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sarahjlangdon

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

Nine Princes in Amber (Amber Chronicles, #1)

Nine Princes in Amber (Amber Chronicles, #1) - Roger Zelazny Perhaps nearly four stars for the first book, and three for each of the other 4 Corwin books which I am not going to add separately. After the first one I tend to skip over all the shadow walking stuff as it gets a bit samey - so they end up more like long short stories. I think I like the books particularly because I like to inhabit the head of the narrator - a very satisfying character and an enjoyable rollercoaster adventure.

Turtle Diary

Turtle Diary - Russell Hoban Read this a long time ago. May be time to read it again. Came to mind because I heard of another book by him - Riddley Walker - that I want to read.

The Three Musketeers

The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas Glad I re-read it in the original translation of 1946. There were lots of words I had to look up. I enjoyed the pace of the writing - the musketeers, and others, tearing around, always in a hurry, whether to find their next meal, or chasing a villain - and the short chapters complimented that perfectly. As a teenager I mostly missed the casual violence - enjoying the daring-do and romance - but I've certainly had to revise my opinions of what was my top favourite character Athos, I can't condone his treatment of his young wife no matter how wicked the lady becomes later. And I appreciate far more both Lady De Winter and the cardinal. Still it is a wonderful romp through Paris, France and London, and a heartfelt celebration of brotherhood and loyalty.

The Land of Green Ginger

The Land of Green Ginger - Noel Langley, Edward Ardizzone Can't find my old original copy but picked this up in a charity shop. It doesn't read quite right - and I have discovered that this is a 1975 re-write which is not as good as the 1966 one I have had since a child. Perhaps it will turn up.... The whimsy stays just on the right side and the pace is great. I still don't like Edward Ardizzone's illustrations.

The Quiet Girl

The Quiet Girl - Peter Høeg, Nadia Christensen Deserves more than 3 stars - very nearly four. I read the book in short bursts but not leaving too long between readings - just right as it is a bit repetitive. More head than heart but intriguing, mystic and ultimately inconclusive - which I like. Another reviewer called it "brittle intellectualism and dreamy philosophy" and that's a great description.

Absolutely Normal Chaos - Sharon Creech

Absolutely Normal Chaos - Sharon Creech

Perfect for a sleepless night and a rainy day. Love all the different voices.

Absolutely Normal Chaos

Absolutely Normal Chaos - Sharon Creech Plus another bit of a star. Perfect for a sleepless night and a rainy day. Love all the different voices.

Quest by Canoe

Quest By Canoe, Glasgow To Skye - Alastair M. Dunnett

The narrative starts in the second week of July but never reveals either what year the two young men nicknamed the 'Canoe boys' (but having already achieved publication of a Scottish weekly adventure paper for boys, and a foothold in the world of journalism) took place, or the year the book was published. All you gather is that the canoe trip took place before the second world war starting on a Saturday and was written after the war.
A bit of investigation reveals the Claymore paper was started late 1933 and folded July 1934 and the canoes set off that summer - 'Too late in the year' as everyone keeps telling them. The book was published in 1950 and both Alistair Dunnett and James Seumas Adam had varied and immensely influential careers.
Both are dead now but the author lived to 1998 (born 1908) and James Adam to 2003. The 'Quest by Canoe' touches Scottish politics, economics and character as well as the wonderful people and places that are the West Coast of Scotland. The last 30 years has seen some great improvements in conditions in the Highlands such as transport and communication and right to buy crofts - all argued for by this book and helped to come to pass by the two paddlers. I hope they were proud.

Stonemouth - iain Banks

Stonemouth - Iain Banks

This book should be filed on my shelves with the other romantic thrillers that I love so much (Joan Aiken The Butterfly Picnic and a few more, Mary Stewart Touch Not the Cat and a few more). It's as if Iain Banks heard my pleading for more books like this - and just tossed one off - just for me. It obviously doesn't matter that the 'I' (or eye) of the story is a young man - I get the same delicious satisfaction as the story folds and unfolds.

Stonemouth

Stonemouth - Iain Banks This book should be filed on my shelves with the other romantic thrillers that I love so much (Joan Aiken The Butterfly Picnic and a few more, Mary Stewart Touch Not the Cat and a few more). It's as if Iain Banks heard my pleading for more books like this - and just tossed one off - just for me. It obviously doesn't matter that the 'I' (or eye) of the story is a young man - I get the same delicious satisfaction as the story folds and unfolds.

The Redbreast

The Redbreast  - Jo Nesbø, Don Bartlett Need to add a bit of an extra star because it was very good. Plenty of complexity and a mastery of the short chapter which keeps the pace going beautifully. I had to look the author up as I couldn't decide whether the writer was a man or woman and that intrigued me. Although the detective is a man and women as well as men get killed I could still imagine the author might be a woman, a welcome absence of misogyny. I usually steer clear of war related books but with the centenary of the first world war coming up this year, I have found myself reading a number of books dealing fictionally with the aftermath of the two 'world' wars. The Norwegians fighting on the German eastern front made it all the more interesting as normally english texts only look from the perspective of the Norwegian resistance, and reading only 2 years after the Fascist Brevick massacre the book deals with very topical issues.

The Weight of Water

The Weight of Water - Sarah Crossan,  Oliver Jeffers First dipped into the poems in the charity shop without realising it was a novel. Then read it cover to cover trying to go slowly. The narrative thread drives you on through the book so that it is really hard to stop reading one poem after another and the book is finished far too quickly. I loved the voice of the girl combined with the maturity of the author. Both shine through together similar to that of other favourite teenage girl characters (Dido, Emma Graham). And since finishing I have been dipping back into individual poems. Shall have to keep this book or give it away to someone special.

The Bat

The Bat - Jo Nesbø Very much enjoyed the novel perspective of a Norwegian detective finding his feet in Australia. Will probably read the other Harry Hole book but not bowled over yet by Harry Hole.

In the Company of Crows and Ravens

In the Company of Crows and Ravens - John M. Marzluff, Tony Angell, Paul R. Ehrlich And another half star. Great book with lovely pictures but a bit of a dry read so maybe better to dip into rather than read cover to cover as I did (albeit slowly). Could use more imagination with the structure of the book - the content was very interesting.

The Master Builder

The Master Builder - Henrik Ibsen Never seen any Ibsen or read any and had very little idea what to expect. It was a bit weird but definitely captivated me (have an extra half star). It is odd to think of Ibsen writing this in Norway so long ago - before my grandfather was born as it is so different to anything else I have read from that time. I don't think I buy into the symbolism that the description on the cassette box claims - seems more of a psychological exercise to me. And beautifully performed. I think if I got the chance I might go and see an Ibsen play in the theatre.

Solo: A James Bond Novel

Solo: A James Bond Novel - William Boyd A quick read, helped by breakfast in bed on Saturday morning.... a bit 'nice' as I remembered James Bond as being nastier - but it's so long since I read the Flemming books that I might well be quite wrong. Enjoyed the African bits especially.