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Books from 8th July to 21st July

Book 109 – Under a Blood Red Sky by Kate Furnivall - I’d read bad reviews of this, so was pleasantly surprised. About a woman who escapes from a Soviet Labour camp and travels across the country to get to a village where her friend from the camp’s childhood friend was hiding. When she gets there she finds that there is some kind of gypsy magic involved with protecting the village. It was good as it got across the feelings of suspicion everyone thought about each other at that time, although there was a bit of an unrealistic bit at the beginning where she somehow managed to, while half starving, escape from the labour camp and walk 100s of miles, but apart from that it was good – 8 / 10

Book 110 – The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova - I was also pleasantly surprised by this one, as I’d bought it from the Pound shop so thought it wouldn’t be as good as it was. About a psychiatrist or a psychologist, can’t remember which, who is trying to treat a man who won’t speak and just paints the same woman over and over again. Through speaking to his ex-wife, his ex-girlfriend, and finding some letters about an impressionist painter at the end of the 19th century, the doctor works out what is wrong with the man. Lots of good descriptions of the art, the book moved quite slowly but intrigued you enough to make you carry on reading. 8 / 10

Book 111 and 112 – Mary Lou and the Chalet School, and The Wrong Chalet School by Elinor M Brent Dyer - ah I love ebay, I bought both these books for £1.99 each. Just your normal Chalet school book really, lots of lessons, some adventures etc. I especially like the Mary Lou one, as I remember reading it when I was younger, and she’s a great character in the series. I’m currently bidding on a rare first edition of one of the other books in the series, so I hope I win that! 8 / 10

Book 113 – The Torturers Apprentice by John Biguenet - This was a book of short stories, which were all ok but not fantastic. I could tell that he was trying to make them “weird”, a bit like how Roald Dahl’s short stories are, but most of them fell short of this and were just a bit strange and not in a good way, haha. It was ok for a Pound shop book though! 6 / 10

Book 114 – First Childhood by Lord Berners - This was a non fiction account of Lord Berner’s childhood in the late 19th / early 20th century. Went through the people he knew, and his family, and then about when he went to school. Had some nice little anecdotes, but nothing hugely substantial. Again, ok for a Pound shop book! 7 / 10

Book 115 – Pooh and the Psychologists by John T Williams - This was totally fantastic! It went with the idea that Winnie-The-Pooh is a great therapist, and used excerpts from the Winnie-The-Pooh books to first diagnose psychological problems – e.g. Piglet has anxiety, Eeyore has depression – and then show how Winnie-The-Pooh “cured” them through his actions! It’s brilliant for someone like me who really likes Winnie-The-Pooh and really likes psychology! :D Highly recommended! 10 / 10

Book 116 – A Quiet Belief in Angels by RJ Ellory - This was a disappointment. I was sure that my bookclub had read it and all thought it was amazing, but maybe they all thought it wasn’t so great, as that’s what I thought! It is about a man who lives in a town where some murders of children had taken place, starting from when he was a boy and continuing to when he is an adult. This obviously really affects his life, and everything he does is affected by what had happened. He is trying to find out who does it, but quite frankly the book got a bit boring, so I wasn’t really that bothered about who did it! There were also some quite unrealistic bits, for example the killer came all the way to Brooklyn (about a days journey from the town) to murder the man’s girlfriend – I didn’t understand why really. Not recommended. 5 / 10

Book 117 – One Thousand and One Nights - This is an old Penguin version of it so I expected the translation to be a bit heavy, but it was really not like that at all. From looking on Amazon I think it was only a selection of the stories (although it didn’t say that on it!) but they were all really good and really easy to read (I read this in a couple of hours!). The language used really made the stories come to life, and some of them were recognisable from other adaptations and things so that was good. One thing which struck me was how a lot of the stories mentioned how death at the end, (things like “so they stayed together until the great sorrow which comes to all”) and there were more references to sex and seduction than I thought there would be! It was a good collection though, and I think I might have to read more now! Plus reading this made me want to watch Disney’s Aladdin, which I did and it was just as great as I remembered it being! 9 / 10

I’m currently just about to start the second volume of Michael Palin’s diaries “Halfway to Hollywood: 1980 – 1988”, which should be quite good! My goals in my reading seem to have changed a bit now – I haven’t read any books from the 1001 list for a while (apart from 1001 nights, I think that’s probably on it) and have been mainly reading books which I have bought this year, I think my goal will be to read all the books I buy or receive this year, then there should be time left after that to read some more “great novels”, haha. So far this year I’ve bought or received 53 books (mainly from charity shops, and including 10 that I got for Christmas), and have read 26 of them (among other books of course), so I should probably be able to get that done. I must stop going into the Pound shop and buying books though, as they’re usually not that great, even though they are only £1!

Got a bit of an interesting / scary thing coming up tomorrow...will know the outcome in a couple of weeks, so that will be interesting / scary!! The outcome will hopefully be all good though!! :)
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Ruth

September 2011

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