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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…     
Janet

Janet's *very* long-term Around the World challenge

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Thanks, Julie.  :)

 

I use this site to do the map.  :)   It does look like I've done more than 20%, doesn't it!  The US, Canada, Greenland and Russia coloured in huge chunks of it!  :D  There are lots and lots of tiny countries - so many I hadn't ever heard of before!  My list is the one from the site linked, so I'm doing 223 countries in total.  I've got quite a few books from the library (I try to get them from there if I can) and also on Kindle.  I'm trying not to pay full price if I can avoid it!  :giggle2:

 

Thanks for dropping in!    :D 

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UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED, the books are from the country the author was born in.

This is one such book - Basutoland (now Lesotho)

 

worldmap-2014-05May-06-49countries-Lesot

49 Countries - 21.03%

 

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Green Mountain Doctor by Colin Smith

 

The ‘blurb’

In the early 1960s, the 'winds of change' were blowing through southern Africa.

 

A young doctor, recently qualified and ridiculously inexperience, found himself in charge of a hospital in Basutoland, high in the Drakensberg mountains.

 

In this remote British Protectorate, in surroundings completely alien to his background and training, he was expected to cover all aspects of medicine, including obstetrics, surgery, public heatlh and forensic pathology, with the sole responsibility for the medical care of many thousands of people.

 

As he struggled to conquer his fear and adapt to his surroundings he was also learning to be a husband and father.

 

This is the story of a fascinating, and extraordinary, period in a young man's life.

 

Although I usually read a book based on the author’s country of birth, it’s not the case with this one.

 

Colin Smith, the author, was my GP from when I was a little girl until I got married just before I was 22. He also sang in the choir at my wedding! When he retired, Colin moved from Kent to Dorset, but kept in touch with my in-laws. I last saw him at my father-in-law’s funeral about 8 years ago! However, I didn’t know until recently that he’d written and self-published books. Some are fiction, but this book is factual and is about his time as a young newly-qualified doctor who went to work in Basutoland – at the time a British Protectorate – as a Government Medical Office. Wikipedia define a British Protectorate as “a territory under the British Empire which is not formally annexed but in which, by treaty, grant or other lawful means, the Crown has power and jurisdiction.” Basutoland is now, since gaining full independence, called Lesotho.

 

The book starts by detailing some of Colin’s childhood and his training before moving to Africa. Whilst in Africa he decided that he should be married – his letter of proposal is very funny – it’s amazing his wife said yes! He then goes on to speak about personal and medical matters, some of which I found rather difficult to read due to their rather descriptive nature (but that’s me – I have to watch programmes like Holby City from behind the sofa! :P ). The African surgeries and hospitals which Colin served in during his time in Basutoland were very basic, and Colin’s training slightly inadequate for the challenges he faced and therefore he had his fair share of very sad failures, but throughout he speaks with compassion and humour – the tone is informal and easy to read and I very much enjoyed it, although having personal experience of the author probably helped!

 

The paperback edition is 160 pages long and is self-published by Colin Smith. It was first published in 2000. The ISBN is 9780953889501.

 

4/5 (I really liked it)

 

(Finished 06 May 2014)

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Sounds like an interesting book - it looks though like it may be out of print as the only (paper) copies on Amazon are second hand ones for a penny ! It doesn't matter though, as I have a nice travel book lined up that includes not only Lesotho, but about 7 or 8 other countries as well.    

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It's self-published so it's possible to buy new copies (not that you need to) direct from the author.  :)  

 

I am going to check out some of those books with multiple stories/countries in.  I have a couple on my Wish List. 

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Personally I would always much rather buy a book if I can, especially when it is self published, as I think is it important that authors are supported financially to be able to carry on their work. Having been there myself and having first hand knowledge of the struggles that the self published in particular have to face, this is very important to me, but I understand that not everyone has the funds to do this all the time. :smile:

 

Travel books are though a great way of getting through multiple countries very quickly. Jason Smart has written a whole series of them on his travels to various parts of the world that I am slowly getting through, although I am not sure if this compromises your idea of the author being born in the part of the world that is being written about ?  

Edited by Talisman

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Thanks, Gaia.  :)  I've only managed two books towards this challenge in 2014.  Maybe I'll do better next year?  

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Good luck for next year! I hope you will find some nice books to read from the countries you haven't read any yet from :).

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Nigeria - The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives by Lola Shoneyin - 3/5

51 Countries - 21.89%  :)

It's been aaages since I read a World Challenge book! Sadly I can't get the map to work.

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Copied from my blog:

 

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)

 

52 countries completed - 22.32%

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I read this when it was first published a few years ago, and found it quite a difficult read too. 

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I read that one for South Korea as well. I can remember absolutely nothing about it at all (!) so I went and had a look. 

 

According to my world challenge thread: “a plodder but well written and thought provoking”. 

 

Well clearly not that thought provoking given I can remember no thoughts at all! Plodder sounds more like it. :D 

 

 

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Another country:

 

Dominica - Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys - 4/5 - finished 28.03.18

 

The author was born there, and the book is part set there too. :)

 

53 Books - 22.75%

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