Newsletter No 9 (Aug 26th, 2010)


Just an update on what were Curious Book Fans curious about during August. We’ve done lots of reading over the summer. Now, that we face the prospect of autumn we are looking forward to curling up on the sofa with a good book. Maybe some of the books mentioned below will be your perfect sofa companion. But before you scroll down to the newsletter please let us know which books you most remember from your childhood.

Yours, Curious Book Fans

Elliot Allagash by Simon Rich

Simon Rich is just 26 years old and his publicity shots suggest he could pass for 14. He’ll be getting asked for ID in bars for a very long time. He is both exceptionally youthful and ludicrously successful – you can’t help wonder if in their own ways both Seymour AND Elliot have a little bit of Simon Rich in their DNA. He’s already published two collections of short stories, he’s won several writing prizes and has worked on Saturday Night Live for 3 seasons which would probably impress me a lot if I was American, but I’m not.

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Danilo Kiš: Mittel Man

The early death of one of Europe’s humane and powerful literary voices was a tragedy for literature. But history suggests that the timing of the Kiš’ passing was – at least in one aspect – merciful. Kiš did not witness the engulfment of Yugoslavia in the blood-soaked tide of competing nationalisms that he so thoroughly despised and belittled.

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The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

The novel tells the story of the Price family; father Nathan, an American preacher, takes his wife and four daughters to the Belgian Congo in 1959 on a mission to spread Christianity. The Poisonwood Bible is the story of what happens in the village of Kilanga, and the aftermath over the next three decades.

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Michele Gorman talks to Curious Book Fans

Recently reviewed book Single in the City prompted us to ask few questions about the book and meaning of life in general the author Michele Gorman. She is originally from Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Michele now lives in London and her experiences provoked her to write about what happens when you take one 26 year old American, add to one 2,000 year old city with a big dose of culture clash and stir…

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World change starts with educated children

We’d like to invite you to help support a charity that works to educate girls in Asia and Africa.

Female education is a powerful tool in the fight against poverty. When girls learn, their families and communities benefit. Education for girls is directly linked to a number of positive outcomes including: lower birth infant mortality rates, increased wages, and improved family health and nutrition.

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The New Anthem by Ahmede Hussein

Ahmede Hussain’s anthology brings together what he describes as ‘strong new voices in South Asian fiction’ that hold the mirror up to the countries they inhabit and put down the reflections in their own words. The 22 short stories are by names we have heard of, Raj Kamal Jha, Kamila Shamsie, Mahmud Rahman, Padma Viswanathan, Khademul Islam, Mohsin Hamid, Monideepa Sahu and Amit Chaudhuri and some of the chosen pieces come from noted, award winning novels.

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We Die Alone by David Howarth

During the Second World War, four Norwegians set sail in a small fishing boat from the Shetlands Islands to the far north of Norway. They’ve been training in Britain to perform acts of sabotage against the Nazis who are occupying their homeland. As they try to make dry land, their arrival comes to the attention of a German gunship and in the ensuing skirmish, only one of their number, Jan Baalsrud, manages to escape.

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What was Lost by Catherine O’Flynn

What was Lost’ by Catherine O’Flynn is an interesting but unusual novel. It was the sort of book that was very easy to read but I couldn’t work out exactly where it was going and how all the different pieces fitted together until the very end.‘What was Lost’ could be described as a twenty-first century mystery, set in a large and somewhat impersonal shopping centre where a small girl went missing twenty years before.

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The Rough Guide to Paris by Ruth Blackmore and James McConnachie

As far as guide books go, it would be difficult to find a better one. Unless you want a small, lightweight book to carry around or one with colour photographs on every page, “The Rough Guide to Paris” is an excellent choice for the sheer amount of detailed information it provides. A larger map of Paris and a more comprehensive phrasebook will be needed by some travellers, but otherwise everything you would wish to know will more than likely to be found here.

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Perfect Eight by Reema Moudgil

What first catches your attention is the language. Descriptions like a bungalow’s white shoulders wrapped around in a bougainvillea shawl, or a slow river like the notes of a tourist’s harmonica catch your attention.  Then there is the story, Ira’s fascination with the handsome Samir which is drawn out through the book as the two meet and grow older.

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Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs by Giles Andreae and Russell Ayto

Flinn, like so many other boys his age, loves dinosaurs and pirates. One day at school his teacher sends him to a walk-in cupboard to look for the pens he needs to colour a dinosaur picture. While inside, Flinn hears the sound of a man crying.

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The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley and William Danko

Written by Thomas Stanley and William Danko, two professors of marketing at the State University of New York, this text has become something of a classic in personal finance literature. Unlike many books that claim to be able to make you rich, this one is not full of hollow promises. Instead, it offers a distillation of twenty years of research into the affluent in America…

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Children of England by Alison Weir

Children of England by Alison Weir covers the period immediately after Henry VIII’s death, when his son Edward became king at the age of 9, and then continues through his reign, the tragic and short reign of Jane Grey, that of Mary, daughter of Katherine of Aragon, until her death and the ascension of Elizabeth to the throne.

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Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl by Grayson Perry and Wendy Jones

Grayson Perry is the sort of person about whom it’s hard not to have an opinion. Mention his name and people fall into three broad camps; those who say ‘Grayson WHO?’, those who say “Ah yes, the controversial potter who won the 2003 Turner Prize” and everyone else smiles and says “The bloke in the dress”.

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