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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…     
Janet

Janet's Log - Stardate 2015

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I hate to keep asking you this question, Janet, but have you seen the film adaptation of The Remains of the Day?  It's excellent (and some of it was filmed in my town :D) with Anthony Hopkins as Stevens and (the always brilliant) Emma Thompson as Miss Kenton along with a wonderful supporting cast.

 

(Sorry, sometimes I feel that all I ever ask is if you've seen a film of a book! :giggle2:)

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(Sorry, sometimes I feel that all I ever ask is if you've seen a film of a book! :giggle2:)

Please, don't apologise - it's nice to have a visitor!  :D  :friends3:

 

No, I haven't seen it.  I would like to though, now I've read the book.  :)

 

I'm *rubbish* at watching films!  :giggle:  When I see you guys (next week - yay!  :flowers2:  ) I seem to spend half our time together saying "who is that actor?", "What's he/she been in?" or, "I haven't seen that"!  :giggle2:

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067-2015-Dec-27-Hercule%20Poirots%20Chri

 

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie

 

The ‘blurb’

It is Christmas Eve. The Lee family reunion is shattered by a deafening crash of furniture, followed by a high-pitched wailing scream. Upstairs, the tyrannical Simeon Lee lies dead in a pool of blood, his throat slashed.

 

But when Hercule Poirot, who is staying in the village with a friend for Christmas, offers to assist, he finds an atmosphere not of mourning but of mutual suspicion. It seems everyone had their own reason to hate the old man…

 

My turn to host our Book Club fell in January again this year so I thought I’d pick a Christmas-themed book, and as I’ve read quite a few Christies this year and have enjoyed them I thought I’d chose this – I knew that the other members had not read her for many years, if ever.

 

In this classic locked-room mystery, patriarchal tyrant Simeon Lee dies a violent death at the hands of an unknown perpetrator – not only is there a death but there has been a break in and some valuable uncut diamonds have been stolen. Superintendent Sugden happens to be in the house at the time in a lucky coincidence that he happened to be calling on houses collecting money for a police-related charity. He invites Poirot, who is staying nearby, to assist. As Poirot questions the family members it becomes apparent that any one of them had some kind of motive for the killing and none of them is an obvious killer, but as Poirot investigates he discovers that there is more to Simeon Lee’s parenthood than meets the eye…

 

This isn’t the best Christie I’ve read, but it was still enjoyable. As always, my little grey cells tried to make up their minds who the killer was – and I changed my mind several times… but was still wrong! The reveal, when it came, was clever and I suppose also obvious – the clues were all there…!

 

The paperback edition is 288 pages long and is published by Harper. It was first published in 1938. The ISBN is 9780007527540.

 

3½/5 (I enjoyed it)

 

(Finished 27 December 2015)

 

 

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Thanks, Gaia.  I hope you enjoy it when you get round to it.  :)

 

Did you know the actress Emma Thompson's daughter is called Gaia?  :D

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068-2015-Dec-30-Look%20Whos%20Back_zpskn
 
Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes (Translated by Jamie Bulloch)
 
The ‘blurb’
Berlin, Summer 2011. Adolf Hitler wakes up on a patch of open ground, alive and well. Things have changed - no Eva Braun, no Nazi party, no war. Hitler barely recognises his beloved Fatherland, filled with immigrants and run by a woman.
 
People certainly recognise him, albeit as a flawless impersonator who refuses to break character. The unthinkable, the inevitable happens, and the ranting Hitler goes viral, becomes a YouTube star, gets his own T.V. show, and people begin to listen. But the Führer has another programme with even greater ambition - to set the country he finds a shambles back to rights.
 
Look Who's Back stunned and then thrilled 1.5 million German readers with its fearless approach to the most taboo of subjects. Naive yet insightful, repellent yet strangely sympathetic, the revived Hitler unquestionably has a spring in his step.
 
