Random Thoughts: All Creatures Great and Small

I’m still struggling to get my reading head together, so I thought I’d put together some ponderings on a series of books I haven’t read that are the basis for two tv adaptations that I’ve watched and loved. Just a bit of randomness to while away a moment. I’m also going full ‘blocks’ with this post, rather than relying on the safety of the ‘classic block’. Hopefully it will look okay when I post it.

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The Grasmere Journal 1800-1803

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Read 19/07/2020-27/07/2020

Rating 5 stars

Book 8 of my 10 Books of Summer reading challenge

This beautiful Folio Society edition of Dorothy Wordsworth’s Grasmere Journal was part of my 10th wedding anniversary present from my husband last year. It’s illustrated by Georgie Bennett and has an introduction by Wordsworth scholar Lucy Newlyn. Continue reading

Elmet

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Read 05/04/2020-11/04/2020

Rating 3 stars

I don’t remember buying Elmet. I don’t remember anyone buying it for me, either (my apologies if it was you). And yet it’s a book that I found that I owned while digging through my piles of books to be read, back at the start of this period of viral pandemic and social distancing that isn’t even four weeks ago yet. Continue reading

Grief is the Thing with Feathers

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Read 30/03/2017-31/03/2017

Rating: 4 stars

Read for The Reader’s Room March Madness Challenge.

I was in two minds about reading this book, but I’m glad I did. It’s sad and raw, but funny, too, in its sorrowful sweetness. The melancholy and the magic of the ugly, sarcastic, relentless Crow made me think of the Thistledown Man in Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. Something in the way death has a mysticism about it, and grief makes you believe strange things about reality, and the chosen embodiment of grief is as harsh as is necessary. In grief, nothing matters and everything matters. Grieving is very personal and hard to explain, but at the same time it’s universal. For me, Grief is the Thing with Feathers encapsulated that very well. Continue reading

A God in Ruins

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Read 14/06/2015-19/06/2016

Rating: 3 stars

Read for The Reader’s Room March Madness Challenge

While Life After Life followed Ursula Todd on her repeated attempts to survive first her own birth, then her childhood and finally the Second World War, to also bring her family through intact, A God In Ruins looks at younger brother Teddy’s experience as a bomber pilot in the same war. It considers the effect conflict has on those participating in war, both immediately and long term, and the ongoing effect paid forward onto their descendants.

With Life After Life, I admired the creativity but didn’t enjoy the story much. With A God In Ruins, I enjoyed the story but didn’t admire the creativity much. A God In Ruins is a pleasant read that didn’t ask too much of me as a reader. It skipped neatly from discoveries among older Teddy’s possessions and conversations between Teddy and his daughter and grandson to memories of younger Teddy’s life. I enjoyed the plotting of the book, its non-linear trajectory, and its sense of familiarity. Continue reading

Parade’s End

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Read 06/03/2016-25/03/2016

Rating: 3 stars

LibraryThing review

I watched the BBC adaptation of Parade’s End a few years ago. It made me want to read the book. The novel is a monumental work. I can see why critics call it the finest English novel about the Great War. I can see why Ford Madox Ford is fêted as a writer, unlike any English writer before or since. I struggled with this book, though. I had to make a lot of notes to marshall my thoughts as I read, or I might have gone mad with it all. Continue reading

Me:Moir Volume One

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Read 12/02/2015-14/02/2015

Rating: 4 stars

I spied this book on the bookshelf of a friend one drunken New Year’s Eve not so long ago. I asked if I could borrow it, but was too drunk to remember to bring it home with me once the midnight chimes had rung the new year in and our bodies had pleaded with us to take them home to bed. So I bought my own copy.

I have loved Reeves and Mortimer since they burst onto my late night TV screen in the 1990s. We recently went to see them live on their 25th Anniversary Tour. I ached with laughing so hard. Continue reading

GB84

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Read 09/02/2015-12/02/2015

Rating: 2 stars

If you’re expecting GB84 to be a work of historical fiction, laying out the ins and outs of the Miners’ Strike, you’re going to be disappointed in this book.

If you approach it as a satire framed as a crime thriller, you might get along with it. Continue reading

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman

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Read 06/01/2014-20/01/2014

Rating: 4 stars

LibraryThing review

Laurence Sterne‘s convoluted stream of consciousness un-novel and I have history. It’s a book that I kept seeing references to in other works. It was sort of adapted into the film A Cock and Bull Story, about trying to make a film about an impossible book to adapt. Meta!

I first tried to read it when I was in my mid twenties. It irritated me so much that I put it straight back on the shelf after only a few pages.

I tried again in my mid thirties, after I saw A Cock and Bull Story. I wanted to get it so badly.  Continue reading