Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • 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…     
Sign in to follow this  
Janet

Janet's Log - Stardate 2017

Recommended Posts

I love the Lewis Trilogy, who is the narrator?  I agree about the names, the books could do with a pronunciation guide.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Someone called Steve Worsley narrated the first of the trilogy, @Madeleine.   He did a really good, job, although we preferred Peter Forbes who narrated the second and third parts. 

 

Interestingly, the Steve Worsley one is no longer available on Audible, so I wonder whether they might re-record it with Peter Forbes?  He seems to have done a lot of other Peter May books.  :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Two more for my wish list, then... 

 

You’ve sold me on The Road to Wigan Pier and the The Road to Wigan Pier Revisited! 

 

Both sound right up my alley :) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

036-2017-Jun-02-The%20Descent%20of%20Man

 

The Descent of Man by Grayson Perry

 

The ‘blurb’

Grayson Perry has been thinking about masculinity - what it is, how it operates, why little boys are thought to be made of slugs and snails - since he was a boy. Now, in this funny and necessary book, he turns round to look at men with a clear eye and ask, what sort of men would make the world a better place, for everyone? What would happen if we rethought the old, macho, outdated version of manhood, and embraced a different idea of what makes a man? Apart from giving up the coronary-inducing stress of always being 'right' and the vast new wardrobe options, the real benefit might be that a newly fitted masculinity will allow men to have better relationships - and that's happiness, right? Grayson Perry admits he's not immune from the stereotypes himself - as the psychoanalysts say, 'if you spot it, you've got it' - and his thoughts on everything from power to physical appearance, from emotions to a brand new Manifesto for Men, are shot through with honesty, tenderness and the belief that, for everyone to benefit, upgrading masculinity has to be something men decide to do themselves. They have nothing to lose but their hang-ups.

 

"The first question most people ask when they hear of a birth is ‘Is it a boy or a girl?’

Once we know the sex of a baby, we often coo over it in gendered ways:

‘Isn’t she beautiful?’ ‘Look at him kick, he’s going to be a footballer.’

Before they can spell their own names children are well versed in the potent clichés of gender;

girls play fairy dolls, make-up and gossip and a boy’s world is full of spaceships, action and competition."

 

In this short book, Perry examines what people think makes men masculine, and challenges them - especially men - to rethink these stereotypes. He suggests that instead of always keeping a stiff upper lip, men have certain rights and should try allowing their true feelings out – viz., "The right to be vulnerable. The right to be weak. The right to be wrong. The right to be intuitive. The right not to know. The right to be uncertain. The right to be flexible. The right not to be ashamed of any of these.", and argues that men's lives would be enriched if they just relax and stop worrying about being macho…

 

I loved Wendy Jones's biography about Grayson Perry (dictated by him, so nearly as good as coming straight from the horse's mouth!) which I read a few years ago. I may not want to own one of his pots, but I think he's a really fascinating man! I enjoyed this book, although I am writing this review many months after I read it and the detail has faded somewhat, hence my very inadequate review. I do, however, remember thinking how refreshing it was to read Perry's thoughts on masculinity.

 

The paperback edition is 160 pages long and is published by Penguin. It was first published in 2017. The ISBN is 9780141981741.

 

3½/5 (I enjoyed it)

 

(Finished 2 June 2017)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes he makes some good points there, he's a fascinating man, I'm not a fan of his art work but he's certainly a true character, and he does have something sensible to say as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

037-2017-Jun-04-One%20Two%20Buckle%20my%

 

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe by Agatha Christie

 

The ‘blurb’

A dentist lies murdered at his Harley Street practice… The dentist was found with a blackened hole below his right temple. A pistol lay on the floor near his outflung right hand. Later, one of his patients was found dead from a lethal dose of local anaesthetic. A clear case of murder and suicide. But why would a dentist commit a crime in the middle of a busy day of appointments? A shoe buckle holds the key to the mystery. Now – in the words of the rhyme – can Poirot pick up the sticks and lay them straight?

