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Bobblybear's Book List - 2016

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At the start of the year I came up with the following short-list of books to read asap:

 

The Miracle Inspector: A Dystopian Novel - Helen Smith

Last Night In Montreal - Emily St. John Mandel

Alone In Berlin - Hans Fallada

The Windup Girl - Paolo Bacigalupi

Watership Down - Richard Adams

I Think You'll Find It's a Bit More Complicated Than That - Ben Goldacre

The Human Universe - Brian Cox

The Last Letter From Your Lover - JoJo Moyes

The House at Riverton - Kate Morton

Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates

Columbine - Dave Cullen

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot

Eats, Shoots and Leaves - Lynne Truss (wanted this one for ages)

Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

The Little Friend - Donna Tartt

The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch - Philip K. Dick

Woman On The Edge of Time - Marge Piercy

The Surgeon Of Crowthorne - Simon Winchester

The Earth - Richard Fortey

Our Endless Numbered Days - Claire Fuller

 

Shockingly I haven't read any of them, and we are already a quarter of the way through the year!!! :doh:  I've just been so caught up with new library books that I've been completely neglecting these (and my other Kindle books). First-world problems I know... :lol: Once I finish my current book I shall give one of these a go. Most likely it will be Our Endless Numbered Days as it sounds like something I'd really enjoy.

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Take Me With You - Catherine Ryan Hyde

 

August is on a solo road trip heading to Yellowstone in his motorhome. He gets into mechanical trouble in a small town, and pulls into the workshop of the only mechanic around. After hearing his story, the owner of the garage offers him a deal. If August takes his two young boys – Seth and Henry – along with him on his road trip for the summer, there will be no charge for the repairs.

 

The book then follows the relationship August has with the boys, and the friendship they form on the roadtrip as August struggles to come to terms with the death of his son, and the boys try to come to terms with their father being unreliable and possibly an alcoholic.

 

Well, it's hard to classify this book. I wanted to love it, but I found it average at best (sorry Anna! :blush2: ). I thought it was very ordinary and lacked spark and originality. The story moved along at a good pace, and it was all very touching, but I think the problem was that it was very middle of the road. Everyone had their problems, but the approach to these problems was so “simple” and just...plain. There was no 'oomph' to the story for me, and it just felt saccharine sweet.

 

It's my first Catherine Ryan Hyde, so I won't give up on her yet. When I read the synopsis I did wonder if it would be my type of book, so the next one I read will be one where the blurb grabs me.

 

3/6

 

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Started Early, Took My Dog - Kate Atkinson

 

This is another Jackson Brodie book; the only other one in the series I have read is Case Histories.

 

There are a number of stories running in parallel, which seem completely unrelated until you get a fair way through the book. Tracy Waterhouse is a retired police officer now working as a security guard in a shopping mall. On a complete impulse, she makes a very unusual purchase, which gets the attention of an older actress, Tilly, who can't get it out of her mind. Tilly is unfortunately showing the early signs of dementia which is causing problems with her recurring role on a detective TV show. In the same location where this purchase takes place, is Jackson Brodie, who is tracking down information for a woman who was adopted as a child.

 

Through these very disjointed and rambling dramas, the story is slowly built and as the book carries on you see the common threads.

 

Unfortunately I found this method of storytelling to be confusing and hard to keep track of. Things jump all over the place in time and storylines and you have to be really concentrating to keep up with what is going on. And the way it's told didn't make it very easy for me to concentrate. :doh:  However, I did like the way the stories came together at the end....there was something very satisfying about it all.

 

This is the third Kate Atkinson I have read, and I can't see why so many people rave about her. I didn't enjoy Life After Life, but I enjoyed Case Histories. So, very undecided about her and I think I will take a break from her for a while.

 

3/6

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Well done on catching up on some reviews :).

 

Sputnik Sweetheart sounds nice, I should read some more of Haruki Murakami's books (though I don't own this one). It's a shame you didn't like Take Me With You a lot. I haven't read that particular one yet myself. I hope the next CRH you try, will be more enjoyable for you :).

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Great reviews :) You make that Murakami book sound almost interesting - I've had two run-ins with him and neither was pleasant!

 

Hope you enjoy Our Endless Numbered Days. :)

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Well done on catching up on some reviews :).

 

Sputnik Sweetheart sounds nice, I should read some more of Haruki Murakami's books (though I don't own this one). It's a shame you didn't like Take Me With You a lot. I haven't read that particular one yet myself. I hope the next CRH you try, will be more enjoyable for you :).

 

Thanks! I still have about 5 reviews to write, but I'm nearly there! :boogie:

 

Take Me With You was just very ordinary....I wasn't particularly moved by it because it just seemed too sickly sweet. Considering the subject matter I thought it would be a bit more raw.

 

Sputnik Sweetheart was a good read, but not the best one I have read by him. I just love his way of writing, but you do have to be in the mood for it.

