It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.1 As Gregor Samsa awoke that morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.2 The dog was lying on the grass in the middle of the lawn in front of Mrs Shears’ house.3 Curiouser and curiouser!, cried Alice.4 ‘It’s today!’ said Piglet. ‘My favourite day,’ said Pooh.5
That was the day the Curious Book Fans site was born. We built a small room on the world wide web. The door is open for all readers who want to hear and talk about books. Welcome to our room full of books…
Light Shining in the Forest Paul Torday, book review Ajax Penumbra 1969 by Robin Sloan, book review Tamar Cohen, The Broken, book review The Three by Sarah Lotz, book review
Campari for Breakfast, Sara Crowe, book review The Goddess and the Thief, Essie Fox, book review The Pure Gold Baby by Margaret Drabble Mirror City by Chitrita Banerji, book review

Most popular reviews in 2013

The Kashmir Shawl – Rosie Thomas

The Kashmir Shawl - Rosie Thomas, book review1. The Kashmir Shawl by Rosie Thomas is a story of two women separated by 70 years but linked by a shawl and a lock of hair. It’s a mystery story, a historic novel and several love stories all rolled into one.

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100 Places You Will Never Visit, Dan Smith

100 Places You Will Never Visit: The World's Most Secret Locations, Dan Smith, book review 2. Possibly the strangest addition to the ranks of travel list publications, Daniel Smith’s new book 100 Places You Will Never Visit: The World’s Most Secret Locations is effectively a travel guide to places you can’t go. Or wouldn’t want to go for that matter....

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The String Diaries, Stephen Lloyd Jones

The String Diaries, Stephen Lloyd Jones, book review3. The String Diaries is a supernatural thriller in the same mould as Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian and Deborah Harkness’ A Discovery of Witches, both books I immensely enjoyed...

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No Child of Mine by Susan Lewis

No Child of Mine by Susan Lewis, book review 4. No Child of Mine is a beautifully written book that is sad, happy, harrowing and intriguing. It’s the perfect read!

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Mohammed Rafi My Abba – A Memoir

mohammed-rafi 5.  For those fans who would like to know more about a legendary singer, the book is full of agreeable anecdotes and shows Rafi the family man, a man who loved cars, and who despite all odds managed to break into the Hindi film industry and grow to legendary heights.

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Melting the Snow on Hester Street, Daisy Waugh

Melting the Snow on Hester Street6. It’s 1929 and movie director Max Beecham and his actress wife Eleanor hobnob with Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Gloria Swanson and more. To them, Max and Eleanor are the happiest, most loving couple in Hollywood....

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The Kenneth Williams Diaries by Kenneth Williams

The Kenneth Williams Diaries by Kenneth Williams, book review7. Kenneth Williams kept a diary for more than forty years and in 1993, five years after his death, these diaries were published in an edited form. The diaries revealed a more complex figure than the comedian who became much loved through his Carry On roles ...

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Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn, book review Life After Life,  Kate Atkinson, book review

The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness, book review

A Blaze of Autumn Sunshine,  Tony Benn, book review

Lost and Found, Tom Winter, book review

Mr Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore , Robin Sloan, book review Kindred, Octavia E. Butler, book review Junglezen Sheru, book review

Curious Book Fans talked to:

Will Schwalbe

Will Schwalbe Will Schwalbe: Mom would have wanted readers to be proud of themselves as readers — to realize that reading is one of the most important things you can do — it’s how you know what you need to do in life and how you join the human conversation.

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Essie Fox

Essie Fox, author (The Somnambulist)

Essie Fox: Oddly enough, when I first started to write I was planning on something contemporary. But every time I began, a character or some ‘item’ from the past would crop up and intrude on the novel’s plot

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Sonia Faleiro

Sonia Faleiro interviewSonia Faleiro: I met Leela through a source in what I call the ‘bar and brothel business’. She was 19 at the time, and one of the smartest young women I’d met anywhere. I immediately knew I wanted to write about her...

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Patrick Bishop

Patrick Bishop interview Patrick Bishop: I am of the view that most Talibs are fighting for the same reasons that young men fight – for the excitement of it and to test themselves. In this respect they are not much different to their British and American opponents.

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Abbas Kazerooni

On Two Feet and Wings - Abbas Kazerooni, interview Abbas Kazerooni: It is very mentally challenging for a child to deal with loneliness, boredom and the idea of knowing that there is no one that he can turn to for help with small and complex matters.

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Christie Watson

Tiny Sunbirds Far Away by Christie Watson, interview Christie Watson: Everyone in Nigeria is interested in politics. You can’t buy a bottle of Coca-Cola without the shopkeeper selling talking about their political views on the Niger Delta.

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Oliver Burkeman

Oliver Burkeman interview Oliver Burkeman: The kitchen timer (I carry one everywhere I go!) is a great way to turn confusing, intimidating, unmanageable or boring tasks into doable ones.

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Martin Pevsner

Martin Pevsner interviewMartin Pevsner: I had a different name for the novel originally – Companions of the Garden – a reference to the Qur’an. An agent told me people browsing in a bookshop would presume it was a gardening book.

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Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches By Deborah Harkness, interview Deborah Harkness: In some ways I’ve been reading and researching this book since around 1984 when I first took a course that explored the relationship between magic and science.

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Farahad Zama

Read an interview with Farahad Zama

Farahad Zama: Yes, my wife’s uncle was our neighbour and that’s how the marriage was arranged. I met my wife for the first time in October and we were married on New Year’s eve, six weeks later.

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Alex Marsh

Alex Marsh, interview

Alex Marsh: I used up the best bits of my life in Sex and Bowls and Rock and Roll and don’t want to do a diminishing returns thing… but I have been floored by some of the nice things that people have said about this one.

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Urmilla Deshpande

Read an interview with Urmilla Deshpande

Urmilla Deshpande: The Kashmir in my book is no more real, I think, than is the Alexandria in Durrell’s quartet or the London that Sherlock Holmes lives in.

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Sorayya Khan

Sorayya Khan interview Sorayya Khan: The inspiration for Five Queen’s Road is drawn from real events in my family’s history. Five Queen’s Road, in fact, was once the real address of my father’s parents’ home in Lahore ...

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The Sea of Innocence, Kishwar Desai, book review Perfect, Rachel Joyce, book review This Boy, Alan Johnson, book review When The Hills Ask For Your Blood, David Belton, book review
The Puttermesser Papers, Cynthia Ozick, book review The Son-in-Law, Charity Norman, book review The Mysterious Ailment of Rupi Baskey, Hansda Sowvendra Sekhar, book review One Night in Winter, Simon Sebag Montefiore, book review

Curious Book Fans read to children:

Matilda, Roald Dahl, book review We Honestly Can Look After Your Dog (Charlie and Lola), Lauren Child, book review Aliens in Underpants Save the World by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort, book review The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers, book review
The BFG, Roald Dahl, book review Mr. Gum and the Goblins,  Andy Stanton, Illustrated by David Tazzyman The Gruffalo's Child, Julia Donaldson Horrid Henry and the Zombie Vampire - Francesca Simon, book review
1 – 1984, George Orwell; 2 – The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka; 3 – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Mark Haddon; 4 – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll, 5 – The House at Pooh Corner, A.A. Milne