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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.
bobblybear

Bobblybear's Book List - 2017

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I am so far behind in reviews. It's a miracle I remember anything about the books I've read. :o

 

 

A Million Years In A Day: A Curious History of Daily Life - Greg Jenner

This is a history of the typical routine activities of each day, and how they have changed over the time of human existence.

It starts with the measurement of time, and then onto toileting, breakfasting, showering and so on. It was fairly detailed and an interesting way of dividing the subject matter into discrete sections.

It was a bit humorous as well and easy to read, however not all the sections interested me.

At just over 300 pages there's enough information in there to hold your interest and perhaps highlight an area that you want to do further reading on.

3/6

Edited by bobblybear

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The Territory - Sarah Govett

This is a YA novel set in the future after an apocalyptic event has changed the world.

In this new world, all teenagers must sit a test called the TAA. If they pass they can remain in the safety of The Territories. If they fail, they are sent outside to the Wetlands, an area which succumbed to the Great Floods.

Children are either Childes or Norms. Norms are 'normal humans', not wired into anything and interact with their surroundings the usual way. Childes are seen as superior and they can wire themselves in to the network, so that information is uploaded directly into their brains. No surprise then that most Childes pass the test.

Noa is the main character, and she is studying for the TAA. The book starts approximately 10 weeks before the test. She is a Norm, and so has to study the old-fashioned way. The book covers other events running parallel to preparation for the test....the whole book isn't just about studying. :biggrin:

YA isn't really my bag, but I am a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction. I found it reasonably enjoyable, maybe a bit predictable but then again I'm not the target audience. I don't think I will bother with the sequel. That's not to say I didn't enjoy this, but it just didn't grab me enough to wonder what happens to the characters next.

3/6

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A Million Years In A Day: A Curious History of Daily Life sounds like an interesting book, what an interesting idea. It's a shame not all the areas discussed were as interesting to you.

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On 08/04/2017 at 7:10 PM, bobblybear said:

I am so far behind in reviews. It's a miracle I remember anything about the books I've read. :o

A Million Years In A Day: A Curious History of Daily Life - Greg Jenner

 

 

I'm with ya. I'm now five books behind in reading, have three unfinished from like two weeks ago, and haven't written a review in a couple of months!

 

A Million Years does sound interesting, adding it to my list.

 

On 08/04/2017 at 7:14 PM, bobblybear said:

The Territory - Sarah Govett

 I don't think I will bother with the sequel. That's not to say I didn't enjoy this, but it just didn't grab me enough to wonder what happens to the characters next.

3/6

 

I suspect my feelings on this will be much the same, but it was already on my TBR and I'd like to read it at some stage.

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On 26.2.2017 at 11:55 AM, bobblybear said:

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay - Michael Chabon

 

I'm totally late to commenting this! :blush:

 

On 26.2.2017 at 11:55 AM, bobblybear said:

 

The story moves in many different directions and spans a long time period (about 15 years), however comic books and their history provide a backdrop for most of the book. It was very well researched with so much trivia about the history of comic books (I can only assume it's all true), and well written but for me it was too long. It was just over 600 pages, but I feel like the actual story could have been told in 400 pages. It often went off on many tangents and these sections were so long that I struggled to keep my focus.

 

I read it in chunks and in between I had to put it to one side to read something a bit lighter.

 

I think I'm in the minority though, and most people seem to have enjoyed it a lot more than I did. Had it been trimmed down, it still could have told a brilliant story without losing much depth or character.

