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50 Book Challenge 2018 Part Six

southeastdweller · 05/06/2018 08:12

Welcome to the sixth thread of the 50 Book Challenge for this year.

The challenge is to read fifty books (or more!) in 2018, though reading fifty isn't mandatory. Any type of book can count, it’s not too late to join, and please try to let us all know your thoughts on what you've read.

The first thread of the year is here, the second one here, the third one here, the fourth one here, and the fifth one here.

How're you getting on so far?

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Terpsichore · 07/06/2018 23:50

Having read several of them, I've belatedly realised that the 50 book challenge is the perfect excuse opportunity for me to read the complete works of Barbara Pym. So my next to add to the list is another of hers. 40: Less Than Angels.

This was enormously enjoyable, although perhaps less Pymish than expected in some ways. The main character, Catherine Oliphant, is a writer of women's fiction, living with a younger lover, anthropologist Tom. Catherine is self-sufficient and unsentimental, and when Tom meets 19-year-old Deirdre, she accepts that the end of their affair is inevitable and that he must move on to form relationships with girls nearer his own age (this aspect of the plot really reminded me of Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, although whether Pym meant it to, I have no idea).
Alongside this is much delicious comedy around the Institute where Tom, Deirdre and their various eccentric colleagues study, but also the suburbs where Deirdre lives with her mother and aunt. The church doesn't feature much in this novel, as it does in others by her, but Pym invests the arcane world of anthropology with similar attributes and gives it a cast of characters to match, including the sort of middle-aged spinsters who act as 'excellent women', seeing to the needs of men.
Ten out of ten for this one. Loved it.

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RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie · 08/06/2018 01:35

Hi, Rat.

65: A German Requiem – Philip Kerr – The 3rd Bernie Gunther, and my last dealings with him, I think. I doubt I’ll bother re-reading any of the others. Mixed feelings about this one – some of it was really interesting, there’s a wonderful moment of poetic justice and a couple of moments of Bernie trying hard to be a genuinely good egg; but there’s also some really overblown dialogue; there are far too many acronyms, and it was too long. Too many women in these novels are placed there merely in order to die horribly, as well.

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ChessieFL · 08/06/2018 05:46

  1. Blood Sugar by Suzanna Dunn

    I think I picked this up following a recommendation on a mumsnet thread but can’t now remember where/why. It was ok - a coming of age novel telling the story of Lalie starting at age 17 and working forwards for the next 10 years. Not much happens to her, and I found the structure a bit confusing - it jumps to a point in time each year, but then sometimes goes back and fills in the gaps as Lalie remembers things so I kept losing track of whether the event being described was happening ‘now’ or a few months ago.
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ChillieJeanie · 08/06/2018 06:43

Thanks for the new thread. I've just finished:

47. VE Schwab - A Gathering of Shadows

Sequel to A Darker Shade of Magic, which crosses parallel worlds known by the colours red, white, grey and black which refer to the levels of magic in them. Red is in balance with magic easily available; grey is a world where magic no longer exists; white has limited amounts of magic and the people battle for it; and black was destroyed by magic and closed off to save the other three. After the events of four months before Kell, one of the last magicians with the ability to travel between two parallel universes, is feeling the consequences in the form of added restrictions and also increased mistrust. He is also missing Lila, the unusual woman from Grey London who joined the crew of a privateer and see something of the red world. But White London is coming back to life and as Red London prepares for an international competition of magic - the Element Games - its world remains unaware of the threat that now faces them.

