VivienneR's reading in 2018 - part 2

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VivienneR's reading in 2018 - part 2

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1VivienneR
Bearbeitet: Dez. 30, 2018, 7:18pm



This is the lovely little town of Nelson in the region of British Columbia where I live.

Reading is going well this year with few duds and lots of great books. My plan to read the nine volumes of the Forsyte Chronicles is on track with six finished in the first six months of the year and looking forward to the remaining.

I can also be found over at the 2018 Category Challenge.




Up next:

January 2019 reading...

4VivienneR
Bearbeitet: Dez. 30, 2018, 7:19pm

Read in November
162. Sand Queen by Helen Benedict
163. Tales from the Inner City by Shaun Tan
164. The Big Snow by David Park
165. Buffy Sainte-Marie by Andrea Warner
166. How Many Miles to Babylon by Jennifer Johnston
167. Jackdaws by Ken Follett
168. Our kind of cruelty by Araminta Hall
169. We should all be feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
170. From a low and quiet sea by Donal Ryan
171. I am, I am, I am: seventeen brushes with death by Maggie O'Farrell
172. Imperium by Robert Harris
173. Blood pressure down by Janet Brill
174. Little Red Chairs by Edna O'Brien
175. Leaving Earth by Helen Humphreys
176. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
177. Great by Glen Gretzky
178. High Stakes by Dick Francis
179. After You by Jojo Moyes
180. The Lewis Man by Peter May
181. Christmas at High Rising by Angela Thirkell
182. Spy Story by Len Deighton

Read in December
183. The Black Angel by Cornell Woolrich
184. Goodbye Ms Chips by Dorothy Cannell
185. The boy who could see demons by Carolyn Jess-Cooke
186. The Vendetta Defence by Lisa Scottoline
187. The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
188. Owls Are Good At Keeping Secrets: An Unusual Alphabet by Sarah O'Leary, Illustrated by Jacob Grant
189. The Christmas Train by David Baldacci
190. Murmuring the Judges by Quintin Jardine
191. Moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch
192. Spy of the first person by Sam Shepard
193. The adventure of the Christmas pudding by Agatha Christie
194. A tale for the time being by Ruth L. Ozeki
195. Wishin' and Hopin' by Wally Lamb
196. A Christmas Guest by Anne Perry
197. The Vanishing Box: the perfect chilling read for Christmas by Elly Griffiths
198. Revolution in the head: the Beatles' records and the sixties by Ian MacDonald
199. A noise downstairs by Linwood Barclay
200. Murder for Christmas by Francis Duncan

5NanaCC
Jul. 1, 2018, 10:19pm

Oh, you have a couple of books I enjoyed in your Up Next list...Galsworthy, Rankin, Penny, and O’Farrell.

6VivienneR
Jul. 2, 2018, 1:43pm

Hi Colleen. Glad to hear a positive comment on O'Farrell. I know nothing about the author or book.

7VivienneR
Jul. 2, 2018, 6:43pm



Prime Suspect by Lynda La Plante

One of those books that was originally written as a successful tv series. I enjoyed Helen Mirren's performance of a high ranking police officer at a time when female officers were hardly tolerated and she had to struggle against the hostility of her male colleagues. These attitudes from the 1990s made the story a bit dated (although I'm sure they still exist to some extent today), but not a bad police procedural nevertheless.

8RidgewayGirl
Jul. 2, 2018, 10:06pm

You've never read anything by Maggie O'Farrell? You're in for a treat. I think you'll like her.

9VivienneR
Jul. 2, 2018, 11:51pm

>8 RidgewayGirl: Shocking isn't it? I'm ashamed to admit it because she is from Northern Ireland, like me. I've no excuse.

So far I'm loving her book.

10NanaCC
Jul. 3, 2018, 8:15am

>9 VivienneR: I’m glad you’re enjoying the book, Vivienne. It was a fairly quick read, but maybe that was because I had a hard time putting it down.

11VivienneR
Jul. 3, 2018, 4:02pm



My latest Early Reviewer win:

The Garden in Every Sense and Season by Tovah Martin

Not the typical gardening or nature book that offers basic advice and information. Instead this is a gorgeous book about one woman's observations of her extensive garden in each season. Martin shares the changes she experiences through each of the senses: the shapes, smells, sounds, and taste. Each is accompanied by an essay and beautiful photographs. Happily I discovered that I share some of Martin's practices, such as trimming the flowers off the spirea so that the sculptural form of the shrub can be appreciated more.

This is a book that can be dipped into anytime and is guaranteed to fire up the reader's gardening enthusiasm no matter what time of year.

12VivienneR
Jul. 4, 2018, 1:47pm



The vanishing act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell

A heartbreaking story of dark family secrets. I'd no idea that asylums had such a history. This was powerful and compelling. Highly recommended.

13NanaCC
Jul. 4, 2018, 1:51pm

>12 VivienneR: I’m so glad you enjoyed this book, Vivienne. I need to read more by O’Farrell.

14VivienneR
Jul. 4, 2018, 2:03pm

>13 NanaCC: I agree Colleen. I was just looking at the library catalogue to see what else they have.

15RidgewayGirl
Jul. 4, 2018, 9:40pm

Happy Birthday, Vivienne!

My favorite of Maggie O'Farrell's novels is After You'd Gone, but her memoir is brilliant.

16VivienneR
Jul. 5, 2018, 2:47am

Thank you, Kay! I hope you had a happy birthday too! I didn't realize we were twins. And I hope you had a good Fourth of July celebration.

I'll try After You'd Gone next. I was glad to find the library has quite a few titles.

17avaland
Jul. 10, 2018, 2:16pm

>7 VivienneR: I was working in the law enforcement/emergency services field at the time "Prime Suspect" was first aired and I thought it portrayed a woman's experience in this field as close as any bit of entertainment could possibly do. It remains one my favorite crime series. It had been my impression that LePlante's television work is better than her books.

18VivienneR
Jul. 11, 2018, 2:43pm

>17 avaland: That must have been interesting to experience the real thing while the fictional series was airing. I'd like to think women are treated differently now, but doubt it. It seems a lot of thought went into the series and Helen Mirren was the perfect choice for the part of Tennison.

Although I've only read one book, I agree that LaPlante's television work is better. As far as I remember the tv series came first, and the books created from the series.

19VivienneR
Jul. 16, 2018, 4:23pm



Cat out of Hell by Lynn Truss

As anyone who knows cats will tell you, yes, a talking cat is entirely believable. This wacky, weird, horror story from Lynn Truss (author of Eats, shoots and leaves is fantastically entertaining right to the Author Notes at the end. I'll never see my cat in the same light again.



Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

Hamid's beautifully written novel focuses on universal human needs and migration. He imparts a deep story with perception and understanding yet keeps the text elegantly minimal. By using the ingenious device of "doors" to transport Nadia and Saeed, Hamid is able to go to the heart of the story of two young people, without needing to detail the usual migrant conveyances. My heart goes out to people like Nadia and Saeed who must flee their home in order to survive. Highly recommended.

20VivienneR
Jul. 25, 2018, 1:56pm

My reading has almost come to a standstill because I got flu. I just finished Glass Houses by Louise Penny but would have enjoyed it more if I'd been healthy.

21NanaCC
Jul. 25, 2018, 3:52pm

>20 VivienneR: Feel better, Vivienne. Flu in the summer has to feel worse than in winter, and no fun at any time.

Maybe you’ll read Glass Houses again after you get better. I loved that one.

22VivienneR
Jul. 28, 2018, 1:46pm

>21 NanaCC: Thank you, Colleen. You're right, I saved Penny's book to read sometime when I'm in good health.

I finished Dead Souls by Ian Rankin another one that was started before getting sick.

And, Quid Pro Quo by Vicki Grant an Early Reviewer book that was a nice easy entertaining YA read, perfect for recuperation.

23VivienneR
Jul. 31, 2018, 2:13am



Ashes to Ashes by Barbara Nadel

Francis Hancock, the endearing undertaker from the East End of London, and still-traumatized survivor of "the first lot", was caught up in the worst blitz attack to hit the city on the night of December 29, 1940. Hearing of a little girl out in the middle of the attack, he thought a search for her would take his thoughts off the tumult in his mind. He followed her to St Paul's Cathedral where he discovered a despicable plot in progress.

Churchill declared that St Paul's Cathedral, a symbol of all the British people held dear was to be protected at all costs, while Hitler was determined to raze it to the ground with waves of incendiary bombs. Nadel's description of the attack that night highlighted the terrifying ordeal, when much of London was burning with white-hot flames. Her impressive knowledge of the building was able to impart the gripping events taking place on the inside. There is casual racism, sexism, and prostitution, common in the 1940s, but after looking at today's news, it appears to be just as common today.

A cathedral has stood on the site since 604. The current building was the masterpiece of Sir Christopher Wren who rebuilt after the destruction of the Great Fire of London. This is a book worth reading for the events, atmosphere, and social culture of the era, as well as the mystery.

24NanaCC
Jul. 31, 2018, 10:07am

>23 VivienneR: Adding this one to my wishlist, Vivienne. I like books set in this time period.

25VivienneR
Bearbeitet: Jul. 31, 2018, 2:01pm

>24 NanaCC: Hi Colleen! Francis Hancock is such a different character and you can't help but like him.

26VivienneR
Jul. 31, 2018, 9:44pm



The Scent of the Night by Andrea Camilleri

Another good mystery featuring Salvo Montalbano and his crew. But for the life of me, I can't figure out why Livia and Montalbano are still trying to maintain their long-distance romance. They were never a good match.

27NanaCC
Aug. 1, 2018, 8:54am

>26 VivienneR: I’ve only read the first in this series. I keep forgetting about it. I’ll have to set a reminder.

28VivienneR
Aug. 1, 2018, 2:49pm

>27 NanaCC: I bought several at a library book sale, otherwise I don't think I'd go out of my way to read them.

29VivienneR
Aug. 4, 2018, 2:27pm



The Hireling's Tale by Jo Bannister

The dictionary definition of hireling is "a person hired for material reward". In this novel Bannister presents several who fit the description: an assassin, prostitutes, and police. This action-packed story takes place in the sleepy town of Castlemere, featuring dedicated police officers determined to find the murderer of a young woman. Her body crashed through the tarpaulin cover into a tourist narrowboat on the canal while an international business conference was taking place at the nearby hotel. The list of suspects is daunting and further complicated by odd, unexpected shootings in the area. Eventually a witness makes herself known and Detective Sergeant Donovan, the tall, lanky Ulsterman is sent to pick her up and deliver her to safety, not an easy task with a lethal assassin around. A mistake by Detective Inspector Liz Graham, who should have known better, brought disastrous consequences.

Unscrambling the puzzle pieces, a roller-coaster rescue in the Fens of eastern England, and the personal oddities of the characters combine to make this mystery a nail-biter. I'll be on the lookout for more by Jo Bannister, who hails from Northern Ireland.

30VivienneR
Aug. 5, 2018, 3:01pm



Cometh the Hour by Jeffrey Archer

Although it's been two years since I read the last book in the series, I was able to rejoin the story as if no time had elapsed. This one continues the family saga now in the 1970s with a good infusion of the Cold War. The despicable Lady Virginia Fenwick is my favourite character. Archer's usual cliffhanger ending was more subdued in this one, but still, I'm looking forward to the next one, the last in the series.

31NanaCC
Aug. 7, 2018, 5:52am

>30 VivienneR: You put this author on my radar a while ago. I’ll have to try him.

32VivienneR
Aug. 7, 2018, 12:37pm

>31 NanaCC: Colleen, he's a great storyteller but you have to read this series in order.

33AlisonY
Aug. 8, 2018, 9:26am

Colleen - if you don't know much about Jeffrey Archer, he's an ex-British politician who's had a colourful life every bit as interesting as his own thrillers (a prostitute, a libel case, perjury, prison...). I imagine it's only helped his book sales in the long run, though!

34VivienneR
Bearbeitet: Aug. 8, 2018, 12:49pm

>33 AlisonY: I'm sure it has helped book sales! He doesn't hide his past, a lot of the Cliftonville Saga appears to have been drawn from personal experience.

I found the first of the series in audio because it was narrated by Roger Allam (the inspector in Endeavour, the tv series featuring the young Morse) but then got hooked on the story.

ETA: Alison, I know we both enjoy Ian McEwan books and as I'm just finishing Enduring Love I keep thinking of you saying it "scared the bejesus out of you". Me too!

35AlisonY
Aug. 9, 2018, 2:23pm

It's a great book, isn't it? Enduring Love is so creepy it's fabulous.

I have In Between the Sheets by McEwan on my shelves now - don't know much about it, but looking forward to picking it up in the not too distant future.

36VivienneR
Aug. 9, 2018, 3:02pm

I'll watch out for your comments, Alison. McEwan is always good for a surprise.

37VivienneR
Aug. 9, 2018, 3:05pm



Set in Darkness by Ian Rankin

As usual a great mystery novel with three very different investigations and a return of Big Ger Cafferty. There is so much more to Rankin's books, especially the involvement of Scottish bureaucratic and parliamentary happenings. Edinburgh is just as much a character as Rebus or Siobhan Clarke, taking Rankin to a higher level than most police procedurals. The description of Hogmanay brought on a bout of nostalgia: first-footing, black bun, doing a turn, and more, although the bloody events that followed were even more shocking in comparison. Rebus's music choices are always of interest, often matching my own, from Wishbone Ash to Tom Waits, and of course his favourite, The Rolling Stones.

