Thursday, 11 December 2008

Update from the Book Group

Many thanks to Andy, for reviving our badly neglected blog. We had a good discussion about Madame Bovary - I think everyone had very much appreciated it, and would enjoy Andy's comments. We talked a lot around how Emma was really a selfish and horrible person, but yes, we couldn't help rooting for her a bit too. We also appreciated the humour in the book. I particularly liked Flaubert's delicious sarcasm about the pompous bore Homais.

Other things we discussed at the November meeting: a promo by Mira publishers offering us free books! They sent us 5 sample novels and we had to choose one. We picked what we hope is a jolly historical crime romp called Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn. Copies have now arrived so we'll have them as light reading in tandem with our other choices.

We also decided to try and choose books a couple of months ahead. So January is Morag's choice: Mr Pip, and February will be Jean's choice The Memory Keeper's Daughter. March will be my choice but I've still not decided...

For our December meeting we are having Secret Santa, and maybe I shall concoct some mulled wine. I am also going to try and persuade a different member each month to write up a meeting report for this blog, so that it doesn't slip back into the doldrums.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Madame Bovary 2

I'm reading Alexander McCall Smith's "Love Over Scotland" between books and came across this nugget:

"'s so refreshing to see a male writer having a go at a truely nasty woman; male writers don't dare do that these days... You wouldn't get a modern day Flaubert punishing Madame Bovary as the real Flaubert did. Oh no. By the way, did you know that Flaubert wrote terribly slowly? He managed five words an hour, which meant that on a good day he wrote about thirty words. Now they were good words, of course, but even so..."

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Madame Bovary

Missed the meeting due to a serious dose of man flu... I had even read Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary well in advance. So thought I would try this blog thing.

Well, I really enjoyed it! The story built and built, and I couldn't put it down once I had got into the last third. I found the book true to it's times, but with gloriously readable passages of descriptive prose that gave it a more contemporary feel than a classic nineteenth century text. The theme of self-destructive pursuit of happiness is one that resonates with us now; but no matter how we view Madame Bovary's sad demise I wonder how many of us hoped for a miraculous cure or a rising from the dead as she slipped away...

Monday, 22 September 2008

More hob-nobbing

Sorry for neglecting you, blog. Realised I have opportunities for much more name dropping since Wordplay, our splendid Shetland book festival. Met the rather dashing young writer Alan Bisset in the pub and he likened me to Scarlet O'Hara! (we were out on a henny party in our ball gowns- shall try to source a photo from somewhere). Three really good sessions I went to: John Hegley - extremely entertaining, great at working a crowd; Adrian Mitchell - lovely, touching, personal poetry; Will Self - very clever & witty. Heard him on the radio talking about how our book festival was all good and real and locally-grounded etc whereas in most other places they were just 'Nuremberg rallies of the bourgeoisie'. Have just read an excellent couple of short stories by him, bit grim but enthralling, I think I'll make more effort to get into some of his writing.

Book group's been interesting since we started a democratic dictatorship scheme where one member wins a draw to dictate the book we'll read. Jean's choice last month was Peacocks Dancing by Sharon Maas - enjoyable, exotic and melodramatic tale set in Guyana and India. This month is my choice and something totally different - the misery of 1930s England through Keep the Aspidistra Flying by George Orwell. I've really enjoyed re-reading it, but not sure what the rest of the group will make of it!

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Just a bit of gentle name dropping....

I am doggedly ploughing through C.J. Sansom's Winter in Madrid, a tale set against the backdrop of WW2 and the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. I thought I'd really like this but it's failing to set me alight. Historically interesting - and this author's a pretty serious historian - but it just seems to be plodding a bit too slowly and ponderously along. Or maybe it's just me, not in the right frame of mind for it.

C.J. Sansom (who really is a great writer notwithstanding my slight whinge) was our runner-up in the Dagger in the Library Award, which I need to name-drop here since I'm just back from the swanky awards dinner in London. Guest of honour was Gyles Brandreth, who gave a faintly insane but entertaining speech. I think he's writing something where Sherlock Holmes and Oscar Wilde form a crime-busting duo, if I understood right?! Our winner was Craig Russell, an author I'd never read before the Dagger. He's Scottish but sets his books in Hamburg. The setting is really interesting, the characters good and the stories gory, so I commend him to this blog! And he was a nice man, and let us hold his Dagger. This is him in the middle, with me and my fellow judges.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

book group choice

Have just finished reading The Second Husband and don't want to say too much about it here because I am hoping to be at the next book group meeting to discusss it. Just want to say,though,that this is another of these books (remember Housewife Down)? that had I been writing it I would have taken a completely different and less predictable approach! Perhaps I should start writing my alternative versions of popular fiction!
I am also reading Russell Brand's My Booky Wook and a self help book callled the Four Day Win which Aileen recommended -I can't seem to get the hang of this book though -I understood the message to be that if you can be good for four days you can treat yourself with lots of chocolate,but Aileen says this is not the case unfortunately! Must read beyond the twenty pages I've covered so far....

Monday, 30 June 2008

Mixed procession of reading matter

Welcome to the blog Marghie! I am very glad I was born in the UK as I don't think I'd ever pass the test to get in.
I've finished The Second Husband and have returned to A Time of Gifts - classic travel book recommended by Janet. He's walking through Germany in 1933/1934, a world that will never be the same again. Also waiting in the 'to-read' pile is Winter in Madrid by C. J. Sansom, which has come highly recommended to me. I read one of his 16th Century crime books for the Dagger in the Library, and loved it, unexpectedly. He seems to be a very thorough historian who also knows how to write a good tale. Winter in Madrid is set in Spain about 1940 I think, in the aftermath of the civil war. I have a morbid fascination for the 1930s and 40s so expecting to like it.
Despite trying to have a change from crime, I had t0 read Flesh House, the latest from our old mate Stuart MacBride. Cannibalism and butchery in Aberdeen! Strangely enjoyable...

Friday, 27 June 2008

Signed on at last

Well I have finally done the deed and signed onto the book group blog. I've even ask to have an RSS feed to my email so I can keep up with the activity...nice feature that.

I'm sorry I missed the Thuesday meeting which sounded like a good one. I'm traveling back to the US for a visit so I will miss the next meeting as well but I will read some Will Self and whatever Jean chooses for the August meeting. I have a pile of books to get through before I leave not the least of which is a biography of DuMaurier. I will no doubt indulge myself by reading "cheap, trashy novels" while I'm on the beach in the US; The sort of books I won't mind staining with sun tan lotion and dropping into the sand. Unfotunately I also will be reading a turgid tome by the name of Life In The UK in order to prepare for taking the LITUK exam when I return from the U.S. I've read the first two chapters and have already identified a piece of incorrect information about the testing of school children in Scotland. The LITUK authors seem to be unaware that there are differences between the Scottish and English school systems. I think, I'll wait until I've gotten my "long term leave to remain" visa before I point that out to the powers that be.

Let's kick this blog back to life...

Oh dear, our blog has been sadly neglected again. Everyone should sign up or this RSS feed so at least we might be reminded about it when someone does a post. But then we'd probably fall into the 'OMG, LOL, u r soooo right!!!' kind of responses. (na, surely not, there aren't many OMG LOL-types in our group)
Anyway, a good group meeting was had this week, the book being discussed being Jamaica Inn. Folk all really enjoyed it and discussion led on to other classics, and I scandalized everyone by admitting I'd never read Wuthering Heights (or indeed the vast majority of classics, I blame it on the comprehensive education system). I am trying to wean myself off crime as I've had several months of total immersion, what with judging the Dagger in the Library Award. The short list is now in the public domain but I got into bother for publicizing the long list, which for some strange reason is kept secret?!
Started our book group's next read which is a publisher freebie by Louise Candlish called The Second Husband. She seems to be a popular author, and the story so far is a good read. The books came with a list of discussion points and questions so we're going to try going through them and have a more structured discussion than we sometimes manage. We're also going to read a bit of Will Self, though our pals in the Whalsay Book Group have been tackling him and don't seem hugely impressed! (He's coming to Shetland in September, hence our interest).

Monday, 19 May 2008

Blog alerts

Gosh Morag you will need to tell me what this magic book is. My house is looking very grubby just now, all dust and empty wine bottles...

Just wanted to say if you would like to get email alerts telling you when there is a new post on the book group blog you can go to, enter the web address of the site ( and your email address. This should also work for other blogs you are interested in.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Speed cleaning rules!

Having digested the rules for cleaning your entire house in 15 minutes, (see previous post), I managed to zip through six rooms yesterday evening, and by 7pm I had five hours in front of me to do whatever I wanted! So I finished Lost Horizon (still no answers!) and started Dreams from my Father by Barack Obama. I now feel my reading is getting back on track. This weekend I have to read several European fairytales in preparation for a multi-lingual storytelling session on Monday - Karen,what have you got me into??

Friday, 16 May 2008

Crime fest

Me, I've been up to my eyes reading the 15 authors on this year's CWA Dagger in the Library Award longlist. It's an onerous responsibility, I can tell you. A big variety of writing styles. I'm off to the judging lunch in London next week, and then I have to keep my mouth shut about it for another two months until the winner is announced. I will be very pleased to read something that's not crime-related when this is over. Had no time for Patricia Highsmith yet, which is a pity, though I did previously read The Talented Mr Ripley, which is one of my favourite books.

reading all over the place.....

Yes, I must admit I have been neglecting the blog lately on the grounds that I can't seem to settle to any one book these days. I took a Sophie Konsella with me to Glasgow last month as it wasn't too demanding and it kept me laughing on the plane, even when we hit fairly severe turbulence which would probably have had me screaming otherwise!
My bedtime book at the moment is James Hilton's Lost Horizon. Sadly,the only reason I am reading this is because it's supposed to be the original inspiration for the TV series Lost,so I'm looking for deeper meanings and explanations! So far I haven't found any,but it's actually a really good read and I should finish it this weekend. Then I'll be reading some Patricia Highsmith - I'm not sure which one to choose as I have two set aside,but I'll no doubt find something to speak about at the next Bookgroup meeting. Oh,and I'm also reading a book on how to clean your entire house in 15 minutes -yeah,that'll be right!

Monday, 28 April 2008

Dagger in the Library

Well done Laura for kicking the blog back into life. We had been neglecting it a bit. Thoroughly recommend The Talented Mr Ripley - great book, very tense, strange ammoral central character. Made an excellent film too. I did read one of the follow-ups and wasn't so sure he's the sort of character who should have been followed up! I think Patricia Highsmith is an interesting writer, and hope I get a chance to read some before the next meeting. But until the 21st May I have all my reading mapped out as I plough through 15 authors for the Dagger in the Library award for which I am a judge.
Am really enjoying the process, if not necessarily all the authors. I think me and the other judges may have different tastes so it will be a long hard-fought judges lunch, but I've never been one to complain about a long lunch!

Catching up

Well the last time I sat down to type up a new post on the blog I was going to have a rant about Sacrifice, but then I saw that one or two others really enjoyed it, so I quietly slunk away! Actually it wasn't that bad and as a crime novel it read quite well.
It was great to get back to a book group meeting again after a gap of several months. Unfortunately meetings tend to clash with work on ocassion, but I have to say that I feel mightily privileged that my tardiness has been forgiven and I have been asked to continue as the chair of the group. I hope to make up for past meetings missed by putting in a much better attendance over the coming year.
Having said that, I wont be able to attend the next meeting - Arrgghh! As I shall be away, but I am going to read some Patricia Highsmith and will take one or two of her books to read whilst I am away, and possibly a biography as well as I see there have been several written about her.
I was checking out Patricia Highsmith on Amazon and though I knew she had written a fair few books, I had no idea she was so prolific -and reading the synopsis of various titles, a lot of them look quite good, so hard to choose really, though I shall read the 'Ripley' series. I remember attending a lecture in Bristol a few years ago all about Patricia Highsmith, it was very interesting and she was a pretty eccentric character -kept siamese cats and wrote about those too.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Dead Man's Fingers

Daniel Craig most definitely - I think Ewan McGregor's too pretty though. Who's that guy that played the monk in the Da Vinci Code? He could be a minor baddie.

