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      Important Announcement!   07/28/2018

      Dear BCF members,   This forum has been running now for many years, and over that time we have seen many changes. Generalised forums are nowhere near as popular as they once were, and they have been very much taken over by blogs, vlogs and social media discussions. Running a forum well takes money, and a lot of care and attention, as there is so much which goes on behind the scenes to keep things running smoothly.   With all of this in mind, and after discussion within the current moderator team, the decision has been made to close this forum in its current format. I know that this will disappoint a lot of our long term members, but I want to reassure you that it's not a decision which has been taken lightly.    The remaining moderator team have agreed that we do not want to lose everything which is special about our home, and so we are starting a brand new facebook group, so that people can stay in touch, and discussions can continue. We can use it for free and should be easier for us to run (it won't need to be updated or hosted). We know not everyone has FaceBook, but we hope that those of you who are interested will join the group. We will share the link, and send invites as soon as we are ready to go. Added: We may as well get this going, find us here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/195289821332924/   The forum will close to new registrations, but will remain open for some time, to allow people to collect up any information, reading lists etc they need to, and to ensure they have contact details for those they wish to stay in touch with.    The whole team feel sad to say goodbye, but we also feel that it's perhaps time and that it feels like the right choice. We hope we can stay in touch with all of you through our new FaceBook group.   I personally want to thank everyone who has helped me moderate the forum, both in the past and the present, and I also want to thank every single person who has visited, and shared their love of books.. I'm so proud of everything we've achieved, and the home we built.   Please visit the new section in the Lounge section to discuss this further, ask questions etc.
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Alexander the Great

Alexander's Reading 2016

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Het verborgen leven van Eurídice Gusmão, by Martha Batalha

 

Read in 2016

 

  1. Under The Dome, by Stephen King
  2. A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens
  3. A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan
  4. Career of Evil, by Robert Galbraith
  5. Muidhond, by Inge Schilperoord
  6. The Gathering, by Anne Enright
  7. The Cuckoo's Calling, by Robert Galbraith
  8. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
  9. Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins
  10. Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins

  11. Bloodline, by Claudia Gray

  12. Het huis met de geesten, by Isabel Allende

  13. Emily's Ghost, by Denise Giardina

  14. The Stepmother, by Simon Tolkien

  15. May We Be Forgiven, by A.M. Homes

  16. The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett

  17. World Without End, by Ken Follett

  18. Enchantments, by Kathryn Harrison

  19. The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien
  20. De truc, by Emanuel Bergmann
  21. Hersenspinsels, by André Aleman
  22. The Two Towers, by J.R.R. Tolkien 
  23. The Return of the King, by J.R.R. Tolkien
  24. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, by J. K. Rowling 
  25. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Edited by Alexander the Great

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Under The Dome review

 

I bought this novel in August 2013 after having seen the first season of the television showed based on this work, but only got around to reading it now. It's definitely very different to the show and I gave up any comparison pretty early on.

 

I like a populated novel every now and then and I think that despite its length, the novel still felt quite fast-paced for the most part due to the different points of view. The characters were pretty well though through - there are obviously stereotypes in play, but I still had the idea that each character had their own story, their own background, their own personality, traits, habits, etc. 

 

It's a bit hard to believe that so few people stood up to Rennie, hard to believe that he really had that much power over so many people when one can reasonably assume that in such a population, more people would have more common sense. But then I didn't grow up in a small town in the USA - perhaps even in my own country, people in little towns would behave this way, or be so used to this.

 

Toward the end, however, the story wasn't moving forward. The two main plotlines seemed to drag on and I mainly kept reading because I wanted to know what the dome was, why it was there, if they'd get out, etc. The ending was a bit disappointing - I'd have liked a more clear-cut ending. This was definitely too vague and out-there - too easy, almost. But overall, it was an enjoyable reading experience.

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It's been a while since I read Under The Dome so my memory is a bit sketchy. However I do remember enjoying it quite a bit, but being a little disappointed by the ending. I didn't like the TV series, and stopped watching it pretty early on.

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I hope you have a wonderful reading year in 2016! :smile2: I see you're currently reading A Tale of Two Cities, I'm looking forward to your review on it! It's in my top 5 books, easy :smile2: 

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Can't wait to hear about what you thought of A Tale of Two Cities. Dickens is wonderful.