 

Great reviews :) You make that Murakami book sound almost interesting - I've had two run-ins with him and neither was pleasant!

 

Hope you enjoy Our Endless Numbered Days. :)

 

Which Murakami books have you read?

 

Thanks - I'm sure I will enjoy it as it sounds like my kind of book.

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Thanks! I still have about 5 reviews to write, but I'm nearly there! :boogie:

Good luck :)!

 

Sputnik Sweetheart was a good read, but not the best one I have read by him. I just love his way of writing, but you do have to be in the mood for it.

Which one did you like the best, or which ones have you read?

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I'll be interested to hear what you think of The Little Friend when you get around to reading it, Bobbly! :D

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Great reviews as ever BB :)

 

I've read too CRH books now, the first I loved, the second far too saccharine and average! Hum. I shall also choose my next one of hers carefully and avoid that one!

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Which one did you like the best, or which ones have you read?

 

I haven't read that many - The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, Sputnik Sweetheart, and Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage. The last one is on my list of books to be reviewed. I also read Kafka on the Shore, but that was so long ago and I don't remember anything about it, so it doesn't really count. :blush2: My favorite is The Wind Up Bird Chronicle because it was just so original and bizarre.

 

I also want to read 1Q84, but every time I see it at the library I get intimidated by the size of it!! :readingtwo:

 

I'll be interested to hear what you think of The Little Friend when you get around to reading it, Bobbly! :D

 

Hopefully I will get to it soon! I loved The Secret History and The Goldfinch, but gave up on The Little Friend when I tried it years ago. Maybe things will be different this time around.

 

Great reviews as ever BB :)

 

I've read too CRH books now, the first I loved, the second far too saccharine and average! Hum. I shall also choose my next one of hers carefully and avoid that one!

 

Thanks, Alexi! :smile: Can you remember which CRH book you loved?

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I haven't read that many - The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, Sputnik Sweetheart, and Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage. The last one is on my list of books to be reviewed. I also read Kafka on the Shore, but that was so long ago and I don't remember anything about it, so it doesn't really count. :blush2: My favorite is The Wind Up Bird Chronicle because it was just so original and bizarre.

 

I also want to read 1Q84, but every time I see it at the library I get intimidated by the size of it!! :readingtwo:

1Q84 is intimidating me too! It's huge.

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Which Murakami books have you read?

 

Thanks - I'm sure I will enjoy it as it sounds like my kind of book.

 

Norwegian Wood and some short story with a long woman's name. Sher-something.

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Norwegian Wood and some short story with a long woman's name. Sher-something.

Was it Scheherazade?

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I liked it, but if you ask me now what it was about, I can only recall the basic plot :blush2:.

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1Q84 is intimidating me too! It's huge.

 

Yeah, it's massive! I know that should be a good thing if I'm enjoying it, but it's still intimidating. I hope to get to it this year (at least Book one), but I have so many that I plan on reading that who knows when I will get around to it. :lol:

 

Norwegian Wood and some short story with a long woman's name. Sher-something.

 

Heard of Norwegian Wood. I think Raven said that one had the least amount of surrealism, but I could be mistaken. :blink:

 

Was it Scheherazade?

 

Does it have a different name?? I can't find it on Amazon UK. :blink:

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Heard of Norwegian Wood. I think Raven said that one had the least amount of surrealism, but I could be mistaken. :blink:

 

Yeah. I don't usually like surrealism so I decided to try that one. I thought it was absolute garbage. Frustratingly pointless with ridiculous, unbelievable and unlikeable characters. I was so annoyed after reading it :P

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Sorry you didn't like the CRH so much... I hope you don't give up (Don't Let Me Go, hint, hint :P ).

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Does it have a different name?? I can't find it on Amazon UK. :blink:

You can read this short story for free online here :).

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Yeah. I don't usually like surrealism so I decided to try that one. I thought it was absolute garbage. Frustratingly pointless with ridiculous, unbelievable and unlikeable characters. I was so annoyed after reading it :P

 

:lol: Oooh, that's made me really curious about it now! Unfortunately my library doesn't have a copy so I've added it to my Amazon wishlist.

 

Sorry you didn't like the CRH so much... I hope you don't give up (Don't Let Me Go, hint, hint :P ).

 

Don't worry, I won't give up....I shall give her another go at some point. :smile:

 

You can read this short story for free online here :).

 

Thanks for the link. I will read it when I get some time free. :smile:

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Doctor Sleep - Stephen King

 

This is the sequel to the very famous The Shining, written over 30 years after the first book was published.

 

It starts off a very short while after the events of The Shining, and I think it's mainly to refresh readers memories about the main character (Danny Torrance), his 'shining' abilities and what happened at the Overlook Hotel.

 

The story really gets started when it jumps forward to Danny as a middle-aged man. After a few false starts in getting his life back on track, he is reasonably on the level, working at a hospice and having devised a method of keeping his shining under control. However, he is also aware of the presence of a nearby powerful “shining” power, who turns out to be Abra, a young child.

