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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. A to Z Game

    Norman Greenbaum - Spirit in the Sky
  2. I had a poster of East of the Sun, West of the Moon when I was 16. I can't remember much about the book now but I loved it then?
  3. Trio

    It's 1937 and Stephen Coulter, a young history master in Northumberland, is mourning the death of his young wife. One of his colleagues ,Frank, issues a casual invitation to a concert given by his sister and two other musicians. Stephen comes from a non musical family but right from the opening chords he is drawn in and begins to understand the power of music. Stephen's friendship with the trio and Frank deepens and it seems that life in this quiet part of the world will continue to rumble on but Hitler is threatening Czechoslovakia and Franco's forces are on the verge of defeating the Republicans... I can't begin to describe how wonderful this book is. Sue Gee's writing is beautiful, perfectly paced, her descriptions of grief are infinitely moving and yet never downbeat, the sense of place is spot on.And there's the music. Descriptions of music and its power permeate the bood, I've never heard any of the pieces the trio play yet my head is ringing with them. The only downside is that it's completely put me off reading anything else for awhile.
  4. Why not post a review?

    I don't post a lot of reviews as I don't feel that I'm very good at it, however I make a point of reading reviews (and blogs) by people's whose taste I share and I've made some really good discoveries as a result. Doesn't always work but a much better hit rate than selecting books from newspaper reviews that often follow the same songbook as every other publication or are written by the author's friends.
  5. I could have sworn that I started a thread on this! I read it three years ago when Iwas going to hear Elizabeth Haynes speak at a lit fest and it was a genuine up all night job. Not perfect but as a page turner it definitely ranks up there at the top. She's ex police and writes what she knows about. Behind Closed Doors, the second in a police proceedural series, iinvolves sex trafficking and is honestly one of the most shocking- in the sense that it makes you really think - books that I've read for a long time.
  6. Commonwealth

    I can't think why it took me so long to get around to reading this but I loved it. I'm never bthered by jumping around in time or loads of charecters, in fact I thought one of the great things about the book was that you aways knew exactly where you were and with whom. Her writing is superb too. A real pleasure.
  7. The Ballroom

    The year is 1911 at the start of the long hot summer and Ella Fay, a mill girl from Bradford, is sent to Sherston Asylum because she broke a window on a stiffling day and raced outside for fresh air, ergo she must be mentally unstable. The asylum is huge, one side for women, one side for men and the two shall never meet except for 2 hours a week where the lucky ones are permitted to go the ballroom in the middle of the asylum and dance. Amazingly enough this is based on the ballroom at the Yorkshore asylum where Anna Hope's great-grandfather was incarcerated. There Ella meets John Mulligan, an Irishman, who is suffering from "melancholia" and is counted as a "chronic" - ie will never be released, and a spark is lit between them which has to be kept secret or the staff will stop all contact. I really enjoyed this book, it's a bit slow to start with but the picture Anna Hope paints of the inmates and doctors is utterly absorbing and at times deeply shocking. She's at pains to emphasise that this is a novel and not fact but somehow it feels true; the sense that the patients have to learn to endure and live for the moment even though many of them are dreaming of escape whether through being told they're cured or literally making a run for it, the complete power that the staff have over the patients, not necessarily in a good way, the fact that many of the patients from the slums in the cities are actually living and eating better at the asylum that they ever did at home. For myself I thought the ending was a bit sentimental as if the author had been told to tack it on by her editors to make it more commercial but it's still a thought provoking and memorable read. Warning: this is not a book to be judged by its cover! It has a picture of girl in a flowing white dress walking into the distance of the type that usually belongs on books marketed as light women's fiction (the asylum uniform was black!) and if it hadn't been a book group read I'd never have bought it and would have missed out on something worthwhile.
  8. This started off really well, the charecterisation was fantastic , I had no idea where the plots twists were leading but it was very long and I started to get weary before the end. I also found the whodunnit part a bit unsatisfactory, I couldn't really buy into the culprit doing it and concealing what had been done so well. Still I didn't enjoy Broken Harbour but this is definitely good enough to look out for TanabFrench's other books.
  9. Fran Hall and her husband Nathan have moved with their two children to a farmhouse on the edge of the Fens - a chance to get away from London and have a fresh start. But when Fran wakes one night to find Nathan gone, she makes a devastating discovery. As questions about her husband and her relationships start to mount, Fran's life begins to spiral out of control. What is she hiding from the police about her marriage, and does she really know the man she shared her bed with? This book is a curious mixture, on one way it's absolutely unputdownable, especially in the earlier part, on the other hand it's complete and utter tosh with a ridiculous plot line that doesn't bear even the most cursory investigation. utterly unbelievable and not in a good way. In the end though I raced to near the finish then slowed up as it began to dawn what nonsense this was I bitterly resent wasting three days of my reading life. It says n the cover it's for fans of Apple Tree Yard. Believe me it's not.
  10. New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961. The Twins were playing their debut season, ice-cold root beers were selling out at the soda counter of Halderson's Drugstore, and Hot Stuff comic books were a mainstay on every barbershop magazine rack. It was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president. But for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum it was a grim summer in which death visited frequently and assumed many forms. Accident. Nature. Suicide. Murder. William Kent Kruger is better known as the author of the Cork O'Connor series, very readable mysteries set in Minnesota, but this is a stand alone. I have to admit that I'm a sucker for American small-town novels, when done well they are very good indeed, and I really enjoyed this one. There were elements towards the end which were alittle too pat but the chareceterisation and above all the atmosphere of New Brennan more than made up for any minor niggles. Highly reccommended (I'll also put in a word for the Cork O'Connor books, I've raced through each one that came my way).
  11. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

    I really enjoyed this and became more and more wrapped up in Eleanor as the book went on. My only slight quiibble is that sometimes I thought the author was tryng too hard to be amusing and it jerked you out of the flow of the story, but it ws a great read.
  12. what is everyone doing?

    Go and splurge Momac! Davd Austin roses sometimes take a bit of time to get going but when they do they're prolific, smell heavenly and really tough. I do absolutely nothing to mine except hack them back occasionally because they grow so fast.
  13. Book Chain

    The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
  14. The Dark Circle

    I thought this started brilliantly, got very slow in the middle, then picked up. Having finished it I can't stop thinking about it, both of the sometime inhuman treatments the patients endured and of what happened afterwards.
  15. Book Chain

    Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons