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      Important Announcement!   07/28/2018

      Dear BCF members,   This forum has been running now for many years, and over that time we have seen many changes. Generalised forums are nowhere near as popular as they once were, and they have been very much taken over by blogs, vlogs and social media discussions. Running a forum well takes money, and a lot of care and attention, as there is so much which goes on behind the scenes to keep things running smoothly.   With all of this in mind, and after discussion within the current moderator team, the decision has been made to close this forum in its current format. I know that this will disappoint a lot of our long term members, but I want to reassure you that it's not a decision which has been taken lightly.    The remaining moderator team have agreed that we do not want to lose everything which is special about our home, and so we are starting a brand new facebook group, so that people can stay in touch, and discussions can continue. We can use it for free and should be easier for us to run (it won't need to be updated or hosted). We know not everyone has FaceBook, but we hope that those of you who are interested will join the group. We will share the link, and send invites as soon as we are ready to go. Added: We may as well get this going, find us here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/195289821332924/   The forum will close to new registrations, but will remain open for some time, to allow people to collect up any information, reading lists etc they need to, and to ensure they have contact details for those they wish to stay in touch with.    The whole team feel sad to say goodbye, but we also feel that it's perhaps time and that it feels like the right choice. We hope we can stay in touch with all of you through our new FaceBook group.   I personally want to thank everyone who has helped me moderate the forum, both in the past and the present, and I also want to thank every single person who has visited, and shared their love of books.. I'm so proud of everything we've achieved, and the home we built.   Please visit the new section in the Lounge section to discuss this further, ask questions etc.
poppyshake

Poppyshake's Reading Year 2017

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I tried this late(ish) last year (got a Netgalley copy) and found it... well, kinda' boring if I'm honest. Only got about a quarter of the way through and couldn't stomach the rest. I imagine that I probably wasn't in the mood for it, but hey ho. *shrugs* Judging from your review I should come back to it and give it the space and time it likely deserves. :yes:

It is boring really :lol: .. I think that's the point of it. It's a peep into Frit's life where absolutely nothing happens that isn't mundane and commonplace (except for in his dreams and thoughts which are disturbingly creepy.) It took me ages to accept that it wasn't going anywhere but where it already was and then I did start finding it funny in a dark, bleak, sort of way and also intriguing.

Despite me giving it a high rating I actually wouldn't recommend it to anyone though it is highly thought of. Not many people are going to enjoy it.

I read this Dutch book for my high school Dutch class (along with 14 others), and I have to say I didn't like the book much at all. I found it hard to get through it and only finished it because of school. But it's received lots of good praise from Dutch people back in the day, it's considered literature, a famous book and all that. So, Ben and I seem to be in the minority :shrug:. Maybe I'd appreciate it more being older than 16 or 17, I doubt I'll ever go back to it though. I'm glad you enjoyed it anyway, Kay :)! I enjoyed reading your review!

No, don't go back to it Gaia :D .. deeply depressing. I know it's a Dutch classic and I can totally see why especially given when it was written .. I think it's outstanding but it's a bit of a trudge and the rewards are scanty.

It doesn't cheer one up .. quite the opposite .. it disturbs one. 

Glad you liked the review though :cows: 

Oof, I though I`d already posted in this, but I haven`t. A belated Happy Reading in 2017 ! :D

 

Do read the Affair of the Bloodstained Tea Cosy - it`s excellent. James Anderson only wrote three books ( a series) and they`re such good fun. :)

Happy Reading to you too Pixie :) 

I will definitely read The Affair of the Bloodstained Egg Cosy. I mean, who could resist that title? (or the cover?) and it's the sort of book to curl up with in winter. Hot chocolate, piece of cake etc and a nice bit of non-threatening murder .. perfect! :D 

Edited by poppyshake

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Grayson Perry: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl - Wendy Jones

 
Synopsis: 
 Every inch of Grayson's childhood bedroom was covered with pictures of aeroplanes, and every surface with models. Fantasy took over his life, in a world of battles ruled by his teddy bear, Alan Measles. He grew up. And in 2003, an acclaimed ceramic artist, he accepted the Turner Prize as his alter-ego Clare, wearing his best dress, with a bow in his hair. Now he tells his own story, his voice beautifully caught by his friend, the writer Wendy Jones. Early childhood in Chelmsford, Essex is a rural Eden that ends abruptly with the arrival of his stepfather, leading to constant swerving between his parents' houses, and between boys' and women's clothes. But as Grayson enters art college and discovers the world of London squats and New Romanticism, he starts to find himself. At last he steps out as a potter and transvestite.

