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    • Hayley

      Something Wicked This Way Comes...   10/09/2019

      The Autumn Supporter Giveaway!       Welcome to the very first of the seasonal BCF supporter giveaways! This month also marks one year since I took on the forum, so I want to say an extra huge thank you to all of you for keeping this place going. I have a little bit more to say about that later but, for now, let's get to the giveaway!     The Autumn Giveaway winner will be getting two Penguin Little Black Classics, The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe and To Be Read At Dusk by Charles Dickens. Both of these little books contain three atmospheric short stories, perfect for autumnal evenings. The winner will also get Mary Shelley tea (a lavender and vanilla black tea) from Rosie Lea Tea's Literary Tea Collection (https://www.rosieleatea.co.uk/collections/literary-tea-collection) and a chocolate skull, to really get that spooky atmosphere .   and...   A special treat for a special month. The winner will choose one of the following recent paperback releases from the independent bookshop Big Green Bookshop:       The Wych Elm by Tana French A House of Ghosts by W.C. Ryan Melmoth by Sarah Perry The Familiars by Stacey Halls  The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White   The winner will be chosen via the usual random selection process in one week. Patreon supporters are entered automatically. If you aren't a patreon supporter but you'd like to join in with this giveaway, you can support here: https://www.patreon.com/bookclubforum.   I really hope you're all going to like this introduction to the seasonal giveaways. It's been a lot of fun to put together. Other chocolate skulls may have been harmed during the selection process…     

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  1. Today
  2. Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne
  3. Book Titles A to Z

    The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
  4. We are a very refined lot, aren't we?
  5. Word Association

    star-crossed
  6. Cherry, Cherry ~ Neil Diamond
  7. The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi (2/5) I vaguely remember this being on TV in the early 90's, mainly because it had rude bits in it. I had no idea at the time that it was based on a book until I got a copy of the '1001 books to read before you die' and saw it listed in there. The story is based around Karim, a young British Asian growing up and coming of age in and around London. He also happens to be casually bisexual and trying to explore his sexuality while trying to find his place in the world (and the UK). I have read similar books before albeit not from a British Asian perspective, some I have liked and some I haven't. This unfortunately falls into the later category, my feeling towards it are similar to those I felt when I read The Catcher in the Rye. I don't think this is a bad book, I just think I am too old and didn't have the upbringing to identify with the characters. It was an easy enough read and I got through it in a day but it just didn't really work for me.
  8. Yesterday
  9. Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White - Perez Prado (beautiful instrumental)
  10. Yes; unless they aim to start discussing Sacher von Masoch and Monsieur de Sade. I thought they'd be willing to congregate anywhere less refined than here; wouldn't you?😅😅
  11. Do you consider a book forum to be an unconventional place for them to congregate?
  12. Hayley's Reading 2019

    I love the first 4 Earthsea books! I'm glad you liked the first 2 a lot ! I've heard great things of Once Upon A River, glad you enjoyed it .
  13. Read-a-thon 2019

    I'm glad you had fun reading!! Yes! Unless that's not a good time/date for you..? I had been planning to go to the bookfair that weekend but.. they went bankrupt and so it won't be happening . So I should have time to read! If a different weekend in November suits you better, we can certainly move the read-a-thon, too.
  14. Last week
  15. Hayley's Reading 2019

    I hope you'll like it, I'm pretty sure you will. I am finally getting round to updating my reviews. I'll keep them short because there's a few... A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin 5/5 - I loved it I have the first four Earthsea books in one volume (the one pictured), but I didn't read the first two books at the same time, and I haven't read the second two yet, so I'm going to review them separately. I always see Earthsea on lists related to Harry Potter, so I'd like to start by confirming that it is absolutely nothing like Harry Potter. The comparison seems to stem from the fact that there is, at one point in this first book, a school of magic, but it's really just a place that the main character passes through on his journey, definitely not the main setting. Which brings me to what this book is. A journey. In this book we follow Ged from his childhood, and his first experience of magic on the island where he was born, through Earthsea as he follows his ambitions and tries to repair his past mistakes. The world Le Guin created is so richly detailed and exciting, moving through it really feels like an adventure. It's a book to get lost in, definitely one of the best fantasy books I've read. The Tombs of Atuan 5/5 - I loved it This second book starts off with a very different, noticeably darker, tone to the first. Rather than Ged, we find ourselves following the fate of Tenar, a very young child who is taken away from her family, having been selected to be the High Priestess at the Tombs of Atuan. There's a lot to this one that I don't want to give away, but, like the first book, it is also essentially a journey, as Tenar tries to work out who she is (and whether she is a leader or a prisoner) in this very rigid, cult-like setting. One of my favourite things about this second book is the way that elements of the first book are woven in, in a way that makes the world of Earthsea feel like a very vibrant and interconnected place. Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield 5/5 - I loved it This is such a beautiful book, inside and out. It gives the impression of having been very carefully crafted. Every word is there for a reason. And that's particularly fitting because one of the main themes of this book is storytelling. Of all the pubs along the banks of the Thames, The Swan at Radcot is where you go for storytelling. Patrons tell and re-tell stories, trying out different words to see how they sound and different endings to see how they work. This feature makes you very aware of the way the story is being told to you as a reader, and the third person omniscient narrator does make it feel like you're being told a story in this place where stories are crafted, and where the story of a girl washed up on the river bank begins. The cast of characters, who are drawn into the story at various points (in a way that implies tributaries joining the main river, which I'm certain is intentional), are all brilliant and believable characters in their own right. There are so many interesting life stories drawn together by the mystery of this child who washes up on the shore of the Thames. The different stories to discover and smaller mysteries to be unravelled keep the pace of the story up very nicely. By the end I didn't want to put it down. I definitely recommend it to anyone.
  16. Autumn 2019 Supporter Giveaway

