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Source: (consider it) Thread: Mordor: twinned with Slough
Eigon
Shipmate
# 4917

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I'm in the middle of Alice in Sunderland, by Bryan Talbot, and it is brilliant! It's a comic, detailing the links between Lewis Carroll, the Liddell family and Sunderland, taking in all the history of Sunderland and the surrounding area from prehistoric times up through the Venerable Bede to the shipyards and trade of the 19thC century.
It starts with the characters in the Sunderland Empire, and does a run down of all the famous actors and comedians who have performed there - including Sid James, who died on stage and is reputed to haunt the theatre.
I'm somewhere in the middle of the book at the moment, where the author gets up in the middle of the night and has a crisis of faith about comic books - he thinks he should be writing about superheroes in cloaks and tights, and maybe he invented it all anyway and Sunderland doesn't really exist!
Highly recommended!

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Laugh hard. Run fast. Be kind.

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QLib

Bad Example
# 43

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I'm enjoying - and I mean enjoying - Maddadam, the third volume im Margarer Atwood's Oryx and Crake trilogy. Is there anyone apart from me who likes this collection? Oryx and Crake itselft (the first book) is grim, of course, but I thought by RL book group would like the second book (The Year of the Flood if only because the religious group - God's Gardeners - is almost (but not quite) totally unlike* Quakers. They didn't.

Well, I can see why this third one didn't make it onto the Booker shortlist - the humour apart from anything else - but although perhaps I shouldn't commit before finishing, I think the three of them make a terrific read.

*Spot the Douglas Adams allusion

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Tradition is the handing down of the flame, not the worship of the ashes Gustav Mahler.

Posts: 8913 | From: Page 28 | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sir Kevin
Ship's Gaffer
# 3492

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I'm reading a racy baseball-themed novel that my wife put on her Nook for me called Stealing Home. It's about a young woman who seduces a baseball player to steal a valuable good luck charm so she can sell it and save the life of a 2-year-old girl with fatal heart disease. It was written by a young lady called Jennifer Seasons and seems promising....

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If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Writing is currently my hobby, not yet my profession.

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Clotilde
Shipmate
# 17600

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I'm in the closing chapters of Jane Shaw's book 'Octavia, Daughter of God' a fascinating biography of Mabel Barltrop and her followers in the Panacea Society.

How such 'proper' middle class English ladies could come to believe what they did and live how they did is a wonderful story.

Highly recommended!

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A witness of female resistance

Posts: 159 | From: A man's world | Registered: Mar 2013  |  IP: Logged
Keren-Happuch

Ship's Eyeshadow
# 9818

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I've just finished Trieste by Dasa Drndic and translated by Ellen Elias-Bursac (sorry, the advanced diacriticals are beyond my coding skills). It is an almost unbearable account of WW2, the Holocaust and the Lebensborn project in the Balkans and Italy and mixes fiction with history, interviews, pictures and so on rather in the style of W.G. Sebald. I found the fictional voices utterly compelling, but that I was always wondering which parts were fictional and which weren't. Not at all easy to read but important.

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Travesty, treachery, betrayal!
EXCESS - The Art of Treason
Nea Fox

Posts: 2407 | From: A Fine City | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Trudy Scrumptious

BBE Shieldmaiden
# 5647

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quote:
Originally posted by Clotilde:
I'm in the closing chapters of Jane Shaw's book 'Octavia, Daughter of God' a fascinating biography of Mabel Barltrop and her followers in the Panacea Society.

How such 'proper' middle class English ladies could come to believe what they did and live how they did is a wonderful story.

Highly recommended!

Just checked it out -- looks absolutely fascinating! I love stumbling across historical stories I've never heard of and will probably read this one ... thanks.

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Books and things.

I lied. There are no things. Just books.

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Welease Woderwick

Sister Incubus Nightmare
# 10424

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I finished my re-read of Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle today - it is so long since I last read it that I had forgotten how it ended. Actually the plot is perhaps not as important as the wonderful writing!

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I give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.
Fancy a break in South India?
Accessible Homestay Guesthouse in Central Kerala, contact me for details

What part of Matt. 7:1 don't you understand?

