Newsletter No 10 (Sep 29th, 2010)


While we all sigh at the sight of mince pies on shelves of supermarkets in September subconsciously we all start preparing the list of gifts in our heads. To better understand what kind of book is the perfect present we are organising a book giveaway competition where you can tell us the best and the worst books you’ve got. In the process you can win some great books (and have a laugh on how we have chosen the wrong one for you)!

Yours, Curious Book Fans

Book Giveaway October 2010 – “How to Get the Right Book”

Curious Book Fans have “How to Get the Right Book” book giveaway competition in October. We are curious to know your best tips on how to get your friends and family to buy you the books you actually want instead of the ones they think you do? Please post examples of the worst book presents you’ve had – the things that just showed people didn’t know or understand you – and the best ones that really surprised you.

An interesting book may be yours just in time for biggest gift giving ocassion of the year…

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Tintin in Tibet by Hergé

Tintin in Tibet is the twentieth book in the long running Tintin series of illustrated adventures by Hergé and was first published in 1960 – thirty years after the first Tintin adventure, Tintin in The Land of the Soviets. The story begins with Tintin on holiday in Switzerland with his good friends Captain Haddock and Professor Calculus plus, of course, Snowy, his beloved dog.

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The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber

The Crimson Petal and the White has been described by numerous people as something very akin to a Charles Dickens novel. It is easy to see why this is the case. It describes the back streets of London and the depravity that can be found there in over 800 pages. The characters are colourfully described and there is a strong sense of good and evil. However, there is one very important difference…

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Urmilla Deshpande talks to Curious Book Fans

CBF: What inspires you most when you start to write? Is it a person, a newsflash? What?

Urmilla Deshpande: Hard to answer this question. I think all through life we watch and absorb and think and react – and all of that comes into a book as it gets written. Usually I start a book because of a feeling I have. I’ve written just two, and the starting points for both were quite different. The first – Kashmir Blues – I just wanted to tell a story. The second, A Pack of Lies, had a lot of my own experiences as a starting point.

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An Idiot Abroad – The Travel Diaries of Karl Pilkington by Karl Pilkington, Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant

I have never heard of or seen Karl Pilkington before getting this book. His role in the Idiot Abroad project is that of ‘Everyman’. He’s the innocent abroad, the Englishman abroad or in this case, the ‘idiot’ of the title. He is not by any stretch of the imagination a man you could describe as ‘worldly’; he prefers Devon to Dubai, a caravan park to a camel caravan and thinks eating a full English on the Costa del Sol is exotic.

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World change starts with educated children

We’d like to invite you to help support a charity that works to educate girls in Asia and Africa.

Female education is a powerful tool in the fight against poverty. When girls learn, their families and communities benefit. Education for girls is directly linked to a number of positive outcomes including: lower birth infant mortality rates, increased wages, and improved family health and nutrition.

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Learning to Live: A User’s Manual by Luc Ferry

To be fair to Luc Ferry he is not advertising his book as self improvement manual which will by the end of the last page give you a clear answer to all difficult questions about our existence. He simply wants to bring philosophy down to masses, whether you are a teenager starting to show interest in philosophy or midlife adult deciding to finally get to the bottom of that all ‘meaning of life’ fuss.

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Saraswati Park by Anjali Joseph

There’s something Chekhovian about Saraswati Park, in its collection of small intimate details about life in Mumbai’s suburbs which is very different from the glitz and Page 3 electricity of Mumbai proper. It’s a novel about the everyday lives of small suburb people. Mohan Karekar, who every day goes to the post office to write letters for those who cannot do it for themselves, and his wife Lakshmi, who wakes every morning to the clattering of teacups put beside the bed by her husband.

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Dream Catcher by Margaret Salinger

Dream Catcher was published in 2000 and is a memoir by Margaret Salinger, daughter of the infamous recluse JD Salinger. At the height of the fame that followed the publication of The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger moved to Cornish, New Hampshire and lived in a modest house in the woods on top of a hill in the middle of nowhere. Although he continued to write he never published anything after 1965…

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The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

What would happen if instead of the ‘Boys Own’ comic-book view of the Trojan Wars, someone took a look at what was going on back home? Step aside Odysseus, it’s Penelope’s turn to tell us her version of life on the home-front during all that palaver with the big wooden horse. Let her tell us what she was going through whilst she was waiting with interminable patience for her sea-faring adventurer to stop mucking about with the wars, …

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Rattletrap Car by Phyllis Root, Jill Barton

Why has it taken me so long to discover this wonderful book? What if I never had? My experience of the English language would have been so much the poorer. How have I been working with young children for so long and not known of the existence of razzleberry dazzleberry snazzleberry fizz? Thankfully now I do, and I also understand to what uses chocolate marshmallow fudge delight can be put.

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Lancaster and York: The Wars of the Roses by Alison Weir

Lancaster and York: The Wars of the Roses by Alison Weir is an historical book covering much of the fifteenth century, and some of the fourteenth century, chronicling and examining the causes, effects and the course of the Wars of the Roses. The Wars of the Roses were, in simplistic terms, the struggle between the houses of Lancaster and York for the crown of England during the fifteenth century.

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In Pursuit of Glory by Bradley Wiggins

…there was a fascinating interview with Bradley that I read in a weekend edition of The Times. I would normally gloss over such pieces, but I found myself being drawn into the article and finding out that Bradley the serious sportsman was also Brad the entertainer, a man who could convey the passion he felt for cycling in a lively and articulate way. By the end of the article I had resolved to hunt out his biography “In Pursuit of Glory” the next time I was in my local library.

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Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes

Birthday Letters is a collection of poetry by Ted Hughes that, with two exceptions, is addressed to his late wife Sylvia Plath who committed suicide in 1963. The book was first published in 1998 and contains poems that were written over the course of 25 years. Despite the intense enduring interest in Plath and her life, Hughes had always remained completely silent about her and frequently received much scorn from Plath admirers for having an affair when they were married and destroying the last part of her journals after her death, an act Hughes says he did to spare their children.

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