    The wheel has been spun and we have our first ever seasonal giveaway winner... (Feel free to imagine a drum roll in your head...) @Chrissy Congratulations Chrissy! Let me know when you've chosen your book! The next seasonal giveaway will be held in December.
  17. My name is Karim Amir, and I am an Englishman born and bred, almost. The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi.
  18. A Book blog, 2019 by Books do Furnish a Room

    Thank you Hayley and Brian On Chapel Sands by Laura Cumming This book has its origins and setting in Chapel St Leonards, a village on the Lincolnshire coast. Being a Lincolnshire lad I therefore had to read this. Laura Cummings’s mother was brought up there and Cummings has set out to piece together her mother’s upbringing. Her mother was born in 1926, is still living and was adopted at the age of three. It was not until many years later and Cummings and her mother discovered that in 1929 three year old Betty was kidnapped from Chapel Sands and was not found for five days: dressed in entirely different clothes and unharmed. She has no recollection of the event. Cummings in this account pieces together the mystery of her mother’s upbringing from some clues, some accounts from the descendants of those involved and an assortment of photographs. Cummings is an art historian and manages to get more from photographs than most of us would be able to: she takes objects and gives them meaning and pieces together life in an English village in the 1930s. She also examines Betty’s adoptive parents, George and Veda, already in their 40s, trying to isolate Betty from everyone around them and stop her mixing with others. For there are secrets in the village and in the neighbouring village of Hogsthorpe. There is a fine array of local characters and the narrative also stretches to the other side of the globe. Cummings traces Betty’s real mother and father (with a few real twists), the reasons for the kidnapping, Betty’s original name (Grace) and much more. Veda and George are examined closely: Veda is old enough to remember seeing Tennyson striding along Chapel Sands when she was a girl and Tennyson’s poetry crops up periodically. Cummings’s mother writes what she knows to help in her daughter’s quest (which takes many years to complete): “Because you have asked me, dear daughter, here are my earliest recollections. It is an English domestic genre canvas of the 1920s and 1930s, layered over with decades of fading and darkening, but your curiosity has begun to make all glow a little. And perhaps a few figures and events may turn out to be restored through the telling.” The memoir reflects the depth and complexity of family and village life and seeks to explain. Cummings, in an interview reflects on the process: “I had her memoir, I had my writings over many years about her, who I love very dearly, and I had many thoughts about this story. And I told the story, a specific aspect of the story, which is the baker’s van, which arrives from the windmill at Hogsthorpe and never stops at her house. I wanted to get to the bottom of this and I saw the thing to do, with my mother’s blessing. I went to Chapel St Leonards. I took a room in a farm nearby and I spent a long time on the beach. Every day I’d go to the beach and I’d think about this scene. I’d go up to the Beacon and I went to the house where my mother lived and I’d have a drink in the Vine. I went round and round. I did the walk from Chapel to Mablethorpe. I did the walk from Chapel to Skegness and I thought about this period in time. And local historians in and around Chapel have done a wonderful job of publishing a lot of beautifully written local history. In Skegness Library you can look up old copies of the Skegness Times. It was very evocative. The book came into the form it’s in simply from being in the landscape in Lincolnshire. I’d stand on those sands and she was there, my grandfather was there, the Vikings were there. The compression of time was a great advantage for me.” I really enjoyed the writing and the unravelling of the background to the tale; it helped a little having some awareness of the geography. It illustrates well the complexity of families: “Everyone has a mother, everyone has an uncle who wasn’t really their uncle, or whose sister was in fact their mother, or whose grandparents aren’t their grandparents. It’s completely common. All family photo albums are full of things we don’t notice and that’s the campaign of the book: look more closely. There’s always a figure in the background or someone who is not there. Who’s taken the photograph?” This was a pleasure to read, capturing a lost time without sentimentality or nostalgia. 9 out of 10 Starting We have always lived in the castle by Shirley Jackson
  19. Read-a-thon 2019

    I completely forgot that I didn't post to say I did read another chapter of The Woman in Black, as well as another short story from Tales of Unease! I did enjoy it, thanks I hope you did too! I would say that four books is quite a lot! Is the November read-a-thon going to start on the 1st?
  20. Online Book Subcription Clubs

    I don't but I have been really tempted to try one. I just looked up the Willoughby Book Club and that one looks pretty good. I'd like to see how accurate their bespoke subscription is and I like that you can request a different book if they send you one you've already got! I'm glad you started this thread because I'm really interested to hear how other people feel about these subscriptions too!
  21. A Book blog, 2019 by Books do Furnish a Room

    I have heard of We but never really knew much about it, other than it being dystopian. It sounds really interesting though, I might have to add it to my to-read list! Invisible Cities is a book I've been interested in for a while so I look forward to reading your review of that!
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