There wasn't a print version available at the library so I settled for the audiobook. Narration by Samuel Gillies was OK, but not noteworthy. As there was little differentiation between characters it was sometimes difficult to know who was speaking. I prefer Rebus in print.

My favourite line was the rebuttal to a claim for Scotland's first family status. Rankin states "Everybody knew Scotland's first family was The Broons". When I was a child, this was one of my favourite comic strips made famous in Scotland's Sunday Post, the other one being the companion strip Oor Wullie.

38VivienneR
Aug. 9, 2018, 8:16pm



Enduring Love by Ian McEwan

The only type of love that endures is that which is not reciprocated.

Unlike most novels whose story rises to a culmination, McEwan uses the big event as an opener. And what an unforgettable opener! The account that follows is a disturbing story of obsession: sinister, ominous, but utterly compelling.

Joe is a frustrated scientist, now reduced to writing popular science journal articles. His thought processes, of rationalizing in the scientific way is eluding him, and the occupational hazard of "popularizing" has taken over. Is Joe an unreliable narrator? There is so much that can be read into the story that the reader is never quite sure of the veracity of Joe's version. The scene where he tries to acquire a means of defence may be dark but is pure comedy, that somehow fits with the creepiness factor.

Another excellent, beautifully written tale from McEwan.

39NanaCC
Aug. 10, 2018, 8:09am

>37 VivienneR: I’ve read all of the Rebus mysteries, and keep hoping there will be another. FictFact says there will be a new one in January.

40VivienneR
Aug. 10, 2018, 11:41am

>37 VivienneR: That's good to know, Colleen. I'll watch out for it. I read many of them out of order in my pre-LT days so I'm trying to go through the series again to get caught up. I think Rankin gets better with each one.

41NanaCC
Aug. 11, 2018, 7:49am

>40 VivienneR: When Rankin “retired” Rebus, I was disappointed that the series had ended. But of course that was me being fooled by the author.

42AlisonY
Aug. 13, 2018, 12:48pm

>38 VivienneR: glad you enjoyed it too, Vivienne. Think it might be my favourite McEwan to date.

43VivienneR
Aug. 13, 2018, 1:37pm

>41 NanaCC: Fortunately I've got enough to keep me going until the next time he retires Rebus!

>42 AlisonY: So far Nutshell is still at the top of my list of favourites, closely followed by Enduring Love. As far as I'm concerned, McEwan can't write a bad book.

44AlisonY
Aug. 14, 2018, 1:21pm

Vivienne, the Saturday Times had a great article on the best of McEwan's movies made for the big screen. I took a photo of it to share with you, but just realised I have no clue how to upload images except for those off the internet. If I figure it out I'll put it on your thread.

45VivienneR
Aug. 14, 2018, 3:25pm

That would be interesting, Alison. Thank you for thinking of me. I'll try to find the article on the Times website.

46VivienneR
Bearbeitet: Dez. 29, 2018, 2:56am



This is the second book in End of the Chapter, the final trilogy of the Forsyte Chronicles. The story centres on Dinny Cherrell and her engagement to Wilfred Desert who was once Fleur's admirer. Demonstrating how the social order has changed, Dinny is a strong woman, self-assertive and determined, unlike the simpering Irene. She is one of my favourite characters of the entire saga.

This one finished with a cliffhanger of sorts making me want to start the remaining volume right away.

47AlisonY
Aug. 15, 2018, 7:28am

>45 VivienneR: the gist of it was that they are making a new film of The Children Act. Although they didn't mention it in the article, On Chesil Beach was released last year with Saoirse Ronan in the lead - although I love that book, I'm not sure how well it would transfer over to film, but the cinematography looks great.

Other films mentioned in the article were Enduring Love from 2004 which sounds fantastic - Daniel Craig and Rhys Ifans as the stalker (perfect casting!). The Comfort of Strangers is from 1990 with Rupert Everett and Natasha Richardson. Atonement is in there, but that one's well known. The Cement Garden was made in 1993 and features Charlotte Gainsbourg. The last one was The Good Son, which was an original McEwan screenplay and not from a novel (Macaulay Culkin). Said to be 'camp and kitsch, it's also very dark'.

I've only seen Atonement out of all of those - I must see if I can find some of the rest of them on Netflix.

48VivienneR
Aug. 15, 2018, 4:06pm

>47 AlisonY: Thank you for the information, Alison! Would you believe that not one is available on the Canadian version of Netflix, which is pretty typical. Youtube is probably my best bet.

I've only seen (and enjoyed) A Child in Time that I believe was a library dvd. As soon as I've finished each book I'll search for the movie.

49SassyLassy
Aug. 15, 2018, 4:14pm

>38 VivienneR: Oddly I just finished this book a week or so ago too. I think you captured Joe really well.

Interesting about the film adaptations. Wikpedia says that the film of The Children Act stars Emma Thompson and Stanley Tucci, so sounds promising. Due for release in the UK towards the end of August, so you may get to see it. The premiere was at the Toronto Film Festival last fall. I think it may be my favourite of the McEwan books I have read to date.

50VivienneR
Aug. 15, 2018, 4:28pm

>49 SassyLassy: Good to hear. I've put The Children Act at the top of my McEwan tbr list.

51AlisonY
Aug. 16, 2018, 2:32am

>49 SassyLassy: I'm growing very disgruntled with our UK Netflix. It's clear that they are now very focused on their own shows, and the non-Netflix choice of films seems very narrow and doesn't change too often.

52VivienneR
Aug. 18, 2018, 1:43am



Into the Silence: the Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest by Wade Davis

A magnificent, exhaustive and well-researched chronicle of the three British Everest expeditions of the 1920s. Davis sets the era and tone of post-war sensibilities by devoting a sizeable portion - about the first third of the book - to the Great War and how the climbers came through it. Mallory and the other personages don't even enter the picture until after that, and actual climbing is still a long way off. The person I most admired was Australian George Finch who, against great opposition for his science as well as his colonial origins, introduced the use of oxygen in the second and third climbs. Tibet is not regarded kindly by the climbers, but then snobbery, racism, and the class system was rife, even among the members of the buttoned-down Royal Geographical Society and Alpine Club.

The 1924 attempt ended disastrously when George Mallory and Andrew Irvine disappeared on the final climb to, or from, the summit. Mallory's badly injured body was found in 1999 still roped to Irvine until the fall broke the rope. After all their effort, I like to think they made it to the summit but that will never be known.

This is an excellent book if the reader is prepared for an major undertaking and wants all the nitty gritty details of each climb, climber, the politics of the times and of the associations involved. (For example, now I know the difference between Mummery and Whymper tents.) If you just want to read about the life of Mallory and his experience on Everest, then Jeffrey Archer's Paths of Glory, a fictional work that is nevertheless accurate, would be a better choice.