 

On his way out of his dentist, Mr Morley's, house, Poirot notices a woman getting out of a taxi. Her shiny buckle has becomes detached from her shoe and Poirot picks it up and returns it to her. The woman heads into the house, presumably for her appointment. Later, Morley is found dead with a gun beside his body and it seems like a simple case of suicide, especially when one of his patients is also discovered to be dead. Japp assumes that the dentist has killed himself in a fit of remorse after overdosing the dead man, Greek gentleman and spy Amberiotis. Poirot, though, is not convinced and so sets his little grey cells on the task of discovering the truth…

 

This is another one that we listened to on Audio Book, as ever, brilliant narrated by the inimitable Hugh Fraser. Having left a long gap between listening to and reviewing this book, I find that the details are very sketchy! I remember there being a third murder, and lots of twists and turns along the way, but I can't actually remember the dénouement – although I do remember thinking at the time that it was rather convoluted! This is probably more to do with my memory than the book though, as I do generally love Christie – and especially her Poirot books. I guess I could listen to it again, but I probably won't! :D

 

The paperback edition is 254 pages long and is published by Harper Collins. It was first published in 1940. The ISBN is 9780008164966.

 

3/5 (I enjoyed it)

 

(Finished 4 June 2017)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/30/2018 at 9:15 AM, Nollaig said:

The Descent of Man sounds itneresting, might add it to the wishlist!

I hope you enjoy it if you read it, Noll :)

 

On 1/30/2018 at 10:20 AM, Madeleine said:

Yes he makes some good points there, he's a fascinating man, I'm not a fan of his art work but he's certainly a true character, and he does have something sensible to say as well.

I've just discovered that he had an exhibition in Bristol at the end of last year.   I'd have gone if I'd known it was on! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

038-2017-Jun-16-The%20Call%20of%20the%20

 

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

 

The ‘blurb’

Life is good for Buck in Santa Clara Valley, where he spends his days eating and sleeping in the golden sunshine. But one day a treacherous act of betrayal leads to his kidnap, and he is forced into a life of toil and danger. Dragged away to be a sledge dog in the harsh and freezing cold Yukon, Buck must fight for his survival. Can he rise above his enemies and become the master of his realm once again?

 

Buck, a large, powerful dog and much loved pet is sold by an unscrupulous gardener and shipped off in a crate to Seattle where he arrives feeling traumatised, exhausted and half-starved. On release he attacks a handler and is beaten into submission. From there is he is sent on a series of adventures as a sled dog in Klondike, Canada during the Gold Rush. Some of his handlers are kind and some are cruel. Initially an underdog due to his upbringing, Buck soon learns that he must fight to improve his place in the pack and to ensure his survival…

 

I'm not really sure where this book sits. Before I listened to it I thought it was a classic, but it is published by Puffin, which suggests it's a children's book. Not that it matters – it's a great adventure. The story is narrated by Buck, who I found endearing! The narrator, Bill Roberts, is American, which is entirely appropriate, but I did find his voice a bit… 'drawly', but nevertheless I enjoyed it. :)

 

The paperback edition is 160 pages long and is published by Puffin. It was first published in 1903. The ISBN is 9780141321059.

 

3½/5 (I enjoyed it)

 

(Finished 16 June 2017)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

039-2017-Jun-28-The%20House%20at%20Pooh%

 

The House at Pooh Corner by A A Milne

 

The ‘blurb’

'One day when Pooh Bear had nothing else to do, he thought he would do something, so he went round to Piglet's house to see what Piglet was doing.' This is the second classic children’s story by A.A. Milne about Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood. In this volume Pooh meets the irrepressible Tigger for the first time, learns to play Poohsticks and sets a trap for a Heffalump. In this stunning edition of The House at Pooh Corner, A.A. Milne’s classic characters are once again brought to life by E.H. Shepard’s illustrations.