Reading-wise, I've gone back to finish Death in Breslau after a diversion to read a few other things. Has a strange style but is rather good, kind of jaunty and not as mournfully philosophical as some of the Central European books we read.

I've also just read Anthony Bourdain's A Cook's Tour. In this book he heads off round the world trying local dishes in exotic places (and the UK). Some time ago I read his first book, Kitchen Confidential, a tell-it-like-it-is account of being a chef in New York's kitchens. It struck a chord as I used to be a chef, and his writing is amusing and gritty, his voice (I imagine) is a New York-too-may-cigarettes-snarl. Describing a horrible meal he's forced to eat in France, watched by his apalled brother: "He looked at me as if I was gnawing the flesh off a dead man's fingers and washing it down with urine...".

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Bad Blond Men.....

I think you're onto something here Karen,with you casting suggestions ...... There are several bad blond men in the Bond films and Die Hard films who I'm sure would appreciate the work!There are also some very nice blond men such as Daniel Craig,Ewan MacGregor and Kiefer Sutherland who might relish the opportunity to play the baddie. I'm not totally decided on the female lead yet though,but I am working on a shortlist.
I'm half way through Stephen King's Misery right now - hey,how accurate was the casting for THAT film???? The first time I read the book the film hadn't been made,but when I saw the film I thought,yes,this is exactly how I imagined them. You can't beat early Stephen King for a good read,though I've not been overly impressed by his later writing. Duma Key wasn't one of my favourites.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Hurrah, it's a Sacrifice fan club!

Glad you liked it Morag. I agree about the film - I thought as I was reading it that it was a bit like a 1970s sinister thriller with Susan George, Donald Sutherland, Christopher Lee. Not sure who I'd cast nowadays. Oh yes, how about Rutger Hauer for one of the ugly blond men? I might like that woman called Lynette from Desperate Housewives as the lead.

I regaled the last book group session with my opinions on how it was great to see a big larger-than-life story in a Shetland setting, and how I'd love to see a vampire or aliens novel set here. The group then suggested I write the ultimate Shetland Vampire Sheep novel!? Perhaps we could do this as a serial on the blog?


I too have now finished Sacrifice by S.J. Bolton. This was a really good read,despite the magpies,wild strawberries and the puffin on the windowsill - yes,apart from those minor annoyances which seem to have irritated quite a few folk,the book is well written with strong characters and a plot which keeps you hooked right up to the final page. A lot of research has obviously gone into the people,places and folklore of Shetland and the author has captured the general feel of the place. When I finished the book last night I couldn't help thinking what a great film it would make,as it has all the ingredients - murder,secret cults,romance,action,mystery....
Suggestions for lead roles please!! (I have already chosen mine).

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

White and Red...

Hmm, yes. My "lucky dip" for the Eastern European reading choice didn't really inspire me to continue with this genre,but maybe it was the theme that put me off. White and Red by Dorota Maslowska is a somewhat demanding piece of writing,but the drugs and the politics finally did for me and I'm afraid to say that I did not make it to the end of the book. Interestly,this is the first book I have failed to finish since my initial attempt at the Da Vinci Code,although I did succeed with that when they brought out an illustrated version. Perhaps a graphic novel of White and Red would work! I have,however,borrowed a book of Polish short stories,but it's too early on for me to comment on them. Meanwhile,I have finished the superb Madness of a Seduced Woman and am about to re-read Schaeffer's Anya. Also reading Stephen King's Duma Key,so well done Karen for getting some free Stephen Kings for the group!

