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About Minxminnie

  • Rank
  • Birthday 11/12/1965


  • Location
    West of Scotland
  • Interests
    travel, photography, reading (doh!), cinema, lying in on a Saturday.

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  • Gender
  1. Why it's a good idea to have a large TBR

    "anti-library": I like that! Also the idea that unread books have more value than ones you have read.
  2. what is everyone doing?

    Tag, I'm sorry to hear about your dad. A difficult time for it to happen, though any time is bad.
  3. Christmas Greetings

    Merry Christmas - hope you all got lots of lovely books.
  4. what is everyone doing?

    I'm 3 days away from an HMIE inspection at work. Have never worked so hard. It fair focuses the mind.
  5. Driven to murder...?

    Yes I saw that! Definitely understand how frustrating that would be, if not quite how it would get that far...
  6. Currently Reading

    Oh that's good to know Viccie!
  7. Currently Reading

    I have just started Francis Spufford's Golden Hill and I'm loving it already. I'm reading a Kindle edition which I picked up for 99p, but the book is so good that I'm considering buying a paper copy; somehow it wants to be read on paper!
  8. I was so disappointed in this. It was reminiscent of Louise Doughty's Apple Tree Yard, but nowhere near as well written. I bought it expecting a clever, up to the minute legal thriller. It has cover quotes from people whose taste I trust: John Boyne, Nicola Sturgeon, and every newspaper and magazine possible. It was a Richard and Judy choice, but I was willing to overlook that. Anyway. The basic story is that James Whitehouse, a prominent member of a Cameron-esque Tory Government, is accused of rape by a colleague with whom he had been having an affair. It promised to be a nuanced look at the emotions and legalities of such a situation, and I expected a legal thriller which would present me with two credible protagonists and keep me guessing as to the truth. Firstly, it's not really a legal thriller. The writer has clearly done her research and she avoids the big bombastic set pieces in court, showing instead how small details can be made to do the work. That was clever, but a bit of a let down. However, that was the only place where she didn't serve up exactly what we would expect. Every single character was such a stereotype. James and his cronies were all charming cads, overconfident overachievers. Sophie, his wife, was a dutiful Tory wife, keeping herself trim and looking after the adorable kiddies. Lawyers were obsessive borderline alcoholics with no personal life, and their clerks were down to earth Cockneys with a twinkle in their eye but hidden depths; teachers were harum-scarum jugglers with questionable grooming skills; scientists were geeks with no social skills. Etc. The author has a very annoying habit of mentioning the ethnicity of any non-white character, although it has no bearing on the narrative: the Asian clerk etc. And she made some very scathing comments about jurors with tans "out of a bottle" etc, making these insignificant characters (the only working class characters) into clowns, even though this was inconsistent with the voice of the character. (The novel uses several different voices/perspectives, all in third person except for Kate, the barrister, who gets to lecture us in first person). The plot really sagged, especially once the outcome of the court case was known. And I just didn't think the writing was good enough to sustain my interest.
  9. The Hate U Give

    I can't find a thread on this, so apologies if there is one - there should be, as it's very much a novel of the moment. It succeeded in taking me into a very different world than my own and making me feel what it's like to be a black teenager in a divided America. Starr's parents send her to a private school in an attempt to protect her from the drug dealing and violence of her home and extended family. She learns to operate in both environments, but keeps them away from each other, until she is a witness to the shooting of her unarmed friend Khalil by a policeman. The rest of the novel shows how she copes with this, and finds her voice in the debate. The characters are great, and Starr having a foot in both camps prevents a clichéd view of race politics. I found it hard going in a way that the target audience probably won't, because I'm unfamiliar with rap music and the cultural references, and I didn't enjoy the dramatic action sequences, but then I'm not the core readership. It's being made into a film and it should work well.
  10. National Bookshop Day 2018

    I only heard about it today, and didn't hear about any events. I have just discovered, though, that a proper second hand bookshop has just opened near me, in aid of the local hospice. Otherwise there are no dedicated bookshops within about 10 miles, and I reckon the WH Smith is probably under threat, so it's a welcome move!
  11. A Keeper

    Oh that's good to hear. I enjoyed his last one and I'm so pleased that he can write something more serious. (The last one wasn't comedy but it was a bit more whimsical.)
  12. After The Party tells the story of upper middle class English involvement in fascism through the eyes of one woman, Phyllis, who becomes involved as a way of feeling she belongs. Her sisters are involved: one organises summer camps and the other is socially part of Moseley's circle. Early in the novel, we know that Phyllis spent time in prison, but not why: the blurb hints at something but this is misleading, and in fact the latter part of the novel deals with her internment due to her involvement with the BUF. I found the first half of the novel a bit hard to get into: Phyllis's character is very wet and wimpy so the story seemed to drift. The second half was far more engaging as it was a side of WW2 about which I knew little, and the writing brought it to life. However. I have a huge problem with this novel, which is that it seems to be a justification of British fascism. According to this book (in my reading anyway), fascism was a peaceful movement, full of well brought up people who simply didn't want another war after the horrors of WW1. They go camping to keep young people occupied in the hols and have simply lovely parties. And the British government have the audacity to lock them up during the war; they don't even manage to lock up the right people, choosing clerks and wives, so it couldn't even have been all that important, darling. If Phyllis had been an unreliable narrator, you could see the writer creating some ironic distance from her creation, but I didn't get this. She was hapless and a bit boring, but there was no sense that we the readers were meant to find her views distasteful. In fact, it seemed to me that we were mean to feel they had been hard done by. Maybe the writer intended this or maybe her irony missed the mark. But this is being promoted in Waterstones: at this juncture in history, with the rise of the far right, it has left a sour taste in my mouth.
  13. What are you watching on TV?

    I was getting a bit fed up with Bodyguard but then I loved this week's episode - back to Mercurio at his best. I also loved all 3 series of Unforgotten. It refused the clichés and had great storylines. People are still talking about Alex Jennings in S3.
  14. What films have you seen recently?

    Oh yes me too. I can never be accused of being slumped in front of the telly - except maybe on a Friday night.
  15. Eagerly anticpated

    I'm really looking forward to Chris Brookmyre's new outing as Ambrose Parry, a joint venture with his wife. I usually think that is an awful idea but I trust them! It is out in hardback just now and though I usually only buy paperbacks, I might be tempted. I'm also looking forward to Damian Barr's novel, You Will Be Safe Here, which isn't out yet. I have read his autobiography, Maggie and Me, about growing up round here. I taught him briefly and remember him fondly as a geeky pupil who always wanted to chat to the English teachers. I took his class for a few weeks and taught them creative writing, so do you think I can take credit for the novel? ;-) Certainly the first of my pupils to be a novelist anyway.