 

Thoughts: I really like Grayson so enjoyed reading about his childhood and how he became interested in art and dressing up in frills and bows etc. It's not entirely a comfortable read, art students are often pretty ridiculous or do pretty ridiculous things which of course don't seem at all ridiculous at the time and I always find I'm cringing a bit (a spliff might help with this or some magic mushrooms .. but post Christmas finances meant I could only really run to half a cider! :D) plus there's a sadness in reading about his childhood .. he didn't seem to be properly loved or appreciated but I love the way he tells his story with candour and directness. I guess when you've had a time in your life where everything has to be hidden away and where you can't be yourself or are punished for being yourself then being frank is very liberating. 

He's a very interesting and complex character and his story is fascinating. 3/5

 

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Edited by poppyshake

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Magpie Murders - Anthony Horowitz
 
Synopsis:
When editor Susan Ryeland is given the tattered manuscript of Alan Conway's latest novel, she has little idea it will change her life. She's worked with the revered crime writer for years and his detective, Atticus Pund, is renowned for solving crimes in the sleepy English villages of the 1950s. As Susan knows only too well, vintage crime sells handsomely. It's just a shame that it means dealing with an author like Alan Conway... But Conway's latest tale of murder at Pye Hall is not quite what it seems. Yes, there are dead bodies and a host of intriguing suspects, but hidden in the pages of the manuscript there lies another story: a tale written between the very words on the page, telling of real-life jealousy, greed, ruthless ambition and murder.

Thoughts: A bit more involved than Agatha but written along the same comfy, cosy, lines. Quite Midsomer really too with it's sleepy English village theme, red herrings, bicycling vicars and busy body villagers. The main difference here is that the plot is split into two halves .. both mirroring each other but separate. For the first part of the book we hear the story that Alan Conway has written .. his later murder mystery with his leading man .. Atticus Pund .. a Hercule Poirotesque detective. I forgot actually that I was reading a story within the story so it was quite a shock to me when the story broke off abruptly before it's conclusion and took me back to Alan's editor Susan Ryeland who has a mystery of her own to solve involving the author.

 

On the whole I thought it was a good read, a bit clunky in places and cliched but ultimately absorbing. It's very much in the spirit of Agatha (with several huge nods to her .. including the nursery rhyme title/sub-title) but it hasn't quite got the heart. All the same I love a bit of winter crime and this fit the bill nicely. 3/5

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Do read the Affair of the Bloodstained Tea Cosy - it`s excellent. James Anderson only wrote three books ( a series) and they`re such good fun. :)

Hmm, I didn't get on with The Affair of the Bloodstained Tea Cosy. I've just looked back at my book list and it's 10 years since I read it, but I only gave it 2/5. It was before I wrote reviews so I don't have any details, but if I remember correctly, I thought it was very predictable and a bit boring. We all know I'm not the best judge of murder/thrillers though - just look at Mordecai, I hated it, Kay really enjoyed it!  :D

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Hmm, I didn't get on with The Affair of the Bloodstained Tea Cosy. I've just looked back at my book list and it's 10 years since I read it, but I only gave it 2/5. It was before I wrote reviews so I don't have any details, but if I remember correctly, I thought it was very predictable and a bit boring. We all know I'm not the best judge of murder/thrillers though - just look at Mordecai, I hated it, Kay really enjoyed it!  :D

I quite like boring and predictable :lol: especially with murder mysteries but we'll see. I dread to think what you would have made of the latter Mordecai books Claire .. the last one was pretty dismal. 

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I dread to think what you would have made of the latter Mordecai books Claire .. the last one was pretty dismal. 

We'll never know ... :lol:

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Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl - Grayson Perry

 

I read that last year (or was it the year before?  No matter...) and thought it was good too.  :)  I thought Grayson wrote it himself because Wendy Jones's name is quite disguised!  Have you read Playing to the Gallery or The Descent of Man?  I quite fancy trying one of those.   My friend's daughter (who is autistic) is fascinated by his house which is near where they live.  She won tickets to go and visit it and was beside herself! 

