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Greaders review Jan Feb 2013 book

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AnninGlos Report 14 Feb 2013 15:30

Please review those of the top three you read

Mr Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan 1111
One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern 1111
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain 111
Thursdays in the Park by Hilary Boyd 111

And any of the others on the list

This has gone up early as I am unable to do it tomorrow. :-)


AnninGlos Report 14 Feb 2013 15:47

Greaders review 100 names by Cecilia Ahern

I enjoyed this book. I liked the concept and found it intriguing to follow the trail with Katherine (Kitty) as she tried to work out what the connection was between them.
One of the best parts of any story is often how the idea was born and I like the way CA goes through the procedure, how she decided on the 100 names title and how the story evolved. I thought the proposal scenes with Sam and Mary Rose were written brilliantly and I could just imagine how Mary Ann would cringe at the thought as soon as Sam tapped on the glass. Then it was interesting to read how CA decided to use it in the story.
I liked the way that Kitty’s character changed from the stereotyped journalist character that she was at the beginning, eager to expose, not caring about peoples’ feelings etc to a more thoughtful and caring, likeable character at the end.
I loved the first line, first lines are meant to be the ‘hook’ to draw you in and this one certainly does. “She was nicknamed the graveyard. Any secret, any piece of confidential information, personal or otherwise, that went in never, ever came back out. You knew you were safe; you knew you would never be judged or, if you were it would be silently, so you’d never know.” You have to continue reading about this so perfect human being, the perfect friend and confidant. You want a friend like that!
And it is an interesting concept that everybody has a story to tell. I just know I shall be sitting on the bus now trying to imagine what the person across the aisle’s story might be.
CA says she doesn’t think writers should write what they think people want to read but what moves them, what they find interesting and that is so true. I am sure that you can tell when a writer is writing about something they themselves find interesting. It comes through in the story and also the opposite is true.
I have read books by Cecilia Ahern before and look forward to reading more. I love the characters she creates and the stories she weaves around them.


AnninGlos Report 14 Feb 2013 15:49

review The Christmas angel by Marcia Willetts
I like Marcia Willetts books, have read many of them and enjoyed them so I expected great things from this.
What can I say, it was a comfortable read. She was as good as always with the beautiful descriptions of the countryside, flowers etc. Her characters were as well formed as usual. Loved Jenna, she rang true as did the nuns, Dossie and Patrick. Dossie’s parents Mo and Po were sweet, Clem I couldn’t get to grips with and Jakey was a very believable young boy.
The story was believable, unremarkable and an easy read. But it wasn’t satisfying, it didn’t go anywhere. At the end I was left thinking, ‘is that it?’ Nothing seemed rounded off really almost as though it was part one of a serial.
Probably a good book to read if you are unwell or lying in the sun on holiday and want something undemanding. So, an ok book, not brilliant, not unreadable. I would still read others by M Willetts though, still like her style of writing.


AnninGlos Report 14 Feb 2013 15:50

Greaders review The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

A long time ago I read Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell To Arms and enjoyed it. I noticed that The Paris Wife was based on Hemingway’s life and decided to suggest it for the group. As it came second I have read it.
A critique on the front cover states ‘As much about life and how we try to catch it as it is about love even as it vanishes.’
I really enjoyed the book, at times it is as if it is actually written by Hemingway himself. The author uses the words, fine and nice as he did, quite repetitively sometimes which adds to the atmosphere of the story rather than detracting from it.
I like the way she uses a lot of descriptive text, about Paris, about Spain and bull fighting and about Switzerland, it is quite evocative. I also found the interaction between her characters was reflective of this time of the life between the wars, the jazz age, and in some cases the decadence and immorality of over indulgence in alcohol.
Being based on a true story about a real person there was never going to be a happy ending for Hadley with Hemingway, I found the story of her life until the end of the marriage very sad, and I had not realised that Hemingway was such a self obsessed character. But it seemed that, in the end he realised what he had lost.
The story is beautifully crafted by MacLain, bringing in cameos also of Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, and Ezra Pound.
This is a story of love and betrayal and two biographies in one, that of Ernest Hemingway and Hadley, - The Paris Wife.