53VivienneR
Aug. 24, 2018, 2:27pm



Read for August's historical mystery category over at the 2018 Reading Challenge group.

The Abbey Court Murder by Annie Haynes

A melodrama where the bad are very bad, and the silly are very silly. Was the murder committed to prevent a scandal? Oh the horror! There are many holes in the investigation by Furnival who just makes wild guesses and chats up a maid to get information. I can imagine this as an amateur stage production with the audience encouraged to make exaggerated oohs and aahs. And the amount of fainting and swooning makes me worry for the health of the women. When Judith tries to drown herself in the moat (where else?) she is dragged out and proclaimed ok, just fainted.

Fun, if you can take this sort of thing but Haynes is no Christie, not even close.

55VivienneR
Aug. 26, 2018, 1:33pm

Thanks Alison! It's a great article. It arrived in my inbox today via Bookmarks from The Guardian that made me feel like I was part of the in-crowd because I'd already read it. My favourite line was "The bite of his plots is extraordinary", which is spot on.

56VivienneR
Bearbeitet: Aug. 30, 2018, 10:25pm



Mr Mac and Me by Esther Freud

Charles Rennie Macintosh is the Mr Mac in Freud's beautiful, sensitive story. By looking at Mr Mac through the eyes of an 11-year old boy Freud shows the architect's vulnerability following his rejection after completing the design of the Glasgow School of Art. He and his wife, Margaret MacDonald, also a gifted artist, retreated to Suffolk in 1914. The story yields an amazing amount of information about Macintosh, Margaret, and the the culture of the times. Freud's story also points to the moment in our history when craftsmanship was being replaced by mass production.

I've always been an admirer of Mackintosh designs but now I feel like I have known him for a short while. Wonderful, highly recommended.

The author notes at the end reminds the reader that the Glasgow School of Art, one of Mackintosh's great achievements, burned just as Freud's book was going to print.

57AlisonY
Sept. 2, 2018, 2:33pm

Oh, that sounds like a great read. Is this your first Esther Freud? She has a style that I really enjoy - nostalgic and soul searching.

58VivienneR
Sept. 3, 2018, 2:22pm

Yes Alison, it was my Esther Freud and I was pleasantly surprised. There are so few in the library system here that my choices are limited. Can you recommend any?

59AlisonY
Sept. 4, 2018, 2:31am

I particularly enjoyed The Sea House. To be honest I've enjoyed the 3 books of hers that I've read - Hideous Kinky was good, and also The Wild. I don't think you can go too wrong with any of her writing. I'm hoping to spot a few more of her titles in the second hand bookshop someday soon.

60VivienneR
Sept. 4, 2018, 1:35pm

Oh good, I'll make a list for the library's suggestion box. From what I've heard, they buy most books suggested. I really liked her writing style too.

61VivienneR
Sept. 7, 2018, 2:09pm



The Golden Child by Penelope Fitzgerald

A London museum has installed a priceless exhibit, including a gold-covered mummy of a child, that is drawing thousands of visitors daily. This is a murder mystery laced with satirical humour mocking the eccentric or self-important staff of the museum. Written in 1977, this spoof of the Tutankhamen exhibition at the British Museum was Fitzgerald's first work of fiction, and very entertaining.



The Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

Double value in this mystery within a mystery. There are lots of familiar names, abundant clues, and the favourite locale of an English village. Highly recommended for mystery fans.

62NanaCC
Sept. 8, 2018, 3:04pm

I bet you’ll be sad when the Forsyte Chronicles are finished, Vivienne. I really enjoyed them when I read them last year.

I don’t think I’ve read anything by Penelope Fitzgerald. You’ve piqued my interest.

I loved The Magpie Murders. It was so well done.

63VivienneR
Sept. 8, 2018, 9:56pm

Colleen, I've only one more Forsyte book to read and I've piled up a lot of library books so I may not get to it this month. I enjoyed the last one so much I considered going straight on into the next.

Fitzgerald didn't start writing until she was sixty, this was her first novel. I worked in a museum and can attest to the eccentric staff. I've enjoyed others by her. I hope you can give her a try sometime.

64VivienneR
Sept. 23, 2018, 2:21am



Star Trap by Simon Brett

I always enjoy a Brett mystery with actor-sleuth Charles Paris. This one was no exception. It was full of character and will appeal to theatre-goer and crime fan alike. The ending was a nice twist. Well done!

65NanaCC
Sept. 23, 2018, 5:32am

>64 VivienneR: I don’t think I’ve ever heard of this series, Vivienne. I’ll have to check it out.

66VivienneR
Sept. 23, 2018, 12:01pm

>65 NanaCC: Simon Brett has a few series but Charles Paris is my favourite. The Fethering mysteries did not appeal at all.

67VivienneR
Bearbeitet: Sept. 24, 2018, 8:22pm



Agent Zigzag: The true wartime story of Eddie Chapman: lover, betrayer, hero, spy by Ben Macintyre

A very readable biography of a WWII spy who landed on his feet no matter how dire the circumstances. From a pre-war safe-breaking and burglary career to double agent, his story is as good as any adventure tale but the beauty of Macintyre's book is in the fascinating details of the double-cross and in the page-turning style of writing.

68NanaCC
Sept. 28, 2018, 7:00am

>67 VivienneR: I loved Agent Zigzag, Vivienne, and also enjoyed A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal. I have two more of Mcintyre’s books on my kindle, Operation Mincemeat and Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies. I’ve heard good things about the first, and nothing about the second, so I’ll probably read Operation mincemeat soon now that you’ve put him back on my radar.

69VivienneR
Sept. 28, 2018, 12:42pm

>68 NanaCC: After reading your post, I checked the shelves and found I have A Spy Among Friends and Operation Mincemeat still on the tbr shelf. I read and enjoyed Double Cross last year. He's a very entertaining writer, not a description normally heard about a non-fiction author.

70VivienneR
Bearbeitet: Dez. 29, 2018, 2:55am



Tin Man by Sarah Winman

A quiet lyrical novel packed with emotion. This is one I will read again.



If You Knew Her by Emily Elgar

A suspenseful mystery set in a hospital ward.

I have to keep my comments short because I fell yesterday and landed on a finger!! Difficult to type.

71NanaCC
Sept. 28, 2018, 2:46pm

>70 VivienneR: Ouch! Hopefully your finger isn’t broken.

I’m glad you liked Double Cross. It means that I have two good books just waiting on my kindle.

72VivienneR
Sept. 28, 2018, 5:48pm

>71 NanaCC: Got the finger checked, no break but I have an impressive splint on it now!

73RidgewayGirl
Sept. 29, 2018, 10:38am

Get well soon, Vivienne. I hope it doesn't hurt too much.