 

3.5/6

 

 

I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it as much as I did, but what can one do. :shrug: They can't all be winners! Personally I liked all the sidelines and tangents, but I can appreciate the fact that some might wish for the author to move on a bit quicker :D

 

3.5 isn't all that bad, though. I'm happy you didn't hate it! :D

 

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A Million Years has gone on to my wish list too! I have the Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay on my TBR - hopefully I will be more of Frankie's opinion, but a 3.5 isn't bad on my marking scale.:)

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I think I would have enjoyed The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay more if it had been a tad shorter. I found myself getting impatient and wanting to read another story, which seems to happen more and more. :rolleyes: Instead of fully losing myself in what I'm reading, my mind often wanders to all the other books I have waiting to be read. It's total impatience and lack of focus, and just drowning in too much choice. :lol: I suppose it can be a nice problem to have. :D

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Sapiens - Yuval Harari

 

This is a lengthy and incredibly detailed look at the history of sapiens, from when we split from the other great apes until our present time. About a third of the book covers this prehistoric era, and the remainder of the book looked at our development where the greatest changes to our behaviour occurred. The pre-historic era was what interests me most, and I wish the book covered more of it, but to be realistic I don't know what else he could have included without turning the book into a mammoth doorstopper. 

 

This remaining (after the prehistoric era) section is split into different Revolutions – Cognitive, Agricultural, Industrial and Scientific - and the author discusses what he believes were the main turning points in each of these times that has pushed us forward.

 

Also discussed are empires, and the advent of agriculture and money, politics and religion, and how this has shaped humankind and our behaviour. 

 

The scope is very broad, and while not all of it grabbed my interest, most of it did. I think I will benefit from a re-read at some point, as there was simply too much information to take in from one read-through. Highly recommended.

 

4.5/6

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I cannot believe how far behind I am in reviews. I'm now reviewing books I read in February. :blush:

 

The Midwife's Confession - Diane Chamberlain

 

Another Diane Chamberlain book which doesn't disappoint.

 

Three women – Tara, Noelle, and Emerson - have been best of friends for many years. However, when Noelle very unexpectedly commits suicide, Tara and Emerson realise that perhaps they didn't know her as well as they thought. While going through her belongings, they find an unfinished letter which hints at something that Noelle was involved in many years ago.

 

The story is told through different points of view from each of the characters, and more of Noelle's backstory is revealed as the book goes on. It's classic Chamberlain – a relationship driven story, with twists and turns and very complex characters.

 

I have to admit I think there were one or two twists too many which did strain the credibility of the story, but it was still a page-turner.

 

Highly recommended.

 

4.5/5

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A Life in Death - Richard Venables

 

This is the second book I have read in the last six months with the same title. :huh:

 

Richard Venables has had many years experience in disaster victim recovery. He started his career as a policeman and eventually ended up implementing the officially accepted methodology of disaster victim identification.

 

He covers his specific experiences from his early days as a policeman, and how he learned from each case he was involved in, as well as the significant gaps of knowledge/process that over time he was able to fill.

 

He discusses some specific and well known disasters. The book opens with the Boxing Day Tsunami and what happened in the aftermath – the difficulties of identifying the victims who were from many different countries (the majority who didn't have ID on them) and ensuring the remains were sent back home for proper burial.

 

It was (as to be expected) somewhat gruesome, but still offered a fascinating and detailed insight into what happens behind the scenes of these disasters.

 

The book (Kindle version) did have quite a few spelling errors in it though, which really let it down and gave it a feeling of amateurishness.

 

3/6

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2 hours ago, bobblybear said:

Sapiens - Yuval Harari

 

I've heard nice things about this book, glad to hear you liked it :). I bought Homo Deus by the same author for my dad as he said he wanted to read it. I'm not sure if he's read it yet though.

 

2 hours ago, bobblybear said:

I cannot believe how far behind I am in reviews. I'm now reviewing books I read in February. :blush:

 

The Midwife's Confession - Diane Chamberlain

 

I hope you don't mind me commenting on your late reviews :).

 

I'm glad you enjoyed The Midwife's Confession :).

 

2 hours ago, bobblybear said:

A Life in Death - Richard Venables

 

This is the second book I have read in the last six months with the same title. :huh:

 

That's pretty interesting!