And light relief with a stonking good yarn

But, off on another tack entirely, I finished Sacrifice by S. J. Bolton and still think it's a well-written thriller. Really entertaining, slightly over-the-top sinister tale set in a larger-than-life Shetland. There have been quite a few curly-lipped comments cos she's got details about Shetland birds etc wrong, but I think if folk get hung up stuff like that, they're rather missing the point of a good thriller. Anyone can bore us with the correct minutiae of puffin behaviour, but not everyone can write a decent yarn. I also liked the way she gave us extra coffee shops, boating clubs etc - made Shetland seem a much cosier place (despite the murder and conspiracy), and I was hoping she'd invent a decent pub for us as well. In fact I'd really like to read more books that put extraordinary tales in a Shetland setting. I remember seeing Muriel Gray speak at last year's Orange Prize seminar, and she made a plea for women to drop that old chestnut of 'write what you know', because, she said, the details of your little life are not! fascinating, no she said, women should Make Things Up More. Hear hear!
And on the subject of good yarn-spinners, I've just taken delivery of some free Steven King books for the group, so it could be that next month we're reading something completely different.

Mired in crime and Nazism

Looking back, I feel I was probably a little harsh on Stanislaw Lem - no, I haven't gone back to read his book, but I think "It's me, not him" as the saying goes. It's just the kind of book that makes my eyes glaze over. I was maybe a bit harsh on Pavel Kohout as well, because thinking back it was a pretty interesting book but maybe just needed better editing in the second half. I'm reading another - Death in Breslau by Marek Krajewski - which is a bit of a classic Polish crime book, and I'm kind of liking it as it's got quite an individual style and unusual hero. Also it's set in 1933 so lots going on there as the Nazis consolidate power - kind of the opposite end of the regime from Pavel Kohout's book. I maybe should have tried to find a book which was based in more recent history, and I should also have picked something that wasn't crime, but will get to them in due course. Meanwhile, after the book group's discussed this Central European literature tonight, I am going to launch the promo on the Shetland public. Possible with recommendations from the group, if opinions are kind...

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Phillip K. Dick

Yes, if we were going to be forced to read sci-fi I could probably just about cope with Phillip K. Dick.
I made an attempt at something that was both sci-fi and Polish - one of Stanislaw Lem's books - and found it one of the most tedious and over-wordy things I'd had the misfortune to encounter in a long time. Now reading Sophie Hannah, who was at the Glasgow book festival and writes wonderfully absorbing psychological crime. And still finishing off Sacrifice!

A Scanner Darkly

By the way, I happened to pick up a copy of Philip K Dick's A Scanner Darkly (ok I know it's not East European), it's an amazing book and a bit controversial, maybe we should read it for the book group at some point. Don't think we have tackled any science fiction apart from Ian M Banks.


Hey, how weird, me and Aileen were just trying out the very same thing at the same time and we're in different cities!
Hi Aileen! We can now do email feeds for our blog!

Just trying out some stuff with the blog as I'm on a training course just now, I apologise if the blog goes a bit wierd.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Handling the Pace

I got fed up with The Widow Killer - the first half was OK but it became apparent during the second half that the author just wasn't handling the pace well. There was so much going on - last days of German occupation of Prague, Russians approaching, Nazis retreating, massacres, sadistic murderer on the loose pursued by police - and it was actually boring! Because he just seemed to plod on and on - this happens, that happens, but I lost interest and though I struggled on to the end I had stopped caring all that much.
In sharp contrast to the latest 'local' book which I'm now reading - Sacrifice by S. J. Bolton. Only local in that Shetland is a backdrop, and she wrote it before she'd even visited the island, but this is a writer who handles pace splendidly. It's a great old yarn that I'm devouring avidly, and it's quite witty in parts too. Off to the Glasgow book festival this weekend by the way. In my bag for reading on the train will be Sacrifice (unless I finish it tonight) and my lastest attempt at Central European fiction, one of Stanslaw Lem's books.

