Newsletter No 19 (June 7th, 2011)

Hi,

The usual cliche for this time of the year is ‘take a look at books which may end up in your travel bag or on your sunbed this summer’. I am not sure that I would take novel about the Afghanistan war or a controversial book about Jesus in New York with me for a holiday read. Still, we are all different and we are all curious readers so take a look at our May reviews and some of these books really ‘may end up in your travel bag this summer’…

Sincerely Yours, Curious Book Fans

The Wedding Wallah by Farahad Zama

When I read Farahad Zama’s first book ‘The Marriage Bureau for Rich People’ I was completely bowled over by the gentle tale of Mr Ali, the retired gentleman making matches across racial and religious divides. It felt like I’d found a blend of Jane Austin and Alexander McCall Smith and he’d hit the jackpot for me by setting it in India.

[read more…]

The Final Testament of the Holy Bible by James Frey

Imagine the birth of a figure like the Biblical Messiah in contemporary New York. What would he do? Where would he live and how would the people around him react? What would be his fate? This is the starting point and theme taken by James Frey in his new novel, The Final Testament of the Holy Bible.

[read more…]

The Girl Who Married a Lion by Alexander McCall Smith

McCall Smith collected these tales from the people of Zimbabwe and Botswana. Like many African cultures, they have a strong oral tradition when it comes to storytelling. These stories, and others like them, would be passed down from generation to generation through spoken storytelling.

[read more…]

The Garden Party by Sarah Challis

The Garden Party is quite a moving story too as it demonstrates how fragile relationships can be if you don’t take care of them and if you fail to communicate how you really feel. I’m obviously not going to tell you how things turn out and whether the perfect family celebration ever takes place, but I do recommend that you read this lovely book and find out!

[read more…]

Before I Knew You by Amanda Brookfield

The idea of a house swap holiday seems very appealing – getting away from the daily grind and experiencing a different culture without the holiday costing much more than the flights and a bit of spending money. This is the background to ‘Before I Knew You‘, the wonderful new book from one of my favourite authors, Amanda Brookfield.

[read more…]

Look Out, Stripy Horse by Jim Helmore and Karen Wall

The stripy horse and his friends live in a bric-a-brac shop, where magic is causing mayhem. Stripy horse is upside-down, Hermann the sausage-dog draught excluder is tied in a knot, someone has scribbled on Muriel the bird’s lampshade and Roly and Pitch, the salt and pepper pots, have been swapped around.

[read more…]

Something from Tiffany’s by Melissa Hill

Melissa Hill is one of my favourite Irish authors and I know that I am always going to enjoy reading her books. In her latest book ‘Something from Tiffany’s‘, she introduces a little bit of modern fairytale magic. This is especially so as the story opens in New York on Christmas Eve…

[read more…]

The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber

The Crimson Petal and the White is a Victorian blockbuster for the modern world. I read it shortly after it was originally published, but have returned to it because of the current BBC television adaptation which I have been watching with interest. I have enjoyed the adaptation, but it does not come close to capturing the richness and complexity of the novel.

[read more…]

Chocolate_Guitar_Momos by Kenny Deori Basumatary

Relationships, like marriages, after all, are made in heaven. After strumming through some sad ballads and his memories, Joseph remembers the fleeting glimpse he had of a girl he had nine years ago at a bus stop.

[read more…]

We All Ran into the Sunlight by Natalie Young

The novel opens in the 1980s, when a tragedy occurs in the chateau of the Borja family, in the Cevennes region of France. In the present day, Kate Glover becomes fascinated by the chateau and is drawn to it. But her interest in the chateau reawakens the family’s tragedy.

[read more…]

Follow Me Home by Patrick Bishop

The place is Afghanistan – Helmand province to be precise. The time is…..well I guess sometime right round about now. Certainly it’s a time after the initial gloss of combat has worn off; when the days when the men feared conflict in Afghanistan might be dull and lacking in proper fighting lay far in the past.

[read more…]

Osama Must Die – Q&A with Mukul Deva

Mukul Deva’s ‘Lashkar’ series has many incidences which have later coincidentally appeared in real life. One such uncanny description is how ‘Osama is taken by US forces’ which is part of ‘Salim Must Die’, the book two of the series. Now that the series is reading more and more like non-fiction, we asked Mukul Deva to give us his views of recent dramatic events and how they are reflected in his books.

[read more…]

The Vet by Luke Gamble

Gamble writes with an engaging style, and seems to really want everyone to feel involved in what he is writing about. His tales are humorous where appropriate, yet sometimes there is a feel that he may be trying too hard when he is self-deprecating. He actually writes better about the serious side of his work

[read more…]

AQA Working With The Anthology Student Book: Achieve an A*
by Tony Childs

This is obviously a book for students who are capable of thinking for themselves and who are aiming to achieve the top grade in English Literature. There is of course no absolute guarantee that anyone using “Working with the Anthology: Achieve an A*” will actually be awarded an A*, but it definitely shows how it could be done.

[read more…]

Plague Child by Peter Ransley

The English civil war was the beginning of the modern age in Britain. While everybody knows that a King was executed and battles fought between Roundheads and Cavaliers, most people are unaware that, proportionally, more of England’s population was killed in this conflict than in either the First or Second World Wars. It had a huge impact on the country we know today.

[read more…]

The Complete Thyroid Book by Kenneth Ain and Sara Rosenthal

I was one of the many who didn’t know my thyroid from my thigh bone nine months ago and now, thanks to two operations, numerous blood tests, a dose of radioactive iodine and daily medication, my thyroid is a constant preoccupation even though I haven’t actually got one. Sounds weird? Try a diagnosis of follicular thyroid cancer – it’s a great way to turn you overnight from thyroid ignorant to thyroid expert.

[read more…]

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