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Maxine
UK
Science editor who likes reading crime fiction
Interests: books, science, internet, social web, reading (often crime fiction), publishing.
Recent Activity
Sorry, the original Paddington must have been a reprint in 1972 (obviously, now I think about it!). Nice that some more appealing suggestions have emerged, JIM Stewart is worth a read for one.
Toggle Commented Jan 25, 2012 on 1972: What a momentous year... at To Be Read...
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At risk of comment being eaten, I have read the first of this series and though I quite liked it, was not tempted to read more. I am a bit daunted to see it has reached #6! Death of a Red Heroine was great on atmosphere and location, pretty good on character, not very good on plot.
Toggle Commented Nov 15, 2011 on 'The Mao Case' by Qui Xiaolong at Reading Matters
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I often buy or borrow books as a result of reading book reviews (usually, these days, on blogs as newspaper book reviews are non-existent or brief, for the vast majority of titles). I would not ever buy a book via clicking on a link in a book review site/blog, though. I would buy it independently, I am not a fan of "sales" tactics and don't like to encourage them!
Toggle Commented Oct 26, 2011 on Do blog reviews boost book sales? at Reading Matters
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I've now read it and withdraw my earlier reservations. I think it is an excellent novel, very moving and exciting, as well as absorbing and harrowing.
Toggle Commented Aug 27, 2011 on REVIEW: Purge by Sofi Oksanen at Material Witness
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Oh, what a pity. I do understand only too well how hard it is to quarry time to read/write for a hobby, and it is difficult when that becomes a perceived internal burden. I love reading your thoughtful reviews and hope you may feel like returning to it one day, but in the meantime, all the very best to you. I'll miss you (but will probably touch base now and again on twitter!). All the very best. (And very nice post, by the way.) And good luck in stemming the tide of books - I attempted to retire late last year and asked publishers to stop sending them unless I specifically asked for one, but they still continue to appear.
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I agree the distinctions are artificial, I suppose I mean that it does not seem to be "popular" fiction but more "artistic" fiction -- the terminology is hard to get right (and is subjective also) but it is important in a review somwhow to convey the level/type of book, as you do here, esepcially as so much crime fiction written today seems to be aimed at 12 year olds.
Toggle Commented Jul 8, 2011 on REVIEW: Purge by Sofi Oksanen at Material Witness
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Fascinating review. I looked into this book when it was first published but was a bit put off by what seemed to be harrowing/violent scenes. I definitely got the impression it is a literary work rather than "crime fiction", as you write.
Toggle Commented Jul 7, 2011 on REVIEW: Purge by Sofi Oksanen at Material Witness
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Great question! I lost touch with the films as my daughters are now far too old to want to go to the cinema with me, but we did recently catch up with film 7 part 1 on the TV recently and I was impressed, very involved. I never thought the films a patch on the books but this one was quite good. They really are marvellous books and I hope to read them straight through one day - I have read some in bits via reading aloud to young children, and others in a rush to get to the end to find out what happens... I think in London they are planning a few "straight through" screenings of all the films, after 7 part 2 comes out.
Toggle Commented Jun 11, 2011 on Turn this stupid fat rat yellow at DEBlog
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2.40
Toggle Commented Jun 11, 2011 on Weekly Set Puzzle Challenge: June 11 at DEBlog
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1.10
Toggle Commented Jun 5, 2011 on Weekly Set Puzzle Challenge: June 4 at DEBlog
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4.50
Toggle Commented May 29, 2011 on Weekly Set Puzzle Challenge: May 28 at DEBlog
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Thanks, Kim - I did not want to link to my review as I thought it might be against blog etiquette (BSP) - I know some people don't like it, so thanks very much for the link.
Toggle Commented May 26, 2011 on 'Mercy' by Jussi Adler-Olsen at Reading Matters
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Agreed on all counts. In my Euro Crime review, much as I hate comparing authors to other authors, I wrote that this author seems to me the most like Sjowall and Wahloo since S and W. I loved this book (though the crime plot was obvious to me), especially that the most appealing, nicest character in it was the kidnapee, who was no victim at all as you write, but a very empowered and empowering woman. Great stuff and I cannot wait till the next either!
Toggle Commented May 25, 2011 on 'Mercy' by Jussi Adler-Olsen at Reading Matters
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Excellent review, picking up on the main undercurrents of the book. (The crime plot was a bit obvious, it was everything else about the book that made it so great, I think). This is probably my best crime read of the year so far (though Frozen Moment by Camilla Ceder is close, and Michael Connelly is just unvaryingly wonderfully enjoyable). I read a lot of crime fiction and think that Mercy is, and the series could be, "a little bit special". There is other good Danish crime, of course, eg Miss Smilla's feeling for Snow, various by Lief Davidson (his The Serbian Dane is very exciting), The Exception by Christian Jungerson....and a new one called Dinosaur Feather which I'm about to read.
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Good luck to the Linked In owners and all of that, but I never found it a useful site and cancelled my membership after a few years because of all the spam connection requests and the lack of any functionality by which the user could block these (plus unresponsive feedback channel from LinkedIn itself). I did get "reference" requests from ex-colleagues I could only dimly recall, but never anything useful. But still, they've done v well and one only wonders what will happen with fb et al.
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5 min 3 sec
Toggle Commented May 14, 2011 on Weekly Set Puzzle Challenge: May 14 at DEBlog
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3.33
Toggle Commented Apr 16, 2011 on Weekly Set Puzzle Challenge: April 16 at DEBlog
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Good to know, Debra, and as I suspected! I have moved off Typepad now and onto Wordpress, which I vastly prefer, so could not even begin to emulate your feat!
Toggle Commented Apr 12, 2011 on The Most Subjective Book List Ever at DEBlog
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Amazing! I've read a few. Is this list manually compiled or does it come off your database at the touch of a button?!
Toggle Commented Apr 12, 2011 on The Most Subjective Book List Ever at DEBlog
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2.17
Toggle Commented Apr 9, 2011 on Weekly Set Puzzle Challenge: April 9 at DEBlog
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Just to say thanks again for the book - I've read it now and enjoyed it a lot, though I agree with your point that these novels have become somewhat more "easy reads" latterly, compared with the first few.
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1.11
Toggle Commented Apr 2, 2011 on Weekly Set Puzzle Challenge: April 2 at DEBlog
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Nice choices, Bernadette. I have only read Schindler's Ark of these, and had a similar reaction to you. (It reminds me of the story of Raoul Wallenberg in a way.) I don't think I have read that particular James Michener though I have enjoyed many other of his books, long ago. The UN one sounds great, must look out for it next time I need my cynical nature reinforced!
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PS Not sure if you know, in view of some remarks in your review, that Mankell lives for half the year (or something like that) in Mozambique and ploughs all his book profits into projects there. So I suppose he must have first-hand knowledge of at least some aspects of the Chinese presence there. Agreed that visa omission is just the kind of error that annoys me!
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I think the Martin Beck series is superior to Wallander: better written, and with a much stronger authorial view. The novels are collectively called "the story of a crime" and are supposedly an indictment of post-war socialist Sweden. They are dated in some senses, and one does not (necessarily) agree with the authors' political points, but the structure and intelligence of the novels goes a long way. Mankell's novels (which I read out of order as they were translated, with big gaps, not helping I'm sure) are stronger than Sjowell/Wahloo in their portrayal of the central detective and his preoccupations (though Martin Beck is interesting in this regard, he's somewhat more insubstantial as a character). But the naievety of some of the plots (eg destroying the internet via a bank cash machine) really lets them down.
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