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Cara
Shipmate
# 16966

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Ah WW you are so right. I first read it at 18 (the perfect age) but on re-reading it later in life I admire it just as much, if not more. Did you know that Dodie Smith wrote it in her forties when in California during the war, and desperately missing England...this nostalgia infuses the whole book. But how at that age does she create the fresh voice of young Cassandra? And make it seem so easy and so natural?

Also, I think her father's books, "Jacob Wrestling," and the new one (hope I'm not revealing too much) are among the most intriguing books-within-books in literature.

Dodie Smith is under-appreciated--it is, for example, appalling that the Disney cartoon of 101 Dalmations is called "Disney's 101 Dalmations," as if they thought of it! I think her name appears fleetingly in the credits somewhere...

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Pondering.

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Cara
Shipmate
# 16966

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just to add--Dodie Smith wrote many volumes of interesting autobiography, and Valerie Grove has written a good biography.

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Pondering.

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Welease Woderwick

Sister Incubus Nightmare
# 10424

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quote:
Originally posted by Cara:
...Also, I think her father's books, "Jacob Wrestling," and the new one (hope I'm not revealing too much) are among the most intriguing books-within-books in literature...

Yes, I am fascinated by the second one, the whole concept, as much as it is put forward in the book, is fascinating.

* * * *

When I last had broken bones, back in 2011, I read Delderfield's The Dreaming Suburb and today I have started The Avenue Goes to War and am already gripped by it. Another under-rated writer.

[ 09. October 2013, 10:32: Message edited by: Welease Woderwick ]

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I give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.
Fancy a break in South India?
Accessible Homestay Guesthouse in Central Kerala, contact me for details

What part of Matt. 7:1 don't you understand?

Posts: 48139 | From: 1st on the right, straight on 'til morning | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
Clotilde
Shipmate
# 17600

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quote:
Originally posted by Trudy Scrumptious:
quote:
Originally posted by Clotilde:
I'm in the closing chapters of Jane Shaw's book 'Octavia, Daughter of God' a fascinating biography of Mabel Barltrop and her followers in the Panacea Society.

How such 'proper' middle class English ladies could come to believe what they did and live how they did is a wonderful story.

Highly recommended!

Just checked it out -- looks absolutely fascinating! I love stumbling across historical stories I've never heard of and will probably read this one ... thanks.
Quick entry just to say I've opened a thread in PURGATORY about Octavia and Joanna Southcott's Box - indeed 'absolutely fascinating!'

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A witness of female resistance

Posts: 159 | From: A man's world | Registered: Mar 2013  |  IP: Logged
chive

Ship's nude
# 208

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I've just finished reading Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon for what must have been about the thirtieth time. It's a book I return to over and over again just because it is so beautiful.

It's based in a small Scottish farming community at the start of WWI. It uses a really distinctive way of writing and a lot of Scots words to create a complete reality. It talks (because it doesn't feel like you're reading instead it feels like you are being talked to) about how the community was affected by a war that had nothing to do with it.

It is in many ways a tragic book and each time I read it I want the bad things not to happen and I cry every single time I read it. But along with being haunting it is incredibly beautiful.

Maybe my connection to it is my connection to my family's past. My family were historically crofters in a nearby area. Maybe the use of the Scots reminds me of my older relatives who still use Scots when they're talking. The book feels like part of me and I feel like part of the book (if that isn't too Pseud's corner).

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'Edward was the kind of man who thought there was no such thing as a lesbian, just a woman who hadn't done one-to-one Bible study with him.' Catherine Fox, Love to the Lost

Posts: 3542 | From: the cupboard under the stairs | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Eigon
Shipmate
# 4917

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I've just finished Revelation, the fourth Shardlake novel by CJ Sansom. I'd read the second one, Dark Fire, before this, and found it enjoyable as a quick historical detective read. This one is rather better, and I think it's because of the vivid background details - Westminster Abbey turned into a building site after the dissolution, for instance. It deals with a serial killer, though, and there's a built in problem with mysteries about serial killers in that the detective can't discover them until they've killed almost everyone they were intending to. Here the killings revolve around the angels pouring out seven vials in Revelations. There's also a sub-plot about a boy in Bedlam which ties into the main plot perhaps a little too neatly, and a faint hint of possible romance between Shardlake and a fellow lawyer's widow.
I like the characters, so I shall probably read the other three in the series should I come across them.

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Laugh hard. Run fast. Be kind.

