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Old Tuesday 8th January 2019, 20:19   #1601
JTweedie
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Currently reading Tom Nancollas' Seashaken Houses, an exploration of a number of rock lighthouses around the UK.

Also begun reading the 40th anniversary edition of David Attenborough's Life on Earth.
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Old Thursday 10th January 2019, 21:38   #1602
Euan Buchan
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Started reading The Seabird's Cry by Adam Nicholson.
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Old Tuesday 22nd January 2019, 09:38   #1603
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The rise and fall of D.O.D.O by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland.
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Old Tuesday 22nd January 2019, 18:04   #1604
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The Loch by Roy Dennis.
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Old Sunday 27th January 2019, 22:42   #1605
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I'm about midway through Bernie Lewin's "Searching for the Catastrophe Signal: The Origins of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change." A very fine historical review of 19th — 21st Century meteorology and climatology.

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Old Sunday 17th February 2019, 17:24   #1606
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I'm currently reading The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane, enjoying it so far.
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Old Friday 22nd February 2019, 07:08   #1607
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I've just finished reading Benjamin Myers' The Gallows Pole. This is based on the true life tale of the Cragg Vale Coiners, a group of late 18th century Yorkshire forgers, or clippers. They live in a brutal world where many people scratch out a meagre existence and have little knowledge of the wider world. Led by self-styled "King" David Hartley, the group is run like a protection racket - if you're in it and pay your dues, then you'll get your rewards. But the group is run with an iron fist and anyone who dares to go against it are at serious risk of a beating or much worse.

I've also just started reading Menno Schilthuizen's Darwin Comes to Town. This is about the effect of cities on evolution.
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Old Wednesday 27th February 2019, 20:18   #1608
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I'm enjoying the BBC's 2016 adaptation of War and Peace. So I thought it was time to read the book. It seems to be popular to read a chapter a day. With chapters around 4-5 pages long, it should take a bit less than a year, including the appendices and notes.
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Old Sunday 24th March 2019, 12:49   #1609
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I've just started reading Peter Marren's Chasing the Ghost in which he recounts his quest to see all of Britain's native wild flowers.
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Old Monday 8th April 2019, 17:07   #1610
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The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris.

I finished this at the weekend. It is based on a true story. It's a book every one should read.
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Old Sunday 8th March 2020, 13:06   #1611
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The Swimmer by Roma Tearne. Highly recommended.
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Old Thursday 26th March 2020, 12:44   #1612
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The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Penman (author of a good deal of medieval-set historical fiction): a long -- not far off 900 pages -- and lavish novel about the life of England's King Richard III (she reckons him a good guy). Am finding it an absorbing read; marred a little, by a trivial but irritating thing -- in her dialogue, the author oscillates rather between deliberately "period" English ("Verily I say unto... / do thou oblige him / haply", etc.), and highly-modern ditto ("he accuses you of sabotaging his hopes to marry...on that subject, he seems like one truly obsessed"). The resulting incongruity only mildly annoys me, whereas such stuff infuriates some readers; but I could wish that she would opt for either one mode or the other, and stick to it.
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Old Thursday 26th March 2020, 18:55   #1613
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A House in Fez by Susanna Clarke. It's about her and her husband's time redeveloping a riad in Fez, Morocco. Part cultural study of Morocco, but mainly just a diary of their redevelopment work.

I do sometimes feel she comes across as a little demanding of the people in her adopted country who are much much poorer than she is, even despite the overbearing bureaucracy that would be understandably frustrating if you're used to higher standards.

That being said, I enjoyed her descriptions of parts of Fez as it took me back to my time there a couple of years ago.

I also started William S. Burroughs' Naked Lunch last night which is a bit baffling to begin with. But there's no doubting his writing ability and the sheer force of will and creativity he exhibits.
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Old Friday 27th March 2020, 13:06   #1614
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Just started reading The Seafarers A Journey Among Birds by Stephen Rutt I got at Christmas.
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Old Monday 6th April 2020, 10:53   #1615
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Originally Posted by JTweedie View Post
A House in Fez by Susanna Clarke. It's about her and her husband's time redeveloping a riad in Fez, Morocco. Part cultural study of Morocco, but mainly just a diary of their redevelopment work.
(Only just noticed this post) -- would this be the lady who wrote Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell? This latter, a book about which I've heard assorted opinions: I embarked on it myself, but found I had to give up on it a little way in -- I couldn't stand the "period" deliberately Jane-Austen-esqe language. I find Jane A. unreadable -- not for want of having tried her novels !
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Old Monday 6th April 2020, 11:38   #1616
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I keep a few books in the smallest room in the house, partly because going in one never knows quite how long the stay might be. Most of them are funny, not just because one needs a laugh in life but also because the diaphragmatical convulsions so engendered quite frequently help with the main business of the event.

