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09 July 2008

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hazeljoy

certainly not my bank statement! ha-ha.
but i have thoroughly enjoyed beverly nichols' books about his time in merry hall. moving to our home, enjoying his garden talk, reading as though we were in conversation. and, being 1950s, reminds you of the manners and etiquette that people used to have (still have?). very calm, very gentle.

raspberry

Well have doing a long rambling post only a couple of moths ago about the 3 years I've experienced in a book group, it is actually hard to come up with a new book to recommend that is unknown to most people :)
However I have recently got into graphic novels, now I know they are not for everyone, but I would like to recommend Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi, who is probably better know for her book, Persepolis which has recently be produced as a film version.
I think it is a great book, not too long, and a great introduction to the joy of graphic novels :)

jess

This year I've really enjoyed:
Charlotte Gray - Sebastian Faulks
Nineteen Minutes - Jodi Picoult
The HIstory of Love - Nicole Krauss

Katherine

Oh dear. I mostly read children's books. I really had to rack my brain for a 'grown up' book. :)

Here are two. One I read as a recommendation by another blogger (who was it? If you just wrote about this book and you're reading this, let me know!): The Dud Avocado, by Elaine Dundy. I enjoyed that book.
And then a recommendation from me: Atonement, by Ian McEwan. This was a read that I could not put down. You know when you stay up until the wee hours just to keep reading, even though you know you'll regret it when you have to get up? Or when you'd really rather read than socialize during the waking hours? Yeah, that was me with this book.

Anna

I just started reading The Magician's Nephew, the 1st of the The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis. I realize these books were written for a MUCH younger audience, but I feel like I've missed out on something by never reading them. It's never too late, right?

kristina

I so wish I could have been at the Persephone talk, too. Perhaps you can convince Jane Brocket to come talk about 'Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer' (complete with baked treats and when I'm free of course!)?

I love so many books, it's hard to know where to start. But out of my recent reads I completely recommend
1) 'The Diary of a Provincial Lady' by E.M. Delafield
2) 'To Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee (just as good the third time around)
And I second the recommendation above of 'The History of Love' by Nicole Krauss.

Are those the Pedlars wellies? I'm very keen but can't quite justify yet another pair!

K x

seemownay

I am still reading Amanda Soule's The Creative Family. And it is really wonderfully written and a good addition to our sloing down process of life. I like it a lot!

Gina

Like you - so many books and so little time by the last couple I read and enjoyed were "In the Company of the Courtesan" by Sarah Dunant - a hilarious account of Renaissance Italy which I couldn't put down (and I don't generally like historical novels) and more recently a Persephone book "Someone at a Distance" by Dorothy Whipple - a gentle , beautifully written story that completely absorbed me.

dottycookie

My favourite of this year, like Katherine, is Ian McEwan's Atonement. Yes, I know I'm behind the times. Fornour book group we have had to read Sepulchre by Kate Mosse (torturous) and The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier (bawdy fun).

Where did you get your date stamp? It is perfect for your index cards!

Congrats on a successful event last night - and on not drowning ;-)

Christie

1/2 way through ' eat pray love' by elizabeth gilbert & loving it!

such a pleasure to sneak in some reading time when you have little kids :-)

JuliaB

Oooh so many books too right! I currently have my nose in "Women who run with the Wolves" by Clarissa Pinkola Estes and also Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I'm glad you had a nice time last evening and wish I'd been able to come.
x

Gemma

Because I'm odd I am going to give you two! One I've read and one I think looks tremendously interesting. The one I've read is Love songs and Lies by Libby Purves, it isn't a big read or a "good" read but is excellent grown-up chick lit about a group of friends who meet at oxford uni in the 70s and the tangled web they weave within that friendship and their families.

The one I think looks interesting is The Kitchen Revolution - a year of time and money saving recipes. It's a year of food planning according to seasonal food. With shopping lists and use of leftovers and everything. I am seriously considering it!

Julia

A few months ago I read the Black Magician Trilogy by Trudi Canavan. The first book is the Magicians Guild. I found it unputdownable. Creeping away to read a bit more you know the kind of thing. It's a mix of a kind of Dickenensian world - us and them the filthy rich and the absurdly poor, just managing to scrape an existence and a world with magic. It contains all the prejudices and hate between the various classes and the politics (small 'p') of survival.

There's a school/university involved which is a more adult more malign version than in any Potter adventure. The characterisations are deep and complex. The kind of folk you miss when the story ends, real people neither wholly good or bad just human.

I've read somewhere that she's been asked to write a sequel which I find quite exciting.

