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      July Supporter Giveaway   07/01/2019

      It's Christmas in July! The winner of the July Supporter giveaway will receive this beautiful Barnes & Noble edition of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, as well as a special Charles Dickens tea by  theliteraryteacompany.co.uk .   I've been keeping this book a secret for so long (I couldn't wait until Christmas!) It's actually from a really lovely independent bookshop in Hay-on-Wye, the town of books. I'm so glad I finally get to show you! The picture doesn't even do it justice. A nice feature that you can't see in this image - the page edges are gold and (an extra surprise for the winner) the back is just as beautiful as the front! We also now have twice as much tea as previous giveaways!  (Thank you Literary Tea Company!)   As always, supporters are automatically entered into the giveaway and a winner will be chosen at random at the end of the month. If you want to enter this giveaway but you aren't a supporter, you can join in here https://www.patreon.com/bookclubforum .   Good luck  
Brian.

Brian's Book Log - Ongoing

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On 6/20/2019 at 11:45 AM, Athena said:

Your shelves look really nice :D!!

 

Thanks Gaia. I used to have books literally stacked everywhere a few years ago but I had a massive cull of anything I had read. Recently I have been collecting Folio or fine press editions of the books I really loved to keep forever, they are the ones on the top shelf.

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It's been a good week for me reading wise and I have read 3 books and abandoned 1 (although I am counting as read because I gave it a good stab. I popped into the library and after a bit of a nose round I picked up a Teach Yourself book called Write A Novel (4/5). I'm not a writer, far from it in fact, but I am always interested in how a novel is crafted and this book gave a really good basic insight into the stages and different approaches to writing a novel. It may inspire me to give some short stories a go, we'll see. At the same time I started to read my copy of Cocaine Nights (4/5) by JG Ballard that I bought a while ago and has been sitting on the bookcase ever since. I read, and loved Empire of the Sun in 2014 and gave Crash a go a few years back but didn't get on with it so put it down after an hour and I'm yet to go back to it. I really liked Cocaine Nights, especially as I had no idea what it was about going into it. I like a lot of what Ballard has to say both in the book and in his interviews so I may have to give Crash another go soon.

 

Yesterday was fairly quiet at work so I managed to read one of my BCF prizes, The Fox (3/5) by Frederick Forsyth. After Milkman (more on that soon) it was just what I needed to get me going again. Very easy reading with a fast moving plot which was interesting even if it was fairly far fetched. I do have a few bones to pick with it, especially the way the Luke Jennings situation came to it's conclusion at the end but it entertained me nonetheless. Now finally onto Milkman (1/5) by Anna Burns. I bought this as it popped up in my recommendations on Amazon. I read the blurb and it sounded like the sort of thing that would keep me interested. It had also won the Man Booker prize so I thought that was another positive sign. I generally don't pay much heed to prizes but there is no doubt that some prize winning books are superb so I didn't think I could go far wrong. Well, I managed to stick with it for a few hours before throwing it across the room (figuratively, I wouldn't actually throw a book, not even Tess of the D'Urbervilles). The style just killed the book for me and I couldn't get on with it at all. Stream of consciousness isn't my bag but I can usually adapt to it as I read but in this case it was too much for me. The story seemed to really trudge along at a painfully slow pace and none of the characters have names, very annoying.

 

If anyone wants Milkman or Cocaine Nights, let me know and I'll happily send them to you free of charge.

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Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy Milkman. Interestingly I find stream of consciousness novels difficult to get on with as well but loved Milkman.

 

What did you think of the overall plot and how the story dealt with The Troubles?

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7 hours ago, Angury said:

Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy Milkman. Interestingly I find stream of consciousness novels difficult to get on with as well but loved Milkman.

 

What did you think of the overall plot and how the story dealt with The Troubles?

 

I didn't finish it so I can't speak on the plot as a whole but what I did read story-wise was the sort of thing I really like. I always really get into book which have a basis in some historic passage of time especially when it is recent enough that I have a grasp of what happened. 

