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What are you reading? (2015)
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Joe McWilliams



Joined: 10 Feb 2012
Posts: 650


Location: Canada

PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2015 9:11 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote

I'm reading Night Train to Lisbon, by Pascal Mercier. Mixed impressions early on, both positive and negative. Compelling - if not terribly original - plot development makes you want to keep going to find out what happens, and the reflections of the protagonist on the use and power of words appeals. But certain things that happen are hard to believe, being tossed in without sufficient justification.
Mercier I have never heard of, although the book's title seems familiar.


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Castorboy



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 1798


Location: Castor Bay Auckland NZ

PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2015 2:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Castorboy wrote:
I am reading a crime writer new to me. Michael Robotham has been praised for a series of novels featuring a clinical psychologist, Joseph O’Loughlin, to the extent of being placed on the shortlist for the 2015 Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger Award. The debut of O’Loughlin is in The Suspect and after forty pages I am impressed. Others on the shortist are James Carlos Blake, Robert Galbraith, Sam Hawken, Stephen King, Attica Locke and Belinda Bauer.

And the winner is Michael Robotham; well deserved indeed. It was a radio review last month that mentioned how good he is – I have been on a waiting list at the library for over three weeks for the next in his Joseph O’Loughlin series The Drowning Man.


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Joe McWilliams



Joined: 10 Feb 2012
Posts: 650


Location: Canada

PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2015 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've just started Emile Zola's Germinal. I knew it dealt with the harsh conditions in the coal mining industry of the 19thC, but was not at all expecting to be struck so deeply by what unfolds in the first few pages. I actually had to stop reading, or wanted to take a break from it, on that first descent into the mine. I'm sure I would go mad in those circumstances, or lose the will to live.

On the other hand, I feel Zola is sometimes trying a bit too hard to evoke outrage. The circumstances speak eloquently enough.


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Castorboy



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 1798


Location: Castor Bay Auckland NZ

PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2015 1:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A mention of a famous essay on murder in a TV programme sent me looking for the George Orwell one called Decline of the English Murder. I found it in Volume IV In Front of Your Nose 1945-1950, part of the collected essays, journalism and letters. Some of the other topics he writes about are relevant to the present so I must read about them in the coming months.


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Joe McWilliams



Joined: 10 Feb 2012
Posts: 650


Location: Canada

PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What an ordeal Germinal is turning out to be. The experience reminds me of one I had many years ago on a 27-hour train from Agra to Bombay, during which I read a story that started out in misery and got steadily worse. Germinal is like that. Approaching the end, you realize no relief is likely; indeed, if Zola can find a way to make things even more miserable for his characters, he will. And so he is.

But it's a well-told story, and I am in it to the bitter end.




Last edited by Joe McWilliams on Mon Jan 11, 2016 11:02 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Sandraseahorse



Joined: 21 Nov 2008
Posts: 1141



PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2015 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am a third of my way through my next book club read "Love Anthony" by Lisa Genova and I fear it is going to be another dud.

I am so disappointed as I had high hopes for it.  Lisa Genova wrote "Still Alice", which  deals with  dementia, and this was turned into a highly acclaimed film.  "Love Anthony" is about a boy with autism and as I know several parents with autistic children and Genova is a neuroscientist, I was hoping for insights into this condition.

So far it has been little more than chick-lit.  The story alternates between two women living in Nantucket, Beth and Olivia.  Olivia was the mother of Anthony, an autistic boy, recently deceased.  Her marriage has broken up under the strain of caring for him and she has moved into what was the holiday home of the family.

Beth was married with three daughters when she discovered her husband was having an affair.  When she confronted him about it, he admitted it and moved out.  So far Beth and Olivia have yet to meet but you know that they will.

There has been far too much about Beth and her finding herself after her marriage break-up for my taste and not enough about Anthony.   The best feature of the book has been the descriptions of Nantucket out of season.

I'm hoping it will improve but I find the style schmaltzy and sentimental.


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Gul Darr



Joined: 21 Nov 2008
Posts: 715


Location: King's Lynn

PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2015 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've just read the first chapter of Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to reading more. A perfect antidote to two months of slow sinking into boredom whenever I picked up my last read.


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waveswithin



Joined: 04 Nov 2015
Posts: 6



PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2015 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always have both a fiction and a non-fiction on the go.

Reading 'The Desert Mystic', a biography of Colonel Gadaffi, which is very interesting especially seeing what has happened in the wake of his undignified demise.

Also reading 'The Hill' by H.A. Vachell, a pleasantly old fashioned book well out of print about two boys at Harrow, their friendship, their dreams starting out and who they become. I have a soft spot for novels written at the start of the empire, they seem to possess a comforting innocence and nobel beauty compared to the cynicism of modern times.


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Sandraseahorse



Joined: 21 Nov 2008
Posts: 1141



PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2015 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm enjoying P.D. James's "The Private Patient".  It is almost a "Golden Age" detective story set in a manor house; there is a reference to Cyril Hare's novels in it.  

A top plastic surgeon owns the manor house and (rather implausibly IMO) he has converted a wing into a small clinic for those patients who wish to have surgery and recuperate in the peace and privacy of Dorset countryside rather than in the main London clinic the surgeon owns.

Everyone working in the manor house has a complex back story.  Sometimes the exposition is rather heavy; shades of "Explain to me once again why your billionaire great-uncle cut you out of his will".  

However, it is just the sort of book to read in bed as the nights start drawing in.


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Mikeharvey



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 3328


Location: Lancashire

PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2015 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just discovered a series called British Library Crime Classics.  The books are welcome reprints of neglected crime novels from the 'Golden Age'. Attractively produced with covers that remind you of those artistic travel and underground posters of the 1930s.  I'm currently enjoying 'Quick Curtain' by Alan Melville, a lightly- written mystery/comedy set in the world of the theatre.  Murder takes place onstage during a musical comedy.  I chose this because of its setting. And I remember Alan Melville from years ago on TV. I once acted in his play 'Dear Charles'.





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