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Peaslady

Peaslady

Joined January 2017

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Grand Union: Stories by Zadie Smith
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Peaslady
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Pickpick

I read this shortly after 'Everything you never told me' and found it so much more enjoyable. The characters felt much more rounded - flawed and interesting. The plotline was more unique and I got much more engrossed in the story overall. Though reading it as a new mum was tough at times.

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Peaslady
Never Let Me Go | Kazuo Ishiguro
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Panpan

I'm brutal about my reviews. This wasn't bad exactly; it just never got going. I expected something more to happen. I love sci-fi and speculative fiction because so often you get introduced to a world different from ours that ultimately reveals something fundamental about what it means to be human. For me this just remained a flat description of that horrible alternate reality. Ishiguro should stick to historical fiction in my opinion.

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Peaslady
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Panpan

Controversial I know, as this seems to be a popular book, but I didn't rate this story. It felt quite predictable. Sat no point did it surprise or excite me. The characters were very stereotypical and one-dimensional. Whilst it was interesting reading about a chinese-american couple and their different perspectives on the bi-racial aspect of their relationship I didn't find them very believable.

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Peaslady

'I could have done that, Marilyn thought, and the words clicked into place like puzzle pieces, shocking her with their rightness. The hypothetical past perfect, the tense of missed chances.' p. 96

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Peaslady
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Bailedbailed

Oh how disappointing! I've loved many of McEwan's books, adore speculative fiction and was excited for his take on AI, but I only made it halfway. It was BORING. Writing a sci-fi novel is harder than he thought (he's shunned the genre but really, it's about robots?!). He spends too much time explaining his alternative reality via clumsy dialogue or the narrator's voice. He's so caught up with how clever he's being he forgot to tell a good story.

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Peaslady
Bailedbailed

Just not for me.

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Peaslady
Bring Up the Bodies | Hilary Mantel
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Pickpick

This is one of my all time favourite books! Even better than Wolf Hall in my opinion. Mantel's turn of phrase is so unique, she uses punctuation and metaphors like a poet. And the way she evokes this period in history so faithfully, whilst keeping the writing and dialogue modern, is masterful. I particularly love how she brings characters to life, often using a small action, like their entrance into a room, to reveal some of their personality.

3 likes1 stack add
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Peaslady
Bring Up the Bodies | Hilary Mantel

'Sir Nicholas Carew has made an entrance. He does not come into a room like lesser men, but rolls in, like a siege engine or some formidable hurling device: and now, halting before Cromwell, he looks as though he wishes to bombard him.' p. 310

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Peaslady
Bring Up the Bodies | Hilary Mantel
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p. 106

BarbaraBB Is it as good as 5mo
Peaslady @BarbaraBB yes! Even better! 5mo
BarbaraBB That is so good to know, thanks! 💕 5mo
4 likes3 comments
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Peaslady
American Wife | Curtis Sittenfeld
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Pickpick

This fictional biography, loosely based on the life of George W Bush's wife, wasn't what I expected. I thought it would focus on the presidential years, but the clue was in the title - the majority of the book is dedicated to an honest retrospective appraisal of the life and marriage of the narrator, Alice Blackwell. I enjoyed the way Sittenfeld portrayed Alice's perspective - her doubts and internal conflicts. Very readable for such a big book.

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Peaslady
American Wife | Curtis Sittenfeld

'...after all these years, my faith remained decidedly shaky. That the world was miraculous, frequently in inexplicable ways, I would not argue. That these miracles had any relationship to the buildings we called churches, to the sequences of words we called prayers - that I was less sure of.' p.369

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Peaslady
American Wife | Curtis Sittenfeld

'Because then the situation could, at core, be my fault instead of his, and I could feel guilt instead of anger. And wasn't guilt much more ladylike, didn't it fit me far more comfortably?' p. 164

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Peaslady
Bring Up the Bodies | Hilary Mantel

'There is a pause, while she turns the great pages of her volume of rage, and puts her finger on just the right word. 'What you say, Cromwell, is... contemptible.'' p. 89

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Peaslady
Bring Up the Bodies | Hilary Mantel

