Newsletter No 5 (May 27th 2010)


We are really spoiling you this month with two newsletters. In this one you’ll find a great selection of books recently reviewed on the site.

We have started a series of literary trips to various places in anticipation of summer journeys many of us plan. You can follow our summer travel reading recommendations in the Travel section of the site.

We will also shamelessly promote our travel book giveaway competition, our Forum, our RSS feeds, our daily e-mail post updates, our tweets and even our own Facebook app.

Enjoy your books and don’t forget to tell us what you read when you travel.

Yours, Curious Book Fans

May 2010 Summer Travel book giveaway competition

Tell us which book reviewed on Curious Book Fans site you would like to take with you on holiday this summer.

The most original explanation in no more than 150 words posted on our Forum will get the main prize:

Clean Breaks – 500 New Ways to See the World by Richard Hammond and Jeremy Smith, Rough Guide Travel Guides (2009)

There are 3 more books to be won…

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India in Slow Motion by Mark Tully and Gillian Wright

This was a fascinating book about a fascinating country, covering a variety of issues. I think it was a good base from which to build up a better knowledge of India. The author comes across as being very honest; he clearly loves India and the Indians, but at the same time is aware of its failings.

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Six Months in Sudan: A Young Doctor in a War-torn Village  By James Maskalyk (Canongate Books) (2010)

When doctor James Maskalyk decided it was time to “put something back” and take a break from his work in the Emergency Room of a Canadian hospital, he chose to apply to be a volunteer with Medecins Sans Frontiers and told them he’d go ‘anywhere’. The organisation sent him to Sudan in 2007 to work in a hospital in small town called Abyei.

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The Way Things Look to Me By Roopa Farooki

“My name is Yasmin Murphy, and I don’t remember very much about the morning that my mum died, which is odd, as normally I remember everything.”
The Way Things Look to Me
is the story of Yasmin and her brother and sister, Asif and Lila, each of whose life is completely changed by the death of their previously widowed mother. Life wasn’t easy before she died …

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One Day By David Nicholls

I recently won a copy of this book and although it is not my usual ‘genre’ it did sound appealing. The words : “You can live your whole life not realising that what you’re looking for is right in front of you” boldly standing out on the back cover got my interest. Also the book begins on a graduation night in Edinburgh in the late 80’s. I was a student at this time, so thought I may be able to relate to the book because of this.

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Follow Curious Book Fans from your Facebook profile

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To install it just follow these simple instructions:

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Leaving India: My Family’s Journey from Five Villages to Five Continents by Minal Hajratwala

“Indian diaspora” is one of those phrases that have become part of conversation these days. Most people mouth the phrase without thinking too much of it – yes, yes, it covers UK, New Jersey, somewhere else in America, Canada. And then the conversation trails off in vagueness. The reality of the far flung Indian diaspora does not become apparent until you get hold of a book like Minal Hajratwala’s. Her extended family consists of 36 first cousins strung out across the globe between Fiji, England and South Africa, literally five continents when you sit down to analyse them.

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Death on the Ice By Robert Ryan

In 1917, as the First World War raged across Europe, artist Kathleen Scott was busy fighting her own battles for the memory of her late husband, Captain Robert Falcon Scott. Following the tragic events of the Terra Nova expedition to the Antarctic, one-time popular hero Scott is widely treated as a man of poor judgement and foresight, who lost the pole to Norway, who brought disaster on those depending on him…

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The Walled City  By Esther David

David belongs, like the poet Nissim Ezekiel, to the Bene Israel tribe which settled in India over 2000 years ago. The Walled City is the story of a Jewish girl’s coming of age in the very Hindu city of Ahmedabad. The girl David writes about lives in the area between Relief Road, Delhi Darwaza and Khamasa, a neighbourhood in which the Jewish extended family to which she belongs rubs shoulders with Hindus and Muslims, in a variety of roles, domestics, vendors and neighbours.

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Romp in the Swamp By Ian Whybrow, Illustrated by Adrian Reynolds

Romp in the Swamp” is one of a series of books about Harry and his bucketful of dinosaurs that are hugely popular with young children, partly because they tie in with a television series too. Author Ian Whybrow’s books usually deal with situations that children might find very daunting, such as the first day at school or a visit to the dentist, and show that they can turn out to be enjoyable rather than something to worry about. “Romp in the Swamp” is obviously no exception…

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Shoedog (Serpent’s Tail Classics) By George Pelecanos

Although Shoedog has recently been published this year as a ‘Serpent’s Tail Classics’ book, it was actually written a good few years ago by the author George Pelecanos, who is also one of the writers on the hit TV series ‘The Wire’.

Shoedog is a gritty story of redemption and revenge which can be read in one sitting…

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Plain Truth By Jodi Picoult

I have read quite a few of Jodi Picoult’s novels before, but having just finished ‘Plain Truth‘ I feel that this was the most moving and compelling by far.

In ‘Plain Truth‘ we are taken right into the heart of the Amish (Plain) Community in America, where an eighteen year old girl, Katie Fisher, is accused of murdering her new born baby.

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Fifty Grand By Adrian McKinty

For a thriller there’s a fair bit of social commentary. “Fifty Grand” isn’t just cops and robbers. This is a book with depth but it’s to McKinty’s credit that it works so effortlessly. The harsh reality of being an illegal in the United States is exposed; when Mercado agrees to work for Esteban in order to get the cover she needs to keep her in Fairview, she dives head first into a world where desperate people do whatever it takes to remain in the country.

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Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers

‘Lost and Found’ written by Oliver Jeffers tells of a really sweet story of friendship between a small boy and a penguin! An unusual combination you might think, and indeed it is, but the unlikely pair end up forming a very strong bond.

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Devil in a Blue Dress (Serpent’s Tail Classics) by Walter Mosley

Easy Rawlins is living in 1940’s Los Angeles. A war veteran, he has just been given the sack and, with mortgage payments to meet, he is terrified that he is going lose his house. Then his friend, Joppy, steps in with a suggestion. If Easy helps a man called Mr Albright find a woman called Daphne, Albright will cover Easy’s mortgage payment for the next month.

[read more…]

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