Newsletter No 36 (February 6th, 2013)


The good book usually appears in front of us as recommended by a friend or due to an accidental one-click. We dive into its unique, imaginary world like we would in the cinema, captivated by the magic of a good movie. Try to find your favourite from the pile of books in this newsletter and some unlikely candidates may qualify for the status of a ‘good book’ for you.

Sincerely Yours, Curious Book Fans

The Dying Minutes by Martin O’Brien

O’Brien captures the very essence of the hot south of France: the scents, the flavours and the landscapes. You can smell the garlic in a bowl of steaming bouillabaisse, the distinctive aroma of hot black coffee or the buttery whiff of a flaky croissant.[read more…]

The Taste of Apple Seeds by Katharina Hagena

The Taste of Apple Seeds is a vivid and richly descriptive story in which the actions take place over just a couple of days but evoke the memories of a lifetime and beyond. The narration starts when Iris, a young librarian, learns that she has inherited her grandmother Bertha’s house in northern Germany; the house doesn’t just hold memories for Iris, …

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Mortality by Christopher Hitchens

There’s an old saying that there are no atheists on the front line in a war zone or in the oncology department so how will this most extreme ‘auto de fe’ (trial of faith – or rather trial of lack of faith) be met by someone whose canon of work includes such titles as his 2007 bestseller ‘God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything’?

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Cooking on the Run by Boria Majumdar

A cricket writer and sports scholar writing about food? That’s a surprise for a start, even though cricket writers certainly eat and probably enjoy their food as much as anyone else. Boria Majumdar’s book, though is written with specific agenda, to get men who cannot cook into the kitchen and make them comfortable with the pots and pans.

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Loving Frank by Nancy Horan

Those interested in early 20th century architecture might recognize this name as being the woman who was Frank Lloyd Wright’s lover – the woman he left his wife and family for which caused a scandal that rocked not only Chicago’s society, but also the world of architecture.

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Moranthology by Caitlin Moran

In 2011’s bestselling How To Be A Woman, Caitlin Moran discussed, well, all things female. It had a big impression on me; a year and a half on from reading it, I am no longer concerned that owning only one dress (the one I got married in, never to be worn again), never being bothered with make-up (so many things I’d rather do with my time and money) and not wanting babies (ditto) makes me a rubbish woman.

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The writing of The Night Circus is very good, but where Morgenstern really excels is in her descriptions of the circus itself. For all that it is a mysterious and fantastic place, her descriptions are so evocative that you really can build a picture of the circus, and almost feel you can smell the food stalls, hear the amazement of the crowds, and picture all the magical exhibits they see.

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Manfred the Baddie by John Fardell

Manfred is a horrible man who, along with his henchmen, kidnaps the most skilful inventors. He threatens to feed them to his piranha fish if they don’t follow his orders.

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Angels Beneath the Surface: A Selection of Contemporary Slovene Fiction edited by Mitja Cander and Tom Priestly

Slovene is the smallest unique language in Europe so there won’t be many people who pick up a book written in Slovene unless it’s their mother tongue. The obvious solution for Slovene authors is to have their work translated but, disappointingly, there’s very little Slovenian literature available in translation.

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The Vanishing Point by Val McDermid

As much as I like the Tony Hill books, I have found that these one-off stories are often among her best and most interesting works; The Vanishing Point has proved to be no exception.

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The Cove by Ron Rash

One of the joys of reviewing books is that you are sometimes sent something by a publisher that you would never normally read, but which you end up really enjoying. Ron Rash’s The Cove has been one of these books.

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Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found by Cheryl Strayed

Wild is Cheryl Strayed’s account of her journey along the Pacific Crest Trail, 1100 miles from California, through Oregon and into Washington State. Following the death of her mother, her family grew apart and her marriage broke up. She was in a pretty bad place, directionless and dabbling in drugs, and one day came across a guide book for the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).

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The Dust Beneath Her Feet by Shaheen Ashraf-Ahmed

it’s not always necessary for a book set at a significant time to actually be directly about that time. History’s defining events can be the back-drop to a book rather than front of stage getting all the attention. Such is the case in Shaheen Ashraf-Ahmed’s short novel The Dust Beneath Her Feet.

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The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis is one of those books that seem destined to become a popular ‘book club’ choice, to be discussed by women sipping white wine on sofas and debating the past sins of American racism. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – you don’t get to be a book club favourite without having something important to say…

[read more…]