Monthly Archives: October 2012

Book Club Meeting # 5 – Lace by Shirley Conran

After a bit of a delay, we finally got back together for our book club meeting. It has been a little erratic so far and I think we have only had one meeting with all members in attendance! We had a plan to just always do it on the first Tuesday of the month but that hasn’t worked out. Next book club meeting will be on the 4th of December!

This month we had read Lace by Shirley Conran, recently reissued by Canongate Books on the 30th anniversary of its original release in 1982. None of us had heard of it before then (it does, after all, predate the birth of everyone in our book club…). Everyone seemed to love it, despite being put off a little by the gruesome first chapter. After that, it is well worth a read. We all agreed that it was scandalous and a little over the top but we liked the female characters and finding out about the calamities of their love lives.

It did bring to mind some of The Group by Mary McCarthy, the women, their love lives and careers but I enjoyed Lace far, far more – it makes The Group incredibly dreary in comparison!

I have given Lace to my mum to read – she read it years ago and wanted to read it again. And, she also pointed me in the direction of Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann which I am currently reading – again, some of it is a bit over the top but I am quite enjoying an easy read. I’ll let you know how I enjoy it in due course…

Next month’s book is We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver.

Here’s the description from the publisher Serpent’s Tail.

‘Eva never really wanted to be a mother; certainly not the mother of the unlovable boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker and a teacher who tried to befriend him. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood and Kevin’s horrific rampage in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her absent husband, Franklyn. Uneasy with the sacrifices and social demotion of motherhood from the start, Eva fears that her alarming dislike for her own son may be responsible for driving him so nihilistically off the rails.’

This book has been around for a while (it was originally published in 2003), well known since it won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2005. From the blurb it sounds like something Jodi Picoult would write about. I’ll admit that this book doesn’t immediately appeal to me but that’s the good thing about the book club – trying out new books that I wouldn’t have chosen myself.


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Literary Blog Hop Giveaway!

Please note that the blog hop is now finished.

Over the next couple of days I will be taking part in The Literary Giveaway Blog Hop, which is kindly hosted by Leeswammes’ Blog. This time, 50 different book blogs will be offering giveaways of various literary delights, and all of the books on offer will be literary fiction or something with a bit of literary merit (for example poetry or non-fiction).

From today (Saturday 27th of October) until Wednesday the 31st of October, you can hop on over to the 50 different book blogs which are all taking part in the giveaway too. Click on the links in the list at the bottom of this post to see what they’re offering and discover some brilliant new book blogs!

My Giveaway

The last time the blog hop was running, I was lucky enough to win two books so for my first ever book giveaway I decided it would be lovely to return the favour. I will be giving away two books, which are open to readers worldwide, so long as The Book Depository delivers to your country (check here to see if your country is one of them).

The books on offer from my blog are as follows *cue drumroll*…

1. And the Land Lay Still by James Robertson

And the Land Lay Still was the first book that I read this year and the first book that I reviewed for my blog. It left a lasting impression and I think it really is a modern Scottish classic, encompassing a myriad of aspects of Scottish culture, characters and politics. Click here for my full review.

2. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

The History of Love is one of my favourite books of those I have read this year. I loved Krauss’ style of writing, the moments of beauty throughout the novel, and its exploration of loss and love and how humans cope with both in different ways. Thinking back to it now makes me want to read it all over again! Read my review of it here.

You can enter the giveaway to win either one or both of the books. To enter, please read the rules and then leave a comment below.

The Rules

1. You do not have to have a blog to enter this giveaway – it is open to everyone.
2. You need a post-office recognised address where you can receive packages, in a country that The Book Depository delivers to.
3. You do not have to be a follower or become a follower, although if you like my blog I hope you will! You can follow by email (see the Follow button in the side bar on the right).
4. Leave a comment below – please include the title of which book(s) you’d like to receive in your comment and an email address where I can contact you if you win.
5. You can enter the giveaways until Wednesday, October the 31st, after which I will close my giveaway.
6. Please note that double or invalid entries will be removed.
7. I will notify the winners by email. If you’re lucky enough to be a winner please answer my email within 3 days; if no reply is received by then I’ll announce a new winner.
8. The books will be sent out from The Book Depository.

I think that covers everything – good luck, and thank you for dropping in on my blog!

