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Posts tagged ‘Robert Harris’

December books

I have read four books this month which gives a total of 63 books consumed in 2017. Clearly I am a Lady of Leisure.

Robert Harris- An Officer and a Spy- Robert Harris is a favourite author of mine, and this book came recommended to me by Jane who blogs at Rainbow Junkie Corner, here.   The story based on a true case,is  set in France and concerns the Dreyfus Affair, in which an innocent man is framed by the army. The Army persists in covering up their role and it takes a brave officer to help uncover the truth. As always Harris tells a good story. I was gripped very early on in the book and spent two afternoons reading it whilst indulging a head cold! A jolly good read.

Qui Xiaolong-Death of a Red Heroine- ostensibly a murder detective story, but really that is a peg to hang other things on. I was initially frustrated by the very slow pace of the tale, till I relaxed into it and stopped looking for detective bits of the plot and allowed the whole narrative to pull me in. The book is really about life in China, Shanghai in the 1990s, the political undertones and faint menace of life, food, there is a lot of food and Chinese mythology and poetry. I really enjoyed the book. It was recommended to me when I was reading my way through an alphabet of authors and had got unstuck on X. I rather suspect that the last name is really what we in the West would call the first name, so should really be Q, but it’s as close to X for an author as I think I can get, unless you know an author whose family name begins with an X. I am calling that particular challenge to myself, complete.

Margaret Foster- How to Measure a Cow- a woman released from prison tries to make a new life for herself with a new identity. But she is thwarted by the interest of three former friends and the lady who lives opposite her. The book is OK. It started off very well and had my interest quite quickly, but it is another book where I feel the author didn’t know how to draw it to a conclusion. But you do learn briefly how to measure and cow, and more importantly why. I’ve been reflecting on this book further. The plot was not the point of this book. The story was a peg to be hung on, when am I going to learn to look beyond the story line. It is an exploration of self, can you re-invent yourself to be someone completely different, or rather do you come to terms with past events and become a better you. A better book than I first thought, give it a go and let me know what you think please.

Jane Gardam- Old Filth. This author had come highly recommended to me this year, but the two books I read I didn’t enjoy.Then the BBC world book club choose Old Filth and I liked what I heard. So it came home with me for Christmas reading and did not disappoint. Sir Edward Feathers, Teddy, Eddie or Fevvers to his friends, aka Old Filth (acronym for Failed in London try Hong Kong) was born in Malay and sent back to the UK aged five for his health, fostered out to a couple in Wales along with two distant cousins and another boy. Not a very nice couple it transpires. Onto schools, Oxford, the Bar and finally Hong Kong where he is highly successful. A fascinating read which has left me wanting to read the other two books in this trilogy, and to find out more about the Raj orphans.  A good book to finished the year on.

I shall do a pick of my top five books I read in 2017 sometime next week. Next year I hope to join in with Circle of Pines, details here a blog for sharing books each month. Here’s a preview of the books I shall try to read in January.

You can tell I was shelving the B’s last time I was volunteering in the Library. The How to Read like a Professor is my own book and one day when I have absorbed it all, you will be bowled over by my erudite book reviews!!

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Books – July 2017

I have recently begun a short online course run by Edinburgh University through Future Learn. You can do this course for free but I am giving serious consideration to paying over hard cash for an upgrade to give me unlimited access to the material, as I have enjoyed the first week so much. It’s called “How to Read a Novel”. Which you might think was self-evident , but I have realised that by rushing from story to story I am missing out in so much more. The last book I read this month was the Joanne Harris, I list them in the order that I read them, I just feel now that I want to re read this book, to see how she managed to send me off in the wrong direction. Anyway there is still time to sign up for this course, as it is only 4 weeks long,  the second week only just started, and you can still access week one. Here’s the link. Future Learn, How to Read a Novel

John Updike- The Afterlife- A collection of short stories and a book from the heap. An author one is supposed to like, but to whom I did not warm. The writing is good, and I had a sense of place which to me is important, but not a sense of love for place. The stories all concern the end of things, life and relationships between lovers, married couples, parents and children. The stories were all too realistic of the futility of us all, and so I found it rather depressing . The only one I really enjoyed was called A Sandstone Farmhouse, which had some warmth in it.I would love to know what others think of this author. I have another in the heap by the bed of his called The Farm, which concerns the same farmhouse and people so that is a relief! I think it will be a while before I get round to reading it though.

