Your book reviews, please!

Galadriel

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It's not that I'm stuck for reading anything at the moment, but it's nice to know what Litopians are reading - might provide valuable material for a writer or a pleasant diversion away from the genre s/he are writing in. I was going to say 'Bookshelf,' but that's recently been mentioned as a possible scam. But it would be quite nice to peruse our own 'Litopian Library' as an accompaniment to local bookshops/Amazon, etc.
Someone in the Welcome Lounge mentioned writing about walking the entire UK coast with his dog, and I asked whether he'd read The Salt Path and Five Hundred Mile Walkies.
No need to write a review, just author, title and genre (if not apparent).

I've just finished Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis a YA Horror. I'm now reading Colin Wilson's Ritual in the Dark (the terrifying thriller of murder most macabre) and for the past few months I've been dipping into Folk Horror Revival: Field Studies, Essays and Interview -Various Authors. The latter has been brilliant for ideas with my WiP and it led to me reading Colin Wilson who I'm enjoying and may never have otherwise discovered.
Anyway, just floating it out there. :)
 

RK Capps

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I'm not aware of a specific spot for this, but it's a great idea @Galadriel :)

Yesterday, I finished a psychological thriller: Alice Feeney's, His and Hers, (set in Surrey) which just keeps you guessing as the bodies fall (soon to be a major TV series). Before that was Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V Swain. Brilliant (and recommended by Rich and Steve). For a complete shift, I'm now reading Jim Butcher's The Aeronaut's Windlass. I've heard there's a funny cat. Seeing as Jim had an interesting cat in Stormfront, I'm thinking that's almost a signature!
 

Hannah F

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I've just finished Laini Taylor's upper YA fantasy trilogy "Daughter of Smoke and Bone", "Days of Blood and Starlight", "Dreams of Gods and Monsters". If you like a lot of emphasis on the characters who have to battle rather than on the battle itself and like a hefty dollop or romance in your fantasy, which I do, this is just the ticket.
I'll definitely read more from this author.
 

Andy D

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I’m reading Great Expectations at the moment. Every five years or so I pick up a Dickens and I’ve got to say I’m so enjoying it. It’s dense but the writing is so incredibly witty, and Pip’s journey is far more psychological than I was expecting, even though I’ve seen a few TV adaptations. It somehow manages to be caustic and yet have heart at the same time
 

Jonny

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I'm reading Steve Cavanagh's Fifty-Fifty. A very clever multiple POV serial killer mystery. More twists than a Cadbury's Curly Wurly.
I'm also re-visiting Roddy Doyle's Barrytown trilogy (The Commitments - The Snapper & The Van)
 
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Katie-Ellen

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This week:-

Go Tell It On The Mountain, grimly illuminating, semi-autobiographical novel by James Baldwin. The ghastly preacher Gabriel Grimes (his stepfather)

'The Kings Grey Mare', historical novel by Rosemary Hawley Jarman. My God, could she write. Knocks spots off more famous contemporary writers that come to mind, writing the same era. This is the story of the fall of the Plantagenets and the ending of the Wars of the Roses. The 'Grey mare' was Elizabeth Woodville, the queen of Edward 1V, elder brother of Richard 111, the last English king to fall in battle. Elizabeth was the mother of the ill-fated 'Princes In The Tower,' (and who really killed them?)

I also recommend 'We Speak No Treason' by Rosemary Hawley Jarman. The story of Richard 111.

The Child In Time, by Ian McEwen contemporary psychological drama, a missing child, and there is also a lot in this novel about reading and writing itself, what it is to write, especially writing for children.
 

Hannah F

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This week:-

Go Tell It On The Mountain, grimly illuminating, semi-autobiographical novel by James Baldwin. The ghastly preacher Gabriel Grimes (his stepfather)

'The Kings Grey Mare', historical novel by Rosemary Hawley Jarman. My God, could she write. Knocks spots off more famous contemporary writers that come to mind, writing the same era. This is the story of the fall of the Plantagenets and the ending of the Wars of the Roses. The 'Grey mare' was Elizabeth Woodville, the queen of Edward 1V, elder brother of Richard 111, the last English king to fall in battle. Elizabeth was the mother of the ill-fated 'Princes In The Tower,' (and who really killed them?)

I also recommend 'We Speak No Treason' by Rosemary Hawley Jarman. The story of Richard 111.