The rest of my list is:

  1. Stephanie Garber - Caraval
  2. Jo Nesbo - The Thirst
  3. Mercedes Lackey - Magic’s Pawn
  4. Mercedes Lackey - Magic’s Promise
  5. Mercedes Lackey - Magic’s Price
  6. Neil Gaiman - Norse Mythology
  7. Lee Child - No Middle Name
  8. Sue Lloyd-Roberts - The War on Women
  9. Genevieve Cogman - The Lost Plot
  10. Iain Banks - The Wasp Factory
  11. Mercedes Lackey - Arrows of the Queen
  12. Mercedes Lackey - Arrow’s Flight
  13. Mercedes Lackey - Arrow’s Fall
  14. Lucinda Riley - The Shadow Sister
  15. Susan Hill - The Travelling Bag
  16. Charlaine Harris - Midnight Crossroad
  17. Trudi Canavan - Thief’s Magic
  18. Sarah Bakewell - At the Existentialist Café
  19. Ernest Cline - Ready Player One
  20. Virginia Woolf - Orlando
  21. Jordan B. Peterson - 12 Rules for Life
  22. Mary Beard - Women & Power A Manifesto
  23. Laini Taylor - Dreams of Gods and Monsters
  24. Sergei Lukyanenko - The Sixth Watch
  25. Cordelia Fine - Delusions of Gender
  26. Natasha Pulley - The Watchmaker of Filigree Street
  27. Ben Aaronovitch - The Furthest Station
  28. Val McDermid - Insidious Intent
  29. Oscar de Muriel - A Mask of Shadows
  30. Andrew Taylor - The Ashes of London
  31. Andrew Caldecott - Rotherweird
  32. Ali Shaw - The Trees
  33. David Lagercrantz - The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye
  34. Lee Child - The Midnight Line
  35. Hannah Kent - The Good People
  36. Kelley Armstrong - Dime Store Magic
  37. Kelley Armstrong - Industrial Magic
  38. Tom Holland - In the Shadow of the Sword
  39. Naomi Novik - Crucible of Gold
  40. Naomi Novik - Blood of Tyrants
  41. Naomi Novik - League of Dragons
  42. Jean M. Auel - The Clan of the Cave Bear
  43. Alex Grecian - Lost and Gone Forever
  44. JD Oswald - Dreamwalker
  45. John Le Carré – A Legacy of Spies
  46. JD Oswald - The Rose Cord
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OllyBJolly · 08/06/2018 07:56

Amazingly, half way through the year and I'm on track for my 50 books!

So far:

  1. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind Yuval Noah Harari
  2. The Shetland Gypsy Kayrin McMillan
  3. A good face for radio Eddie Mair
  4. Lincoln in the Bardo George Saunders
  5. Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day Winifred Watson
  6. Bette and Joan: The Divine Feud Shaun Considine
  7. And Furthermore : Judi Dench
  8. How to Stop Time Matt Haig
  9. This is Going To Hurt Adam Kay
  10. Shredded; Inside RBS Ian Fraser
  11. Elon Musk Ashlee Vance
  12. Death on a Longship Marsali Taylor
  13. Women and Power Mary Beard
  14. The War on Women Sue Lloyd Roberts
  15. A Gentleman in Moscow Amor Towles
  16. Exit West Mohsin Hamid
  17. The Heart's Invisible Furies John Boyne
  18. The House of Dust and Dreams Brenda Reid
  19. Heavenly's Child Brenda Reid
  20. The Island Victoria Hislop
  21. The Things We Learn When We're Dead Charlie Laidlaw
  22. Zorba the Greek Nikos Kazantzakis

    Favourite so far has been The Heart's Invisible Furies which is one of these books that just suck you in and consume you. Loved it.

    Bette and Joan was a great read - I've always been fascinated by both characters.

    Elon Musk's story is so interesting.

    A Gentleman in Moscow was really enjoyable.

    Last flurry of books set in Crete were because I was on holiday there. All very enjoyable holiday reading. Now looking to find the Anthony Quinn film of Zorba.
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bibliomania · 08/06/2018 09:21

I'm very fond of Less than Angels, Terp. I've been working on a part-time PhD foreeeeever, and my imagination often turns fondly to the scene where a character gets sick of trying to turn his field notes into a book and sticks the lot on a bonfire.

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YesILikeItToo · 08/06/2018 11:44

Are there house rules about how to count DNFs? I have decided that trying to read Chicago by David Mamet is a mugs game. It’s obvious to me that there’s a reason that he’s more famous as a playwright. All the dialogue is recorded as if it was spoken, so he misses out all the words that people miss out when they speak. I can’t understand anything anyone says! So, trying to guess what they are saying from the context has proved satisfactory for about 80 pages, but now I’ve got to a big old conversation down a whole page and I’m done.

