Monthly Archives: December 2008

The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman

I have my Secret Santa to thank for reading this book – it was unputdownable, a wonderful choice – thank you! The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman is a quirky, modern fairy tale taking its inspiration from the Brothers Grimm. A young girl wishes her mother dead, and then when it happens, she lets it ruin her life. She hardens… Read more »

The Island at the End of the World by Sam Taylor

This book is definitely one of those love it or loathe it novels. You’ll either love it – for the clever plotting and gradual reveal of what has happened to its family, or loathe it primarily because many chapters are written in eight year old Finn’s phonetic speaking voice, where things like changing an ‘a’ for a ‘u’ in ‘can’t’… Read more »

Ho! Ho! Ho!

AnnaBookBel   December 25, 2008   No Comments on Ho! Ho! Ho!

Just in case the jokes in your crackers are awful, here’s some more … Q: What is an ig?A: An Eskimo house without a loo Q: What’s orange and smells of carrots?A: Rabbit sick Q: What’s yellow and stupid?A: Thick custard Q: What do you call a girl with a shrimp on her head?A: Barbie! Q: What do you call… Read more »

Hearts and Minds by Rosy Thornton

The British campus novel is generally a cosy thing (unless there’s a murder involved). Often they can be rather claustrophobic too, peopled with backbiting dons, scheming students, and inscrutable college servants, all of which give opportunities for creating high comedy – naturally I’m thinking David Lodge here, or the funniest of all, Porterhouse Blue by Tom Sharpe. This makes Rosy… Read more »

Mostly Booklovers

AnnaBookBel   December 19, 2008   No Comments on Mostly Booklovers

One of the things I’ve been involved with over the past few months is meeting with the owners and a group of other customers of Mostly Books , which is my home from home in Abingdon, to help set up a Literary Society for Abingdon called ‘Mostly Booklovers’. Mostly Booklovers is now officially launched and a great programme of author… Read more »

Love In A Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford

Set between the wars, this novel follows the lives and loves of an impossibly rich and aristocratic family – the Montdores, seen through the eyes of Fanny, a childhood friend of their daughter Polly. Being from a less well-to-do family, but in demand by the Montdores as a sensible friend, Fanny is ideally placed to comment on how the other… Read more »

Short Takes

AnnaBookBel   December 14, 2008   No Comments on Short Takes

I’d like to introduce you to a couple of books that I particularly enjoyed earlier this year before I started my blog … Gold by Dan Rhodes. This is a gently humorous novel about Miyuki and her annual trip to the same Welsh seaside village out of season, where she walks, reads, and drinks beer for a fortnight before going… Read more »

Blindness by Jose Saramago

1997 Nobel laureate Saramago was born in 1922 and is considered to be Portugal’s top living writer. He wrote this novel in 1995 and what a book it is! This was our book group choice for December, and we all found it an intense and compelling read. When an epidemic of sudden blindness happens, the blind and those contaminated by… Read more »

Oliver Postgate R.I.P.

I was so sad to hear of the death on Monday of Oliver Postgate. My childhood TV viewing was full of gems from him. Sadly, I was just beyond the age for the ‘Watch with Mother‘ lunchtime slot when Bagpuss came along, but I have always loved the Clangers … Some years ago, when my daughter was smaller, I got… Read more »

Book Challenges – Love ’em or Loathe ’em?

Personally I loathe them. My TBR mountains are too precarious to start searching for that elusive book to complete a challenge on books published in the year of your birth, or novels with fruit in the title. Besides, I really don’t like choosing what I’m going to read next beyond the immediate one following. I like to be able to… Read more »

Transmission by Hari Kunzru

This is a novel of globalisation and alienation, set in a world in which electronic communication and understanding is instant, but that between humans remains a mystery. Arjun, a naive young Indian thinks he is about to achieve the American Dream. He lands a job in the US, but finds he’s signed up for a computing sweatshop. Eventually he breaks… Read more »

Santa Claus is comin’ to town …

I just got back from my daughter’s school Christmas concert which was lovely. I was amazed though to find out that the perennial favourite Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town (preferably the Springsteen version for me), has some introductory verses: I just came back from a lovely trip along the Milky Way, I stopped off at the North Pole to… Read more »

This had me in fits …

Browsing in my super-local-indie-bookshop Mostly Books yesterday, my eye was drawn to this sitting by the till… Wendy: The Bumper Book of Fun for Women of a Certain Age by Jenny Eclair and Judith Holder. It’s a girl’s type annual for grumpy old women by one of the sharpest comedians on the planet. I only had to open the front… Read more »

The Pets by Bragi Olafsson

Last year I read some Halldor Laxness, and found the Icelandic humour distinctly hard to get. This contemporary novel by Bragi Olafsson (formerly in the Sugarcubes with Björk) was much less oblique, but despite its relative brevity took some time to get going. When it did though, it became the stuff of pure farce which you could easily imagine on… Read more »