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Right now I'm re-reading Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton in honor of her 150th birthday. It's a personal favorite of mine, because Undine Spragg, the main character, has no match in her combina

I read both of the books written by @Jerseyforniarecently.  Both were so enjoyable because they brought out many different emotions.  I highly recommend them.  

Thank you for the offer. I have already downloaded first Boy on the Moon from Amazon and will do likewise with Southern Highway Gospel Companion. No reason why you shouldn't get payed  that way - I ca

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Diarmaid MacCulloch's "Reformation: Europe's House Divided 1490-1700", which is a hugely informative, densely packed explanation of what happened, who was involved, and how things panned out in the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. It seems apposite for the times!

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Joanne Harris "Gentlemen & Players" - simply couldn't put it down and didn't see the twists coming. I'll look for the later books in the same vein/setting, and see how they compare.  It is categorised on the interwebs as a dark psychological thriller - it certainly touches on dark issues but I'd frame it as a mystery/howdunnit, and I wouldn't look for reviews if you plan on reading it because they can't help but give too much away. (It's why I only read reviews or even the preface after reading a book, to avoid spoilers and to maintain the suspense/surprises.)

I also really enjoyed the Runemarks and Loki books she wrote as Joanne M Harris, which were in a different style but also pretty hard to put down.

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20 hours ago, JoleBlonAlba said:

Joanne Harris "Gentlemen & Players" - simply couldn't put it down and didn't see the twists coming. I'll look for the later books in the same vein/setting, and see how they compare.  It is categorised on the interwebs as a dark psychological thriller - it certainly touches on dark issues but I'd frame it as a mystery/howdunnit, and I wouldn't look for reviews if you plan on reading it because they can't help but give too much away. (It's why I only read reviews or even the preface after reading a book, to avoid spoilers and to maintain the suspense/surprises.)

I'm afraid I sussed out the main twist early on.  I'll just say that it soon became very obvious to me that something was being consistently avoided, and it was easy to draw a conclusion from that.  I have read a couple of other novels since that tried to do the same thing.

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Been reading like crazy lately - lots and lots of Tom Holt (of the comic fantasies, I preferred 'Flying Dutch', 'Paint Your Dragon' and 'Grailblazers'), with a special cheer for 'Alexander at the World's End', which was wry, clever, informative, touching and witty for folk who like reading historical novels set in Ancient Greece. 

Waiting and waiting for book 5 of the Matthew Shardlake series, and resisting the urge to get stuck into book 6 and then book 7 right away - these are truly hard to put down once I start reading them, so an indulgent reading binge will be on the cards when book 5 gets here!

Currently reading Robert Graves's "King Jesus", which was fairly hard-going initially but appears to have got into its story stride now. 

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Yes, Ruth Jones - who plays Nessa in "Gavin and Stacey".  Really enjoyed it.  It's about messy, mixed up relationships between two couples over a period of years. There was only one person who I really felt sorry for.  I read it quickly, so it must've been good :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Currently Saturated in Tudor court intrigue and history in fiction - the C J Sansom books (addictive reading!), "The Mirror and the Light" by Hilary Mantel, and "Lux" by Elizabeth Cook. All afford different perspectives on what were clearly hellish times for anyone of conscience, and supply multiple instances of injustice and arbitrary wilful monarchs bending and shaping their worlds to their desires under the cover of being God's instruments. Fascinating and truly terrifying.

Wonderful skill and imaginative generosity on the part of Hilary Mantel, to bring out Cromwell's multiple pasts and marry them together to fashion a complex, realistic whole - the battered boy, the young and wounded man of war, the ambitious man of business, learning to converse and deal in different languages, in different fields, and then applying himself tirelessly and raising himself in service to those whose merits we cannot help but question. So many wrongs and so much suffering, so much harm done outwards and inwards to appease the tyrant in Henry VIII. 

The writer of "Lux", Elizabeth Cook, is new to me. Most of the book is taken up with Bathsheba and David, and cleverly sets out their interactions in straight-forward prose where the words seem simple but perfectly chosen, beautifully judged and occasionally earthy too. The book is divided into 4 sections: Prologue, Ark, Prophet, and Poet.  I don't want to give too much away!

We are shown the importance of the physical Ark - representing God (YHWH) on Earth - not only its power over foes and faithful alike, but how it can be mistreated or misused. The novel unfolds the relationships of Saul and Samuel and David and Nathan as these have bearing upon David's character, actions and relationship both to YHWH and to his people, and the book depicts the consequences of David's impulsive desire for Bathsheba.

It doesn't surprise me that the author, Elizabeth Cook, is also a poet and librettist, since she has clearly worked to select only well-chosen words. This is apt given the centrality of David's woes, which will result in his Psalms of regret; these in turn are met with in the novel due to Wyatt's compulsive need to fashion poetry in like spirit. Wyatt transliterates and remakes David's Psalms as well as Petrarch's Italian poems into his native English, weighing the words and effect of them, to try to capture the essence of the originals and also to express the dolour of Tudor England's times and Wyatt's experience carefully, since careless words can be fatal with a touchy, jealous king taking more and more power to himself. 

I must also mention how attractively "Lux" is presented. The simple book jacket shows a hovering falcon high on the front and a tall wading bird on the spine (egret, I think, from the novel), and the end-papers inside show part of the astonishing achievement that is the "David and Bathsheba" tapestry, which was made around 1510-1520 in Brussels, and is truly exquisite even at a remove via the photograph. The quality of the work that went into these tapestries, the fineness of the details - they have to be seen.

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Bruce Springsteen fans were anxious to connect with the man's music in 2020 and he delivered a couple of amazing "presents" to help sustain us through these troubling times. His new album and doc Letter to You was enthusiastically received by both fans and critics. And late in the year, he released a Darkness tour box set of all his live radio 1978 radio broadcasts. Also, fans were eager to get their hands on one of the remaining copies of limited edition coffee table book, For You.

I would personally like to thank everyone that purchased a copy of For You and showed their faith in supporting the decision for the reprint! (Less than 150 copies remain!) For You

cheers, Lawrence Kirsch

For You Front Cover FINAL.jpg

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On 1/23/2021 at 11:10 AM, Eileen said:

I've just received a signed copy of this book. Can't wait to get started ..

 

Dundee voices.jpg

What's it about ??

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32 minutes ago, robk1 said:

What's it about ??

Hmmm, I reckon it's about somebody talking about what life was like when she was growing up in Dundee. ;)

I'd only got to page 4 or 5 and she was talking about Dudhope Park. I used to make a beeline there when I was little ... straight down the steep brae. The trek back was a struggle.

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12 hours ago, Eileen said:

Hmmm, I reckon it's about somebody talking about what life was like when she was growing up in Dundee. ;)

I'd only got to page 4 or 5 and she was talking about Dudhope Park. I used to make a beeline there when I was little ... straight down the steep brae. The trek back was a struggle.

You need to get on the BBC Iplayer and watch Traces (4 episodes I think), crime drama set in Dundee, quite good and fun looking out for places you know.

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1 hour ago, dr winston oboogie said:

You need to get on the BBC Iplayer and watch Traces (4 episodes I think), crime drama set in Dundee, quite good and fun looking out for places you know.

I put it on here that it was on (what series etc) - acting wasn't up to much, or the plot, but the glimpses of the Law were all I was interested in. Can't wait to get back there before too long. My days of clambering up the grassy hill are behind me though.

One thing watching that did for me - it made my mind up where I'm going to end up when this race is run. Just scattered over the front side - not interred beneath it! :)

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