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Thank you for the nice comments, everyone! I know it's late, but I hope you all have a great reading year as well.

 

A Tale of Two Cities review

 

English is not my first language and while I read about 95% of my books in English, this was obviously more of a challenge. 

 
It took me some time to get used to the language and I'll admit it was a bit of a struggle at times. Luckily, I was able to look up the modern text if there was a sentence I really didn't grasp. (I know, I can derive the meaning from the context, but I like to know exactly what I'm reading). I think if I read this novel again, I might enjoy it more because that barrier wouldn't be there so much.
 
This is my first Dickens novel and I really appreciate his sense of humour - it's not in-your-face, but that makes it even more enjoyable. I look forward to reading his other work!

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Thank you both!

 

A Visit from the Goon Squad review

 

Breathless. That's how I feel after turning the last page. This novel covers such a wide array of styles and genres, yet the author does it effortlessly. A myriad of characters gives us a glimpse of parts of their stories and they're all connected somehow, but the reader doesn't need a complicated graphic to figure out how.

 

Reading the blurb in the library, I wasn't even going to take this novel home. The aging punk rocker with young assistant-thing the blurb made this novel out to be didn't appeal to me very much, yet something made me take it with me anyway and I'm glad I did. I only read about the prizes this won after finishing it, and I'm not surprised.

 

I've quite simply never ready anything like it. It's so many things at once, goes into the past, offering short glimpses of the future, complete lives in a couple of sentences. I liked that a lot, knowing what would become of everyone. All the characters are also so different, the settings and their stories are so different that at times it feels like reading several novels at once.

 

5 stars. Hands down.

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Thank you for the nice comments, everyone! I know it's late, but I hope you all have a great reading year as well.

 

A Tale of Two Cities review

 

English is not my first language and while I read about 95% of my books in English, this was obviously more of a challenge. 

 
It took me some time to get used to the language and I'll admit it was a bit of a struggle at times. Luckily, I was able to look up the modern text if there was a sentence I really didn't grasp. (I know, I can derive the meaning from the context, but I like to know exactly what I'm reading). I think if I read this novel again, I might enjoy it more because that barrier wouldn't be there so much.
 
This is my first Dickens novel and I really appreciate his sense of humour - it's not in-your-face, but that makes it even more enjoyable. I look forward to reading his other work!

 

 

I know exactly what you mean about the language! English is not my first language either, and while I, like you, read a lot of book in English, AToTC is not the easiest one when it comes to the language :D It was a struggle at times, and especially in the beginning, when one was trying to get accustomed to the style... But it was so worth the struggle! :smile2:  :friends3:

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@frankie: I'm glad I'm not alone with the experience! 

 

Career of Evil review

 

As with the previous two novels, it's difficult reviewing these without giving away too much.

 

I loved reading The Cuckoo's Calling and Silkworm, the two predecessors in the Cormoran Strike series. Reading Career of Evil felt like coming home, a feeling all Rowling novels tend to give me. I found myself thinking about it at work, wanting to go back to the characters and spend time with them. I made the fatal mistake of reading in the morning before work and having to put this down at really intense points in the story.

 

The character development is astounding - these people feel so real, with their quirks, their positive and less positive traits, their ambitions and needs, etc. I'm not entirely a fan of where Rowling's going with Strike and Robin, but nothing happens too fast or suddenly. 

 

The story itself was less straightforward than in the previous novels. In TCC and Silkworm, Strike was investigating cases while in this installment, Strike was the main subject of investigation. It was interesting nevertheless, also because it allowed a more profound look into the personalities and histories of the characters.

 

I'm definitely suffering from a book hangover. I had it in my head that there were 494 pages and when the story finished on page 489, I was astounded at first. I suppose the ending could have left us with more questions, that it is pretty reassuring in its own right, but my first thought is "but I want more". I can't wait for the next Galbraith novel.

Edited by Alexander the Great

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Ooh, great review, Alexander! :) I'm hoping to get to The Cuckoo's Calling this year.

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@Kylie Thank you! I hope you'll get to the series soon, it's mind-blowing in more ways than one.