Posts: 3710 | From: Hay-on-Wye, town of books | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
Trudy Scrumptious

BBE Shieldmaiden
# 5647

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I've read so many excellent works of historical fiction this year -- currently enjoying Elizabeth Gilbert's The Signature of All Things very much. It doesn't quite manage to make botany interesting to me, but it does make the life of the (fictional) botanist very interesting! I love Gilbert's writing style.

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Books and things.

I lied. There are no things. Just books.

Posts: 7428 | From: Closer to Paris than I am to Vancouver | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Chorister

Completely Frocked
# 473

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Having recently come back from a holiday in Norwich, and visiting her shrine, I'm currently reading a book about Julian of Norwich ('In search of Julian of Norwich' by Sheila Upjohn), which looks at some of the puzzles surrounding her life, setting her writings into context.

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Retired, sitting back and watching others for a change.

Posts: 34626 | From: Cream Tealand | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tree Bee

Ship's tiller girl
# 4033

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quote:
Originally posted by Cara:
just to add--Dodie Smith wrote many volumes of interesting autobiography, and Valerie Grove has written a good biography.

Dodie led a full life and her autobiographies are sparkling. I recommend them too.

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"Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple."
— Woody Guthrie
http://saysaysay54.wordpress.com

Posts: 5257 | From: me to you. | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Welease Woderwick

Sister Incubus Nightmare
# 10424

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Last night I finished the latest Eoin Colfer - Warp 1 - The Reluctant Assassin which was good fun. It drags a bit in the middle but it is the usual Colfer good fun and dry humour.

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I give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.
Fancy a break in South India?
Accessible Homestay Guesthouse in Central Kerala, contact me for details

What part of Matt. 7:1 don't you understand?

Posts: 48139 | From: 1st on the right, straight on 'til morning | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
Cara
Shipmate
# 16966

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Has anyone else read Proof of Heaven: a neurosurgeon's journey into the afterlife by Eben Alexander?

A neurosurgeon who ends up in a coma due to a very rare infection, and who experiences, although his brain waves appear entirely flat and incapable of hallucinations or anything else, a near death experience?
As NDE's tend to do, it changed him for ever, took away his fear of dying, turned him from a skeptic about God and the afterlife into a believer, and completely changed his life.

I found it pretty convincing.

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Pondering.

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Moo

Ship's tough old bird
# 107

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I have recently finished Brothers by George Colt.

He is the second of four brothers, and the book intersperses the history of the relationships between the four and histories of other brothers.

He argues that if John Wilkes Booth had been older than Edwin Booth, he would probably not have assassinated Lincoln. Edwin accompanied his father on his acting gigs and took care of him. (He was mentally ill and alcoholic, but a very great actor.) John stayed home and was doted on by his mother; he developed a huge amount of self-confidence and charm. Edwin was all about responsibility.

The author argues that if John had been forced to undertake the responsibilities that Edwin did, it would have given him a more objective view of life.

He tells the stories of several other sets of brothers also.

It is a very interesting book.

Moo

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Kerygmania host
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See you later, alligator.

Posts: 20365 | From: Alleghany Mountains of Virginia | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Keren-Happuch

Ship's Eyeshadow
# 9818

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I recently finished "Chasing the King of Hearts" by Hannah Krall, translated from Polish by Philip Boehm. It's a wonderful book and very powerful, despite its short length. The true story of a Polish Jewish woman, Izolda, and her determination to get her husband out of a camp. This led her to travel across much of the Third Reich, bartering her way to survival. It's a very different approach to Holocaust literature from Trieste, which I also read recently. Trieste is an endless account of horrors while CtKoH hints at them leaving much more to the reader's imagination.

From the sublime to the ridiculous - I thought Ian Sansom's The Norfolk Mystery would be a little light relief with local interest. Unfortunately, the main character is (intentionally) very irritating. I'm not sure the desired effect was to make me want to throw the book across the room though. Coupled with the fact that it referred to the clergyman character as "the reverend" throughout... I actually couldn't finish it and just skipped to the last chapter to find out what happened.

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Travesty, treachery, betrayal!
EXCESS - The Art of Treason
Nea Fox

Posts: 2407 | From: A Fine City | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Firenze

Ordinary decent pagan
# 619

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I had the same problem with the Sanson book. Was he trying to riff on the idea of the omniscient detective, or what?

