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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 2014

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Yes, I'm interested on Moonfleet, especially the Vintage cover art (I think it's a very cheeky nod to the Japanese print The Great Wave by Hokusai  :D.

hokusai_m.jpg

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Wow, yes, the definitely look similar!  :)  I read it on my Kindle, but if I was to buy a copy, that would be the one I would get - I think it's lovely.  :)

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My boyfriend has a print of The Great Wave, it's quite beautiful.

I love The Great Wave too, in fact I love and have a few books of the Japanese prints (by Hokusai and Hiroshige mostly, are my favourites).

Edited by Marie H

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004-2014-Jan-27-MyCousinRachel_zpsa3f7a7
 

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier

The ‘blurb’
I threw the piece of paper on the fire. She saw it burn . . .

Orphaned at an early age, Philip Ashley is raised by his benevolent older cousin, Ambrose. Resolutely single, Ambrose delights in Philip as his heir, a man who will love his grand home as much as he does himself. But the cosy world the two construct is shattered when Ambrose sets off on a trip to Florence. There he falls in love and marries - and there he dies suddenly.

In almost no time at all, the new widow - Philip's cousin Rachel - turns up in England. Despite himself, Philip is drawn to this beautiful, sophisticated, mysterious woman like a moth to the flame. And yet… might she have had a hand in Ambrose's death?


Philip Ashley has been brought up in a very masculine environment by his cousin and guardian Ambrose. He is stunned, therefore, when Ambrose, who has travelled to Italy for the warmer weather, suddenly marries a distant relation. Philip pines at home, missing Ambrose until he receives a couple of letters from him which ring alarm bells, and being worried he sets out for Florence to find out what is going on. He is shocked to find out that Ambrose is dead – and Rachel is nowhere to be seen – and when Rachel turns up at the estate in Cornwall, Philip is determined to punish Rachel. However she is not what she seems and Philip finds himself unable to resist her…

This is a brilliantly written thriller. It’s told in Philip’s voice after the events have taken place. I found myself engaged with the story straight away and Du Maurier weaves her story so convincingly that I found my view of what had happened changing as different elements of the story were revealed and I was hooked until its final, inevitable, conclusion.

This was my choice for my book club and I am so pleased that everyone really enjoyed it. Sometimes we find at book club that if there are no opposing views the discussion can be rather short, but Rachel certainly divided opinion which made for a fantastic evening. This is the fourth Du Maurier I’ve read and I have enjoyed each of them very much. I will definitely be reading more.

The paperback is 335 pages long and is published by Virago. It was first published in 1951. The ISBN is 9781844080403.

5/5 (I loved it)

(Finished 27 January 2014)


 

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My next book finished was this one.  You may have seen this review already as I posted it in the English Counties Challenge section.  :)

 

005-2014-Jan-31-TheDarlingBudsofMay_zpsb

The Darling Buds of May by H E Bates

Introducing the Larkins, a family with a place in popular mythology. Here they come, crashing their way through the English countryside in the wake of Pa, the quick-eyed, golden-hearted junk-dealer, and Ma, with a mouthful of crisps and a laugh like a jelly.

The Darling Buds of May is about the larger than life Larkin family, headed by lovable rogue Pa, a wheeler-dealer with a heart of gold, and Ma who is always on hand with a snack or a meal for her large family – and anyone who happens to join them! In this, the first instalment of stories about the family, the Larkins are visited by Cedric Charlton, a rather uptight tax inspector who is investigating why Pa has never filed a tax return. At first Mr Charlton is rather bemused by the family as he tries to get to the bottom of what has happened to the buff form that has been sent out to Mr Larkin on at least two occasions, but then he sees the Larkin’s eldest daughter, Mariette, and before he knows where he is he’s head over heels in love and life as he knows will never be the same again!