74VivienneR
Sept. 29, 2018, 3:01pm

Thank you, Kay! The pain has lessened considerably. But strange things happen on screen when the splint hits a function key!

75VivienneR
Okt. 9, 2018, 2:53pm

My finger recovered but I ended up in hospital for a week with an unrelated illness. As this was completely unexpected, my reading choices were limited to what I had on my phone.

One More River by John Galsworthy
The ninth and last book in the Forsyte Chronicles. I'm sorry to say goodbye to the Forsytes and extended family. This was an excellent ending.

Aunt Bessie Assumes: An Isle of Man Cozy Mystery by Diana Xarissa
An entertaining cosy from the Isle of Man. Flawed but fun.

76dchaikin
Okt. 9, 2018, 10:54pm

Goodness, hope your home and recovering. Congrats on having read all nine Forsytes.

77VivienneR
Okt. 10, 2018, 12:37am

Thank you, Dan, yes I'm well on the road to recovery. I enjoyed every moment of the Forsytes.

78AlisonY
Okt. 10, 2018, 9:41am

Glad you're on the mend, Vivienne. A week in hospital's no fun at all (especially with no book choice).

79RidgewayGirl
Okt. 10, 2018, 10:09am

Oh, Vivienne, that's no fun at all. I'm going to add a second book to my purse now, in case that ever happens to me.

80VivienneR
Okt. 10, 2018, 12:16pm

>78 AlisonY: Thanks, Alison. A heap of books is absolutely necessary in hospital.

>79 RidgewayGirl: Having a prepared emergency bag is a good idea - and, like carrying an umbrella that is never needed, can provide insurance!

81VivienneR
Okt. 10, 2018, 12:17pm



The little stranger by Sarah Waters

Although this is a long story, the drawn-out, slowly-evolving style enhances the reading experience, playing with the reader's mind right to the end.

82VivienneR
Bearbeitet: Dez. 29, 2018, 2:54am



Malcolm Orange Disappears by Jan Carson

Northern Ireland author, Jan Carson, has the most imaginative writing style I've ever come across. That it's a debut novel makes it all the more awe-inspiring. Eleven year-old Malcolm, his parents, and baby brother travel around America living in their beat-up Volvo. Malcolm is worried about the holes that are beginning to form on his body although no one else notices. When the father abandons the family, Malcolm's mother finds a job and home at a Baptist retirement village in Oregon filled, of course, with fantastically colourful characters. Carson maintains the surprise factor throughout this ingenius story without once letting up. This is a wonderful, unforgettable story.

My thanks to Jackie_K for the recommendation.

83AlisonY
Okt. 14, 2018, 5:05am

>82 VivienneR: book bullet there, Vivienne. Sounds fun.

84VivienneR
Okt. 14, 2018, 11:27am

>83 AlisonY: Glad to be of help. It was a lot of fun.

85rachbxl
Okt. 15, 2018, 9:26am

Sorry to hear about your stay in hospital, and your finger. I hope you’re better now.

We must have been reading The Little Stranger at the same time; what a nice thought.

86AlisonY
Okt. 17, 2018, 4:31am

The first Northern Ireland Man Booker winner, Vivienne! Woo hoo!

87VivienneR
Bearbeitet: Okt. 17, 2018, 12:11pm

>86 AlisonY: Wasn't that great news! The local library has it on order but that could mean months so I may have to stump up the money.

88VivienneR
Okt. 17, 2018, 12:14pm

>85 rachbxl: All well again, thank you.

What a nice coincidence that we were reading The Little Stranger at the same time. I really enjoyed it, I hope you did too.

89VivienneR
Okt. 18, 2018, 11:12pm



The Tooth Tattoo by Peter Lovesey

An intriguing mystery featuring detective Peter Diamond, a classical music layman who must investigate a complex crime involving a chamber music quartet. Some interesting information on varied topics including netsuke, tooth tattoos, and patrons who allow musicians to play their valuable instruments. I always enjoy Lovesey and this one was no exeption. I especially liked how the music fitted so well with the story. Well done!

90VivienneR
Okt. 23, 2018, 4:12pm



Ratlines by Stuart Neville

I was disappointed to discover that this wasn't directly about "Ratlines", the escape routes used by Nazis who hid out in Ireland after the war. The plot involves Albert Ryan, directorate of intelligence in Ireland in the early 1960s investigating ex-Nazis being bumped off. Ryan, eager to get out of Ireland went to Northern Ireland and signed up in the British Army to fight in WWII, making him very unpopular when he got back home to the anti-British republic. However, the writing was a bigger let down: short undemanding sentences that I suppose was meant to indicate a fast paced thriller but instead came across as rudimentary. I have another book by Neville, and although it is said to be better, it might be some time before I take it off the shelf.

91NanaCC
Okt. 23, 2018, 4:38pm

I have The Little Stranger, and your comment makes it sound intriguing. Also, Malcolm Orange Disappears sounds interesting. As usual, your thread is dangerous to visit.

92VivienneR
Okt. 23, 2018, 5:19pm

>91 NanaCC: Colleen, it's so difficult to describe those two books without giving away too much information. I loved both of them but Malcolm Orange Disappears was unique.

Visiting your thread is pretty risky too!

93VivienneR
Okt. 28, 2018, 1:25am



The House at Sea's End by Elly Griffiths 4.5★

As well as the first-rate location on Norfolks saltmarsh I'm hooked on archaeologist Ruth Galloway. She is so confident in many areas yet insecure in others. The best part about starting this series so long after they were published is that I can go straight to the next one without having to wait for another to hit the bookstores. Interesting plot, great characters and a bit of a love interest: what more can you ask for?



The Color of Our Sky by Amita Trasi 2.5★

Mukta, a ten-year-old girl of a low caste is rescued from a life as a prostitute by a wealthy family who has a daughter of a similar age, Tara. Although Mukta is regarded as a servant the girls become friends of a sort, yet Tara eventually betrays Mukta and arranged for her to be kidnapped and sold into the sex trade. After a cursory search Tara and her father leave India for the United States. Eleven years later the adult Tara returns to India to search for Mukta. Does this seem familiar? Yes, the story is almost identical to The Kiterunner and although the writing is well done the story grates. Tara is obviously trying to soothe her guilty conscience but in my opinion, her action was unforgiveable and she deserves no redemption. The saddest thing is that even with many plot holes and predictablity, the story that describes prejudice, ancient traditions, and the chaos of India, is believable. However, I chose to speed-read through the second half of the book. This wasn't to my taste.

94NanaCC
Okt. 28, 2018, 5:12pm

>93 VivienneR: I’m glad you enjoyed this book as much as I did. Ruth is such a great character.

95VivienneR
Nov. 2, 2018, 12:33am



Sand Queen by Helen Benedict

Benedict describes combat in Iraq from a woman's point of view. Although compelling, it's a very difficult, frustrating read. Consider all you ever knew about war, well, it's worse. I hope conditions for female soldiers has changed in the 15 years that have passed since the setting of this book.

