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Started by CarlosFandango on Feb 26, 2021 12:55:58 AM
Tell Us What You're Reading

Follow on thread to What Are You Reading

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CarlosFandango - 26 Feb 2021 01:01:53 (#1 of 1074)

In the last thread I mentioned that I was hooked a third of the way or so into Where The Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens.

I have to report that it did get a bit patchy later on. Some nice chronological hoppings-about, and a good story, but the pace was off in places and although it's not heavy on dialogue, some of it is leaden.

She even manages some leaden internal monologues.

Not at all a bad book, but a bit of a let-down after some of the very good early chapters.

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Lagopus - 26 Feb 2021 07:13:02 (#3 of 1074)

Bent by Joe Thomas. The author is a regular customer, and one of the main characters is a colleague of mine's grandfather.

Pinkgum - 26 Feb 2021 07:15:14 (#4 of 1074)

Bedbugs by Ben H Winters

browserbutton - 26 Feb 2021 07:38:11 (#5 of 1074)

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders -- 'In which four Russians give a master class on writing, reading and life.'

Saunders provides in-depth analysis and reflection on seven stories by Chekhov, Turgenev, Tolstoy and Gogol. In spite of sounding a bit worthy (the clunky title is a Chekhov reference) it kept me entertained -- not many successful writers can write well about their tricky craft, IMO.

dreams99 - 26 Feb 2021 07:48:34 (#6 of 1074)

He did a very good podcast with Ezra Klein the other day.

darkhorse - 26 Feb 2021 07:56:03 (#7 of 1074)

Set myself the task of buying a travel book on the internet for under £2 including postage, and have ended up with Hunter Davies’ 1984 A Walk Along the Tracks a history and travelogue around eight disused railway walks he took in the early 80s.

It looks like it could be the most dull book in the world, a weak pale blue cover, an uninspiring cover photo of a viaduct on an overcast day, and slightly odd narrow format shape which makes it look like it could be a reference book, like a list of railway timetables, rather than travel prose.

But being HD, it’s jauntily written, plenty of historical anecdotage about railway history alongside the travelogue aspect of the places he sees and the people he meets on the way.

Shadrack22 - 26 Feb 2021 08:04:55 (#8 of 1074)

Sounds very ReverendBJ.

mazylou - 26 Feb 2021 09:15:44 (#9 of 1074)

Just started reading Frostquake by Juliet Nicholson. So far, so good. Also whizzing through the Maeve Kerrigan series by Jane Casey. Good page turners, occasionally a bit too easy to guess the villain, but decent stuff.

darkhorse - 26 Feb 2021 09:18:59 (#10 of 1074)

#8 and one walk terminates with Hunter Davies hopping off the old railway track, taking a stroll through pleasant suburbia and popping around the retirement house of the Dr Beeching for an interview.

Shadrack22 - 26 Feb 2021 09:23:40 (#11 of 1074)

Blimey!

darkhorse - 26 Feb 2021 09:25:24 (#12 of 1074)

Interview must be early 80s, just in time really, as Beeching died aged 72 in 1985, it says on wiki.

ReverendBlueJeans - 26 Feb 2021 09:26:20 (#13 of 1074)

Darkers - yup, it's a great book, but of its time in that much has happened to the routes he describes since it was written (ie, there are tarmac footpaths where he fought through brambly hedges).

Try his Hadrian's Wall book which is a similarly upifting read.

CarlosFandango - 26 Feb 2021 09:31:53 (#14 of 1074)

#5, bb

Coincidentally I was dumping rubble and other crap at our local non-locked-down and very pleasant recycling centre and, as is my wont, took a stroll through the shed full of stuff they put to one side hoping that some fool might buy it.

Picked up Turgenev's Fathers & Sons, plus a Confederacy of Dunces to replace a missing copy, plus five sets of solid brass door handles, plus a handy document/filing box. A fiver for the lot. Were I not planning to move fairly soon I'd be there every week and would have a solid brass-trimmed house rammed with classics.

darkhorse - 26 Feb 2021 10:06:59 (#15 of 1074)

Cheers RBJ, good to hear that however tatty an old paperback is, there’s someone here who’s read it.

I’m just on the Aberdeen - Balmoral line section now. I don’t know where you are from in Scotland. My geography is a bit hazy beyond Edinburgh / Glasgow. msDH is more familiar with that part of the UK as her dad was in the oil industry for much of her childhood.

nac1001 - 26 Feb 2021 10:14:24 (#16 of 1074)

I’ve read a couple of novels by Brit Bennett this year. The Vanishing Half is about the lives of African-American twin sisters who can't wait to get out of small town Louisiana. One is able to pass for white which leads them to live very different lives. The story spans a few decades and three generations. Some of the writing from the POV of the sisters is very strong – a bit less so with their children. It was chosen as one of the NYT top ten books of 2020 and nominated for several literary prizes. HBO are making a series. I think we’ll be hearing a lot more about BB who has just turned 30.

Here she is on Start the Week with Gary Younge

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000kgnp

The Mothers (2016) is about Nadia who shares a few biographical details with the author (from modest circumstances in San Diego to academic high flyer who ends up in Michigan, Oxford and the East Coast). Nadia has a fling with Luke at high school then returns years later to find him engaged to her best friend, shy, pious, underachieving Aubrey who has had a much more difficult life. Nadia realises she still likes Luke….. His father is a pastor, the Mothers of the title are the book's chorus, a group of older church ladies, so there is a fair amount of religion. An abortion early in the book ends up being the event that dominates every twist and turn of the novel. It’s well enough written but the Vanishing Half is better.

ReverendBlueJeans - 26 Feb 2021 10:16:38 (#17 of 1074)

Darkers - can't remember what, if anything, he says about Ballater Station but it burned down a few years ago and was rebuilt as was, and then Covid happened. Part of where he walked is now a heritage line.

darkhorse - 26 Feb 2021 10:18:42 (#18 of 1074)

Just checked, I have got up to Aboyne, so a few miles more before I read about Ballater.

LobsangRampa - 26 Feb 2021 19:19:10 (#19 of 1074)

I'm looking forward to Frostquake. i stole a look at the first few pages and it seemed good. She's married to Adam Nicolson isn't she? Met him once in Scotland. I thought he was a nice guy but the elderly skipper of the boat I was on muttered dark things. Never got to the bottom of what he had against him though. Maybe he disapproved of AN's ownership of the Shant Islands. (He was Scottish. AN isn't as far as I know.)

But I'm reading Three Hours which is a thriller set in an English private school. It's good and I can see why people loved it. It's vey cleverly plotted suspense wise. I don't know about thrillers. In one sense it should be easy. "First make me care then make me worry." And I don't really care about this lot. The headmaster is too saintly. The refugee kid ditto. He has PTSD but we don't really get any insight.

But then I like and admire Lee Childs. So where's that at?

mazylou - 26 Feb 2021 19:20:39 (#20 of 1074)

Siblings, Lobsang.

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