 

http://www.living-architecture.co.uk/the-houses/a-house-for-essex/overview/

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Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl - Grayson Perry

 

 

I have huge admiration for Grayson Perry, a man prepared to challenge so many of the masculine norms. He may have gone further than most would have the courage to do (including me), but he presents a much needed alternative perspective which will hopefully help smash a few barriers, especially in terms of what is expected of men  (and certainly his choice of dress is far more interesting than approximately 100% of men's 'fashion' pages, most of which consign men to the dullest of existences).  I really must get hold of a copy of his Descent of Man.

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The Evenings - Gerard Reve

 

Synopsis: Twenty-three-year-old Frits - office worker, daydreamer, teller of inappropriate jokes - finds life absurd and inexplicable. He lives with his parents, who drive him mad. He has terrible, disturbing dreams of death and destruction. Sometimes he talks to a toy rabbit. This is the story of ten evenings in Frits's life at the end of December, as he drinks, smokes, sees friends, aimlessly wanders the gloomy city streets and tries to make sense of the minutes, hours and days that stretch before him. Darkly funny and mesmerising, The Evenings takes the tiny, quotidian triumphs and heartbreaks of our everyday lives and turns them into a work of brilliant wit and profound beauty.

 

Thoughts: This was the book that I bought as soon as I got home from my mum and dad's. I thought it was the ideal book to get me back into reading .. I had a house full of books at home but I wanted to treat myself .. a reward for being kept away from books for so long. WHAT AN IDIOT!!! :D:lol:

What I should have picked up was one of the cosy comforting Agatha Christie's on my TBR or something by Jenny Colgan .. that was what I needed. It was coming up to Christmas after all and so reading time was still limited and concentration in short supply. But no .. I picked this (I did love the cover :blush2:  :D ) .. a book you have to immerse yourself in, not a difficult book but not a book to take lightly either and not one that you can easily get into. Needless to say, I didn't get far, I had to put it to one side until the last of the Quality Street had been eaten  :blush2: 

I thought I was reading a modern book and was astounded to see that it was written in 1947 :o (but not translated until now.) It's very experimental for a book written back then. I think this is key though, the war isn't mentioned much but I think Frit's behaviour is a direct response to having lived through WW2. 

He's not a very nice person .. not a great person to be spending the whole book with and certainly not someone you want to constantly read the thoughts of but he is fascinating. It is comic as the synopsis says but very, very, dark and disturbing. He is insidious, making the most of everybody's insecurities and being that horrible little voice in your ear which underlines and strengthens your fears. He does this out of boredom really. He lives with his mum and dad who he's exasperated with .. bleak house indeed! 

The ten evenings did seem like an eternity but for all that, once I gave the story space and time I started to really enjoy it .. though I was still constantly revolted by it. It is really a little masterpiece, but it's not easy and it's not pleasant :D Worth reading though. 4/5

 

That is what I do when I am stymied at what to read next. You can hardly go wrong with an Agatha Christie book. They are enjoyable and fun to read, I never tire of her stories.

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It is boring really :lol: .. I think that's the point of it. It's a peep into Frit's life where absolutely nothing happens that isn't mundane and commonplace (except for in his dreams and thoughts which are disturbingly creepy.) It took me ages to accept that it wasn't going anywhere but where it already was and then I did start finding it funny in a dark, bleak, sort of way and also intriguing.

Despite me giving it a high rating I actually wouldn't recommend it to anyone though it is highly thought of. Not many people are going to enjoy it.

 

Well okay then. :lol:

 

To be fair though, I'm not against those kind of books that are a bit more introspective, character-driven rather than plot-based (in fact some of my favourite books are those creepy, intense atmosphere-building novels that don't concern themselves much with a narrative). Just not this one, apparently. *shrugs* Ah well, plenty more books on the pile. :yes:

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I read that last year (or was it the year before?  No matter...) and thought it was good too.  :)  I thought Grayson wrote it himself because Wendy Jones's name is quite disguised!  Have you read Playing to the Gallery or The Descent of Man?  I quite fancy trying one of those.   My friend's daughter (who is autistic) is fascinated by his house which is near where they live.  She won tickets to go and visit it and was beside herself! 

 

http://www.living-architecture.co.uk/the-houses/a-house-for-essex/overview/

I love the look of his house .. what a treat for your friend's daughter. I'd definitely visit it .. but it's in constant use now. Maybe one day.

I think Wendy wrote the book in close collaboration with Grayson .. she was instrumental in him getting his story out there because it was her suggestion that he tell it but I must amend my list because you're right Wendy wrote it.

