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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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Everything posted by Hayley

  1. This question occurred to me recently and I wondered how you all felt about the subject. When you read a collection of short stories, or a collection of novels in one volume, do you review them individually, or as a set? I have the first four Earthsea books in a single volume but, especially as I decided not to read them one after the other, I decided that I'd review them separately, and log them as separate books over on goodreads (because that's really the only way to review them separately there anyway). This seemed like a simple solution, it just means that I can't put the actual edition I'm reading on goodreads. As some of you may have noticed over on the read-a-thon thread, I've been reading a Penguin collection of classic short stories for a while. Today I started thinking about how I'm actually going to review that when I've finished. The stories themselves are wildly different, it has everyone from Charles Dickens to Virginia Woolf to Joseph Conrad. If I review it as a collection though, there's not much more to say than it was a good/bad selection of stories. I could do both types of review on my reading log here but I couldn't really separate them on goodreads, without it saying that I've read about fifteen books, rather than one... I might be over thinking this but what do you all do? Would you review even short stories separately? Do you think even a collection of novels should be reviewed as one book?
  2. Thanks for the replies! Reading through them, I've realised something - I actually feel differently about collections of short stories by the same author. I've never questioned, for example, if I should review all of the short stories from a Neil Gaiman collection separately. Like @Madeleine said, I'd just comment on which ones were my favourite. But when it's a mix of stories by different authors, it feels a bit more like you're reviewing the editor, and whether they made a good selection, not the writing quality... which is what I think felt a bit weird. I don't think it helps that some of the stories in my Penguin collection are quite substantial. Some, like The Heart of Darkness, could probably be considered novellas. So that makes it seem more odd not to talk about the individual story. It is tricky isn't it! I think I would have reviewed the first four Earthsea books together if I'd read them all at once.
  3. Read-a-thon 2019

    11-12-13th works for me
  4. Scribd Audio, Disappearing Audiobooks

    That is strange. I’ve never used Scribd but I haven’t heard good things about it. It sounds like they might have been displaying books that weren’t actually available, which is why they stopped showing up once you signed up. They’re well known for making it difficult for members to unsubscribe too so make sure they don’t charge you at the end of your free subscription!
  5. Hello!

    Hi, welcome to the forum! What kind of books do you like?
  6. Have I introduced myself yet?

    You haven't but it's always a good idea
  7. Oops, I missed your original post about the article! I just read it. It's definitely an interesting one, with a lot of potential discussion points. It's hard to compare the Norwegian system to the UK one without knowing things like the comparative budgets and crime rates. It says at one point, for example, that England and Wales lock up almost 140 people per 100,000 of the population, compared to 63 per 100,000 of the population in Norway. It doesn't explain though whether that's because there's a higher crime rate in England and Wales, or whether you're more likely to be imprisoned for a crime here. Do they have more alternative punishments in Norway, maybe? Or does it suggest we're too quick to imprison as a punishment? The much better training for prison staff in Norway sounds great. It would definitely be nice if they could fund that here. Not that I imagine for a second that they would... The question of whether the prison is 'too cushy' is an interesting one. On one hand, the punishment (the lack of freedom) is still there, no matter how nice they make the prison inside. It's obvious from the article that at least some of the prisoners thrive in that environment and that they may genuinely be able to leave with the skills to begin new and successful lives for themselves. I think the problem is, a lot of people don't want someone who's murdered another person to have a happy ending. To leave prison with a whole set of qualifications (ones that other people would possibly have to pay a lot of money to get) and start new lives, when they have irreversibly taken the life of someone else, and damaged those of the people who loved them forever. And it's probably hard, if not impossible, to remove that emotional response even in the face of the obvious benefits of reform. Essentially I think some people feel that they need to know the criminal is suffering and it's harder to picture that suffering in a comfortable environment. I was also surprised that there are no life sentences in Norway. It does make me wonder how it feels to be a victim, or the family of a victim, after that maximum 21 year sentence, knowing that every 5 years from now on that person might be released. I wonder whether they do get much recurring crime. I can't imagine that they do, otherwise they surely would have changed that system. This is a little bit off topic but I found it really weird that the picture of the prison cell in that article is exactly the same as my room in my first year at university. Literally the only difference is that the bed was under the cork board and the desk opposite it. The wardrobe, where the bathroom is, even the type of wood are exactly the same. I hope you enjoy Ducks, Newburyport, it does sound good so fingers crossed! I'm definitely going to be reading Margaret Atwood's The Testaments but (as I think I said before) I want to re-read The Handmaid's Tale first, to make sure I don't miss anything!
  8. Read-a-thon 2019