 

Alongside this, is a group of travelers known as The True Knot who have discovered immortality and youth by sucking up the power (what they call "steam") that is released from torturing people who have the shining. They too have honed in on Abra, and plan on killing her to get the 'steam' that they desperately need.

 

You don't need to have read The Shining to enjoy this, although I guess it helps fill the story out a bit if you have a fuller understanding. I think it can easily be read as a stand alone novel, as what happened in The Shining is never mentioned, aside from the introductory prologue. It was well written but maybe a touch longer than it could have been. It was a fairly lengthy book, and while I liked it it won't be one of my favourite King novels (nor is The Shining for that matter). Also it wasn't particularly scary – not like The Shining was – so I wouldn't class it as horror at all.

 

4/6

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I haven't read that many - The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, Sputnik Sweetheart, and Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage. The last one is on my list of books to be reviewed. I also read Kafka on the Shore, but that was so long ago and I don't remember anything about it, so it doesn't really count. :blush2: My favorite is The Wind Up Bird Chronicle because it was just so original and bizarre.

 

I also want to read 1Q84, but every time I see it at the library I get intimidated by the size of it!! :readingtwo:

 

 

Hopefully I will get to it soon! I loved The Secret History and The Goldfinch, but gave up on The Little Friend when I tried it years ago. Maybe things will be different this time around.

 

 

Thanks, Alexi! :smile: Can you remember which CRH book you loved?

 

I read 1Q84 in (gasp) 2011.  Didn't realize it was that long ago.  oy.  Anyhow, found my review, and here 'tis. http://www.bookclubforum.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/7824-pontalbas-2011-reading-list/?p=280470

 

As you will see I thought it was a bit overdone, but def worth it.

 

I have a copy of The Little Friend, but honestly, the cover puts me off!  /blushing/  I'll be interested to see what you think of it.

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Great review of Doctor Sleep :). I'm glad you liked it. I have it on my TBR, I plan to read it some day, but after reading The Stand two months ago, I need a bit of a break from Stephen King and American slang.

 

I read 1Q84 in (gasp) 2011.  Didn't realize it was that long ago.  oy.  Anyhow, found my review, and here 'tis. http://www.bookclubforum.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/7824-pontalbas-2011-reading-list/?p=280470

 

As you will see I thought it was a bit overdone, but def worth it.

Great review of 1Q84, I'm glad you liked it :) (though it's a shame about the repetition).

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I read 1Q84 in (gasp) 2011.  Didn't realize it was that long ago.  oy.  Anyhow, found my review, and here 'tis. http://www.bookclubforum.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/7824-pontalbas-2011-reading-list/?p=280470

 

As you will see I thought it was a bit overdone, but def worth it.

 

I have a copy of The Little Friend, but honestly, the cover puts me off!  /blushing/  I'll be interested to see what you think of it.

 

Have you read any Murakami? He does like to go into infinite detail about what people are wearing, what they are eating and how they cook it, etc. I don't recall his other books being repetitive about his characters though....maybe that explains why the book is so long? :giggle2:  I will give it a go...it always seems to be available at the library, so I can borrow it pretty much whenever I feel like it. Book 1 + 2 are in one volume (in my local library) with Book 3 being separate.

 

The Little Friend is on my shortlist of books to read this year. Is yours the cover with the dolls face? It's a bit freaky! :thud:

 

Great review of Doctor Sleep :). I'm glad you liked it. I have it on my TBR, I plan to read it some day, but after reading The Stand two months ago, I need a bit of a break from Stephen King and American slang.

 

Thanks! I know what you mean....I often need a break from an author, even if I really enjoyed the book. :smile:

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Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage - Haruki Murakami

 

Tsukuru had four very close friends in high school – 2 boys and 2 girls - all very different from one another, except that their names had a colour in them (and Tsukuru's didn't). He has always felt that this reflects his personality compared to his friends, with them being far more noticeable and memorable than him, while he is the ordinary one.

 

They remain solid friends through high school and university, when he is the only one of their group to move away. Then one day, when he returns home for a visit, his friends tell Tsukuru that they want nothing to do with him and he is no longer to contact them.

 

He shuts down inside, but respecting their wishes he carries on with his life alone. Sixteen years pass and he is now starting a relationship with Sara. When he tells her the story of his four former friends she senses that it is still raw, and pushes him to find out the cause of it all.

 

And so he makes a journey back into his past, reminiscing about what happened in his young adult years, and finally getting the courage to track down his former friends to get to the bottom of what happened.

 

This is another typical Murakami, and was a very enjoyable and introspective book, with the usual attention to the minutiae of the everyday items and objects. The characters were well drawn, and Tsukuru is a likeable enough person who you feel didn't deserve what happened to him. There was only a small bit of surrealism, and on the whole it was a mystery novel. It was also a novel that I felt had a proper conclusion, unlike some others of his that I have read.

 

Recommended.

 

4/6

 

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