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Of Mice and Maltesers - Pooter's book

21 replies

pooter · 01/06/2009 14:38

Hi all,
I loved this book. I read it when i was recuperating after DS's birth and was staying at my inlaws. It is a lovely gentle story set in the years after the second world war - about how two men used different kinds of work to overcome their wartime experiences. There is a bit of romance, but its very 'proper' and what would probably happen nowadays doesnt - if you see what i mean. Well, you will!

I love books where nothing much happens - sorry if this bores people. I find it a relief not to have my emotions toyed with too much. I have read another of his books - totally different - "How Steeple Sinderby won the FA Cup" - as has my mum. We both really enjoyed it - its hardly about football at all. Ive also got his other book "The Harpole Report" but have yet to start it.

Hope you enjoy it as i did

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muddleduck · 14/06/2009 16:27

Hi Pooter.
Sorry for slow posting.
I read this at the start of the week and it's definitely one to ponder. I found it really thought provoking in terms of what it is that make us happy and the best way to treat those happy or contented periods in our lives. It really made me think of a friend of mine who always looks back at the best times of his life and this almost seems to stop him enjoying the present. I loved the end of the book where it seemed that he was able to move on and leave this chapter of his life behind him.
It is not something I would ever have picked up so thanks for the recommendation.

pooter · 15/06/2009 16:07

Im glad you didnt hate it! i was so scared to see what you had written!!

Yes, I feel that way about people who are always taking photographs. I went travelling with some friends when i was at uni, and one friend did nothing but take pictures. The views were stunning, but she didnt stop to enjoy them!

I thought it was very 'of it's time' in that the romance didn't go anywhere despite the obvious attraction and the lifeless marriage. I would imagine that the peace and solitude would have been very restorative after his experiences in the previous years.

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pooter · 05/08/2009 17:09

im getting paranoid - does no one like my book?? Has anyone read it?

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LadyBee · 05/08/2009 21:17

Hi, see for a really tiny book, this actually took me the entire month to read. But not because it was difficult or boring. It's just such a lovely little gem I didn't want to spoil it by reading on train or while waiting for someone etc. After reading the first few pages I realised I wanted to read it 'on purpose', curled up on the sofa or outside with a cup of tea. And those moments just didn't come around very often.

I think this is one I'll buy a copy of, and press it upon other friends. I love the uncovering of the painting and archaeology aspects - I'm interested in those things and I like the way that uncovering echoes the idea of uncovering memories or layers of life.

Nice choice!

pooter · 06/08/2009 10:51

YIPEEEEE!!!
oh you have made my day ladybee

His other books are TOTALLY different, but still worth a read as they are touching and almost delicate - even the one about footie!

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FlyingMonkey · 03/09/2009 21:33

Hi Pooter.

Hmmm, well, I am struggling to think of what to say about this book. I did enjoy it (Carr's writing is wonderful) but didn't really engage with it on any emotional level. SPOILER ALERT I was most affected by Tom's relationship with Moon, particularly when we find out about the latter's sexuality. The abortive romance with Alice Keach seemed a bit flimsy but then I suppose anything more overt would have seemed out of kilter with the overall tone of the book.

I thought the treatment of the period was excellent - it reminded me of Siegfried Sassoon's 'Memoirs of a Fox Hunting Man' which was written in the 1920s. The description of the long, hot, idyllic summer also reminded me of 'The Go-Between'.

I probably would have got more out of the book but I stupidly left it the last minute to read it and then wizzed through it in an afternoon. Maybe one to come back to.

pooter · 04/09/2009 11:22

Yes FlyingMonkey - i totally get where you are coming from. That lack of emotional engagement is actually what i really liked about it, but also what i was worried about regarding what others would think of it.

I havent read the Siegfried Sassoon book, so i may give it a go.

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nosferartifartu · 21/10/2009 11:19

Hello pooter and co

I really liked this book. I was having a stressy week last week and so this was perfect. When I'm in that kind of mood, I love to read books set in the countryside in bygone days - I can indulge my 'if I lived in the countryside in a little cottage, everything would be okay' fantasy (when in reality I grew up in the countryside and know that it is full of binge-drinking teenagers and bigots, haha!)

Anyway, I digress.

At first I thought I was going to be annoyed or frustrated by it - it was so short and not much happened. But it was so simple and charming and I liked the evocation of the village and its ways. I was also really interested in his work and it made me want to go and find out more about the colours they used and where they got them from. There was a bit of me though that wanted more to happen, relationships to develop between the characters (although I found the vicar's wife a bit annoying actually).

Have you read Cider with Rosie? I recommend that for those times when you need something a bit like this. (I used to quite like Lark Rise to Candleford too but the TV version is just too saccharine and comedy west-country for words!) I also love Thomas Hardy for his rural writing but not usually so cheery...