The Child In Time, by Ian McEwen contemporary psychological drama, a missing child, and there is also a lot in this novel about reading and writing itself, what it is to write, especially writing for children.
"The King's Grey Mare" is immediately going on my reading list. I've read other novels regarding the Woodvilles, and watched documentaries, and all were fascinating.
 

Katie-Ellen

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It won't disappoint, Hannah. What a picture it paints, not just of a woman who became queen, but of the rises and falls from power, one after another in sharp and brutal succession. A great human tragedy.
 
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Rich.

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I'm in the middle of a non-fiction book, The Face Of Battle by military historian extraordinaire John Keegan. If any of you ever need to write a battle scene, read this first. It's heavy going at times – the first fifth is an analysis of the historiography of battles and how written history (to 1976, when the book was published) has failed the individual combatants. Later on the book is painfully human. Gold dust for a writer.
 
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KateESal

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I've now finished The Skylarks War by Hilary Mackay(which was excellent, by the way...Mary Wesley fans...and aforementioned enthusiasts of Kate Atkinson's work, you'll love it!) and have moved on to Between The Stops, which is a memoir by the British comedian and writer, Sandi Toksvig.
I'm also reading (bit by bit) The Secret Barrister (God help us if we ever get entangled in the UK court system!) and Food Refusal and Avoidant Eating Children by Gillian Harris and Elizabeth Shea (because it's become clear both my kids have the eating disorder ARFID, so I'm educating myself about it...fascinating and helpful).

@RK Capps you could try this, which is available on Kindle (also about ARFID and offers a CBT-based approach to treatment)
 
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RK Capps

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Food Refusal and Avoidant Eating Children by Gillian Harris and Elizabeth Shea (because it's become clear both my kids have the eating disorder ARFID, so I'm educating myself about it...fascinating and helpful).

Oh, I feel your pain! I must get this. Our nearly 15 year old won't eat much (though he'll eat crap fine). Driving us crazy. My husband's fav saying is, "if Josh turns sideways, he'll disappear." His dad was a rake when a teen, but Josh is worse :(

Blast! It's only in paperback, which I can't hold :(
 
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Galadriel

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I’m reading Great Expectations at the moment. Every five years or so I pick up a Dickens and I’ve got to say I’m so enjoying it. It’s dense but the writing is so incredibly witty, and Pip’s journey is far more psychological than I was expecting, even though I’ve seen a few TV adaptations. It somehow manages to be caustic and yet have heart at the same time
I remember teaching this to secondary school students - but we only had time to read and teach the first few and occasional further on chapters in prep for exam . . . part of the reason I got jaded with teaching - hoop jumping, teaching to the exam and pummelling out all creativity from text, student and me!
 

Galadriel

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The Child In Time, by Ian McEwen contemporary psychological drama, a missing child, and there is also a lot in this novel about reading and writing itself, what it is to write, especially writing for children.
I really like pretty much everything McEwen has written - each story is so different. Also Ian McEwen says it's very important to read and that it's a neglected activity or rather one that is dismissed as such.
 

Galadriel

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Oh, I feel your pain! I must get this. Our nearly 15 year old won't eat much (though he'll eat crap fine). Driving us crazy. My husband's fav saying is, "if Josh turns sideways, he'll disappear." His dad was a rake when a teen, but Josh is worse :(

Blast! It's only in paperback, which I can't hold :(
My eldest daughter was super picky - I mean she used to peel peas, and who knew that a burger had rind that needed removing!!? :D Perhaps the advice is not to make a big deal of it, stressy mealtimes may only compound, and at that age, teens are always looking for a chink in your armour to exploit/aggravate and generally rebel against.
Maybe he can learn to make some 'healthy crap.' Homemade burgers with 'secret veg' grated in. I used to smile at my grating in of courgette into pasta bakes - they never knew!! Good luck.
 

Galadriel

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I've now finished The Skylarks War by Hilary Mackay(which was excellent, by the way...Mary Wesley fans...and aforementioned enthusiasts of Kate Atkinson's work, you'll love it!) and have moved on to Between The Stops, which is a memoir by the British comedian and writer, Sandi Toksvig.

I read all Mary Wesley's novels in my early 20s - loved them. Some were made into tv dramas, such as the Camomile Lawn and the Vacillations of Poppy Carew. I think she was in her 70s when she had her first book published. She had such a way with drawing character. I can't recall which book it was, but it had a 12 year-old boy in it, and I remember thinking that even at her age, she had captured what it was to be a child.
 
