Friday, April 30, 2010

Book Blogger Hop - April 30th till May 6th


It's Friday! Time for the Book Blogger Hop at Crazy For Books.

Click HERE to discover loads of other great book blogs. Please make sure that you leave a comment on the blogs that you have visited to let them know that you "hopped" by.

Happy Book Blog Hopping Everyone!

I was not going to join in this week but decided to do so after all, as I wanted to post here the wonderful award I received today from a talented young lady called  Priya Parmar whose blog I have been reading since we discovered each other recently. I think she found me first via Book Blogger Hop.

An aspiring historical fiction author Priya writes about her writing year on her Blog the Plum Bean Project , it is an interesting read.

As you can imagine I am thrilled that Priya has presented me with this award for as she says on her post.  'A prolific blogger is one who is intellectually productive, keeping up an active blog with enjoyable content.'

Thanks for the compliment Priya!

I will be back hopefully in a day or so with my review of 'Human Traces' by Sebastian Faulks  which I seem to have been reading for ages. It is a novel of great depth and I am thoroughly enjoying, just the last couple of chapters to read now.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Alice in Wonderland


This week instead of taking part in in the Book Blogger Hop I am taking an idea from my other blog News From Italy and posting a Friday Foto.

A little early for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere but I am planning a long weekend away from my computer.

On 25 April 1856, one Charles Dodgson bumped into a family in Oxford and met Alice Liddell, the little girl for whom the story of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was conceived. Little did either of them know it would still be sparking imaginations over 150 years later and even the subject of a new film.

An advertising poster for the film that I came across in Kowloon, Hong Kong recently.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Charlotte Bronte


21 April 1816
Thornton, Yorkshire, England

31 March 1855 (aged 38)
Haworth, Yorkshire, England


Her Books

Charlotte Bronté lived from 1816 to 1855.  In 1824 she was sent away to school with her four sisters and they were treated so badly that their father brought them home to Haworth in Yorkshire.  The elder two sisters died within a few days and Charlotte and her sisters Emily and Anne were brought up in the isolated village.  They were often lonely and loved to walk on the moors.  They were all great readers and soon began to write small pieces of verse and stories.

Once Charlotte’s informal education was over she began to work as a governess and teacher in Yorkshire and Belgium so that she could add to the low family income and help to pay for her brother Branwell’s art education.  Charlotte was a rather nervous young woman and didn’t like to be away from home for too long.  The sisters began to write more seriously and published poetry in 1846 under male pen names – there was a lot of prejudice against women writers.  The book was not a success and the sisters all moved on to write novels.  Charlotte’s best-known book, Jane Eyre, appeared in 1847 and was soon seen as a work of genius.

Charlotte’s life was full of tragedy, never more so than when her brother Branwell and sisters Emily and Anne died within a few months in 1848/49.  She married her father’s curate in 1854 but died in 1855, before her fortieth birthday.


Charlotte Bronte Wikipedia Facts


Charlotte Bronte's most famous novel is Jane Eyre first published in 1847 and still remains popular today.

It is one of my favourite classic novels, the story of Jane Eyre's struggle  to retain her independence. This was at at a time when women were expected to obey men and the church. Women were considered very much second class citizens by society. Jane is unusual in the way she stands up to her employer Rochester. It is inevitable that he and Jane should fall in love in the story ,but all is not as it seems at Thornfield Hall.

If you have not yet read this book, I recommend it, you may well be surprised at the amount of flirtatious humour you will find.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sebastian Faulks

I am  reading ' Human Traces' at the moment  and had planned to review this title to tie in with Sebastian Faulks Birthday. He was born April 20th 1953.  
Happy Birthday Sebastian
However I do not seem to be reading as much as normal at the moment and it remains unfinished.  Although I am sure that will change when it becomes warmer. Then I will have an excuse to sit and read for awhile after lunch and not just at night before turning the light out.
So instead today I have posted links from the authors website of the other titles I have read so far by him, all of which I read before starting to write my own reviews. I have also listed the titles I want to read.
Just click on the book titles below to take you to the website for more information.
Sebastian Faulks

A Week In December       On My Wishlist.

