Lisey’s Story

bookshelves: autumn-2014, halloween-2014, fraudio, published-2006, boo-scary, skim-through

Read on October 31, 2014
Narrated by Mare Winningham

Description – Lisey Debusher Landon lost her husband Scott two years ago, after a twenty-five year marriage of the most profound and sometimes frightening intimacy. Scott was an award-winning, bestselling novelist and a very complicated man. Early in their relationship, before they married, Lisey had to learn from him about books and blood and bools. Later, she understood that there was a place Scott went—a place that both terrified and healed him, could eat him alive or give him the ideas he needed in order to live. Now it’s Lisey’s turn to face Scott’s demons. Lisey’s turn to go to Boo’ya Moon. What begins as a widow’s effort to sort through the papers of her celebrated husband becomes a nearly fatal journey into the darkness he inhabited. Perhaps King’s most personal and powerful story ever, Lisey’s Story is about the wellsprings of creativity, the temptations of madness, and the secret language of love.

I like to think this suffered by what I was also reading at the time. Unfair, I know, however if this was a shining thing it would of won all contest, right? All paled into insignificance whilst I was the altar babe of Peaky Blinders and Game of Thrones. Sad but true,

4* The Shining (The Shining #1)
4* Doctor Sleep (The Shining #2)

3* Mr. Mercedes (Bill Hodges Trilogy, #1)

5* The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, #1)
5* The Drawing of the Three (The Dark Tower, #2)
5* The Waste Lands (The Dark Tower, #3)
3* Wizard and Glass (The Dark Tower, #4)
TR Wolves of the Calla (The Dark Tower, #5)

TR The Talisman (The Talisman, #1)

3* The Stand
4* It
5* Misery
3* Pet Sematary
4* 11/22/63
3* ‘Salem’s Lot
3* The Green Mile
3* Cujo
4* Different Seasons featuring The Shawshank Redemption
3* Christine
TR The Dead Zone
3* Firestarter
4* Insomnia
3* Carrie
3* Desperation
4* Four Past Midnight
2* Dreamcatcher
2* Tommyknockers
2* The Mist
4* Hearts in Atlantis
4* Full Dark, No Stars
3* Joyland
CR Lisey’s Story
3* From a Buick 8
3* Just After Sunset
3* Blaze
3* Storm of the Century: An Original Screenplay
1* UR
3* Blood and Smoke
3* Children of the Corn

Peaky Blinders

The TV series

Birmingham 1919
Theme tune is by Nick Cave

Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby
Sam Neill as C.I. Chester Campbell
Helen McCrory as Aunt Polly Gray
Paul Anderson as Arthur Shelby Jnr
Iddo Goldberg as Freddie Thorne (series 1 only)
Annabelle Wallis as Grace Burgess
Sophie Rundle as Ada Shelby
Joe Cole as John Shelby
Ned Dennehy as Charlie Strong
David Dawson as Roberts (series 1 only)
Andy Nyman as Winston Churchill (series 1 only)
Richard McCabe as Winston Churchill (series 2 only)
Charlie Creed-Miles as Billy Kimber (series 1 only)

Cracking storyline, love the period, the setting, the music. Violent but not more than one would expect from gang warfare.


Episode 1

‘Zandstra’ by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
‘Martha’s Dream’ by Nick Cave
‘Red Right Hand’ by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
‘I think I smelled a Rat’ by The White Stripes
‘St James Infirmary Blues’ by The White Stripes
‘Queenie’s Suite ‘ by Nick Cave
‘Song for Jesse ‘ by Nick Cave

Episode 2

‘Red Right Hand’ by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
‘Tough Call’ by The Samphire Band
‘Blue Veins’ by The Raconteurs
‘The Hardest Button to Button’ by The White Stripes
‘Proposition #1′ by Nick Cave
‘Black Math ‘ by The White Stripes
‘Vedi la Ma Guite Lo Stendo A Tel ‘ by Giacomo Puccini
‘Lo Tenni La Promesca’ by Giacomo Puccini
‘Brother My Cup is Empty’ by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
‘Little Room’ by The White Stripes

Episode 3

‘Red Right Hand’ by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
‘When I hear my name’ by The White Stripes
‘Abattoir Blues’ by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
‘St James Infirmary Blues’ by The White Stripes

Episode 4

‘Red Right Hand’ by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
‘I fought Piranhas’ by The White Stripes
‘Clap Hands’ by Tom Waits
‘Broken Boy Soldier’ by The Raconteurs
‘Martha’s dream’ by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis

Episode 5

‘Red Right Hand’ by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
‘Ball & Biscuit’ by The White Stripes
‘Little Cream Soda’ by The White Stripes
‘God is in the House’ by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
‘Time’ by Tom Waits
‘Bring it on’ by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Episode 6

‘Red Right Hand’ by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
‘The Prowl’ by Dan Auerbach
‘Love is Blindness’ by Jack White German

The Lessons by Naomi Alderman

bookshelves: fraudio, spring-2010, britain-england, published-2010, glbt

Recommended for: Radio 4 listeners
Read from April 13 to 23, 2010
** spoiler alert ** Rory Kinnear begins reading the Orange New Writers Award Winner, Naomi Alderman’s, second novel, ‘The Lessons’, a story of ambition, friendship, betrayal and desire. Today: James goes up to Oxford but finds her beauty only skin-deep.