Suzanne

I have just finished "The Uncommon Reader" by Alan Bennett I laughed out loud, a lovely quick read. I can also recommend "The Pirate's Daughter" by Margaret Cezair Thompson,based on a period in Errol Flynn's life set in the Caribbean, and in my book group we read "The Great Gatsby" i had forgotton what an evocative read it was. My favourite book is "Middlemarch" by George Elliot and all Jane Austen's novels.
Suzanne

Louise

As a recommendation from a friend I'm reading 'Cross Stitch' by Diana Galbaldon. It's not my normal kind of read and even though I keep thinking 'this is ridiculous', I find it hard to put down. I'm also half way through re-reading 'Birdsong' by one of my all time favourite authors Sebastian Faulks. And next in the pile is 'Eat, pray, love.' I'd also really love to get stuck into the latest Marian Keyes. How I would love to pop in and visit you in your lovely store!

Hen

I love Persephone - I recently read Lady Rose and Mrs Memmary, The Shuttle and Miss Pettigrew lives for a day - all of then heavenly!

My favourite books at the moment are The Vanishing Act Of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell and The Shadow Of The Wind by Carlos Ruis Zafon....oh, and Eat Pray Love.

I have to have a book with a good plot - at the virtual bookclub we've been reading Either Side Of WInter by Benjamin Markowitz - sadly it was really feeble - no plot at all!

A friend of mine writes, and we joke about plot being frowned on - I wrote a post
http://the-virtual-bookclub.blogspot.com/2008/06/truth-about-modern-fiction.html about wanting a plot and therefore being low brow...but 'Stanley' says it's no brow !
....we were no brow that night!

Diana

Recent good reads: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, and In Defence of Food by Michael Pollan, and an all-time favourite: Blood Ties by Jennifer Lash. I met a friend of Nicola Beauman's at the weekend - she had a purpose built library at the bottom of her garden,with, amongst many other goodies, every single Persephone book, lined up neatly. How I drooled!!

Concha

Yesterday I finished "The new home" by Lettice Cooper, published by Persephone: waht a coincidence :) One of my Persephone favourites, what a fantastic, human book! Can I say I LOVE Persephone?

Ms.Cleaver

I'm all over the place with my reading, bouncing between a lot of wilderness focused non-fiction, and Pulitizer-prize winning novels, but the two I'd heartily recommend are Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, which is exquisitely written and the book I'm currently reading, The Hakawati - which is in many ways is like a modern-day Arabian Nights, while also the life story of a Middle-Eastern ex-patriot who returns home.

Di

This year I loved reading Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortensen - he was a mountaineer who after failing to reach the summit of Everest after exhausting himself rescuing someone else, is himself rescued by a member of a local village. After recovering he decides to repay their kindness by building a school in the village and from there the book grows into one of the most heart-warming, life-affirming books I have ever read as he struggles to raise the $12000 necessary to build the school, his truimph as his first school is finished and his on-going works to build schools in mountainous Afghanistan and Pakistan, encouraging local villages to let their girls get an education and sweeping up all who meet him in his infectious drive for education for all. I couldn't stop reading this book.

For a fiction read I just finished The Glassblower of Murano - it's another of these historical/current stories set in Venice in the 1890s and also in the present day - 2 stories intertwined - a bit of mystery....I would like to think of it as a literary chick-book (but that may just be wishful thinking!)

Kristy

I just read 5 books on holiday.It's amazing how much reading time you can fit in with no kids around!
I loved 'The Memory Keepers' daughter for the way it makes you think about how different people feel about the same circumstances and how the journey they take although side by side leads to totally different places.
I was very moved by 'The Kite Runner'. Khalid Houseini is such a an excellent story teller.The characters are full of depth and you really learn to love and hate them.
'Two Caravans' is the second novel by Marina Lewykca and I liked it even more than her first book 'A Short History Of Tractors In Ukrainian'. It's a light and easy to read book without any trash or slush.If you know what I mean!
Don't bother with 'The Diary Of A Demented Housewife'. I only finished the book as I had nothing else left to read except the back of the cereal box.

jen j-m

right now i'm reading 'the abstinence teacher' by tom perrotta and i love it so far.

Jennifer Young

The best book I've read so far this year has to be The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay. It's all about a young girl who moves to New York from Australia, works in a bookshop and gets involved with a 'lost' Herman Melville manuscript. I just couldn't put it down!

simply

oh how I enjoy recieving your parcels...unfortunatly I have not read any good books as of late...I will be watching to see if you get some good advice here :o)

~simply~

monica

well, you know me and books... I've just finished 83 Charing Cross Road and the Duchess of Bloomsbury. Totally charming.