I haven't read his other books yet but I want to  :smile:  

I have huge admiration for Grayson Perry, a man prepared to challenge so many of the masculine norms. He may have gone further than most would have the courage to do (including me), but he presents a much needed alternative perspective which will hopefully help smash a few barriers, especially in terms of what is expected of men  (and certainly his choice of dress is far more interesting than approximately 100% of men's 'fashion' pages, most of which consign men to the dullest of existences).  I really must get hold of a copy of his Descent of Man.

He is a very courageous man and an inspiration. I saw him talking about The Descent of Man on Graham Norton and it sounded fascinating so I've written it down on my library list :smile:  

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That is what I do when I am stymied at what to read next. You can hardly go wrong with an Agatha Christie book. They are enjoyable and fun to read, I never tire of her stories.

They almost read themselves :lol: I've still got quite a few of her books on the shelf unread and it's a comfort to know they're there .. especially when a read has been gruelling. A couple of pages into Agatha and all is right again :) 

Well okay then. :lol:

 

To be fair though, I'm not against those kind of books that are a bit more introspective, character-driven rather than plot-based (in fact some of my favourite books are those creepy, intense atmosphere-building novels that don't concern themselves much with a narrative). Just not this one, apparently. *shrugs* Ah well, plenty more books on the pile. :yes:

Yes, definitely :) I do think you can come back to a book, which was previously un-enjoyed, and enjoy it immensely but usually your first impression of a book is correct and it's best to move on. I'm not good at the moving on .. I tend to just suffer :lol: 

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I'm fascinated by the sound of The Evenings, so I put it on my wishlist a few days ago :) I wonder which camp I'll fall into!

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I'm fascinated by the sound of The Evenings, so I put it on my wishlist a few days ago :) I wonder which camp I'll fall into!

Oh Lord Noll! Don't do it :D Remember spill, simmer, falter, wither? Well this book is similar in as much as it sort of plods and the protagonist isn't that pleasant but it hasn't even got a dog in it to save things :D  (I liked that book too :lol:

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I meant to post this a while ago  :blush2: Diane sent me a beautiful Christmas card with book spines on it back and front and it was just too good to only display at Christmas so I cut it in half and framed them. Thanks Diane .. I love it :wub: :hug:

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Oh Lord Noll! Don't do it :D Remember spill, simmer, falter, wither? Well this book is similar in as much as it sort of plods and the protagonist isn't that pleasant but it hasn't even got a dog in it to save things :D  (I liked that book too :lol:

 

Hahaha curiosity always gets the better of me with these things, but it's not on you at all if I read it and hate it, it's my choice to try it! Also the author of SSFW has a new book out this year, in case you're interested, called A Line Made By Walking. I'm actually going to read it, who knows, I might like it! :giggle:

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I meant to post this a while ago  :blush2: Diane sent me a beautiful Christmas card with book spines on it back and front and it was just too good to only display at Christmas so I cut it in half and framed them. Thanks Diane .. I love it :wub:  :hug:

That looks so nice :)!

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:lol:Oh, you rotter *shakes fist* I'll never live it down!!

I am coping with things myself this year and so don't need to engage the militia to help me out .. I might ask them if things get tight :D 

 

Don't hurry... they seem to be having a good time! :D pride-prejudice-157-copy.jpg

 

 

Dare I say... they are having a ball? 

 

 

I did cull Possession though :( It is a beautiful looking book and I did sort of enjoy The Children's Book by Byatt but I heard a bit of Possession on Radio 4 recently .. (dramatised)  .. and I found it hard to keep engaged with it. I drifted off something terrible and I just thought, if they can't keep me interested then my voice droning on about it definitely won't  :blush2: 

It hasn't left the house yet but it has left the bookshelf :( Oh dear, it is hard!  :blush2: 

 

Oh dear... I removed The Children's Book from my wishlist recently, coincidentally, but I still hope to read and love Possession. It's awfully intimidating but I want to love it! But now I'm more scared, if you had a difficult time with the dramatised audio... :unsure: 

 

Also... I said I wouldn't make new reservations for books at the library as I want to get on with my TBR but I think I've accidentally reserved a copy of The Evenings now. :blush: 

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Oh dear... I removed The Children's Book from my wishlist recently, coincidentally, but I still hope to read and love Possession. It's awfully intimidating but I want to love it! But now I'm more scared, if you had a difficult time with the dramatised audio... :unsure:

I didn't get on that well with The Children's Book - at the time I thought it was good, but it hasn't sat well in my memory over time and I'm inclined to think I like it less now. There were far too many characters, there were some chapters that were just about telling you the history of the period with no relation to the characters and their story, and I thought they could have been taken out with no impact on the book at all. A couple of other minor things too, but it's come up a couple of times since in the book group, and I have fewer and fewer fonder memories of it each time we mention it! I certainly don't feel inclined to try Possession now.