 

The House at Pooh Corner is the second book of Pooh's adventures, and the one which introduces us to the irrepressible but entirely lovable Tigger! In this edition, Christopher Robin and his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood get up to many adventures including the invention of the game Poohsticks – a game played by me and then my family, and doubtless thousands of other families too! This book was one of my favourite books as a child. Unlike some other books of its period, I think it stands the test of time for the age range it's aimed at. Lovely.

 

The paperback edition is 192 pages long and is published by Egmont. It was first published in 1923. The ISBN is 9781405281287.

 

5/5 (Loved it)

 

(Finished 28 June 2017)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

040-2017-Jul-01-The%20Mill%20on%20the%20

 

The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot

 

The ‘blurb’

Maggie and Tom Tulliver are both wilful, passionate children, and their relationship has always been tempestuous. As they grow up together on the banks of the River Floss, Tom's self-righteous stubbornness and Maggie's emotional intensity increasingly brings them into conflict, particularly when Maggie's beauty sparks some ill-fated attachments. George Eliot's story of a brother and sister bound together by their errors and affections is told with tenderness, energy and a profound understanding of human nature.

 

Maggie and Tom live at the titular Mill on the river Floss with their parents. They have a stormy friendship, going from best friends to enemies at the drop of a hat! Tom attends a local school, but his father has ambitions for him to gain an education that will enable Tom to get a job of higher status than running the mill so he sends him to live with the Reverend Stelling who will tutor Tom. Maggie lives for visits to Tom and on one occasion meets Philip Makem with whom she forms a close friendship.

 

Tom and Maggie's father is in dispute with a neighbour over water rights to the mill. He believes he will win a lawsuit against the man, Mr Wakem, who also happens to be Philip's father - but he loses, and to add insult to injury he is then offered employment by Mr Waken who has bought the mill. Unable to provide for his family without this job he reluctantly agrees. Saved from starvation he and his family lose all their possessions, but worse, they lose their standing in the community.

 

Time moves on and the children grow up. Tom works his way up in his uncle's business making a successful career for himself, whilst Maggie gets a job as a governess, but the relationship between the siblings is strained, and when a flood affects the area it seems that the turmoil of their relationship is not the only problem thy will have to contend with…

 

It is some time since I read this book – I had scribbled some notes about the story as I was going, and it was a good job I had, as I found when I sat down some seven months after finishing the book I really couldn't recall the storyline without them! It's a shame as I very much enjoyed Middlemarch and Silas Marner. I think the problem was that I felt this book dragged – especially the first part of the book. It did pick up towards the end though. I guessed the ending which I thought I could see coming a mile off... and was completely wrong! :giggle2:

 

The paperback edition is 624 pages long and is published by Vintage. It was first published in 1860. The ISBN is 9780099519065. I read it on Kindle.

 

3½/5 (I enjoyed it)

 

(Finished 1 July 2017)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

041-2017-Jul-06-Please%20Look%20After%20#

 

Please Look After Mother by Shin Kyung-Sook

 

The ‘blurb’

Please Look After Mother is the story of So-nyo, a wife and mother, who has lived a life of sacrifice and compromise. In the past she suffered a stroke, leaving her vulnerable and often confused. Now, travelling from the Korean countryside to the Seoul of her grown-up children, So-nyo is separated from her husband when the doors close on a packed train. As her children and husband search the streets, they recall So-nyo's life, and all they have left unsaid. Through their piercing voices, we begin to discover the desires, heartaches, and secrets she harboured within. And as the mystery of her disappearance unravels, we uncover a larger mystery, that of all mothers and children: how affection, exasperation, hope and guilt add up to love. Compassionate, redemptive and beautifully written, Please Look After Mother will reconnect you to the story of your own family, and to the forgotten sacrifices that lie at its heart.