    Maybe I've heard of him from your reading blog! It was cool! I know the publishers are based in my county but I honestly didn't expect any of the stories to be set nearby. I hope you've enjoyed all your reading so far!
  9. Read-a-thon 2019

    That was really good going! I've heard of David Baldacci but I can't remember why, The Finisher doesn't sound familiar. I hope you enjoy it! Happy reading to you too! Yesterday I read the first story from the Alchemy Press Book of Ancient Wonders. I'm glad I did read that in the end. I was in the mood for a short story and really enjoyed it. Weirdly, it was mainly set in a park that's close to where I live! I can't remember if it had page numbers, I'll have to check. Earlier I read to page 35 of Once Upon a River, which isn't much but it's so beautifully told I don't want to rush it! It's one of those books where you go back to read the last sentence because it was just so perfect.
  10. Kindle and ebooks deals

    I read the synopsis a while ago and wasn't sure. I liked the idea of the story in general but it sounded like it had a lot of main characters and I didn't know if that would make it a bit choppy or confusing. But I think it's worth trying for 99p! I think it was!
  11. Read-a-thon 2019

    New read-a-thon plan for me as I'm not at home and, stupidly, forgot to bring either Once Upon a River or my Penguin book of short stories... Luckily though, I do have my kindle, so I'll be choosing something from that instead! Good luck with the writing challenge! I hope you get to finish The Crow Trap (I originally read it as The Cow Trap, which doesn't sound nearly as mysterious )
  12. Kindle and ebooks deals

    The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton is one of the kindle daily deals today for £1.19 (I remember someone on here saying it was really good but I can't remember who!) Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is also one of the daily deals for 99p, another book I've heard really good things about
  13. Of the six shortlisted books I'd only heard of Elif Shafak's 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World and Margaret Atwood's The Testaments. I loved The Handmaid's Tale when I read it so I've been looking forward to The Testaments anyway (although I feel like I should probably re-read The Handmaid's Tale first, so I don't miss anything!) 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World also sounds like a great concept, though one that is obviously going to be quite emotional. Having looked it up afterwards, Rushdie's Quichotte sounds like it should be very good too. Maybe a book that would be more appreciated if you've already read Don Quixote though (which I haven't). I'll be very interested to hear what you think about Ducks, Newburyport @Angury!
  14. Why did the Ugly Duckling stay with the swains?

    I don’t think the swans would have treated him badly, as they would have realised that he was a swan, even as a baby. The ducks etc. only thought he was ugly because they thought he was meant to be a duckling and therefore he didn’t look ‘right’ to them. When he finds the swans and sees his own reflection, he realises that’s where he always belonged, which is why he stays.
  15. Ooooh I hope you enjoy Early Riser! Hopefully you have a bit of time before you get The Golden Compass. I suppose too many good books is far better than too few
  16. Hi!