My husband bought me this. I don’t think it means he doesn’t love me.

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bibliomania · 08/06/2018 11:51

I don't know if it's a house rule as such, but people will often discuss why they didn't finish, exactly as you've done, but not count it as part of their total. But we don't have strict thread police, and I can't imagine anyone tut-tutting if you did want to count it.

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SatsukiKusakabe · 08/06/2018 13:21


But seriously yes chat about it but don’t count it is generally the way Smile

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bibliomania · 08/06/2018 14:08

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SatsukiKusakabe · 08/06/2018 15:58

It’s so easy-going here really

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CoffeeOrSleep · 08/06/2018 16:11

Hello! Lost you, found you again. I have nothing new to add - failing to take my book when we went away at the end of half term didn't help!

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RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie · 08/06/2018 17:17

I've got your back, Satsuki. We definitely don't count unfinished books!

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Sadik · 08/06/2018 18:49

Thanks for the Backlisted recommendation Dottie - I've just listened to the episodes on Absolute Beginners (which is one of my favourite books) and Letters From a Fainthearted Feminist, which I also love. I can feel some re-reading coming up :)

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exexpat · 08/06/2018 19:04

So this is where you have all got to...

My list to date:

1. The Dark Flood Rises - Margaret Drabble
2. The Loved One - Evelyn Waugh
3. The Middlepause - Marina Benjamin
4. The Wall Jumper - Peter Schneider
5. The Gustav Sonata - Rose Tremain
6. First Love - Gwendoline Riley
7. The Furthest Station - Ben Aaronovitch
8. Quiet - Susan Cain
9. Death and the Penguin - Andrey Kurkov
10. The War on Women - Sue Lloyd Roberts
11. Harmless Like You - Rowan Hisayo Buchanan
12. Selfish People - Lucy English
13.How to Stop Time - Matt Haig
14. The Watchmaker of Filigree Street - Natasha Pulley
15. The House of Mirth - Edith Wharton
16. The Vanishing Box - Elly Griffiths
17. Rosalie Blum - Camille Jourdy
18. Addlands - Tom Bullough
19. Saplings - Noel Streatfeild
20. Butterflies in November - Audur Ava Olafsdottir
21. All Passion Spent - Vita Sackville-West
22. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves - Karen Joy Fowler
23. The Cherry Blossom Murder - Fran Pickering
24. Venetia - Georgette Heyer
25. I Feel Bad About My Neck - Nora Ephron
26. The Keeper of Lost Things - Ruth Hogan
27. The Miniaturist - Jessie Burton
28. Wide Sargasso Sea - Jean Rhys
29. Black and British: A Forgotten History - David Olusoga
30. Shadow Dance - Angela Carter
31. The Descent of Man - Grayson Perry
32. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
33. Cousins - Salley Vickers
34. Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk - Kathleen Rooney
35. Flaneuse - Lauren Elkin
36. August is a Wicked Month - Edna O'Brien

Most recent reads:

37. Miss Mole - EH Young

Dottierichardson did an excellent review of this one on the last thread, so I don't have much to add. I enjoyed it for its portrayal of the inner life and semi-repressed rebelliousness of a nearly-middle-aged woman dependent on others for her livelihood but not for her sense of self. The happy ending was a bit glib, though. It reminded me a little in its themes of The House of Mirth (Edith Wharton) which I read earlier this year.

38. I Contain Multitudes - Ed Yong

This is non-fiction, about how the lives, health and even behaviour of all living things are intimately tied up with and influenced by the microbes living on and in them. Ed Yong is a really good science writer, who manages to convey his excitement about things without overstating the case for, for example, faecal transplants for treating human diseases. Several chapters of the book concern the human microbiome, and they are interesting if for example you want to understand all the factors involved in the transmission of maternal microbes in vaginal vs c-section births, plus the components of breast milk designed to feed those microbes, and their impact on a baby's developing immune system.