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I second Athena's point on the nice bookshelves! That Dracula spine is very nice, what edition is that? Also (just reminded me, seeing all the folio editions!) have you seen the folio society sale? There are some really beautiful ones half price.

 

It's a shame you didn't like Milkman, it does seem to be a very 'love it or hate it' kind of book. Glad you liked The Fox though!

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16 hours ago, Hayley said:

I second Athena's point on the nice bookshelves! That Dracula spine is very nice, what edition is that? Also (just reminded me, seeing all the folio editions!) have you seen the folio society sale? There are some really beautiful ones half price.

 

It's a shame you didn't like Milkman, it does seem to be a very 'love it or hate it' kind of book. Glad you liked The Fox though!

 

The Dracula is a Barnes and Noble leatherbound classic collection edition. Originally I was after a Folio one but they don't do one at the moment. I did notice the other day that Amaranthine Books have just launched 2 limited editions of Dracula which look absolutely stunning but they are really expensive. I have seen the Folio sale and they keep tempting me with emails but there isn't anything in the sale that I am wanting to buy urgently. I do need to buy the next in the Bond series but I might wait until they print the next one as well to save a bit on postage.

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Just looked up the Amaranthine edition, that is really something special, you can see why it's so expensive. I love the quote inside the slipcase and the fact that it's a limited run of 666 copies :giggle2:

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Over the last 10 days or so I have finished another 2 books, bringing my total for the year to date to 23. First up was The Templars (4/5) by Dan Jones. I started this book back in May and despite enjoying what I read it got sidetracked for other books. It is an account on the rise and fall the the Templars. The book is really well researched and written with loads of footnotes and sources. I really enjoyed reading this one.

 

Last week I had half an hour to burn in town before an appointment so popped into the library and picked up The Outsider (4/5) by Albert Camus. I can’t really put my finger on why, but I did enjoy this one and it helped that its only just over 100 pages long. I thought I had previously read another book by Camus but a quick check of Goodreads shows that this is not the case so I will have to remedy that soon.

 

Up next for me is a forum favourite, Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch.

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Time for another update.

 

The Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch (4/5)

I bought this at the start of the month based entirely on the fact that I kept seeing it get favourable reviews on BCF. I purposely avoided reading the synopsis so went in completely clueless and wasn't even aware of the genre the book falls into. As it turned out, it's a fantasy novel set in London with the story revolving around a policeman who sees a ghost during an investigation. This isn't the sort of book I would probably read out of choice but I am so glad that I did. The only other fantasy book I have read in the past that I can think of is Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. I also really liked that so maybe I should put more effort into searching out fantasy. Just remembered I've also read Game of Thrones.

 

Dare to Tri by Louise Minchin (2/5)

I picked this up on a whim at my local library while looking for a book on triathlon training. I've always fancied doing a triathlon, I run and ride on a semi-regular basis but my swimming is really poor in comparison so I was looking for some pointers. Anyway, those in the UK will probably recognise Louise from breakfast TV on the BBC. What you may not realise is that she has represented GB in her age group in triathlon. She went from occasional exerciser to international competition in the space of 18-24 months. So far, so good but here is where I got a little frustrated with the book. The blurb portrays is as a zero to hero story and while I do not want to take anything away from her achievements, this is misleading. For many years up until the age of 17 she swam competitively and looking at her swim times she has lost little of this ability over the years. Her run times also indicate that she must have been doing some recreational running before she decided to give triathlon a shot. Despite these grumbles it is a well written book and I found it interesting enough to finish in a day.

 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (4/5)

For some reason I thought this was a book written in the 60's instead of the 90's, I'm not sure where that confusion comes from. The plot revolves around Charlie who is an awkward, shy, introvert who is starting out at college. It's a coming of age story full of the kind of issues faced by adolescents as they start their respective journeys into the wider world. I really enjoyed this one, again it was another book which I read very quickly. My one criticism is that the book tried to cover every issue you can think of into too short a novel (230 pages). As a result it doesn't really get into the depth of some of those issues. Charlie also comes across as a much younger age than his character is meant to be. I assume this is intentional by the author and I have even read some reviews saying that he is Autistic but I'm not sure where I sit on that theory. The 'big reveal' at the end of the book was a surprise to me and hit me like a hammer.