    Hi Eli, welcome to the forum I'm also a fan of Tolkien and Abercrombie. Are you looking forward to 'A Little Hatred'?
  17. Read-a-thon 2019

    Thank you! I have The Thirteenth Tale too but also haven't read it yet. I did read just the first page of Once Upon a River to help me decide whether to read it next and I have a very good feeling about it already!
  18. Read-a-thon 2019

    Oh, that sounds really good! Much better than what I thought it was . It did take me a minute to work out why the first challenge was to read a book with the title or author's name beginning with an R though! I'm considering starting Diane Setterfield's Once Upon a River instead (or possibly as well!) now. I keep seeing adverts for the paperback release and they're making me really want to read it!
  19. Mona's Around The World Challenge

    I read "The Kite Runner" years ago and it is heartbreaking. I'm glad you enjoyed reading it though! Which country are you planning to do next?
  20. Read-a-thon 2019

    Sorry if this is a stupid question but is the ScoobyDooAThon literally for reading Scooby Doo books? Or is it like a mystery theme? I'm expecting to have quite a busy weekend, especially on Friday and Saturday, but I'm still planning to try to get a couple of short stories in, at least, for the read-a-thon!
  21. Fingers crossed I'm on the 'love it' side then! Although, to be honest, I don't feel like you should need to make notes as you read to keep track of all the characters in a book! Looking forward to the audiobook reviews
  22. Wow that's a lot of reviews I might have to add some of these to my wish list, The Thing of Darkness sounds particularly good! I'm glad you liked His Bloody Project, I really enjoyed that one too. A bit worried about The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle now though, I've got it on my kindle to read!
  23. Hayley's Reading 2019

    I have a few reviews to catch up on (again) so I'll do a couple at a time! Firstly, one that I've been putting off for a while: Witchborn by Nicolas Bowling 3/5 - I liked it I'm a little bit torn about this book. The concept at the beginning is great. After Alyce's mother is executed for witchcraft, she's locked up in Bedlam asylum, accused of being mad. All Alyce has from her mother is a note, which was given to her with the names of a place and a man, neither of which she recognises. Much of the story follows Alyce's attempt to solve the mystery and escape from the mysterious people pursuing her. All of this is genuinely interesting and the book is generally well written. On the other hand... as the book progresses, more and more real characters from history are introduced and with this I felt that it got increasingly unbelievable. I was expecting there to be a fantasy crossover, because of the witchcraft, but things got to a point that they just felt a little bit silly. It's hard to explain what I mean fully without spoilers but some of the twists in the later part of the book, rather than being shocking, just made me feel like '...really?' Overall this is a great concept (and really beautiful cover!) but, in my opinion, would have benefitted from keeping things a little bit simpler. Burke's Last Witness by CJ Dunford 4/5 - I really liked it (Note: I read this book on my kindle, the cover art is from Goodreads) I came across this novella randomly while browsing a sale from indie crime publishers Fahrenheit Press and I'm really glad I gave it a chance. It takes the infamous story of Burke and Hare and looks at it from a completely different angle, because at the beginning of this book Burke and Hare are already in prison. Rather than focusing on the two murderers, we follow the police sergeant who's in charge of them (Captain Rose). Rose is a man who believes strongly in the justice system and the simple morality of right and wrong. The brutal actions of Burke and Hare confuse him, and he begins to visit both prisoners in an attempt to unravel and understand their motives. Tragic events in Rose's own family, however, combined with the contradictory accounts of the charismatic Burke and his accomplice Hare, only cause Rose to question the simplicity of his beliefs. There's so much going on in this short space. Dunford manages to give us a cast of genuinely believable characters as well as creating a believable and immersive snapshot of Victorian working-class Edinburgh. Deeply psychological and compelling to the last page, this is definitely worth a read.
  24. Skellig is a book I've been meaning to read for years, you've just reminded me of it! I read a few books wile I was on holiday. On kindle, Burke's Last Witness by C.J. Dunford, and then First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde and the first two books of the Earthsea cycle by Ursula Le Guin. I'm not really sure what to go for next!
  25. Travel Plans

    That sounds amazing, I'd love that! It would be quite a bit further for me to travel though... I just got back from holiday in Spain, which was lovely. I swam in the sea, ate lovely food, went to a nice market and read a lot. Back to reality now but I do have an overnight trip planned, going to a theme park with my niece. She's never been on a big rollercoaster before and I think she's going to love it, so that will be fun!