I found some of the stuff on other life forms equally interesting, such as the work Australian scientists have been doing to infect mosquitoes with a type of bacteria which prevents them from transmitting dengue fever. A good and surprisingly accessible read if you are interested in the subject matter.

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exexpat · 08/06/2018 19:43

Also, going back to the end of the last thread (I was away), I'm pleased to find some other Phil Rickman fans - he's my longstanding guilty pleasure, shared with my mother, who usually gets the hardbacks as soon as they are out.

I have been reading and enjoying his books since Crybbe (now republished as Curfew, I think), back in the early 90s, and have read all the Merrily Watkins ones and I think nearly all the standalone ones, but none of the John Dee ones, which somehow don't appeal in the same way. Can anyone recommend them or tell me not to bother?

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CorvusUmbranox · 08/06/2018 20:03

Ploughing on through some quick easy reads and trying to whittle down my number of extant library books to something slightly more manageable (honestly my card at one library is maxed out, and very nearly maxed out at the other).

52.) Spectacles: A Memoir, by Sue Perkins -- Pretty much what you'd expect. Amusing in parts, poignant in others. Occasionally some of the anecdotes push the bounds of believability and fall a little flat as a result, but she writes very movingly and honestly about her father's cancer, and there are also some lovely bits about female friendship in there too. Ironically, since it's likely to be what brings in most of the readership, I found the section about Bake Off the least engaging, although the background of the rocky first season was interesting.

53.) Beautiful For Ever: Madame Rachel of Bond Street - Cosmetician, Con-artist and Blackmailer, by Helen Rappaport I stumbled across this on Amazon searching for more general books about the history of con-artistry. Couldn't find anything like that, but this had a very pretty cover, and that sucked me in. It centres around the figure of Madame Rachel, who inspired the character of Maria Oldershaw in Armadale (apparently. To my shame I've never read any Wilkie Collins), who with her enamelling process managed to bilk god knows how many wealthy gentlewomen out of their (well, their husbands') -- fortunes, and was in and out of court as a result.

Perhaps trivial at first glance, but this was a fascinating read, touching on anti-Semitism (Madame Rachel was Jewish) and misogyny, and it felt very relevant to the present day. Hard not to come out of it with a grudging respect for Madame Rachel and her daughters, con-artist though she may have been.


Next up, the quick read trend continues with Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence, which I'm zooming through. I only started it this morning and I'm two-thirds of the way through.

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nowanearlyNicemum · 08/06/2018 20:46

15. On Green Dolphin Street - Sebastian Faulks
I'm a massive fan of Birdsong but this just didn't measure up as far as I'm concerned. Having said that there were several sections which I found beautifully written and seriously made me well up. Overall the characters weren't particularly endearing and the whole adulterous quandary of do I stay or do I go didn't bring anything new to the age-old dilemma.

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PandaPacer · 09/06/2018 07:20

Hello everyone, thanks for the new thread. Here's my list

  1. The Gathering by Anne Enright
  2. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  3. What Management Is by Joan Magretta
  4. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
  5. The English Spy by Gabriel Allon
  6. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
  7. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling
  8. Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (neopolitan novels 3) by Elana Ferrante
  9. Emma by Jane Austen
  10. Regeneration by Pat Barker
  11. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  12. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
  13. The Naked Lunch by William Burroughs
  14. Imperium by Robert Harris
  15. Little Lord Faultneroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  16. The Acid Test by Elmer Mendoza
  17. Homer Price by Robert McCloskey
  18. On Writing by Steven King
  19. Adventures in Darkness by Tom Sullivan
  20. Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
  21. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  22. The Five People you Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
  23. Peter Pan by JM Barrie
  24. Autumn by Ali Smith
  25. The Bradshaw Variations by Rachel Cusk
  26. The Public Image by Muriel Spark

    27. Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth I read American Pastoral last year and thought it was almost the perfect novel, so sought out some earlier Roth at the library. This one was banned in many countries when published due to some of the graphic sexual descriptions, and for the first third of the book I was wondering if I was the target audience for this book! However Roth is indeed a master storyteller and the story, a monologue by an aging Jewish commitment-phobe about his family and his relationships to his psychiatrist draws you with its tendrils. It's different to my usual novels but I did enjoy it.

