Books We've Read...

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January 2008

Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome
(BCBC1)
Sue A charming read and deservedly a classic. Made me laugh out loud in places. The characters seemed very middle class and somewhat pompous in their attitudes (although others in the group disagreed). There were some intriguing insights - I loved the speculation on whether common willow pattern plates might become collectors' pieces in the year 2000! The author is sadly responsible for the ubiquitous office plaque "I love work - I could sit and look at it for hours". 9 [edit]
Gillian I seem to make a habit of saying in these comments that "I wasn't expecting to like this book" and yet again I must repeat myself! Some of the situations seemed timeless and I even read out the dog/cat encounter to my husband. Many of the stories made me smile, but in some the humour seemed a bit obvious for my liking. At times it was difficult to believe this had been written over 100 years ago, as so much of the outlook seemed totally contemporary and I would have found it easier to accept that it was written today but with the author's view of how the 19th century was. There was much more to this book than I expected in its 185 pages. 7 [edit]
Jo I liked this book as it did make me laugh in places. It was hard to believe it was written such a long time ago and the predictions he made about what would be collectors items has certainly become true! In parts, I was bored by the wandering stories that he kept going into but overall a good book which allows some insight into a time gone by. 7 [edit]
Pat I found this book so funny and laughed out loud many times. Some of the humour is a little exaggerated and predictable but that's what humour is. I found I had to keep reminding myself that this book was written so long ago because it felt as though certain points were plucked right out of the habits of today's lifestyle e.g., today's 'tat' becoming tomorrow's treasure, maps being read incorrectly or not showing recent geographical changes, how much luggage some people manage to need for a short vacation, social class behaviour. i could go on. I would never have chosen this to read myself but enjoyed it apart from the huge chunks waffle, which i just skimmed over. 8 [edit]
  Average: 7.75  

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February 2008

The Testament of Gideon Mack by James Robertson
(BCBC1)
Gillian Unexpectedly, I liked this read. I found the whole concept mesmerising and completely different from anything I'd read before. Very strange yet on another level quite believable. I think this will live in my mind long after I've finished it. 7 [edit]
Sue I thoroughly enjoyed this read; the idea of an atheist making a decision to go into the ministry was particularly appealing. I liked the different viewpoints on events which were so very well put together towards the end of the book. The whole thing was very well structured and a highly entertaining read. Definitely recommended! 9 [edit]
Pat A thoroughly brilliant read - gripping from start to finish! I can't believe the places and people aren't real! 9 [edit]
Jo I loved this book from start to finish, it had me drawn in and I just could not put it down. I loved it so much I have recommended it to a friend! The story was fascinating and the journey he goes on is unique. 10 [edit]
  Average: 8.75  

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April 2008

Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
(BCBC1)
Sue I enjoyed this book and felt that it was well-written with a lot of relevance and insightfulness, even though it was aimed at teenagers. The characters matured along with the read - as they should, being teenagers themselves! There were lots of little insights into prejudice, for example it had never occurred to me that plasters were white-skin coloured and are simply not available in brown or black. I will read the other two books in this trilogy because I do want to find out what happens to the characters. 7 [edit]
  Average: 7.00  

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April 2008

Gilrfriend in a Coma by Douglas Coupland
(BCBC1)
Jo This was the second time I had read this book and I have to say I was disappointed second time around. I read it previously when I was in my 20's and I think having grown up a bit since then and explored life it did raise the same questions, or have the same impact. I became very negative about the characters and some of the unbelievable things in the book. 3 [edit]
Sue This book was a big disappointment as I'd so looked forward to reading it. I'd no doubt have enjoyed it as a teenager, but found the 'insights' towards the end of this story very banal - surely the idea that we're all wasting our lives on trivialities and that consumerism is rampant would not come as a surprise to anyone. The plot was slow-moving in the first half and speeded up ridiculously towards the end, as though the author had a deadline to meet. The book had a nice sci-fi post-apocalyptic theme going for a while, but the intervention of the ghost was just too silly. 2 [edit]
  Average: 2.50  

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May 2008

Ladies Night at Finbar's Hotel by Dermot Bolger
(BCBC1)

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June 2008

The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant
(BCBC1)

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July 2008

The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani
(BCBC1)

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September 2008

A Thousand Years of Good Prayers by Yiyun Li
(BCBC1)
Jo This book was a wonderful view into life in China and very easy to read. I enjoyed each short story and the way it was written was insightful and transported me into a world I never could have imagined 9 [edit]
Sue A truly beautifully written book which gives some fascinating insights into life in China, but also into Chinese-American life and attitudes. Unsurprisingly, it was banned in China... 9 [edit]
  Average: 9.00  

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November 2008

Whit by Iain Banks
(BCBC1)
Jo I was dubious about this book when it was suggested. The very small print and large number of pages were initially off putting. However, I was very pleasantly surprised. I absolutely loved this book, the story telling is fabulous and I enjoyed the overall 'feel' of the book. Iain Banks ability to draw you into the story is wonderful and I shall certainly consider reading more of his offerings 9 [edit]
Sue A fascinating, sophisticated and humorous storyline about a religious cult in Scotland, following the story of teenaged Isis Whit, who is being groomed as the cult's next leader based on her date of birth (29th February). Isis undertakes an unexpected and bizarre trip into the lands of the 'unsaved'. Her adventures, her way of dealing with situations and her eventual discovery of the truth behind the cult's shady beginnings, make for an amazing read. I will definitely be reading more Iain Banks. 10 [edit]
  Average: 9.50  

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December 2008

What Was Lost by Catherine O'Flynn
(BCBC1)
Jo This book was a pleasant story which was a mystery about a girl who went missing in a shopping centre. The book was in 2 halves which eventually linked in revealing where the girl went. It was an easy read and a I enjoyed it. 7 [edit]
Sue A charming book and very bravely, the author wrote the first half using the voice of a sad but charismatic young girl. She had disappeared in the second half of the book, and an adult (who was a child too at the time of the disappearance) takes up the story, eventually finding out what had become of the girl. 8 [edit]
  Average: 7.50  

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