Newsletter No 28 (Mar 17th, 2012)

Hi,

Spring is springing up around us and Curious Book Fans are turning their thoughts to what to read now that the weather’s getting warmer and the evenings will soon be getting much lighter. What would your choice be for sitting in a comfy chair by a light window? How about a good murder mystery set in Italy (I Will Have Vengeance), Sweden (Frozen Moment) or the USA (The Safety Expert)? Or maybe human relationships and romance are more your thing – we can offer reviews of Elizabeth Buchan’s Daughters, Joanna Trollope’s The Soldiers Wife or if you like a very gentle romance mixed with lots of philosophy, there’s Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog. For those who prefer non-fiction, how about a tribute to our nation’s library service or a guide to the 1001 paintings you should see before you die – don’t worry, death is not compulsory after you view the last of the recommendations.

Sincerely Yours, Curious Book Fans

I Will Have Vengeance by Maurizio de Giovanni

The year is 1931, the setting the Italian city of Naples. Commissario Luigi Alfredo Ricciardi is working late one evening when he is summoned to the famous San Carlo Opera House where a mysterious death has been reported. There he is faced with the dead body of Maestro Vezzi…

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Daughters by Elizabeth Buchan

Daughters is a riveting read and fascinating because of all of the different dynamics within this unusual family. Lara is the central character and has to put up with a lot from negotiating with her teenage daughter, trying to ensure that Eve stays calm for the wedding, appeasing Sarah’s objections and trying to maintain a reasonably civil relationship with her husband. 

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The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

If you’re as prone as I am to grabbing a book on the basis of a silly title, then you’ve probably already got The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery on your bookshelf along with A History of Tractors in Ukrainian and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. I’m a sucker for a provocative title.

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The Soldier’s Wife by Joanna Trollope

Dan Riley is a major in the British army and is returning home from a six month tour serving in Afghanistan. This should be an exciting time for his wife, Alexa, but she can’t help viewing his return with a certain amount of trepidation.

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The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng

I’ve never seen a Japanese archer – but again I can feel the tension in the bow, the release of the arrow and the play of tensions in the archer’s body because of what I’ve read in this book. This book gives the reader a sense of ‘borrowed experience’ that’s akin to the gardening art of borrowed scenery…

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The Library Book by group of authors

This little book contains within it 24 essays on libraries from contributors as diverse as Stephen Fry, Caitlin Moran, Alan Bennett, Karin Slaughter, China Mieville, Val McDermid and Julian Barnes.

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Micro by Michael Crichton, Richard PrestonPrior to his death, Crichton described Micro as “an adventure story like Jurassic Park”. Set in Hawaii, it follows six graduate students as they visit a company called Nanogen which is promising them jobs using advanced technology and research methods.

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Horrid Henry and the Zombie Vampire by Francesca Simon

I liked Horrid Henry because he is witty and hilarious. My favourite part was when Horrid Henry tricked Miss Battle-Axe by showing her Peter’s story.

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Between a Mother and Her Child by Elizabeth Noble

Between a Mother and Her Child is a beautiful book and compulsive reading. It is painful, sad but never too morose but it is definitely worth having a box of tissues nearby. It is also uplifting at times.

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Frozen Moment by Camilla Ceder

Early one wintry morning Ake Melkersson has car trouble on his way to work. He drives off the main road to a garage he vaguely recalls having used in the past. When he gets there he finds the dead body of a man on the ground.

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No Turning Back by Susan Lewis

No Turning Back is an absolutely riveting read and I was hooked from the very first page until the very last. The story is cleverly written and continually drops hooks and hints in order to keep the reader guessing and there are definitely quite a few surprises in this book.

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The Time of My Life by Patrick Swayze and Lisa Niemi

When Patrick Swayze’s character Johnny Castle ran his fingers down the arm of Jennifer Grey’s character ‘Baby’ in the 1980s film Dirty Dancing, women watching in cinemas around the world let out a collective groan of pleasure that was probably not matched until decades later when Daniel Craig stepped out of the sea in Casino Royale in ‘those’ swimming trunks.

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1001 Paintings 2011: You Must See Before You Die by Stephen Farthing

Of course it is easy to guess that iconic works such as Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa,” Constable’s “The Haywain” and Vincent van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” are included here. There are, however, enough paintings by lesser-known artists to surprise or delight you and perhaps encourage you to visit a museum that is new to you.

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Solace by Belinda McKeon

It is set against the background of Ireland in the early part of this century, at a time when rural areas continued to cling to traditional values and ways of life while brash modern Ireland epitomised by the Dublin property boom gradually began to encroach.

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The Safety Expert by Doug Richardson

Ben Keller is a dull but dependable chap who runs a safety consultancy in California. His life – both professionally and personally – is characterised by the avoidance of risk but it was not always so. His past as a successful restaurateur was torn apart by the murder of his wife and baby daughters.

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