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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…     
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BookJumper

This book might well not exist

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I'm looking for a book which might well not exist.

 

It should have the intellectual flights of fancy of Scarlett Thomas's "The End of Mr. Y" but not the jarring crudeness of its language; worlds as believable as Gregory Maguire's "The Wicked Years" books and "The Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister" without the recourse to physical, disturbing loss of innocence; the spiritual challenge of Anne Rice's "Memnoch the Devil" without its near blasphemous (and I'm an agnostic!!) excesses.

 

It should be a book that makes me think, dream and question what I know, a book that unsettles the comfort zone of my intellectual life without tying my emotional life in uncomfortable knots.

 

For reasons that I'd rather keep to myself I find it very difficult to deal with explicit content in books; the offending sections in "The Wicked Years" hardly amount to more than a couple of pages across the books, yet those pages are the first I think of when calling them to mind, rather than the hundreds upon hundreds of other pages filled with wondrous excitement, adventure, human commentary, &tc.

 

So what I'm looking for is the wondrous excitement, adventure, human commentary, &tc. without the (for me) upsetting bits.

 

Any ideas?

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Have you thought about trying I, Lucifer by Glen Duncan? I think it ticks most of those boxes and it's got a streak of dark humour running right through it too. I think you might enjoy that one. :)

 

Blurb from Fantastic Fiction:

Glen Duncan has been hailed by the Times Literary Supplement (London) as one of Britain's twenty best young novelists, alongside such writers as Hari Kunzru and Zadie Smith. His new novel, I, Lucifer -- shortlisted for the Geoffrey Faber Award -- is a satirical tour de force fueled by a scorching, hyper-intelligent wit that burns up the pages. The End is nigh, and the Prince of Darkness has been given one last shot at redemption, if he can manage to live out a reasonably blameless life on earth. As a trial run, he negotiates a month of "trying without buying" in the body of struggling writer Declan Gunn. ("Incarnation, the angelic drug of choice. Unlike cocaine, not to be sniffed at.") Luce seizes the opportunity to binge on earthly delights, to straighten the biblical record (Adam, it's hinted, was a misguided variation on the Eve design), to celebrate his favorite achievements (Elton John, for one), and to try to get his screenplay sold, but the experience of walking among us isn't what His Majesty expected: instead of teaching us what it's like to be him, Lucifer finds himself understanding what it's like to be human.

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Have you thought about trying I, Lucifer by Glen Duncan? I think it ticks most of those boxes and it's got a streak of dark humour running right through it too. I think you might enjoy that one

I did actually :D but according to the Amazon blurb the incarnated Lucifer engages in plentiful mindless tomfoolery of the physical kind... :).

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A little, but it's not the main part of the plot. I found it a highly enjoyable read that can either be taken as a very light read or as something deeper - it works on both levels, really. :)

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A little, but it's not the main part of the plot.

That's the whole problem, really... no matter how insignificant a part it plays in the book, it will still sour my reading experience significantly - and by that I mean everything from nausea and dizziness to loss of appetite/sleep and tearfulness. Even though the book may

work on both levels
my traumatised mind can't.

 

I am just sick and tired of not truly enjoying otherwise good books because of this so I wondered if there were good books out there that I can truly enjoy start to finish... no souring :). I know there's always the children's book route and I'm already going down it, discovering marvellous authors; but I refuse to believe I'll never be able to read another non-children's book because of this.

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Have you read The Time Traveler's Wife? It's been 4 years since I read it, but I don't think there is anything in it that you'd find distasteful.

 

Also (and I really hope I'm not speaking out of turn here) - have you considered talking to someone about whatever it is that makes you feel like this - it might help. :D:)

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Have you read The Time Traveler's Wife? It's been 4 years since I read it, but I don't think there is anything in it that you'd find distasteful.

On my TBR already :tong:, although admittedly I have been putting it off after reading Binary_Digit's angry review re: the :D ending. Definitely one I want to read though.

 

Also (and I really hope I'm not speaking out of turn here) - have you considered talking to someone about whatever it is that makes you feel like this - it might help.

No worries, you're not speaking out of turn at all, you're speaking as a considerate person trying to help :). Sadly yes, I've considered, I've tried, and it's just made it all infinitely worse... hence the present predicament.

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Definitely from the children'/YA section, but absolutely beautiful and non-confrontational of any nasties - The Snow Spider Trilogy by Jenny Nimmo. It remains to this day once of my favourite series. Whether or not it's exactly what you're looking for, I think you'll enjoy it and will think it a worthwhile read. I'll even loan you my copy if you fancy it. :)

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You might find THIS site hlepful. You set the perameters for what you like and it suggests loads of books based on your preferences. Good stuff! :)

 

I put in the preferences of Happy, Safe, Gentle and Optimistic and got back (amongst others):

 

Liminal by Chris Keil

The Magus by John Fowles

Into the Blue by Robert Goddard

The Marriage Bureau for Rich People by Farahad Zama

Emma by Jane Austen*

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith*

Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married by Marian Keyes

Rosie Meadows by Catherine Alliott

Wise Follies by Grace Wynne-Jones

Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding

Anything by Katie Fforde

Too Many Godmothers by Kate Fenton

Nectar by Lily Prior

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

La Cucina by Lily Prior

Les Liaisons Culinaires by Andreas Staikos

 

The two I've starred are ones I've read that I think might fit the bill. In fact, ANY Jane Austen is wonderful - in particular, I love Northanger Abbey. :DThe No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency is definitely gentle and completely lacking in anything debauched or explicit. It's very cosy and warm and funny. I loved it and the lead (Precious Ramotswe - she's lovely!), and although I've only read the first one, I do intend to read the rest of the series at some point in the future. :tong:

Edited by Kell

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So what I'm looking for is the wondrous excitement, adventure, human commentary, &tc. without the (for me) upsetting bits.