 

Muidhond review

 

Reading this book, I didn't quite know what to think. Finishing this book, I still didn't quite know what to think, so I decided to let it settle a bit before writing a review. It's been a couple of weeks now and I still have no clue what my opinion on this book is.

 

Plot-wise, the book is very slow. Knowing the author's background, however, I don't think the plot is really the focus here. I kept waiting for something to happen, the tension was palpable on every page. The protagonist is a paedophile who'd been released from prison because of a lack of evidence. He returns to his very narrow world in a small village, where he has nobody who cares for him (or who he cares for) but the mother he lives with. A child is living next door and the protagonist is very intent on being a better person, applying all the coping strategies he was taught in prison, but still he is slipping. He slips slowly, he struggles, he fights his desires and still, he can't stop himself from being trapped.

 

As a reader, I kept waiting for something to go horribly wrong, since you could just sense it was heading there. There's a constant feeling of dread and wonder to how blind people can be, regarding their loved ones and themselves. The book also makes you wonder to what extent you can really fight yourself and what's inside of you. I think as a reader, you are meant to be left with a bad taste in your mouth, feeling torn between having sympathy for the protagonist and knowing that you shouldn't, you really shouldn't. And then the sympathy's not even entirely there, either. You get a feeling you learn the innermost of the protagonist, but then you can never fully understand him or why he does what he does. In all honesty, I couldn't fully hate him, but I couldn't love him either, or forgive him for what he did. It was so confusing, so intense, that I was actually glad to finish the book without having had a bad reading experience. So, good job, author!

 

The Gathering review

 

This book won the 2007 Man Booker Prize.

 

I don't know why. Maybe it's not the book for me, but it never really gripped me. The entire first half seemed pointless, wandering through what possibly may have perhaps happened long before the narrator was born - and then a million variations on that. Over and over again. Not even the very elegant writing style could chase away the annoyance I felt at what seemed like showing off.

 

The second half was better, since the narrator was actually facing what happened and talking to the reader about it. But overall, it's a book I wouldn't recommend to anyone. I also thought sex was too dominant a topic, was on almost every page, which took away its meaning. That might have been the point - if so, good job, I guess. But this wasn't for me.

 

The Cuckoo's Calling review

 

Here's what you need to know: I almost never re-read books. The only books I have re-read in my life were Dance on my grave by Aidan Chambers and the Harry Potter series by Rowling. I re-read the first because I remember being blown away by it when I was 15 and naming it for years as one of my favourite books. I re-read it when I was 20 and was left sorely disappointed and with a feeling it took on epic proportions in my mind while the second time around, I couldn't discern the appeal of it.

 

The Harry Potter series? Great, no matter how many times I read them.

 

So maybe it shouldn't be a surprise that re-reading TCC, written by Rowling under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith, leaves me with much the same feeling. I read TCC in 2014, so I remembered who had ultimately done it. It speaks to Rowling's incredible skill that one can re-read and re-love a detective, knowing throughout who the culprit is.

 

It was a thrill going back to this first book, having so recently read the third installment. Knowing more about these characters and their backgrounds definitely adds to the experience. I love the descriptions of London, the vibe of the city, I love the characters. I love everything, really. I remember that after the first read, I was disappointed with the final reveal and that cast a bit of a shadow on the final reveal. Knowing who did it took that away and that makes room for a glorious re-read.

Edited by Alexander the Great

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Thank you frankie and Athena for making me aware I can do this!

 

On Friday, I went to the Boekenfestijn in Kortrijk. There's a story behind it - isn't there always? - but it comes down to a grand hall filled with all kinds of books at very, very low prices. Basically, any reader's heaven. I'm pretty sure my Room of Requirement would look an awful lot like the Boekenfestijn (translatable to "Book Fest".

 

I bought these titles:

 

- The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins: I've been wanting to read these books for years now. I bought them for my sister and as I finally get around to reading her copies, I see these babies standing there, telling me the time has come, beckoning me to take them home. I am not one to refuse poor books of company, so I'm glad to say they have joined my shelves!

 

- The Tsarina's Daughter by Carrolly Erickson: the idea behind this novel is that Grand Duchess Tatiana, one of Tsar Nicholas II's daughters, lived on after the Revolution. Obviously, this is fictional. I have an interest that some might call a slight obsession (others might call it an not so slight one) in the last Russian Imperial family. I don't particularly take a side in the politics, but their story just speaks to me in ways I can't possibly resist. I have made it one of my life goals to have a personal library of anything fictional and non-fictional related to the Romanovs and I bought this book hoping to read a good story and adding to that library.

