pandop: (Kali)
As I am now on goodreads, there are going to be some slight changes to how I track my books here, so they match up with my tracking on goodreads - so some short stories are going to count as books, and some omnibuses of several books are only going to count as one. With the short stories included, I have read quite a bit this month.

Read more... )

The reason so much on the kindle this month - you can read/turn the pages without taking your mittens off. Perhaps this should be in their marketing!
pandop: (Kali)
37: Return to Mandalay Rosanna Ley

Very nice tidy ending, as you would expect from a romance. But a good read , with a nice mixture of past and present and some good characters.

38: The Distant Echo Val McDermid

So good, lots of misdirection and excellent characters. I didn't guess who had done it at all.

39: The Sunday Philosophy Club Alexander McCall Smith

A much gentler mystery than my previous read. Brilliant characters though, he writes people so well.

40: Death Comes to Pemberley P.D. James

A reread after seeing some of the tv adaptation again over the bank holiday. I had forgotten how detailed it was, and how PD James had managed to work in some of Austen's other characters too. Much enjoyed. 

July Books

Aug. 3rd, 2014 05:59 pm
pandop: (Kali)
31: Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen

This was a re-read prompted by the Literaure of the Country House MOOC I was studying. It did give me a slightly different perspective  - as did knowing more about the Georgian era than I used to. It is still one of my favourite Jane Austen novels though,

32: The Mortal Institruments: City of Glass Cassandra Clare

Really good, very well written - I love that the heroine is always active, even if not wisely. Great series.

33: Thug: the true story of india's murderous cult Mike Dash

This was really interesting - particularly about the investigation into Thugee, which was very impressive considering this was still early in the nineteenth century, and the East India company didn't really have the resources, the authority, or the manpower. it can definitely be counted as one of the earliest achievements of the British in Indiia, having sad that, once they got going, they also took the investigation too far, again a sad pattern of the British in India. Very readable book.

34: The curious incident of the dog in the night-time Mark Haddon

This is my second choice for the book group - mostly to get me to read it, as it has been on the 'to read' pile for years. I am glad I finally read it, as it is great. Brilliant story, and the writing is excellent, it really puts you inside Christopher's head.

35: Solomon's Tale Shelia Jeffries

Quite sad and sweet. Not sure about the writing style  - bit too much of the angels for my liking. Still on the whole I did like it, and I was glad Mum warned me it would make me cry.

36: 44 Scotland Street Alexander McCall Smith

I loved the serialised aspect of this, and I also loved the characters - I definitely want to read more about them

May Books

Jun. 2nd, 2014 10:08 pm
pandop: (Kali)
Bumper crop this month, because a lot of them were on the short side. Doubt I will have time to read so much next month.
Read more... )

April Books

May. 5th, 2014 10:38 am
pandop: (Kali)
13: The Ides of April Lindsay Davis (Audiobook)

A very appropriate book to start the month with. Slightly different in style from her Falco books, but I liked the chatty style she gives to Flavia Albia. I worked out both the twists, but I wasn't disappointed, as I wanted things to be that way. Must read more of the next generation of Falco.

14: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Cassandra Clare

I went to see the film of this last year with my friend Lynn, who has read the books already and said 'you'll like this'. She was right, I did. Now I have got round to reading the books, I liked them even more. I am going to have to pace myself though, or I will run out.

15: A Darker Domain Val McDermid

I don't read so much morden crime, but this was recommended to me by Mum, and I really liked it. Although I found the ending quite annoying in a way, the rest of the book was fantastic, lots of really good twists and characters.

16: Campbell's Creek Michael J. Robinson.

I was leant this by a colleague at work - and now we are both waiting for the follow up. Set in the early days of Scottish settlement in New Zealand, particularly around their gold rush. Very well written with excellent characters.