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1 hour ago, Athena said:

 

I've heard nice things about this book, glad to hear you liked it :). I bought Homo Deus by the same author for my dad as he said he wanted to read it. I'm not sure if he's read it yet though.

 

Homo Deus sound interesting but I do wonder if there is some repetitiveness of Sapiens. In Sapiens he writes about where he thinks humanity is heading, which seems to be what Homo Deus is about as well. 

 

 

1 hour ago, Athena said:

I hope you don't mind me commenting on your late reviews :).

 

I'm glad you enjoyed The Midwife's Confession :).

 

Of course I don't mind. :) I have many other Diane Chamberlain books on my Kindle to read; I think some of them are a series so I need to make sure I read them in the right order!

 

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Ancestor Stones - Aminatta Forna

 

I've had this book lingering on my Kindle since 2011 so thought it was high time I gave it a go. I can't remember why I bought it, as it doesn't seem like my kind of book...and as it turned out, it wasn't really my kind of book. :lol:

 

In London, Abie receives a letter from a lawyer, telling her that a coffee plantation in Africa which belonged to her relatives is now hers. She travels to Africa to see this plantation and realising she knows very little of her ancestors, decides to trace her family line back. She does this by focusing on the lives of four of her aunts. These aunts are all daughters of one man, but from different mothers.

 

Each woman is very different from her sisters with a unique story to tell. Unfortunately for me, none of them managed to hold my interest throughout. I found it to be a very patchy read....perhaps some of that is my fault by reading the book out of obligation rather than desire. :rolleyes:  I only found a few sections of the book interesting and most of it took a real effort to keep reading. It wasn't poorly written and I can't say there was any fault with it;  it just wasn't a story that interested me.

 

2/6

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17 hours ago, bobblybear said:

Homo Deus sound interesting but I do wonder if there is some repetitiveness of Sapiens. In Sapiens he writes about where he thinks humanity is heading, which seems to be what Homo Deus is about as well. 

 

I guess that makes sense :). I'll have to ask my dad about it some time. He specifically told me he wanted the second book.

 

17 hours ago, bobblybear said:

Of course I don't mind. :) I have many other Diane Chamberlain books on my Kindle to read; I think some of them are a series so I need to make sure I read them in the right order!

 

As far as I know, there are two series:

 

There is:

1. Keeper of the Light; 2. Kiss River; 3. Her Mother's Shadow (to be read in the order of 1, 2, 3. I read this series this year).

 

And:

1. Before the Storm; 2. Secrets She Left Behind (to be read in the order of 1,2. I haven't read this series yet, but it's what GoodReads tells me).

 

Then there are a couple of novels with which she has written an accompanying short story prequel (which aren't essential to the story but give some extra insight into characters). There is the novel Necessary Lies with the short story The First Lie (I haven't read these yet), there is The Silent Sister with the short story The Broken String (I read these) and there is Pretending to Dance with the short story The Dance Begins (I read these). If you're going to read the short stories (they are only available as e-books / on Kindle and other e-devices), I'd recommend doing so before reading the actual novel. I read The Broken String after I read The Silent Sister and it just didn't do a whole lot for me that way. That said, The Broken String and The Dance Begins are not in any way essential to understand the main novel, you could totally read the main novel without reading the accompanying short story prequel if you have no interest in it.

 

17 hours ago, bobblybear said:

I've had this book lingering on my Kindle since 2011 so thought it was high time I gave it a go. I can't remember why I bought it, as it doesn't seem like my kind of book...and as it turned out, it wasn't really my kind of book. :lol:

 

Haha :lol:. Shame though it wasn't really for you.

 

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Thanks for posting the series, Gaia. I think it's only the first series you've listed that I have, though I may have some of the short story prequels. I have so many of her books that I can't keep track. :lol:

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Some good and some not so good.....but good reviews, all. :)  Glad to see you're still cracking along.