 

The titular mother in this book married young and has spent her adult life looking after her husband and children. When she goes missing at a busy train station, having missed the train that her husband gets on, each family member must examine her life, and their own lives to look for clues to where she is and reasons that she hasn't found her way home again.

 

This was chosen for our Book Club, and I was initially pleased as it counts towards South Korea in my Very-Long Term World Challenge. However, sadly it just didn't appeal to me at all – it was a chore to read, rather than a pleasure, and I would have definitely abandoned it had it not been for Book Club. It's narrated in the second-person point of view ("you did this… you said that…") which is not a style of writing I'm mad about and the trouble is that none of the characters are nice, so some eight months since I read it (I'm *so* behind with my reviews!) and I can recall very little of the actual story!

 

Apparently it's been adapted into a musical!! I think I'll give that one a miss…

 

The paperback edition is 288 pages long and is published by W&N. It was first published in 2008 1860. The ISBN is 9780753828182.

 

2½/5 (It was okay)

 

(Finished 6 July 2017)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

041-2017-Jul-06-Please%20Look%20After%20#

 

 

Please Look After Mother by Shin Kyung-Sook

 

The ‘blurb’

Please Look After Mother is the story of So-nyo, a wife and mother, who has lived a life of sacrifice and compromise. In the past she suffered a stroke, leaving her vulnerable and often confused. Now, travelling from the Korean countryside to the Seoul of her grown-up children, So-nyo is separated from her husband when the doors close on a packed train. As her children and husband search the streets, they recall So-nyo's life, and all they have left unsaid. Through their piercing voices, we begin to discover the desires, heartaches, and secrets she harboured within. And as the mystery of her disappearance unravels, we uncover a larger mystery, that of all mothers and children: how affection, exasperation, hope and guilt add up to love. Compassionate, redemptive and beautifully written, Please Look After Mother will reconnect you to the story of your own family, and to the forgotten sacrifices that lie at its heart.

 

The titular mother in this book married young and has spent her adult life looking after her husband and children. When she goes missing at a busy train station, having missed the train that her husband gets on, each family member must examine her life, and their own lives to look for clues to where she is and reasons that she hasn't found her way home again.

 

This was chosen for our Book Club, and I was initially pleased as it counts towards South Korea in my Very-Long Term World Challenge. However, sadly it just didn't appeal to me at all – it was a chore to read, rather than a pleasure, and I would have definitely abandoned it had it not been for Book Club. It's narrated in the second-person point of view ("you did this… you said that…") which is not a style of writing I'm mad about and the trouble is that none of the characters are nice, so some eight months since I read it (I'm *so* behind with my reviews!) and I can recall very little of the actual story!

 

Apparently it's been adapted into a musical!! I think I'll give that one a miss…

 

The paperback edition is 288 pages long and is published by W&N. It was first published in 2008 1860. The ISBN is 9780753828182.

 

2½/5 (It was okay)

 

(Finished 6 July 2017)

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

042-2017-Jul-12-Spectacles_zps3ozszcsr.j

 

Spectacles by Sue Perkins

 

The ‘blurb’

When I began writing this book, I went home to see if my mum had kept some of my stuff. What I found was that she hadn't kept some of it. She had kept all of it - every bus ticket, postcard, school report - from the moment I was born to the moment I finally had the confidence to turn round and say 'Why is our house full of this shhhhhhh?' Sadly, a recycling 'incident' destroyed the bulk of this archive. This has meant two things: firstly, Dear Reader, you will never get to see countless drawings of wizards, read a poem about corn on the cob, or marvel at the kilos of brown flowers I so lovingly pressed as a child. Secondly, it's left me with no choice but to actually write this thing myself. This, my first ever book, will answer questions such as 'Is Mary Berry real?', 'Is it true you wear a surgical truss?' and 'Is a non-spherically symmetric gravitational pull from outside the observable universe responsible for some of the observed motion of large objects such as galactic clusters in the universe?' Most of this book is true. I have, of course, amplified my more positive characteristics in an effort to make you like me. Thank you for reading.