 

- Zomerhuis met zwembad by Herman Koch: Herman Koch is a fairly well-known author to those wo care to be informed on such matters (at least he is in Belgium, he might be more famous in his native country, The Netherlands). His novel "Het Diner", translated to "The Dinner" in English and also published in many other languages, was a break-through for him. This novel, translated to "Summerhouse with swimming pool" was hyped as "the new novel from that guy you all loved so you'll love this too, well really you must". I'm usually quite wary of hypes, but I couldn't resist. Owning "The Dinner", I felt the need to own this book as well. Both are on my TBR list, pleading me to be read on a far too regular basis. A bird called frankie has shared her opinion on these novels, so they might have moved up urgency-wise, but don't tell these two novels that, or they won't leave me alone for a second!

 

- Mayhem by Sarah Pinborough: London has a special place in my heart and I look forward to my 5,5th visit next month. Victorian times were probably quite ghastly to live in, but they do tend to make an excellent backdrop to stories. Add Jack the Ripper to the mix and I'll buy this book. I love me a good mystery. Naturally, since I purchased this one, the blurb promises me all of these things.

 

- The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper: I've read other works by Andrew Pyper and that was a good reference to me. Pyper writes mystery/crime novels that always surpass the genre to me, they get a touch literary, but not annoyingly so. Demons, the occult, university, professor going to Italy you say? Yep, I'm in. I'm a sucker for this stuff.

 

I also bought a beautiful little book called "The Victorian language of flowers" - in Dutch, for my mom. She's very interested in flowers and knows quite a lot about them. The illustrations are wonderful as well and she was very happy with it. Happy mom = happy son!

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I always love going to Het Boekenfestijn :D.

 

I hope you enjoy The Hunger Games trilogy, I really liked these books.

 

I hope you enjoy all your new books :)!

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Thank you frankie and Athena for making me aware I can do this!

 

Yay, I was really happy to see you've posted about your book haul like I suggested! :smile2: Sorry to be very late to the 'party' but I've not been on here all that much in the past days. Better later than never, though! 

 

 

- The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins: I've been wanting to read these books for years now. I bought them for my sister and as I finally get around to reading her copies, I see these babies standing there, telling me the time has come, beckoning me to take them home. I am not one to refuse poor books of company, so I'm glad to say they have joined my shelves!

 

 :D Isn't it great how you find books that you've been longing to buy for years? And for a very good price, too? 

 

- Zomerhuis met zwembad by Herman Koch: Herman Koch is a fairly well-known author to those wo care to be informed on such matters (at least he is in Belgium, he might be more famous in his native country, The Netherlands). His novel "Het Diner", translated to "The Dinner" in English and also published in many other languages, was a break-through for him. This novel, translated to "Summerhouse with swimming pool" was hyped as "the new novel from that guy you all loved so you'll love this too, well really you must". I'm usually quite wary of hypes, but I couldn't resist. Owning "The Dinner", I felt the need to own this book as well. Both are on my TBR list, pleading me to be read on a far too regular basis. A bird called frankie has shared her opinion on these novels, so they might have moved up urgency-wise, but don't tell these two novels that, or they won't leave me alone for a second!

 

I hope you will enjoy these! Summerhouse with Swimming Pool is titled 'Doctor'  and Dear Mr. M. is titled 'Neighbor' in Finnish. I think the Finnish market first translated The Dinner and after that, they probably felt like it would be a good idea to brand Koch novel's as the ones with short, one-word titles. I kinda like it! 

 

- Mayhem by Sarah Pinborough: London has a special place in my heart and I look forward to my 5,5th visit next month. Victorian times were probably quite ghastly to live in, but they do tend to make an excellent backdrop to stories. Add Jack the Ripper to the mix and I'll buy this book. I love me a good mystery. Naturally, since I purchased this one, the blurb promises me all of these things.

It very much shows in the pictures of your room and bookcase :D Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this book, it sounds good :) 

 

- The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper: I've read other works by Andrew Pyper and that was a good reference to me. Pyper writes mystery/crime novels that always surpass the genre to me, they get a touch literary, but not annoyingly so. Demons, the occult, university, professor going to Italy you say? Yep, I'm in. I'm a sucker for this stuff.

