LARRY MCMURTRY – Horseman, Pass By

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Acquired via BookCrossing 21 Jan 2006 (Bday Rabck from Jen/Wyldetwo) and 21 Mar 2006 (late Christmas Rabck from Laura/Laura0141)

Finally got round to my birthday books.

A fine short novel – elegaic and self-contained, showing the passing of the old ways of South-Western ranch life in the 1950s through the eyes of Lonnie, the youngest and least powerful on the ranch.

I will offer one copy out on a ring and one on my availables while I continue the search for my own copy!

Note: First read Apr 1999 from the library. My review:

“The simple and poignant story of a young man coming of age in the 1950s on a ranch in Texas, set against the struggle for survival and fights over the land. Simple, imbued with love for the subject, and moving.”


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Acquired via BookCrossing 01 Feb 2006 – kind RABCK from merimag

A wonderful book. I read it in great gulps – couldn’t put it down (although the latter parts of the story seemed familiar and I wondered if I’d read it before, or if she’d used similar themes in one of her short stories). The story of almost-twins, almost-sisters, separated by continents and experiences, joined forever by their love. Yes, there is some melodrama, but it’s just a great book.

Will either ring it or pass it to a good friend who can release it as a 2nd copy of a loved book, or read it for the first time!

SEAN ASTIN – There And Back Again: An Actor’s Tale – A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Lord Of The Rings

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Acquired via BookCrossing 21 Jan 2006 – passed to me by Katemillin (who didn’t think much of it)

I agree with Kate. While there were some interesting snippets about the filming of LOTR and the other actors, it was incredibly – in-CRED-ibly – self-indulgent and there was a lot of wittering and navel-gazing for every orc and sword! Also a bit annoying to only see the other actors through his interactions with them, rather than more dispassionately.

Having said that, it was interesting, and I’m glad I had the chance to read it

KAMILA SHAMSIE – Salt and Saffron

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Acquired via BookCrossing 21 Jan 2006 – Birthday RABCK from Jen/WyldeTwo

Finally got to reading this one – not too badly behind actually at the moment!

I enjoyed this – a classic “Liz” book which runs through Indian and Pakistani history pre- and post-partition, complicated families, millions of cousins and interconnected fates across the continents. A bit heavy on the history in parts, but a fresh voice and evocative of London as well as Karachi, which is nice.

I am reserving this for someone else’s Birthday Treat – only seems fair to pass it on in the same way!!


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Bought January 2006 – The Works

The rollicking tale of pop and rock excess that is Steve Strange’s life. The lad from the Valleys becomes the king of the London clubs and, by his own admission, only Freddie Mercury could throw a wilder party!

He has a large ego, and name-drops like mad, but you would expect nothing less!

Jolly, and I’ll be registering it on BookCrossing and putting it in the Jibbering Records OBCZ!

CAROLYN SLAUGHTER – A Black Englishman

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Acquired via BookCrossing 21 Jan 2006 – Birthday RABCK from Ali

Interesting! I agreed with Ali that there were a lot of anomalies in this. Noticed her servant not understanding the word Jodhpur (an Indian word in the first place) and the interior monologue of the central character seemed much too modern, with words, phrases and concepts which I don’t think would have been even there for a 1920s lady. But – also a romping good read, although everything does tie up rather too neatly at the end!

NICOLA SLADE – Scuba Dancing

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Acquired via BookCrossing 01 April 2006 – sent to me by the author’s daughter!

I thought it was great to read about real issues and slightly heightened ones, batty old ladies and sisterly relationships. Wasn’t expecting the ending (will say no more) and it was a very positive, life-affirming read.

Will be offering this up on a ring in the near future (when some of my current rings have come back to me!)

LIZ HERON (ed) – Truth, Dare, Kiss or Promise: Girls Growing Up in the Fifties

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14 Jan 2006 – charity shop

A lovely Virago published in the 80s with pieces by various feminist writers on their 1950s childhoods. Interesting to see the differences and similarities, and where they are now.

JOHN PEEL & SHEILA RAVENSCROFT – Margrave of the Marshes

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26 December 2005 – from Matt’s parents

Playing catch-up here so sorry for the rash of Journals!

This was interesting and well-done. Obviously really upsetting, as he died before he could complete the writing. And Sheila’s part constantly mentions how John was feeling and what he was talking about in Peru just before his death. John’s parts are lively and a little annoying in places, and I think Sheila’s more tempered view works well against this section. So, against the odds, a success, and nice to read about lots of ones heroes too!

SIMON GARFIELD – Our Hidden Lives: The Remarkable Diaries of Post-War Britain

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25 December 2005 – from Matthew

Hm. I had lusted over this book – the just-post-war Mass Observation diaries of 5 disparate UK citizens, for months and months, and had marked it with a 1 on my Amazon wish-list. Finally got to it after months of anticipation… and it was a little bit dull. A bit of an effort to get on with it (not as bad as the Half Brother – see my entry for that in about 3 years’ time!!) especially as it was my “home” rather than “travelling” read. Really, I have preferred fictionalised diaries like the Provincial Lady, which I am sure still reflected the times. And it was pretty horrible to read all the anti-Semitic and xenophobic comments, too.

Still, glad I have and read it, and there was some interest – and I have applied to join the modern Mass Observation project, as an inveterate diarist!

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