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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…     
Talisman

June's Around the World Book Challenge

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Thanks, Claire.  :)  I will have a look and see what they have.   I'd rather not pay if I can help it!

 

I liked the sound of Annie John though, so it was good to see that June enjoyed it.  :)

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If you are meant to read it, then it will come your way for the price that you can afford. Personally even though I am low paid (relatively) I never mind paying for books. As an author myself I know that we need all the help that we can get ... 

 

I have though finished yet another country - this time Thailand - The Beach by Alex Garland. This was the Kindle Daily Deal a few days ago. Some may be more familiar with the film of the same name, but I am yet to see this. Reading the book though has made me want to see it. There is a sense of foreboding that runs right through the book from the very beginning where you just know that something really dark is going to happen - and it does. Another excellent read.

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Finished yet another country last night - this time the island of Grenada in the Caribbean. Pynter Bender by Jacob Ross (the author was I believe born in Grenada). It was a bit of a strange book, kind of like a coming of age novel, but with the backdrop of Grenadian independence, which was quite difficult to read. This was partly because of the language (much of it is written in what I can only describe as pidgin), but mostly because of all the different characters, which got a bit confusing.   

 

I am now reading a South American travelogue set in Patagonia (Chile and Argentina, 2 countries which I have already covered).

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My reading has a bit slow of late, due to various reasons, but I am now well and truly back on track, having started my 3rd book of the month last night.

 

The two previous ones have been for Greece (The Messenger of Athens by Anne Zaroudi) and Niger (Gavin Weston's Harmattan) respectively. The Greek one was the first in a series of crime fiction novels set featuring a mysterious private investigator, while the book from Niger, which comes highly recommended was a by now familiar tale of a young girl sold into marriage by her selfish and arrogant father. Even though this is now a familiar subject to me, I still find these books very readable, and this one was no exception. The lack of compassion that men show with regard to women in certain parts of the world never ceases to amaze me, and it never hurts to be reminded of that and how lucky we all are in the west.   

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Finished another country last night - this time Niger - Harmattan by Gavin Weston (author born in Ireland). This was an excellent book, and one that I would definitely recommend - a familiar tale of a young girl sold into an abusive marriage after the death of her mother and older brother.

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Finished another country last night - this time Niger - Harmattan by Gavin Weston (author born in Ireland). This was an excellent book, and one that I would definitely recommend - a familiar tale of a young girl sold into an abusive marriage after the death of her mother and older brother.

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I am off to Lundy again later on today for my annual 2 week summer holiday - something which is very much needed. I plan to walk, read, sleep and eat, not necessarily in that order !

 

I have then preloaded my Kindle with no less than 7 different books including ones from several new countries, The Philippines, Bulgaria, Barbados and Guatemala (I am really looking forward to reading this one). I also have books from the US, and Iran and of course Iceland. My partner Coran, who is in the process of writing her own work on perception and her experiences of gender dysphoria has also given me a copy of what she has so far written to look through, which should be interesting.      

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I did - it's a good job I downloaded as many as I did, as I managed to get through 10 books in total. All were brilliant, but each also very different. Probably the best one was The Rapture by Liz Jensen - real edge of seat stuff. 

 

I managed then to get through another four countries in total - The Philippines, Bulgaria, Samoa and Guatemala.  I also read another book, which although written by a Barbados born author, was set in Senegal. Since I am doing this by country in which the book is set, this then was for me a book from Senegal, a country that has already been covered, as have Iran, England and Iceland, the other countries that I read.

 

Books read in the last 2 weeks then:

 

The Gift of Rain: Tan Twan Eng (Malaysia)

Banana Heart Summer: Merlinda Bobis (Philippines)

Mr G - A Novel About Creation: Alan Lightman (England)

Zift - A Noir Novel: Vladislaw Todorov (Bulgaria)

The Rapture: Liz Jensen (England)

Someone to Watch Over Me: Yrsa Sigurdadottir (Iceland)

Tree Girl: Ben Mikaelsen (Guatemala)

Children of the Jacaranda Tree: Sahar Delijani (Iran)

Redemption in Indigo: Karen Lord (Senegal)

Sons for the Return Home: Albert Wendt (Samoa)      

Edited by Talisman

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I have finished another 2 countries in the past week - The Old Man and His Sons by Hedin Bru for the Faroe Islands and The Ten Incarnations of Adam Avatar by Kevin Baldeosingh for Trinidad and Tobago.