  1. Leeswammes
  2. Read in a Single Sitting
  3. Ephemeral Digest
  4. My Devotional Thoughts
  5. Devouring Texts
  6. Tony’s Reading List
  7. Nishita’s Rants and Raves
  8. Too Fond
  9. The Parrish Lantern
  10. Kristi Loves Books
  11. The Book Club Blog
  12. Sam Still Reading
  13. Silver’s Reviews (USA)
  14. Bibliosue
  15. Heavenali
  16. Under My Apple Tree
  17. Misfortune of Knowing (North America)
  18. Lena Sledge’s Blog
  19. Lost Generation Reader
  20. Seaside Book Nook
  21. The Relentless Reader
  22. Rikki’s Teleidoscope
  23. Monique Morgan
  24. That READioactive Book Blog
  25. kaggsysbookisahramblings
  26. Ragdoll Books Blog
  27. Kate’s Library
  28. The Book Garden
  29. Uniflame Creates
  30. Curiosity Killed The Bookworm
  1. Ciska’s Book Chest
  2. The Book Divas Reads
  3. Alex in Leeds
  4. Simple Clockwork
  5. Bluestalking (USA)
  6. Fresh Ink Books
  7. Sweeping Me
  8. Giraffe Days
  9. Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book (USA)
  10. Books Thoughts Adventures (USA)
  11. emmalikestoread
  12. Colorimetry
  13. Page Plucker
  14. Love, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity
  15. 2606 Books and Counting
  16. Book Nympho
  17. She-Wolf Reads
  18. The Little Reader Library (Europe)
  19. Booklover Book Reviews
  20. Dolce Bellezza


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Book Review: The Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura

I have imposed a ban on buying books at the moment, due to the increasing stack of unread books on my bookshelf and the need to tighten the purse strings at the moment. There are exceptions, of course, just like any good rule. I will still buy the books for the book club (unless I can get hold of them quickly from my local library), and I can still enjoy browsing bookshop shelves for inspiration when a slightly more flush time reveals itself.

I spotted this little gem on the shelves of my local library. Kakuzo Okakura’s Book of Tea is an interesting history of the origins of tea, tea-drinking rituals and practices. I am a big tea-drinker so I loved the description of the benefits of tea, that it ‘was highly prized for possessing the virtues of relieving fatigue, delighting the soul, strengthening the will, and repairing the eyesight.‘ A cup of tea does wonders in my opinion and considering that it is such a big part of our lives now makes it all the more strange to realise that tea met with some opposition when it was first introduced in the 17th century! Some gentleman called Jonas Hanway described how in his opinion ‘men seemed to lose their stature and comeliness, women their beauty through the use of tea‘. I’m not sure what his credentials were but it is funny to see how social opinion changes over time.

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Book Review: The Confidant by Hélène Grémillon

Publisher: Gallic Fiction
Selected Edition: Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-908313-29-4
Published: 2012
No. of Pages: 267
Price: £7.99

Translated by Alison Anderson

I received this book from The Inner Circle, run by Book Oxygen (find out more here).

The Confidant by Hélène Grémillon begins with a letter, sent anonymously, to the main character, Camille, an editor living in Paris in the 1970s. It comes just after the death of her mother, and this and subsequent letters tell the story of a young man, Louis, and a young woman from his town with whom he is in love, Annie. When a young married, bourgeois couple move in to the town, Annie begins visiting them, painting and acting as companion to Madame M. As time passes it is revealed that Madame M. cannot bear children and Annie offers to bear one for her. What is unveiled is a series of letters in which the decisions made by adults have dark influences on the lives of Annie and her baby, and consequences which reach far into the future that they could not have envisaged.

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The Literary Blog Hop 27th-31st October

At the end of October I will be taking part in The Literary Blog Hop hosted by Leeswammes. I’m really looking forward to it as I’ve never taken part in a blog hop before and in June this year I was the lucky winner of two books – The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (thanks to Heavenali) and A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (thanks to ExUrbanis).

Not only is it a chance to get some free books (let’s be honest, there probably aren’t many people that wouldn’t appeal to!) but a brilliant way of finding some new blogs on books and maybe even happening upon a book you’ve never heard of that might become a favourite.

I haven’t decided yet on the title (or even titles!) that I’ll be giving away yet, but I’m pretty sure they’ll be something that I have read this year and reviewed on my blog. The blog hop begins on the 27th of October so check back then to find out which titles I’m giving away and, of course, to find out about all of the other blogs that are joining in.

Want to be part of the fun? The last date to sign up your blog is the 24th of October – check The Literary Blog Hop blog post here for further details!


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Book Review: The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

Publisher: Little, Brown
Selected Edition: Hardback
ISBN: 978-1-4087-0420-2
Published: 2012
No. of Pages: 503
Price: £20.00

There is a tiny little part of me that hates that I gave in to the hype and bought The Casual Vacancy on its release week. Another part too that feels completely unabashed, given that I have thoroughly enjoyed her previous books. I suppose it is difficult to write a review of this book and ignore completely the phenomenon that is Harry Potter.

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Book Review: Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky

Publisher: Vintage Books
Selected Edition: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-099-48878-1
Published: 2007 [2006]
No. of Pages: 403
Price: £7.99

This is such an interesting account of the Nazi Occupation in France, and given its back story it becomes all the more poignant. Irène Némirovsky was a Russian émigrée of Jewish descent who spent most of her life in France and was in her lifetime a published author. The manuscript for Suite Française was kept by her daughter after Némirovsky’s death in Auschwitz, unread, for 50 years before its publication in 2004.

The novel is really two, split into the first volume Storm in June, which chronicles the accounts of Parisians fleeing Paris for the country side; and Dolce which describes the first few months of the German Occupation in a small town outside of Paris. Although linked by characters and theme, the two volumes could be read separately and although I loved the depictions of the characters in the first volume, I found the second much more compelling.

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