    28. A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes After a hurricane destroys the family home in Jamaica, the Bas-Thornton children are sent to England unaccompanied on a boat. Their boat is captured by pirates who they are 'accidentally' left with when the ship's captain flees, believing they are dead. The book covers the adventures of the children on the pirate ship as they sail the seas - it is laced with adventure, tragedy, and hints of inappropriate overtones to the children from the pirates. It's a child's view of adult adventures told in such a rollicking way that the shocking parts do genuinely come as a shock. Recommended!
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PepeLePew · 09/06/2018 10:17

PandaPacer, I also loved American Pastoral. It put me off reading more Roth because I didn’t want to be disappointed after that. Perhaps I should give him a go.

My list below, plus new additions. Stand out for me this year is probably The Grapes of Wrath, followed by Home Fire, Fermat’s Last Theorem and The Female Persuasion.

1 A Life of My Own by Claire Tomalin
2 Exquisite by Sarah Stovell
3 The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond
4 Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
5 One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksander Solzhenitsyn
6 How to Read a Novel by John Sutherland
7 The Nix by Nathan Hill
8. On Writing by Stephen King
9. Hot Milk by Deborah Levy
10 The Vanity Fair Diaries by Tina Brown
11 A River in Darkness by Masaji Ishikawa
12 Just What Kind of Mother Are You? by Paula Daly
13 Commonwealth by Ann Patchett.
14 The Shining by Stephen King
15 The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene
16 How to talk so teens listen and listen so teens talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlisch
17 Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
18 Mythos by Stephen Fry
19 Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
20 Endurance by Alfred Lansing
21 Quantum Mechanics by Jim Al-Khalili
22 Night Waking by Sarah Moss
23 A Woman’s Work by Harriet Harman
24 Hiroshima by John Hersey
25 The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell
26 The Novel Cure by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin
27 Behind Closed Doors by BA Paris
28 Eve Was Framed by Helena Kennedy
29 Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
30 a very dull but quite useful work related book.
31 The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
32 Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift
33 Women and Power by Mary Beard
34 Vital Conversations by Alec Grimsley
35 You Don't Know Me by Imran Mahmood
36 Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
37 Map Addict by Mike Parkes
38 The Weight of Numbers by Simon Ing
39 Educated by Tara Westover
40 How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather
41 Bookworm by Lucy Mangan
42 The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
43 -Fermat's Last Theorem by Simon Singh
44 Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
45 Eat Up by Ruby Tandoh
46 Little Fires Everywhere by Cecile Ng
47 The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy
48 Mindset by Carol Dweck
49 East of Eden by John Steinbeck
50 Happiness for Humans by PZ Reizin
51 Who by Geoff Smart
52 Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
53 Strangers Drowning by Larissa Macfarquhar
54 - The Private Lives of the Tudors by Tracy Borman
55 - Gone by Min Kym
56 - The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel
57 - I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
58 - Friend Request by Laura Marshall
59 - Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
60 - The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer

61 Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann

I'm going to be kind about this because I actually quite enjoyed it, despite the terrible stereotypes and slightly rambling plot. Three women navigate their way though the New York and LA celebrity landscape of the 1950s, getting through the day with ever increasing amounts of tranquillisers. I'm going to watch the movie tonight and wallow in trashiness.

62 A Constant Princess by Phillipa Gregory

Urgh. Unutterably tedious account of Catherine of Aragon's childhood and early womanhood, with an immense amount of supposition thrown in. I quite like good historical fiction but this was terribly slow moving and badly written. I found the central conceit - that Catherine lied about the consummation of her marriage to Arthur to be able to marry Henry after his death - a possibly interesting way to tell her story but my god, it was laboured and tiresome. I don’t remember PG being quite this bad before - maybe I’m getting old and grumpy.

