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      June Supporter Giveaway   06/01/2019

      For the June giveaway I chose the theme 'The Gift of Reading.' One that I think we can all appreciate! The winner will receive four books, including:     The Gifts of Reading by Robert MacFarlane - 'An essay on the joy of reading, for anyone who has ever loved a book.'   plus three little short but (hopefully) thought provoking reading gifts...   The Reckoning by Edith Wharton - 'Two moving stories of love, loss, desire and divorce, from one of the great chroniclers of nineteenth-century New York life.' Create Dangerously by Albert Camus - 'Camus argues passionately that the artist has a responsibility to challenge, provoke and speak up for those who cannot in this powerful speech, accompanied here by two others.' It Was Snowing Butterflies by Charles Darwin - 'A selection of Darwin's extraordinary adventures during the voyage of the Beagle.'    As always, supporting members will be entered automatically into the random draw at the end of the month. If you want to be entered into the draw but don't support yet, you can do so here: https://www.patreon.com/bookclubforum   Good luck   
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vodkafan

Vodkafan's 2019 reading blog

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Quick update. Had to give up on the Atlan saga, it was getting a bit stale for me. I read Holes by Louis Sacher instead in one day, that was very good, and have now started Oryx And Crake.

Will catch up on my reviews tomorrow.

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Holes             4/5

Louis Sacher

 

Holes was great!  A quick read and a joy to read. It was very much a fairy tale book, with just enough elements of reality in it to make you think you are reading a plausible story, so long as you don't stop to wonder at all the miraculous coincidences of destiny.  But surely only a complete Grinch would want to.

The simple plot just sweeps the reader along, and every little detail is important in the end, even the onions....I was glad I never got to watch the film.

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I wanted to get the book Holes years ago and your review has just reminded me of it! I have seen the film but it was a very long time ago, I don't remember much about it, so I don't think it would ruin the book. 

 

I hope you're enjoying Oryx and Crake!

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Half way through Oryx and Crake. It is  one of those stories where the reasons for the situation at the start are only revealed piecemeal through the novel one little nugget of information at a time. Also, not a happy story! But worth sticking with I think.

At the same time I have also started reading  a YA book, Truth or Dare by Celia Rees. It has an autistic character in it, Uncle Patrick, who died long ago , and there seems to be a mystery about him.

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I imaged Oryx and Crake would probably be quite an intense, emotional, book, considering the subject. Were you considering not finishing it?

 

Truth or Dare sounds good. I loved Witch Child by Celia Rees so interested to see what you think, I might have to add it to my to-read list! 

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I finished My Brothers Keeper by Donna Malane.  This is the second book in a crime series set in Wellington, NZ,  It's been good to read something with places I recognise.  I haven't read a lot of NZ books and I should really read more.  

 

I'm currently reading The Girl in the Woods by Camilla Lackberg but I'm not sure if I'll continue.  I've found this series got a bit samey as it went on.

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Truth or Dare sounds interesting, I look forward to hear/read your thoughts when you have finished it :).

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On ‎04‎/‎06‎/‎2019 at 7:21 AM, Athena said:

Truth or Dare sounds interesting, I look forward to hear/read your thoughts when you have finished it :).

 

Thanks Athena, I left Truth or Dare temporarily and read another whole book yesterday,  but I will certainly have finished it before the weekend and will review it Saturday.

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Hot Milk          5/5

Deborah Levy

 

This was an impulse purchase from a charity shop.  The cover photograph was just a very far away shot of a girl on a beach and it looked like nothing I would be interested in.  But I bought it because the blurb on the back gave absolutely no clue  as to what it was about: which is surely the opposite way a blurb is supposed to work, right?

But I was hooked from the first couple of sentences. The writing is amazing. Sofia has put her life on hold for years to look after her mother and her mysterious medical problems. Her mother has sold the London flat they live in - Sofia's inheritance - in order to fund a trip to Spain to become a patient of the clinic run by the equally mysterious Dr Gomez and his beautiful daughter.  Dr Gomez's methods are unorthodox to say the least, and he may be a total charlatan . If he fails to cure her mother's condition, they have no further options (and nothing to go back to in any case).

I say again, the writing was amazing. The author uses sentences that took my breath away and hit me around the head like an unexpected blow from a baseball bat.

( "My love for my mother is like an axe; it cuts very deep.")

There are other things too that made this book a bit different,   Every few pages there are short passages written by a different voice in the first person, and it is clear that Sofia is being watched by this person. (Who and why?)

Several motifs appear again and again, for instance that of right and left hands doing different things; is it a clue that implies sleight of hand, deceit, or perhaps just of a split personality that does not know itself? Pain and feeling; Sofia actively goes out of her way to get painful stings and enjoys wearing the scars on her skin, whereas her mother insists that she herself cannot feel.

Another clue is the way Sofia views other people. She notices physical details of women more; she always describes the way their clothes encircle or touch their bodies.

Time also seems a little bit mixed up: there is a part where Sofia has a piece of glass in her skin but doesn't know how it has got there. The accident where the piece of glass gets embedded doesn't happen until a couple of chapters later. Does this mean that her whole narrative is somehow not objectively real?

The ending is left a little bit open, but you feel that Sofia has resolved her dilemmas.

As my first 5/5 book of this year (and I seem to be hard to please this year) I would say that I give most of the points for the quality of the writing and the way the words and sentences poke my emotions, surprise me with a jolt . I will look for some more books by this author.

 

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Her Fearful Symmetry          4/5

Audrey Niffeneger

 

If I had read this first before Hot Milk  I might have given it 5/5 , but although it was a very good book the writing itself didn't entrance me in the way that the other book's did, so I had to mark it a bit less.

The plot was most interesting, I thought it was going to be about relationships, (which it was) but then it added a ghost story, (which reminded me at first a lot of The Hungry Ghosts by Anne Berry) and then added something else again.  A satisfying read.

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Nice reviews! I liked Her Fearful Symmetry too.

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It's so nice when a book bought completely at random turns out to be great isn't it? Glad you enjoyed your last two books!

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On 6/9/2019 at 8:45 PM, Hayley said:

It's so nice when a book bought completely at random turns out to be great isn't it? Glad you enjoyed your last two books!

 

Yes and the odd thing is that the last 3 books- Holes, Hot Milk and Her Fearful Symmetry all came from the same small shelf in the same charity shop, bought singly on different days....

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18 hours ago, vodkafan said:

 

Yes and the odd thing is that the last 3 books- Holes, Hot Milk and Her Fearful Symmetry all came from the same small shelf in the same charity shop, bought singly on different days....

 

It is clearly a lucky shelf! 

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Truth Or Dare         2/5

Celia Rees

 

What can I say about this book? Not to denigrate YA books at all (some are excellent) this one fizzled out for me quite quickly and it took an effort to finish it.  The central message was that we should be more understanding and nicer to autistic people (and yes of course we should) It spent too much time talking at me and explaining and got a bit preachy.

If I had read it when I was twelve I probably would have thought it was fantastic.

 

 

 

 

 

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I tried to go back to Oryx And Crake  but the story is a tad depressing at the moment. Instead I am 150 pages into London The Novel by Edward Rutherford. My eldest son and his girlfriend found this for me in a charity shop. It is amazing! Right up my street.

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