Newsletter No 26 (January 13th, 2012)

Hi,

In the run up to Christmas and New Year our busy reviewers still found time to read dozens of books and tell Curiousbookfans about them. From toilets to camping, travel to cooking via some great fiction, there’s something for everyone in our latest crop of reviews. And since we all know books make great gifts, how about a gift from us to mark the new year? We have three copies of Extreme Frontiers to give away – sign into the Forum and tell us where you’d like to send writer and adventurer Charley Boorman and our favourite suggestions will win a copy.

Sincerely Yours, Curious Book Fans

Extreme Frontiers: Racing Across Canada by Charley Boorman

Starting on the East coast of Canada, in Newfoundland, Charley journeys across the second largest country in the world, visiting each frontier – East, West, North and South. Along the way he meets lots of people, discovers native ways of life and undertakes some extreme challenges.

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Chasing the Devil by Tim Butcher

Chasing The Devil is Butcher’s account of a journey across Sierra Leone and Liberia. Like Blood River, he is again recreating an earlier journey, this time the trip made by author Graham Greene and his cousin Barbara in 1935.

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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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The Gap in the Curtain by John Buchan

The Gap in the Curtain is a collection of short stories masquerading as a novel, and I like this too: Buchan’s short stories are always excellent, since they are tiny portraits of a particular activity or specialist knowledge, but when they are linked to each other, there is an extra layer of satisfaction.

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Simon’s Cat in Kitten Chaos by Simon Tofield

Simon’s Cat is an average cat. He has adventures in the garden, steals Simon’s chair, walks over his laptop…things that we can all recognize and give a wry smile at. The kitten, however, changes things.

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Two Fates by Judy Balan

In all, it’s a light hearted look at the way couples throw their lives around without much reason and are unwilling to admit that frogs can be princes and princes occasionally two time as frogs.

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Egypt: 4000 Years of Art by Jaromir Malek

Jaromir Malek is the Keeper of the Archive at Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum, one of my favourite museums and a place where I always hunt down the mummies and have a good gawp at the Egyptian section.  With such a background he’s undoubtedly qualified to create such a vast volume. 

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Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Karou is a good lead character, a strong young woman who doesn’t know who she is, but is determined to find out. The non-human characters she meets along the way are all somewhat enigmatic, never fully revealing themselves or their intentions.

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Toilets of the World , Morna E. Gregory, By (author) Sian James

Toilets of the World isn’t book to read in one ‘sitting’ but it’s a fascinating volume that illustrates the ingenuity of the human race, the crassness of those with too much money, the humour of some without, and the many and varied ways that have been developed to deal with life’s necessities

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Gujarati Kitchen by Bhanu Hajratwala

The cuisine itself consists of a combination of Jain and Vaishanava influences which accounts for its great variety, as well as for its intricacy. Hajratwala unveils the secrets of various grandmothers’ kitchens for aspiring cooks.

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Ghosts by Daylightby by Janine Di Giovanni

Two war reporters decide to settle down to a more ordinary, domestic life, away from the world’s conflicts, in Paris. They are having a baby. This effort at normal life turns out to be more stressful for them both than they could have imagined.

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One Moment, One Morning by Sarah Rayner

It was just another day on the 7.44 from Brighton to London, when suddenly a man is taken ill and dies. One Moment, One Morning by Sarah Rayner is a novel about how one moment is all it takes to change lives.

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Mr Gum and the Goblins by Andy Stanton

My favourite part of the book was when the Goblins sang a really funny song. I liked the song because there was a burp solo in it.

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Clean Breaks by R. Hammond and J. Smith

Clean Breaks by Richard Hammond and Jeremy Smith is a guide to 500 things you could do around the world without a high environmental impact. The green aspirations of the book make it pretty clear that it’s not going to be the Richard Hammond of Top Gear fame that wrote it.

[read more…]