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      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…     

everydayxangels

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  1. Tracy's Global Challenge

    ISRAEL Light Fell by Evan Fallenberg A heartbreaking story about a man who fell in love with his rabbi - with his rabbi falling back. The two are torn between what they feel and what they know and ultimately the secret of their relationship drives the rabbi to commit suicide. They're relationship dies as a secret with only the families aware of it. The rest 150 pages is about the surviving lovers decision to leave his family and his oppressive orthodox community. It revolves around a dinner party he is throwing for his 50th birthday and his three sons are invited - the first time in decades they will all be together. I enjoyed it, but I thought the love story was incredibly under-developed. They meet and then next week they're in love. Fallenberg pushes hard that it's an emotional and intellectual affair too, but perhaps a little too hard. It was slightly unbelievable. JAMAICA Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys Our heroine, Antoinette, grows up on the rotting Coulibri estate in Jamaica with her slightly crazy mother and her mentally disabled brother. She spends a lot of time away from the house, wishing to be accepted by the former slaves who see her only as a "white nigger". Her mother re-marries and he ever-absent and shortly after the estate burns to the ground. Because her mother despises her, Antoinette is sent to a covenant and her mother his institutionalized. Many years later her step-father returns to arrange a marriage with a wealthy Englishman who is only marrying her for the wealth he will acquire - and makes not attempts at loving Antionette. Their relationship is taxing on Antionette. He hates the island, begins to hate Antionette and starts sleeping with one of her servants, and he is perfectly comfortable knowing that Antionette is one room over and hears all of it. Eventually he removes her from the island she loves, to England where she is locked in the attic and roams the house ghost-like for the rest of her life. This book was not unlike a dream. RUSSIA First Love by Turgenev A lovely little novella about a dinner party that ends with one of the guests sharing the tale of his first love. He is sixteen and his in love with the vain Princess Zinaida who lives one house over. A coming of age story that revolves around first loves and the loss of innocence. And like all first loves, it's tragic and dramatic. DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz Diaz is one hell of a writer and I felt I learned so much about Trujillo and life culture of the Dominican Republic. And even after all that I don't know how much I LOVED the book the way everyone has raved about it. I kept waiting for something to happen. It felt like the plot was going to unfold and I was going to be in for a big shock, but there wasn't. Not that I need a shocking plot, I prefer character over plot actually, but for some reason I felt that's what I was going to get and then it wasn't given. Still excellent writing and a good book. EGYPT Woman at Point Zero by El Saadawi I absolutely loved it. It's about Firdaus, a woman who is one death-row in Egypt and is going to die in a week for killing a pimp. She was born to parents who didn't love her and given to her uncle who sexually abused her. Then married off to an old widow who abused her more. Each relationship started out with her trusting them and in the end they treated her awfully. After her husband rapes her she decides to own her body and decide who she's going to give it to. So, she becomes a prostitute. She denies men she wants to deny and gets great satisfaction from it, as no woman is ever supposed to tell a man "no." She becomes very sucessful, owns her own apartment and nice things. After a few years, she decides to work at a factory and she hated the job, thought it incredibly oppressive and went back to being a prostitute. She said, "these women are more afraid of losing their job than a prostitute is of losing her life." How can someone be free with that kind of fear. and I came to the conclusion that all the women in the book are prostitutes in some way. They all belonged to a man; their father, their husband, their boss, etc. Except Firdaus, the real prostitute, who is incredibly liberated and owns herself and demands a high price for her body. Other women are doing what she does for free and getting beaten for it, can't ever say no, can't own anything for themselves, can't own their own bodies. And I don't know how I feel about it. Obviously it's a militant feminist message, obviously man-hating, but I thought the idea was interesting. The book was incredibly cynical and felt like **** after I read it, there was no hope about it, but it was a great book. 12.4% of the world complete
  2. Tracy's Reading Challenge 2009

    APRIL BOOKS A Leap by Anna Enquist A really beautiful collection of short drama monologues. The first one is my favorite, a story of Alma who is a talented musician is given the ultimatum: her lover or her music / herself. She chooses her lover and starts her life as "her husbands wife" then "her child's mother" and after introspection she begins to doubt her decision. However, at the end she is given another chance to choose and her decision is heart-breaking. I strongly recommend this. The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Adichie (released June 16th) I enjoyed this short story collection almost as much as Half of a Yellow Sun. In most of the stories, it's about Nigerian-Americans, each told with a fresh perspective and about a different subject-matter. Adichie writes beautifully and certainly doesn't disappoint with her latest. Vast Fields of Orindary By Nick Burd A very touching coming of age YA novel about a miserable closeted gay boy in suburban America. Dade is in a purely physical relationship with the most popular boy at school, who won't acknowledge his existence in public. It's the summer before Dade leaves for college and he meets two people that will be pivotal in his life. Nothing extremely remarkable, but enjoyable. The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta Set in Nigeria, Nnu Ego, the daughter of a fiercely independent woman and a powerful man, makes the transition of a rural family-oriented society to an urban "white" city. She deals with the vast heart-breaking differences between the two cultures. Her husband now serves a white woman younger than he, who refers to him as "boy" and she endures the loss of her first-born. I thought it very well written and a beautiful piece of work.
  3. Tracy's Global Challenge