'Just a staircase: and there, with the light of a sconce lapping at its gold trim, is the stiff new doublet of Mark Smeaton. Mark himself is lurking inside it.' p.74

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Peaslady
Bring Up the Bodies | Hilary Mantel

'Troubled men both, he thinks, Wriothesley and Riche, and alike in some ways, sidling around the peripheries of their own souls, tapping at the walls: oh, what is that hollow sound?' p. 60

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Peaslady
American Wife | Curtis Sittenfeld

'There we're so many terrible moments, a lifetime of terrible moments, really, which is not the same as a terrible lifetime.' p. 83

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Peaslady
American Wife | Curtis Sittenfeld

'What other people think has never made a situation right or wrong.' p.61 Alice's grandmother was ahead of her time

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Peaslady
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Pickpick

I've not read a Lisa Jewel since I was a teenager and the book I did read was a trashy chick lit that didn't inspire me to read more. But someone I trust lent me their copy of this book and I've got to admit I really enjoyed it. It's still an easy read, but it's well written for its genre and a gripping and unusual story. It flits between past and present, exploring the lives of a family whose mother is a hoarder from their different perspectives.

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Peaslady
House Rules | Jodi Picoult
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Panpan

Shame. I usually like Jodi Picoult books. But this one was too long, very repetitive, and predictable. The review on the back promised 'a strong whodunnit element' but it was obvious what happened and the avoidance of solving the crime felt manufactured and out of character. The voices in the story weren't differentiated enough and Jacob's in particular had a self awareness and analysis that didn't fit with his diagnosis of Asperger's.

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Peaslady
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Panpan

Very disappointed. Loved her first, liked her second, but had to force my way through Angelou's third autobiography. I think the problem was a lack of character development. Whilst undeniably an incredible story it read like a list of roles she performed, countries she visited and people she met. Other characters were given mere hints of personality through an affectation or fashion choice, but I struggle to remember a single name in retrospect.

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Peaslady
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Mehso-so

I didn't enjoy this as much as Normal People. It's funny how often the joy of a book is becoming immersed in a character's life and their different perspective, and yet sometimes that other perspective just doesn't resonate. I couldn't connect with Frances or understand her relationships with Nick/Bobbi/Melissa/her parents. I don't think this was because they were atypical or far from my own experiences, but perhaps to do with her as a narrator?

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Peaslady

'Now, lying on my own in the silent house, I felt I'd lost control of everything. All I could decide was whether or not to have sex with Nick; I couldn't decide how to feel about it, or what it meant. And although I could decide to fight with him, and what we would fight about, I couldn't decide what he would say, or how much it would hurt me.' p. 134

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Peaslady
A Little Life: A Novel | Hanya Yanagihara
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Pickpick

This was without doubt a fantastic book. I don't know how Yanagihara managed to mix chronology, narrator and subject so thoroughly (often not in line with sections, chapters or even paragraphs) without ever confusing the reader. And her ability to get inside the head of someone so completely broken and tell his story over 720 pages without it ever feeling repetitive. I'm in awe. Just don't expect it to be joyful.

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Peaslady

'Now we are two foreign countries and we simply have our embassies in the same house. Relations are friendly but strictly diplomatic. There is an underlying sense of rumour, of judgement, of memory, like two peoples that have once committed great crimes against each other, but in another generation.' p.48

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Peaslady
Mrs Dalloway | Virginia Woolf
Bailedbailed

Embarrassed to admit I've bailed on this book. First time in a long time I've done that, but it's reconfirmed for me that pre 20th century classics aren't my thing. When I am reading a book I don't enjoy it stops me reading anything else and I've decided it's just not worth doing that. Too many good ones out there to get started on!

quanners Try the audiobook. I‘m listening to it now...it is this far -only 5% into the story. 8mo
1 like1 comment
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Peaslady
Mrs Dalloway | Virginia Woolf
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It's hard to fit a Virginia Woolf quote into the Litsy character limit. Her stream of consciousness style is verbose and sometimes hard to follow, but when she tackles a vivid emotion like this it can be really powerful.