 

Any ideas?

 

It's The Da Vinci Code!:)

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First of all, thanks for bringing that website for my attention, it seems like the perfect tol for those who (like me) might need to fine-tune their reading choice to slightly OCD levels! I shall let you know what I can find :D.

 

ANY Jane Austen is wonderful - in particular, I love Northanger Abbey.

It's been about eight years since I last read Northanger Abbey (my all-time favourite Austen too!) actually; I think it's time for a re-read. Might this be the time for me to invest in a boxset (not a single volume collected works, mind you, that would just be uncarriable!)?

 

It's The Da Vinci Code!

Noooo not "The Da Vinci Code"! I failed to read it through once and don't have a particular desire to attempt the feat again... :).

 

ETA: I've just set the parameters to larger than life, beautiful, no sex, unusual and it's returned this:

 

Salamander

by Thomas Wharton

A magical tale about the adventures of a Renaissance printer and his companions. This is a novel of full of ideas, myths and fantasies. Just the thing for a rainy weekend. The plot is quite fractured, and far from linear but if you are a booklover stay with it, because it's all about books, reading and love and will give you lots of food for thought and some memorable pictures.

 

... now THAT sounds rather perfect!

Edited by Janet
Removed the white colour from author's name to make it legible. :)

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I'm so glad you've found that site useful (and also that I've found a fellow Northanger Abbey fan - isn't it just great?!). And Salamander sounds like an interesting read - I'll look forward to hearing what you thought of it, as I've no doubt you'll get hold of a copy. :D

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No worries, you're not speaking out of turn at all, you're speaking as a considerate person trying to help :D. Sadly yes, I've considered, I've tried, and it's just made it all infinitely worse... hence the present predicament.

:tong: I'm sorry it didn't help you.

 

You might like The Ingenious Edgar Jones by Elizabeth Garner. :lol:

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You might like The Ingenious Edgar Jones by Elizabeth Garner

I actually spotted that in the Book Warehouse yesterday and it looked like my kind of book; I didn't buy it because the copies were way too manky (even for

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Hmm you won't like my novels then - as I have A LOT of upsetting scenes.

Anyway - There is David Eddings - yes he hints at it but never goes into detail - and they are more for young adults than actual adults (I first read them when I was sixteen!)

Belgariad quintet is his best and first works. Try them.

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After some thought, I've only really came up with one suggestion BookJumper, which I'd imagine you've already read.

 

Life Of Pi by Yann Martel, I am confident, is the book you're looking for.

 

Sorry I can't be of more help, but the exclusion of graphic scenes and harsh language really narrows down my pile.

 

I hope you find the book that does not exist, but if you don't, let me know, and I'll start work on it right away. I may even call it The Book That Does Not Exist!

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Life Of Pi by Yann Martel, I am confident, is the book you're looking for

I actually haven't already read this, it shall be looked into - thanks for the suggestion.

I hope you find the book that does not exist, but if you don't, let me know, and I'll start work on it right away. I may even call it The Book That Does Not Exist!

... oh, do!! Pretty please :)??

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I actually spotted that in the Book Warehouse yesterday and it looked like my kind of book; I didn't buy it because the copies were way too manky (even for
Edited by sirinrob

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Might not tick all the required boxes, but does tick the most important one in my opinion. Unfortunately, these are two series, and I know you are loathe to start one, but I'll suggest away anyway.

 

Terry Brooks' Shannara series, which is written along the same guidelines Tolkien wrote by; adult entertainment, escapism, magic, and sex-free.

 

They are adult novels, set in a fantasy world, and it isn't a requirement to read all of them, just three, which work as a trilogy (The Sword of Shannara Trilogy). Although if one enjoys these three one may be convinced to continue reading. On the plus side, if this is the case, it will provide you with a couple of years worth of reading material.

 

The fantasy world though is so well written that you can lose yourself in it (and just because I don't want to spoil a single thing for anyone that might read a much later part of the series) although

for undisclosable reasons, the world has many parallels to our own

.

 

They are full of war, and destruction, and wonderously written magical events, but absolutely no explicit material whatsoever. I think, in my recollection, there is one kiss (which is loving and not sexual) in the entire series.

 

Alternatively, Brooks has written the Landover series, which is 6 books so far, and relatively short in comparison to Shannara. Slightly more adolescent in approach, with all the magic of our world combined with another magical world, and again nothing in anyway explicit.

 

Fantasy authors I can no-no for you should you ever find them on the bookshelf (for the reason of explicitness) are Terry Goodkind and JV Jones.

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You misunderestimate me my dear :kissing: I have, in fact, read the Sword of Shannara Trilogy about ten years ago (unsurprisingly, this was around the same time I discovered Tolkien, although I can't remember for the life of me which triad I read first); I don't believe I've read Landover however so I'll have a mooch for it, thank you!*

*and thank you Sirinrob for resuscitating this here thread.

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@ Sirinrob: in the words of my pal, The Opera Ghost, 'Ahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!' or, in other words, er - no(t yet).

 

@ Vanwa: gosh. And I'm the one bankrupting you via Fforde?

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