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Claire's Book List 2017

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The Summer Seaside Kitchen by Jenny Colgan starts with Flora living in London after having left her Scottish island home following the death of her mother.  She's sure she's made the right decision to escape to the big city where she can become anonymous among the millions of people without everyone knowing every detail about her life.  But one day, a new client at the law firm she works at, needs legal representation to prevent the building of an offshore wind farm off the coast of the island of Mure, and Flora is sent back home to deal with the case.   

 

I've become very fond of Jenny Colgan's books of recent years.  She's changed from a out and out romcom writer, to writing stories about women finding better balance in their lives, following their dreams, and where the romance isn't front and centre in the story.  They are warm and affectionate tales of contemporary women, albeit with slightly rose tinted glasses worn, but not without conflict and difficulties to overcome, and usually (and my favourite trait) having a connection with food, whether it's chocolate, cakes, bread or in this case, good old fashioned home cooking.  Flora's story follows this pattern, but set on a beautiful but reasonably isolated island with the ravages of weather, the confinement of the society, and the folklore of selkies mixed in, it was a very satisfying book to read.

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The hero of Who Let The Gods Out? by Maz Evans is Elliot, who cares for his ill mum in their farmhouse which is under threat by their unscrupulous neighbour who wants to buy it to develop the site for profit.  One fateful day, Virgo who has descended to Earth on a mission, meets Elliot and the two accidentally manage to release a daemon who has been held prisoner beneath Stonehenge, and they have to call on the Greek gods to help save the day.

 

This middle grade book was a cracking comical story of Ancient gods and humans, with a quest at the heart of it, but all in a modern day setting.  While it is quite a funny book with a great adventure, there are some heartbreaking moments of Elliot and his mum, and it's lovely to see a young boy as a carer at the heart of a story, showing how tough it is to try to keep up with school and have to do all the housework, shopping and cooking plus the emotional strain of having to be grown up before your time.

I've just read this too - I also loved the way she highlighted young carers in amongst the fun.

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The hero of Who Let The Gods Out? by Maz Evans is Elliot, who cares for his ill mum in their farmhouse which is under threat by their unscrupulous neighbour who wants to buy it to develop the site for profit.  One fateful day, Virgo who has descended to Earth on a mission, meets Elliot and the two accidentally manage to release a daemon who has been held prisoner beneath Stonehenge, and they have to call on the Greek gods to help save the day.

 

This middle grade book was a cracking comical story of Ancient gods and humans, with a quest at the heart of it, but all in a modern day setting.  While it is quite a funny book with a great adventure, there are some heartbreaking moments of Elliot and his mum, and it's lovely to see a young boy as a carer at the heart of a story, showing how tough it is to try to keep up with school and have to do all the housework, shopping and cooking plus the emotional strain of having to be grown up before your time.

Al bought me this for my birthday :) I only half read what you've just written :lol: but I can tell you liked it which is encouraging :)

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Al bought me this for my birthday :) I only half read what you've just written :lol: but I can tell you liked it which is encouraging :)

 

 

I think you'll enjoy it, Kay :D  Al's got good taste :yes:

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It was called Virago: Changing The World One Page At A Time just in case you spot it.  I think you'd enjoy it, Kay, as it's about feminism and women's changing roles in the business world as well as the authors and the books, and obviously about the company as well.

 

This looked really interesting, so I Googled it - and someone has uploaded a copy on to Youtube.  Don't know how long it'll be up there - surely there'll be some copyright issues - but I intend to watch later today!

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I hope you enjoy it, willoyd. :)

 

Although I'd taken it off my thread for this year, I do still have my E. H. Young book list on the back burner (because all of her books we own have been into storage) where I'd like to read all her novels.  We were discussing her books after the documentary, and my other half has only managed to go and find two more we didn't have!  I'm so delighted that I now have The Vicar's Daugher and Chatterton Square to read now.  I've also done a bit more investigation and found that two of the books listed were actually children's book and are almost impossible to get hold of.  I found one on a US site for about $60 and the other on a German site for about €65, so I don't think I'm going to be able to find them, and I'm going to remove them from my list.