Engleby                           On My TBR shelf.

Human Traces                  Reading now.

On Green Dolphin Street 
Charlotte Gray                My favourite

A Fool’s Alphabet
Finally one must mention   Devil May Care  of which I had this to say at Bookcrossing.
A quick fun read for fans of James Bond. Set back in the late sixties during the cold war we are treated to all the elements of an exciting Bond story, exotic locations, incredible stunts and a sinister villain of course not forgetting a beautiful heroine. This time the heroine is Scarlett who turns out to be not quite what Bond had expected!
Sebastian Faulks is an author whose novels I have always enjoyed reading. As for the character James Bond as created by Ian Fleming I have always watched the films, but I have never read any of the stories before now.
‘Devil May Care’ is another typical adventure for James Bond although having not read any of Flemings work I am unable to compare the writing style. I prefer Bond on the big screen rather than in print and I hope that Sebastian Faulks regarded this Bond novel as a one off venture. He wrote it to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Ian Fleming on 28th May 1908. It is an exciting new adventure for James Bond and an honour to his originator Ian Fleming but let’s hope that it is now left at that and Sebastian Faulks can return to his more literary writing.

I have added some more links below if you want to find out more about this author and his writing.

SEBASTIAN FAULKS was born in 1953. After graduating from Cambridge he became a journalist, and was the first literary editor of the Independent. In 1995 he was Author of the Year at the British Book Awards and in 2003 Birdsong was voted number 13 in the BBC’s Big Read list of the nation’s favourite books. He lives with his wife and three children in London.

Sebastian Faulks Wikipedia Info.
Lovereading - Sebastian Faulks

Friday, April 16, 2010

Book Blogger Hop 16th-22nd April

Below is what Crazy-For -Books has to say!

This is a weekly event where book bloggers and readers can connect to find new blogs to read . Its a great way to network with other bloggers and make new friends! Every day I seem to find another book blog that I start following . In the spirit of the Friday Follow I thought it would be cool to do a Book Blogger Hop to give us all bookies a chance to connect and find new blogs that we may be missing out on! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed!
Want to be a part of this Blog Hop?

Yes then take a look HERE

I am looking for some British, European Book Blogs to follow as many of the Blogs I read are American and the books reviewed are not always easily available here in Europe.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Booklovers in Xian

I took this photograph on a recent trip to Xian, which those of you who read News From Italy already know about.    I decided to share it here with my book loving friends.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Calculating Heart by Caro Fraser

Click to view large image of cover in new window...

I have been reading Caro Fraser's Caper Court series since she published the first one 'The Pupil' back in 1992.  I believe this is the sixth in the series, each one has been about the same main protagonist Leo Davis.

I have always enjoyed following the lives of the lawyers at Five Caper Court as they appear in each subsequent novel. Leo Davis is a charismatic character and throughout his career seems to manage to escape scandal time and again.

Nothing has changed in this latest novel, Leo is still getting himself into trouble. Although he has of late decided that he is maybe ready to settle down, with one woman, it does not workout. No surprise then as once again he is tempted to stray this time into the arms of an extremely calculating lady.

On the back of the copy of the book I read there is a quote 'Smart, complex and deliciously racy .... the thinking woman's chicklit'.   I have to say I agree, nothing brain stretching but a good read. Although I find it more interesting to have read the earlier novels and have got to know the characters it is certainly not a prerequisite to have done so.  I will now have to look out for the seventh 'Breath of Corruption' and with an eighth in the pipeline one wonders for how long Caro Fraser will keep this series going. It has already been 18 years!

Caro Fraser's Website

 Image of Caro Fraser - April 2009

Some interesting background information about Caro Fraser from Wikipedia.  A British novelist, and the daughter of writer George MacDonald Fraser, author of the Flashman books.