Friday, 29 February 2008

Brain Drain

On reading a couple of the Central European books which we found to be a tad on the intellectual-navel-gazing side, Morag and I agreed maybe they were "the sort of books we would have liked when we were younger". This probably indicates that our capacity for intellectual reading is draining away with age. Soon we'll be harrassing the library staff to find us 'nice' stories.
However, I have moved on to Pavel Kohout's The Widow Killer, which is a more straightforward narrative, a crime story set in wartime Prague. Very interesting background as it's a period of history I'm morbidly drawn to. My 'book I might have liked when I was younger' was the very well thought of Too Loud a Solitude by Bohumil Hrabal. I must say that although I did get a little impatient with it at times, and just think, 'Oh, get over yourself, will you!', it was worth a read and there are a lot of strong images I was moved to write down. Some amusing bits - for example the narrator describes how he was once set upon by a man who pushed him into a corner at knifepoint, took out a slip of paper, read him a poem, then apologized and said it was the only way to get folk to listen to his verse! I think we should maybe do a version of this next National Poetry Day?

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

So many books....

So little time! I thought I must post a blog on the Lerwick book Group website, I haven't checked in for a few weeks - Last October Arrgghh!! Where does the time go?

When I last posted on here we had just moved house -now living in the 'da redd up' that is Erlangen. The place doesn't look too bad if you ignore the pots of paint, plaster, scaffolding (!) etc., etc, but we seem to be getting there slowly, very slowly at times.

Books? Oh yes, thank you to everyone on and off this site who congratulated me on my successful 'book rescue' last October, many of my old friends are now safely returned to me and esconced in the new ( very old actually!) house.

We have just finished decorating the dining room and I now have a whole wall lined with book cases wahey! A real dream come true, I never thought I would see a day when I had spare book shelves -but probably not for long.

Books since last October? I'm still on the Gavin Maxwell thing - I managed to get a copy of Douglas Botting's biography of Maxwell through a web search and the book has been a really good read, I've enjoyed it immensely.

At new year I, like lots of others, started on a pile of self help, diet, spritual development books etc. etc but the best one by far is the 'Barefoot Doctor's Guide for the Urban Warrior' this is an excellent book which looks at spirituality in a wry way by saying yes, we all want to live our lives in this wonderfully spritual way rising above all the cares of the world -but life is not like that is it? And it looks at lots of lifes problems and woes in a quite humorous way. I like the Barefoot Doctor. You can open the book at any page and it will give you a little reading for the day which may or may not be apt for the way you are feeling at any given time. It seems to be uncannily accurate -this morning the book fell open at 'Self Pity' I'm saying nothing!

I've got a pile of books by the bed all waiting to be read but I have borrowed a couple of books from the European collection at the library and I will read those and I will try my hardest to get long to the next book group meeting - its been a while.

Right, that's a very brief catch up, I will try to drop in more often from now on - honest I swear!

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

A Big Wide World of Books

Yes Morag, we are all fading a bit. But news to tell is that Kevin MacNeil, author of The Stornoway Way, joined our book group session last night, and we had a most convivial session discussing literature local, Hebridean, Central European and worldwide. He's up here for a month doing a Writing Residency for Shetland Arts, and was very impressed with some of the stuff he's seen from local authors. We think someone still needs to write the Great Modern Shetland Novel.
Next project for the book group is translated Polish, Czech and Hungarian fiction, which might be more intellectual than some of the stuff I've been reading of late.
Have read some interesting stuff though, including The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio, which is a memoir of a family which survived on the mother's competition wins in 1950s USA. Charming book. Also read something a bit different - a crime book set in North Korea. It's The Corpse in the Koryo by James Church. A bit confusing but an interesting depiction of life in that country. And a nice book of poems by Sophie Hannah: Pessimism for Beginners. And Shetland Saga - a play I'd never heard of before, based round that time when the Bulgarian klondyer crew were stranded here for months.

Finally, I'd like to send international greetings to the book group at Crawford County Library, Michigan, USA, who we were delighted to hear follow our blog! Now we know someone's reading it, we shall be encouraged to write more.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Where is everybody??