As a ‘Kentish Maid’ I watched, and loved, the ITV series The Darling Buds of May when it was first broadcast in 1991. I had not read the books but my Mum had and she said that the show was beautifully cast and that all of the actors did the characters total justice. Having just read this, the first book in the series, I can see what she was talking about! It meant that I was picturing David Jason, Pam Ferris et al whilst reading but that was okay! I’m going off at a tangent here, but to anyone who hasn’t seen the show and enjoys this book I would say to watch it if the chance arises – it’s such a faithful adaptation. :)

Set in an idyllic village in late 50s rural Kent, the book is such an easy and enjoyable read. The family are all such likeable characters and it made me chuckle out loud a few times – something which doesn’t happen to me that often with books. When I was a child in the 70s my Mum would go fruit picking to earn a bit of cash, and I used to go with her and spend all day in the countryside eating whatever fruit she was picking and having a wild old time with the other children there. In terms of the challenge this book really captures the feel of the county and the essence of those times and I can’t wait to read some more of the series. Perfick! :D

 

The paperback edition is 158 pages long and is published by Penguin. It was first published in 1958. The ISBN is 9780140016024. 

5/5 (I loved it)

(Finished 31 January 2014)

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006-2014-Jan-31-LetterstoChildren_zps1e2
 

Letters to Children by C S Lewis

The ‘blurb’
In this book, today’s readers will find a new aspect of the legendary academic and writer. Through his letters C S Lewis shared with his young correspondents his feelings about school (he hated mathematics), writing and animals. He gave wise but light-hearted advice to his godchildren. And of course he talked about the magical world he had created in the Narnia Chronicles, the series of books for children which have become one of the great classics of all times.

As the title and ‘blurb’ suggest, this is a selection of correspondence from C S Lewis in reply to letters from children from the UK and further afield. Children (and adults too, although they’re seldom represented in this book) wrote to Lewis in their 100s, asking him about Narnia, of course, but also about more personal matters. Lewis wrote back to everyone who wrote to him – sometimes by dictating to his brother who was also his secretary, but a great many by hand. He offered advice where it was requested and answered questions as honestly as he could.

It’s a quick read but is also a good read. Because it’s aimed at children the introduction contains a short biography of Lewis’ childhood which I found interesting. Lots of his letters and the advice contained therein understandably contain a certain amount of Christianity (Lewis was brought up as a church-goer but became an atheist at the age of 15 – converting to Christianity in 1931 at the age of 33) but the tone is not overly preachy. As someone who has enjoyed the Narnia Chronicles it was good to read this short book which gives a bit of personal insight into the man who clearly loved his loyal readers.

The paperback edition is 114 pages long and was published by Fount, but is out of print. It was first published in 1985. The ISBN is 9780006270041.

3/5 (I liked it)

(Finished 31 January 2014)

 

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006-2014-Jan-31-LetterstoChildren_zps1e2

 

Letters to Children by C S Lewis

 

 Lewis wrote back to everyone who wrote to him – sometimes by dictating to his brother who was also his secretary, but a great many by hand. 

.. and that makes him a hero in my eyes :smile:  Sounds like a great read Janet .. I've got a new biog on him so I really should get around to reading it. 

Great reviews  :smile: 

Glad you loved My Cousin Rachel .. I did too. I just peeped at your score for The Darling Buds of May as need to read it soon for the county challenge .. very happy to see that you loved it  :smile: I'm expecting lots of food in it .. there's bound to be toast isn't there?  :D 

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.. and that makes him a hero in my eyes :smile:  Sounds like a great read Janet .. I've got a new biog on him so I really should get around to reading it. 

Great reviews  :smile:

Yes, very impressive considering the number of letters he must have received. :) The book did say something along the lines of the postman being grateful that there was only one celeb in his street! :giggle:

 

Glad you loved My Cousin Rachel .. I did too. I just peeped at your score for The Darling Buds of May as need to read it soon for the county challenge .. very happy to see that you loved it :smile: I'm expecting lots of food in it .. there's bound to be toast isn't there? :D

Five toast mentions, Kay. FIVE! :D

 

I hope you enjoy it. I'm quietly confident you will! I got book #2 in the post today! :)

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I read My Cousin Rachel a hundred years ago..... :)  But don't remember a bit of it.  Your review is great, I must (re)read, soon!

