Newsletter No 18 (May 6th, 2011)


We had a beautiful weather in April, birds were chirping, flowers were springing around and chick lit was in a full bloom on our site. Crime fiction lovers will find plenty of interesting reviews as well.

As a reminder that life is not only about birds chirpping take a look at Q&A with Abbas Kazerooni and review of his debut novel On Two Feet and Wings, partially autobiographical account of how he, as a 9 year old boy, left his home and family in Tehran, fled to Istanbul and sought asylum in the UK.

Sincerely Yours, Curious Book Fans

Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult has done it again with this book, ‘Sing You Home’, and has produced a wonderfully absorbing story. I was caught up from the very first page and could hardly bring myself to put the book now for wanting to see what would happen next.

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The Land of Painted Caves by Jean M. Auel

When it was announced that this series would be drawing to a close with the publication of the sixth and final novel, The Land of Painted Caves, in March 2011, her fans felt a mixture of sadness and anticipation. What would become of the characters they had grown to know and love since the publication of the first novel, The Clan of the Cave Bear, in 1980?

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Q&A with Abbas Kazerooni

CBF: What were the biggest challenges you faced when you found yourself alone and reliant on your wits at such a young age?

Abbas Kazerooni: I think the biggest challenge at the beginning was dealing with the loneliness. 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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On Two Feet and Wings by Abbas Kazerooni

On Two Feet and Wings is the partially autobiographical account of how Abbas Kazerooni left his home and family in Tehran, fled to Istanbul and sought asylum in the UK. It’s not the first book to look at such a challenging journey but this one is different because the asylum seeker was just 9 years old at the time of his adventure.

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Zog by Julia Donaldson

This quirky colourful story is absolutely delightful and I am sure that most children will fall in love with this wonderful new character from Julia Donaldson. Her storytelling is enhanced by her excellent use of rhyming couplets which provide a great rhythm and bounce to the narration.

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The Truth About You by Melissa Hill

If you enjoy contemporary women’s fiction, I feel sure that you will enjoy this book. Also, if you have yet to read any of Melissa Hill’s novels, ‘The Truth About You‘ would be an excellent one to start with.

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Ten Pound Pom by Niall Griffiths

Ten Pound Pom” is not, though, a travel guide; it’s a book about returning. I loved Griffiths’ idea of being ‘a tourist through my own childhood’. I found his reminisces of that time, written in the third person, curiously detached but that only makes for a stronger contrast between the two narratives and different tones do work rather well together..

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The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

The Paris Wife is an intriguing look at the life of a literary legend from a different perspective, a novel in which Ernest Hemingway’s first wife tells us her version of their marriage, and their life in 1920s Paris, including encounters with other American expat writers.

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Pieces of My Heart by Sinead Moriarty

… there are some lighter moments and the book really needs these to save it from being too depressing and upsetting.  Sinead Moriarty seems to get the balance between the lighter and more serious moments spot on.

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The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde by Neil McKenna

This is not so much a biography of Wilde though as a biography of Wilde’s private life, specifically his homosexuality. The author begins by explaining that he wanted to discover more about this side of Wilde’s life, which of course ultimately led to his downfall.

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For Richer, For Poorer by Victoria Coren

Victoria Coren has learnt to play well enough to join a professional poker team and collect career winnings of $1.5 million, and has become the first female European champion at the game; this book is the story of those wins and how she got there from being a shy, awkward and unhappy schoolgirl losing to her grandfather at blackjack.

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Kiss and Tell by Fiona Walker

The two main characters are Tash and Hugo Beauchamp, a glamorous and successful couple in the world of three day eventing. However, after two babies, the shine seems to have gone off both their marriage and their equestrian success.

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Wild Coast by John Gimlette

Having thoroughly enjoyed John Gimlette’s At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig I was looking forward with relish to reading Wild Coast, an account to his visit to the Guianas; I was not disappointed. A lawyer by profession, Gimlette is a charming and cheerful travelling companion whose enthusiasm for his subject never fails to please.

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Death on a Galician Shore by Domingo Villar

Cleverly constructed and exploiting location supremely, Death on a Galician Shore is a brilliant police procedural that kept me guessing right until the end. Villar’s portrait of Galicia and the Galician people is colourful and evocative without being overly poetic, while the intricate plot is meaty and exciting.

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The Return of the Penny Dreadful

For many people the discovery of an Urdu penny dreadful may be an eye opener, but Chennai based Blaft publications tied up with Tranquebar to bring out the four novels which belonged to Ibne Safi’s Jasusi Duniya series. Ibne Safi, born in Allahabad district, migrated to Karachi and there steadily churned out four novels a month, the first of which Dil-e-Mujrim, was priced at less than a rupee when it came out the 1940’s.

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Jumbo to Jockey by Dominic Prince

Men are famously poor at dealing with growing older. The classic mid-life crisis usually involves a mistress or a Harley Davidson (possibly both) but in the case of Dominic Prince, it was a very different type of passion that kicked in.

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