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Galadriel

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While I'm here, I want to mention a book I finished a couple of months ago. Daphne du Maurier's The House on the Strand. It's a time-slip novel set in Cornwall about a publisher who is his friend's guinea-pig agreeing to take a psychotropic drug that transports him to 14th Century Cornwall and into murderous plots and parallels that spill over into his present life. So good, I couldn't put it down in much the same way that Dick Young, the protagonist and narrator couldn't put down his drug, and what consequences there were for him . . .
I love du Maurier's novels and first off mainly that they were often set in Cornwall. This scruffy old paperback had sat on my bookshelf for years and I'd never read it; I don't know why, but I'm glad I have now.
 

Hannah F

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While I'm here, I want to mention a book I finished a couple of months ago. Daphne du Maurier's The House on the Strand. It's a time-slip novel set in Cornwall about a publisher who is his friend's guinea-pig agreeing to take a psychotropic drug that transports him to 14th Century Cornwall and into murderous plots and parallels that spill over into his present life. So good, I couldn't put it down in much the same way that Dick Young, the protagonist and narrator couldn't put down his drug, and what consequences there were for him . . .
I love du Maurier's novels and first off mainly that they were often set in Cornwall. This scruffy old paperback had sat on my bookshelf for years and I'd never read it; I don't know why, but I'm glad I have now.
That's going on my tbr list too! I love Daphne du Maurier, and I've never read that one.
 

Paul Whybrow

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I always have several books on the go at any one time. At present, I'm dipping into a book on Mountain Men (research for a novella I'll write in 2021), Rebecca Solnit's A Field Guide to Getting Lost, an anthology of poetry compiled by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes and a collection of verse by John Cooper Clarke called The Luckiest Guy Alive, which contains the poem below. I have his memoir I Wanna Be Yours on order at the library.

 

Katie-Ellen

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While I'm here, I want to mention a book I finished a couple of months ago. Daphne du Maurier's The House on the Strand. It's a time-slip novel set in Cornwall about a publisher who is his friend's guinea-pig agreeing to take a psychotropic drug that transports him to 14th Century Cornwall and into murderous plots and parallels that spill over into his present life. So good, I couldn't put it down in much the same way that Dick Young, the protagonist and narrator couldn't put down his drug, and what consequences there were for him . . .
I love du Maurier's novels and first off mainly that they were often set in Cornwall. This scruffy old paperback had sat on my bookshelf for years and I'd never read it; I don't know why, but I'm glad I have now.

Thanks for reminding me to get this one. Someone else recommended it lately.

I'm not a total fan of du Maurier, something about her.... and for me Rebecca is total 'meh' (saw the new movie last night on Netflix. It looks beautiful, but Meh! I can't BELIEVE in it.)

But 'Don't Look Now'- epic short story.

I'm part way through Lucky Jim right now, Kingsley Amis. The language and syntax strikes me as sophisticated in the extreme, compared with most fiction at the moment. The sentence constructions. Though Ian McEwen The Child In Time is subtle and skilled with language. Emotionally intelligent but also remote.

Lucky Jim is funny in places. Everyone in the story is just so really godawful, hehehe. Just awful people! Including Jim. Or is he so awful after all?
 
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Galadriel

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Thanks for reminding me to get this one. Someone else recommended it lately.

I'm not a total fan of du Maurier, something about her.... and for me Rebecca is total 'meh' (saw the new movie last night on Netflix. It looks beautiful, but Meh! I can't BELIEVE in it.)

But 'Don't Look Now'- epic short story.

Yes, I watched it last night. Director is Ben Wheatley of Sightseers fame (one of my fave films). I know what you mean - plausibility is a little stretched in the story. Ah, and Don't Look Now - great film too with Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie. I visited the church when I was in Venice.
 
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Galadriel

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I always have several books on the go at any one time. At present, I'm dipping into a book on Mountain Men (research for a novella I'll write in 2021), Rebecca Solnit's A Field Guide to Getting Lost, an anthology of poetry compiled by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes and a collection of verse by John Cooper Clarke called The Luckiest Guy Alive, which contains the poem below. I have his memoirI Wanna Be Yours on order at the library.

Great performance poet - I remember him on tv in my teens - but what was the programme he used to have a slot on?
The Rattle Bag, by any chance - Heaney and Hughes?