Here I am,feeling very guilty because I have not contributed to the blog for some weeks now,and I discover that there has only been one other posting since my last one. Come on guys,share your reading experiences with me,especially since I am yet again having to miss the Book group meeting in favour of my belly-dancing class,but I will be along at the end,if only to sample Aileen's amazing Guinness cake!
Well,I finally finished my e-book,althuogh by the final chapter the reader's voice was beginning to annoy me to a point where I just wanted it to END!!! Mental note -next time I choose a talking book, make sure I can endure the reader's voice for 12 hours!!
Anyway,I'm back with a real book -Madness of a Seduced Woman -second time round and every bit as good as when I first read it all those years ago. If you're stuck for a really brilliant book,this is the one to choose.

Monday, 4 February 2008

Travel books

I seem to be having the same problem with travel books as I have with biographies, ie losing interest half way through and giving up. There just isn't the same amount of suspense as with fiction. I tried reading Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks, which was funny but after a while I just stopped caring if he got round Ireland with a fridge or not. Think I will try Dervla Murpy's Full Tilt next and see if I get on any better.

I will really need to have another go with the biographies as well at some point.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Clash of interests

I must say I am fairly miffed that the bookgroup now seems to have permanently moved to Tuesdays,which is no use to me because it clashes with my nightclass! However,I will keep reading according to the chosen themes and hopefully I'll get back to the group later in the year.
The biography I was going to recommend was Pamela Stephenson's "Billy" and for travel I would go with any of the Bill Brysons as I loved them all and would re-read if I didn't have so many other things to get through.
I borrowed my first e-book a couple of weeks ago,so I listen to it while doing all that boring stuff around the house. Won't say what the book is till I finish it,but yes,once again I'm reading,or rather,listening to crime. Not sure if I'm going to become a fan of talking books,as you can't just flick back a few pages to check stuff like you can with a "real"book! Anyway,I'll write more on it when I finish it,which should be this weekend.

Friday, 11 January 2008

History and biography

We've just got a book into the Library called 'Get off your Arse and Lose Some Weight' which is the kind of thing I should be reading!
But I'm reading about explorer and writer Freya Stark for the group's biography phase - she seems like an impressive woman and the history of the Middle East that it involves is interesting too. Baghdad was a beautiful and important city until the Mongol hordes invaded, and it's been pretty much downhill ever since, it seems.

Friday, 4 January 2008

New Year reading

Well I started the New Year with the proof copy of Ann Cleeves new book and finished it last night and all I can say is wow!,what a brilliant book. I won't give anything away,but this was a really good read with a well-paced,exciting storyline. Well done Ann,yet again. I'm glad it's only fiction though,otherwise I might be getting a bit wary now about lone hillwalking,especially around the cliffs!!
Anyway,it's back to the self-help/life improvement books for January -am currently reading one on how vinegar,honey and garlic can improve virtually every aspect of your life! As well as handy tips for cleaning your household appliances and making your hair shiny,there are also some amazing recipes. I made a casserole last night involving all three ingredients which came really good - big thumbs up from the whole family. But the flavour may have been down to the bottle of red wine I added!
Oh, and I'm starting on Peter Kay's book tomorrow,as my chosen biography for the Book Group.
Hope it's as funny as everyone says.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Happy New Year

Happy Newerdy to fellow book groupies not to mention the millions around the world who read this blog! Thank goodness we've turned the corner of the long dark days. Things can only get better. Not read anything earth shattering lately though I have ploughed through a few books just to keep suicidal thoughts at bay. One was Library Confidential by Don Borchett - claims to tell the full story of life in a (Californian) library. ("Puts the Shhh in Shocking!") Though he's an amusing writer at times it has to be said that he reveals himself as just another library nerd as he spends more time describing their system for e.g. overdues or donated books than he does on anything vaguely shocking. For fellow library anoraks it is interesting to see just how similar the whole library experience is round the world. We - and any library I guess - could supply our own tales of 'gangstas, geeks and oddballs' to rival his, should we dare break confidences. It's ultimately quite an affectionate book too.
Have also been treated to an advance copy of Ann Cleeves' White Nights, her second in the Shetland... quadrilogy?! (series of 4 anyway) and it's really pretty good. It's rapidly changing hands round the office and I still harbour hopes that ITV will buy the TV rights and we'll wipe the floor with Bergerac.