    Oh god, I'm so sorry. I don't check this very often and must have skipped over your post. I apologize. I really appreciate you offering it, but I have been re-thinking that book all together. thank you though! and again, I'm sorry that I ignored you.
  4. Tracy's Global Challenge

    I'm adding The Last Time I saw My Mother. thanks for the recommendation.
  5. Tracy's Global Challenge

    NETHERLANDS A Leap by Anna Enquist A really beautiful collection of short drama monologues. The first one is my favorite, a story of Alma who is a talented musician is given the ultimatum: her lover or her music / herself. She chooses her lover and starts her life as "her husbands wife" then "her child's mother" and after introspection she begins to doubt her decision. However, at the end she is given another chance to choose and her decision is heart-breaking. I strongly recommend this. NIGERIA The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Adichie (released June 16th) I enjoyed this short story collection almost as much as Half of a Yellow Sun. In most of the stories, it's about Nigerian-Americans, each told with a fresh perspective and about a different subject-matter. Adichie writes beautifully and certainly doesn't disappoint with her latest. NIGERIA The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta Nnu Ego, the daughter of a fiercely independent woman and a powerful man, makes the transition of a rural family-oriented society to an urban "white" city. She deals with the vast heart-breaking differences between the two cultures. Her husband now serves a white woman younger than he, who refers to him as "boy" and she endures the loss of her first-born. I thought it very well written and a beautiful piece of work.
  6. Tracy's Reading Challenge 2009

    MARCH books The Seasons of Beento Blackbird By Akosua Busia A children's author, Solomon loves his women and loves love. One of his wives lives on a lush island in the Carribbean. She is an easy-going and sensitive soul, a very likable character though very little is said of her. His other, younger and shy wife lives in Ghana. He also has a potential love interest, his agent/publicist in America. The women are the seasons of Solomon. The writing was beautiful at times with the scenic depiction and the description of the culture, but the dialogue was painfully improbable at times. Personally, I think she could have done without Solomon's girlfriend/publicist in America. Though his trips to America were very interesting, with the racism that he experiences, I just don't think it was entirely necessary. Complete Persepolis Marjane Satrapi I was at first apprehensive about reading a graphic novel, but as it was for school, I saw very little choice. I loved it whole very much. Very interesting looking at the revolution through a child's eyes and in the end I was very thankful for the sketches. The writing as well as the pictures were incredibly witty and humorous. The little girls running about with the veils, making them out to be toys. Highly recommended. The River Between by Ngugi wa Thiong'o (quite a mouthful) I had read Achebe's depiction of colonization and then the most toxic aspect was the religion, that was the case for this novel as well, except in Kenya. The daughter of a Christian fanatic wishes to be circumcised, which is frowned vehemently upon by her fathers new-found religion. She decides to disobey the person she fears most and runs away to be circumcised and live with her aunt. The young woman dies from being circumcised, which people believe to be their ancestors/gods frowning upon the new religion. Where people used to be grey about their faith, the legend of the daughter is now the catalyst for the war between Christianity and the indigenous faith. I thoroughly enjoyed book.
  7. Tracy's Global Challenge

    GHANA The Seasons of Beento Blackbird By Akosua Busia A children's author, Solomon loves his women and loves love. One of his wives lives on a lush island in the Carribbean. She is an easy-going and sensitive soul, a very likable character though very little is said of her. His other, younger and shy wife lives in Ghana. He also has a potential love interest, his agent/publicist in America. The women are the seasons of Solomon. The writing was beautiful at times with the scenic depiction and the description of the culture, but the dialogue was painfully improbable at times. Personally, I think she could have done without Solomon's girlfriend/publicist in America. Though his trips to America were very interesting, with the racism that he experiences, I just don't think it was entirely necessary. IRAN Complete Persepolis Marjane Satrapi I was at first apprehensive about reading a graphic novel, but as it was for school, I saw very little choice. I loved it whole very much. Very interesting looking at the revolution through a child's eyes and in the end I was very thankful for the sketches. The writing as well as the pictures were incredibly witty and humorous. The little girls running about with the veils, making them out to be toys. Highly recommended. KENYA The River Between by Ngugi wa Thiong'o (quite a mouthful) I had read Achebe's depiction of colonization and then the most toxic aspect was the religion, that was the case for this novel as well. The daughter of a Christian fanatic wishes to be circumcised, which is frowned vehemently upon by her fathers new-found religion. She decides to disobey the person she fears most and runs away to be circumcised and live with her aunt. The young woman dies from being circumcised, which people believe to be their ancestors/gods frowning upon the new religion. Where people used to be grey about their faith, the legend of the daughter is now the catalyst for the war between Christianity and the indigenous faith. I thoroughly enjoyed book. 10.2% completed
  8. Tracy's Reading Challenge 2009