96VivienneR
Nov. 2, 2018, 9:43pm



Tales from the Inner City by Shaun Tan

What a glorious book! The poetry, the stories, and the art, are simply stunning. Tan explores our relationship with animals in this world we share, giving the reader much to ponder. Each story is accompanied by unique art. Immensely creative and highly recommended. A book to be read over and over again.

This was an Early Reviewer win that I was very happy to receive.

97VivienneR
Bearbeitet: Nov. 3, 2018, 3:33pm



The Big Snow by David Park

Park's book is made up of five stories loosely related by an unprecedented snowfall that happened in Northern Ireland in 1963.

A gently deceiving book, the shorter stories would be of little consequence without the snow that transfigured surroundings so much as to make it a different world, and making inconsequential events momentous. Snow muffles and silences, forming an insulation that reduces the world to a microcosm.

My favourite quote is from Snow Trails involving a young man who falls for an older woman. His father, the owner of a general store, also handles funerals and is arranging one for the woman of the previous story. The snow complicates matters and with the help of his son they use a sled to transport the coffin to the cemetery with as much dignity as possible.

"But if it gets any deeper it'll be no laughing matter driving over there to collect the body and then up to the church. The roads'll be mustard, and I bet you there won't be a snow plough to be seen for love or money".

"This country's not cut out for snow. Now if this was Canada they'd laugh at this - it'd be a spit in the ocean to them."


Park has a talent in invoking the reader's empathy. The title story is a police procedural featuring an old-school hard-line detective and a young detective learning the ropes and trying to do his job using newer methods. Possibly less subtle than the others but with the same moody undercurrent.

I can remember this specific memorable snowfall in 1963 and can attest to the atmosphere it created and which Park invokes so well. It was a nostalgic look back on a small segment of my youth when having to help my parents through the difficulty of being cut off from the world made me feel very grown up. I enjoyed this and will be looking for more by Park.

98baswood
Nov. 3, 2018, 8:06pm

>97 VivienneR: Enjoyed your review. There was a lot off snow and ice even in London in January-February 1963. I remember it being very cold.

99VivienneR
Nov. 4, 2018, 12:41am

>98 baswood: Thanks, it's nice to see you dropping by. I don't remember hearing any news from other areas outside the village where I lived, but of course, it wouldn't have been just in Northern Ireland. The power was off for days so no tv, no radio, and of course, no newspapers.

100VivienneR
Bearbeitet: Nov. 6, 2018, 1:40am



How Many Miles to Babylon by Jennifer Johnston

A story of friendship between two Irish boys, Alex, from a wealthy family and Jerry, a boy from a working class family in the village. Against all odds the friendship continued from youth into adulthood when they both enlisted to fight in WWI and served in the same unit.

It's an outstanding novel and although short, packs in a remarkable amount of detail in an understated way, all of which paints a much larger picture that takes in the Irish political scene of 1918, loyalty, love, as well as the fields of Flanders. It goes from the hopeful halcyon days of childhood to the tragedy that transpired.

Reading this in the month of the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI it occurred to me that in some ways not a lot has changed for combatants. Like Benedict's Sand Queen that I read recently, the enemy is not the only foe: comrades can be just as vengeful, in this case the ruthless CO, Glendinning.

An excellent book that I can highly recommend. I'll be on the lookout for more by this Irish author.

101NanaCC
Nov. 6, 2018, 6:18am

>100 VivienneR: You’ve put this one on my wishlist.

102AlisonY
Nov. 6, 2018, 1:13pm

>97 VivienneR: sounds interesting - not heard of this one before.

103VivienneR
Nov. 6, 2018, 2:23pm

>101 NanaCC: I'm sure you would enjoy this one, Colleen.

>102 AlisonY: It had a very definite Belfast flavour, Alison.

104VivienneR
Nov. 9, 2018, 5:30pm



Our kind of cruelty by Araminta Hall 4★

A disturbing, fascinating, somewhat distasteful, yet utterly gripping novel. Like an accident has the abilty to draw the eyes irrestistably, Hall induces the reader to keep turning the page. Told from Mike's point of view, an unreliable narrator, but is Verity's any more reliable?



We should all be feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A must-read. Adichie's opinions and the points she makes are widely known, recognized, yet it appears many (most?) people still haven't acted upon them to make any significant progress. This short work should be required reading for everyone and frequently re-read.



From a low and quiet sea by Donal Ryan 3★

Three stories about three men: Farouk, a doctor in Syria, desperate to find a safe home for his wife and daughter; Lampy and John in Ireland, each seeking their own type of peace. They are brought together at the end of the book. The first story was very moving but I found it difficult to connect with the other two.

105VivienneR
Nov. 13, 2018, 11:58pm



Another one from a Northern Ireland author:

I am, I am, I am: seventeen brushes with death by Maggie O'Farrell

What sounds like a medical memoir is not the type of book that I would normally read, but having recently enjoyed one of O'Farrell's novels I opened this one and was immediately captivated. They are fascinating stories to begin with, but in O'Farrell's brilliant hand the book becomes a page-turner and without the slightest sign of self-pity. The incidents are not presented chronologically, or even recounted in a frame-by-frame manner, but in the expressive prose of a storyteller. Highly recommended.

106VivienneR
Nov. 15, 2018, 12:08pm



Imperium by Robert Harris

Cicero, who became Consul of the Roman Republic in 63 BC, is a progenitor of the modern politician. The story was narrated by Tiro, Cicero's secretary, who is said to have invented a system of shorthand including the ampersand. Harris' series has a classical setting but with a contemporary style that made the characters and the times come to life. The similarity to modern politics was impressive. I enjoyed this, the first book in the series and look forward to those that follow as well as reading more about Cicero and Roman politics.

107VivienneR
Bearbeitet: Dez. 29, 2018, 2:53am



The Little Red Chairs by Edna O'Brien 4★

“On the 6th of April 2012, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the start of the siege of Sarajevo by Bosnian Serb forces, 11,541 red chairs were laid out in rows along the 800 meters of the Sarajevo high street. One empty chair for every Sarajevan killed during the 1,425 days of siege. Six hundred and forty-three small chairs represented the children killed by snipers and the heavy artillery fired from the surrounding mountains.”

This is a harrowing tale of a clash of cultures. It is written from the perspective of women in rural Ireland and Bosnia. O'Brien introduces a mesmerizing psychopath into a rural community in Ireland. Just like the mysterious stranger in Irish folk tales, the inhabitants fall under his spell. The tenets of the Catholic church plays a symbolic role and adds to the mystic nature of the story. A brutal, yet astonishing story that never lets the reader sink into despair.