Reader Rory Kinnear
Abridger Sally Marmion
Producer Di Speirs

BBC blurb – The Lessons is the second novel from Naomi Alderman, winner of the Orange New Writers Award and Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year. Set among the dreaming spires of Oxford, it follows the progress of a gilded group of under-graduates drawn together by their dazzling and mercurial fellow student Mark Winters. Fuelled by his trust-fund they live a charmed life of learning and parties and love-affairs. But university is no grounding for real life and none of the friends will be prepared, some years later, when tragedy strikes. The Lessons is a novel about friendship, ambition, betrayal and desire, and the fact that only life can teach the lessons you really need to learn.

Naomi Alderman won the Orange New Writers Award for her first novel Disobedience and has subsequently been named as the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year. She is a graduate of Lincoln College, Oxford. Rory Kinnear, fresh from playing Angelo at the Almeida and about to play Hamlet at the National Theatre studied at Balliol College, Oxford and reads his first Book at Bedtime.

My mind keeps throwing up Highsmith’s Ripley.

There are a few inconsistencies in this that jar, for example – one minute there are eight smooth unwrinkled fifty pound notes and then the next moment the crumpled notes are gazed at.

picky wench aren’t I?

Sanctuary by Nicholas Hallum

Description: One neighborhood is lucky to be prepared when the world falls apart. A child narrates the story of how her neighbors found the strength to band together in unity against a self-destructive culture, and find the primeval instincts that might preserve the human race — becoming a bulwark of resistance to societal breakdown. The only problem is that the rest of the world may not see them as the survivors, but instead as predators themselves.

Opening: The neighborhood went dark at noon on a Thursday. The music in the air stopped. Mr. Renicker’s grown-up daughter Shanna had a stereo playing punk rock from her second story bedroom on that sunny August day, and the sound just stopped dead, as if it had been bitten off.

“You know what?” he gave me his trying-to-be-crazy smile. “We’ll make hot dogs – outside!”

Very short story, just right for a torch-under-the-chin-in-the-dark Hallowe’en reading evening. Source

As Nicholas Hallum:
2.5* Sanctuary

As Ned Hayes:
4* Sinful Folk

Edge of Eternity

bookshelves: autumn-2014, published-2014, cold-war, series, fraudio, games-people-play, families, eye-scorcher, racism

Read from October 05 to 30, 2014

36 hrs and 55 mins Read by John Lee

Description: As the decisions made in the corridors of power bring the world to the brink of oblivion, five families from across the globe are brought together in an unforgettable tale of passion and conflict during the Cold War. When Rebecca Hoffmann, a teacher in East Germany, finds herself pursued by the secret police, she discovers that she has been living a lie. Her younger brother, Walli, longs to escape across the Berlin Wall to Britain to become part of the burgeoning music scene.

If you have got through to this last book then there is no point in me bringing the flaws to the fore, they are understood. Edge of Eternity is another eye-scorching brick from Follett and it immersed me in the Bay of Pigs, the Berlin Wall, racial injustice. If you ever wondered just how close the world came to annihilation under the sword rattlers of the Cold War era, this is an enjoyable way to find out.

Right up front I can tell you that I found the Kennedy sections unlikeable but entirely readable. In Follett’s inimitable bull-in-a-china-shop style, he does bring this ugly period to life. It is, for me, 3.5* upped to reflect how much I enjoyed the series overall.

All-in-all a good end to a blistering trilogy. Curl up in your afghan, grab your thermos and cookies, turn your clocks to the wall, and dive in.

4* The Pillars of the Earth (The Pillars of the Earth, #1)
3* World Without End (The Pillars of the Earth, #2)

4.5* Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy, #1)
4* Winter of the World (The Century Trilogy #2)
3.5* Edge of Eternity (The Century Trilogy, #3)

3* Eye of the Needle
3* Jackdaws

The Golem by Gustav Meyrink

Description: “A superbly atmospheric story set in the old Prague ghetto featuring The Golem, a kind of rabbinical Frankenstein’s monster, which manifests itself every 33 years in a room without a door. Stranger still, it seems to have the same face as the narrator. Made into a film in 1920, this extraordinary book combines uncanny psychology of doppelganger stories with expressionism and more than a little melodrama… Meyrink’s old Prague – like Dicken’s London – is one of the great creations of City writing, an eerie, claustrophobic and fantastical underworld where anything can happen.” — Phil Baker in The Sunday Times

The moonlight is shining on the foot of my bed, lying there like a large, bright, flat stone.