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Don't hurry... they seem to be having a good time! :D pride-prejudice-157-copy.jpg

 

Dare I say... they are having a ball?

:wub:Oh .. I do love an officer in a red coat! :D  

Oh dear... I removed The Children's Book from my wishlist recently, coincidentally, but I still hope to read and love Possession. It's awfully intimidating but I want to love it! But now I'm more scared, if you had a difficult time with the dramatised audio... :unsure:

I didn't find it difficult .. I just couldn't get enthused and that might well of been the fault of the production. I had hoped it might kick-start my interest in beginning the book .. but it did the opposite :lol:  

Also... I said I wouldn't make new reservations for books at the library as I want to get on with my TBR but I think I've accidentally reserved a copy of The Evenings now. :blush:

:o What have you done?? :lol: Oh well, it'll be interesting to see what you think.

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Hahaha curiosity always gets the better of me with these things, but it's not on you at all if I read it and hate it, it's my choice to try it! Also the author of SSFW has a new book out this year, in case you're interested, called A Line Made By Walking. I'm actually going to read it, who knows, I might like it! :giggle:

I am definitely interested and will make a note of it .. thanks Noll! :)

Again, it'll be interesting to see what you make of The Evenings if you get around to it .. good luck! :D  

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I didn't get on that well with The Children's Book - at the time I thought it was good, but it hasn't sat well in my memory over time and I'm inclined to think I like it less now. There were far too many characters, there were some chapters that were just about telling you the history of the period with no relation to the characters and their story, and I thought they could have been taken out with no impact on the book at all. A couple of other minor things too, but it's come up a couple of times since in the book group, and I have fewer and fewer fonder memories of it each time we mention it! I certainly don't feel inclined to try Possession now.

I'm of this opinion too. It was too convoluted, there was a good story in there but it got bogged down and I don't look back on it with fondness :D 

For the longest time I thought I would give Possession a try, but you have to have an appetite for a book and I've lost mine as far as that one's concerned  :blush2: It's not an outright no yet though .. just a probably not :lol: 

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My Family & Other Animals - Gerald Durrell
 
Synopsis:
 Ten-year-old Gerald doesn't know why his older brothers and sisters complain so much. With snakes in the bath and scorpions on the lunch table, the family home on the Greek island of Corfu is a bit like a zoo so they should feel right at home...Gerald joyfully pursues his interest in natural history in the midsts of an unconventional and chaotic family life - all brilliantly retold in this very funny book.

Thoughts: I really loved this. Gerald's family are fed up with the grey skies of Bournemouth (and really I can quite empathise although I did read this in January so grey skies were to be expected) and they literally (well, so it says here .. I suspect Gerry used quite a lot of poetic licence) decided to up sticks and move to Corfu .. and in three weeks they had sold up and gone (could that happen now?? If so .. I'm off  :lol:)  Corfu in the 1930s is an absolute idyll and ten year old Gerald is in his element. There are some attempts made to educate him and tutors come and go but most of the time he is scouring the countryside and the coastline for all creatures great and small and really, you wouldn't want to be living in a house which contained Gerry  :hide:
 not if you are at all scared of creepy crawlies. You can't even read this and enjoy your dinner to be honest :lol: .. so many descriptions of insects devouring one another. Living with him would be a scream literally .. scorpions on the dinner table, snakes in the bath, mantids climbing the walls and geckos jumping from the rafters.

I couldn't exactly recommend this to an animal lover though, Gerald's curiosity does extend to egg theft and dissection etc which is only to be expected from a future naturalist plus on the absolute opposite end of the scale there is his brother Leslie (grown up) .. who likes to shoot everything that moves :( How these two managed to live together in perfect harmony was a bit beyond me but then I lived with my sister quite happily even though she did love Hutch and not Starsky :D 

The real joy of this book is Gerald's writing. He brings to life that idyllic five years with all its eccentric characters and blazing blue skies and he does it with wit and enthusiasm. So entertaining. 5/5 

Many thanks to lovely Janet for buying this for me :hug: 

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