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About Minxminnie

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  • Birthday 11/12/1965


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

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  1. I have just finished this. I was a bit disappointed: the story seemed melodramatic and drawn out, and in tone it was more chicklit than I expected. He kept filling us in on minor characters' backstory when we were in a major character's POV, which really annoyed me. But I did enjoy it in parts. I thought he captured something of small town Irish life (though I am no judge of small town Irish life, to be fair). Auntie Eileen's B&B was a comic masterpiece, and I think he is very good at that sort of thing, a sort of Irish Alan Bennett. I just hope he gets into his stride with his storytelling.
  2. I have got to about p.250 in this but have admitted defeat. It just seems to be lots of stuff happening and people talking, with little of interest. It feels too whimsical and flippant, like a John le Carré rewritten by Alan Bennett. I do like Kate Atkinson but this has been deeply annoying.
  3. Hi Iris, Sorry, I pasted that URL into my browser and it didn't work. Can you paste it as a hyperlink? Click the link icon in the posting box.
  4. I have been looking forward to this for ages: Chris Brookmyre has teamed up with his wife, Marisa Haetzmann, who is an anaesthologist and medical historian, and they have written a historical medical crime novel: sort of gothic tartan noir. I'm always suspicious of novels written by more than one person, but I didn't feel that the narrative voice wavered; maybe they work well together or maybe they have a good editor. The novel is set in Edinburgh in 1847. Will Raven has just started work for Dr James Young Simpson as he begins to use early anaesthetics. Young women are beginning to turn up dead and Raven is drawn into investigating through a combination of personal connections, along with Sarah Miller, the housemaid. These two are set up as a crime fighting duo for a subsequent series of novels. You could roll your eyes at Sarah's proto-feminism if you were so inclined, but I found it fun and credible; she is frustrated by the limitations put in her and also on Dr Simpson's spinster sister in law, and she pushes at the boundaries of what she can do, both personally and professionally. Raven, for me, was less well drawn and less likeable, but I think he can develop in later books. There's a good amount of humour and a lot of grim medical detail: don't read this if you'll be distressed by the reality of childbirth in poverty stricken 19th C Edinburgh. At times, the medical detail could dominate the storytelling. The scene is set very vividly and unsentimentally. Overall, I think it is a clever departure for one of my favourite writers. (He buys his baked beans in the same place I do, so I might get to tell him!)
  5. Hi Sue! There are a good few Scots here. Welcome to BGO!
  6. Sounds lovely Hazel - and even lovelier that you have something of David's there.
  7. Yes they looked soooo annoyed when he did that! It was quite rude, though.
  8. Haha yes! Watching this week again and thinking Robert is getting boring with his "works canteen" style designs.
  9. I remember bench seating being done in a particularly minimalist and austere Grand Designs episode. The husband had his own architect's practice and the wife was rail thin, permanently grumpy and, I thought, very controlling. Everything was made of bare plywood and they had benches instead of sofas, and sliding doors over all the shelves. I may be conflating several different thin, grumpy architects' wives and their houses here - it seems to be a theme on GD. (I'll never forget, or pass up the opportunity to mention, the one who spent 30K on a cooker for her kitchen)
  10. The open plan loo was in the design they went for instead of the sleeping pods! To be fair, I think they said they left out the sliding door because it was too expensive ... and they presumably are more tolerant of each other than the vast majority of couples. Love is ...
  11. I've been watching this too. I'm constantly disturbed by the Irish architect's obsession with uncomfortable bench seating in living areas in place of sofas. My back hurts just looking at them! He does it in every design. And those sleeping pods in the bungalow were crazy - and what about the open plan loo? That wasn't even the bloke's design, it was the (more normal) woman's design. I do enjoy it, though. Scotland's Best Home is good too. (On iPlayer) I do enjoy peeking inside other people's houses.
  12. This book has been a huge publishing sensation, with people apparently buying several copies at once, if you believe the papers. I couldn't get on with her debut, Conversations With Friends, but the premise of this appealed a bit more and when I saw it in the supermarket for a few pounds, it somehow leapt into my basket, despite my best efforts not to fall for the hype. Some of the writing grates: she has a habit of describing very ordinary events in great amounts of flat detail, and that doesn't appeal to me, though maybe it serves a purpose that eludes me. But I could relate to the characters, and that's what kept me reading. Marianne and Connell have an on-off relationship which ensures through their teenage years and early adulthood. Marianne has poor self esteem, for reasons which are never quite spelled out, but seem to relate to her shadowy dysfunctional family, so she accepts and even enjoys the fact that Connell, initially, seems embarrassed by their relationship and ignores her in public. Their behaviour was frustrating but I thought it was full of the complexities of real relationships which don't always go through the traditional trajectory of the romantic novel. It was full of misunderstandings and near misses, and the characters often say one thing while hoping that the other realises that they mean something different. It's set in the early years of this decade, but it's quite timeless, really, whereas her first novel seemed much more rooted in the millennial experience. I'm not a millennial, but I reckon my teenage and early adult years had a lot in common with these two, in terms of the emotions if not the events.
  13. I read a bit of this a while back. It appealed to me on a few levels: the period, the location, and the focus on the music scene. I grew up close by and one of my friends, who is in a band himself, loves the fact that his village is actually in it. That's a bit of a novelty for us: this isn't an area generally loved by literary fiction. I gave up on it, though, on the basis that it's what I called "a boys' book" and passed it on to another friend of that generation and background who, as a boy, might get it more than me.
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