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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…     
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chesilbeach

Hampshire - Watership Down by Richard Adams

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HAMPSHIRE
 
Watership Down by Richard Adams
 
Synopsis:
This stirring tale of courage and survival against the odds has become one of the best-loved animal adventures of all time.
 
'We've got to go away before it's too late.'
 
Fiver could sense danger. Something terrible was going to happen to the warren - he felt sure of it. So did his brother Hazel, for Fiver's sixth sense was never wrong. They had to leave immediately, and they had to persuade the other rabbits to join them. And so begins a long and perilous journey of a small band of rabbits in search of a safe home. Fiver's vision finally leads them to Watership Down, but here they face their most difficult challenge of all . . .
 
Other Hampshire books:
 
The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins

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watership.jpg

 

Review: Probably the best bunny story in the world. It wasn't new to me, I had seen and loved the film which helped me with the visuals but Richard Adams is so descriptive and so spot on with his rabbit lore that it was all as clear as day (there's even a little map at the beginning .. oh I do love a story with a map :D).

The story is about a group of rabbits, who leave their warren because one of them believes danger is coming. Hazel is their leader, not because he is the largest or the most authoritative but just because he is the one they all trust. His brother Fiver is what you might call psychic .. he's prone to visions and trances and has an unerring gift of sight which means that, if he told me to leave my house now, despite the newly decorated bathroom, the TBR's on the bookshelf and the Belgian bun waiting for my next cuppa, I would flee directly (and actually, I could always grab the bun on the way out :D) because, sure as eggs are eggs, something wicked this way would be coming. They are joined by several more rabbits, among them Bigwig - a bit of a toughie who is marvellous in a scrap, Pipkin - Fiver's friend and equally the nervous Nelly, Blackberry - the brains of the outfit and Dandelion - the chief storyteller who regales them with stories of El-ahrairah, a bunny of myth and legend who has more than a touch of Brer Rabbit about him. Fiver wants them to all head towards Watership Down .. a place far off but in order to get there they have to travel miles and all sorts of dangers lie in wait (and good job too because otherwise the story would have all the plot intricacies of Peter Rabbit and while that works over 59 pages .. there would surely be gaping holes over 478 :D) Even when they get there, their need for more does means that they have to take more risks. They make a plan to release several domesticated bunnies from a local farm and they also approach a nearby (somewhat overcrowded) warren in order to ask permission to liberate some of their does .. only this warren is Efrafa, run by the legendary despot General Woundwort - a ferocious rabbit unsurpassed in evilness (unless you count Frank in Donnie Darko :D) and he's not happy with them, not happy at all :wibbly: The does are willing though and so they just need to come up with a plan. They are helped in their quest by Kehaar, a seagull they had earlier come to the aid of (using the old fable wisdom .. help someone and they will help you .. which I've never found all that efficacious but perhaps seagulls are more amenable than husbands :D)

You quickly immerse yourself in the rabbit world and it's strange .. instead of them seeming more human I swear I became more rabbity. They occasionally use some rabbit words (well, obviously they used rabbit words all the time but for the most part the author had translated) and a little foot-note is given each time. I learnt quite a bit of it which is encouraging though I'm guessing it will be as useful to me as trigonometry turned out to be .. never underestimate a skill though.

Magical and thrilling, the climax is as good as any other adventure story and a great deal better than most. You can't help but love these bunnies (you can't help but continually sing 'Bright Eyes' too but thankfully that is subsiding now). 10/10 

watership2.jpg
 

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Great review, Kay :)! I have this book on my TBR. My parents have read it in Dutch and liked it too. I bought myself an English copy a while ago, but I haven't read it yet.

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This is definitely on my re-read list. I first read it in my early 20's and thought it was absolutely magical. (Bright Eyes still brings a lump to my throat :blush2: )

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Great review, Kay! I have this book on my TBR. My parents have read it in Dutch and liked it too. I bought myself an English copy a while ago, but I haven't read it yet.

I'm sure you'll love it Gaia :) It's a beautiful story. The animated film is also well worth seeing :)

Great review Kay ..... i could hear Bright Eyes as i was reading it  :out:

:DI know .. it's impossible not to think of it :blush2: I should put a link to the music really .... though it's one of those songs that never leaves your memory once you've heard it.

I purchased Bright Eyes after reading this! 

:D It's a gorgeous song .. so emotional :blush2:

This is definitely on my re-read list. I first read it in my early 20's and thought it was absolutely magical. (Bright Eyes still brings a lump to my throat.)

Yes ... me too  :blush2: It's nice actually to have a story on the challenge list that you know you're going to love :smile: 

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I am ashamed to admit that I had never read this as a child, despite owning a copy! Much like the publishers originally told Adams himself, by the time I got the book I assumed it was too babyish, given it was about a load of rabbits. I was nervous about coming to it for the first time as an adult, but I really should not have been. It was great. 

 

A group of rabbits travelling across the countryside to make a new home does not sound like something that could hold an adult's interest for long, but there is so much here. The characters may be rabbits, but they are rich characters and all of them are entirely distinct - much like human personalities. The knowledge of rabbits means the reader can immerse themselves in their world entirely, and really get involved in the struggles they encounter. 

 

The dynamics between Hazel, Fiver and Bigwig are really interesting, given they set up differently to life at the original warren where Bigwig, as the biggest and strongest, would have automatically been the leader. 

 

In the introduction to my edition, Adams writes that he never intended the story to be an allegory, and that he was merely making up a story to entertain his children. I find that hard to believe. He may not have intended it as an allegory as such, but I assume he deliberately built in bits to teach his children about the advantages of working together, listening to each other and not accepting an old order of strength as the best way to proceed. If not, it's quite the coincidence! But it's not moral or preachy, just a good adventure story and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

 

4/5 from me. 

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