 

Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household (3/5)

Originally published in 1939 this book tells the story of an attempted assassination gone wrong and the following escape an evasion. It is very much in the same mold as The 39 Steps by John Buchan but with a little more of a 'super spy' feel to it.

 

Storm Front by Rowland White (4/5)

This is a non-fiction book about the 1972 Battle of Mirbat and the two years leading up to it. White is well known for his non-fiction accounts of aviation history and although this book covers the RAF support of the battle it also does justice to the epic defence of Mirbat by a handful of soldiers. Like his other books it is superbly well written and researched and contains loads of really good colour photographs, some of which I hadn't seen before. I would recommend anyone with an interest in aviation and the first missions into space to check out his books.

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On 7/12/2019 at 10:23 AM, Brian. said:

Dare to Tri by Louise Minchin (2/5)

I picked this up on a whim at my local library while looking for a book on triathlon training. I've always fancied doing a triathlon, I run and ride on a semi-regular basis but my swimming is really poor in comparison so I was looking for some pointers. Anyway, those in the UK will probably recognise Louise from breakfast TV on the BBC. What you may not realise is that she has represented GB in her age group in triathlon. She went from occasional exerciser to international competition in the space of 18-24 months. So far, so good but here is where I got a little frustrated with the book. The blurb portrays is as a zero to hero story and while I do not want to take anything away from her achievements, this is misleading. For many years up until the age of 17 she swam competitively and looking at her swim times she has lost little of this ability over the years. Her run times also indicate that she must have been doing some recreational running before she decided to give triathlon a shot. Despite these grumbles it is a well written book and I found it interesting enough to finish in a day.

 

Nice review! You're right that it is misleading that they made it out to be a zero to hero story. Glad it was interesting enough to read it.

 

On 7/12/2019 at 10:23 AM, Brian. said:

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (4/5)

For some reason I thought this was a book written in the 60's instead of the 90's, I'm not sure where that confusion comes from. The plot revolves around Charlie who is an awkward, shy, introvert who is starting out at college. It's a coming of age story full of the kind of issues faced by adolescents as they start their respective journeys into the wider world. I really enjoyed this one, again it was another book which I read very quickly. My one criticism is that the book tried to cover every issue you can think of into too short a novel (230 pages). As a result it doesn't really get into the depth of some of those issues. Charlie also comes across as a much younger age than his character is meant to be. I assume this is intentional by the author and I have even read some reviews saying that he is Autistic but I'm not sure where I sit on that theory. The 'big reveal' at the end of the book was a surprise to me and hit me like a hammer.

 

I didn't read him as autistic to be honest, and I don't think I particularly related to him back when I read the book. I'm not sure about that theory either to be honest.

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I have The Perks of Being A Wallflower on my pending list - and strangely I also thought it was older than it actually is. Glad that you enjoyed Rivers Of London, I love the series, and Gaiman's Neverwhere is a favourite of mine. 

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On ‎12‎/‎07‎/‎2019 at 9:23 AM, Brian. said:

The Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch (4/5)

I bought this at the start of the month based entirely on the fact that I kept seeing it get favourable reviews on BCF. I purposely avoided reading the synopsis so went in completely clueless and wasn't even aware of the genre the book falls into. As it turned out, it's a fantasy novel set in London with the story revolving around a policeman who sees a ghost during an investigation. This isn't the sort of book I would probably read out of choice but I am so glad that I did. The only other fantasy book I have read in the past that I can think of is Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. I also really liked that so maybe I should put more effort into searching out fantasy. Just remembered I've also read Game of Thrones.

 

Yay! Another convert!

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