Seveneves by Neal Stephenson (Goodreads Author), Mary Robinette Kowal (Narrator), Will Damron (Narrator)

Narrated by Mary Robinette Kowal and Will Damron
31:55:10 hrs

Description: A catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space.

But the complexities and unpredictability of human nature coupled with unforeseen challenges and dangers threaten the intrepid pioneers, until only a handful of survivors remain . . .

Five thousand years later, their progeny—seven distinct races now three billion strong—embark on yet another audacious journey into the unknown . . . to an alien world utterly transformed by cataclysm and time: Earth.

  "How do you tell the world it's going to die?"

Answer: like this – Bryan Ferry A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall or this Jay Sean Ft. Lil’ Wayne – Sky is Falling Down

Seveneves is Chicken Licken‘s worst nightmare, I kid you not. This must be apex of sci-fi published 2015 and I fully recommend as it was so thought provoking.

The seven Eves are:

Dinah MacQuarie
Ivy Xiao
Moira Crewe
Tekla Alekseyevna Ilyushina
Julia Bliss Flaherty

At the eleven and half hour point (~35%), the earth begins to burn, and Titanic fashion the orchestra keeps playing for as long as possible. A gulp moment.

15 hrs (~45%)Ice Ice Baby

4* Snow Crash
2.5* Anathem
4* Seveneves

Miss Morison’s Ghosts by Ian Curteis

bookshelves: summer-2015, ghosties-ghoulies, published-2015, radio-4x, play-dramatisation, france, versailles

Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Laura
Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from June 28 to 29, 2015

Description: Based on what’s been called ‘the most authenticated ghost story of all time’, Ian Curteis’s play tells of the paranormal events experienced by two English ladies in the gardens of the Palace of Versailles, France, in 1901.

Starring Patrica Hodge as Miss Morison, Juliet Stevenson as Miss Lamont, Robert Hardy as Lord Kedlestone and Toby Longworth as Mr Hodgson.

Almost Theosophist in nature I could not buy into the premise, however I loved the re-visit to those gardens and this is a compelling story.

4* The Last Tsar
3* Miss Morison’s Ghost

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

[Bettie’s Books (hide spoiler)]

The shelving and star rating indicates my love of this book.

With magic long since lost to England, two men are destined to bring it back; the reclusive Mr Norrell and daring novice Jonathan Strange. So begins a dangerous battle between two great minds.

HUZZAH! The trailer:…

Jonathan Strange: Bertie Carvel
Mr Norrell: Eddie Marsan
The Gentleman: Marc Warren
Arabella: Charlotte Riley
Lady Pole: Alice Englert
Sir Walter Pole: Samuel West
Childermass: Enzo Cilenti

Episode 1 of 7: The Friends of English Magic: Determined to restore magic to its former glory and prove himself England’s greatest magician, Mr Norrell makes a dangerous pact with a mysterious being, while the charming Jonathan Strange, more interested in drinking and winning the hand of the beautiful Arabella than reading magical books, learns he too has magical gifts.

Was that Mick Fleetwood who warns ‘Raven Is Coming’? As with Cromwell episode 1, this was mumbled. What happened to diction and ennunciation?

Episode 2 of 7: How Is Lady Pole?: Mr Norrell takes on Jonathan Strange as his apprentice. However, it soon becomes clear that the pupil outshines the master. And something is clearly very wrong with the resurrected Lady Pole.

Loved this episode. Loved it I tell ya!

3/7: The Education of a Magician: Jonathan Strange accesses ancient and troubling magic as he fights the Napoleonic armies, while Mr Norrell battles to keep his secrets hidden, and the mysterious Gentleman enrols Sir Walter’s servant Stephen to help him enchant the beguiling Arabella.

“What language are they speaking?”
“Something from hell.”
“They learned that fast!”

4/7: All the Mirrors of the World: Returned from war, Jonathan Strange joins Mr Norrell to try to cure England’s mad king, George III, but is frustrated at Norrell’s refusal to discuss the magic and legends of old times. Meanwhile, unbeknown to the magicians, the Gentleman embarks on a scheme to capture Arabella and destroy Jonathan Strange.