Perfect with a glass of white wine on a summer evening...

Felicia

I've been crafting less and reading more lately. Today I reviewed a book called Neris and India's Idiot-Proof Diet: A Weight-Loss Plan for Real Women by Neris Thomas and India Knight.

Dragonfly

The Kite Runner was fabulous - I couldn't put it down.
Next up is Two Caravans, which I thought was harmless fun.
My current book is Lionel Schriver's new one, The Post-birthday World. I'm not sure about it yet (I loved We Need to Talk about Kevin, but I couldn't stand her next novel, something about tennis...)

bigbucketgirl

Sorry but there are 3 on the go here..one for when the pasta won't boil quick enough, one for the bath and one for that absolute golden hour when the kids are FAST asleep!
A Persephone one for idle minutes in the kitchen.....How to Run Your Home Without Help by Kay Smallshaw (seen on your blog i believe and immediately amazoned!)
For the bath:The Sewing Circles of Herat: A Personal Voyage Through Afghanistan by Christina Lamb (very grounding and puts any daily hiccups into perspective) and for me time... a battered, vintage copy of Little House on the prairie. Bliss.

aimee

oh - i have to reiterate the history of love by nicole krauss because you really shouldn't miss that one. it is surprising and heartbreaking and just plain terrific. i am waiting for the audio book from the library right now...and after that i might reread it.

aimee

i just thought of another i have to add - shadow of the wind by carlos ruiz zafon. my book group read it a few years ago and i just finished rereading it. it is a wonderful story, full of suspense, you won't want to put it down. the setting is beautiful and mysterious. most possibly my favorite book - ever.

Wendy

Ooooh, I'm printing out this page so I can read all these books!!! I love to read. My library lets me take out 50 books at a time, and I'm usually at the top of my limit most of the time.
My favourite read recently was "People of the Book" by Geraldine Brooks. Loved it.

Lucy

Notes on an Exhibition by Patrick Gale. Given to me by a friend, I found it an unexpectedly fantastic read. The prose is beautiful and although a lot of the sotry is quite poignant, the book manages not to be melancholy. Would really recommend it - I am now off to find some of his other books to see if they are as nice.

Victoria

What a great post with fab comments which should keep me in books for a while to come! I recently started a "Book Swap Club" in Singapore amongst my expat pals. We meet once a month and each give a little talk about the book/books we've read that month. Then after wine and book talk we get to swap books with one another. Its fab and a great way to avoid the overpriced books when libraries are a bit under-resourced!

My favourite this year is also Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, wonderful and sure to be a re-read. Also loved a book about Starbucks recently but can't remember the name. Will find out from friend who I lent it to and repost as would highly recommend it. My favourite of recent years though is The Time-Travellers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Simply perfect.

Went to Waterstones today and stocked up whilst here in UK on a bunch of R&Judy recommendations and some others. Lots of lovely nights in reading whilst husband travelling await me on return eastwards.

ps A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini awaits my return and is adored by all my bookswap ladies who've read it. They all agree its better than Kite Runner too!

Julie

A book I NEVER thought I'd read but have been thoroughly captivated and horrified by in equal measure is Fatherland by Robert Harris. The cover was enough to put me off but our bookclub had agreed to read it so I did.
Another is Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman; I defy you not to walk the streets of London and travel on the Underground without it being foremost in your mind ...

Kitty

Currently enjoying 'Thanks for the Memories' by Cecilia Ahern. I like the way Ms Ahern comes at a topic from an angle - I've enjoyed all her books - I'm about halfway through this one so far. x

Liz

I read The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly whilst on holiday. I wasn't sure what to expect - it was one the husband had read last year and we don't usually like the same books - but I was really impressed with some clever interweaving of reworked fairy tales (yes, the likes of Snow White and Hansel and Gretel are in there - but not how you may remember them!) as the main character comes to terms with the loss of his mother.

Sharon

Hi! You've won an award, stop by and pick it up when you get a chance!

kelly

i just finished the lollipop shoes by joanne harris...the sequel to chocolat (so lovely to read of truffle-talk!) and next on my book pile is excellent women by barbara prym (confession...bought purely for the lovely cover!) oh and i adore reading any of nigel slater's food columns...his books are also a delight (toast and eating for england)

let's hope we get some non-welly-weather soon. i want to read outside on a rug on the lawn with some warmth on my shoulders : )

driftwood

I've just read One More Day by Mitch Albom, can't decide if I like it as much as five people you meet in heaven, but it's a good read.