 

I'm totally going to google this title as I really like the sound of it! :smile2: 

 

Happy reading!!  :readingtwo:

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@athena I generally love going to Het Boekenfestijn. Usually, I go with my sister or mother or a friend. This time, though, I decided to go last-minute and it was so great to just go by myself after a long week at work.

 

@Frankie If London is my first love, Finland is my second. I've considered studying Swedish-English for a long time, because in the third year you could take Finnish and I really wanted to do that. I ended up studying to be a teacher in English and history, then ended up not teaching but doing an office job (one that I like, though). So it's so great to hear how these titles are in Finnish.

 

The Hunger Games review

 

I'm impressed. I've seen the films and because it's a series, when a new film would come out, my sister and I would watch the ones before that. Consequentially, I've seen the first film a couple of times and while I enjoyed it, out of all the films it was my least favourite. I thought the first book would be sightly boring since I've seen it so many times and because I knew in general what was to come.

 

I was wrong.

 

From the second I started reading, it was a struggle to put the book down. It's amazing how Collins manages to introduce this universe as we go along with Katniss. There's never an overload of information, the descriptions are good enough that you can imagine it, but general enough that you're not preoccupied with exactly what it looks like. That offers a lot of freedom to the reader. I thought the balance between character development and plot was very good as well.

 

Definitely a read I'll be recommending, and on to the second!

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I'm glad you enjoyed The Hunger Games (book 1) :). I hope you enjoy the next two books in the trilogy too.

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Catching Fire review

 

This is the second installment in the The Hunger Games trilogy and it's just as good, if not better, as the first. 

 

We meet some of the same characters, only the 74th Hunger Games have changed them all in their own way. Collins does a marvelous job of exploring how everyone is affected and how they all deal with that, while adding a suspenseful plot that is never too contrived or too complicated. 

 

The characters we know all show personal growth without changing who they are essentially. We also meet new characters, and none of them are who they seem to be.

 

The end leaves me with a hunger for more.

 

I've really enjoyed this second part in the series and while I look forward to reading the final part, I'll also be sad when it's over - and that's when you know you've got yourself a good book.

Edited by Alexander the Great

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Nice review! I quite liked Catching Fire too. I hope you enjoy Mockingjay :).

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Mockingjay review

 

Mockingjay, the final instalment in the The Hunger Games trilogy, is vastly different from its predecessors.

 

Catching Fire ended in a cliffhanger and I felt it took a while for that to deliver. Katniss spends a lot of time not knowing what is going on and I felt it was dragged out a bit. I understand that the protagonist not knowing what's happening makes it easier to let events unfold, but the strength of the previous two novels was that we have a protagonist who knows how it all works and as a reader, you would find out as you read along.

 

The war felt a bit far away because Katniss was being kept far away from it and there were times where I really found myself waiting for something to happen, only it never quite did. But then I suppose that it what a war is like.

 

That said, Mockingjay is still a powerful novel with some thought-provoking lessons to be learnt. I can't elaborate on that without giving away too much, but I definitely appreciated it. 

 

The characters develop even more, some in unexpected but very realistic directions. 

 

I've enjoyed the trilogy and would definitely recommend it to others!

Edited by Alexander the Great

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If I had to choose, I would also say I liked Mockingjay the least, but I did enjoy all three books. I'm glad you enjoyed reading this trilogy :). Great review!

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Bloodline review

 

Bloodline is a Star Wars novel I read by accident.

 

My best friend is a fan, but Star Wars is not my cup of tea. I was in London and my friend asked me to buy the novel if I found it there, because she couldn't find it anywhere and really, if you can't find a certain book in London, where will you find it?

 

So I searched and I found... and then, quite unexpectedly, I read. It started as mere curiosity, but I was unable to put it down. I haven't seen any of the Star Wars films and know nothing about that entire universe. Nevertheless, I had no problems understanding this book - which goes to show how good the author is. The story was entertaining and there were some very unexpected reveals that made it an exciting read.

 

I'd definitely recommend this. I love being surprised by a book!

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How nice you liked the book so much! It's nice to be surprised like that :).

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