Newsletter No 34 (October 29th, 2012)

Hi,

Besides getting the usual snapshot of recent curious book fans reviews, in this newsletter I would like to bring to your attention an interview with author Will Schwalbe about his latest book The End of Your Life Book Club. He talks about an unusual ‘book club’ he made with his mother in the final months of her life.

We have three copies of The End of Your Life Book Club to give away. The competition is open until Thursday, November 1st and you can take part here.

Sincerely Yours, Curious Book Fans

Q&A with Will Schwalbe

Mom would have wanted readers to be proud of themselves as readers — to realize that reading is one of the most important things you can do — it’s how you know what you need to do in life and how you join the human conversation. She would have wanted people to share books more, and connect over books, and realize that books are how we can all get closer to one another.

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The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

Will and his mother, Mary Anne, formed their own two person ‘book club’ and Will called it The End of Your Life Book Club. With a diagnosis of Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer (there is no stage 5) both knew that Mary Anne’s days were numbered but there were still so many great books to be read for the first time or old favourites to be read again.

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The Fall of the Stone City by Ismail Kadare

Ismail Kadare is generally held to be one of the great living writers, and was awarded the inaugral Man Booker International Prize in 2005. I remember enjoying the last novel of his which I read (The Siege) so I was initially attracted to The Fall of the Stone City by its title and the possibility that it might turn out to address similar territory.

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The Yips by Nicola Barker

When I finished it, I felt significantly more positive – it was an entertaining read which seemed shorter than its page length, always a good sign. It has now been long listed for this year’s Booker prize and seems to be one of the favourites to progress onto the shortlist. Hopefully, this will help to draw it to the attention of a wider readership.

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The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers

Henry is a little boy who loves books. He doesn’t read them, however; he eats them. He eats all kinds of books, but red ones are his favourite. The more books he eats, the cleverer he becomes. He wants to become the cleverest person in the world, so he eats three or four books at a time.

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After the Fall by Charity Norman

After the Fall is the great new novel by Charity Norman. On the cover, it claims that it will appeal to devotees of both Joanna Trollope and Jodi Picoult. Well, being a huge fan of both these authors, I felt in a good position to judge and I was not left disappointed.

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Dark Lies the Island by Kevin Barry

Short stories have a strong place in Irish writing, and many Irish authors of literary fiction have turned their hand to the genre. Kevin Barry is a very fine addition to the list. Dark Lies the Island is his second volume in this format and maintains a superb standard throughout, ranging from the touching, romantic and poignant through the humourous to the threatening.

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The Silver Eagle by Ben Kane

I have read plenty of trilogies where the middle book was the weakest, where the story seems to slump between good starts and endings. The Silver Eagle, fortunately, doesn’t fall into that trap and I thought it was a stronger and more accomplished book than The Forgotten Legion was.

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The Guilty One by Lisa Ballantyne

An eight year old boy has been found dead in a play park and his eleven year old friend stands accused of his murder That is the stark reality at the start of The Guilty One. Is Sebastian Croll the guilty one though, as suggested by the title of Lisa Ballantyne’s first gripping novel or is he as innocent as he proclaims?

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The Krishna Key by Ashwin Sanghi

It begins with a murder, a straight plunge into gruesomeness. What is odd is that the murderer thinks that he is an avatar of the god Vishnu, the 10th Kalki avatar and there are a number of mystic seals at stake which the murderer has been ordered to find. That is a dive certainly into Da Vinci Code territory…

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Tangled Lives by Hilary Boyd

Tangled Lives is Hilary Boyd’s second novel and it is the first book I have read from her. It’s always exciting to come across a new author as you never know what to expect, but in this case, I was really pleased. Tangled Lives is a thoughtful and, at times heart-rending story that explores the theme of adoption and the lasting impact it has on everyone involved.

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Jack Maggs by Peter Carey

While highly flawed, Carey has given us a fascinating story line, a truly colorful cast of characters that are multi-dimensional, and a setting that is brooding and yet romantic, all written in a style that is both accessible and clear. With these pluses it is no wonder that Carey has found himself no small number of faithful fans.

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Rumour Has It by Jill Mansell

Rumour Has It by Jill Mansell is a chick-lit novel about Tilly, who, after her boyfriend moved out without warning, moves to a small village in the English countryside to become a “Girl Friday” to Max and his daughter Lou. There she meets Jack, who has a reputation as a womanizer – but can Tilly resist his charms?

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