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Just RY

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Everything posted by Just RY

  1. Finally fought my way through the Atonement. I think it was Volvican who wrote elsewhere that the book suffers from a poor ending. I agree - the beginning is too long, and the middle isn't up to much either. (Although, Part 2 was somewhat less painful than the beginning.) I'm thinking "Mills and Boon" with a bit of war thrown in for good measure. I've not seen the film yet - I have promised Mrs. Y that we would go and see it. For once, I hope the movie isn't true to the book!
  2. Oh well - I suppose that makes me a poor inspiration then!
  3. Trust me, I'm still overweight and middle-aged. "Motivation determines what you do."
  4. Now then - a bit of background about me. About 4 years ago, I decided to try an get a bit healthier by starting to jog a little bit. Over time, these 2 mile walk/jogs have led to running a couple of marathons, several half-marathons. I read about Karnazes after he had done a 350 mile continuous run. Now, I know how painful it is after 26.2, so I can't imagine the pain of 350. So, I read his book (in the book he doesn't go up to his 350 mile run - just a mere 200). What a fantastic, inspirational, motivational read. Second best auto-biography I have read (the best is totally unrelated - Papillon). I am certainly motivated to continue my marathon running - and who knows, I may try to go further. You can read more about Dean's crazy stuff (such as 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days - yep, he is a nut) at http://www.ultramarathonman.com I don't think you have to be a runner to enjoy this book, his life story is pretty interesting. Big big thumbs up from RY, I really enjoyed it.
  5. I'm reading this now - I'm finding it tough going to be honest. Considering it is a book that covers decades, the first 50% only covers 4 days. I guess the rest is rushed! Why use a paragraph, when three chapters will do? Anyway, I am finally at "Part two" - I'm hoping it will pick up.
  6. Thanks Meg - I should post more often I suppose, I do check in from time to time though. One of the reasons I mentioned this particular book is that it could conceivably have been a 'prequel' to TCW (without the 'alternative' history bit of course, if that makes sense). Jan and Anna, the two main characters in Night of Flames could have been Zosia and Richard's grandparents or something.
  7. In 1939 the Germans invade Poland, setting off a rising storm of violence and destruction. For Anna and Jan Kopernik the loss is unimaginable. She is an assistant professor at a university in Krakow; he, an officer in the Polish cavalry. Separated by the war, they must find their own way in a world where everything they ever knew is gone. Anna’s father, a prominent Polish intellectual, is deported to a death camp, and Anna must flee to Belgium where she joins the Resistance. Meanwhile, Jan escapes with the battered remnants of the Polish army to Britain. When British intelligence asks him to return to Poland in an undercover mission to contact the Resistance, he seizes the chance to search for his missing wife. Through the long night of Nazi occupation, Anna, Jan, and ordinary people across Europe fight a covert war of sabotage and resistance against the overwhelming might of the German war machine. The struggle seems hopeless, but they are determined to take back what is theirs. A very good read - this came to me as a recommendation from Amazon in the form of "You've read this book before, therefore we recommend this" - I am glad they did. Well written, well researched from a new writer - from a period in history that fascinates me.
  8. Calling all Pillars of the Earth fans...... Just in case you didn't know, the sequel is now published, "World Without End" 'World Without End' takes place in the same town, Kingsbridge, and features the descendants of the 'Pillars' characters two centuries later. The cathedral and the priory are again at the centre of a web of love and hate, greed and pride, ambition and revenge. But at the heart of the story is the greatest natural disaster ever to strike the human race: the plague known as the Black Death, which killed something like half the population of Europe in the fourteenth century. The people of the Middle Ages battled this lethal pestilence and survived – and, in doing so, laid the foundations of modern medicine. Just received the book on Friday, only a couple of chapters into it, but I just know I am going to love it.
  9. My mother has just read the book in the last couple of weeks - and concurs with myself and RR, she rated it as 'absolutely brilliant'. Delighted to read that someone else is going to give it a go.
  10. LOL! Z Is for Alibi - Mystery writer Sue Grafton embarks on her brand new series of novels featuring a dyslexic detective.
  11. "....It was like so hot yesterday and I was like oh my God, it's like so hot! The others like didn't care, they were like, whatvever." California teen-speak, coming to a place near you soon. Yuk.
  12. If I may make a suggestion - I have found that the tools on Amazon are handy to get you out of the rut. "Readers who bought this book also bought this book", or the "book lists" etc., - start with your favourite titles, and see where the surfing takes you. I have discovered a few superb books using this method - books I had never heard of, by authors I had never heard of. After a while you will have put together a list of new authors and new titles that you should like.
  13. Talking of The Pogues - their version of "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" is also an awesome cover. Although I have no idea if it is better than the original, cos I am not sure I have heard it . . . . . . . And yes, Love will tear us apart, is by no means Joy Divisions best - that acolade, (in my not-so-music-snobbish-opinion) would go to "Eternal" on the fine LP, "Closer")
  14. Best call for the 'head-examiner' then RR. The Damned are one of my fave bands. I also prefer their version of "Alone again Or". So there. As for covers of "House of the Rising Sun", although I do like the original, I also like the cover by Muse. However, anyone who prefers No Doubt's version of 'It's My Life" really, and I mean really, does need their head examining . . . . . .