 

I also found another publisher who has republished a few of her early books in hardback and on Kindle.  They're both a bit expensive for Kindle books, but I'm prepared to spend the money so that I can read them, as I can't find any secondhand paperbacks of them at all.

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I wonder what the situation will be like in 50/100 years time for people looking for books? 

 

If a book hasn't really stood the test of time, it's really difficult to find them now, but with most modern authors publishing to kindle, if in 80 years time someone wants to read all of Jenny Colgan's books (as a recent example from this thread!) then it may be far easier. 

 

/random thought of the day.

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I wonder what the situation will be like in 50/100 years time for people looking for books? 

 

If a book hasn't really stood the test of time, it's really difficult to find them now, but with most modern authors publishing to kindle, if in 80 years time someone wants to read all of Jenny Colgan's books (as a recent example from this thread!) then it may be far easier. 

 

/random thought of the day.

That is an interesting thought! I really hope paperbooks will still exist in 50 or 100 years from now, but only time will tell. At least I hope many books will be available as an e-book, as digital copies are much easier to 'publish' for a publisher than when a paperbook is out of print (which is why it's odd that sometimes the e-book version here in NL actually costs more, but that's another discussion). It should be interesting to see which of today's books or authors will still be a bit popular or seen as a classic, in 50 or 100 years from now. I think we don't really have a way of really predicting what technology will be like that far into the future. We could be having a minichip in our brain and read books directly that way, I mean, who knows (I'm borrowing from science-fiction ideas in books here). Will we even have Kindles.. I hope books continue to exist, as reading books is so nice and important.

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Given that latest figures show that e-book sales have declined for the second year in a row, and paper books have increased in sales, just as likely is that nothing will have changed, and that most people will get their reading pleasure from a paper book.

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Yes ebook sales do seem to have plateaued out, and I notice that Waterstone's and Smith's have stopped selling e-readers now.

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It is interesting to think how many books will stand the test of time and still be available in any format in the future.  I've been listening to the Backlisted podcast where they try to breathe new life into old and mostly forgotten books.  They have been criticised for some  of their choices which are very hard to get a copy of, as they're not in print and second hand copies are rare and expensive, and these are even sometimes for a lesser known work by a well known author.  I have noticed that there are some imprints that are starting to look at re-issuing old out of print editions in paper and/or digital formats, so I guess a lot of it will come down to popularity.  In twenty years time, there might be another podcast looking at a forgotten book that was published today, and yet there's no guarantee that it will have remained in print or the digital copy be available then.

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I think I may take a break from the children's books for a little bit, as I've just finished a Persephone book that was so satisfying, I feel the need to nourish the adult part of my brain for a while longer! :giggle2:

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I bought Time Travelling With A Hamster by Ross Welford for my OH last year, but it went into storage, so I thought I'd have to wait ages to read it, but then completely forgetting I'd already bought it for him, OH gave me the book for Christmas, so it seemed destined to be read after all! :D

 

It's really difficult to talk about the plot of the book without giving away an awful lot that works better if you stumble across it, but it is basically a story of a boy with a time machine who travels through time to meet his father as a boy.  The story is quite compelling, and the switches between the past and the present are really convincing, and do make you think about the consequences of the littlest things in life.

 

Al is the hero of the book, and he does work his way into your heart, and you feel for him and his plight, but I have to say, I would really love to discuss the end of the book with someone, as I'm absolutely convinced it shouldn't have ended the way it did!!!  It's not that it's wrong and it's not the fault of the author or the writing, but I'm very unsettled by it, and desperately want to find out how others feel.  A good read though, and the ending still has me contemplating a month after I finished it.

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I've decided to add my E. H. Young list of books back into my reading lists, as although a few of the ones I own are in storage, my other half has managed to find me a few new books we didn't have, so I've now got a few books on the shelf waiting for me to read.  I've just started a new Persephone book now, but I think I might read an E. H. Young book after that. :)

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I'm almost caught up with the entire catalogue of the Backlisted podcast, and I can feel a list coming on ... :D  I'm not sure I'd read all the books they've discussed, but I'd definitely like to read a good chunk of them, and also I need to relisten to them all, as they also talk about other books they've been reading, some of which sound fantastic.  I can't find an online booklist anywhere, so I think what I might do, is figure out which books I want to read, then after I've read them, listen to that particular podcast again, and then if there are ones I don't want to read, I can just listen to the beginning of the podcasts and make a note of the other books they mention. I'm looking forward to it already, but I also want to try and finish the English Counties books first, so we'll see how it goes.

