Archive for April, 2011

One Day

One Day by David Nicholls

In books read on April 29, 2011

I love books that stretch over a long period of time, showing the changes in characters and their relationships over the years, as well as watching the world around them change. This book brings to mind books I read twenty years ago (David Lodge springs up the most) where characters start off coming of age in the fifties or sixties, and we watch them grow up through to the seventies or eighties. In that "where did the time go to?" way it surprises me that authors can now write about characters contemporary to me, have them go to university and then find out what happens to them over the next couple of decades. This is what happens here - Emma & Dexter meet properly as they graduate from Edinburgh in 1988 and the author looks back in on them on the same day each year.

I enjoyed the "one day" device and thought it kept the novel nicely paced - there was always plenty of detail whether anything important was happening or not. I liked the characters - well, maybe like isn't quite right, at least one of them does a good impression of a complete tosser for a long time - but I found them real and I enjoyed their company. I liked the way they were written, the way they knew they were wrong at times but I understood why they were doing what they were doing.

I saw that people who'd read the book were disappointed in the ending. Personally I thought there were only a handful of ways for the book to end and most of them would be anti-climatic or disappointing so I was expecting one of those. I was then quite surprised when I found that the author had picked one of the endings that I felt would work for the book. I don't want to say too much more as I don't want to lade this write-up full of spoilers, but I thought the ending was at worst quite okay.

All in all, it was an entertaining read, not mind bending and most of the social commentary that you expect in a book taking place over twenty years is things you'll already have thought of if you've lived through the same twenty years in similar contexts to the characters, but that's probably a point in the books favour. I wonder what someone from a totally different time and place would make of it. But as a peer of the main characters I'm quite happy with it.

This was a kindle eBook.

The Crossing Places

The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths

In books read on April 25, 2011

I really liked this. A great central character, archaeologist Ruth Galloway, an expert on bone forensics, gets tangled up in a police case about two young missing girls in the flat lands of north Norfolk. Glad to see it's the start of a series as I think it has potential. Well written, well plotted, well characterised - I can't think of much wrong with it. One of my favourite new finds for sure.

This was a kindle eBook.

Dead Man's Folly

Dead Man’s Folly by Agatha Christie

In books read on April 24, 2011

I'm always surprised by how few of Christie's novels I've read. I feel like I've read far more than I have. I picked this up on a visit to Greenway - Agatha Christie's holiday home in Devon where the book is set. I enjoyed reading it - it's all vaguely familiar but I don't think I have read it before. I was especially pleased that the setting isn't at all vague - Nasse House in the book seems to be a pretty accurate record of the Greenway estate, house, gardens and neighbours such as the youth hostel are all here just as they are in the real world.

I think Poirot is pretty dim sometimes and no one seems to pick up on a reasonably obvious point here, but that's not really a problem. Making the reader feel clever for getting something the famous detective has missed is part of the fun of reading Christie.

This was a paperback.

The Road to Wanting

The Road to Wanting by Wendy Law-Yone

In books read on April 24, 2011

Another one off the Orange Prize Longlist. Na Ga tells her life story in a rambling manner, from her childhood as a member of the Wild Lu in Burma via an adoption by an American family, time working in a brothel, a relationship with a Westerner, to the town of Wanting on her way back to Burma. The dual meaning of "Wanting" is obviously intentional.

I found the narrative captivating at first, then put the book down for a long time and couldn't be bothered to finish it. When I did pick it up again I found it quite the page turner again. Not sure what happened in the middle really but it lost my interest somewhere. So in the end I'm not really sure what to make of it. I thought it was a good book but I'd hesitate to recommend it.

This was a kindle eBook.

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee by Rebecca Miller

In books read on April 24, 2011

This sounded like a good book and though the reviews were very mixed I went ahead and read it. At the beginning of the book we have Pippa Lee, aged about 50, perfect wife of a much older publisher, perfect mother of grown-up twin children. Then the story goes back to show Pippa's childhood and what she got up to before her marriage. Nothing wrong with that. The idea of showing the flaws of the woman who became the model wife and mother is nothing new but could make a perfectly good story. My problem here was that I just felt there was no substance to the book. Yes, Pippa wasn't perfect to start with. I was expecting that. But I guess I was expecting something else too.

This was a kindle eBook.


Pirate's Bay Adventure Golf

Flickr Pics 23rd April 2011

on April 23, 2011 by kirsty

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Drinks at Dartmouth Arms

Flickr Pics 22nd April 2011

on April 22, 2011 by kirsty

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A Perfect Death (Wesley Peterson, #13)

A Perfect Death (Wesley Peterson, #13) by Kate Ellis

In books read on April 20, 2011

I'd pretty much given up on this series. Despite enjoying reading the books I was finding the closely coupled present day and historical mysteries a bit much. Find my previous write-ups for more detail!

However I was trawling the library for books to take on holiday - to Dartmouth - and though it'd be fun to read another of these and see what the characters were up to. The books are set in a thinly veiled version of Dartmouth known as Tradmouth in the story. And indeed it was fun to read a story set in the place I was staying and not get my knickers in too much of a twist about plotting coincidences. Fun, and I'll probably dip back into the series in future.

This was a library book.


Evening DrinksAfternoon Ice Cream

Flickr Pics 19th April 2011

on April 19, 2011 by kirsty

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The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

In books read on April 18, 2011

Not quite sure how I've managed to avoid reading this before but I'm glad I got around to it eventually! My plan is now to find the rest of Muriel Spark's books that I've also managed not to read.

This was a library book.

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