I read half a dozen books the other week, largely during some very long flights to and from S Africa. Some period detective - including a Georgette Heyer. As you'd expect, briskly plotted, some acerbic social observation (and what a lot of servants one had in those days) - entertaining, but not engaging.

I was more taken with some modern days fantasy - Neil Gaiman and a writer new to me, Ben Aaronovitch. I've read the first Rivers of London novel, and downloaded the second. Anyone else familiar with the series?

Posts: 17302 | From: Edinburgh | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Scots lass
Shipmate
# 2699

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quote:
Originally posted by Firenze:
I was more taken with some modern days fantasy - Neil Gaiman and a writer new to me, Ben Aaronovitch. I've read the first Rivers of London novel, and downloaded the second. Anyone else familiar with the series?

I've read all the Rivers of London books, and think they're largely well-plotted and definitely enjoyable. I do like books where a normal character suddenly finds themselves somewhere completely unusual, it's one of the things Neil Gaiman does well, and Ben Aaronovitch does a good job too. Not great literature, but quite good fun.
Posts: 863 | From: the diaspora | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Robert Armin

All licens'd fool
# 182

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I've read all the Rivers series, and only yesterday finished rereading Gaiman's Neverwhere. All of them were great, as were Kate Griffen's series about Jonathan Swift, and the offshoot, Magicals Anonymous. Fantasy is one of my favourite genres, and I particularly liked these, as they were set in London and used all sorts of English folklore. Much as I enjoy Greek/Norse gods, and the legends of other countries, it is great to find our own legends being used (and slightly shocking that they are less well known than the foreign stuff).

In fact I find it odd that both Milton and Tolkien wanted to write a great English myth. Milton ended up writing a Hebrew story, Tolkien a Norse one, but we've had to wait until now to get something that is truly indigenous.

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Keeping fit was an obsession with Fr Moity .... He did chin ups in the vestry, calisthenics in the pulpit, and had developed a series of Tai-Chi exercises to correspond with ritual movements of the Mass. The Antipope Robert Rankin

Posts: 8927 | From: In the pack | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Chorister

Completely Frocked
# 473

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Just finished reading 'The Five people you will meet in Heaven' by Mitch Albom. An easy-read, feel-good sort of book, totally non demanding for bedtime reading. And I woke up in the morning, still alive, which is more than could be said for all the people inhabiting the book.

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Retired, sitting back and watching others for a change.

Posts: 34626 | From: Cream Tealand | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Keren-Happuch

Ship's Eyeshadow
# 9818

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quote:
Originally posted by Firenze:
I had the same problem with the Sanson book. Was he trying to riff on the idea of the omniscient detective, or what?

Glad it wasn't just me! I've no idea what he was playing at.

I'm supposed to be reading She Rises by Kate Worsley at the moment, but instead I'm catching up with Inspector Montalbano, inspired by him being back on the telly. I'm currently on The Track of Sand.

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Travesty, treachery, betrayal!
EXCESS - The Art of Treason
Nea Fox

Posts: 2407 | From: A Fine City | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Keren-Happuch

Ship's Eyeshadow
# 9818

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I never did manage to get into the Kate Worsley book.

I did very much enjoy the Montalbano though, and am now on the next in the series - The Potter's Field.
It's very interesting reading them after having seen the TV adaptation, especially as Salvo is always moaning about his age, needing reading glasses etc and is clearly at least 10 years older than the actor who plays him. That wouldn't make such good TV though, I guess. [Big Grin]

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Travesty, treachery, betrayal!
EXCESS - The Art of Treason
Nea Fox

Posts: 2407 | From: A Fine City | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Eigon
Shipmate
# 4917

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I'm in the middle of In Our Time, a collection of scripts of the Melvyn Bragg Radio 4 programme, which covers just about every subject you could think of. They did a fascinating four parter on the life of Darwin, recorded in places like Down House (his home) and the Natural History Museum. The rest are from the studio, and there's only one so far that I wasn't interested in - on Kierkegaard. The one on tea, on the other hand, was totally fascinating!

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Laugh hard. Run fast. Be kind.