17: Quarrantine Jim Crace

This was the choice for the May meeting of the book club. I am not sure how I felt about this, as I didn't enjoy reading it, but found it very satisfying by the end. It provoked a lot of very good discussion at the meeting though, and was an unwittingly appropriate choice to be read over Lent and Easter.

March Books

Apr. 7th, 2014 07:53 pm
pandop: (Kali)
9: The Sweet Smell of Decay Paul Lawrence

Freebie proof copy that had been hanging around at work for ages. It got better towards the end, but I don't think I want to read any more chronicles of Harry Lytle. The ending was too convienient, and I wasn't a fan of the writing style.

10: Arms of Nemesis Steven Saylor

Last of the Roma Sub Rosa series I bought for the kindle after Christmas. I do love the mixture of real historical characters and fictional ones, and the use of history to weave a mystery around. Really liked the ending to this one too.

11: In Destiny's Hands: Five tragic rulers, children of Maria Theresa Justin C. Vovk.

Another kindle bargain after Christmas. This covers the life of Maria Theresa, and five of her children, including Marie Antoinette, who went on to rule key areas of Europe in the run up to the Napoleonic Wars. It isn't a period of history I have studied before, and I found it very fascinating - and also very sad. These people had such poor relationships with their mother, it really affected their lives.

12: The Shipping News Annie Proulx

This is for the April meeting of the book group. I wasn't sure about it at first, but it grew on me. By the end I wanted to know more about the characters and the town. 
pandop: (Kali)
4: Orlando Virginia Woolf

This was the book club choice for February, and I hated every word of it. I didn't like the style of writing, the plot (or lack thereof), even the illustrations were wrong. It was in dire need of a decent editor. I have a feeling this is the sort of book you get when you keep telling someone they are special and clever. Also people kept telling me this was the most 'accessible' of her books - I hope that doesn't mean the best ...

5: Roman Blood Steven Saylor

Nice to have finally read the first book in the series (Gordianus the Finder), and find out about the origins of Eco, and some of the origins of Bethesda. I thought the way the real case was used as the basis for the mystery was very clever, and I like the mix of real and fictional characters.

6: The Reader Bernard Schlink

This is me being organised and not last minute with the March book group book. This one I loved. Well up until the well meaning, but unthinking email of one member spoiled it for me. Still it didn't change the fact that I thought it was beautifully written and very moving.

7: The House of the Vestals Steven Saylor
8: A Gladiator Dies Only Once Steven Saylor

These were the middle books of the Gordianus the Finder omnibus that I bought just after Christmas. They are both collections of short stories filling in some of the gaps between the main Rome Sub Rosa novels. Saylor also uses the chance to explore some other aspects of Roman life, and locations. Lovely to see how his family life develops too.
pandop: (Kali)
Last tuesday (just before I came down with this cold/virus/ear infection) Rosie and I went to see the Tiger Lilies at the Courtyard Theatre of the West Yorkshire Playhouse.

We saw, Lulu: a Murder Ballad, and it was really great. We both thorougly enjoyed it. The performance was excellent, as was the writing  - we were both really impressed with how much singing Martyn Jacques did. I also adored the staging, the way the lighting was made to look like stage flats, and screens were see through, and then not see through at times was very impressive. The storytelling was fantastic too.

I seem to have misplaced my signed programme though :(

If this is coming to a theatre near you, go and see it (but be warned, it is not for the delicate)
pandop: (Kali)
1: The Moonstone Wilkie Collins

My choice for the book group, and I am pleased to say everyone seemed to like it. It was a re-read for me, and I found it odder to re-read knowing the culprit than I do some mysteries. It struck me again how very much of its time it is in terms of language and attitudes - although equally surprising that there was no overtone of the Indian characters being in need of conversion to Chrsitianity.

2: The Luminous Life of Lily Aphrodite Beatrice Collin

Odd, but enjoyable. It was interesting to find out at the end that it had been based on real stories. I think it gave a good feeling of what Germany was like before, during and after the First World War  - certainly the latter part had a feeling of Cabaret about it. Lily was on the whole likeable, unlike most of the rest of the characters.

