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What are you reading in 2017?
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Joe McWilliams



Joined: 10 Feb 2012
Posts: 647


Location: Canada

PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2017 3:31 am    Post subject:  Reply with quote

Reading Pavel & I by Dan Vyleta. Set in post-war Berlin and populated by unlikeable characters, degraded by their circumstances. We seem to be moving through the squalor to some sort of redemption - the love of a broken man for a spoiled woman with a heart of gold.
I'm making it sound terribly cliché, which it probably doesn't deserve.


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Caro



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 2912


Location: Owaka, New Zealand

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 12:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was interested in your comments about The Conductor, Joe.  I hadn't noticed irritating repetitions, and I usually do.  I think the book just had my favourite style of character - outsiders making the best of a bad situation.  And I didn't know much about the siege of Leningrad beforehand, and like books set in war, but not focusing on battles.

I have got close to finishing Pastoral by Nevil Shute.  I thought I would whizz through it, but I seem to read it mainly in bed at night and its chapters are quite long, so I don't necessarily get through one.  And I didn't really need to take a rest from House Rules.

Pastoral is set in wartime (as many of Shute's books are) and there are descriptions of raids over Germany but generally in detail only when something goes wrong with the crew of R for Robert.  Mostly its focus is the love story between the pilot Peter Marshall, and the WAAF officer Gervase Robertson.  There are certain old-fashioned elements to this: he uses surnames for the man and first names for the woman, so he is always Marshall and she is generally Gervase.  (An unusual but attractive name.)  But modern crime novels tend to do the same: a male detective is called by his surname, though it is often one that could be a Christian name, while a woman detective or character is called by her first name.

And he talks of the women characters as 'girls' which wouldn't be approved of nowadays, though I still love the term 'girl' and want to use it for people up to and even beyond the age of 50.  I want to use it for my carers, as 'carers' seems a very formal word, and 'woman' seems formal too.  (Even 'man' seems a bit formal - I understand why so many young people prefer 'guys' for both sexes and my husband was probably 40 before I thought of him as a man.)

At any rate I am enjoying my Nevil Shute (I always do and should read more of him - I own quite a lot of his books) though I don't seem to have got to the sexy bit yet, unless when they talk about him wanting to do "rude" things with her, that is what I was remembering, but I don't think so.


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Joe McWilliams



Joined: 10 Feb 2012
Posts: 647


Location: Canada

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Caro - no reason we'd notice the same things. I'm particularly sensitive to certain words, and 'increasingly' is a recent addition to that list. I think it's because of its overuse and misuse in news reporting. TV news people love to lay it on thick. Things are not just happening, they are 'increasingly' happening. No evidence is ever offered. Consequently I have hardened my heart against it, and have started noticing it in novels where once I wouldn't have.
And it just isn't necessary. It is enough, surely, to say someone is 'becoming exhausted,' without the qualification.

There's an ugly trend in speech that inevitably leaks into writing to over-qualify, or 'super'-qualify. Oddly enough, this goes in tandem with another annoying trend, which is the apparent fear of being definite; hence the gross overuse of the terms 'like' and 'sort of'.

I could go on, but I am not fond of overstatement in others so I should practice it myself.


By the way, I have started reading 'The Old Ways' by Robert Macfarlane, of Cambridge, U.K. I think I am going to enjoy it very much.


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Chibiabos83
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Joined: 19 Nov 2008
Posts: 3343


Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You'd better, I know his mother-in-law.


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Joe McWilliams



Joined: 10 Feb 2012
Posts: 647


Location: Canada

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aha! I score a hit on the first try. Well, Chib, pass on my regards to the lady in question. Her son-in-law is a man after my own heart, with the important distinction of having a wife (evidently) who tolerates his absences. Well, that and writing talent.


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Caro



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 2912


Location: Owaka, New Zealand

PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have started The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and so far so good.  Although it may have more 'adventure' in it that I am comfortable with.  

I wrote a bit here about a non-fiction book but decided to put that on the non-fiction thread.


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Joe McWilliams



Joined: 10 Feb 2012
Posts: 647


Location: Canada

PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2017 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Robert Macfarlane's The Old Ways, although strictly non-fiction, has echoes of something I encountered in Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, the notion of connections between old pathways in this world and a set in a parallel, Magic England. Macfarlane doesn't go nearly that far, but he does attempt, here and there, to impute some sort of otherworldliness that can be glimpsed obliquely via the experiencing of tramping the 'Old Ways'. At least he certainly attempts to convey the notion there's a lot more there than what meets the eye or particularly what might be imagined from the seat of a car.

However, his attempts to make metaphysical poetry out of his experience don't work very well for me, as much as I appreciate what he does. I have a hard time believing he apprehends the world as he walks in quite those terms. Otherwise, I'm bloody impressed and wish I could do what he does.




Last edited by Joe McWilliams on Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Joe McWilliams



Joined: 10 Feb 2012
Posts: 647


Location: Canada

PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 4:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Patrick Leigh Fermor. Oh my goodness is there anyone in the world as good at telling a travel story as him? I doubt it. It makes me so happy. However, I mustn't gush. Or is it too late?

This is 'The Broken Road,' the third of his Hook of Holland to Constantinople stories, published posthumously. I never expected it to show up. How happy I am that it did.


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Caro



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 2912


Location: Owaka, New Zealand

PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is too late, Joe.  However enough other people have gushed over Patrick Leigh Fermor to make him feel like a gap in my reading that should be remedied.  I don't know if they stock him in our library.  I should seek him out.  Or look for him in second-hand bookshops.


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Caro



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 2912


Location: Owaka, New Zealand

PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see my library has A time for Life in both large print and on the normal shelves.  But none of the others.  I presume that is the first one in this series.  Must book it.



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