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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

Dark Peak: The First Elemental

Dark Peak: The First Elemental - J.G. Parker A bit worthy with all the climate/pollution message not so subtle (yet speaking myself as a bit of a climate warrior....). Otherwise very attractive. A good dragon and it's always great to read books set in the Peak district, especially with some geology. Mention of mountains niggles a bit as we don't have any - 'Peak' is from the old English word 'peac' meaning 'Hill'. And there is no need to call them mountains - they are fantastic hills! However I should set my niggles aside because I enjoyed it very much. I see there is another book but only published as an e-book. If it is ever printed or I ever have reason to use an e-book I will probably read it. Although I do hope the female characters are a bit less passive. The sister as a sidekick felt very old fashioned (there I go again). Have 3 and a half stars - and I don't award my stars lightly! In fact I've bought a copy of the book as a present for a friend.

Weathercraft: A Frank Comic

Weathercraft - Jim Woodring Not my kind of thing. Whimsical.

Mom and Me and Mom

Mom and Me and Mom - Dr Maya Angelou I read this too quickly. The short snappy style is wonderful to allow Maya Angelou's voice to punch through the page, but is best heard in smaller doses. However it's impossible to put down as you just want more and more.... remarkable people, remarkable times. And such hearts and minds.

Excession

Excession  - Iain M. Banks Not my favourite. Love the storyline but couldn't really keep track of all the ships and conspiracies. I'm not sure I ever did get it straight even though I went back through the book scribbling flow charts and names all over the place. But still enjoyable.

The Return Of Captain John Emmett

The Return of Captain John Emmett - Elizabeth Speller Should be nearer 4 stars - so frustrating only having 5 stars to choose from..... Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Very well written. Complicated but the author did such a good job of steering me through the complications I didn't need to do a flow chart as I do with many books. Took a long time wrapping up the story and at the time I thought too long - but a day later I'm not feeling in such a rush! Is she planning a sequel? I got quite excited at the description of Birmingham university clock tower which I was for the first time a week ago myself! And the poetry struck a chord too.

Change of Heart

Change of Heart - Barbara Anderson Very good - definitely another half a star. Particularly clever how the narrator of the book changes at certain points without any warning to illuminate the main character from outside - I was always aware when the switch happened - and it was done without putting the internal life of the other character on the line - so produces a real sense of the main character achieving a change (of heart!) without commenting on the other characters who may or may not be changing - who knows? because the narrative is not focusing on that. Hard to describe. Also a nice 'New Zealand' feel - I felt I was there and not here (UK). A pleasure to spend some time with this book.

Last Rituals

Last Rituals - Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, Bernard Scudder Relaxing in a bloody sort of way. Reminded me a bit of the Cadfael books the way the main characters ambled around the countryside - perhaps also the medieval references although a few hundred years later, brought the Cadfael murders to mind. Unlike many of the modern icelandic murder books leaves you thinking Iceland might be a cheerful place to visit rather than the normal gloom and doom.

The Mammoth Book of Time Travel

The Mammoth Book of Time Travel SF - Mike Ashley Delighted how much fun this has been (give it an extra half star).
Good ones:
Gregory Benford - Caveat Time Traveller
Liz Williams - Century to Starboard
Sean McMullen - Walk to the Full Moon
Fritz Leiber - Try and Change the Past
Robert Silverberg - Needle in a Haystack
Simon Clark - Dear Tomorrow
Ellen Klages - Time Gypsy
Kage Baker - The Catch
Molly Brown - Women on the Brink of a Cataclysm
Michael Swanwick - Legions in Time
David I. Masson - Traveller's Rest
Steve Rasnic Tem - Twember
John Varley - The Pusher
Kristine Kathryn Rusch - Red Letter Day

Sightlines

Sightlines - Kathleen Jamie Read this in the right place - a log cabin miles from Roy Bridge, which is miles from anywhere, with a log burning stove and dogs to walk. Borrowed it from the library for holiday reading and will probably have to buy myself a copy although the writing is so sharp that I can almost imagine I know some of the pieces by heart. Every page is interesting and both brings something new and joins it to my own experience.

Somme Stations

The Somme Stations - Andrew Martin Very well constructed, and very involving. By the end of the book it is impossible to step back and see things from anyone else's point of view. I almost feel I AM Jim Stringer. Though profoundly glad that I was born when and where I was..... and next year will be 100 years since the start of the first world war so a very apposite time to be reading this - shall no doubt be exploring this further.

The Somme Stations. Andrew Martin

The Somme Stations. Andrew Martin - Andrew Martin Very well constructed, and very involving. By the end of the book it is impossible to step back and see things from anyone else's point of view. I almost feel I AM Jim Stringer. Though profoundly glad that I was born when and where I was..... and next year will be 100 years since the start of the first world war so a very apposite time to be reading this - shall no doubt be exploring this further.

Green Mars (Mars Trilogy, Book 2)

Green Mars - Kim Stanley Robinson I did keep going, but had to skip more and more. I don't demand a story-line in every book - but this one just did description - and with the sheer number of pages you would have thought he would have had space for a bit of story. If he was trying to do a Stephen Donaldson - he failed. But I still liked it. He has put a lot of effort into the science of Mars and I appreciate that. Now I am really conflicted because there is 'Blue Mars' to come - shall I venture it - or not? I really enjoyed 'Red Mars' but I don't want to wade through another one like this.

Ravens

Ravens - George Dawes Green Dreadful - could not make it past page 10 and did not even flick to the end to check what happened.

The Algebraist

The Algebraist - Iain M. Banks I rounded this UP to 4 stars because the ending is really very good and well written so you finish the book with satisfaction. The first half is very confusing - the time line of events is something you have to work out yourself from hints and bits and pieces scattered around. It's not the first time I read the book so I took a pen and paper and still had to make about 3 attempts before I got it straight. However it is worth keeping at it because once he has set the scene it's inventive and the plot keeps rolling.

Ox-Tales Fire

Ox-Tales: Fire - Mark Ellingham, Peter Florence **** (4) stars to Vikram Seth and Mark Haddon. I liked the poem Fire by Vikram Seth so much I am learning it by heart and I loved the long short story by Mark Haddon - don't read about it - just read it with no preconceptions.
I had to look up the prawn jumbalaya in Vikram seth's poem and I shall have it for tea tomorrow. My only grumble is that once again Mark Haddon's biography makes no mention of his delightful 'Agent Z' books.
The others get a variety between ** (2) and *** (3).

The Diary of a Teenage Health Freak

The Diary Of A Teenage Health Freak - Aidan Macfarlane, Ann McPherson Written in 1987 - no internet, no mobile phones - but otherwise a good stab at providing sound information in a humorous context. I started reading it in the (charity) shop and thought I'd test my knowledge (pretty good) even though it is a bit late now (no children left under 18 years. Michael asked if I'd bought it for him.... but it's more for me to answer all the difficult medical questions he asks me after looking them up on the internet anyway. So useful, but needs updating.