Normally I'm content with Calvin and Hobbes but currently I'm reacquainting myself with Alan Coren's A Year in Cricklewood, one of his collections of columns, and I'd recommend it to anyone in need of a chuckle (or a movement).

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Old Monday 6th April 2020, 11:40   #1617
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(Only just noticed this post) -- would this be the lady who wrote Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell? This latter, a book about which I've heard assorted opinions: I embarked on it myself, but found I had to give up on it a little way in -- I couldn't stand the "period" deliberately Jane-Austen-esqe language. I find Jane A. unreadable -- not for want of having tried her novels !
Two different people I think. I read the latter book and quite enjoyed it, although I can't really remember much of what happened in it.
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Old Monday 6th April 2020, 14:55   #1618
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The dud of the year was Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro which was a load of absolute claptrap - linguistically impoverished, the plot laughable and by the end I just couldn’t give a monkey’s about the horrible fate that awaited the protagonists.
You should probably skip "When We Were Orphans" then - the big reveal at the end was so completely absurd it just obliterated the rest of the book and you just had to laugh.
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Old Monday 6th April 2020, 18:31   #1619
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The Plague (La Peste) by Albert Camus. Full of useful tips and advice.
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Old Wednesday 8th April 2020, 15:27   #1620
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Two different people I think. I read the latter book and quite enjoyed it, although I can't really remember much of what happened in it.
Googling would seem to indicate to me strongly, that they are indeed two different bods. Not a hugely uncommon first name / surname / pairing thereof, I suppose -- if a bit more unusual than, say, Mary Smith; but still, something of a coincidence.
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Old Monday 13th April 2020, 20:36   #1621
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Pam Ayres' "The Last Hedgehog."
One of the saddest books I've ever read.
The last poem in the series would break anybody's heart (especially mine).
The whole book acts as a salutary warning that hedgehog numbers in the British Isles are diminishing, and gives useful advice on how to care for them and help to halt their decline.
Highly recommended.
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Old Tuesday 14th April 2020, 14:52   #1622
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I've got four books on the go at the moment.

Jeanine Cummins - American Dirt. Enjoyed the opening to this but at the halfway point where it feels to have lost some momentum, but I'll see if it picks up in the second half.

Peter Marren - Chasing the Ghost. Following his quest to see every wild flower in Britain.

Alex Woodcock - King of Dust. Exploration of the Romanesque sculpture and architecture of south west England.

Riley Black (book under original name of Brian Switek) - My Beloved Brontosaurus. A wide-ranging look at what we know and don't know about dinosaurs.

In the background I'm reading Tolstoy's War and Peace, reading a chapter a day. 150 pages in, 1200 to go.
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Old Friday 17th April 2020, 15:11   #1623
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I have just finished two books, well worth reading if you're into WW1, Joseph E Perico's 11th Month 11th Day 11th Hour is about the last hours before the armistice and the enormous and wasteful loss of life even at 10.58.

The other book Le tour de Battaille ? is about a brutal cycle race just four months after WW1 finished across the "zone rouge " an area declared uninhabitable on the battlefields from Strasbourg to Paris, the cycling story is gripping enough but the author digs out some horrible stats about the aftermath that are still affecting France & Belgium to this day.
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Old Friday 17th April 2020, 15:21   #1624
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Another book well worth reading is " The Nazi hunters " by Damien Lewis, about a team of SAS hunting out the Germans who murdered about 38 SAS prisoners.
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Old Friday 17th April 2020, 21:41   #1625
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I've just finished "Coming Up For Air" by George Orwell. It's a powerful novel set just before the Second World War . George Bowling, realising that the world is about to change, escapes briefly from London to re-visit the area he grew up in, but everything has changed... Thoroughly recommended.

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