Barbara

I've made a note of a good few titles from previous comments! I'm reading more than ever and have such a huge pile of books to read before I should buy more! Lots of books I might have mentioned have already been commented on so what about The secret life of bees by Sue Monk Kidd. We read this for our book group and all loved it (unusual for everyone to love a book!.
Our next book is The needle in the blood by Sarah Bower, set in the times when the Bayeux tapestry was stitched. I'm looking forward to reading it.
Also just arrived from amazon is Making Time by Steve Taylor. Non fiction that apparently will give me an insight into why our perception of time changes - why it seems to go slow sometimes but mostly (for me anyway) why it seems to fly by (oh my goodness it will soon be Christmas!).

Lesley

Before my recent Potter-fest I read One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson - a great crime thriller and a gift from my best friend. It's not the sort of book I'd usually choose but I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it.

xxxx

Lindsay

I love posts which end up with lots of book lists! I've just finished reading The Rain Before it Falls by Jonathon Coe, a book of love and loss, and the twists and turns of fate and families. Pick it up and read the first paragraph, I could smell the autumn and feel the crisp frost. One of my all time favourites is Eucalyptus by Murray Bail. I'm excited as his second book is finally out soon. Eucalyptus is beautifully written, a love story about winning a hand in marriage by identifying all the kinds of eucalyptus trees. It's exquisite, I love it. And if you fancy some very funny children's books we are loving Mo Willems work at the moment - Leonardo the Terrible Monster and Edwina the Dinosaur who didn't know she was extinct are the best!

m

Have you read The Summer Book by Tove Jansson? I've just finished it and it's such a beautiful book, about a sad, angry little girl whose mother has just died, and her grandmother who is raging against the indignities of getting old and their spiky, loving acceptance of each other. It's set during one summer on a tiny Finnish island which is so exquisitely described, the stones, the mosses, the colours. It's a short book but I wanted to read it very slowly because I didn't want it to end. And it's dry and funny, not an ounce of sentimental mawkishness that would have spoiled it. It was the perfect antidote to some very dull books I've been plodding through for book club!

m

Have you read The Summer Book by Tove Jansson? I've just finished it and it's such a beautiful book, about a sad, angry little girl whose mother has just died, and her grandmother who is raging against the indignities of getting old and their spiky, loving acceptance of each other. It's set during one summer on a tiny Finnish island which is so exquisitely described, the stones, the mosses, the colours. It's a short book but I wanted to read it very slowly because I didn't want it to end. And it's dry and funny, not an ounce of sentimental mawkishness that would have spoiled it. It was the perfect antidote to some very dull books I've been plodding through for book club!

Relyn

I just finished Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen. Am currently reading Without Reservations by Alice steinbach. I highly recommend both books.

Diana

It's worth just checking in here again to read all the comments.....so many suggestions, some already read, some in my pile, and others noted....I second Patrick Gale's Notes From an Exhibition. Particularly poignant as set in Penzance and he mentions so many familiar places. He's local too. And The Summer Book by Tove Jansson...an absolute must read ( and The Winter Book when winter comes around again). So what has taken your fancy??

pinkgreen

I have just finished 'Sadler's Birthday' by Rose Tremain which was very short and sad, but fabulous with it. I am currently on Chapter 2 of 'The Book Thief'by Markus Zusak which is shaping up ok (if I can stay awake long enough of an evening!). Our last book club one was 'Salmon Fishing in the Yemen' which I hated from cover to cover, so I am trying to read some good ones to make up for it!
Cathy XX

ap mama

I just finished The Kite Runner and Thousand Splendid Suns by K. Hosseini. Good books, I enjoyed the Kite Runner more though.
Right now I'm reading Nourished Traditions by Sally Fallon, it's a cookbook but not a traditional one. Many great tips there! I'll be reading that one for a while :-)

Miriam

I also loved 'Two Caravans' by Monica Lewycka - in fact I thought it was so good I've given it to my husband to read!!

If you haven't read it yet 'The Island' by Victoria Hislop is very moving - another one I passed to my husband who also enjoyed it.

We also both love the Inspector Montalbano books by Andrea Camilleri set in Sicily. We love the main character because he's so believable - not your usual 'know-it-all' type - and he really loves his food!

Becca

A recent read was "The Thirteenth Tale" which my mother in law loaned me, it had me hooked and I was up till 2am finishing it. For a classic though I'd have to say "Jane Eyre".

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