Loved that bit where Arabella points out how bad it is for someone to review their own book **looks around grrramazon**

5/7: Arabella: Jonathan Strange’s remarkable magic helps England win the Battle of Waterloo, after which Strange returns home hoping for a peaceful new life, but the Gentleman’s scheme for revenge wrecks all of his and Arabella’s plans, leaving Jonathan Strange a ruined man.

6/7: The Black Tower: Having fled England to Venice, Strange attempts to drive himself insane as a way of gaining access to the fairy magic that he believes can help him resurrect his wife. In so doing, he unleashes a curse that threatens to destroy him utterly.

7/7: With England in chaos as magic returns, Strange comes back home to claim Mr Norrell and rescue Arabella. But can his plan possibly work? Or will the dark prophecy of the Raven King finally be fulfilled?

This series was fab yet the book is best.

5* Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
4.5* The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories

Outsider in Amsterdam (Grijpstra & de Gier Mystery #1) by Janwillem van de Wetering

Description: On a quiet street in downtown Amsterdam, the founder of a new religious society/commune—a group that calls itself “Hindist” and mixes elements of various “Eastern” traditions—is found hanging from a ceiling beam. Detective-Adjutant Grijpstra and Sergeant de Gier of the Amsterdam police are sent to investigate what looks like a simple suicide, but they are immediately suspicious of the circumstances.

This now-classic novel, first published in 1975, introduces Janwillem van de Wetering’s lovable Amsterdam cop duo of portly, worldly-wise Grijpstra and handsome, contemplative de Gier. With its unvarnished depiction of the legacy of Dutch colonialism and the darker facets of Amsterdam’s free drug culture, this excellent procedural asks the question of whether a murder may ever be justly committed.

This is the one with miso paste, white Liberty Harley (as Lisbeth Salander would say: “sweet”), vicious siamese cat, and a charming Papuan.

4* Outsider in Amsterdam
TR Tumbleweed

The Honorary Consul by Graham Greene

Description: In a provincial Argentinean town, Charley Fortnum, a British consul with dubious authority and a weakness for drink, is kidnapped by Paraguayan revolutionaries who have mistaken him for the American ambassador. Dr. Eduardo Plarr, a local physician with his own divided loyalties, serves as the negotiator between the rebels and the authorities. These fumbling characters play out an absurd drama of failure, hope, love, and betrayal against a backdrop of political chaos. The Honorary Consul is both a gripping novel of suspense and a penetrating psychological and sociological study of personal and political corruption.

Wonderful read, especially after my last Greeneland episode of ‘The Heart of the Matter’, which I didn’t enjoy very much at all. Lots to mull over with this one and it is good to have thought provoking issues on the menu. Fully recommended.

3* The Quiet American
4* The End of the Affair
3* The Power and the Glory
2* The Heart of the Matter
3* Our Man in Havana
4* Brighton Rock
3* The Third Man
4* Travels With My Aunt
4* The Human Factor
TR The Comedians
4* A Burnt Out Case
CR The Honorary Consul
3* A Gun for Sale
TR Complete Short Stories
3* The Captain and the Enemy
2* The Man Within
4* Monsignor Quixote
TR The Confidential Agent
4* The Ministry of Fear

Walking Away by Simon Armitage

bookshelves: summer-2015, britain-england, devon, cornwall, somerset, radio-4, published-2015, nonfiction, newtome-author, whimsy

Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Laura
Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from June 17 to 26, 2015

Description: Not content with walking the Pennine Way as a modern day troubadour (an experience recounted in his bestseller Walking Home), Simon Armitage has followed up that journey with a walk of the same distance but through the very opposite terrain and direction, far from home.

The restless poet swaps the moorland uplands of the north for the coastal fringes of Britain’s south west, once again giving readings every night, but this time through Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, taking poetry into distant communities and tourist hot-spots, busking his way from start to finish.

From the surreal pleasuredome of Minehead Butlins to a smoke-filled roundhouse on the Penwith Peninsula, then out to the Isles of Scilly and beyond, Armitage tackles this personal Odyssey with all the poetic reflection and personal wit we’ve come to expect from one of Britain’s best loved and most popular writers.