Fraser was born in Carlisle in 1953, but moved to Glasgow shortly afterwards and was brought up there until her mid-teens, attending Glasgow High School for Girls. When she was 15 her father wrote the first book in the Flashman series, and the family moved to the Isle of Man, where she went to the Buchan School. She started writing professionally in 1992, before that she was a commercial lawyer, and before that an advertising copywriter.

Her first novel, The Pupil, was based on her time spent in pupillage, which is the training required to become a barrister. The novel was written largely from a male standpoint, and deals with the trials and fortunes of Anthony Cross during his six month pupillage at Caper Court, and the various characters he meets in the eccentric world of the Inns of Court in London. Chief among these is Leo Davies, an attractive, talented, charismatic and extremely successful barrister, who happens to be bisexual, and under whose spell Anthony quickly falls. This work became the foundation of the Caper Court series, which at present comprises seven novels: The Pupil, Judicial Whispers, An Immoral Code, A Hallowed Place, A Perfect Obsession, A Calculating Heart and A Breath of Corruption. In the later novels Leo, rather than Anthony, is the hero and the centre of attention.

She has also written six stand-alone novels; The Trustees, An Inheritance, Beyond Forgiveness, A Little Learning, Familiar Rooms In Darkness and A World Apart, which she describes on her web site as romantic fiction for the thinking woman.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Book Blogger Hop

Just discovered this and it looks like fun!  Thanks Bobbie who I already follow, for posting about this and leading me there  I shall certainly be joining in,

Below is what Crazy-For -Books has to say!

This is a weekly event where book bloggers and readers can connect to find new blogs to read . Its a great way to network with other bloggers and make new friends! Every day I seem to find another book blog that I start following . In the spirit of the Friday Follow I thought it would be cool to do a Book Blogger Hop to give us all bookies a chance to connect and find new blogs that we may be missing out on! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed!
Want to be a part of this Blog Hop?

Yes then take a look HERE

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Cupid Effect by Dorothy Koomson

 Click to view large image of cover in new window... 

When I discover for me a new author as I did when I read My Best Friends's Girl in 2006, I often add their back catalogue of novels to my wish-list. This is what I did with Dorothy Koomson as I thoroughly enjoyed the first book of hers that I read. As you can see from my review

So this is only the second title by her that I have read and I am sorry to say that my opinion of it is in complete contrast to the last one. I plodded through this getting no pleasure at all from reading it, I like to loose myself in a book and with this I was just unable to do so.

I had no interest at all in the so called modern day cupid character of Ceri D'Altroy, who returns to Leeds the town of her student days, to take up a post as a Psychology lecturer. Having vowed to leave her match- making days behind her in London. This does not prove to be the case, as everyone she comes into contact with seems to be inspired to change their lives due to comments she seemingly innocently makes!

Sorry but this storyline just did not draw me in, due to me not any fault of the book, which I am sure others may well enjoy.

As this was Dorothy Koomson's first novel originally published in 2003 and as I enjoyed the later one I read, I will leave her other novels on my to be read mountain!


Dorothy Koomson's Website

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

 Click to view large image of cover in new window...

A moving memoir about the authoress Azar and seven female students of hers. Azar was a professor at Tehran university, until resigning due to the dictatorial policies that involved banning great works of Western literature from being studied.  She decided to continue to hold a private class with invited participants.

For two years Mashid, Nassrin, Manna, Azin, Sanez, Mitra and Yassi met in secret at Azar's home to discuss the novels of Valdimir Nabokov, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry James and Jane Austen amongst others.

These weekly meetings which at first started out with shy and somewhat intimidated young women gradually changed into more relaxed gatherings as they became friends. It is through getting to know the young women within  the pages of this memoir that you will learn of the realities of living in Iran under the strict Islamic rules of the period.

The women found that they could often empathise with the heroines from the novels they were studying. Comparing the difficulties they had in their lives with those of their own in present day Iran.

I liked the way this memoir used literary criticism to explain the injustices these women amongst others were suffering, but the style might not appeal to everyone.

Azar Nafisi's Website

Biographical Details of Azar Nafisi

This video from YouTube is a good introduction to the book.