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The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox - Maggie O'Farrell

 

Iris gets a phone call one day from a psychiatric institution. They have been housing her great aunt for the last 60 years and is about to release her. Not knowing anything about this person, she decides to pay her a visit to find out more details. She is taken aback by how 'normal' Esme is, and rather than putting her in a retirement home decides to let her stay in her home. No-one in Iris' family seems keen to remember Esme or speak of her, so she sets out to find what could possibly have sent this woman away for so many years.

 

Esme's story is told from her early childhood on, where even then it was clear she was unconventional and highly spirited. The book covers multiple viewpoints all woven together from the past and the present, with Iris, Esme and Esme's sister Kitty all giving their narrative.

 

This was a re-read for me. I had remembered sections of the book but forgotten the story as a whole. I loved it as much (maybe more) the second time around and the ending took my breath away. I don't know how I'd managed to forget that ending, but somehow I did. :o

 

It's not a long book (just under 300 pages) and it's an easy to read story, but the content is pretty heavy going.

 

It was the first Maggie O'Farrell book I read, and since then I have read all of her books and usually buy her new ones upon release. All of her books are remarkable but this one still remains a favourite, both for the entirety of the story but also the shocking ending. Highly recommended.

 

6/6

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1 hour ago, bobblybear said:

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox - Maggie O'Farrell

 

 

Great review, bobbly! I remember when people on here read O'Farrell's books and this title was on the radar (it may even have been a contender for a reading circle book at one point), and I was curiuos, but then somehow decided this book was not for me. Reading your review, I wonder what made me think it would not be for me! I'm adding this to my wishlist. Thanks! :) 

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The Clan of the Cave Bear - Jean M Auel

 

This one was another re-read for me (I must have been in the mood for them). I've lost track of how many times I have read it, but it was a fair number of years since my last read.

 

Set during prehistoric times when Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons were living side by side, Ayla is a young girl who loses her tribe during an earthquake. After being mauled by a cave lion, she collapses with exhaustion. A tribe of Neanderthals (the Clan as they call themselves) on the search for a new home come across her and their medicine woman, Iza persuades the chief of the clan to let her save Ayla. Over the next few years, she is raised as one of their own, but still seen by most as an outsider, and hated by some of the Clan. The book covers her life from when she is 6 to about 18.

 

 

The book is the first of the Earth's Children series, and one of it's best (The Valley of Horses comes a close second). It's a pretty hefty book, and very detailed – obviously well researched. Unfortunately I didn't enjoy it as much this time around, but that is purely because I have read it so many times and virtually remembered everything in it. :rolleyes:

 

However, to review it as though I had read it for the first time, I can't find fault with it. It's so in depth about the lives of prehistoric people. Whether it's realistic or not is another matter, but it all seemed fairly credible to me. 

 

6/6

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1 minute ago, frankie said:

 

Great review, bobbly! I remember when people on here read O'Farrell's books and this title was on the radar (it may even have been a contender for a reading circle book at one point), and I was curiuos, but then somehow decided this book was not for me. Reading your review, I wonder what made me think it would not be for me! I'm adding this to my wishlist. Thanks! :) 

 

I think it was a Reading Circle book.....it was on this forum that I first heard of it. I hope you enjoy it when you get around to reading it. It's not a long book - about 280 pages, and such a good story. :smile:

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Just now, bobblybear said:

 

I think it was a Reading Circle book.....it was on this forum that I first heard of it. I hope you enjoy it when you get around to reading it. It's not a long book - about 280 pages, and such a good story. :smile:

 

Maybe it was, yes :)  It's been so long since we had RC! Makes one rather nostalgic. Just the other day I was thinking about Stef Penney's The Tenderness of Wolves, and how I can still remember it's atmosphere. Just because it was an RC book and we talked about it for a month on here. Good times :)

 

'Not a long book' is always a plus! :blush: At least in terms of picking up said book to read it! 

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