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Everything posted by Minxminnie

  1. Minxminnie


    Great pics! Lovely dogs and a fabulous photographer. 😃
  2. I probably don't need to explain too much about this: Booker winner, writer lives in US but grew up in poverty in Glasgow with an alcoholic mother, and this is the subject matter of the novel. It's gritty and grim, and it doesn't shy away from the rough side of life. The bulk of the novel covers Shuggie's childhood in a mining village where they moved to try to help Agnes escape her demons. I suppose it is clever, thoughtful, perceptive characterisation of a woman in crisis. There are definitely set pieces that will stay with me, and the last 100 pages or so were very moving. B
  3. I bought this after seeing JG interviewed by Damien Barr on his book club show: she was talking about the second volume of her memoir, but I thought I would start at the beginning. It is gobsmackingly good, visceral and vivid. She was the late child of an unhappy couple, with an older sister, Cora, who is already an adult when she is born. Cora returns to the family home after (we presume) an unhappy marriage and is a force to be reckoned with. The memoir is a very powerful evocation of a fairly unhappy childhood from the point of view of a child who doesn't really understand that it
  4. I'm really sorry to hear this. I'm not on BGO so much any more but I do remember the days when we all talked most days and she was always such a cheerful, positive presence.
  5. I started this a long time ago and abandoned it fairly quickly: I was disappointed, having hugely enjoyed Want You Gone, her first novel. I can't remember why I didn't like it, but I think I felt the main woman was a bit of a drip and lacked agency in her own life. I have read most of her stuff since then and enjoyed it, though not as much as I enjoyed the first one. How strange to have written one book that your readership generally seems to dislike!
  6. Me too. The Aberfan episode was amazing, wasn't it?
  7. This novel was the Times Crime Book of the Month, but it's not, as I found out, a traditional crime book since from near the start, you know whodunnit but just not why. It's more of a character based novel, though there is the traditional detective and investigation. It focuses on the aftermath of a mass shooting and the experience of the shooter's mother and the mother of one of the victims. It just left me a bit flat. It belongs to the sub genre of crime which focuses on the death of a child and the suffering of the parent; there seems to be a lot of this around in TV and film as well a
  8. No I didn't think you were criticising! I agree with Heather that many people are put off reading by thinking there has to be rules, like not skipping and finishing a book you start.
  9. I think speed reading is good when you have to read, but not when you want to read. I've never learned to do it, but I think it's something different than skim reading: as far as I'm aware, it's a technique for absorbing lots of content. It's probably good if you need to absorb big chunks, for example for work. It's probably not great for reading fiction for pleasure, I reckon. I also skip bits of some books. Who wrote that books "Rights of the Reader"? One was the right to skip. If it's my book and my time, I'll do what I like.
  10. This was the book of the month in Waterstones, and had breathless praise on the cover from writers and reviewers who I respect. It was an interesting premise: a crime novel from the perspective of the victim. And I do enjoy a novel with a big rambling house at the centre. Tana French can write a great sentence: the problem was that she wrote too many of them. It just went on and on. It started, eventually, with the central character, Toby, being a victim of a beating during a robbery (it even took a while to get there). He then goes to live with his ailing uncle in the family home,
  11. 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 storytelli
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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
  15. Hi Sue! There are a good few Scots here. Welcome to BGO!
  16. Sounds lovely Hazel - and even lovelier that you have something of David's there.
  17. Yes they looked soooo annoyed when he did that! It was quite rude, though.
  18. Haha yes! Watching this week again and thinking Robert is getting boring with his "works canteen" style designs.
  19. 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)
  20. 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 ...
  21. 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.
  22. 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
  23. 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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