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      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…     
~Andrea~

Andrea's reading in 2018

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The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis

 

A series of letters from senior demon, Screwtape, to his nephew Wormwood, who is engaged in his first duty in the infernal civil service of securing the soul of a young man who has recently converted to Christianity.

 

I enjoyed this a lot. It was a re-read; I first read it almost twenty years ago (only a few years after my own conversion actually), and I enjoyed it a lot more this time round. The first time I found it incredibly heavy going, but this time for some reason I pretty much skipped through it. It is a little verbose and detailed in places, but not nearly as bad as I remember so I was pleasantly surprised. Perhaps part of the difference is just that I've lived a bit more, and I'm a lot more aware of my human weaknesses now, and that recognition just made it more relevant and interesting. The book is really, theology delivered through fiction rather than a straight piece of fiction per se, and while it specifically addresses Christian challenges, I think it speaks to the human condition in a more general sense as well. I didn't always agree with the theology or share Lewis's opinion on every count, but found enough of it struck a chord to make it an enjoyable and useful read.

Edited by ~Andrea~

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Have a great reading year, Andrea. :)

 

I have the Sarah Millican book on my TBR list, so I'm glad you have given it a good review. 

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On 04/03/2018 at 9:46 AM, bobblybear said:

Have a great reading year, Andrea. :)

 

I have the Sarah Millican book on my TBR list, so I'm glad you have given it a good review. 

 

Oh I loved it BB! I hope you do too :)

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Grinny by Nicholas Fisk

 

When Tim's Great Aunt Emma comes to stay, he and his younger sister Beth soon grow suspicious of her, and discover a sinister side to the relative that no-one seems to clearly remember.

 

This was another nostalgia read, a book I first read when I was about eleven. I could remember more of this than I did of the awful Nancy Drew I revisited recently. I had higher hopes for this one as a) I could remember a few little things from it, and b) it was in the school library and that was how I came to read it. It was a MUCH better experience than the Namcy Drew. I can understand why I loved it so much as a youngster. It's written in a chatty diary format which makes it easily accessible for a youngster, and the plot really draws you in, as the sinister reality of who or what Grinny is, becomes increasingly apparent. It's a short read, and aimed at a young audience, but I found it an enjoyable visit to an old childhood favourite.

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I'm glad you got on with this one much better than with the Nancy Drew :).

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22 hours ago, Athena said:

I'm glad you got on with this one much better than with the Nancy Drew :).

 

Thanks Gaia. It was certainly an improvement!

Edited by ~Andrea~

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The Woman in the Window by A J Finn

 

Anna is an agoraphobic who lives alone, drinks too much and spends her days on the internet or spying on her neighbours, especially the perfect new family opposite. But one day she witnesses a crime from her window and discovers things are not quite as they seem.

 

I enjoyed this. It was very gripping and I liked the central character however I did think it was a bit over-hyped. While I found it to be a page-turner and quite well written, it was a bit formulaic in places and seemed a little rushed in others and there is a huge info-dump at the end. The writing, while good, was a bit too simple for my liking and I think some richer prose would have been welcome (and I'm really not one for overly wordy writing). Still, overall I did enjoy it, but it's certainly no masterpiece.

 

When I started it I thought I was going to love it, so I was slightly disappointed when it didn't quite hit the mark.

Edited by ~Andrea~

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Completely agree with you about The Woman in the Window - it was very over-hyped. Enjoyed it, but probably won't remember it in 6 months. Whereas books like I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh still stick with me a year or two later.

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On 05/04/2018 at 2:20 PM, Nollaig said:

Completely agree with you about The Woman in the Window - it was very over-hyped. Enjoyed it, but probably won't remember it in 6 months. Whereas books like I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh still stick with me a year or two later.

 

Ooh I've not heard of that one. It sounds good!

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I was kind of enjoying the Robin Hobb I started (although it's a bit slower than her other ones) but I've been a bit stressed with various things this month and felt I needed something more gripping to lose myself in so I've picked up Robert Goddard's Take No Farewell which I'm enjoying so far. And it certainly seems more absorbing than the other book, which I need right now.

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Take No Farewell by Robert Goddard

 

When Geoffery Staddon reads in the newspaper about a murder at Clouds Frome, the beautiful country house he designed as a young architect, a past he thought he'd left behind rises to meet him once more. The beautiful Consuela has been accused of murdering her sister-in-law and niece and of attempting to take the life of her own husband. Unable to believe that the woman he once knew is guilty, he finds himself embroiled in the hunt for the real killer, and the skeletons in his own cupboard start to fall out and threaten to turn his world upside down.

 

I picked this up at a jumble sale, never having heard of the author before. I really enjoyed it. From the outset I just liked the writing style, and settled comfortably into the story, which turned out to be rather gripping. It's set just before and after the first world war (although the war doesn't feature much), and the writing style suited that era perfectly. My only criticism was that some of the dialogue was occasionally a little jarring, but it didn't spoil my overall enjoyment of the book. I will definitely be reading more from this author.

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Nice review :). I'm glad you liked this book :). I haven't read Take No Farewell, but I did read Sight Unseen (in Dutch translation: De Juniusbrieven) by the author maybe 10-ish? years ago. I don't remember much from the book nowadays but I do remember I liked it.

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Good review - I've read 3 or 4 of his books, but I've not picked one up for a while. This one sounds intriguing - I'll have to give it a go.

Edited by ian

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My reading has stalled again, however I've picked up Shaman's Crossing by Robin Hobb. I'm going to give myself a deadline. It's about 650 pages long and I've read about 50 so I'll attempt to complete it in 6 weeks, which will take me to 7th August. That's only 100 pages a week. Even I should be able to do that!!

 

Edited by ~Andrea~

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So I read 10 pages last night! Hardly a good start. Unless I am really hooked by a book then I usually only manage 10-15 pages before I go to sleep. I generally only read in bed (very occasionally on the bus) and I don't read every day, in fact I often don't read at all at bedtime because I'm too tired. This is why I hardly get through any books! I'm determined to read more though, which I think means not just reading at bedtime. Or going to bed earlier - the latter of which I've failed at for years. So I need to read in the evenings I think, and more on weekends. I used to read every Saturday morning while I was coming to. Maybe I should try doing that again!

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11 hours ago, ~Andrea~ said:

So I read 10 pages last night! Hardly a good start. Unless I am really hooked by a book then I usually only manage 10-15 pages before I go to sleep. I generally only read in bed (very occasionally on the bus) and I don't read every day, in fact I often don't read at all at bedtime because I'm too tired. This is why I hardly get through any books! I'm determined to read more though, which I think means not just reading at bedtime. Or going to bed earlier - the latter of which I've failed at for years. So I need to read in the evenings I think, and more on weekends. I used to read every Saturday morning while I was coming to. Maybe I should try doing that again!

 

I'm the same Andrea. My reading is very slow these days. Once I'd read far into the night, but now my eyes are growing heavy after only a few pages. I also used to read any chance I had through the day, but now I tend to crochet instead. I have listened to a few audiobooks so I guess that counts :blush:

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12 hours ago, poppy said:

 

I'm the same Andrea. My reading is very slow these days. Once I'd read far into the night, but now my eyes are growing heavy after only a few pages. I also used to read any chance I had through the day, but now I tend to crochet instead. I have listened to a few audiobooks so I guess that counts :blush:

 

I'm glad I'm not the only one Bronwyn! I have so many books to read though, and so many I want to read that I really need a push!

 

Audiobooks definitely count. I used to listen to a lot in the car, and found it a great way to up my 'reading' - or rather my book consumption!

 

Edited by ~Andrea~

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On 27.6.2018 at 2:27 PM, ~Andrea~ said:

So I read 10 pages last night! Hardly a good start. Unless I am really hooked by a book then I usually only manage 10-15 pages before I go to sleep. I generally only read in bed (very occasionally on the bus) and I don't read every day, in fact I often don't read at all at bedtime because I'm too tired. This is why I hardly get through any books! I'm determined to read more though, which I think means not just reading at bedtime. Or going to bed earlier - the latter of which I've failed at for years. So I need to read in the evenings I think, and more on weekends. I used to read every Saturday morning while I was coming to. Maybe I should try doing that again!

 

This sounds so familiar! I used to read a lot in bed before falling asleep, and now I'm lucky if I can manage 15 pages, even if the book is good. And I don't think I go to bed any later than I used to. Maybe I need more sleep now that I'm older and working and all that crap :D I think going to bed earlier is a good idea, one would get more reading done before falling asleep. But there's always so much other stuff to do in the evening! One doesn't want to go to bed because that means another day at work is upon us sooner than we'd like... :rolleyes::D 

 

I hope you can adjust your ways in a favorable way and get more reading done :smile2:

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Thanks Frankie! Yes going to bed earlier seems an impossible goal. However my little deadline seems to be working well, and I've taken to reading downstairs occasionally. I read in the garden last night (it was lovely - it's really hot here at the moment, almost unbearably so - but it's lovely at dusk). Anyway, I'm well on track with my 100 pages a week goal so, so far so good!!

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Well I'm smashing my weekly target so far. I'm on page 318 now and I read 150 pages last week. I'm really enjoying it. I think maybe I needed a bit of momentum to get me going. Reading 5 pages here and there is no way to get into a book. The hot weather and a bit of insomnia has probably helped too.

 

Edited by ~Andrea~

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On 7/1/2018 at 6:41 PM, ~Andrea~ said:

 However my little deadline seems to be working well, and I've taken to reading downstairs occasionally. I read in the garden last night (it was lovely - it's really hot here at the moment, almost unbearably so - but it's lovely at dusk). Anyway, I'm well on track with my 100 pages a week goal so, so far so good!!

 

That's great! :smile2: It's really hot in here, too, which I think is actually a great excuse to be lazy about other things and focus on reading :D It's too hot to do anything else! Reading outside sounds really nice :smile2: I've not done it yet this summer, I need to jump in the bandwagon! :D

 

On 7/11/2018 at 2:32 PM, ~Andrea~ said:

Well I'm smashing my weekly target so far. I'm on page 318 now and I read 150 pages last week. I'm really enjoying it. I think maybe I needed a bit of momentum to get me going. Reading 5 pages here and there is no way to get into a book. The hot weather and a bit of insomnia has probably helped too.

 

 

Great job! :)  I agree about you probably needing a bit of momentum. Once you get going, you want to read more and more! :) 

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Well done on finishing it! Two weeks early too! I'm glad you enjoyed it :). I must try some Robin Hobb some time.

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On 15/07/2018 at 2:59 PM, frankie said:

 

That's great! :smile2: It's really hot in here, too, which I think is actually a great excuse to be lazy about other things and focus on reading :D It's too hot to do anything else! Reading outside sounds really nice :smile2: I've not done it yet this summer, I need to jump in the bandwagon! :D

 

 

Great job! :)  I agree about you probably needing a bit of momentum. Once you get going, you want to read more and more! :) 

Thanks! I'm going to make 15 pages per day my new rule and set deadlines on all my reads from now on! Re the weather, I'm longing for it to cool down now! :snowsign:

 

3 hours ago, Athena said:

Well done on finishing it! Two weeks early too! I'm glad you enjoyed it :). I must try some Robin Hobb some time.

Thanks Gaia. I absolutely love Robin Hobb! I find them really escapist reads I can really lose myself in. I hope you get to try one day!

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