This story is a hotchpotch of no-noes pleached into a tantalising horror tale strong enough to put the willies up (figuratively speaking, natch) the Germans with their fear of doppelgangers, Jews everywhere, and the incredibly superstitious Prague-ites. Fantastic. This is low down and dirty, and it starts off when Rabbi Loew see in the stars that something horrible will befall mankind.


I plan to read Singer’s version of the story to compare, and if you are not up for this book, the fruit of a failed suicide and rabid occultist, then maybe the silent film will suit better:…

Seriously good Hallowe’en fayre.

4* Walpurgisnacht
4* The Golem
2* The White Dominican

Little Fingers by Filip Florian, Alistair Ian Blyth

bookshelves: hardback, paper-read, romania, under-500-ratings, published-2005, autumn-2014, archaeology, lit-richer, debut, magical-realism, historical-fiction, politics, mystery-thriller, newtome-author

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: me!
Read from September 25 to October 29, 2014
Description: In a little town in Romania, a mass grave is discovered near the excavations of a Roman fort. Are the dead the victims of a medieval plague or, perhaps, of a Communist firing squad? And why are finger bones disappearing from the pit each night? Petrus, a young archaeologist, decides to do some investigating of his own.

Meanwhile, an Orthodox monk in the surrounding mountains stumbles into history when he becomes the father confessor of a partisan bent on bringing down the government, one handmade grenade and one derailed train at a time. Not to mention a team of Argentinean forensic anthropologists who arrive in town in a cloud of rock music, shredded jeans, and tequila.

Translated from the Romanian by Alistair Ian Blyth.


To Mirela,
who makes the best coffee in the world.
Her laugh makes me melt.

Opening: Among the monks, disciples, and workers at Red Rock (and more than twenty souls had gathered since the coming of summer, when they had began to paint the church murals and shingle the roof), that young man, one of the carpenters’ mates, always with rolled-up trousers and sawdust in his eyebrows, was the first to see the bluish-black tuft.

A short read, however it is one that takes concentration and has a busy storylines. The language is lovely, yet the allusions take a little working out. At one point there was ‘a change of circumstances’, where those circumstances actually referred to the outbreak of WWII. And what a cast of characters, each one with a foible, a quirk. If I was to compare the writing to give you a hint, it would be to the Hungarian Peter Esterhazy but with none of the inflated ego or bloat.

A rewarding read with some amusingly absurdist plotlines.

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy

bookshelves: radio-4, published-2014, play-dramatisation, autumn-2014

Read from October 21 to 27, 2014

Book description: When Queenie Hennessy discovers that Harold Fry is walking the length of England to save her, and all she has to do is wait, she is shocked. Her note had explained she was dying. How can she wait?

A new volunteer at the hospice suggests that Queenie should write again; only this time she must tell Harold everything. In confessing to secrets she has hidden for twenty years, she will find atonement for the past. As the volunteer points out, ‘Even though you’ve done your travelling, you’re starting a new journey too.’

Queenie thought her first letter would be the end of the story. She was wrong. It was the beginning.

BBC blurbs: In Rachel Joyce’s best selling novel, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Queenie Hennessy is told she has days to live. She sends a letter of rose pink paper in which she bids goodbye to Harold Fry. It is a letter that inspires a walk, a cast of well-wishers, a journey of its own. Harold will save her.

Harold’s story began its life as an award winning Radio 4 play so it only seems apt that this newly published novel begins its life hand in hand with a radio dramatisation by the author.

In this novel there is a second letter – a quieter, longer, more complicated letter. It is in this one that Queenie reveals the shocking and beautiful truth of her life. It is Queenie’s story and it is a love song to the man she loves.

‘It’s all very well for a man to step out of his front door and tell his friend to wait while he walks the length of England. It’s an entirely different kettle of fish when you are the woman at the other end.’
Directed by Tracey Neale.

The Letter: 1/5 Queenie Hennessy reveals the shocking and beautiful truth of her life.

2/5 While Harold Fry walks from Devon to the hospice in Berwick-upon-Tweed, Queenie makes notes and Sister Mary Inconnue types them up. They won’t stop until he arrives and that is how Queenie will keep waiting.

3/5 As Harold walks, Queenie writes. She tells of how she fell in love with Harold twenty four years ago and the day she met his son, David.

4/5 Harold Fry has been walking forty days and Queenie waits. She writes and Sister Mary types. Did David steal the poems and will Queenie’s secret be revealed?

5/5 Queenie is waiting for Harold Fry to arrive, but she is running out of time.

Queenie Sophie Thompson
Harold Paul Venables
Sister Mary Inconnue Roslyn Hill
David Monty d’Inverno
Sister Catherine Elaine Claxton
Sister Lucy Hannah Genesius
Finty Jane Slavin
Mr Henderson Michael Bertenshaw
Napier Shaun Mason
Author Rachel Joyce
Director Tracey Neale

2* The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
2* The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy