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    • Michelle

      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.
Janet

Janet's Log - Stardate 2018

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006-2018-Jan-29-Journey%20to%20the%20Cen

 

Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne

 

The ‘blurb’

Jules Verne's pioneering science fiction classic tells the story of the distinguished but eccentric Professor Lidenbrock, who finds a scrap of parchment in an old manuscript. A cipher written in runes, it tells of an entrance to another world - a world hidden beneath our own, illuminated by an electrified gas and populated by strange, prehistoric beings. So with his nephew reluctantly in tow, the Professor follows this cryptic clue down into a dormant volcano in Iceland, and the further they descend, the more extraordinary the discoveries and creatures that they encounter, the greater the dangers, and the more ancient the living past that surrounds them.

 

Axel Lidenbrock lives with his eccentric uncle Otto – a Professor of Geology in Hamburg. When Professor Lidenbrock finds a document inside an old manuscript that appears to be written in some kind of cypher, the pair decipher the code and it seems to be notes about the discovery by 16th Century alchemist Arne Saknussemm of a passage leaving from a dormant volcano in Iceland down the centre of the earth. Excited by this discovery, Professor Lidenbrock, accompanied by a very reluctant Axel, heads to Iceland and there finds an Icelandic guide, Hans, who is prepared to accompany them on a top-secret expedition to follow in Saknussemm's footsteps. To the centre of the earth? Well, only time will tell.

 

I started reading this whilst waiting for friends because I had forgotten to pick up my book and had this already downloaded on the Kindle App on my mobile – thank goodness! I had already read, and enjoyed Verne's Around the World in 80 Days but I thought that this book might be out of my comfort zone – and I was right! The writing is simply brilliant – so atmospheric.

 

Although I have never liked the idea of potholing, and I did feel slightly uncomfortable when visiting Wookey Hole Caves and some caves we visited in Turkey I don't consider myself to be claustrophobic at all, but I found this almost difficult to read because I felt so stifled, and also afraid for Axle (who I loved) and his uncle (who I wasn't so keen on!) and the enigmatic Hans. Despite being written over 150 years ago, the journey itself didn't really feel too dated – I found it suffocating, thrilling and chilling in equal measure. Initially a 4/5, having digested it I think it's definitely worthy of five stars.

 

The paperback edition is 288 pages long and is published by Penguin. It was first published in 1864. The ISBN is 9780141441979. I read it on Kindle.

 

5/5 (I loved it!)

 

(Finished 29 January 2018)

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I'm glad you liked this book :). I might read it some day. It's great the journey itself didn't feel too dated, despite the book being written so long ago.

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Thanks, @Athena:)  I will definitely read Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea at some stage.  :)  I looked on Fantastic Fiction and he's written loads more books than I've heard of.  I'd no idea he was such a prolific writer.

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5 hours ago, ~Andrea~ said:

Ooh Journey to the Centre of the Earth sounds great Janet! I'm adding it to my wish list.

I'm always a bit nervous when people add books when I've loved them but I do hope you love it too, @~Andrea~:) If you have a Kindle it's free on Amazon and Project Gutenberg.   :)

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Thanks Janet. I don't have a kindle but I expect I can get a cheap copy on my Kobo. Don't worry I won't hold it against you if I don't like it :D

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3 hours ago, ~Andrea~ said:

Thanks Janet. I don't have a kindle but I expect I can get a cheap copy on my Kobo. Don't worry I won't hold it against you if I don't like it :D

Phew!  :giggle2:

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On 2.1.2018 at 2:29 PM, Janet said:

 

I am doing an offline challenge - very, very long-term - a quest to visit, and blog, every branch of Waterstones!  It started off after a comment from @chaliepud (whom I don't think I've ever thanked - so thanks! :)  ) as a bit of a joke between Peter and myself, but then we decided to do it! We love the UK and this quest has made us visit towns we would never have otherwise visited.  We're on 57/281 so far! Wish us luck!

 

Ooooh, what a wonderful bookish quest! :smile2:  Good luck with it! :smile2:

 

I hope you have a wonderfully happy reading year in 2018, Jänet! :readingtwo:

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007-2018-Feb-02-Eleanor%20Oliphant%20is%

 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

 

The ‘blurb’

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend. Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything. One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life. Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine? An astonishing story that powerfully depicts the loneliness of life, and the simple power of a little kindness

 

“If someone asks you how you are, you are meant to say FINE.

You are not meant to say that you cried yourself to sleep last night because you hadn't spoken to another person for two consecutive days.

FINE is what you say.”

 

Eleanor Oliphant is nearly thirty years old and is alone in the world. There is Mummy, of course, but she is away somewhere and only talks to Eleanor by telephone. Eleanor and her mother had a fractured relationship and Eleanor was fostered since being a small child. As a result, she is socially awkward and has no friends. She has been in the same job for many years, but her colleagues treat her with derision. However, all this is about to change when Eleanor leaves the office at the same time as co-worker Raymond and they witness a man have a fall. Brought together by this event, they form an unlikely friendship, which might just thaw Eleanor's sad heart and make her learn to face her past, stand up for herself, and to really begin to live.

 

This book was everywhere towards the end of last year and I kept picking it up but as it was in hardback I didn't buy it. I treated myself to the paperback as soon as it came out, and looked forward to getting stuck in. I started off by hating Eleanor, but I grew to love her as she grew as a person – and who couldn't love Raymond?! It's a book of hope and courage and I very much enjoyed the story. Eleanor is actually rather endearing – she makes jokes at her own expense, but I found I couldn't laugh at her but I was rooting for her every step of her journey. I guessed the ending, largely because a similar storyline occurs in another book I have read (I was going to put the title in a spoiler tag, but then I realised that was pointless as nobody would know whether to click on it or not! :giggle2: ). However, guessing didn't spoil my enjoyment of this book. One of my Book Club members was going to choose this last year, but as it was only out in hardback at that time it wasn't picked, but I think it would make a good book for discussion.

 

The paperback edition is 400 pages long and is published by HarperCollins. It was first published in 2017. The ISBN is 9780008172145.

 

4/5 (I really enjoyed it)

 

(Finished 29 January 2018)

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I picked this book up a little while ago when the paperback was in Amazon's sale. It's nice to read your review :). I'm glad you liked the book.

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I've just added this to my wishlist (I thought I may have already bought it). Like you say, this book was mentioned everywhere last year and this year, and it sounds like it's worth a read. 

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I've just got this, as another group I'm in has chosen it for their April book of the month group read.

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I loved Eleanor, I think there is a little bit of her in all of us. I have found it hard getting into other books since though! 

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Oh yes, the blurb for Elinor sounds worryingly familiar!:blush:

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On 3/7/2018 at 10:07 AM, Athena said:

I picked this book up a little while ago when the paperback was in Amazon's sale. It's nice to read your review :). I'm glad you liked the book.

 

On 3/10/2018 at 7:33 PM, bobblybear said:

I've just added this to my wishlist (I thought I may have already bought it). Like you say, this book was mentioned everywhere last year and this year, and it sounds like it's worth a read. 

 

On 3/12/2018 at 12:13 PM, Madeleine said:

I've just got this, as another group I'm in has chosen it for their April book of the month group read.

 

On 3/13/2018 at 2:36 PM, chaliepud said:

I loved Eleanor, I think there is a little bit of her in all of us. I have found it hard getting into other books since though! 

 

On 3/13/2018 at 3:38 PM, Madeleine said:

Oh yes, the blurb for Elinor sounds worryingly familiar!:blush:

I haven't come across anyone who hated this book.  Most people seem to have very much enjoyed it.   I hope those of you who haven't read it yet enjoy it.  :)

 

I haven't looked at her other books, @chaliepud - I might not bother!  :)

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On 3/13/2018 at 3:36 PM, chaliepud said:

I loved Eleanor, I think there is a little bit of her in all of us. I have found it hard getting into other books since though! 

 

17 hours ago, Janet said:

I haven't looked at her other books, @chaliepud - I might not bother!  :)

 

I hope neither of you mind me butting into the conversation, but Janet, I think what chalie meant was that she'd had trouble getting into any other books since reading Eleanor[...], not specifically books by the same author of Eleanor[...].

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I wasn't overly keen on Eleanor, but I think those kinds of books just aren't my type, ones in which a kooky or socially inept character is a source of amusement but 'heartwarmingly' so. Those kinds of people are rarely perceived as heartwarming in real life, but are often still the source of amusement for others. I adored Raymond though, fantastic character and the exact kind of person the world needs more of!

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I' m just under 100 pages into "Eleanor" and I sort of agree with you Nollaig, I'm not sure whether I like Eleanor or not, I think she is definitely on "the spectrum" as well, which doesn't bother me but yes I'm not that sure how her character will turn out at this stage.  I don't think it's my sort of book either but my other internet book group has picked it as the book of the month, and I was curious after hearing all the hype, plus it was half price in the supermarket, so I thought I'd give it a go.

Edited by Madeleine

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008-2018-Feb-14-The%20Bette%20Davis%20Cl

 

The Bette Davis Club by Jane Lotter

 

The ‘blurb’

The morning of her niece’s wedding, Margo Just drinks a double martini and contemplates the many mistakes she’s made in her fifty-odd years of life. Spending three decades in love with a wonderful but unattainable man is pretty high up on her list of missteps, as is a long line of unsuccessful love affairs accompanied by a seemingly endless supply of delicious cocktails. When the young bride flees—taking with her a family heirloom and leaving behind six hundred bewildered guests—her mother offers Margo fifty grand to retrieve her spoiled brat of a daughter and the invaluable property she stole. So, together with the bride’s jilted and justifiably crabby fiancé, Margo sets out in a borrowed 1955 red MG on a cross-country chase. Along the way, none of what she discovers will be quite what she expected. But it might be exactly what she’s been seeking all along. From acclaimed humor writer Jane Lotter comes this madcap, laugh-out-loud adventure, The Bette Davis Club.

 

Margo Just is in California for a wedding. She hasn't really been looking forward to the event as the bride's mother is her wealthy half-sister Charlotte and the only thing they have in common is a deceased father who was a famous screenwriter. Margo plans to help herself to something stunning from her sister's wardrobe to wear to the wedding and to drink gin cocktails to help her get through the day.

 

However, fate has a different idea, and when Margo's niece Georgia jilts her fiancé at the altar, Charlotte offers Margo $50,000 to bring back Georgia, and the items she has taken with her that don't belong to her. At Margo's disposal is their father's beloved 1955 MG – there is just one problem – Margo doesn't drive. So, seeking answers as to why Georgia fled from their wedding, her fiancé Tully reluctantly agrees to act as chauffeur, and the pair of the set off across the USA in pursuit of the runaway bride, but in seeking answers to Georgia's behaviour, Margo also uncovers some truths about her own past…

 

Okay, I confess – I bought this on Kindle partly due to the cover! I wasn't sure if it would be 'my thing', and indeed it wasn't really the sort of book I normally read, and yet it was fun and I liked it. I loved the character of Margo – not only is wonderfully feisty but she's also in her fifties – it's nice to have a character like this who is a similar age to me! And Tully was the perfect foil – I liked how their alliance grew through her journey. Sure, it's not great literature, but it was a nice easy read and one that I enjoyed.

 

The author, Jane Lotter, was actually a very successful US journalist. This is her only novel as she sadly died of cancer the same year her book was published.

 

The paperback edition is 337 pages long and is published by Lake Union Publishing. It was first published in 2015. The ISBN is 9781503951075. I read it on Kindle.

 

3/5 (I enjoyed it)

 

(Finished 14 February 2018)

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On 4/5/2018 at 9:10 AM, Nollaig said:

I wasn't overly keen on Eleanor, but I think those kinds of books just aren't my type, ones in which a kooky or socially inept character is a source of amusement but 'heartwarmingly' so. Those kinds of people are rarely perceived as heartwarming in real life, but are often still the source of amusement for others. I adored Raymond though, fantastic character and the exact kind of person the world needs more of!

 

On 4/5/2018 at 10:20 AM, Madeleine said:

I' m just under 100 pages into "Eleanor" and I sort of agree with you Nollaig, I'm not sure whether I like Eleanor or not, I think she is definitely on "the spectrum" as well, which doesn't bother me but yes I'm not that sure how her character will turn out at this stage.  I don't think it's my sort of book either but my other internet book group has picked it as the book of the month, and I was curious after hearing all the hype, plus it was half price in the supermarket, so I thought I'd give it a go.

As I said in my review, I found I couldn't laugh at Eleanor.  I found her sad and endearing (and yes, heart-warming).  I hope I didn't offend anyone - it certainly wasn't my intention.

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I'm banning myself from new book purchases till June, but I'm very tempted by those last three books ( still, one's a freebie... ;) ) . I especially like the sound of  the Jane Lotter book ( what a pity about the author's death :( ) . 

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