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Thanks.  :)

 

Rebecca is one of my all-time favourite books.  I read that and Rule Britannia years and years ago - I don't understand why I didn't read anything else by her at the time!  :)

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I love the look of your TBR pile, Janet. It has been at least several years since I've read anything by Dickens, so I want to make an effort this year. Even though I've absolutely loved everything I've read by him (only a few books though), I still find him a bit daunting!

 

Also, I love how brave you are to keep track of how much you spend on books. :)

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I love the look of your TBR pile, Janet. It has been at least several years since I've read anything by Dickens, so I want to make an effort this year. Even though I've absolutely loved everything I've read by him (only a few books though), I still find him a bit daunting!

 

:)

I feel exactly the same! Both times I have read Dickens I have adored the books and urged myself to read more, but then he becomes intimidating again!

 

I am determined to try my first Austen this year though.

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I love the look of your TBR pile, Janet. It has been at least several years since I've read anything by Dickens, so I want to make an effort this year. Even though I've absolutely loved everything I've read by him (only a few books though), I still find him a bit daunting!

 

Also, I love how brave you are to keep track of how much you spend on books. :)

Thanks, Kylie.  :)  I'm a bit daunted too - I know once I start It'll be fine, but it's getting going that's the problem!  :giggle:

 

I started keeping a note of cost a few years ago as a deterrent - I'm not sure it works though! 

 

I feel exactly the same! Both times I have read Dickens I have adored the books and urged myself to read more, but then he becomes intimidating again!

 

I am determined to try my first Austen this year though.

It's funny isn't it.  I guess it's that they're so wordy - and I think that's because they were written in serial form originally?

 

I do hope you manage an Austen this year.  :)  I'd hoping to read another this year.

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I have written reviews for Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons (here) and Summer Lightning by P G Wodehouse (here) - both for the English Counties Challenge.  :)

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I can't believe I haven't posted in your thread this year, Janet.  I'll wish you a happy reading year for 2014, but it looks like you're already having that anyway! :D   I've started to keep a record of how much I'm spending on books this year, and seems to be working, but I'm trying to focus on reading books I already have, or ones on some of the challenges I'm following, so it's making it easier not to buy too much … so far at least. :giggle2:

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009-2014-Feb-17-MadAbouttheBoy_zpsda01b9

 

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding

 

If you’re likely to be reading this book, you’d have to be living under a rock not to have read or heard of or been told ‘the spoiler’, but just in case you have been cosying up in sedimentary splendour, I will tag the blurb which gives it away.  

 

The ‘blurb'

What do you do when a girlfriend's 60th birthday party is the same day as your boyfriend's 30th? Is it wrong to lie about your age when online dating? Is it morally wrong to have a blow-dry when one of your children has head lice? Does the Dalai Lama actually tweet or is it his assistant? Is technology now the fifth element? Or is that wood? Is sleeping with someone after 2 dates and 6 weeks of texting the same as getting married after 2 meetings and 6 months of letter writing in Jane Austen's day? Pondering these, and other modern dilemmas, Bridget Jones stumbles through the challenges of single-motherhood, tweeting, texting and redisovering her sexuality in what some people rudely and outdatedly call 'middle age'. The long-awaited return of a much-loved character, Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy is timely, tender, touching, witty, wise and bloody hilarious.

 

Thursday 13 February

Decided to start the new Bridget Jones book.   Was worried that I wouldn’t remember what ‘my’ Bridget was like, having watched the films zillions of times since I read the first two books.  Was right – Bridget now looks like Renée Zellweger!    Fell asleep reading Kindle – husband moved it to bedside table when he came up.

 

Friday 14 February

Finding to my surprise that I am really enjoying the book despite the fact that it’s no longer ‘my type’.

Had heard the terrible spoiler but still hopeful that

Mark Darcy might appear in film in flashback version*.  Also disappointed that B’s father died – liked his character. Am wondering why Shazza not in book.  I mean, I know she is away, but why…?

 

Saturday 15 February

I think that

Have just read section about Bridget and children stuck up tree in park.  Am now certain that Mr  Wallaker will end up as ‘correct’ love interest!