Posts: 3710 | From: Hay-on-Wye, town of books | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
Jack the Lass

Ship's airhead
# 3415

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I'm reading "Sexy Orchids Make Lousy Lovers, & Other Unusual Relationships" by Marty Crump. It's this month's free ebook from the University of Chicago Press. It's about how animals relate to themselves, other animals, plants and bacteria/fungi, and for what reasons (sex, food, shelter, etc). I particularly enjoyed the section on how animals co-exist with plants, for mutual benefit. It's in the form of a series of anecdotes which has reminded me of watching a nature documentary - it's not in any great depth (just as well, I'm not a zoologist) but is like the reading equivalent of watching a series of anecdotes about various animals and plants before the presenter goes onto the next anecdote about something else. I'm very much enjoying it.

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"My body is a temple - it's big and doesn't move." (Jo Brand)
wiblog blipfoto blog

Posts: 5767 | From: the land of the deep-fried Mars Bar | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Keren-Happuch

Ship's Eyeshadow
# 9818

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quote:
Originally posted by Keren-Happuch:
Salvo is always moaning about his age, needing reading glasses etc and is clearly at least 10 years older than the actor who plays him. That wouldn't make such good TV though, I guess. [Big Grin]

We're a week behind with the TV series and in the last one they said he was 49. He's 56 in this book so not quite ten years out...

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Travesty, treachery, betrayal!
EXCESS - The Art of Treason
Nea Fox

Posts: 2407 | From: A Fine City | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Piglet
Islander
# 11803

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I've just finished The Red Queen, part of the Cousins' War series by Philippa Gregory. It's the story of Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII, told (unfortunately) in the present tense with Margaret as the narrator.

Interestingly, it's not really all that sympathetic to her: she comes out of it as what I imagine she was: a scheming, ambitious and bitter woman who will stop at nothing to get what she thinks is, quite literally, her God-given right.

Like most fictionalisations of the events of late 15th-century England, it leaves you hanging as to Who Did It*, but hints quite strongly that it was the perfidious and ambitious Duke of Buckingham, at Margaret's behest, a theory I find readily plausible.

* i.e. killed the Princes in the Tower

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I may not be on an island any more, but I'm still an islander.
alto n a soprano who can read music

Posts: 20272 | From: Fredericton, NB, on a rather larger piece of rock | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged
Heavenly Anarchist
Shipmate
# 13313

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quote:
Originally posted by piglet:
I've just finished The Red Queen, part of the Cousins' War series by Philippa Gregory. It's the story of Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII, told (unfortunately) in the present tense with Margaret as the narrator.

Interestingly, it's not really all that sympathetic to her: she comes out of it as what I imagine she was: a scheming, ambitious and bitter woman who will stop at nothing to get what she thinks is, quite literally, her God-given right.

Like most fictionalisations of the events of late 15th-century England, it leaves you hanging as to Who Did It*, but hints quite strongly that it was the perfidious and ambitious Duke of Buckingham, at Margaret's behest, a theory I find readily plausible.

* i.e. killed the Princes in the Tower

I'm reading her biography by Elizabeth Norton, which is very good. I think she had a lot of reason to be bitter and ambitious, as an heir to the house of Lancaster she was used as female pawn throughout her childhood. Her wardship was passed around according to the King's favour, Edmund Tudor who she married when she was only 12, was her second husband (the first was unconsummated) and owned her wardship. Her marriage to him was consummated at such a young age that it broke convention, all out of desperation to sire a male Lancashire heir to the throne. She was widowed at 13, almost died giving birth and was almost certainly left damaged and barren from the experience. She was barely a teenager! She married again within a year and spent the rest of her teens separated from her child whose wardship was passed around and fighting for his rights.
I am quite sympathetic to Margaret [Big Grin]

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'I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.' Douglas Adams
Dog Activity Monitor
My shop

Posts: 2831 | From: Trumpington | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged
venbede
Shipmate
# 16669

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I recently read Patrick Gale's A Perfectly Good Man.

I was in a seriously bad state at the time and found it riveting and deeply consoling - more than consoling, inspiring that life and God were worthwhile.

Gale is clearly sympathetic to religion but is better known as a gay writer (not that that ought to define him). The witness to the hope and healing that can be in religious faith and practice were all the more powerful to me coming from outside the church.

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Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

Posts: 3201 | From: An historic market town nestling in the folds of Surrey's rolling North Downs, | Registered: Sep 2011  |  IP: Logged
Cara
Shipmate
# 16966

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I will look out for this Gale book. I heard him speak at a literary festival once and was captivated. I think I've only read one of is books, though. (Hmmm....which?)