 

This last one was undoubtedly one of the most unusual books I have read for a long while, which tackles issues to do with relationships, mental health, religion, philosophy, morals, reincarnation and cause and effect (among other things) - and at the same time provides a potted history of the Caribbean. Definitely one that I would recommend.

 

The Faroese book was good too - I spent a few days in the Faroe Islands in the early 90's and it is hard to get books from this part of the world. Books set in a place where I have actually been always bring back memories, and this one did too. I was though very glad that when I went I did not get to witness a whale drive, the details of which are provided in somewhat too stark detail.

 

Next up is Cuba.  

Edited by Talisman

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I have finished another 2 countries since I last posted - The Maids of Havana by Pedro Perez Sarduy for Cuba and earlier tonight All Dogs Are Blue by Rodrigo Souza Leao for Brazil.

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Finished another country this afternoon - this time Syria - The Silence and the Roar by Nihad Sirees. This was a very good and thought provoking read about life under a dictatorship, very apt given what is going on out there at the moment.

 

Having just done a quick count, I was surprised to find that this was my 101st country !  

Edited by Talisman

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I have completed another couple of countries since I last posted on here:

 

Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones for Papua New Guinea and

A Place Where the Sea Remembers by Sandra Benitez for El Salvador

Edited by Talisman

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Congrats, June. :) You're making great progress with this challenge. What country/book is next?

 

How did you enjoy Mister Pip?

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Brilliant book - I loved it.

 

I have managed another country since I last posted - We the Animals by Justin Torres for Puerto Rico.

 

I am not sure what the next country will be to be honest - I have a list as long as my arm of Icelandic books I want to read, but I don't want to them all back to back, as much as In love Iceland, it is good to have variety. I will have to go through my wish list and see what fancy - I am thinking something from South America.

Edited by Talisman

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I didn't read a book from South America in the end, but one from Burma - The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sandker (author born in Germany). This is a fantastic and incredibly beautiful book, about a Burmese-American woman who goes to Burma looking for her lost father.  

 

I have also completed Armenia - which is one of the old Soviet Republics near the Turkish border - An Armenian Sketchbook by Vasily Grossman.  

 

This now brings me to 104 countries, and 38 this year. I will be happy if I manage to complete another 2 by the end of the year.

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Your going great guns! :D I have only read nine this year. :lol: I shall have to examine your list to check if the author was born there and then steal a few!

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This now brings me to 104 countries, and 38 this year. I will be happy if I manage to complete another 2 by the end of the year.

x

That's excellent progress :)! Congrats!

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Thanks Alexi and Athena. I am very happy with what I have managed to achieve this year (so far). I have made it my goal to pretty much crack on with this challenge, and most of the books have been educating and enlightening (just how I like them) so it hasn't felt like hard work. I had a good start to the year with that African anthology and it has just got better and better. I am having a break from it for the moment though, and reading yet another Icelandic book. There were so many that I found when I went there last month that I suspect it will take me a month just to get through all of them !     

Edited by Talisman

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I finished yet another country a few days ago - this time Djibouti in the horn of Africa. It is hard to find books from this part of the world, but I managed to find one that was not only set there but also written by a native - Transit by Abdourahman A Waberi  

Edited by Talisman

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Finished my 42nd country for the year yesterday. It was another one of those that is very hard to find - St Helena, Ascension and Tristan de Cunha - which are three islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean miles from anywhere. I suspect it would be well nigh impossible to find any books written by someone who was born on either one of these islands, so I did the next best thing, I found one that was written by the wife of a clergyman who spent three years living there at the turn of the 20th Century (Three Years in Tristan de Cunha by Katherine Mary Barrow). It wasn't the best book I have read this year, but I can't complain, as it was free. 

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As 2013 draws to a close I am now 43 countries closer to completing this challenge, which means than I am close now to the halfway mark. My final country then for the year is the small Caribbean island of St Kitts for which I read A Distant Shore by Caryl Phillips. I enjoyed the book and will definitely look up a few more of his books.

 

I have then this year completed El Salvador, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Antigua, Grenada, St Kitts, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Tristan de Cunha, Chile, Brazil, Faroe Islands, Armenia, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Kosovo, Angola, Cameroon, Djibouti, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Guinea, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, Mali, Niger, Namibia, Sudan, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Syria, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa and American Samoa.  

Edited by Talisman

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That anthology certainly helped. By the time I deduct those 13 countries from last years list, I will be happy if I manage to get through 30 this year. If my wish list is anything to go by, I shouldn't have too many problems. :readingtwo:

Edited by Talisman

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