Newsletter No 25 (December 7th, 2011)


Curious Book Fans believe that books can save the world. Curious Book Fans believe that Christmas is not about good food and expensive gifts. That makes it the ideal time to show our charitable side and help charity we support – Room to Read.

Please help them to fund 20 new local language book titles and put 150,000 books in the hands of children in Asia and Africa. They need to raise £100,000 online by Friday 9th December, which will be matched pound for pound until they reach the overall target of £200,000.

Click here to donate through The Big Give website.

Have a great Christmas and a lot of good books in 2012.

Sincerely Yours, Curious Book Fans

“If you can’t understand it without an explanation, you can’t understand it with an explanation” says one of the characters in Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84, and to an extent this highlights the dilemma of any reviewer of this book.

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The Red Ants: The Evolution of a Novel by Martin Pevsner


My latest novel, The Red Ants, also draws on my years in teaching and the students I have known, in particular those students from Rwanda whose lives have been blighted by the 1994 Genocide.
One such student, a young man, had been sent by his parents to Belgium the year before the killings began.

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The Secrets Between Us by Louise Douglas


I fell for The Secrets Between Us, its characters and storytelling nearly as fast as Sarah falls for Jamie and Alexander. However, this is a suspense novel as much as a love story.

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The Night Before Christmas by Scarlett Bailey

Scarlett Bailey is a new author and The Night before Christmas is her first novel. For a début, it really is very good and is a lovely seasonal read in the run up to Christmas. I pretty much loved all of it and it had an absorbing storyline that grabbed my attention and kept it from start to finish.

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Mary Boleyn by Alison Weir

lison Weir’s latest work Mary Boleyn: ‘A Great and Infamous Whore’ is the first full length biography of the lesser known Boleyn sister. With little historical evidence to go on, Mary has been misunderstood and misrepresented for centuries, and Weir aims to attempt to set the record straight. 

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The Litigators by John Grisham

I found it fascinating and gripping and kept on wanting to read more. If you like legal thrillers, you will find all of the aspects of the mass claim riveting and the court scenes really absorbing.

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Smokeheads by Doug Johnstone

Four thirty something friends head to the Scottish island of Islay for a weekend of drug taking and whisky tasting. Friends since their university days, it was a mutual passion for whisky that brought them together but since then their lives have taken different paths.

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The Sandalwood Tree by Elle Newmark

India in the novel is portrayed through the perceptions of two Western women, 20th century American Evie and 19th century English Adela. Evie describes in some detail the appearance of the rented bungalow that is to be the new family home and the surrounding village, and people including servants, their Indian landlord and some English colonials.

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The Art of Camping by Matthew de Abaitua

I certainly don’t camp for any pleasure I derive from it, rather a belief that it’s somehow character building and morally robust. I’m certainly not the first to think so and in The Art of Camping Matthew de Abaitua takes us on a trip back in (fairly recent) history to look at those people for whom camping was a means to rehabilitation or a way of instilling certain values, using socialist in principle.

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Custody by Manju Kapur

In Manju Kapur’s latest novel Custody she addresses the complex issues of the relatively rare business of Indian divorce. It’s not her first time dealing with controversial issues – in fact every one of her four previous books has contained plenty to upset her more conservative readers…

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Paranormality: Why We See What Isn’t There
by Prof Richard Wiseman

The paranormal is a subject with seemingly limitless fascination for us, and in which people continue to hold as part of their belief systems. A Gallup poll taken in 2005 indicated that 30% of people believed in ghosts and 15% claimed to have seen one.

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Anger Mode by Stefan Tegenfalk

I was not too sure what to expect as the title sounds a bit light and airy, but as soon as I started reading I knew that I was going to enjoy it and it was also going to be a bit more thought provoking than the title would suggest.

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The Best of Quest

Quest was a literary magazine that first made its appearance in 1954 with the legendary poet Nissim Ezekiel as its chief editor. It dominated literary thought in India for twenty years until Indira Gandhi and her Emergency brought a sudden stop to its refreshing and revolutionary thinking.

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What They Do in the Dark by Amanda Coe

What They Do in the Dark is a story about childhood in the 1970s, and opens with a chapter evoking 1970s nostalgia. Gemma describes her regular Saturday routine, going swimming with her friend, then buying comics and sweets in the shop, before going home to watch her favourite telly programme, It’s Lallie.

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