I have just finished Dickens's Hard Times. I thought I'd read all Dickens's novels but didn't remember this one. I think it is one of the best. Very moving portrayal of life in the industrial north, and also great depiction of the people in "the horse-riding," a sort of circus. A good story and of course some splendid characters.

I discovered Dickens rather late in life--in my thirties. We had his books at home when I was growing up, and I think I tried one when I was too young. When I finally read him again at an age to appreciate it, I remember being so happy that there were many more novels to enjoy...he really is a genius.

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Pondering.

Posts: 898 | Registered: Feb 2012  |  IP: Logged
QLib

Bad Example
# 43

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quote:
Originally posted by venbede:
I recently read Patrick Gale's A Perfectly Good Man
I was in a seriously bad state at the time and found it riveting and deeply consoling - more than consoling, inspiring that life and God were worthwhile.

quote:
Originally posted by Cara:
I will look out for this Gale book. I heard him speak at a literary festival once and was captivated.

I recently read Gale's Notes from an Exhibition for a real-life Quaker book group. Quakers feature in the book but that wasn't why we chose it (though it might be why the book-club support librarian pushed it in our direction). Anyway, this too is inspiring and consoling in its way. The book's structure is brilliant, but I don't want to discuss that in detail, because although it's not a surprise - it's kind-of inevitable - talking about it here might put someone off reading it - and it shouldn't.

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Tradition is the handing down of the flame, not the worship of the ashes Gustav Mahler.

Posts: 8913 | From: Page 28 | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Palimpsest
Shipmate
# 16772

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I just read "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt.
It starts out with a boy who steals a painting when in a museum being bombed and follows him for 20 years. It has a compelling sense of story which carries it a long way till it dissolves in some abstract ruminations about the nature of the universe that should have been edited out.

Posts: 2990 | From: Seattle WA. US | Registered: Nov 2011  |  IP: Logged
Curiosity killed ...

Ship's Mug
# 11770

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I loved Patrick Gale's Notes from an Exhibition and had meant to read anything else I saw of his, but put myself off with Tree Surgery for Beginners where my suspension of disbelief couldn't quite cope with some of the events. I guess I ought to have another go.

I've just read War Horse (I know) and was really unimpressed by the writing. The other book in my bag was collected poetry by Siegfried Sassoon. I can see why the story has been picked up for the films and plays, but this isn't one of my favourite examples of Michael Morpurgo's writing. (We're putting together schemes of work on WW1 literature and history to teach English, History and an Art & Design unit)

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Mugs - Keep the Ship afloat

Posts: 13794 | From: outiside the outer ring road | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged
venbede
Shipmate
# 16669

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I mean to read Notes from an Exhibition soon - it's on the shelves. I read a number of early Gale novels about ten years ago and don't remember being that impressed.

F R Leavis (perversely) once said Hard Times was the only worthwhile Dickens novel. It's not. My big criticism is that Dickens is completely condemnatory of trade unions. How the blazes else are the workers ever to get some respect and a decent standard of living? (Elizabeth Gaskell's Mary Barton is much less sentimental.)

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Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

Posts: 3201 | From: An historic market town nestling in the folds of Surrey's rolling North Downs, | Registered: Sep 2011  |  IP: Logged
Paul.
Shipmate
# 37

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quote:
Originally posted by Firenze:
I was more taken with some modern days fantasy - Neil Gaiman and a writer new to me, Ben Aaronovitch. I've read the first Rivers of London novel, and downloaded the second. Anyone else familiar with the series?

I read the first three Rivers books back end of last year and have had the last one waiting to be read since it came out in the summer. Which is a comment on my fecklessness not the books which I really liked.

If you liked them you might also like Paul Cornell's London Falling. It's another urban fantasy[*] novel set in London, involving the regular police getting involved in supernatural goings on. It's possibly a bit darker with less of the humour of the Rivers books but I thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to the sequel.

Currently after having read well into and then set aside several books (see above re: lack of feck) I'm back to my background task of catching up on Discworld novels and have started Monstrous Regiment (was in Edinburgh recently and saw the Mary Queen of Scots exhibition in which a copy of the original tract was on display). Enjoying it so far.

[*]a genre that's sadly so flooded with the mediocre that I hesitate to use it, but this is an example of something that genuinely fits that description so...

