Newsletter No 38 (July 12th, 2013)

Dear …,

Hope this letter finds you in a good spirits and under the palm tree or in any decent sun shade. We are on holiday as well but before we left we have asked few authors and curious book fans to tell us about their favourite holiday reads. Take a look and have a good holiday!

Sincerely Yours, Curious Book Fans

Charity Norman’s Holiday Raeds

These are Charity Norman’s Holiday Reads 2013. Her new novel The Son-in-Law has been published in July 2013. You can find our review here.I’m imagining the kind of holiday that involves long hours in a hammock with a glass of something cold – or possibly by the log fire in a Scottish glen – rather than one of the wholesome variety that involve blisters forming under the walking boots, the husband peering at the map, and teenagers asking why are we here, and please can we go somewhere sensible next year?[read more…]

The Humans by Matt Haig

This article is part of our Holiday Reads 2013 series.

Matt Haig’s The Humans is the second of his novels that I have read, the first being The Radleys, about a family of suburban vampires. The Humans has a similarly mundane setting, largely set around a family in Cambridge, the father of which is an eminent professor of mathematics at the university. Yet from the outset, we know that this is no mundane story.

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Cosmos by Carl Sagan

This article is part of our Holiday Reads 2013 series. Cosmos is Matt Haig’s recommendation. 

I am getting into science books. At school, I hated science, but I think that was mainly because I had not very inspiring teachers. I didn’t get excited by bunsen burners and forceps and those safety goggles you had to wear.

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Books for Holiday Reading

These are some recommendations from Hilary Linstead and Elisabeth Davies for your Holiday Reads 2013. Their book Growing Old Outrageously will be published in July. You can read our review here.

I have a pile of books on the table by my bed, R2R, Ready To Read, and when I go on holiday I pick them up and fling them into the nearest suitcase. Even if I take my Kindle with its library on board, there is still the instinctive urge to gather up those bedside books and take them with me.

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The Bay of Secrets by Rosanna Ley

In 2011, the Catholic Church in Spain was hit by the scandal of niños robados (stolen babies). It was revealed that in Franco’s Spain just after the Spanish Civil War, from 1939, many poor women on the losing Republican side went into hospitals to give birth, and were told that their babies had been stillborn, or had mysteriously died soon after birth. In fact, children had been sold to families who were rich enough to pay, and who were loyal to the new regime.

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Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

This article is part of our Holiday Reads 2013 series. Remarkable Creatures is Rosanna Ley’s recommendation. Quercus published her  book, Bay of Secrets on May 9th, 2013. You can read our review of the book here.

This is a perfect holiday read for anyone who loves the Jurassic coast of Dorset as much as I do. The novel is set in Lyme Regis in the earlyish 1800s and the limelight of point of view is shared by the young, working-class girl Mary Anning and an educated but down at heel spinster Elizabeth Philpott.

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Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Just how well do you know the person you love? I expect many people would answer that question without thinking much about it: “very well”, “absolutely”, or “completely”. On the day of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne may well have given one of these stock phrases as well.

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The Honey Guide by Richard Crompton

This article is part of our Holiday Reads 2013 series. The Honey Guide is Michael Logan’s recommendation. Michael won Terry Pratchett First Novel Award prize for Apocalypse Cow, just published in paperback.

I don’t know what it is about sitting on a beach beneath a baking sun, surrounded by cavorting holidaymakers, that makes my thoughts turn to murder.

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Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

There may be a sense of déjà vu about this review, as this is far from the first that that I have sat down to review a book that has time as its central theme (Ferney, 11.22.63 and The Time Traveler’s Wife all spring to mind). However, while these novels all have time travel or time slips as their key conceit, Kate Atkinson has offered something rather more curious in her latest novel, Life After Life.

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The Hired Man by Aminatta Forna

Writing about the ethnic cleansing that took place in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s Aminatta Forna refuses to take sides. The novel is as much a dig at the moneyed foreigners who buy abandoned houses for holiday homes as it is an expose of the horrors of a war in which people that previously lived side by side allowed themselves to be persuaded that they were suddenly enemies.

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Growing Old Outrageously by Hilary Linstead and Elisabeth Davies

Growing Old Outrageously by Hilary Linstead and Elisabeth Davies is a travel book that will either delight you with the scope of their retirement adventures and their willingness to have a go at anything or will fill you with fear that you might one day find yourself on holiday with these two eccentric old girls.

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The String Diaries by Stephen Lloyd Jones

About three weeks ago, I collected a package from my local Post Office. Upon opening it, I found inside a proof copy of a paperback book, curiously tied up with string. The only other item inside the package was a sheet of paper. I opened the sheet, expecting it to be a standard press release, but instead found a letter written by an editor…

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Jacob’s Folly by Rebecca Miller

Jacob Cerf was an impoverished, religious Jewish peddler in 18th Century Paris. Circumstance led him away from his family and faith and into a world of impious debauchery. 300 years later, he’s back, but now he’s a fly in 21st Century New York and involved in the lives of two people.

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The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult’s latest novel, The Storyteller, is wonderful. It is a poignant and compelling book that will absorb the reader from start to finish. However, the story is also harrowing at times when it enters into the cruel reality of the Holocaust.

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Indian Nocturne by Antonio Tabucchi

The back cover of my copy of Antonio Tabucchi’s Indian Nocturne proclaims it to be a “prizewinning modern masterpiece” and the front cover carries a quotation from Salman Rushdie with just the one word “Beautiful”. I have to agree that Indian Nocturne is a fascinating and intriguing little book though I might perhaps draw the line at the adjective chosen from Mr Rushdie.

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Lessons in French by Hilary Reyl

What budding artist wouldn’t grab the chance at a job in Paris to work with the world-famous photo-journalist Lydia Schell? For Katherine, who just finished university, it will also be like going home. This is because, as a young girl, she lived in Paris for two years when her father was dying from cancer.

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Melting the Snow on Hester Street by Daisy Waugh

It’s 1929 and movie director Max Beecham and his actress wife Eleanor hobnob with Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, John Barrymore, Gloria Swanson and more. To them, Max and Eleanor are the happiest, most loving couple in Hollywood.

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