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review 2016-01-21 23:18
Coffin Road
Coffin Road - Quercus,Peter May,Peter Forbes
Author: Peter May
ASIN: B01787LP5Q
Why did I read it? I had read and enjoyed Peter May's Hebrides trilogy of crime fiction, and had erroneously thought this was the fourth. I had a credit on my Audible account, so used it to pre-order this.
What's it about? A man with amnesia washes up on a beach, barely alive, but feeling as though he has done the most terrible thing. He attempts to discover where he is, why he's there, and just who he is without alerting anyone to his memory loss - terrified his dreadful secret will be too much to bear.
A teenager struggles to cope with her mother's ability to move on with life following the death of her father, and sets out to find out more about him, little knowing the dire consequences her search will have on herself, and others.
A body is found on a the remote Flannan Isles in the Outer Hebrides, and it is up to Detective George Gunn to find out how he was killed, and how he came to this remote rock, 20 miles west of any civilisation.
As the story unfolds, these three people grow ever closer to the truth.
It is uncannily hard hard to describe this book without destroying the mystery. There are several voices in the book, most notably Neil's, the man we meet first washed up on the beach.
What did I like? I loved the opening, as I was caught right from the moment Neal washes up on the beach. I was eager to know where the story would take me. And, just was I was becoming engrossed in his story, there is a switch to the teenage Karen's life, and suddenly I start making connections.
The story is so well paced that you don't feel like matters are being dragged out, or that you are racing towards the end. There are a few red herrings, and a twist or two, though nothing to frustrate the reader. I note other readers were critical of the change between first person, and third person narrative, but I felt it created a good separation/barrier in the stories.
Once again, the landscapes are described beautifully by the author, and one almost feels as though the land, and sea are characters themselves.
Peter Forbes did an excellent job as narrator, each word was clear and precise.
What didn't I like? Only one little quibble with the recording, which I had up loud as I did other tasks, was being able to hear papers turning. Still, the recording from Audible was clear!
Would I recommend it? Absolutely! Love crime fiction? Read, or listen to Coffin Road. Like stories set in beautiful landscapes, particularly Scotland? Read, or listen to Coffin Road.
Rating: 4½/5


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review 2014-07-01 15:35
Sea Room by Adam Nicolson
Sea Room: An Island Life in the Hebrides - Adam Nicolson

bookshelves: published-2001, britain-scotland, nonfiction, one-penny-wonder, autumn-2010, ancient-history, archaeology, vikings, sciences

Read from October 19 to 20, 2010


** spoiler alert ** A keeper for sure; one never knows when one can break out the Nordic war-boat and head out to investigate the islands. A meandering description with black and white photos dotted throughout, also a few diagrams and maps.

About the author (wiki-sourced) - Adam Nicolson is the son of writer Nigel Nicolson and grandson of the writers Vita Sackville-West and Sir Harold Nicolson. He was educated at Eton College and Magdalene College, Cambridge and has worked as a journalist and columnist on the Sunday Times, the Sunday Telegraph and the Daily Telegraph. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Nicolson was married to Olivia Fane from 1982 to 1992. They had three sons.[1] Since 1992 Nicolson has been married to Sarah Raven. He and his wife have two daughters and live at Perch Hill Farm[2] in Sussex and at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent.

First sentence - For the Last twenty years I have owned some islands

Grandmother(Vita Sackville-West) died and left father some money and an advert had been seen in the Daily Telegraph. Some previous owners were Compton Mackenzie, Lord Leverhulme and more recently, a racehorse breeder. It doesn't take a genius to see that this was not a good place to rear Derby winners

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review 2014-05-19 13:57
Great Writing but a Poor Set
In Favor of the Sensitive Man, and Other Essays - Anaïs Nin

Anais Nin has been hanging around the periphery of my literary awareness for some time now. Perhaps it is the stigma of erotica or maybe it's just that she is crowded out by the towering reputations of other writers of her period like Hemingway, Faulkner, and Nabokov but, though I heard something of her, opportunity and inspiration took some time before bringing me to her. It was finally #ReadWomen2014--something I've taken on as a kind of mission, as I've discussed here before--that I finally picked up a volume of her diaries and this collection published towards the end of her life in the 1970's. 