Posts: 3689 | From: UK | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Kelly Alves

Bunny with an axe
# 2522

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quote:
Originally posted by Eigon:

I'm somewhere in the middle of the book at the moment, where the author gets up in the middle of the night and has a crisis of faith about comic books - he thinks he should be writing about superheroes in cloaks and tights, and maybe he invented it all anyway and Sunderland doesn't really exist!
Highly recommended!

Thank God he got over it and finished the book-- I agree, it's fantastic!

Just began Mary Roach's latest, Gulp which is an examination of eating and digestive process, including lurid descriptions of various research techniques that were necessary to determine things like digestion rates, nutrient absorption, etc. If If it sound boring to you, I highly recommend you pick up anything by Mary Roach-- she unearths the fascinating aspects in everything.

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I cannot expect people to believe “
Jesus loves me, this I know” of they don’t believe “Kelly loves me, this I know.”
Kelly Alves, somewhere around 2003.

Posts: 35076 | From: Pura Californiana | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
Cara
Shipmate
# 16966

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quote:
Originally posted by venbede:
I mean to read Notes from an Exhibition soon - it's on the shelves. I read a number of early Gale novels about ten years ago and don't remember being that impressed.

F R Leavis (perversely) once said Hard Times was the only worthwhile Dickens novel. It's not. My big criticism is that Dickens is completely condemnatory of trade unions. How the blazes else are the workers ever to get some respect and a decent standard of living? (Elizabeth Gaskell's Mary Barton is much less sentimental.)

I too have Notes from an Exhibition on my shelves, but they are far from me, and I haven't read it yet.

Well, that was ridiculous of Leavis is wrong, of course many of Dickens's other novels are worthwhile, in all sorts of ways.

Yes, the trade unions are portrayed negatively in the book, I agree, and did gather from the introduction that there is much controversy of this aspect of the novel.

(And Eliz Gaskell's Mary Barton is indeed brilliant.)
in this and many other aspects).

But still, I think it's a wonderful novel, despite the too-good-to-be-trueness of the factory worker Stephen Blackpool and the unclearness around the reason why he disagrees with the union...

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Pondering.

Posts: 898 | Registered: Feb 2012  |  IP: Logged
QLib

Bad Example
# 43

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quote:
Originally posted by Eigon:
I've just finished Revelation, the fourth Shardlake novel by CJ Sansom. I'd read the second one, Dark Fire, before this, and found it enjoyable as a quick historical detective read. This one is rather better,... There's also a sub-plot about a boy in Bedlam which ties into the main plot perhaps a little too neatly ...I like the characters, so I shall probably read the other three in the series should I come across them.

I really enjoyed the first, Dissolution, which I think is one of the best; Sovereign was also very good; I wasn't quite so keen on Heartstone - too much about the Mary Rose - maybe I'd just OD'd on Sansom by that point.

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Tradition is the handing down of the flame, not the worship of the ashes Gustav Mahler.

Posts: 8913 | From: Page 28 | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Curiosity killed ...

Ship's Mug
# 11770

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I've just read Stone Cold by Robert Swindells, another teen fiction book that I've picked to work out how to teach it, but it's an amazing book and worth reading. I knew I appreciated Robert Swindells' writing from supporting the teaching of Wicked a few years ago, but this book reminded me how well he writes and tackles issues. Stone Cold has homelessness as a central issue, which remains relevant, Wicked deals with under age drinking and alcoholism.

His books are aimed at teenage boys, but it's not preachily defined, enough is inferential and touched on to make them layered and interesting.

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Mugs - Keep the Ship afloat

Posts: 13794 | From: outiside the outer ring road | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged
Piglet
Islander
# 11803

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I'm re-reading the Mistress of the Art of Death books by Ariana Franklin. Excellent stuff, set in 12th-century England, featuring a lady pathologist who investigates murders for Henry II.

Sadly, there won't be any more in the series, as Ms. Franklin died a couple of years ago.

