PATRICIA LEITCH – A Horse For The Holidays

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Acquired via BookCrossing 04 May 2006 – from Aly via Gill

A sweet story about Janet and her struggles for a career with horses as against the dreaded Commercial College.

Read while waiting up to take some Night Nurse!

Email woes

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Hi all

I haven’t got my normal email at the moment but I have a backup address

liz_and_matt at ftml.net

I have got most of your email addies from remembering them, IM, or the BCBirmingham group, but ** calling Laura and Audrey ** I can’t get or remember yours! Can you drop me a line at the above address please so I can get your addresses saved!

Argh! It won’t be back for hours and hours and I can’t do without email!!!

Liz x

ANNE (RIVERS) SIDDONS – Up Island

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Bought 13 May 2006 – Sensible Bookshop, Hay-on-Wye

One of her less histrionic ones, we follow the fortunes of Molly, who is deserted by her husband and escapes from Atlanta to the wilds of Martha’s Vineyard. Siddons obviously loves the area and describes it beautifully, and Molly’s story is allowed to unfold gently.

This was my last read of August as I’m only 130 p into my huge biog of Augustus John. I am going to post my August reads to Bookies and BCUK, but my email is down at the moment and will be “for the rest of the day US time”, which means at least 8am tomorrow. So if you’re waiting on a reply to an email or a LJ comment, you’ll have to wait a little longer!

Oh all right then…

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I don’t do these very often but I’m v bored at home with a bad sinus and a big, indigestible tome on Augustus John that won’t make it into my August reads (maybe it’s time for a pony book!), so…

9 lasts …
1. last place you were: in bed, shortly to return there
2. last pop: lemonade on Sat night
3. last kiss: the other day – got a cold that I can’t give to Matt!
4. last movie seen: Best in Show on DVD the other weekend
5. last CD you listened to: We are the Pipettes
6. last bubble bath: Monday. Lush French Kiss
7. last time you cried: in the early hours when my sinus was hurting!
8. last alcoholic beverage: at the weekend, a few G’n’Ts
9. have you ever gotten drunk and thrown up: twice, both over 10 years ago!

8 “Have you evers”…
1. have you ever dated someone twice: not sure what this means – once, then a gap, then again? No
2. have you ever been cheated on: Yup
3. have you ever kissed somebody and regretted it: Don’t think so
4. have you ever fallen in love: Couple of times, most recently 5ish years ago
5. have you ever been depressed: yup
6. have you ever hit another person: a bit
7. have you ever skinny dipped: No! I practically wear a swimming cossie in the SHOWER!

7 cities you’ve been to …
1. Birmingham!
2. London
3. Chicago
4. Tunis
5. Paris
6. Palma
7. Montpellier

6 things you’ve done today …
1. Had a sinus pill
2. Had me breakfast
3. Sat in bed with the cat on my lap
4. Been bitten by the cat
5. Phoned in sick
6. Read a lump of my book

Well, it is only 10.40 and I’m poorly!

5 favorite things in no particular order …
1. Matt
2. Dot
3. My books
4. Sewing
5. Birmingham

4 favorite colours …
1. black
2. brown
3. red
4. orange

3 people you can tell anything to …
1. Matt
2. My counsellor
3. Hmm….

2 things you want to do before you die …
1. Get over my fear of needles
2. Raise a family

1 thing you regret …
Not making a decision I made in my late 20s earlier

STEPHEN CLARKE – Merde, Actually

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Acquired via BookCrossing 12 Aug 2006 – from Fritzi

Sequel to A Year In The Merde, in which our “hero” embarasses himself, behaves like an idiot, and is generally even less inviting than last time.

Now, I do like to think I’m not a complete idiot and do notice stuff, but what I did NOT notice is that the author and the central character have …. *different names*. It’s. A. Novel. I did think it was a bit suspiciously well-plotted. Anyway, I really only read them because I thought they were true (no offence to AlmarnaTiaam as it was me who requested them from her!) and so I was even more disappointed!

Oh well! Such is life, and at least I know now!

ELIZABETH MOON – Speed of Dark

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Acquired via BookCrossing 24 Aug 2006 – BookRing

What a wonderful book, telling the near-future story of autistic Lou and his colleagues and their dealings with the “normal” world.

Lots of previous readers identified with the character as he develops and grows and becomes closer to “normal”; I identified with his and his groups’ everyday behaviours right from the start, and thought it was extremely well researched. I loved the different behaviours they all had, and if this book helps people to understand the mind of an autistic spectrum/aspergers person, then wonderful. It was a great story too, but this aspect really struck a chord with me. Loved that Temple Grandin was mentioned, too!

Anyway, I loved the book – one of my best reads of the year, if not ever. I am so grateful for being on the ring and getting to read it! I thought it was very moving, I found myself shouting at the book, and crying (in my office at break time – great!) at times. Wonderful!

Passing on to Matt now, who has been champing at the bit to read it but must finish our other together-read first! I will post his review here – like mine, there will probably be a difference between his JE, which will be open to everyone, and a more personal LJ entry (hopefully this is blocked to just my BCer friends and not everyone in the world…)

SUDHA MURTHY – The Old Man And His God

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Acquired via BookCrossing 24 Aug 2006 – BookRing

We were going to Oxford for a wedding so I popped this small book in my bag. I ended up reading the whole thing this morning over tea and breakfast in our room. It was excellent – small stories of everyday Indian life, looking at women struggling with their families, young executives, men trying to choose between city and village life. The one about going to the Buddhist museum was very affecting.

STEPHEN CLARKE – A Year In The Merde

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Acquired via BookCrossing 13 Aug 2006 (from Fritzi)

This was sent to Fritzi by another Austrian BCer who hadn’t found it that funny, and wondered if the English would!

Well, I have to say that I didn’t find it that funny either – but I was glad of the chance to read it. I thought it was going to be another of those bought-a-farm-in-a-French-village ones, so (although there was an episode where he tried to) I was interested to see it was set in Paris. But, unfortunately, the events, attitudes and atmosphere were all very like those of Toby Young’s New York book, “How To Lose Friends and Alienate People” which made it feel a bit repetitive. I didn’t take to the author, who was obsessed with poo and sex, but it did pass the time and was mildly amusing.

VED MEHTA – The Craft of the Essay: A Ved Mehta Reader

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Bought 13 May 2006 – Cinema Bookshop, Hay on Wye

A book of long essays by Mehta. I am collecting the volumes of his wonderful autobiography, so I couldn’t resist this when I saw it in Hay. I had a mixed reaction to it – struggled through the first one about Oxford philosophers, and was glad I did, as there was a bit about Iris Murdoch, very much enjoyed the one about R.K.Narayan (the shortest essay in the book, though), ignored a very long one about religious philosophy, and was secretly glad that I didn’t have to read the last one, as it was an extract from a book of his that I had already read. So, not as good as I’d hoped, but being a completist, I had to have it – and the bits about Murdoch and Narayan added to my collections on them, too.

CLAIRE ALLEN – The Mountain of Light

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Bought 13 May 2006 – Bookends in Hay-on-Wye

Story of an Indian restaurant in North London, centering on the proprietor, one of his waiters, the girl who rents the flat upstairs, and an elderly Polish man she meets in the street. It was well done but I have to say it felt rather first-novelly (which it is) and a little sixth-formery in places (like If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things but not so much so). For example the descriptions of the cat (to which nothing nasty happened – hooray!) were extremely detailed and perceptive, but had a slight feel of having been a writing exercise which was then used in the book.

But all in all a good one and I loved Balu and the descriptions of his life – I will look out for more by this author.

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