Newsletter No 29 (Apr 6th, 2012)


When the weather can’t seem to decide if it’s supposed to be spring or winter, make space in your life for a curious book. And if you don’t want to over-do the chocolate over Easter, ask the Easter bunny to bring you something from our ‘eggstraordinary’ crop of books. We’ve got romance, drama, mystery and even a dose of geography in this month’s newsletter collection. And if you pop over to the Forum you’ll find we have two copies of Aravind Adiga’s very curious Last Man in Tower to give away.

Sincerely Yours, Curious Book Fans

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey is a retelling of a fairy tale, based on a traditional Russian Story. This may not sound very exciting, but the writing is magical and the characters compelling and believable, so that as a reader I felt completely drawn into the Alaskan winter and the lives of Jack and Mabel and their friends.

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Noah’s Child by Eric-Emanuel Schmitt

On Sundays Joseph puts on his best – but very ragged – clothes and performs in the weekly ‘beauty parade’, strutting across the stage at the Villa Jaune and hoping that one of the adults in the audience will recognise him and claim him as their son. 

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The Kashmir Shawl – Rosie Thomas

The Kashmir Shawlby Rosie Thomas is a story of two women separated by 70 years but linked by a shawl and a lock of hair. It’s a mystery story, a historic novel and several love stories all rolled into one. And best of all it combines two things I love – India and a beautiful hand woven shawl.[read more…]

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

The Art of Fielding by Chard Harbach is a big novel, in length and ambition. It was apparently ten years in the making, and along with a fine story it contains a considerable amount of intellectual ambition.

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The Man Who Forgot His Wife by John O’ Farrell

When you pick up a book called The Man Who Forgot His Wife, you can be pretty confident about what you are going to get: a story about a man who has forgotten his wife. If that book happens to be brightly coloured and authored by John O’Farrell (a writer who claims “Spitting Image” amongst his many credits) then you can be pretty confident that you are going to get a comedy.

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When You Were Older by Catherine Ryan Hyde

When You were Older is the fabulous new novel by Catherine Ryan Hyde. Set against the backdrop of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, it tells a poignant and moving tale of family and prejudice.

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11.22.63 by Stephen King

It is often said that people can remember exactly where they were when they first heard the news of John F Kennedy’s assassination, so shocking was the thought that the President could be shot in public, in broad daylight. But since then, many may have come to wish that their location on that fateful day was in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, so they could have somehow stopped the presidential motorcade or prevented Lee Harvey Oswald entering the now infamous Texas School Book Depository

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Konstantin by Tom Bullough

Being an ardent Russophile, Tom Bullough’s Konstantin caught my eye on the virtual bookshelves. It’s a piece of biographical fiction, and recounts the early years of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, the man regarded as the founding father of Soviet space travel.

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The Patchwork Marriage by Jane Green

The Patchwork Marriage tells the story of Andi and Ethan. They married when Andi was approaching her forties and she became stepmother to Ethan’s two daughters, Emily and Sophia. There was always the idea that they would add to the family but the early onset of the menopause put paid to those hopes. 

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Stabat Mater by Tiziano Scarpa

The author Tiziano Scarpa does a wonderful job of conveying the power of music to affect the emotions. Before Don Antonio arrives at the Ospedale the girls have been playing the same tired music written by the previous jaded in house composer; the new composer’s works have a profound effect on the atmosphere at the Ospedale

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The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

The Woman in Black is a classic of modern ghost stories. First published in 1983, the story has had a varied existence as first a novel, then a play, film, TV adaptation and object of study for GCSE and A level English students. It has become the second longest running play in the West End of London (beaten only by The Mousetrap), and has most lately risen to prominence again as the subject of a new big budget film starring Daniel Radcliffe.

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The Divine Comedy by Craig Raine

If I had to describe The Divine Comedy by Craig Raine in one word, it would be “unflinching”. The cover depicts a close up of a male face, in hyper-real, high definition close up, and this is a sign of things to come. The Divine Comedy is a challenging novel from an author best known as a poet.

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The Living Coast: An Aerial View of Britain’s Shoreline

Many people who wish to spend a holiday on Britain’s coast would perhaps simply be looking for a sandy beach to sunbathe on, where the children can go paddling safely. The Living Coast, however, with its 376 aerial photographs of Britain’s shoreline, shows that there is so much more to it than those crowded beaches.

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Maine by Courtney Sullivan

Three generations of Kelleher women are in Maine: Alice, the prickly matriarch; her daughter Kathleen, who is best described as the black sheep of the family; Kathleen’s daughter Maggie, pregnant and newly single; and Alice’s daughter-in-law, Ann-Marie, an uptight perfectionist who is now harbouring desires for an affair.

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Tamil Pulp Fiction by P K Chakravarthy , R Khanna

This is a follow-up to the immensely popular first collection of South Indian, specifically Tamil pulp fiction, released in 2008. It features stories by names like Indra Soundar Rajan, Medhavi, Jeyaraj, Pushpa Thangadorai, Rajesh Kumar, Indumathi and Resakee. The contents are very unashamedly pulp, gore, blood, violence with overtones of sex.

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