I am nearly coming to the end of my heap challenge and I figure if I read 1.25 books from the heap I will have finished it, as long as I don’t add to it in the meantime. Just why am I compelled to buy more books when I have a very good library to go too?

The rest are Library books.

Susan Hill-  A Kind Man- a short novel, beautifully crafted as ever. Similar setting to other books she has written, just wonderful. Themes again are life, love, birth, death, illness etc. Superb, just try one of her books for me.

Linwood Barclay- Broken Promise- big thanks to the blogger(s) who recommended this author to me. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the first in a trilogy. Basically a returning to his home town journalist investigates the mystery of the angel who gave his cousin a baby.

Robert Harris- Conclave- An interesting and enjoyable read, as the Cardinals are locked in Conclave for 72 hours whilst they elect the next Pope. A disappointing end, which I won’t give away here, but if you want to know more, please look in my Page above on Books. Be interested to know if anyone else has read this one, and for their thoughts.

Joanne Harris- Different Class. Two narrators, one a former pupil and one a teacher ,relate a past event through the changes a new Head is making to an old style Grammar School. Described as a masterpiece of misdirection by Val McDermid, I can only agree.

So have you read any good books recently. I keep a note of recommendations for my trips to the Library, so look forward to reading your comments.

Yarn Along!

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Lets start with the heap of books. The Robert Harris I was reading last time was brilliant. I love this author, his historical novels are so well researched and written, and his thrillers are great too. If you like thrillers with a conspiracy element then do try The Fear Index. I could sum it up in three words but that would give the whole book AWAY. Whilst we were away looking after business I read the John Grisham, The Litigators, another one of his good legal dramas.

Now I am reading The Spice Merchants wife, by Charlotte Betts, the blurb on the back compares her to Phillipa Gregory and Joanne Harris, check out my book page and you will know why I was drawn to this book. Sadly too much of the bodice ripper about it for my taste, but an enjoyable  read for all that.

On the underneath of the pile and barely visible is a Library book called Reclaimed Textiles by Kim Thittichai. The introduction contained sentences which really appealed to me. Consider ” How many of you have at least one drawer of products you have never used? Do you even know why you bought them?Many of us feel guilty of storing away things we are never going to use” THAT’S ME! Or material and objects  with ” an infinite number of colour and texture…many in your home right now” Has this Kim been in my house and had a rummage round.

Readers I borrowed the book. Sat down at home Earl Grey in the mug and commenced reading . By Page 10 the list of things called Basis Techniques began. BUT guess what you need all sorts of things I never heard of let alone having lying around my house unused. Consider Jones Tones heat transfer foils, mica flakes,gilding flakes, gel medium, acrylic wax, foil glues, xpandaprint, and I am only on page 13. Not quite what I was hoping for, but pretty to look at. Anyone heard of any of this stuff?

On the needles right now the tunic I am making for Miss F, the front is done. I never did a pattern before when you do the front before the back. What a sheltered life I have!

Meantime anyone going to the Knitting and Stitching show in Harrogate tomorrow. Hoping I can make it.

Joining with Ginny for Yarn Along

Yarn Along

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I love love love this little cardigan I made for Miss F. I only started it a week ago and its already finished along with two hats. Such a simple and pretty pattern. Made from Sirdar chunky on 5 1/2mm (US9) it just knitted up so quick. There is a lot of shaping to do ,so you row count the whole time ,but no button or neck band. It is fastened with a snap fastener hidden under the flower.

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The pattern is Sirdar 1772. You can make a plain one tone cardigan and use a button instead of a flower for a little lad. But if you need a baby jumper for a gift in a hurry this could be the one.

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Close up of the flower which is made of a contrast yarn, I used a pink tiny tot yarn left over from a previous offering.I made two hats, the first looked too small so I made the size larger as well just in case.

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What about the book I hear the cry. Well I am ashamed to say I abandoned the book I started last week. I didn’t follow the plot and I got muddled on who the characters were. It is rare for me to abandon a book, after all I am the person who waded through The Old Curiosity Shop and Little Dorrit, but this one just bored me, so I gave up.

Robert Harris is a favourite author so I knew I would be ok with this one, The Fear Index. Still at early stages of getting into it, but I know that I will!

Joining with Ginny

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