Newsletter No 22 (September 8th, 2011)

Hi,

Today is International Literacy Day. We believe that world change starts with educated children. That’s why we support charity Room to Read and their efforts in girls’ education in Asia and Africa. During September donations are matched by sponsors so don’t miss out on this opportunity. You can donate here.

In August our curiosity lead us to read books about journalist, traveller and DJ Andy Kershaw, about what managers can learn from successful athletes, about the return of sexism and about measuring happiness. You may also be curious about latest Jodi Picoult book or travelogue of Mark Beaumont’s trip from top to bottom of Americas, on two wheels. I am sure crime fiction lovers would like to get an introduction to Guido Guerrieri, a lawyer living and working in the city of Bari on Italy’s Adriatic coast. So, I will not keep your attention with this intro anymore. Take a look at extracts of our August reviews.

Sincerely Yours, Curious Book Fans

No Off Switch by Andy Kershaw

No Off Switch” is an autobiography I’ve been eagerly awaiting for a long time. The shelves of bookstores real and virtual teem with so-called celebrity autobiographies but few of them can offer the stories that Kershaw has to tell. 

[read more…]

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

Sarah’s Key tells the story of an event in Paris during the Second World War. It’s not a book I would expect to sell well in France because it quite literally opens the cupboard and rattles the skeletons that many would prefer to leave firmly locked away. It is a look at the shame of a nation summed up with the word ‘collaboration’.

[read more…]

Monday to Friday Man by Alice Peterson

Overall Monday to Friday Man is a very enjoyable read about relationships and friendship. It is also a little bit about following your heart and not worrying about the things that you cannot change.

[read more…]

Blow on a Dead Man’s Embers by Mari Strachan

As a picture of small town life in the early 1920s, Blow on a Dead Man’s Embers by Mari Strachan is a wonderful snapshot of time and place. This is the kind of book I can entirely imagine serialised as a BBC period drama which would top the ratings despite the absence of anything very racy or lurid.

[read more…]

The Winning Way – Learnings from Sport for Managers
by Anita and Harsh Bhogle

What does sport have in common with management? Quite a few things – most sports rely on teamwork and leadership and so does management. There are elements of risk taking, adapting to changing situations and a determination to excel.

[read more…]

Temporary Perfections by Gianrico Carofiglio

Guido Guerrieri is a defence counsel lawyer living and working in the city of Bari on Italy’s Adriatic coast. He runs his own small but successful office with a team of loyal staff and has plenty of business to keep things ticking over nicely so when an old friend, a criminal lawyer, asks him to take on some work that he feels is not his area of expertise, Guido reluctantly listens to what he has to say.

[read more…]

Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism by Natasha Walter

This book is a disturbing account of the ways in which girls and young women are being encouraged to see themselves. It also examines the way that men and boys are conditioned to view women.

[read more…]

The Empty Nesters by Nina Bell

What do you do after eighteen years of selflessly bringing up your children when they suddenly leave home? Do you see it as a huge opportunity to do the things that you have always wanted or is there just a vast empty hole in your home and in your heart? This is the question that Nina Bell poses in her fabulous new book, ‘The Empty Nesters‘.

[read more…]

Cold Light by Jenn Ashworth

For me, the build up of this novel took a while, but in the end I found it a powerful and disturbing study of jealousy, secrets and lies and I will probably look out for more work by Jenn Ashworth.

[read more…]

The Man Who Cycled the Americas by Mark Beaumont

Following on from The Man Who Cycled the World, an account of his record breaking trip of 2008, The Man Who Cycled the Americas is Mark Beaumont’s next major undertaking, cycling down the back bone of the continents of North and South America. Having generated a lot of media attention with his first feat, this time BBC Scotland was commissioning a three part television series around the trip.

[read more…]

God Collar by Marcus Brigstocke

 

I’ve long been a fan of Marcus Brigstocke, finding his engaging delivery and intelligent material a breath of fresh air compared with his peers who seem currently to churn out endless clichéd observations on everyday life. God Collar is based on Brigstocke’s Edinburgh Festival show that I wasn’t able to get to so I was especially interested in reading this book.

[read more…]

The Happiness Quotient by Dr Rekha Shetty

Happiness has suddenly become an important factor in the welfare of countries. As far back as 1972, the King of Bhutan introduced a system for measuring Gross National Happiness in his country, rather than the conventional GDP mapping. This was followed by Thailand a while later, and UK and Australia, too are considering introducing a happiness measure related to economics.

[read more…]

Harvesting the Heart by Jodi Picoult

Harvesting the Heart is a fabulously absorbing read that really draws the reader in to the life of its unhappy main character. It is quite painful at time to witness her anguish and self doubt but also very easy to emphasise with her too.

[read more…]

Purge by Sofi Oksanen

In Vladivostok a young woman recalls how, as a child, her grandmother secretly taught her to speak Estonian and told her about a place far removed from the cold, stark landscape of Siberia. The old lady made Zara promise never to tell her mother what they had talked about.

[read more…]

Oxygen by Andrew Miller

Oxygen was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2002, the year in which Peter Carey won with The True History of the Kelly Gang (a book devoid of commas). It is a well written and engrossing piece of literary fiction, and was certainly worthy of this accolade.

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I and Claudius – Travels with My Cat by Clare de Vries

The problem is that sometimes when you want a change, you need someone to keep you company and your friends and relatives don’t want the same things you want or aren’t available when you need them. How could she find the perfect travel companion? Enter Claudius – the perfect loyal friend to take on a road trip across the USA. ‘I and Claudius‘ is the story of their road trip – and it’s fantastic. 

[read more…]

The Straight Razor Cure by Daniel Polansky

The Straight Razor Cure by Daniel Polansky is a blend of noir crime with fantasy fiction. It is set in Low Town, a crime-ridden and deprived region of a larger fictional world which is not described in detail.

[read more…]