3: Sick Notes Tony Copperfield

Very funny tales from a GP's surgery. Does make you feel guilty for having gone to the doctors, ever, though - although most of his vitriol is reserved for NHS bureaucracy!
pandop: (Kali)
Last three finishes of the year.

37: The String of Pearls (The Original Tale of Sweeny Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street) Thomas Preskett Prest (Kindle)

Downloaded this when I went to see Sweeny Todd at the Playhouse in October, and got round to reading it in November/December. Really good. Not a conventional whodunnit, as we all know whodunnit, more of a case of 'how will they catch him'. Some good twists at the end too that you didn't suspect.

38: A Street Cat Named Bob James Bowen

A charming and lovely book. Everyone should have a cat like Bob in their life ;)

39: The Dawn of the Color Photograph: Albert Khan's Archives of the Planet David Okuefuna

I borrowed this from work a while ago and finally got round to reading it while I was off sick in December. Mostly because it is, as the title implies, more picture based - although what there was to read was fascinating. Particularly about how many places are less ethnically mixed, and more repressive to women, than they were before the First World War. Depressing, reallly. Although the photographs are wonderful to look at.

39 books isn't a bad total for the year, as there have been a real mix of lengths in there, and also of subject, some have been quite heavy going too. No idea if I will do better or not next year. Certainly being in a book group will mean reading some books I would never have thought of - and who knows where that will lead me.
pandop: (Kali)
I realised so late in November that I hadn't done October's books, I decided to run them together.


29: A Feast for Crows George R.R. Martin
Really good, I liked the changes in some of the characters, but not all of them.

30: A Dying Light in Cordubua Lindsey Davis (Kindle)
What else would I re-read on the holiday where I finally get to go to Cordoba? Perfect holiday reading, as it has always been on of my favourite Falcos anyway. There are still a lot of olive trees in Andalusia too - they make about half the olive oil in the world!

31: Blood , Sweat and Tea Tom Reynolds (Kindle)
I had forgotten how much I had enjoyed reading this blog, and what an excellent writer Tom Reynolds is.

33: The Lost Prophecies The Medieval Murderers
I bought this on Skirlington Market, thinking I hadn't read it before, but I recognised some of the stories, and then I remembered really disliking the futuristic story at the end (I want my murders medieval!). I liked the other stories very much though.

33: As They Slept Andy Leeks (Kindle)
Written on his daily commute. It would have been better if he had written a blog - although I have read better blogs (see above). Not a keeper. Wish I hadn't bought part 2.


34: The Painted Lady Edward Marston
Good mystery, I like this series, as I love the friendship between the main characters, one that endures despite their differences.

35: King Arthur's Bones The Medieval Murderers
Even though there is a modern epilogue to this one too, it isn't nearly so annoying as the one above. Good range of stories in this one, and I really did like the ending in the 'modern' bit.

36: The Female Man Joanna Russ
This was the first book we have read for the new book club at work. In it's favour I can say it gave us a lot to talk about. But I really did not enjoy this. Far too disjointed, and I felt the plot and characterization suffered in favour of making important points. What was really annoying was there were some bits that were really good, and then they stop in favour of important points.

My choice next month, I hope they like it a bit better...
pandop: (Kali)
26: Peyton Place Grace Metalious

Absolutely brilliant - wonderful characterisation and plot. Interesting to go back and read the notes and find out what had to be changed.

27: The Law of Angels Cassandra Clark

Picked these up as the central character comes from a place near me (that I had to look up how to pronounce) that most people haven't heard of. Loved the book. Liked the local setting, liked the characters.

28: The Parliament of Spies Cassandra Clark

I liked the first one I read so much I went straight on to another one. Now looking out for the rest of the series. This one is not so local in the setting, as they go down to London.


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