most absorbing.
  5. 1. Falling - Colin Thurbron ****1/2 2. Burnt Island - Kate Rhodes **** 3. Brooklyn - Colm Toibin (RR for book club) ***** 4. The Seven Wives of Evelyn Hugo - Taylor Jenkins Read ***1/2
  6. I've just finished this and was totally captivated by it. It's a quiet read but none the less complelling for that.
  7. I didn't enjoy this much either. Probably my least favourite of her books.
  8. One of my tour guests yesterday comes from Dallas and he shopped in that street too. He was dexcribing how one side of the street was untouched, the other flattened. I hadn't realised what a hnarrow path of havoc a tornado creats.
  9. I've had this on my wish list since seeing a pre-pubication piece on it. Sounds like it deserves its place.
  10. This very short book starts with an elderly man walking into a hotel room and shooting the even older occupant four times. He goes downstairs to the lobby, tells the receptionist to call the police and waits for them to arrive. So there's no mystery about who done it, just why done it, but Collini, the murderer, an Italian immigrant, refuses to tell his young lawyer why her killed a respĂȘcted and admired German businessman. I can't say that there are any grat surprises about the motivations, though the insights into German law are fascinating and the translation is fairly workmanlike but even so it grabbed me to the extent I couldn't put it down and finished it in a day. Some might find it too dry but I'd say definitely worth a go.
  11. The Body in the Library - Agatha Christie
  12. That must have been terrifying. The worst I've ever been in was what's called a hurricane in France even though I was told by an American visitor that it would only have been counted as a stiff wind in Florida. it was still frightening enough.
  13. Saroo Brierley was years old when, out on a nefarious expedition with his older brother, he crept into an empty train and fell asleep. By the time he was able to get out of the train he was in Kolkata with no idea of how to get home. He lived on the streets for a while, had some very narrow escapes, then was picked up, sen tto anorphanage and after fruitless attempts to find his family was adopted by a couple in Australia. 25 years later, with only hazy and inaccurate memories of his train journey, he set about trying to find out where he came from and his birth mother. It's an incredible story, slightly marred by Saroo Brierley being at best a functional writer, it would have been so much better if he'd got a good ghost wroter to do the narrative for him. It has also been made into a film, called Lion, Saroo's nckname as a child, which a friend tells me is very good. It may be one of the few instances of a film being better than the book. Those reservations apart this is definitely well worth reading or seeing.
  14. I absolutely loved this book, I wasn't confused by the Triads etc but then I did live in HK for a while so it all seemed pretty normal to me! Unlike Mr HG I thought the weakest part of the book was Matthew,. John Lanchester is a fantastic writer and particularly good at giving individual voices to his narrators, which means that Matthew, who has basically a rather uninteresting personality, has a somewhat dull narrative tone. I felt it was a shame the book encded where it did though, I wanted to know what Tom thought of it all.
  15. Martin Eden is the story of a young sailor from Oakland who falls blindly in love with Ruth, the sister of a man he saved from a fight. Ruth is elegant, studying lierature at university, bourgois and rather patronising towards the working class, uneducated sailor who neverlheless loves poetry and has a burning desire to learn. Martin decides to make himself worthy of Ruth by educating himself and becoming a writer. The novel is about his struggles to be a success, rejection, the mind-numbing effects of too much hard work and the struggle to be yourself when all those around you don't believe you have it in yourself to fulfill your dreams. This is a book i'd never have picked up if it hadn't been chosen for one of my book groups and is a prime example of why I belong to them. I was completely caught up in it, it's written in a rather florid, muscular style whch I normally don't like but that didn't matter, it's one of those books where you're happy to have woken early because you've got something so good to read. I was devestated at the end. Apparently Martin Eden has been an inspiration for generations of aspiring writers. Highly recommended.
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