Thanks pooter - lovely choice.

pooter · 21/10/2009 23:19

wehey! Oh, the apprehension i feel when I open this thread every month!!

I love reading books by old people about life in the countryside when they were younger. Hannah Hauxwell's "Seasons of my Life", "Peig", the Autobiography of Peig Sayres of Great Blasket Island, and "The Hills is Lonely" by Lillian Beckwith, to name but a few. I really enjoy reading about them going about their everyday lives.

Im afraid school ruined Cider with Rosie for me, and i made DH make up a happy ending for Jude the Obscure as i was too upset by the end of it!!

Im so glad you liked it scary arti - didnt recognise you in your halloween costume there for a minute

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nosferartifartu · 22/10/2009 07:44

Hannah Hauxwell - she was a game old bird! My mum is from up that way so we had all her books. She ended up on TV too, I seem to remember. I will look out the others (think I might have read the Beckwith one) for those stressy weeks.

My book has a rural bent too so hope you like it when it finally comes your way.

aristocat · 14/11/2009 17:45

hi pooter,
thanks for this book.

firstly the writing style makes it very easy to read. secondly i couldn't believe it is only 85 pages long! it is a very short book but it doesn't seem to be once you are reading it - every line - every page - is rich in description.

basically i saw it as a nostalgic view of the english countryside and when life was more simple than it is today.

the story involves life,death,love and friendship.
i was amazed how much was in such a little book.

i didnt love it but nor did i hate it either - it was just ok.

pooter · 15/11/2009 20:01

Glad you didn't hate it aristo

It's so difficult to choose a book that will appeal to everyone isn't it!

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pooter · 04/01/2010 00:53

come on - someone must have read my little book by now

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TheBuggerofSuburbia · 27/03/2010 11:15

Wow, why has no one else posted on this all year??

When I first started to read the book, I wasn't sure if I'd like it - it seemed like the kind of book we were made to read at school. However I enjoyed it - I thought it was lovely. Unfortunately I don't have much else to say about it, apart from thank you Pooter!

pooter · 27/03/2010 20:54

Im so glad someone has read it! Im very relieved TBOS.

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stickylittlefingers · 21/04/2010 14:19

Hi - I absolutely loved this book, definitely my favourite so far (only nudging arti's choice aside because I knew those very well, whereas this was a completely new one on me).

Amazing how little known it is - except perhaps because it is very Hardy-esque. I love Thomas Hardy, but it's not fashionable (apparently!). It also made me thing of Memoirs of a fox-hunting man, though Birkin is a very different hero. Also made me think of Heinrich Boell - although he was post WWII, the themes of returning from war, being an outsider and the weirdness of society after what the soldiers had seen. I thought Keach was a rather pathetic character in the end - all he had was religion and he realised that it wasn't enough. The uncovering of a medieval painting that was actually the last judgement was a wonderful motif for a story about men who had "left hell and found heaven" in a north Yorkshire village. Actually I can feel myself launching into an essay here, so I'm going to stop!! Just want to say thanks so much for sharing this book - definitely going to get my own copy. Beautifully written, wonderful characters - will definitely be one of those ones that stick in my head for a long while.

Cheers Pooter!!

pooter · 25/04/2010 10:17

yey!
thats an interesting point about men who "left hell and found heaven" and one that escaped me.

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AgentProvocateur · 26/04/2010 22:00

I can't wait to get this one, and I'm resisting the temptation to guess what it is.

pooter · 26/04/2010 22:51

Have you been having a sneaky peek at the reviews AP? Naughty! I was told off when i did that! Hope you like it when you get it.

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AgentProvocateur · 29/04/2010 18:50

Ha, no - if only I were that organised! I was trying to post about the last-but-one book I had, but I couldn't remember whose it was... (So I had to have a sneaky peek at them all to see if I recognised the description )

But I've just realised that stickylittlefingers has posted a review, so that means it must be me next!

AgentProvocateur · 01/06/2010 21:03

Well, I'd never have guessed this book. In fact, I'd never heard of it or the author.

I thought this was going to be a really easy ready, one that I'd whizz though, but it took me all month.

It was a very gentle, slow-moving story, and it made me quite envious that life could be so simple and relaxing. The two characters were very male - I could see DH being happy to spend a whole summer pottering on a painting, whereas most wome I know would have a dozen projects on the go.

I really enjoyed reading about the English countryside, although it was all quite alien to me. I have no knowledge of the workings of a church either, so I enjoyed reading about that.

I'd never have picked this up in a bookshop or library, but I'm really glad I read it. It was a slow, relaxing read. Thanks, Pooter.

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