Archive for May, 2004


Grave Concerns by Rebecca Tope

In books read on May 28, 2004

My concerns when I read Dark Undertakings was that a series based around an undertaker was going to get a bit predictable and silly. I'm glad to say that this second in the series wasn't predictable or silly. The author has moved Drew Slocombe on and he now owns his own small business - a natural burial ground. I can see more milage in the series from here. Which is good because I like the characters and want to know what happens next. Rebecca Tope has a knack for creating characters who do the kind of things that make you think 'oh that would only work in a book' but who seem very realistic at the same time. Delightful really. I wish these books were easier to get hold of.



map mad

In Uncategorized on May 27, 2004

the david rumsey historical map collection:

The collection focuses on rare 18th and 19th century North and South America maps and other cartographic materials. Historic maps of the World, Europe, Asia and Africa are also represented. Collection categories include antique atlas, globe, school geography, maritime chart, state, county, city, pocket, wall, childrens and manuscript maps. The collection can be used to study history, genealogy and family history.

bloody excellent is what it is and i’ve a) barely scratched the surface yet and b) am looking in a totally different place to where the collection is at its thickest. i’m scouring a fabulous street map of 1830 birmingham, published by the wonderfully named ‘society for the diffusion of useful knowledge’, looking for all the places mentioned in my family history researches that don’t appear on modern day maps. and i’m finding them!

(minor niggle: all the united kingdom maps are filed under ‘england’ in the search list. grrr. england != great britain != united kingdom.)

[found via jwz - the 'insight browser' works fine for me using mozilla/linux even though it failed miserably for jamie.]


Mapping the Edge by Sarah Dunant

In books read on May 25, 2004

I've not read any Sarah Dunant for ages. This one took me a while to get into. Then I loved it for a long time. Then I got a bit disappointed with the ending. That summarises it pretty well.

This is the Stella's story: her friend Anna goes missing on a trip to Italy and what we have as well as Stella coping with Anna's young daughter is two flights of Stella's imagination as she thinks about what could have happened to Anna. Figuring out the two parallel versions of what could have happened to Anna is what took me a while to get into in the beginning. The similarities and differences between the two stories made for a fabulous middle of the book. But just as I was wondering how on earth the book was going to conclude I was disappointed and I didn't really feel it all came together in the end.

A good read all the same and one that makes me want to seek out the other Dunants that I haven't read.



part three

In Uncategorized on May 21, 2004

rosa reef finished

the third part of my finishing frenzy.

lack of content round here lately is due to being overloaded with work. (that’s the problem with running your own company, you can’t skive off and let others take the strain!) i’ve got a shiny new web server to set up and ten zillion fiddly things to do to migrate everything from several separate web servers back onto one big box again. fun though. beats going to work anyways :-)


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

In books read on May 20, 2004

I thought this was thoroughly excellent. It's narrated by a fifteen year old autistic boy who decides to write a book about how he investigates the death of his neighbour's dog Wellington. Not really a detective story though and I wouldn't have had it down as a children's book if that wasn't the way it was marketed (or maybe it isn't being marketed that way anyway, it seems to be piled as high in the general adult fiction of bookshops as anywhere else). I've never known anyone autistic but I felt this gave me a bit of an insight into how someone with autism might think and feel as well as being a cracking good read. Highly recommended if you want to read something like nothing you've read before.

Purchased on 11th May 2004.

A copy of this book is available on BookMooch.


Things We Knew Were True by Nicci Gerrard

In books read on May 18, 2004

I've skipped on the last couple of Nicci French thrillers (for now at least) because I was finding them to be all a bit samey in some respects, the amount of twists at the end mostly I think. But I saw this book written by one half of Nicci French and thought that I'd like to see what it was like. I'm glad I did, it's a very readable bit of general fiction. A story in two parts about Edie and her family, the first half is set in 1980 when Edie is 17 and the rest is in the present day, it's populated with believable characters and I enjoyed it a lot. Light reading but definitely not fluffy.

Purchased on 11th May 2004.


not quite a frenzy

In Uncategorized on May 13, 2004

i was saving these up for a triple finishing frenzy but the accompanying jumper is still in pieces on the back of the sofa, all the knitting is completed though. you’ll have to have exhibts a and b and wait for next week for part c. besides i’m not sure if i like c any more.

darren's stripey socks

exhibit a: darren’s stripey regia paris jacquard socks.

tumbling blocks cushion

exhibit b: tumbling blocks cushion.


Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck

In books read on May 12, 2004

I enjoyed Steinbeck a lot as a teenager but haven't read any of his books for years and years. This is short but sweet and I remember what I like so much. The language manages to be very simple but has enormous depth at the same time. The story is similar, one thing on the surface with other currents running beneath it. Each chapter is like a well crafted short story but the whole is something more.

Purchased on 30th April 2004.


Our Fathers’ Lies by Andrew Taylor

In books read on May 9, 2004

Fun with William Dougal is doubled as his father gets involved in events in this book. An excellent series that I'm enjoying a lot.

Purchased on 21st January 2004.


The Other Woman by Jill McGown

In books read on May 6, 2004

Another episode of Lloyd and Hill which set aside some of my worries about the continuing series. It had seemed that the professional connection between the two detectives was going to get ever more tenuous with each book but the author wisely brings them back to working together in this story. It looks like one of the story lines in this book carries on into a future book from the trailer at the end of the book but it's not the next book in the series. I'm interested to see what happens. Good stuff in general, everytime I have a bit of a believability problem with this series the author seems to be a step ahead of me, which is pretty cool.

Purchased on 29th April 2004.

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