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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…     
Janet

Janet's Log - stardate 2013

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I finally finished The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë last night.  It took me three weeks!  It was very good!

 

I need to read The Woman in Black for the RC - I'm very behind!  :blush:  I also need to read The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings for my 'real life' book club - the trouble is, I'm not in the mood for either of them at the moment!  :lurker:

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I finally finished The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë last night.  It took me three weeks!  It was very good!

 

I need to read The Woman in Black for the RC - I'm very behind!  :blush:  I also need to read The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings for my 'real life' book club - the trouble is, I'm not in the mood for either of them at the moment!  :lurker:

 

Is that an actual social group of people that you go and discuss books with Janet? What is that like? 

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Yes - and I love it!  A friend started it in 2006 - there were 9 of us originally - 7 now with 3 original members.  We meet once every 4-6 weeks and take it in turn to host.  :)

 

After making the above post I gave myself a stern talking too, and being home alone with no chores to do I got on and started... and finished... my re-read of The Woman in Black:D  I still loved it!  Will do the RC questions tomorrow though as I'm off to bed soon.

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How do you read a book from behind a cushion Janet... :lurker: is it spooky.

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Hmm -   I wasn't particularly scared (and I don't think I was the first time I read it either) but it's atmospheric... yes, I think the word atmospheric sums it up!  :)

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Can anyone who has read The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out out of a Window and Disappeared (phew!!) tell me if they think it would make a good Book Club read?  It's my turn to choose next and I'm having a bit of bother deciding what to pick.  Thanks. :)

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Janet, I definitely think it would be a good book to discuss. There's plenty of people who enjoyed it on here, and some that didn't (although that might just be me :roll:), but it has lots of characters both fictional and real people who have been fictionalised, and the same can be said for the events in the book too, so I think it could give you plenty to discuss as to how successful people think the fictionalisation and characterisation has been achieved.

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Thanks Claire. :)

 

The only issue I've just thought of is that one member likes to get the books from the library - and they're all out with lots of reservations, but I'm sure she can buy it just this once! (It's never been a stipulation of our club that books have to be available from the library).

 

I'd like to choose something from my 'to read' pile rather than buying a new book!  :)

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Me again! I think I've changed my mind about having The Hundred Year Old Man... for book club.  :blush:

 

I'm now wondering about Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.  I have heard good things about it, but I'm concerned about it being too... fluffy.  It has a cover that screams 'chick-lit' (which is a genre I used to read all the time, but have gone off now!) or that it might not make for a good discussion.   Hmmmm.

 

I've never had this much bother choosing a Book Club read before!

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I'm now wondering about Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.  I have heard good things about it, but I'm concerned about it being too... fluffy.  It has a cover that screams 'chick-lit' (which is a genre I used to read all the time, but have gone off now!) or that it might not make for a good discussion.   Hmmmm.

 

I wouldn't call it a fluffy read, although the cover makes it look as though it is. There's a fair bit to discuss in it, one key topical point in particular (which I don't want to mention as it may be a spoiler). I think it would make a pretty good reading choice, and most reviews I have read have been favorable.

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004-2013-Feb-08-TheTenantofWildfellHall_

 

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë

 

The ‘blurb’

Gilbert Markham is deeply intrigued by Helen Graham, a beautiful and secretive young woman who has moved into nearby Wildfell Hall with her young son. He is quick to offer Helen his friendship, but when her reclusive behaviour becomes the subject of local gossip and speculation, Gilbert begins to wonder whether his trust in her has been misplaced. It is only when she allows Gilbert to read her diary that the truth is revealed and the shocking details of the disastrous marriage she has left behind emerge...

 

Gilbert Markham is fascinated with the mysterious Helen Graham who moves into some rooms in a nearby run-down manor house, Wildfell Hall located on a bleak moor, with her young son and faithful servant. As Gilbert falls for Helen she becomes the subject of local gossip and Gilbert in turn becomes jealous of another man who he believes is also in love with Helen – so she asks him to read her diary…

 

Told through letters from Gilbert Markham to his friend and brother-in-law, the reader learns the reason for Helen’s occupation of the Hall – she has fled her unhappy and abusive marriage. This novel is widely considered to be one of the first feminist novels and caused quite a stir on publication due to its portrayal or a woman who breaks with convention, leaving her alcoholic husband, taking their child with her. It took me a few weeks to read it, but that has nothing to do with the content – it was very enjoyable and easy to read and Brontë’s portrayal of the mental cruelty Helen receives at the hands of her husband must have been really shocking at the time. It’s no wonder that after Anne’s death, Charlotte prevented further publication of the novel!

 

I’ve done one Anne Brontë book and one Charlotte Bronte book – now I need to do the Emily one!

 

[Read on Kindle]

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I have this book, and your review makes me think I made the right choice in buying it (I bought it on a book fair) :). I haven't read it yet :blush:.