108NanaCC
Nov. 19, 2018, 6:16pm

>107 VivienneR: I think I have this one on my kindle, Vivienne. You’ve reminded me to get to it soon.

109VivienneR
Nov. 19, 2018, 7:41pm

>108 NanaCC: Colleen, there is a particularly brutal scene about halfway, but don't give up, it is worthwhile to keep going. What is truly amazing is that O'Brien wrote this when she was about 85 years old!

110RidgewayGirl
Nov. 19, 2018, 8:10pm

Vivienne, I keep running into The Little Red Chairs and given that I quite enjoyed another of her novels, In the Forest, I really need to read this one.

111VivienneR
Nov. 20, 2018, 7:44pm

>110 RidgewayGirl: I know you would appreciate it, Kay. It has such complex connotations that there is a lot packed into such a short novel.

112VivienneR
Nov. 21, 2018, 12:47am



Leaving Earth by Helen Humphreys 3.5★

This story of two women trying to break an aviation endurance record in 1933 Toronto depicted the time and place very well. Aviation stunts were encouraged in the Depression years as a means of escaping harsh realities. Humphreys included a lot in this debut novel. Most of it worked well but some ideas were left unfinished. Although Humphreys' story is fiction it is based on the exploits of actual pilots.

113AlisonY
Nov. 21, 2018, 11:28am

I've also been skirting around Little Red Chairs for ages but not managed to pick it up yet. Your review encourages me to get to it a bit sooner.

114VivienneR
Nov. 21, 2018, 12:57pm

>113 AlisonY: I hope you get to it sometime, Alison. It's a powerful story.

115VivienneR
Nov. 22, 2018, 8:37pm



And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

What can I say about this that hasn't already been said? I love the puzzle aspect of Christie's stories and this one is a classic. In 1939, when this was written, no one else came close to Christie's ability. I first read this when in my early teens. I enjoyed it just as much this time, maybe even more, because this time my version was an audiobook with outstanding narration by Dan Stevens. I'll keep it because I just might want to listen to it again even though I know the ending.

116NanaCC
Nov. 23, 2018, 1:09pm

>115 VivienneR: I read this one at some point this year, and as you say, knowing the ending doesn’t take away from the book.

117NanaCC
Nov. 24, 2018, 7:23am

>106 VivienneR: I just realized that I have Imperium on my kindle. I’ve never read anything by Harris, but your comments are calling to me.

118VivienneR
Nov. 24, 2018, 10:58am

>117 NanaCC: Hi Colleen! I've enjoyed everything I've read by Robert Harris. I loved Conclave most of all. I get eye-rolls when I recommend it to friends: "a conclave for a new pope, how interesting". It helps if you have a cursory knowledge of recent popes.

I hope you enjoy Imperium as much as I did!

119VivienneR
Nov. 28, 2018, 2:55pm



The Lewis Man by Peter May

I've read and enjoyed other books by Peter May but this series is definitely his best. Not only are the story and characters outstanding but he captures the Hebridean location perfectly. The added historical details make it all the more gripping.

120VivienneR
Dez. 3, 2018, 9:20pm



The Black Angel by Cornell Woolrich

The plot is highly unlikely but you can just tag along for some good mid-20th century suspense. It can be summed up with "what not to do if you suspect your husband is having an affair".

121VivienneR
Dez. 9, 2018, 10:36am



The boy who could see demons by Carolyn Jess-Cooke

This is a suspense novel featuring Ruen, a supernatural being, a demon only seen by a young boy. The boy, Alex, has no other friends apart from Ruen and their conversations are vivid and imaginative. The setting of Belfast, after the "troubles" gives the demon some authenticity through the mental trauma that we expect to see in children of war. Told alternately by Alex and his psychologist Anya, it's a troubling dark story. It annoyed me that Anya, whose daughter was diagnosed with early onset schizophrenia, and who committed suicide at age twelve, is diagnosing another child with the same rare condition. Is she determined to find it everywhere? And there are many coincidences and details that seemed out of place that made me wary. A good psychological suspense story.

122AlisonY
Dez. 12, 2018, 6:05pm

>121 VivienneR: It tickles me that you are finding out about more Norin' Iron books on the other side of the world than I am living in the place! Glad to see our literary offerings are starting to make it outside of the six counties.

123VivienneR
Dez. 12, 2018, 7:54pm

>122 AlisonY: Yes, there were too many dry years.

124avaland
Dez. 12, 2018, 9:48pm

>109 VivienneR: I don't think I realized O'Brien was that old when she wrote that book. That was one of my top reads for 2017. Glad you enjoyed it (hm. is enjoy the right word....)

>117 NanaCC: I enjoyed that specific Peter May trilogy, two of three better than the other. I bought one or two of his other series but they are in the pile still unread.

125VivienneR
Dez. 12, 2018, 10:30pm

>124 avaland: The book just proves what a great writer O'Brien is. It's always difficult to find the right word to describe our reaction to a book of such anguish.

I still have The Chessmen on the shelf that I'm looking forward to reading. I hope it's not the one you liked less.

126VivienneR
Bearbeitet: Dez. 29, 2018, 2:53am



The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

Racism, bullying, child abuse, self-harming, neglect, drug addiction, adultery, sexual assault, extreme poverty: there is nothing likeable in this book. Rowling must have been trying for the 'most swear words per page' award when she wrote this. When the hoopla wound down soon after it was published, I realized it wasn't for me but I came across a copy at the bottom of a dusty heap in a used bookstore. I should have left it there. Abandoned about three-quarters in, I couldn't take any more.

Fortunately Rowling eventually redeemed herself with the Cormoran Strike series written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

127NanaCC
Dez. 15, 2018, 6:17pm

>126 VivienneR: I think it was her first adult book after the Harry Potter series (which I thought was terrific), and it seemed like she felt she had to throw in everything, including the kitchen sink.

128VivienneR
Dez. 16, 2018, 1:05pm

>127 NanaCC: Agreed. Yesterday I picked it up again and finished it - I hate to leave a book unfinished - and upped the stars to 3. It was a pretty disappointing offer after such a great achievement with HP.

I have Lethal White on the shelf but might delay it until next month when I've recovered. :)

129AlisonY
Dez. 18, 2018, 3:51am

Swearing overload in a book turns me off too. I also hate when they go crazy with it in films too. It's not that I'm particularly prudish about cursing, but when it's OTT it gets in the way of the story for me.

130avaland
Dez. 18, 2018, 9:56am

>125 VivienneR: Might have been the middle book. Seems I didn't post reviews on the book's page or rate the books. Must have done an all-in-one sort of review. Still, I loved visiting the islands. I some of his others in a rather extensive pile of unread crime novels.

131baswood
Dez. 18, 2018, 2:13pm

>126 VivienneR: yes it is truly awful. I gave it one star.