AnninGlos Report 14 Feb 2013 15:56

Greaders review Thursdays in the Park by Hilary Boyd.
The thought crossed my mind that this should be compulsory reading for all 15/16 year olds who think once you get past 30 romance is dead and s*x a definite no no.
It makes a change to read of romance between an older couple and also how after many years a marriage can die.
I found it an easy book to read and the characters were beautifully written. Loved the relationship of Jeanie with her Granddaughter, but was not so sure about the character of Alex, never quite got to grips with him.
All in all a good read for bedtime, not too deep but not too light either. Sad in places and some funny times too, yes, I enjoyed it.


AnninGlos Report 14 Feb 2013 21:50

From Persie

The Paris Wife
On the front of the cover it said I would be mesmerized.. well no I wasn't, however it did give me more of an insight into Ernest Hemmingway. I didn't like what I saw so to that extent I had not changed my impression of him. Maybe he really did suffer and his mind was in another place where he would dwell. A lot of people do that when they suffer the atrocities of war.

He curries favour only with those who think he is great, did not take criticism well so the pandering and fauning Pauline would have suited him. His wife should have left him long before she did. She should not have put up with Pauline calling her Dulla or befriending her in the manner she did. I find it almost unbelievable that Hadley feigns sleep when Pauline climbs into the other side of the bed next to Ernest.......etc..
For people that didn't have much in the way of money they did travel a lot and relied on house keepers and nannys.
With such well known literary names to mix with (but don't guess they were as well known then) had me comparing them to Carrington, Strachy and the Bloomsbury set.
I liked that it was a novel and did not have to be absolutely accurate, but I don't think the author stepped outside the boundaries of truism which one sometimes finds in biographies that are more like gossipmongering.
It was a good read Ann, thank you for recommending it. As for Hadley... I don't think I would be as subservient and as forgiving as she was... and in his favour .. well he didn't labour the fact that she lost all his work when the valise was stolen.

Cheers Persie


Berona Report 14 Feb 2013 22:00

100 Names

I was interested to see how different everyone is and wondered where it was all going for a while. However, it is right, that we all have a story to tell - perhaps a few stories - but so many people put things behind them and get on with life, not knowing that their story might be interesting to others.

Mr Perumbra's 24 hour bookstore.

Can't comment much on this as I am still reading it. So far, I am not very impressed by the writing of it and it lost me when it came to the activities at Google. I didn't know whether or not they were believable.... but I'm still reading.


Michelle Report 14 Feb 2013 23:57

Need the weeked to finish 100 names - so will be back Michelle


TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 15 Feb 2013 00:23

Phoned Library again today. I am next on the waiting list for Paris Wife

and fourth on the waiting list for Thursdays in the Park.

Will contact them again on Monday., hoping that at least one of them will be in by then.

My review will therefore be late.

The two books that tied for first place were not available


AnninGlos Report 15 Feb 2013 08:31

OK Michelle and Tess.


Greenfingers Report 15 Feb 2013 15:02

I hadn't read a Cecelia Ahern since PS I love you, so was interested to read 100 names. A complicated but heart felt story about someone fulfilling anothers dream after they have died. As someone who loves to people watch, and make up stories in my head, that fulfilled that fantasy for me, an excellent read.

As someone who loves SF,and is going back again later this year, I was left wondering if there wa s shop like Mr Penumbras 24 hour fact I may look !!! It was a revelation and I shall recommend the book to all my biblio friends.......Barnes and Noble it isn''t


Pammy51 Report 15 Feb 2013 17:41

The Paris Wife

When I first started reading the prologue I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy this book but as soon as I got into the story proper it drew me in. It was interesting learning about the 'Jazz age' times and people we had heard about. You don't tend to think about the people around someone as famous as Hemingway so it was good to find out about his wife and friends. You knew, however, that the marriage of Hadley and Ernest would end in tears. McLain has created an engaging mixture of biography and fiction.

Thursdays in the Park

I liked the character of Jeanie, but I don't think I would have put up with a marriage without closeness for so long! It is great to read a book where older people are the main characters. It made me smile and it made me cry, although I did think the part where George finds happiness was rather tagged on so Jeanie would not have to feel so guilty.