As it happens, I am very happy to have found her. I keep the diary near the bedside for intermittent reading and found it every bit as interesting as its reputation. I may yet write a post on them when I have read a more substantial share of it--her very take on the art of journaling deserves attention--but today the attention is on the essays.


In Favor of the Sensitive Man and Other Essays has some great writing in it. She writes with prescience on the subject of feminism and gender studies, even if these thoughts have since been bowdlerized to suit the post-sexism, post-sexism crowd (it is that fine line between advice and policy). My favorite may be among the travel essays. "Port Vila, New Hebrides" gives us a view of a certain few islands in the South Pacific. Their dynamic landscapes are well suited for her rich descriptions though and they are even better for the rich personality of Nicolai, the world traveler and her guide into the intimate lives of the indigenous population.


My only complaint, and it is a not-insignificant one, is the careless curating of the pieces. It has the feel of a collection of cast-offs. There are essays, there are book reviews and movie reviews, there are speeches, there are diary entries and there are interviews. They come from publications as diverse as the Massachusetts Review, the Village Voice, and Playgirl. I thought it might be a sort of yearbook, Anais Nin, all the writings, 1973-74, but they had, in fact been culled over some years. 


Take the first section, "Women and Men". Apart, they are very good works, but they are to similar to be read one after another. I liked the first essay, then the interview, which touched on some of the same points, nothing surprising. Then the next essay, and the next, and there is occasion to stay close to the topic, but when assembling a collection like this you expect a representative sample. You see it weekly on talk shows, where politicians do five or six shows in a week. Meet the Press, Hardball, The Daily Show, etc. Each interview can be enlightening and entertaining, but the topic and the message are the same. It is useful to reach out to each show's audience, but if one person to take one guest and put together a reel of each interview it would be unspeakably tedious. Though I did enjoy a taste that in the segment on  John Oliver's show, "John McCain tells the same Joke Six Different Times in Six Different Places". To a lesser effect, and with a better message, that is the feeling I started to get.


Some of the pieces did come across dated, as any work might. The movies and books she reviewed have fallen out of public awareness, as I am sure many I like and review may in some years, it is an unfortunate cast of the die but one that does affect the reading. More unsettling is the travel essays. Anais Nin is wonderful with scenery but too often it seems that people become part of that scene rather than characters, especially the native populations in Africa and Asia. She casually mentions how Arabs ave been banned from the French resort in Morocco and how she is let in to tour a local household, these tours allowed by the disabled resident who needs the money. I like to think I see hints of awareness, something in the tone, the way of description as a dog whistle to the readers of Travel & Leisure. I can't tell.


I have been there. Even in Hawaii, endemic poverty and a notorious sex trade hover in the shadows of massive luxury resorts. The history of American involvement of these islands adds to the unease. We all fall for the trick, we want to fall for the illusion, and travel essays are supposed to support that, which she does. It is a subject that bothers me, and she is not terrible offender, but I think it is important to recognize these patterns.


That said, I greatly enjoyed being introduced finally to this author and look forward to reading more Anais Nin, and to finding something that fits better as a cohesive work. Please leave suggestions in the comments!  

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review 2013-04-02 20:10
Sea Room: An Island Life in the Hebrides
Sea Room: An Island Life in the Hebrides - Adam Nicolson Superb Book
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review 2012-04-12 00:00
Vision - Beth Elisa Harris I read this book for World Literary Cafe.

There are many books out there in the paranormal genre. This one is very unique. I loved it. The story flowed beautifully and you really wanted to know what happens next. I felt invested in the story emotionally.

This was the first book in the trilogy. The next book is due out in May titled Soul Herder. I personally can't wait to read it.

If you are a romantically inclined person you would see that soul mates really exsist and true love never really dies.

Layla's world totally changes when she goes away to school in UK. Everything she thought she thought about herself and her life is not as it seems. Secrets were kept...Huge secrets.

She handed the truth a lot better than I would thats for sure.

I highly recommend this book.
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