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      Summer Supporter Giveaway   08/31/2020

      Going on a Summer Holiday (Sort Of...)     The summer giveaway for Patreon supporters is finally here and this time we're doing something a little bit different. I want supporters to tell me where you would go on holiday, if you could go anywhere. The winner will receive a bookish prize based on their answer!   Terms and conditions are as usual. Patreon supporters will be automatically entered into the giveaway and selected at random. As we're a little late this year the draw will be held on the second weekend of September. If you aren't currently a supporter but want to be involved in the giveaway you can sign up to support us here:   https://www.patreon.com/bookclubforum  


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About ian

  • Rank
    Constant Reader
  • Birthday 04/13/1970

Profile Information

  • Reading now?
    keep forgetting to update this, but definitely something!
  • Gender
    Not Telling
  • Location:
    Birmingham, England
  • Interests
    Rock music, hiking, Sci-fi

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  1. What Are You Watching Now? - 2017

    We've been watching the BBC adaptation of the first Strike book by Robert Galbraith. Perhaps a little bit slow, but we all enjoyed it nonetheless. Looking forward to The Silkworm tonight!
  2. Two books come to mind, for different reasons. If it's straight political allegory that you are after, then Lord of the Flies by William Golding would be a good choice. The English is probably a little more complex than Animal Farm though. If it's books about animals then Watership Down by Richard Adams is a great read. I don't think you would find the English more difficult than Animal Farm. Richard Adams always denied there was any allegorical content to the book - although plenty of people have read it into it. Both are great books and well worth reading!
  3. First line of current book - 2017

    It started snowing shortly after ten am. (The Dogs of Riga - Henning Mankell)
  4. Vodkafan's 2017 reading experience

    The Ben Elton sounds interesting. I gave up reading his books a while ago, as I found they were getting a bit preachy, but your review has got me intrigued.
  5. Top 5 (or 10) Wednesday

    Nemesis by Jo Nesbo. - The blurb on the back gives away a major plot point which doesn't happen till halfway through the book. It would have been a proper jaw-dropping moment (for me anyway) had I not known it was coming.
  6. Ian's reading 2017

    Cursing my luck - I decided to go to the library for my next book. I really wanted to get something different and out of my comfort zone. Well, I failed in that respect, as I only picked up another crime thriller. But the worst was, I picked up initially an Ann Cleeves "Shetland" book. I've read the first three and I wanted to know if it was the fourth. It wasn't, but reading the synopsis on the inside front cover gave away a major plot spoiler for one of the books to come. Gutted!
  7. Ian's reading 2017

    Book 30: The Good Liar by Nicholas Searle This is a life told back to front. This is a man who has lied all his life. Roy is a conman living in a small English town, about to pull off his final con. He is going to meet and woo a beautiful woman and slip away with her life savings. But who is the man behind the con? What has he had to do to survive a life of lies? And who has had to pay the price? When Roy meets a wealthy widow online, he can hardly believe his luck. Just like Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley, Roy is a man who lives to deceive—and everything about Betty suggests she’s an easy mark. He’s confident that his scheme to swindle her will be a success. After all, he’s done this before. Sure enough, Betty soon lets Roy move into her beautiful home, seemingly blind to the web of lies he’s woven around her. But who is Roy, really? Spanning almost a century, this stunning and suspenseful feat of storytelling interweaves the present with the past. As the clock turns back and the years fall away, long-hidden secrets are forced into the light. Some things can never be forgotten. Or forgiven. (taken from Goodreads) My Thoughts It took me quite a while to get into this. I very nearly gave it up after only 20 pages or so. Partly, this was because the main character, Roy, was such an unappealing character. Partly, it was the purple prose that the author uses. I could almost see the author flicking through a thesaurus for every sentence, trying to make it more and more ornate. It got on my nerves. What kept me going was knowing that this is the author's first book, and the good reviews that I had read online. And, to be fair it did get better. Yes, it is obvious from almost the first chapter that there is more going on than just a con. Betty, Roy's mark, is too knowing. And that keeps happening. Rather than springing the surprises on us, they sort of filter into us. It happens too often to be anything other than deliberate, but I would have preferred at least some surprises. There was plenty of scope for these, so that was a shame. Where the book really comes alive is in the flashbacks to Roys life, which are told in reverse. It's like going from black and white to technicolour; I did wish that the whole book was as good. Still, overall it was an enjoyable read with some very good ideas. As a first novel, there is enough here to make me want to read another. 3/5
  8. Don't say that - I brought a new car last week! But, in all seriousness, I think eventually, individual car ownership will probably go the way of the Dodo. However, I don't think it will be an easy thing to give up or will happen too soon. We are, as a species, just a little bit too selfish still to want to give up our status symbols.
  9. Ian's reading 2017