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Peaslady
Mrs Dalloway | Virginia Woolf

'Was Evelyn ill again? Evelyn was a good deal out of sorts, said Hugh, intimating by a kind of pout or swell of his very well-covered, manly, extremely handsome, perfectly upholstered body (he was almost too well dressed always, but presumably had to be, with his little job at Court) that his wife had some internal ailment, nothing serious, which, as an old friend, Clarissa Dalloway would quite understand without requiring him to specify.' p.6

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Peaslady
Normal People | Sally Rooney
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Pickpick

This is without doubt one of the best books I've read in a really long time. It's hard to put your finger on how some authors can make a relatively simple story something beautiful. So many emotions that have been expressed so many times in different ways and yet Rooney makes them feel fresh. Her characters feel modern, conflicted and complicated - like real people. Marianne and Connell's relationship was so compelling, I read it in 36 hours.

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Peaslady
Normal People | Sally Rooney

"If anything, his personality seemed like something external to himself, managed by the opinions of others, rather than anything he individually did or produced. Now he has a sense of invisibility, nothingness, with no reputation to recommend him to anyone. Though his physical appearance had not changed, he feels objectively worse-looking then he used to be." p.70

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Peaslady
Normal People | Sally Rooney

"He seemed to think Marianne had access to a range of different identities, between which she slipped effortlessly. This surprised her, because she usually felt confined inside one single personality, which was always the same regardless of what she did or said...If she was different with Connell, the difference was not happening inside herself, in her personhood, but in between them, in the dynamic." p. 14

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Peaslady
Normal People | Sally Rooney

"When he talks to Marianne he has a sense of total privacy between them. He could tell her anything about himself, even weird things, and she would never repeat them, he knows that. Being alone with her is like opening a door away from normal life and then closing it behind him." p. 6/7

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Peaslady
Lies | TM Logan
Panpan

I didn't bail, but only because I had the time over the Christmas period and someone had chosen this for our book club, so I needed to finish it to justify my opinion. Which is that this book is terrible. Not at all surprised T M Logan is a man. His main character is such an awful cliche of what men think women want. Short, cheaply cliff-hung chapters and a ridiculous, completely unoriginal storyline. Thrillers can be great fun, this was not.

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Peaslady
Days Without End | Sebastian Barry
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Mehso-so

Barry gives a very believable voice to this unique individual during the American civil war. So much happens in this biographic fiction and yet there is never a page-turning urgency because of the measured style of the narrator (sim. Remains of the Day). It sheds light on a society experiencing growing pains - strangely tolerant, and yet violent, in which families can be chosen and bonds of affection drive desperate and enpassioned behaviour.

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Peaslady
Days Without End | Sebastian Barry

"Souls ain't like a great river and then when death comes the souls pouring over the waterfall and into the bottom land below. Souls ain't like that but this war is asking for them to be. Do we got so many souls to be given?"

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Peaslady
Days Without End | Sebastian Barry

"Things go on like that. Lot of life is just like that. I look back over fifty years of life and I wonder where the years went. I guess they went like that, without me noticing much. A man's memory might have only a hundred clear days in it and he has lived thousands. Can't do much about that. We have our store of days and we spend them like forgetful drunkards." p.88

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Peaslady
Days Without End | Sebastian Barry

"Time was not something then we thought of as an item that possessed an ending, but something that would go on forever, all rested and stopped in that moment. Hard to say what I mean by that. You look back at the endless years when you never had that thought. I am doing that now as I write these words in Tennessee. I am thinking of the days without end of my life." p. 46

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Peaslady
Days Without End | Sebastian Barry

"But I had no idea what I looked like. Children may feel epic and large to theyselves and yet only be scraps to view." p.5 Thomas McNulty, our narrator, has a very distinctive voice. It's easy to hear an old fashioned American drawl as you read.

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Peaslady
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Mehso-so

This had been recommended to me by so many people that I persevered, even though it took me quite a while to get into it. Like 'The Curious Incident', I think this book's strength is Honeyman's ability to bring a very authentic voice to a minority experience. The story itself is a classic tale of renewal and self discovery, but through this lens it becomes more interesting. The depictions of depression and trauma were particularly poignant.