In this satirical novel, Adolf Hitler wakes up in 2011 and finds a very different Germany from the one he remembers.  He is taken in by a newspaper seller who is amused by this comedian who impersonates Hitler so well and he is eventually ‘discovered’ and touted as the next big thing on the comedy set. Hitler becomes a sensation but there is more on his mind than entertaining the German public…
 
I’m finding it difficult to put my thoughts about this book down coherently.  On paper it sounds like it should be really funny… and it is funny, up to a point. However (and yes, I *know* it’s fiction, and satire) I couldn’t entirely get past the fact that he’s Hitler – not a character to be admired or to entertain, but a fascist dictator whose actions resulted in the deaths of millions of people.  I guess I felt guilty for finding this Hitler quite likeable, if ludicrous. 
 

I found the ending to be unsatisfactory too.  I don’t mind books that are open-ended, but this fizzed out so abruptly that I wondered if it hadn’t downloaded properly and I actually checked in Waterstone’s to see if I had any pages missing!  I don’t think Vermes has done that to leave it open for a sequel – I’m not sure how far this story can be taken.     


I know this review probably makes it sound like I hated the book – I didn’t, but I have very mixed feelings about enjoying it!  :sarcastic:
 
The paperback edition is 384 pages long and is published by MacLehose Press.   It was first published in 2012.  The ISBN is 9781782067832
 
3/5 (I enjoyed it)
 
(Finished 30 December 2015)

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Thanks, Gaia.  I hope you enjoy it when you get round to it.  :)

 

Did you know the actress Emma Thompson's daughter is called Gaia?  :D

Thanks :). I didn't know! That's nice :D.

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My final review of the year.

 

069-2015-Dec-31-A%20Boy%20Called%20Chris

 

A Boy Called Christmas  by Matt Haig

 

The ‘blurb’

You are about to read the true story of FATHER CHRISTMAS…

(That is literally all it says about the contents of the book on the back cover!    :giggle:

 

My last read of 2015 was bought for me by Kay for Christmas.   I must apologise again, because I picked this up in Waterstone’s when we met up just before Christmas and Kay had to tell me to step away from the book… - I should have known better than to mention any book to anyone in the run up to Christmas!    :blush:

 

I’ve read a couple of Matt Haig’s novels for adults (as opposed to adult novels!  :giggle2: ) and have one of his children’s ones on my wish list, although I can’t recall the name at the moment (it’s about a cat, I remember that much) but this was my first of his that is for youngsters – and what a great book.  And although it’s aimed at children it is so much more than a children’s book – it has shades of darkness as well as light – it’s a book for Christmas lovers of all ages.

 

It tells the story of a young boy called Nikolas who lives with his father in Finland.   One day is father has go to away and Aunt Carlotta comes to look after Nikolas, but she is a terrible woman and Nikolas, unable to stand his Aunt’s cruel treatment any longer, determines to set off to find his father.   On the way Nikolas has many adventures which help to explain various Christmas traditions – but it’s not all plain sailing for Nikolas who encounters many dangers during his journey – a journey that will shape his destiny forever…

 

The illustrations in this book are simply stunning.  I haven’t heard of the illustrator Chris Mould before, but an illustrator can make or break a book and Chris Mould’s drawings are simply perfect.

 

3.%20A%20Boy%20Called%20Christmas%201_zp 

4.%20A%20Boy%20Called%20Christmas%202_zp

 

Thank you, Kay, for this gorgeous book, which I am certain is destined to become a firm Christmas favourite.  :hug:

 

The hardback edition is 272 pages long and is published by Canongate.   It was first published in 2015.  The ISBN is 9781782117896

 

4/5 (I really enjoyed it)

 

(Finished 31 December 2015)

 

I haven't even thought about my stats for 2015!

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Sounds interesting, and those illustrations are beautiful. Not sure if it will be my kinda thing, but I'm intrigued enough to give it a go. :)

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Sounds interesting, and those illustrations are beautiful. Not sure if it will be my kinda thing, but I'm intrigued enough to give it a go. :)

I've just looked at the reviews on Amazon and it has 80 five star, seven four star, 1 each for three and two star and no one star reviews - that speaks volumes, I think.  :) 

 

Those illustrations are very pretty! I'm glad you enjoyed the book :).

Thanks, Gaia.  :)

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