1/5 Butlins Minehead

2/5 Busking along the south west coastal fringe

3/5 Boscastle nd the mueum of witchcraft

4/5 Port Isaac and vodka

5/5 A reading from a four-poster bed

Keeping an Eye Open: Essays on Art by Julian Barnes

bookshelves: summer-2015, essays, art-forms, published-2015, under-20, radio-4, nonfiction

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from June 22 to 26, 2015

Description: Julian Barnes began writing about art with a chapter on Géricault’s The Raft of the Medusa in his 1989 novel A History of the World in 10½ Chapters. Since then he has written a series of remarkable essays , chiefly about French artists, for a variety of journals and magazines. Gathering them for this book, he realised that he had unwittingly been retracing the story of how art made its way from Romanticism to Realism and into Modernism.

From Paul Cezanne to Lucian Freud, the novelist and critic Julian Barnes considers the thrill of art. ‘Flaubert believed that it was impossible to explain one art form in terms of another, and that great paintings required no words of explanation.’

In this selection from Julian Barnes’ recently published collection of essays on art, he gives us a dazzling and thoughtful assessment of the life and work of a range of artists who set the stage for Modern Art. His words of explanation are always witty, humane and full of insight.

Read by Julian Barnes

1/5: The Laughing Cavalier did not impress the young Julian Barnes

2/5 Does an apple move?: Modern art begins with Paul Cezanne

3/5 Braque, the heart of painting

4/5 Oldenburg: good soft fun

5/5 Freud, the episodicist

Wolf to the Slaughter (Inspector Wexford #3) by Ruth Rendell

bookshelves: summer-2015, published-1967, tbr-busting-2015, series, sussex, mystery-thriller

Read from June 21 to 26, 2015

Read by…………… Robin Bailey
Total Runtime……… 5 Hours 56 Mins

Description: Anita Margolis, young, beautiful, carefree, has vanished into thin air. She left her home to attend a party one wet evening, but has not been seen since. She is reported missing soon after by her brother, whom she shared a flat with, the acclaimed but eccentric artist Rupert Margolis. Inspector Burden quickly forms an impression of a wanton young girl simply gone off somewhere with a boyfriend having neglected to let anyone know. After all, she was that sort of woman, in Burden’s opinion. However, Wexford has his doubts, and those doubts will soon be confirmed, and they will soon find themselves enmeshed in a case that will throw every assumption they make into doubt.

3* From Doon With Death (Inspector Wexford, #1)
3* A New Lease of Death (Inspector Wexford, #2)
3* Wolf to the Slaughter (Inspector Wexford, #3)

Long Summer Day by R.F. Delderfield

1966: A Horseman Riding By (published in the USA as two novels, Long Summer Day and Post of Honor)

Description: Paul Craddock is still young when he is invalided out of the army after the Boer War and he discovers the neglected estate of Shallowford in a secluded corner of Devon. It seems remote from the march of progress. But as storm clouds gather over Europe, Paul learns that no part of England, however remote, can escape the challenge of the times.

Opening: He left the carriage, ascended the short flight of steps and walked briskly past the dozing porter sitting in the deep shade of the portico; a small neat man, in dark, well-cut city clothes and glossy topper.

It’s mid-summer, hailstones ricocheting around, so what better time to crack this open…

Total reboot summer 2015 and am pleased to say it was worth the effort of getting through the front-loaded introductions. This turned into an enjoyable sweeping saga and I look forward to the next episode, ‘Post of Honour’.

TR God Is an Englishman (Swann Saga, #1)
3* To Serve Them All My Days
3* Diana

3.5* Long Summer Day
TR Post of Honour
TR The Green Gauntlet

Maxwell’s Flame by M.J. Trow

Read by…………….. Peter Wickham
Total Runtime………. 8 hours 17 mins

Description: Peter Maxwell didn’t want to attend the GNVQ (a certificate of vocational education in the UK) course. He didn’t want to get mixed up in murder either – but perhaps it was all part of death’s rich tapestry. And while a disparate gathering of teachers was breaking ice upstairs at the Carnforth Centre, someone else was in the basement – breaking skulls. But what the killer couldn’t have foreseen was that one of the victims was an old flame of Maxwell’s. So now it was personal. And when “Mad Max” takes something personally, he doesn’t get madder, he gets results.

This was so wall-to-wall smart-mouth that I had a troubling thought:

What if all the real life teachers use this impenetrable wall of smart-mouthed wordplays so that kids have no-one they can honestly trust or talk to.

Anyway, I enjoyed this second book in the series.

4* Maxwell’s House
3.5* Maxwell’s Flame