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Everything posted by Jenmcd

  1. Have a few things on the go at the moment. The Beginner's Goodbye by Anne Tyler in bed - up to her usual high standard. Have started The Retribution by Val McDermid as my dipping-into downstairs book - its proving to be quite addictive. Also dipping into Les Miserables by Victor Hugo which I downloaded onto my daughter's ipod touch - this is making me long for a Kindle as it comes in at over 5000 pages on the ipod. I think those things were definitey designed for 10 year old eyes rather than 40+.
  2. Can't quite belive she is almost seven months old! I rather naively assumed one more wouldn't make much difference but I don't think I've ever been so exhausted. However she is super healthy, growing like a weed and has brought so much joy to me and all the family.
  3. Only logged in again a day or two ago as I've been swamped for the last six months so missed all the drama of the disappearance. So glad that the site is still here to come back to as I'm sure it will give me the kickstart I need to start reading again.
  4. I have no will power. Came home with the following from a trip to town: The Maltese Falcon - Dashiell Hammett The Crossing - Cormac McCarthy Winter's Bone - Daniel Woodrell Parrot & Olivier in America - Peter Carey GB84 - David Peace All from my favourite bargain bookshop so the outlay was reasonable.
  5. The Best a Man Can Get - John O'Farrell
  6. Three Men in a Boat - Jerome K. Jerome
  7. Delighted to be able to remove one book from the TBR pile - Brave New World. I'm trying to be good about buying books this year so will be trying to resist buying the other.
  8. Jenmcd


    I gave up ironing a number of years ago and now only do it on what I call a 'need to iron' basis - this basically means if I'm wearing something particularly nice or going somewhere special I might iron my outfit. I find the creases generally smooth themselves out after a few minutes wear on most things. From the day I started living with my other half I made it clear I would not be ironing his shirts. He is the only one who uses the iron with any degree of regularity, so much so that my 3 year old refers to the implement as 'Daddy's iron'.
  9. I got through the first three-quarters of this book thinking well, not Dostoevsky, but well-written, sharp funny dialogue and prose, engaging characters and a really authentic feel to it. Then the climactic event of the novel happened and left me reeling - I was an emotional wreck for the rest of that night and most of the next day. In my book any writer who can do that to me is worthy of a Nobel prize.
  10. I would never consider reading an abridged versioin of anything now but I did enjoy children's versions of the classics when I was young. My 8 year old daughter has read a number of these and has recently enjoyed beatifully illustrated chidren's versions of A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist. Hopefully they will inspire her to read the full versions when she's a bit older.
  11. In the middle of One Day by David Nicholls.
  12. I am going to have to be much less extravagant this year when it comes to buying books (and everything else thanks to our governments austerity budget). I am trying not to pine over my Amazon wish list but to view it as an opportunity to reduce the TBR pile which contains well over 300 books.
  13. 8. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling *** 7. The Comforter's by Muriel Spark *** 6. The Comfort of Saturdays by Alexander McCall Smith *** 5. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling *** 4. Not in the Flesh by Ruth Rendell *** 3. One Day by David Nicholls ***** 2. Me Cheeta by James Lever *** 1. Heartstone by C.J. Sansom ****
  14. Jenmcd

    2010 Awards

    Best Book? Skippy Dies by Paul Murray Worst Book? The Northern Clemency by Philip Hensher Best Film? Toy Story 3 Worst Film? Don't sit through bad films these days Best TV? Going against the grain I had so much fun watching the X Factor at weekends with my daughter Worst TV? Don't sit through bad TV these days (unless you count the above) Highlight? My very shy, very clingy middle child starting school and starting to blossom (also me losing 3 stone) Lowlight? The mess that is my country's economy - highlight of next year will probably be seeing the worst government in the history of our state get kicked out
  15. Skippy Dies made the Costa shortlist - am so pleased.
  16. Is there any other purchasing decision we're made to feel quite so guilty about? Buy secondhand and you're depriving the author of royalties. Buy online and you're killing off the high street bookshop. Buy from a chain and you're killing off the independent bookshop. What are we supposed to do????
  17. I can't see Adams getting elected down here - people just don't like him. The last election campaign in the Republic in which he had a prominent role was a disaster for Sinn Fein.
  18. I buy most of my books in charity shops but as my passion for reading has developed over the years there are a number of authors for whom I'm not prepared to wait for a chance charity shop find. A quick glance at my reading list for this year shows that about one third of the books on it were bought new. I suspect that the book trade suffers more from the alarming proportion of the population who never open a book than from book lovers who buy secondhand. A book would always be my first option when it comes to buying gifts - at the last count I have 18 books hidden away for my kids and other family members for Christmas - I reckon this more than compensates for my charity shop sprees through the year.
  19. MOH and I spent a child-free afternoon wandering round book and record shops to celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary. Came home with the following: A Morbid Taste for Bones - Ellis Peters Offshore - Penelope Fitzgerald The Comforters - Muriel Spark
  20. Skippy Dies has been my novel of the year so far by a long way. I have been struggling to compose a review that does it justice (thanks to you Leyla I no longer have to). For me, this year's Booker is completely invalidated by the omission of this novel from the shortlist. I grew up in the least posh end of the Dublin suburb where the real life version of Seabrook College is located. The real school is an institution which has an utter belief in the right of its alumni to run this country and in the last few years people of this nature have run Ireland into the ground. Skippy Dies mercilessly savages the Irish education system, the church and our ruling classes far more effectively than the scores of Irish journalists who have published books about our economic collapse and the scandals in the Irish church. As a non-catholic who attended the local comprehensive down the road from 'Seabrook College' I found this savaging very satisfying. This is an enormously entertaining novel with a lot going on beneath the laughs. Can't recommend it highly enough.
  21. As Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible is one of my favourite books I was really looking forward to reading The Lacuna. It certainly did not grip me from page one like TPB but I persevered and something clicked with me from about halfway through - this is a a 600+ page book so I had a few very frustrating days. Ultimately I thought it was a wonderful read - very atmospheric and detailed without being bogged down by research.
  22. I really loved this - at times it was a struggle but something always happened within a few pages to spark my interest again. At the end it felt like a truly satisfying read.
  23. Am halfway through two books at the moment - Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides which I am loving and Not Untrue and Not Unkind by Ed O'Loughlin which I am not loving.
  24. Squeezed in a visit to my favourite book shop on a trip to town yesterday: The Lost Art of Gratitude - Alexander McCall Smith The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck The Glass Room - Simon Mawer The Miracle at Speedy Motors - Alexander McCall Smith Zoli - Colum McCann
  25. Just about to start The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell.
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