Newsletter No 6 (June 25th, 2010)


World Cup is getting exciting, the proper summer is here and we all look forward to go somewhere else. If you are still not sure what will be on your summer must-read list we will try to help with ideas in this newsletter. If still unsure take a look at 268 book reviews neatly listed on our Index page.

Yours, Curious Book Fans

May 2010 Summer Travel book giveaway competition

Our book giveaway competiton has ended on June 13th. Winners of four fine books are announced in our Forum.

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Curious Book Fans travel and read

We devoted a section of the site to travel literature – both guidebooks and fiction books we associate with certain geographical locations or trips. We have published few interesting travel reading articles already. Watch this space for new literary adventures of Curious Book Fans…

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The Death of Bunny Munro by Nick Cave

Indeed, “The Death of Bunny Munro” is a brilliant combination of inky black comedy and pure tenderness. There’s an incredible amount of warmth around the relationship between Bunny senior and his doting son, yet this is a man whose mind is constantly distracted by thoughts of Avril Lavigne’s vagina. Cave, the elder statesman of the alternative music scene, can get away with such scenes – his description of Kylie’s “Spinnin’ Around” video as “an orgiastic paean to buggery” is not something every author could get away with

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Great Read-aloud Books

Reading aloud is an ideal activity to follow a free play session when the children are ready to sit still and be calm for a while. It fosters listening skills that are the basis of the learning process, encourages a love of books and instils a desire in the children to be able to read the stories themselves. Whilst the children I read to love traditional tales such as The Gingerbread Man or Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, we usually read contemporary stories. I’m listing some of our favourite books here.

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We are All Made of Glue by Marina Lewycka

Her first novel “A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian” must have been in the running for ‘best title of the year’ when it was released in 2005 and soon other books were sitting temptingly on our bookshelves with similar whacky titles – “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” by Paul Torday is one that springs to mind. I can’t help but think Lewycka’s book suffered for being a bit too accessible and might otherwise have stood a good chance in the ‘Diagram of Diagrams’ award for the oddest book title of the last 30 years which went to the non-fiction “Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers“.

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Witness the Night by Kishwar Desai

Perhaps it’s what you hear that stops you first, a 14 year old girl found alive among the bloodstained corpses of 13 family members in a rambling farmhouse. So you begin to read with images of a book like We Need to Talk about Kevin in your mind. Could this possibly be the tale of a child serial killer?  …

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Lady Kishwar Desai talks to Curious Book Fans

CBF: Why did you think of gendercide as the theme for your first novel?

Kishwar Desai: It was a chance encounter while I was running a TV Channel in Punjab, and one of the guests on the channel starting telling me about her life. It turned out that she had survived an attempt to give her opium and then kill her when she was born. Her story haunted me –and I kept wondering how she would feel, as an adult , looking at her parents and seeing her would-be assassins.

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The Lonely Tree by Yael Politis

This is a book that many people will regard with trepidation, either because it is not always the most pleasant of stories, or because they are concerned that they know nothing about the historical events surrounding Kfar Etzion. That really shouldn’t be a concern. Although nastiness can’t be avoided, because it is part of the characters’ lives, it is ultimately a story about people and how they can cope when they need to – in ways that few people can understand.

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Anjum Hasan talks to Curious Book Fans

CBF: Is Sophie’s experience of settling into a big city personal – you after all moved from Shillong to Bangalore?

Anjum Hasan: It is personal – I think that’s the right word – but it’s not autobiographical. The details of Sophie’s life are not mine – I didn’t work in the kind of profession she does and I didn’t have those kinds of friends or that kind of landlord or all those other experiences. But the larger idea of someone from Shillong moving to Bangalore and experiencing the city in a particular way comes from my own memory of doing this.

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I Love You as Big as the World by David Van Buren and Tim Warnes

My young daughters are both very loving and are often drawn to books that have the word ‘love’ in their titles. One of their favourites is ‘Guess How Much I Love You?’ by Sam McBratney, and so when they spotted ‘I Love You as Big as the World’ by David Van Buren and Tim Warnes I instantly knew that it would be a book that we would definitely be taking home with us.

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The Keeper of Secrets by Judith Cutler

The Keeper of Secrets” is as a Regency novel with a difference. In this book, Judith Cutler has successfully combined the dark world of crime writing with an era that we perceive as being almost universally polite, delicate and graceful. The Regency period is, after all, the world that Jane Austen inhabited. The result is an unusual novel that is an interesting combination of historical mystery and social comment that shows the bleaker side of this undoubtedly elegant period.

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Mukul Deva talks to Curious Book Fans

CBF: When did you realise there was a need for an Indian thriller?

Mukul Deva: It is surprising that for a country with a such a rich military tradition Indians have not attempted this genre before. More so since the sub-continent is positively teeming with a wealth of story ideas that are absolutely ideal for this genre.

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The Swan Thieves: A Novel by Elizabeth Kostova

Pages and pages of text and reels of celluloid have been devoted to the subject of obsession. Without it a great deal of art would not been made, or poems written – think of Shakespeare’s Dark Lady and the various other femme fatales of fiction. The Swan Thieves is the story of a man with an obsession that seems to have driven him to the edge. Robert Oliver a talented painter has attacked a painting.

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‘Cupboard Love’ by Tom Norrington-Davies

This book certainly does have an original standpoint, and I would recommend it to anyone who doesn’t have oodles of time but wants to be creative and know what is going into their food. Apparently we British use far more convenience foods than any of our European neighbours, and that is not something we can be proud of. So let’s have a better relationship with our kitchen and its cupboards.

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