    My February Books: Butterfly Burning by Yvonne Vera This slim read that packs a punch takes place in Zimbabwe. It was incredibly dense and literary, but incredibly beautiful and lyrical. Fumbatha, a construction worker meets the heroine, Phephelaphi and wishes her to be his and "wants her like the land beneath his feet." Phephali is not satisfied with the cage he provides her and her desire for freedom and exploration ends their relationship. It was so beautiful and provided immense insight to Zimbabwe, Vera oftentimes plugging her beliefs into the plot. However, it was so dense hat I am going to have to re-read it simply to comprehend it fully. Balzac & the Little Chinese Seamstress - Sijie It takes place in China. A pleasant read about censorship and "re-education" during the Chinese cultural revolution. Two city youths are sent to the rural hill of china to be re-educated by the peasants. In the surrounding town, they form a reserved friendship with Four-Eyes, whose mysterious suitcase catches the attention of the nameless narrator. The uncover the suitcase to discover a case full of banned western novels. The two boys devour the works and in time change their own circumstances. This book highlights the irony of the re-education that was done and presents insight into present / western censorship. Ancestor Stones by Aminatta Forna I can compare it to The Red Tent for Sierra Leone. Abbie, living in present day London, is called back to her home country Sierra Leone by guilt. Four of her 11 aunts, who all shared the same husband tell the stories of their lives. A very interesting look at the globalization / colonization. It spanned from 1920's to the 1990's told through stories by the aunts. The Igbo faith, the coming of "the white man" and with him their Muslim faith (different from the Christian faith) and modernization. I thought it most interesting that although women were still incredibly oppressed, some still were able to leave their husbands if their circumstances became unbearable. A little unknown fact, Sierra Leone created the self-adhesive stamp. -- I am currently reading The Seasons of Beento Blackbird, which takes place in Ghana, Jamaica and NYC which is quite fast paced and enjoyable.
  9. Tracy's Global Challenge

    No, of course not! I got the idea from someone else as well. the site that I use is more for traveling, not really book reading, but it works just as well. the site is: http://www.world66.com Good luck! let me know how yours is going and what good global reads I should pick up.
  10. Tracy's Global Challenge

    Ugh. I have been meaning to update my challenge, and I did. However, I hit the backspace on the computer and took me back a page and when I came back, all of my writing was deleted! Twice this happened. So frustrating. ZIMBABWE Butterfly Burning by Yvonne Vera A slim read that packs a punch. It was incredibly dense and literary, but incredibly beautiful and lyrical. Fumbatha, a construction worker meets the heroine, Phephelaphi and wishes her to be his and "wants her like the land beneath his feet." Phephali is not satisfied with the cage he provides her and her desire for freedom and exploration ends their relationship. It was so beautiful and provided immense insight to Zimbabwe, Vera oftentimes plugging her beliefs into the plot. However, it was so dense hat I am going to have to re-read it simply to comprehend it fully. CHINA Balzac & The Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie A pleasant read about censorship and "re-education" during the Chinese cultural revolution. Two city youths are sent to the rural hill of china to be re-educated by the peasants. In the surrounding town, they form a reserved friendship with Four-Eyes, whose mysterious suitcase catches the attention of the nameless narrator. The uncover the suitcase to discover a case full of banned western novels. The two boys devour the works and in time change their own circumstances. This book highlights the irony of the re-education that was done and presents insight into present / western censorship. SIERRA LEONE Ancestor Stones by Aminatta Forna I can compare it to The Red Tent for Africa. Abbie, living in present day London, is called back to her home country Sierra Leone by guilt. Four of her 11 aunts, who all shared the same husband tell the stories of their lives. A very interesting look at the globalization / colonization. It spanned from 1920's to the 1990's told through stories by the aunts. The Igbo faith, the coming of "the white man" and with him their Muslim faith (different from the Christian faith) and modernization. I thought it most interesting that although women were still incredibly oppressed, some still were able to leave their husbands if their circumstances became unbearable. A little unknown fact, Sierra Leone created the self-adhesive stamp. 8% of the world completed.
  11. Tracy's Global Challenge

    None, really. I would prefer it if the author was from the country, or at least from the region, but that isn't always the case. And most of those books are fiction, but I'm open to biographies. I guess I don't want a guide book or the history of the area as I am more interested in the society/humanitarian perspective.
  12. ii's reading blog

    I'm excited to see what you think of The God Delusion. I have been wanting to read this for the longest time. It just seems very daunting and scholarly. Good luck with all of your challenges.
  13. chesilbeach 2009

    good luck with your depleting your TBR pile. I think we all have that problem. For One More Day was very comparable to his Five People You Meet In Heaven, and a very fast read. It only took me a couple hours. Good luck!
  14. Paperplane's Reading 09

    I have heard of a few of your books, but I know I LOVED The Bell Jar and somewhere in far future, I will read Sylvia Plath's unabridged journals. She is one of the those, not only talented but fascinating authors. I'm excited to hear what you think of it.
  15. Tracy's Global Challenge

    3.31.09 10.2% completed 7.3.09 12.4% completed
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