 

Sunday 16 February

Not enough hours in the day!  Will attempt more Diary later.

 

Monday 17 February

Okay, I’ll stop trying to imitate Bridget now since I’m rubbish at it!  :giggle2:  My thoughts…

 

I have had a shamefully lazy morning, lying in bed and reading like mad and finished the book at about 10.30am!  As I said above, I really enjoyed this book, even though it was rather predictable.  Bridget remains her clumsy, endearing self and the rest of the characters seem true to the original books. I have never read the newspaper columns so I don’t know if they’re the same?

 

I really wasn’t sure about Daniel.  I found it hard to believe that he and Mark would have managed to shake hands and put the past behind them.  I guess it was a device, making Daniel the children’s Godfather, as it gave him a reason to be in the book that wasn’t about him wanting to get into Bridget’s enormous-stomach-holding-in-pants.     I liked his less than adult way of being with Bridget’s kids (totally believable) and would have liked to have ‘seen’ a bit more of him really.

 

I thought Bridget’s grief over Mark’s death and her struggling to cope as a widow with young children was well-written and seemed plausible – God forbid I ever find out for myself what it’s like.   :wibbly:   I liked her relationship with her children – she wasn’t a perfect mother (who is?!) but she obviously loved them. 

 

As I said above, as soon as I got to the section in the park I knew that it would be Mr Wallaker that Bridget would end up with.  I liked Roxster, and I was pleased that they ended as friends – I liked the way they split up and I’m glad Fielding didn’t make it last too long or end bitterly.

 

I’m glad Bridget had a happy ending… for now.

 

*now I’ve Googled after finishing the book, I have discovered that Fielding has been working on a script called ‘Bridget Jones and Baby’.   According to the limited information on IMDB.com it’s totally different from the book?!?!

 

In any case, I’m sad to see that there isn’t likely to be another film regardless of storyline.  Apparently there is a rift between Helen Fielding and Renée Zellwegger.   I hadn’t read the acknowledgements in the back of the book until after Googling, but Zellweger isn’t credited whereas Colin Firth and Hugh Grant are.  I suppose that speaks volumes.  V. sad.  :(

 

The hardback edition is 400 pages long and is published by Jonathan Cape.  It was first published in 2013.  The ISBN is 9780224098090.   The paperback is out on 19 June.   Read on Kindle.

 

4/5 (I really enjoyed it)

 

(Finished 17 February 2014)

 

 

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I can't believe I haven't posted in your thread this year, Janet.  I'll wish you a happy reading year for 2014, but it looks like you're already having that anyway! :D   I've started to keep a record of how much I'm spending on books this year, and seems to be working, but I'm trying to focus on reading books I already have, or ones on some of the challenges I'm following, so it's making it easier not to buy too much … so far at least. :giggle2:

Thanks, Claire.  :)  I resolved (yet again!) not to acquire too many books this year.  I've only paid for two books so far this year - I've acquired six but one of those was a library book and two were borrowed - and Peter paid for one (so that doesn't count!).  I hope your resolve holds too. :)

 

I've been meaning to PM you actually - will do so now.  :)

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Great review of Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy! I loved how you wrote like Bridget does :D! I'm glad you enjoyed the book, even if its genre is no longer your thing. It's a shame there probably won't be another film, I would've loved to see it. Your spoilers make sense, I agree with them. I was wondering some of the same things.

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Janet

 It sounds as though you have hit the Book Jackpot lately ,and run onto some really good books.

I also read My Cousin Rachel a l-o-n-g time ago and don't remember a lot about it other than I really liked it , almost as much as Rebecca .

 Glad you are having a good start to your reading year .

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Today I finished Murder at Wrotham Hill by Diana Souhami, a non-fiction account of the murder of Dagmar Petrzywalski in 1946. She used to hitchhike regularly from her home in Kent to visit family in London.

 

Roland Butter who used to post on here sent it to me after I said I liked the sound of it. I really enjoyed it. Review to follow at some stage. :)

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Sounds interesting Janet :)

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