[Frown]

PS I've just Googled her - someone seems to have written a posthumous sequel ... [Yipee]

[ 10. December 2013, 17:59: Message edited by: piglet ]

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I may not be on an island any more, but I'm still an islander.
alto n a soprano who can read music

Posts: 20272 | From: Fredericton, NB, on a rather larger piece of rock | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged
Trudy Scrumptious

BBE Shieldmaiden
# 5647

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quote:
Originally posted by QLib:
quote:
Originally posted by Eigon:
I've just finished Revelation, the fourth Shardlake novel by CJ Sansom. I'd read the second one, Dark Fire, before this, and found it enjoyable as a quick historical detective read. This one is rather better,... There's also a sub-plot about a boy in Bedlam which ties into the main plot perhaps a little too neatly ...I like the characters, so I shall probably read the other three in the series should I come across them.

I really enjoyed the first, Dissolution, which I think is one of the best; Sovereign was also very good; I wasn't quite so keen on Heartstone - too much about the Mary Rose - maybe I'd just OD'd on Sansom by that point.
I've been OD'ing on them in quick succession after first seeing them recommended on this thread. I'm now reading Heartstone and disappointed to realize that when this one's done I'll actually have to wait for the next one to come out -- it's been so great reading a series with 5 books already written.

Does anyone else reading this series wish poor Shardlake would get laid finally? Or, more delicately, find a lady who returns his esteem?

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Books and things.

I lied. There are no things. Just books.

Posts: 7428 | From: Closer to Paris than I am to Vancouver | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Keren-Happuch

Ship's Eyeshadow
# 9818

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I've just started Philip Pullman's retelling of the Grimm tales. Haven't got very far in yet but it's interesting to see how they differ from what I remember, and stories I'd never read before as well.

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Travesty, treachery, betrayal!
EXCESS - The Art of Treason
Nea Fox

Posts: 2407 | From: A Fine City | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
North East Quine

Curious beastie
# 13049

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I've just read "Dedicated Lives" - a history of various small Episcopalian religious communities in Dundee, including the Community of St Mary the Virgin and St Modwenna, by Edward Luscombe, former Bishop of Brechin, and Stuart Donald, Epicopalian Archivist.

It includes some great photos, and fascinating details of an aspect of Victorian Dundee which was new to me.

This year is the centenary of the death of Mary Lily Walker , which was the impetus for both this book, and the biography of Mary Lily by Eddie Small, which I've also read.

Posts: 6414 | From: North East Scotland | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged
Chorister

Completely Frocked
# 473

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'The Image of Christ in Modern Art' by Richard Harries - having attended a couple of Gresham Lectures by him in London a few years ago, I wanted to try to understand some of the more modern religious paintings and sculptures I come across when visiting Cathedrals - perhaps if I understand them better I will appreciate them more. In only 156 pages, it is necessarily a whistle-stop tour, an overview, but that is a good starting point. Sadly, there don't seem to be any Christas or Chocolate Christs, the subject matter is fairly conservative - religious art thought worthy to have a place in modern cathedral life, rather than for shock value.

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Retired, sitting back and watching others for a change.

Posts: 34626 | From: Cream Tealand | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Chorister

Completely Frocked
# 473

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Leszek Kolakowski - 'Is God Happy?' A breathtaking series of essays by a Pole, about the failings of Communism (and also some deep thoughts about religion), all the more surprising for many having been written about 60 years ago, but suppressed by the communist government, and only very recently been published in English. He cuts through the pretence like a knife - I had never before seen the similarity between the artificial constructs holding communism in place and those used in religious cults, such as at Waco.

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Retired, sitting back and watching others for a change.

Posts: 34626 | From: Cream Tealand | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sir Kevin
Ship's Gaffer
# 3492

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I am reading part of my own book, a failed NaNoWriMo project which fell about 8000 words short of the required 50,000 words, and doing a bit of editing. I am also working my way slowly through the works of the late Dame Agatha Christie.

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If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Writing is currently my hobby, not yet my profession.

Posts: 30517 | From: White Hart Lane | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
QLib

Bad Example
# 43

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Recently been enjoying Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers series, as recommended here. I finished Susan Howatch's A Question of Integrity, but can't think of much Heavenly to say about it - maybe I'll start a Purg thread in the New Year, if I have time for a good argument. Just finished Kate Grenville's The Secret River - excellent, but very dark towards the end, but a true kind of darkness - very real and very human. In a way, I know and understand more about the way white settlers behaved towards aborigine than I thought I wanted to know - yet I'm still very glad I've read it.

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Tradition is the handing down of the flame, not the worship of the ashes Gustav Mahler.

Posts: 8913 | From: Page 28 | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged



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