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Peaslady

"There are days when I feel so lightly connected to the earth that the threads that tether me to the planet are gossamer thin, spun sugar. A strong gust of wind could dislodge me completely, and I'd lift off and blow away, like one of those seeds in a dandelion clock." p.5/6

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Peaslady
The Remains of the Day | Kazuo Ishiguro
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Pickpick

I absolutely adored this book. Ishiguro perfectly captures the reserved character of Mr Stevens and the turmoil of interwar Britain. You really get an insight into what it must have been like to be a traditional butler trying to cope with the changing expectations of a society in flux. The way Mr Stevens narrates, talking to you as a contemporary, also gives it an interesting twist - it being unclear how truthful he is being with us, and himself.

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Peaslady
The Remains of the Day | Kazuo Ishiguro

'The fact is of course,' I said after a while, 'I gave my best to Lord Darlington. I gave him the very best I had to give, and now - well - I find I do not have a great deal more left to give.' p.255 This breaks my heart! What did he sacrifice for Lord Darlington and in the pursuit of 'dignity' in his profession? Was it worth it?

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Peaslady
The Remains of the Day | Kazuo Ishiguro

"It is hardly my fault if his lordship's life and work have turned out today to look, at best, a sad waste - and it is quite illogical that I should feel any regret or shame on my own account" p.211 The history Lord Darlington lived through is fascinating and this book offers a rare perspective. Stevens is clearly conflicted by his loyalty to his old employer and you can't help but feel he wishes rather than truly believes the above to be true.

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Peaslady
The Remains of the Day | Kazuo Ishiguro

"I may as well say here that having reread her letter again tonight, I am inclined to believe I may well have read more into certain of her lines than perhaps wise" p.189 Mr Stevens revisits Miss Kenton's letter frequently throughout the book - it feels like a kind of touchstone for him to return to for solace in a time of uncertainty.

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Peaslady
The Remains of the Day | Kazuo Ishiguro
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"I should perhaps say a few words here concerning these meetings in her parlour at the end of each day. These were, let me say, overwhelmingly professional in tone - though naturally we might discuss some informal topics from time to time" p.155 Mr Stevens' relationship with Miss Kenton is another central theme in this book. The way it's narrated means you're never quite sure how aware he was of his own feelings.

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Peaslady
The Remains of the Day | Kazuo Ishiguro
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"If one looks at, say, Mr Marshall or Mr Lane, it does seem to be that the factor which distinguishes them from those butlers who are merely extremely competent is most closely captured by this word 'dignity'." p.33 - the definition of which is a recurring preoccupation (perhaps because he fears it alludes him?) for Mr Stevens (our narrator) thoughout the book. I also like the way he brings us into his world through these 'shared' acquaintances.

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Peaslady
The Remains of the Day | Kazuo Ishiguro
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"Indeed, I have seen in encyclopedias...breath-taking photographs of sights from various corners of the globe...It has never, of course, been my privilege to have seen these things at first hand, but I will nevertheless hazard this with some confidence: the English landscape at its finest - such as I saw it this morning - possesses a quality that the landscapes of other nations, however more superficially dramatic, inevitably fail to possess" p.28

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Peaslady
The Remains of the Day | Kazuo Ishiguro
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''It is quite possible, then, that my employer fully expects me to respond to his bantering in a like manner, and considers my failure to do so a form of negligence. This is, as I say, a matter which has given me much concern." p.16 - I adore the way Ishiguro juxtaposes the modern, informal subject of this concern with the narrator's archaic turn of phrase. It demonstrates perfectly one of the central themes of the book - changing societal norms.

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Peaslady
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Pickpick

I really enjoyed Maya Angelou's second in her series of biographies. Will definitely be reading the rest. Her story is unbelievable and her words are captivating. This book covers her early adulthood as a single mum trying to make ends meet.

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Peaslady

'My courage was dwindling. Unfortunately, fortitude was not like the color of my skin, given to me once and mine forever. It needed to be resurrected each morning and exercised painstakingly. It also had to be fed with at least a few triumphs. My strength had fallen away from me as the pert features fade from an aging beauty' p.211

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Peaslady

'Their conversations were tightly choreographed measures, and since I didn't know the steps, I sat on the sidelines and watched' p.177