Girl from the South by Joanna Trollope

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Not the best of Joanna Trollope’s books.

(I seem to have thought all of the last handful of books I’ve read to be not as good as others by the same author so this is quite possibly me just not being in a good reading mode rather than all these authors being not in good writing mode.)

I thought there were a lot of interesting themes and issues raised but none of them got explored properly and the characters weren’t fleshed out enough to make the story worth it without the themes. The book wasn’t long enough to tell the characters stories properly. The Charleston family, grandmother Sarah, mother Martha and granddaughters Gillon (“the girl from the South”) and Ashley would have populated a good book by themselves. And the London contingient could also have populated a book though I don’t think it would have been as interesting a book. And whilst the intermingling of these two sets of characters is fun it all feels rather superficial. I felt like I didn’t really get to the heart of the matter.

More information about this book can be found on goodreads.

the order of the phoenix

am i the only person in the world who’s thinking that i’ll wait for a
paperback to match the other four books? will this book even get to a
paperback printing or will they have printed more hardbacks than there
are readers in the world by then?

Arms and the Women by Reginald Hill

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For once I don’t think this Hill book is the best thing since the last one. It is of course pretty good all the same. I like the fact that Hill keeps trying new things even though this one doesn’t work that well for me. I enjoyed the fact that various characters from old books popped up years and years later than their original appearances.

I kept hearing that people didn’t like this book because there was too much of Ellie in it. I like Ellie and I like her in this book but the story as a whole didn’t gel for me as well as other of Hill’s tales have done.

More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
Purchased on 6th December 2002.

yes please!

from new scientist:

A hypoallergenic grass genetically modified to lack two common hay-fever allergens is set to enter field trials in the US.

atchoo! hurry up and invent it already! plant it already! i’m all for
this gentically modified crops thing all of a sudden….

close to home

when you come across mention of a knitting exhibition
that sounds quite interesting you don’t expect to find that it’s going
to be, ooh, maybe a hundred metres down the road…. my mind is
boggling, i wonder what else goes on round here?

it makes sense though, this is yorkshire textile country after all, many of the houses are old weaver’s cottages and rowan yarns are only down the road too.

On Writing by Stephen King

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I’ve never read any Stephen King – not sure how I’ve avoided that actually. This book on writing is probably an odd place to begin but it as entertaining Darren so much I thought I’d give it a whirl.

Since I’m not really an aspiring writer I didn’t really find the writing bits that interesting but since there’s more autobiography than writing instruction it was still a pleasant read.

More information about this book can be found on goodreads.

no chance

i’m not even thinking about trying to work out the answers to this test. no i’m not. really i’m not. there are only 520 possible solutions after all, that’s only 9.5 x 1013.
hmmmm. i can’t even decide on the answer to question 20 so there’s no
chance [ok, it’s pretty obvious once i remember what a barometer
measures]. i’m not even printing it out to scribble on. ….whirring
sound of printer coming to life…. dammit.

[found via as above]

The Office of the Dead by Andrew Taylor

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The third volume of the Roth trilogy was also the best but that might have something to do with the build up to it. I’m really very impressed with this threesome. As a whole it’s unlikely to get beaten as my ‘best book of 2003’ – it’s published in one volume now so I think I can get away with that.

More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
Purchased on 28th May 2003.