  15. You hear about 'writer's block', where an author, no matter how hard they try, can't get on with the job in hand. I have just suffered from a reader's equivalent - when I was trying to start a book by Craig Thomas, and after several days (over a couple of weeks - trying to read every night), I wasn't beyond the 5th page of chapter 1 - I would just stare at pages for ages before giving up for the night. The only explanation I have, is that this particular novel was the 4th crap book I had read in a row, and my brain just wasn't going to accept bad books anymore. Sure, I have read bad books before, but I have never had an experience where I just could not get beyond the first few pages. The cure was simple - I passed a second hand bookshop at the airport this morning, traded in Craig Thomas book for 80 cents credit against a Wilbur Smith book that I have read before (I think - but it was a long time ago). The next couple of hours on the plane flew by as I was engrossed in this book. I have missed reading, and I am happy to be back - I know I will sleep better for letting my mind drift off into a fictional world for a while this evening. It was worrying me that I was not able to do this for the last few weeks. Right then . . . . . where's my Horlicks? Ever had that before?
  16. Been to a handful of games since 9/11, and the 7th inning stretch was the same as it always was; "Take me out to the ball game" Nights in white satin never reaching the end. Letters I've written never meaning to send. Beauty I'd always missed with these eyes before. Just what the truth is I can't say anymore Moody Blues (Nicely covered by The Dickies)
  17. Actually I made up the word (I would have used quartet, had I known that the word wasn't exclusively used for a group of four instrumentalists), and I like it, because it is MY word, so there . My goal is to get it accepted into a dictionary, much like "googling" is now included in many. I have read them, and they are also a good series - probably not quite as good as the Courtney's though.
  18. But that is the crux problem. There are times, when all I have available to me to make a decision about purchasing a book or not is the blurb on the back. If I have never heard of the author, or never heard of the book, then there is no alternative. It is easy to choose a book via amazon, mainly because they have such a vast choice and because of reviews from other readers etc etc. As someone who travels a fair amount, I speak from bitter experience of having just a few moments to pick a book from sparsely stocked aiport bookstores on many occasions. For me, No Blurb=No Buy. I spend a good deal of cash on books in any given year, writers are losing readership - and it would appear that I am not the only one - by this silly practice. What can possibly be gained by NOT writing a brief synopsis, and placing it where the majority of people would expect to find it?
  19. A big thumbs down from me. I have just finished this book, after what seemed like an age. I had several problems - the first of which is the fact that I couldn't wait until the paperback came out - the description on the inside cover sounded just like my cup of tea. Because it cost me more than I normally pay for a book, I felt obliged to finish it. Just when I had decided to give up, and list it on Ebay to recoup some of my 'investment', my dogs ripped up the cover, thus making it worthless - so I REALLY had to force my way to the end. WARNING There may be one or two spoilers, as I rant on. So, what didn't I like about this book? Well, I couldn't stand the first person style recalling the Lindbergh years, through the eyes of a young boy.It seemed to me to be narrated in the style of that awful tv show, 'The Wonder Years'. Not sure I liked the idea of mixing historical figures into the fictional plot, almost making the book like a piece of non-fiction or an autobiography. Although Lindbergh mistreated the Jews - it could have been a whole lot worse, I was expecting concentration camps/mass government sanctioned murder - much closer to what was going on in Warsaw and other parts of Europe at the same time. As a work of fiction, I felt that Roth could have made the book and the actions of the ficticious government more horriffic. Without wishing to sound divisive, the treatment that the Jews received at the hands of the Lindbergh's government, didn't seem that much different from the real treatment meted out to blacks in the deep south for many decades, instead of a couple of years. (Perhaps that was the point). As for the ending, I was waiting for the line "and they all lived happily ever after", it was that weak. [SPOILER ALERT] - I had the impression that Lindbergh just simply disappearing was almost an afterthought - and the nasty piece of work that was the Vice President (who was perhaps the real villain) - well, getting voted out of office after a few days, FDR getting re-elected . . . . . {don't do it RY.....} . . . . . and they all lived happily ever after [END OF SPOILER] So, I can't in good faith recommend this book, if you really feel obliged to buy it, wait until the paperback comes out. Or, if you happen to check in to the same hotel in Cleveland that I am staying in tonight, you may happen to find a book with no cover and with my dogs teeth marks in it in room 103, because I am not carrying it home with me, it will be just wasting space in my luggage.
  20. If a paperback book doesn't have a description on the back cover, then I won't buy it unless I was specifically looking for that title/author. I hate the way that some books just have newspaper reviews instead: "A thrilling read" - AnywhereVille Chronicle. (Since when would a publisher put a poor review on the cover anyway?). Utterly pointless. If any authors are reading this, you are losing my business, because I will not (out of principle) go searching for the book description on the inside of the book. Probably my loss, because I am sure I have missed out on good writers and books because of this, but it's your fault! So there! Am I the only one who feels like this? Any other pet peeves out there?
  21. I enjoy books that are part of a series trilogies, quadrilogies, quintoligies, loads-a-book-ologies (yeah ok, the last three are made up words I am sure, but you know what I mean). I have just bought the first of the Dark Tower series (Gunslinger), which seems to get good reviews by fellow BGO'ers, I'm a little worried myself, as I have somtimes struggled with King's works (liked 'The Stand', didn't like 'It' etc). Book series' that I have enjoyed, would include John Jakes' 'Kent family chronicles' and Wilbur Smith's saga of the Courtney family (made even more enjoyable when Smith did some prequels set in the 16/1700's). So, two questions, am I going to like the Dark Tower books? And, what other book series would you recommend?
  22. This week, on this side of the pond will see the debut of "The Office" - the yank version. Having seen the BBC version, this will be interesting to see if they can carry it off. I know that Ricky Gervais consulted on the writing of the first episode (at least). Should be interesting anyway . . .
  23. First LP was probably in early '70's, and it was one of those "Top of the Pops" LP's that didn't feature the original artists, but someone trying to copy them. All I remember was it had Daniel by somone pretending to be Elton John on it. First proper LP was I think Parallel Lines by Blondie
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