5 Following

To Shoot or Not to Shoot

I shoot arrows, mess around in the garden, feed the birds and walk the hills.

Currently reading

By Myself and Then Some
Lauren Bacall
A Green and Pleasant Land: How England’s Gardeners Fought the Second World War
Ursula Buchan
By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept
Elizabeth Smart

The Tree House

The Tree House - Kathleen Jamie I have enjoyed it - but the poetry in English doesn't slice the world open the way the prose in Sightlines does. There is something about the rhythm and rhyme that is too bland. Looking back over the book I find the poems I really want to read again are mostly in Scots not English where somehow both rhyme and rhythm find a cutting edge - so an extra star for them.

The Coral Island

The Coral Island - R.M. Ballantyne Not really sure what I think. Picked up from a shelf of second hand books in a Pembrokeshire cafe. Last read from the library when I was 10 or 11. I loved the first half - almost a manual on how to survive on a coral island in the South Seas. Enjoyed the pirate interlude as a bit of a change. Loathed the last bit of cannibals and christians. However the language is delicious throughout.

The Game (Mary Russell, #7)

The Game (Mary Russell, #7) - Laurie R. King .... and an extra half a star. A good romp and a comfortable 'Kim' tribute.

The Kingdom and People of Kent: Ad 400-1066: Their History and Archaeology

The Kingdom and People of Kent: Ad 400-1066: Their History and Archaeology - Stuart Brookes Thoroughly enjoyed it so have an extra half star. Really like the presentation of the archeological sources with the interpretation so you can see how clever the deductions are and agree or disagree. Definitely an interesting period.

Trumps of Doom

Trumps of Doom - Roger Zelazny This has to stand for all 5 'Merlin' books. The first two I have read long ago and several times and only just discovered there were three more. I really enjoyed two of the three but the last one was lacking in plot so a bit disappointing. It's a seductive world and attractive characters. The best part (as with the 5 Amber books) shows the protagonist exploring and learning how to operate. Perhaps too effectively because with both sets, by the end, they are a bit too powerful and the empathy (mine at least) is a bit lost.

Locked Rooms (Mary Russell, #8)

Locked Rooms (Mary Russell, #8) - Laurie R. King I surprised myself by giving this 4 stars - might get downgraded later - but I really did enjoy it. The construction of the book is so complicated (time wise as well as two voices) that she nearly lost control at times, but I enjoy very much the way she keeps all the time lines going, and mostly enables the reader to keep up. So now I have read #9 #1 and #8 and I've ordered #7 'The Game' to read next.


Transition - Iain M. Banks I guess this was a work in progress but he ran out of time. I could have done without all the copulating but the basic idea of the multiverse was tackled really well. So thanks for a last book.
Ah - I later realise this wasn't his last book, so theoretically he could have done some editing......

The Summer of the Bear

The Summer of the Bear - Bella Pollen Initially found this book too whimsical and nearly abandoned it after a few pages. Then had another stab at it and enjoyed it. The bear did not really come alive for me but I enjoyed both being in the Outer Hebrides and the Bonn, Berlin, London interludes.The structure of the book worked well - better than the content which was OK but a bit sentimental. James was written very well the whole way through, Georgina came alive eventually, but Alba and the mother Letty sounded like two sides of the author herself and probably suffered from a lack of insight.

Lady Oracle

Lady Oracle - Margaret Atwood Not my favourite and so many years since I read it there were only a very few pages I had any memory of. Still a really interesting read and mixes so many different genre styles and themes, covert as well as overt! I read this really quickly so I obviously found it hard to put down. However at bottom pretty bleak despite the laughs although the protagonist is still pretty young at the end (I think) and a better future is still open.

Crow Lake

Crow Lake - Mary Lawson Terrific - couldn't put it down. It has that rich, deep quality that stems from a writer's childhood memories. And the story-telling is tight and structured and the characters compelling, the place is vivid. There is also a real feeling of hope for the future, a sense of Canada moving forward, of roads, environment, family relationships, all improving by fits and starts. I'll bet modern Canada is more complicated than that, but I'm happy to inhabit Crow Lake for a bit and I shall definitely look forward to another book.

The Beekeeper's Apprentice

The Beekeeper's Apprentice - Laurie R. King Enjoyed it, especially the first half - after that it went on a bit. Refreshing the way the author handles the emotional bit between the young student and old Sherlock Holmes, but that goes on a bit too. Shall probably read another in the series, but not many more....

White is for Witching

White is for Witching - Helen Oyeyemi Would have had another half star but the story lost me right at the end, with Sade and Ore gone I'm not sure I really cared about any of the others. Enjoyed it anyway, beautifully told.

Dreaming In Smoke

Dreaming In Smoke - Tricia Sullivan Awful. I liked the main character and what I could gather about the story but the writing is not good enough to tempt me to engage my brain - and so the plot was clear as mud. I do suspect the plot might have been clear as mud even if I did engage my brain.

Nemesis (A Harry Hole Novel)

Nemesis (A Harry Hole Novel) - Jo Nesbo Chaos. Nearly gave it 4 stars, maybe I should have done. I delighted in the way the solution changed and changed and changed. Each time seeming plausible but turning out wrong. Being plausible is not enough so let's hope the truth was the truth by the end. Moved the running sub plot along gently as well so I shall keep reading in the right order.

The Language of Bees

The Language of Bees - Laurie R. King Have an extra half star. Picked it up for the title. Initially I was a bit disappointed by the main character Mary and by the writing which is a bit ponderous, but it soon picked up as I got to know her properly. This isn't this first in this series - actually the ninth - so I guess the author had no need to draw the character fully at the start of book none! A refreshingly active heroine, and not out of period - there were lots of real life women zooming all over the globe having adventures right back to the previous century. I'll look out for the first in the series. Always a sucker for bees....

God's Own Country

God's Own Country - Ross Raisin Four stars for the writing. I love books written in dialect and this one really comes alive. Probably make a fantastic radio play. The narrator also comes alive and while you see clearly the people around him, by the end you feel how deeply he is cut off from from all other human beings. They are part of the scenery for him, or less than the scenery. He cares for animals and people but without fully understanding the expectations between people that underpin family ties and a wider society. This is sufficient for working on the farm, but not for normal relationships with people.

I finished the book feeling a bit queasy and reluctant to give it 4 stars and I am still exploring just why. I felt the author was colluding with the verdict of many in the book that he was 'a bad one' and that nothing could have been done, which does not fit my own philosophy. However I decided that the author is telling it like it is - and I can read it as a person not put together right, or broken - rather than evil. There is also a dark North Eastern english element simmering in the background. Unforgiving. I shall not want to re-read this book, but while I was reading it was very compelling and I'm glad I did, despite it being so uncomfortable once the half way mark had been passed and you realise there is no salvation.

Comic it is not. Don't know how anyone could use that word with this book.