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Claire's Book List 2016

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They're quite gentle stories of ordinary people, and started off telling the story of the inhabitants of a block of flats, and some have moved on, but the stories have stayed with the characters rather than the block.  I loved the first books, but I think it's probably run its course for me. :)

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Emma by Alexander McCall Smith

 

Synopsis:

 

Fresh from university, Emma Woodhouse triumphantly arrives home in Norfolk ready to embark on adult life with a splash. Not only has her sister, Isabella, been whisked away on a motorcycle up to London, but her astute governess, Miss Taylor is at a loose end, abandoned in the giant family pile, Hartfield, alongside Emma’s anxiety-ridden father. Someone is needed to rule the roost and young Emma is more than happy to oblige.

 

As she gets her fledging design business off the ground, there is plenty to delight her in the buzzing little village of Highbury. At the helm of her own dinner parties and instructing her new little protégée, Harriet Smith, Emma reigns forth. But there is only one person who can play with Emma’s indestructible confidence, her old friend and inscrutable neighbour George Knightley – this time has Emma finally met her match?

 

You don’t have to be in London to go to parties, find amusement or make trouble. Not if you’re Emma, the very big fish in the rather small pond. But for a young woman who knows everything, Emma has a lot to learn about herself.

 

Review:

I’m reading this as part of my Jane Austen challenge (which was meant to last a year and I think I’m on year four now! :D).  It’s one of a series of books where modern day authors have rewritten Austen’s novels in a contemporary setting.  I feel like I should start off my saying that while I love all her other books, I really didn’t like Austen’s Emma, so I was interested how I would find this retelling from Alexander McCall Smith.

 

So, the story is basically the same, but there is a much longer introduction with it starting with Mr Woodhouse being widowed when Emma as a child and how her governess Miss Taylor comes into their lives.  Austen wanted to create a heroine you couldn’t like, and McCall Smith as definitely continued this in his retelling … I found her unbearable this time around.  But actually, at the beginning, it feels much less about Emma and more about her father.  Mr Woodhouse in the original is a man whose nervous disposition has increased over the years, whereas the modern day Mr Woodhouse, while a home lover and being risk averse, is much more concerned with hygiene but does actually feel as though he has slightly more of a life and is more independent than the Austen equivalent. 

 

The pacing of the book didn’t seem right to me.  Jane Fairfax and Frank Churchill only appear about halfway through the book, and much of their story is lost, and don’t even get me started on the almost invisible George Knightley.  There’s a silly scene involving the sketch Emma makes of Harriet, which leads to a ridiculous bit of gossip mongering.

 

I’m not a fan of the original, and while I thought this reworking of the story was an easy enough read, I can’t say it’s changed my mind.  I would be interested to see how it compares for someone who loved the original novel, as it may be a different story to them.

 

I still have Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope to read, and I’m very excited about Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld which is her take on Pride and Prejudice, but for Emma I think the film Clueless will remain my favourite interpretation and keep the place in my heart for its heroine, Cher.

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Can you imaging if we'd all raved about A Boy Called Christmas and Alan *hadn't* bought it for Kay :o ... good job she's got a great husband, eh? ;)

 

:o Christmas might not have come that year at all for that couple!  :lurker:   :lol: Yeah Mr. Poppyshake is a keeper! 

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Just realised I missed my BCF anniversary yesterday ... I'm not sure if it's a case of "I can't believe it's seven years already", or if it's "is it really only seven years???" :lol:  Whichever is the most appropriate, it's been a great seven years, and I'm so pleased to have got to chat books with you all. :wub:

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Can you imaging if we'd all raved about A Boy Called Christmas and Alan *hadn't* bought it for Kay :o ... good job she's got a great husband, eh? ;)

:o Christmas might not have come that year at all for that couple!  :lurker:   :lol: Yeah Mr. Poppyshake is a keeper! 

Now .. you know that wasn't really an option for Alan :D Not if he wanted a nice Christmas! :D I didn't ask him nicely, I pointed at it and stated quite clearly. I WANT THAT BOOK!! :D  

Just realised I missed my BCF anniversary yesterday ... I'm not sure if it's a case of "I can't believe it's seven years already", or if it's "is it really only seven years???" :lol:  Whichever is the most appropriate, it's been a great seven years, and I'm so pleased to have got to chat books with you all. :wub:

Happy seventh anniversary Claire!  :hug:  :flowers2:Very, very, glad to have you to chat books with :hug: 

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Awww, Happy belated Anniversary Claire! :smile2:  :party:   Seven is a great number (but a scary movie! :lol: )! I can't believe it's 'only' seven years for you, as I feel you've been here as long as I have. It's like you're part of the 'furniture'. And now that I'm writing this down, it sounds so wrong :thud: But I meant it all in the best way possible! :lol:  :flowers2:

 

Here's to many more!  :JC_cookies:  :alc:

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Happy anniversary Claire! I could have swore you got here before me, but seems I beat you by a couple of weeks! Very glad you're still here :D

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Thank you all. :)  I definitely remember frankie and Noll being members when I joined, and I also remember Kay joining because we all loved her username, and all within a year of each other and still going strong! :D

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I'm really proud of this forum, actually. I've been on many forums over the years and they've all died out - forums are just not the popular internet... well, forum, they used to be anymore, with all IM style social media out there. But we're still here! :D

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Indeed - there was a time when forums were everywhere, but most have died down. I'm rather proud of here too - and the lovely people who come here. :)

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I'm glad you liked Year of Wonders and Happy (belated) Anniversary :)

 

I mainly stopped in to say :006:

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Thanks Anna ... hello to you too! :D

 

I'm carrying on with my English Counties books again, and have started The Old Wives' Tale which I am loving already!  My Kindle version said it was just over 300 pages, but having read a good couple of hours yesterday and still only finished less than 10%, I looked it up and found that the paperback edition is over 750 pages!!! :thud:  Still, it's so good so far, and it doesn't make my Kindle any heavier ( :giggle2:) so I'll just keep going, but look like it'll be another brilliant book from the challenge list. :D

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:flowers2: Belated BCF Anniversary wishes Claire... :flowers2:

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Thanks Anna ... hello to you too! :D

 

I'm carrying on with my English Counties books again, and have started The Old Wives' Tale which I am loving already!  My Kindle version said it was just over 300 pages, but having read a good couple of hours yesterday and still only finished less than 10%, I looked it up and found that the paperback edition is over 750 pages!!! :thud:  Still, it's so good so far, and it doesn't make my Kindle any heavier ( :giggle2:) so I'll just keep going, but look like it'll be another brilliant book from the challenge list. :D

:)

Oh geez- I hate when that happens!  Sometimes Kindle can be so weird.  The weight is always a bonus though, now I just need them to release The Little House on the Prairie books (9 books, 1700 pages).

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I've still got most of my Little House books from when I was a kid ... I even know where they are, which is unusual in our house as we have books all over the place, but these are on the bookshelf at the top of the stairs, so I see them every night as I walk upstairs to go to bed! :D  I would love them on Kindle too though, as my books are a bit delicate and at least one is falling apart and I'd be worried to lose pages from it if I tried to read it now. 

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:rolleyes:  I had a set that I grew up with... falling apart and everything, I was saving them in case I did have a child.  Then, my dog (said puppy then) chewed them up one night while I as asleep!  I just was able to find my original collection second hand, they arrive a few days ago (and also a signed Clive Barker  :eek:  )!

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Lovely to see you today Claire :hug: The weather may have been awful but the company was glorious. Always so nice to chat books etc with you and Janet (and Alan .. when he's not talking about CBtD :D

Thanks for our lovely books etc :hug: Christmas has been extended!  :yahoo:Hope you had a good journey home xx

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I echo Kay's sentiments - it was lovely to see you today.  :)  

 

And a big thank you for the book (vintage crime - yay - it's become one of my current favourite genres) and for the gorgeous glass tree decorations - totally unexpected and really appreciated - thanks.  :hug:

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It was lovely to see you all too! :D  Although, I was absolutely soaked by the time I got to the train station ... from my knees down anyway, so it was a bit of an unpleasant soggy ride back home :(

 

Hope you both enjoyed the books, but don't be afraid to say if you don't ... I won't mind, especially yours Janet, as I went out on a bit of a limb, as she's not usually known for her mystery writing, but I have read a couple of her regency books and I thought her writing was great, so I'm hoping it'll suit you. :)

 

Finally managed to find some reading time today during my lunch break, and I'm now 30% through The Old Wives' Tale which I'm really enjoying but it's slow going.

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Hope you both enjoyed the books, but don't be afraid to say if you don't ... I won't mind, especially yours Janet, as I went out on a bit of a limb, as she's not usually known for her mystery writing, but I have read a couple of her regency books and I thought her writing was great, so I'm hoping it'll suit you. :)

It sounds right up my street and just perfect. :)  I probably won't read it until later in the year but I'm certain I'll enjoy it.  I didn't know she wrote crime novels so I've learnt something new.   I 'Wikipedia-ed' her and she had quite an interesting life!  :)

 

I'm sorry you got so wet.  I wasn't too bad when I got on the bus (there was one waiting when I got there - perfect timing!) but I was glad I bought that hat!  :D

 

Edit:   Aww, Michelle.  :hug:   Perhaps you need a holiday to the West?!  :D

Edited by Janet

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