    Book 26: The Fireman by Joe Hill Synopsis The fireman is coming. Stay cool. No one knows exactly when it began or where it originated. A terrifying new plague is spreading like wildfire across the country, striking cities one by one: Boston, Detroit, Seattle. The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton. To everyone else it’s Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies—before causing them to burst into flames. Millions are infected; blazes erupt everywhere. There is no antidote. No one is safe. (taken from Goodreads) My Thoughts First up - please by aware, the synopsis above is only part of the whole thing on Goodreads. The whole thing is very spoilery. So, my first Joe Hill book, and I was aware going in that this is actually Joseph King, Stephen King's son. This is very well written. As the viewpoint throughout the whole book is from the character of Harper, we don't see the wider, worldwide view of how the plague is spreading. This gives a nice sense of claustrophobia. I did initially take a very strong dislike to Harper's husband, Jakob. I don't know if I was meant to - if not it was the only mis-step of the whole book for me. That soon resolved itself for me anyway. The author seems to have learnt the knack of epic storytelling from his father (and presumably his mother; I've never read any Tabitha King) and there are a couple of nice references to his father's books - twice a character says he has " forgotten the face of his father" and once a character comes home with a six pack of Nozz-a-la (both Dark Tower references). I'm also quite impressed that an American can write an Englishman with believable English Idioms. As you can tell, I was quite impressed - I need to read more. 5/5
  10. Top 5 (or 10) Wednesday

    I'm going to struggle with that one. I'm mostly reading thrillers and murder mysteries, so the covers are either of a shadowy figure against a monochrome background of some harsh, wintery scene, or something involving blood! So, I'm going to cheat (a bit) and say the cover of any cookbook!
  11. Ian's reading 2017

    Book 25: End of Watch - Stephen King In Room 217 of the Lakes Region Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic, something has awakened. Something evil. Brady Hartsfield, perpetrator of the Mercedes Massacre, where eight people were killed and many more were badly injured, has been in the clinic for five years, in a vegetative state. According to his doctors, anything approaching a complete recovery is unlikely. But behind the drool and stare, Brady is awake, and in possession of deadly new powers that allow him to wreak unimaginable havoc without ever leaving his hospital room. Retired police detective Bill Hodges, the unlikely hero of Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers, now runs an investigation agency with his partner, Holly Gibney—the woman who delivered the blow to Hartsfield’s head that put him on the brain injury ward. When Bill and Holly are called to a suicide scene with ties to the Mercedes Massacre, they find themselves pulled into their most dangerous case yet, one that will put their lives at risk, as well as those of Bill’s heroic young friend Jerome Robinson and his teenage sister, Barbara. Brady Hartsfield is back, and planning revenge not just on Hodges and his friends, but on an entire city. In End of Watch, Stephen King brings the Hodges trilogy to a sublimely terrifying conclusion, combining the detective fiction of Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers with the heart-pounding, supernatural suspense that has been his bestselling trademark. The result is an unnerving look at human vulnerability and chilling suspense. No one does it better than King. My Thoughts Am I allowed to say that I'm a little disappointed? And here's the thing: it's because there's a supernatural element to this. I remember when the first book came out, and it was billed as the first book in a "straight" trilogy. Well, he managed two, but I guess he couldn't help himself. But, that aside, this is a thrilling read. I've got a lot going on at the moment, and it's taken a really good book like this to keep me interested, as I think otherwise, reading would have taken a back seat. As an end of a trilogy, it's got everything you want (except maybe just a little bit more!) 4/5
  12. Top 5 (or 10) Wednesday

    Just catching up with these, so I'll do both if I may. Books that aren't set in the western world I've avoid SF and fantasy, as that makes it too easy! 1. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini (Afghanistan) - I could probably include his other two books, they are excellent, if difficult reads 2. Child 44 - Tom Rob Smith (Soviet Russia) 3. Life of Pi - Yann Martel (India/ Pacific Ocean) Series that got better. 1. The dark Tower - the first book isn't that good, but it just gets better and better from there. ... and I'm struggling after that!
  13. Ian's reading 2017

    On the Steel Breeze by Alistair Reynolds Synopsis Chiku Yellow is earth bound:living a peaceful life on a changing world, as humanity explores a thousand new ways to experience life. Chiku Red is space bound:blasted into deep space to investigate Eunice Akinya's last journey, and maybe unlock the final secrets of the physics of space travel. Chiku Green is planet bound:travelling thousands of light years in a vast ship to the planet Crucible. My thoughts This is a follow on from the excellent Blue remembered earth, and like that, this book is jam-packed with ideas. Sometimes I find hard sci-fi a bit cold. Too much science and not enough fiction. This for me gets the balance just right. It's a great story that zips around the galaxy flitting between the 3 different Chiku. I loved this and need to read the final book in the series. 5/5
  14. Top 5 (or 10) Wednesday

    The Wind in the Willows The Hobbit The Sheep-Pig (only read this as an adult -better known as the film Babe, but an excellent book) James and the Giant Peach Private Peaceful (again only read this recently. Not only a fantastic book for older children, but probably one of the best WWI books I've ever read)