63 The Only Story by Julian Barnes

This was such a relief after Ms Gregory. Paul is a teenager on holiday from university when he falls in love with an older woman at the tennis club. The story follows their relationship, told in the first person, then the second person, then the third. I thought this was excellent - beautiful elegant prose, well observed and thoughtful. And the shifting narration as the story evolves meant our understanding as a reader changes with it. Made me think about love and why we stay in love with someone. It's been ages since I read any Julian Barnes - I'm very tempted to go and seek out more.

64 Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Sailor tells story of his journey up a river to an isolated trading station where a European trader has set himself up as a god among the local population. This has been on my list of books I think I should have read forever. I can see why it was on the “should read” list - it’s clever and powerful, and I enjoyed the In Our Time episode about it which threw up lots of things I hadn’t thought about. Nonetheless, I am glad it was short, and that now I have read it I don’t have to read it again.

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TheTurnOfTheScrew · 09/06/2018 13:49

26. Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes
Our narrator is contacted out of the blue by an old acquaintance whom he hasn't seen for 40 years. This leads to him tracking down several of the debutantes from the year they did the Season, and the resurrection of ghosts from the past.

I fancied something a bit trashy, and this was definitely that. Fellowes as ever is focusing on his two favourite things: toffs and snobbery. There was a half-decent plot waiting in the wings, but it was too bogged down by commentary on the quality of carpets or whether it's smarter to kiss on the cheek on both sides or just one.

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ChessieFL · 09/06/2018 14:28

  1. Bring Me Back by B. A. Paris

    I enjoyed her first book Behind Closed Doors, and thought the second, The Breakdown, was ok. This was weaker again. It started well - Finn’s girlfriend disappeared from a motorway service area in France twelve years ago and hasn’t been seen since - until now. However there are far too many Russian dolls in the story (seriously- I like Russian dolls but I was fed up of them by the end of this) and the twist is just ridiculous, with a convenient email left by someone explaining everything which is just weak storytelling.
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Piggywaspushed · 09/06/2018 16:39

Just finished 42. Circe. After feeling as if I was ploughing through the first 50 pages or so, I did enjoy this, as it is so beautifully written. I felt a bit disadvantaged by only vaguely recognising some of the Greek gods and goddesses (even though I have read Hyperion!) and may still recourse to Wikipedia to see what Miller has taken licence with! But is it a good story.

This Thing Of Darkness has now been selected by the gods of the Random Number Generator! I do hope I like it! I will feel I have let MN down if I don't.

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lastqueenofscotland · 09/06/2018 17:33

  1. Water music by TC Doyle
    Not as shocking as I was expecting. Very very readable.
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Dottierichardson · 09/06/2018 23:57

30 Ghosts of the Tsunami by Richard Lloyd Parry – I thought this was the most impressive – and at times almost unbearably moving – book I’ve read in some time. The tsunami of the title is the 2011 Japanese Tsunami which killed over 18,500 people, led to the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl (prompting Germany, Italy and Switzerland to abandon nuclear power) ended political careers and caused billions of dollars of damage. Lloyd Parry, who’s Asia Editor for The Times, lives in Japan; where he charted the tsunami and its aftermath over a six-year period, the result this gripping, lucid and haunting account.

Lloyd Parry initially reported events as ‘hard’ news, but ‘needed’ to make sense of the ‘unimaginable’ human cost of this catastrophe, then he heard about a small rural community, Okawa, that had ‘suffered an exceptional tragedy’. He visited this community repeatedly, building relationships and interviewing survivors, the centre of his interest the parents (mostly mothers) of the children of Okawa Primary School. Lloyd-Parry structures the book almost like a novel, survivors’ stories slowly reveal what happened in Okawa, the questions it provoked and what was to follow. Handled differently I could see how easily this could have been a voyeuristic ‘human interest’ story but Lloyd Parry’s account rises far above that kind of approach. He takes his reader through these stories with a subtle, sensitive touch, pausing to take in the region’s history, its culture and landscape - down to the sound of the wind as it blows through the reeds.

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