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I've finished all the Backlisted podcasts back catalogue now, so I'm going to start to put together a list of the books they covered and decide which ones I want to read myself.  I hadn't intended to start just yet, but I ended up buying The Blessing by Nancy Mitford today, so it looks like I'm going to begin much sooner than planned! :roll:

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The Painted Dragon is the third book in the MG series by Katherine Woodfine set in Sinclair's department store in Edwardian London.  This story takes us into the world of Art, with the theft of a painting from an exhibition being held at Sinclair's, and brings a collection of art students from a renowned school of art to Sophie and Lil to help solve the mystery.

 

I'm really enjoying this series of books, and I think this was the best yet.  I loved the new characters, and how there's the main story ongoing, but also the overarching story revolving around Sophie and her late parents, and the Edwardian period is one of my favourites for crime and mystery books.  Woodfine seems have done a lot of research on the London of the period and takes the reader to all the different areas through the series.  It's also good to see development of Sophie, Lil and the other recurring characters too.  Readers will also get to see the role of women of different classes in the era, and how there is the beginning of the challenge against these, with the introduction of the Suffragette movement alongside the main story.

 

A great MG book and I'm already looking forward to the next one. :)

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Anna and the Swallow Man by Gabriel Savit is a YA debut by an American writer and was picked for the shortlist of the Waterstones Children's Book Prize for Older Readers this year.  It's set in Eastern Europe during the second world war and follows the young girl Anna, growing up in Krakow when her father is taken by the Nazis and finds herself alone and having to care for herself.  She meets a traveller who calls a swallow to his hand to soothe the upset Anna, and the two end up moving around the countryside together, evading the Nazis to prevent their own internment.

 

This was quite a tough read at times.  It covers a few years of their hiding from war and all the while Anna is gradually growing into a young woman.  Their life is incredibly hard and isolating, with threat hanging over their heads constantly and no respite from the oppression of the war torn society.  There is no sentimentality and no easy way out for the story, but it's a compelling read. 

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Drat, I'm behind in reviews on 26 books now.  I think I might do some short, pithy reviews of a few to just make sure I get some thoughts down, and then just do the longer reviews on the books where I have more to say! :D

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That's pretty much what I'm probably going to do with reviews for the rest of the year, Claire - I barely have time to read, let alone write full reviews for everything.

 

Pithy reviews or not, always good to read your thoughts on books :)

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On 5/14/2017 at 10:09 AM, frankie said:

I read 'pity reviews' :D

 

:lol:

 

7 hours ago, Nollaig said:

That's pretty much what I'm probably going to do with reviews for the rest of the year, Claire - I barely have time to read, let alone write full reviews for everything.

 

Pithy reviews or not, always good to read your thoughts on books :)

 

Thanks, Noll.  I keep thinking I'll do some reviews and then get distracted by something else!  Must get onto it soon ...

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I'm so close to finishing the English Counties challenge, I can taste it!!! :lol:  I've got four books left to go, but I'm stumbling over The Stars Look Down by AJ Cronin.  I'm not finding it engaging, and it just doesn't seem to flow very well, so I've decided to read it alongside other books to see if I can make consistent progress on it, without having it as my sole read, as I think that may put me off reading it.  I've read four chapters so far and I'm only 5% of the way through and my Kindle tells me I still have 19 hours and 5 minutes of reading left. :o 

 

I've now bought the other three remaining books for my Kindle - The Go-Between by LP Hartley, Another World by Pat Barker and Set in Stone by Robert Goddard.  I sort of wish I'd planned a bit better and kept a book I was looking forward to until the end, but I don't know any of these I have left and I'm not sure which one I think would be a good one to finish on.  I think I'm probably going to try and keep The Go-Between for last to finish off the challenge.

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It's so nice you're almost done with the challenge! 19 hours and 5 minutes, that's a long time :o. Good luck reading those last few books :)!

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