BARBARA DELINSKY – Heart of the Night

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Acquired via BookCrossing 11 March 2008 – BookRing

I’m afraid I was a little disappointed in this one; but it’s not the book’s fault, but mine. I found it too romancey and not believable enough (sorry, but some of the sex scenes were hilarious!) and I found that the plot didn’t work well. But, I have read and enjoyed two of hers already, so it was a fair point to request it, and not the book’s fault I didn’t like it so much.

OLIVER SACKS – Musicophilia

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26 Jan 2007 – Christmas from BIL and SIL

I had high hopes of this new book about “earworms” and their relation to all sorts of neurological symptoms, issues etc. Unforatunately, although it was very interesting, I was a bit disappointed, in that Sacks does not go at all deeply into his subjects’ case histories, as he has in most of the other major books. In fact, he refers to quite a few of these subjects, leading me to want to go back to the earlier, more fulfilling books.

Having said that, it was well done and interesting; although it didn’t say *why* we get earworms in the first place, it did have a lot to say about our relationship with music.

MARIAN KEYES – Watermelon

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Feb 2008 – books from the Red Cross

Snaffled this out of the pile to read before her latest one. I enjoyed the story of Claire coming to terms with her marriage and baby, although it was obvious this was one of the earlier novels, as Keyes has not quite got into her stride and some of the pages are a little clunky. A good, fun read though.

CHRISTINE PULLEIN-THOMPSON – Ride By Night

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Bought ? 2007

A 1961 hardback with dustjacket. This was an odd one. The usual pony stuff, then into the mix come “Rumanian” asylum seekers fleeing from Russians, and the death of one of the (dog) characters. Unsettling reading!

ANNE LECLAIRE – Leaving Eden

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Bought 08 Jan 2008 – Barnardo’s charity shop

A Southern novel which would have probably been good if I hadn’t read so many already. As such, it sticks to the formula, and although the heroine is attractive and good fun, and the supporting characters well-drawn, I just didn’t love it. But if you haven’t read many books in this genre before, you probably would.

Warning – not for those with mothers with health issues.

MARY S. LOVELL – the Mitford Girls

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Bought 04 Jan 2008 (charity shop or Bookends!)

At last I found a copy of this collective biography of the Mitford sisters. Admirably researched and written, it differentiates them brilliantly and keeps track of them all, while neither confusing nor talking down to the reader. Hugely readable and well-referenced (always important!) this is an excellent reference book as well as a thumping good read!

I feel well able to tackle the large volume of Decca’s letters that Matthew bought me for Christmas, now I’ve got the background sorted out!

PETER GOLDSWORTHY – Maestro

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Acquired via BookCrossing 02 Mar 2008 – BookRing

An intriguing and well done coming-of-age novel, set in steamy Darwin, Australia, whose inhabitants, new or established, have all come from somewhere else. The hero thinks he’s a brilliant pianist, only into classical music, inept with the opposite sex and knowledgeable about history; he finds out which of these assumptions are correct through the long hot seasons and a varied career.

I particularly liked the well-balanced parents, beautifully portrayed; the whole was done sparely and well, very engaging and interesting, and not all the questions were answered.

IRIS MURDOCH – The Sandcastle

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Bought ?1980s/early 1990s

I really enjoyed this re-read. I remembered a lot more of it than Flight From The Enchanter. Won’t say too much so as not to disrupt the discussion, but I find it a lot deeper and mature than the first two. Can’t wait to hear what everyone else thinks of it!

MARIAN KEYES – Angels

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Acquired via BookCrossing 29 Feb 2007 – from the last lot from the Red Cross

I have the latest M.K. in my TBR so jumped on this one in the charity shop bags, as I feel I ought to get up to date with the doings of the Walsh sisters before attempting that. Another in the small chick-lit-it’s-OK-to-like category (for me), she expertly makes you laugh, sympathise and have a little think. Great fun, but some substance too – and some lovely observation throughout.

IAN SANSOM – The Mobile Library : Mr Dixon Disappears

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04 Jan 2008 (where did I get it? Charity shop or Bookends, must be!)

The second in the Mobile Library series, about Israel Armstrong, North London Jewish librarian living in rural Northern Ireland. The first novel I didn’t really take to, as I thought some of the “homour” was too biting and unpleasant, not to say racist. This time, he’s toned that down and got into his stride, and I enjoyed the mad situations Israel gets himself into – and out of.

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