 

I think I first grew to love Sue Perkins when she appeared alongside Giles Coren on TV in the "Supersize" franchise, so when this popped up as a Kindle 99p Deal of the Day I snapped it up. I don't read many autobiographies so I don't have much to compare this too, but it definitely sounded like the words were coming off the page in Sue's voice (I believe she narrates the audio version – I imagine that would be a great listen).

 

As to the content, there were some great parts – the sections where she writes about her father's illness were very moving and of course I loved reading about her relationship with Mel Giedroyc. She writes with warmth and obviously with her trademark wit and humour. There were some parts which I found less interesting but overall it was an enjoyable read.

 

The paperback edition is 464 pages long and is published by Penguin. It was first published in 2012. The ISBN is 9781405918558.

 

3/5 (I enjoyed it)

 

(Finished 12 July 2017)

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

043-2017-Jul-21-Cowboy%20Song%20-%20The%

 

Cowboy Song - The Authorised Biography of Philip Lynott by Graeme Thomson

 

The ‘blurb’

The first biography to be written with the cooperation of the Lynott Estate, Cowboy Song is the definitive authorised account of the extraordinary life and career of Thin Lizzy guiding spirit, Philip Lynott. Leading music writer Graeme Thomson explores the fascinating contradictions between Lynott's unbridled rock star excesses and the shy, sensitive 'orphan' raised in working class Dublin. The mixed-race child of a Catholic teenager and a Guyanese stowaway, Lynott rose above daunting obstacles and wounding abandonments to become Ireland's first rock star. Cowboy Song examines his key musical alliances as well as the unique blend of cultural influences which informed Lynott's writing, connecting Ireland's rich reserves of music, myth and poetry to hard rock, progressive folk, punk, soul and New Wave. Published on the thirtieth anniversary of Lynott's death in January 1986, Thomson draws on scores of exclusive interviews with family, friends, band mates and collaborators. Cowboy Song is both the ultimate depiction of a multi-faceted rock icon, and an intimate portrait of a much-loved father, son and husband.

 

Philip Lynott was born in the West Midlands, and lived in Manchester with his mother, Philomena until he was eight years old when he moved to Dublin and was brought up by his maternal grandparents. He was in several bands before forming Thin Lizzy in 1969 with Brian Downey, an old school friend, and Graham Bell and Eric Wrixon who they met in a club in Dublin. Their big break came in 1972 when they supported Slade and later that same year they had their first hit with Whiskey in the Jar. The band went on to have great commercial success and Lynott also had a solo career. Unfortunately, the hedonistic rock-and-roll lifestyle took its toll and Lynott died in 1986.

 

As a teen my friends and I, from the same street, would sit in our friend Andrew's back room playing Risk and Backgammon and listening to bands such as Rush, Pink Floyd, Genesis and Thin Lizzy. The latter's lead singer, Philip Lynott, was one of my first teen crushes! It was a sad day for me on 4th January 1986 when he succumbed to the pneumonia brought on by his terrible drug addiction, and died.

 

This is the only authorised biography of Lynott and was written with his family's consent. Whilst not holding back at all, Graeme Thomson portrays Lynott sympathetically. He had his insecurities and demons, but he had masses of personality and people generally liked him. Although it was all over the news at the time, I had no idea the extent of his addiction until I read this book. It made me feel sad all over again, but this time largely due to the terrible waste of a talented life. I was lucky enough to see Thin Lizzy on their Renegade tour in November 1981 at Hammersmith Odeon, and despite everything, Philip Lynott still holds a special pace in my heart! :wub:

 

The paperback edition is 368 pages long and is published by Constable. It was first published in 2017. The ISBN is 9781472121073.

 

5/5 (I loved it)

 

(Finished 21 July 2017)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  



×