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006-2013-Feb-14-TheDescendants_zps5336fc

 

The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings

 

The ‘blurb’

A descendant of one of Hawaii's largest landowners, Matt King finds his luck changed when his fun-loving, filghty wife Joanie falls into a coma, victim of a boating accident. Matt is left in sole charge of his two daughters, teenage ex-model and recovering drug addict Alex, and Scottie, a feisty ten-year-old.

 

And then Matt discovers Joanie has been having an affair. Deciding to seek out Joanie's lover so that he too has a chance to say his goodbyes, Matt takes to the road with his daughters on a memorable journey of painful revelations and unexpected humour...

 

I wouldn’t have read this book if it wasn’t chosen by one of my Book Club members – we’re going to discuss it after watching the film together.  I’ve tried reviewing this book over the last few days, but really I don’t know what to say about it apart from that I feel a bit ambivalent towards it.    It is hard to have any sympathy for Joanie, the woman in the coma.   I felt little sympathy for her husband, Matt either.  I think we’re meant to like Scottie and to find her endearing, but I just found her irritating.   I much preferred her sister, Alex. 

 

My favourite character was Sid – Alex’s not-quite-boyfriend who was the one redeeming character in the book.   There are enjoyable parts to the book and I didn’t hate it (even though my review might suggest otherwise!), but that’s about all I can find to say about it. I find that even though I finished it less than two weeks ago, the storyline is already fading.

 

I wonder if it’ll be a rare case where I like the film more than the book?!

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It's actually in a library about 10 miles from here, but it's somewhere I occasionally go food shopping (the town, not the library!  :giggle: ) so I'll combine the two events. :)

 

Yes, please don't eat the books from the library :D

 

 I just Googled 'is there a term for people who like lists?' and one of the links I followed took me to a page on Wikipedia about sexual fetishes!  :giggle2:  Oh my!

 

:lol: That's not exactly what we had in mind, is it! I hope you didn't get busted for having those pages on the website history log watchamathingy on your computer :giggle:

 

I finally finished The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë last night.  It took me three weeks!  It was very good!

 

I need to read The Woman in Black for the RC - I'm very behind!  :blush:  I also need to read The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings for my 'real life' book club - the trouble is, I'm not in the mood for either of them at the moment!  :lurker:

 

Don't you just hate it when that happens :rolleyes::empathy:  But I see you've managed with both of the books after the post above, so good on you!

 

 

004-2013-Feb-08-TheTenantofWildfellHall_

 

 

Great review, Janet, thanks! I've never been curious about this or too keen to read it, but thanks to your review I'm going to check if I have a copy of the book and if I might actually get around to reading it in the near future :)

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1. Yes, please don't eat the books from the library :D

 

2. :lol: That's not exactly what we had in mind, is it! I hope you didn't get busted for having those pages on the website history log watchamathingy on your computer :giggle:

 

3. Don't you just hate it when that happens :rolleyes::empathy:  But I see you've managed with both of the books after the post above, so good on you!

 

4. Great review, Janet, thanks! I've never been curious about this or too keen to read it, but thanks to your review I'm going to check if I have a copy of the book and if I might actually get around to reading it in the near future :)

I don't know how to split up the posts like I used to with the new quote system, so I've numbered your comments instead.  :)

 

1.  I don't eat them. :D   I don't even lick them like someone we know*!  :giggle2:

 

(*Aww, get well soon, Kay   :hug:  )

 

2.  It's okay - I have my own laptop so hopefully nobody will notice!  There are some VERY odd fetishes out there! :giggle:

 

3.  I thought I should... I don't like the expression 'man up' at all but I can't think of an alternative (suggestions welcome)... just get on with it and stop being silly!  I very much enjoyed my re-read of The Woman in Black.  Sadly The Descendants wasn't so enjoyable - I can't say I'm looking forward to watching the film on Wednesday night, but I'll try to reserve judgement!

 

4.  Thanks. :)  But oh dear - I hope you enjoy it if you do try it.   noes-1.gif

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007-2013-Feb-18-TheThirdMissSymons_zpsbe

 

The Third Miss Symons by F M Mayor

 

The ‘blurb’

The story of Henrietta Symons from her birth to her death, and the most perfect account in English fiction of those women who, through the ages, have neither married nor loved, the spinster, the maiden aunt, the surplus woman.  Henrietta is the third daughter in a large Victorian family, the misfit girl without the beauty or the talent to be loved.  Querulous, bad-tempered, her meaningless life passes aimlessly by. But Henrietta has one saving grace. She knows  herself for what she is, and self-knowledge, however bitter, turns her life of defeat into a certain kind of victory.

 

Henrietta ‘Etta’ Symons is the titular Miss Symons in this short chronological novel by F M Mayor, who is probably better  known for The Rector’s Daughter.   Etta is the third daughter in a large, upper-middle class Victorian family.   She’s overlooked by her family and is a loner, despite initially having a great capacity for love and desiring affection.  

