Friday, 22 May 2009

John Ajvide Lindqvist - Let the Right One In

This is a book for grown ups who enjoyed the Stephanie Meyer books . This is the story of an unhappy, bullied 12 year old who disovers that he lives next door to a vampire. She looks 12 but is in fact 200 years old. These two characters both suffering from social isolation of a very different kind come together and form a friendship and a bond that resolves both their needs. It is a haunting tale of social deprivation, and loneliness in modern Sweden. The fact it is set in Sweden is largely irrelevant it could be an modern suburban area. This is a novel that stays with you long after you have finished reading, his grip and ability to impart the sadness of the human condition today and the dis-association of many members of our society is telling.

Linda Holeman - In a Far Country

This book is set in the 1880s India and revolves around the life of Pree Fincastle a missionaries daughter. This is a huge sweeping saga. Totally engrossing and full of drama and hardship. I loved it, absolute escapism. I thing the hardships thrown upon her were a little extreme but not perhaps unlikely, at times I did feel what more can happen to her!

I thnk this would be an excellent reading group book as it deals with several contentious issues. The caste system, the role of missionaries. The effect India has on visitors, the way both English and Indian societies deal with women, and of course, what happens when secrets come out of the box! There are beautiful descriptions of the Indian continent and way of life you can almost smell it........

Maxim Chattam - The Cairo Diary

This is a dual time novel, where a French pathologist, is in hiding in Mont Saint-Michel. This part of the story is largely irrelevant and very light, as such it just provides a framework for the story in the past. In that sense the story does not really work as we have little interest in the present day, however, I did find myself skim reading it to get onto the action so I suppose it did provide suspense!

The story in the past is set in Cairo in 1928 and concerns some horrific events there that involve children. I have to warn that the descriptions are rather gruesome! It is however really exciting and it is very thought provoking as the ending is by no means cut and dried, we as the reader are left to make up our own minds and I think it is this device that might make this an interesting Reading Group read......... also do ghouls exist and who are they!!

Jasper Fforde - The Eyre Afffair

I cannot imagine why it has taken me so long to discover these books. The adventures of Thursday Next. This is brilliant comic fantasy, if you love books and reading these will have you in stitches and re-reading to pick up all the references to other books within the story!! Please , please in another life can I be a Literatec! The thought of being inside the covers of Jane Eyre and being recued by Edward Rochester.......... oh dear I shall have to lie down!

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Deanna Raybourn - Silent in the Grave

We were lucky at Bournemouth Libraries in being chosen as part of a MIRA promotion for this book. I have to say that I really enjoyed it. It is an amusing Victorian Murder Mystery reminiscent I felt of the Elizabeth Peters Amelia Peabody series. The protagonists stay delightfully in character, although our heroine fortunately has had a rather 'modern' education. Lady Julia Grey discovers that her husbands sudden death is not after all natural causes, and with the saturnine Nicholas Brisbane sets out to find who has killed him. There is a lot in this book for reading groups to discuss, attitudes to gypsies, the whole servant- master issue, the class structure, homosexuality, brothels and I could go on. Quite a few of our reading groups have read this now and the discussions have always been lively!!

Julian Fellowes - Past Imperfect

The first Richard and Judy Summer Read and how exciting guess who's bookclub got on the show! Yes one from Bournemouth but filmed in Poole!
This is a great book and contains masses that will interst a reading group of all ages. Julian writes like a dream, his social commentary , witty and sometimes barbed asides has you laughing. The fate of the women in the story frustrates you. You rather like the anonymous storyteller but you will fall for Damian, the scene in Portugal is a classic!!!!!