132VivienneR
Dez. 18, 2018, 8:01pm

>131 baswood: Although one star is more appropriate to the quality of the writing, I was more generous considering that she didn't make any spelling mistakes.

133VivienneR
Dez. 19, 2018, 3:01pm



Moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch

Wizard cop Peter Grant investigates the suspicious deaths of jazz musicians. An entertaining mystery with interesting jazz asides and with an excellent sense of location. I loved Peter's developing abilities with magic. The only downside, which downgraded my rating by a half star, is the explicit sex scenes that were completely unnecessary and added nothing to the story.

134VivienneR
Dez. 20, 2018, 2:22am

135VivienneR
Dez. 23, 2018, 12:48am



Best wishes to all my LibraryThing pals, it's been a lot of fun sharing your reading lives this year.

136VivienneR
Dez. 23, 2018, 4:27pm



Spy of the first person by Sam Shepard

A slim book of short chapters that appear as essays by an unknown narrator. Most are about the end of life, reflection on life, or memories. Not sad but definitely mournful, and beautifully written. The cover portrays the content perfectly.

137VivienneR
Bearbeitet: Dez. 29, 2018, 2:52am



A Tale for the time being by Ruth L. Ozeki

When the dot.com bubble burst a Japanese family living in California are forced to go back to Japan as "returning immigrants". Their teenage daughter finds she is more American than Japanese and finding it hard to fit in. Her schoolmates bully her cruelly and relentlessly. The story jumps to a novelist living on Cortes Island, British Columbia who finds a barnacle-encrusted bag holding a "Hello Kitty" lunchbox filled with letters and the diary of the Japanese/American teenager, Nao (pronounced Now). The story is initially gripping but fades a little with the mind-bending treatment of time that was a little beyond my appreciation or understanding. Ozeki takes on a lot in this novel, often funny, sometimes gruesome, but undoubtedly intriguing. It's a curious view of time with a cultural, international, and historic slant. This is the kind of story a book club might spend days discussing.

This was an audiobook with excellent narration by the author. I can't think of anyone who could have done a better job.

138VivienneR
Dez. 27, 2018, 5:30pm



The Vanishing Box: the perfect chilling read for Christmas by Elly Griffiths

One of my favourite writers with another Christmas mystery set in 1953 Brighton. It's hard to get better than this at Christmas.



Revolution in the head: the Beatles' records and the sixties by Ian MacDonald

For anyone interested in music, pop culture, or the fab four, this is a must-read! Whether you are fan or detractor you will find this interesting. After an introduction not only to the music, but to the culture of the decade, MacDonald then goes on to describe each song in detail: the inspiration, the process, the mood. The chronological order gives a feel for the progression of the group from their meteoric rise right down to the slow motion break up. But this book is more than just a discography, it is the ultimate book about how popular music changed in the Sixties and the four musicians from Liverpool who were the prime motivators.

Thanks to rabbitprincess for the recommendation. My son and daughter-in-law snagged this as soon as it arrived in my mailbox. They both raved about it. I agree with all of you, five stars!

139VivienneR
Bearbeitet: Dez. 29, 2018, 2:52am



A noise downstairs by Linwood Barclay

This was the most far-fetched, unconvincing murder mystery and not at all what I expected from Linwood Barclay who can do so much better. As well as everything else, he broke one of the mystery writer's rules by killing off the protagonist about three-quarters of the way in.

140AlisonY
Dez. 29, 2018, 6:00am

>138 VivienneR: the Beatles book sounds really interesting. They were such trailblazers in the 1960s, and I must admit I still regularly listen to their tunes.

I read a really interesting book many, many years ago called Waiting for the Beatles: An Apple Scruff's Story which is the true story of a group of super-fan girls (told from the perspective of the author Carol Bedford who was one of them) who dedicated their lives for a number of years to hanging around the Apple Studios literally waiting for the Beatles. Carol was from the US and came over to London just to feed her obsession with the group, and in particular George Harrison. They became known as the Apple Scruffs, and I think George wrote a song about them at one point. It's an interesting read if you ever come across it, as you really get the extent of the fan mania when you read about it from the perspective of someone who was in the middle of it, and of course they have very strong opinions about who is responsible when the band splits!

141VivienneR
Dez. 29, 2018, 4:06pm

>140 AlisonY: Thanks, Alison, I'll keep an eye out for that one. I remember Beatlemania well, being part of it from the beginning. But I could never understand the screaming girls in the audience.

MacDonald's book is encyclopedic! While my son was reading it he phoned me asking for the lyrics of Savoy Truffle and everything I could remember about the chocolate collection Good News, which kind of puzzled me at the time. Now that I've read the book I understand. He also quizzed me on musical terms (apparently I passed) although there is a glossary included. I wondered what I was getting into. It's a book I'll be forever pulling off the shelf for some piece of information. What else was happening in June 1966? November 1968? It's all here.

142NanaCC
Dez. 29, 2018, 5:26pm

I remember Beatlemania, as well. I wasn’t part of the screaming crowds, but watched on television. I’m going to add that one to my wishlist.

Thank you for all of the wonderful recommendations this year, Vivienne. You’ve added many to my wishlist.

Happy New Year! May we all enjoy healthy, happy, peaceful days in the year to come.

143VivienneR
Dez. 30, 2018, 2:47pm

>142 NanaCC: Good one to add to the wishlist, you'll enjoy it.

Thank you, book buddy! I enjoyed sharing the recommendations that came from your direction too.

Wishing you and your family all the best in the New Year.

144VivienneR
Bearbeitet: Dez. 30, 2018, 7:22pm



Murder for Christmas by Francis Duncan

An enjoyable mystery first published in 1949. The story is set on Christmas Eve at a house party for friends of Benedict Grame, who enjoys Christmas as much as any schoolboy. This year for the first time amateur sleuth. Mordecai Tremaine, has also been invited. At midnight, a body dressed in a Father Christmas outfit is discovered under the Christmas tree. Tremaine's slow, pedantic method of investigation suited his sedate personality, although it makes the reader wonder how he got his reputation.

My thanks go to mathgirl for recommending this one.

My last book of the year. I read a record 200 this year, and although some were children's books, I'm pretty happy with the result. Fourteen of those rated 5 stars.

145VivienneR
Dez. 30, 2018, 7:22pm



My best wishes to all my LT buddies for a wonderful New Year that is filled with good books, good health and peace.

146AlisonY
Dez. 31, 2018, 8:58am

Happy New Year, Vivienne. Here's to many great reads in 2019.

147SassyLassy
Dez. 31, 2018, 12:01pm

>144 VivienneR: Two hundred books - how did you ever do it!? Congratulations and looking forward to next year's reading.

148VivienneR
Jan. 1, 2019, 6:35pm

>146 AlisonY: & >147 SassyLassy: Thank you. I can't wait to start the year!