100 Names

Another heartwarming book that engaged my attention. Were 100 names too many? Maybe, so I'm glad that only about six people were highlighted, but it was interesting to be able to work out the connections as you read further, and to chart the changes in Kitty's personality.

Haven't managed to get Mr Penumbra - our library didn't seem to have heard of it!


Vintagefinemaid Report 15 Feb 2013 21:45

The Paris Wife – Paula McLain
This book didn’t really do much for me. I found Hemingway to be a most unpleasant man, and the set he went round with very shallow. His passion for bull fighting and the chapters covering his and Hadley’s visits to Spain were rather harrowing. Seems neither of them had much time for poor Bumby, but then I guess children didn’t fit very well into the ‘arty’ set of the 20’s.

One Hundred Names – Cecilia Aherne
A fascinating book, I couldn’t put it down. Just goes to show we meet people and walk past people every day without really knowing who they are or their real hopes and dreams.
I also learnt a new word through reading this book - noscomaphobia - fear of hospitals


AnninGlos Report 16 Feb 2013 15:17

From Helen

The Paris Wife

I just love stories about the ‘20s, from lots of different countries, because there seemed to be so much going on. Hadley Richardson’s story brought so much of it to life for me and I was sorry to finish the book. Hemingway is one of my favourite authors so it was interesting to see a different side to him, even though it ultimately ended in heartache. Considering so many “Bohemians” were supposed to embrace poverty the tales sporting and making merry are probably the true story.....much recommended.

Thursdays in the Park

Well this was sad and sweet at the same time, it’s really nice to read about an older couple meeting, falling in love, sorting out their lives despite interference and opinions from their grown-up families – in fact hasn’t there been a TV series about this recently?! It can never be easy to be in Jeanie’s position but a stale marriage is not right for everyone so although I thought this might be a bit of a “beach-book”, if you know what I mean, I did enjoy it.


TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 22 Feb 2013 12:30

Collected "The Paris Wife" from the library yesterday. Have now started reading it.

Still waiting for "Thursdaaays in the Park"

Will try library again on Monday.

Will be back with review/s as soon as I can.


AnninGlos Report 22 Feb 2013 12:31

Thanks Tess, hope you enjoy it.


TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 28 Feb 2013 15:56

At last, I have finished reading "The Paris Wife" by Paula McLain.


I knew a little about Ernest Hemingway before reading this book, I was therefore reminded about what I had already heard and also had meat put on the bones about Hemingway after WW1.

I enjoyed listening to Hadley's voivce throughout the sorry tale. (but sometimes wanted to tell her to open her eyes and have a good look at her situation).

Sometimes I had to remind myself that this all happened around ninety years ago, when things for women were very different.
Nowadays the paperatzzi (spl.) would have a fiel day, writing about who was with who, and photographing people when they were worse for wear.. (which seemed to be often.)

The book was written in an easy to read, rather gentle style, possibly because this is the way that Paula McLain thought of Hadley.
My interest in other famous friends of Ernest and Hadley, was piqued. Will now try to find out more about some of them,, including Gertrude Stein and the Scott Fitzgerlads.

Will also look out for books written by Hemingway, especially "Moveable Feast" where he talks about his marriage to Hadley.

Paula McLain bought the story and the times to life.
A well written book, the only reason that I can't say I liked it is because of my dislike of Hemingway.

However, I would recommend to my friends.

Still waiting for "Thursdays in the Park"

P.S. Will now read the other reviews of "The Paris Wife"


AnninGlos Report 3 Mar 2013 15:29

Thanks for that Tess a good review of the book.


TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 6 Mar 2013 13:07

Since writing the review, I looked at the list of books written by Paula McLain.

One of them is an autobiography, where she tells of her two sisters and herself going into care at a very early age.
They were in several foster homes.
Amazon have a copy (hard back, I think) on sale at around £64. so I won't be buying it form them!
However it sounded quite intersting. Will have to make a proper note of the title and see if it is available from Library or Charity shop.


TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 6 Mar 2013 13:10

Have now been informed that both books I requested from the library are ready for collection.

Library is closed today, so will be collecting them tomorrow.

Will start reading "Thursdays in the Park" as soon as I can and then writing the review.

Just be warned, I am keeping rather active (for me ) at the moment, so when I sit down, I tend to fall asleep.