 

The novel follows Etta from birth to death – she never really makes much of an impression on life.  Her one attempt at  finding love is thwarted and as she gets older and becomes more belligerent her siblings tolerate her, but are grateful  that she never stays too long. She, in turn, finds it hard to put down roots and so travels extensively.   She has one  redeeming feature – her generosity.  Despite the family’s neglect of her, she’s always ready to be a shoulder to lean on or to bail them out with monetary gifts. 

 

The main thread running through the novel is of how older unmarried women in the Victorian era were deemed worthless.  If they were unable to find a man to love them then that must be due to some failing on their part – and like a self-fulfilling prophecy this happens to Etta.

 

I enjoyed reading this book, despite the rather pessimistic nature of it.  At times I wanted to shake Ella and tell her to get a grip, but at the same time I felt an inordinate amount of sympathy for her – she had so much love to give, but love bypasses her.  She shows strength by refusing to feel sorry for herself despite her lack of spouse and leads a successful, if ultimately unfulfilled, life.  I will definitely try one of Mayor’s two other novels.     

 

The paperback is 160 pages long and is published by Virago.  It was first published in 1913.    [Read on Kindle]

 

3/5

 

(Finished 18 February 2013)

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Hmmm, I haven't read the book but I have to admit ambivalence toward the film and I am a big George Clooney fan, I wasn't drawn to any of the characters and was quite glad when it ended.. A real shame as I had been looking forward to it for a long time.

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I don't know how to split up the posts like I used to with the new quote system, so I've numbered your comments instead.  :)

 

1.  I don't eat them. :D   I don't even lick them like someone we know*!  :giggle2:

 

:D Maybe you sniff them and use them as spices!

 

2.  It's okay - I have my own laptop so hopefully nobody will notice!  There are some VERY odd fetishes out there! :giggle:

 

I don't think I dare ask :D

 

 

3.  I thought I should... I don't like the expression 'man up' at all but I can't think of an alternative (suggestions welcome)... just get on with it and stop being silly!  I very much enjoyed my re-read of The Woman in Black.  Sadly The Descendants wasn't so enjoyable - I can't say I'm looking forward to watching the film on Wednesday night, but I'll try to reserve judgement!

 

Hm... How about 'growing balls'? :giggle2:

 

4.  Thanks. :)  But oh dear - I hope you enjoy it if you do try it.   noes-1.gif

 

Well worry not: the book is on the 1001 Books list, so I can divide the blame between you and the 1001 challenge 50-50. Would that make you more comfortable? :D

 

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Ooh!!! The Third Miss Symons sounds like just my sort of thing, i'm going to add it to my wishlist. I've read quite a few good books published by Virago & have started looking out for them in the charity shops. Thanks for the review Janet  :smile:

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Ooh!!! The Third Miss Symons sounds like just my sort of thing, i'm going to add it to my wishlist. I've read quite a few good books published by Virago & have started looking out for them in the charity shops. Thanks for the review Janet  :smile:

 

I really like the sound of it too, thanks for such a good review Janet.  Like kidsmum, I have read quite a few Virago books and have enjoyed them all - I just wish I had more charity shops to look in around here!  :)

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Hmmm, I haven't read the book but I have to admit ambivalence toward the film and I am a big George Clooney fan, I wasn't drawn to any of the characters and was quite glad when it ended.. A real shame as I had been looking forward to it for a long time.

Oh dear - I'm not a George Clooney fan (although to be fair I think I've only seen him in one film - but it was awful!) so that doesn't bode well!  I will report back after tomorrow night!

 

Ooh!!! The Third Miss Symons sounds like just my sort of thing, i'm going to add it to my wishlist. I've read quite a few good books published by Virago & have started looking out for them in the charity shops. Thanks for the review Janet  :smile:

 

I really like the sound of it too, thanks for such a good review Janet.  Like kidsmum, I have read quite a few Virago books and have enjoyed them all - I just wish I had more charity shops to look in around here!  :)

I hope you both enjoy it.  :)  It's rather dated, of course, but a good story and very well-written.  I'm definitely going to try her other two titles (she only wrote three books). 

 

frankie - I'm not ignoring you, but how do you split up my post to multi-quote like that?   I just can't work it out!  :blush:

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I think the easiest way is to click on the first icon on top left corner, that says BBcode Mode. There you see the quote tags like we used to, but you don't see emoticons or colors or italics or anything like that, so if you want to do any of those, you have to click on BBcode mode again to go back to the normal mode and then do all the 'decorating'.

 

Otherwise? I click on the end of the paragraph/line I want to quote by you, and then click 'enter' as many times as it takes for the new line, my own quote line to come out of the 'box', meaning the box with your details and the lines I want to quote. At the same time, it automatically adds 'Janet said this and that' with the rest of your post at the bottom, and I can go to that after I've written what I want to write to you.

 

This is so difficult to explain in words, is it not? :blush: I don't even know if everyone sees those boxes I'm talking about, because I thought they were a new addition but nobody replied when I commented on them. :shrug:

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Hmm - I got those extra boxes when the upgrade first happened but I appear to have forgotten how to make them work! I will have a go now - thanks. :)

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