JEAN SASSON – Princess: A true story of life behind the veil in Saudi Arabia

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Acquired 26 Sep 2005 – BookCrossing BookRing

This was a very interesting book – I have read quite a lot of books about women in the Middle East so not a lot was surprising; but I think it is important to share this information with people who might not be so aware of it.

However, I do think this book should be read with a balance. For example, “Guests of the Sheik” which is about an American woman living in an Iraqi community. Not all women rail against the veil, and many find a freedom in living outside of the eyes of the men, and have close and happy female communities, and indeed close and happy marriages. Not all arranged marriages are unhappy, just as not all love marriages are happy. And at the moment, I find it hard to criticise other countries and cultures when our police gun innocent people down at Tube stations and my friend’s Muslim mum is frightened to leave her home in E London for fear of “my” people’s hatred and fear.

Sorry to rant there and this is not directed at any of the comments made by any other people on the ring! It’s important to celebrate our individual freedoms while working against those who seek to curtail freedom in any way.


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Acquired 28 May 2005 – Lynne’s Mozfest bookboxes

Finally read this very interesting book about growing up poor in Birmingham’s back-to-backs. She writes better than many memoir-writers and ths was very vivid.

This will be released at the Hudsons OBCZ when I’m next there.

ADRIANA TRIGIANI – Queen of the Big Time

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Bought 10 May 2005 (ish), PDSA Charity shop, Kings Heath

Hm. I loved her Big Stone Gap series but this one, like Lucia, Lucia, was a little blah. They seem to follow a real pattern now – woman, independent, has some tragedies, marries (or doesn’t), goes to Italy and has an epiphany, comes back to the US, eventually dies. It was OK, but a bit samey and a very quick read. Oh well.

ROBERT INMAN – Dairy Queen Days

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Acquired 05 May 2005 – BookCrossing

It’s wonderful – a small-town America coming-of-age novel that’s funny, tender, touching, with memorable characters and, best of all, it avoids the temptation of tying everything up neatly at the end!

I am offering this as a BookRing, so any LJ friends who would like a go with it, let me know!

JENNIFER CARR – The Dewey Decimal System of Love

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Acquired 20 Sep 2005 – BookCrossing BookRing


Well the bit I liked best was the Dewey Decimal bits at the beginning of each chapter (though the library I work in uses Library of Congress so I felt a bit guilty having it in my bag at work!). I thought it was very inconsequential and could have been a lot better. The heroine was interesting and not very nice, which was fine. I liked the descriptions of her completely open-plan flat but kept wondering where the toilet was! Also didn’t quite believe her protestations about not having baths but being OK with it – being a librarian can be a physical and dusty job!!

I felt a bit sick after reading lots of this in one go, like when you’ve eaten a lot of candyfloss. But it was OK and enjoyable enough – and with a title like that I just had to read it!

I was on the end of the ring and the originator didn’t want it back so I am taking it to the Birmingham meetup today.

20 Random Facts About Me

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OK I said this wasn’t going to be for personal stuff but I was “tagged” so I think I *have* to do this (BTW no-one of my friends on here hasn’t done this now so I can’t tag anyone back – hope this doesn’t bring me bad luck. Anyone reading this who wants to write a list- consider yourself tagged!)

1. I am 1/64th Spanish.

2. I studied Medieval Icelandic for 3 years.

3. I also know Latin, Old English and French. Gotta build up those modern languages.

4. I have run 2 Flora Light Challenge 5k races. One day I’ll do another. Honest.

5. I can’t ride a bicycle.

6. I met Matt on the internet.

7. I prefer to write in fountain pen. With coloured inks.

8. I didn’t learn to tell the time till I was 8.

9. I am going ginger, not grey.

10. I am average size (12), shoe size (6) and bra size (shh) so I can never find anything in the sales.

11. One of my legs is longer than the other. This has a bearing on factoid 5.

12. My eyesight prescription is -9.8, -9.9. One tenth of a point to go and I will get free eye tests!

13. All of my cats except Dotty have been named after literary characters.

14. I collect lizards

15. My favourite author is Iris Murdoch

16. I have what Matt would term “strange and unnatural” crushes on Steven Tyler and Dave Grohl

17. I used to have blue hair.

18. I got my ears pierced when I was 29.

19. I like chocolate in itself but I don’t like chocolate flavoured things (cake, mousse, icecream)

20. I don’t like scary films. Or books. Or programmes. Or anything. And when we say scary, we mean over 12 certificate.

Hope that’ll do!!

KAMILA SHAMSIE – In the City by the Sea

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Acquired 25 Aug 2005 – BookCrossing book from Molyneux at the Oxford Walk meetup

A lovely, atmospheric book, set in an unnamed land of uncertainty and political oppression, seen through the eyes of a young boy. As befits a first novel, it’s a little patchy, but it’s generally lyrical and hold the interest.


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Bought 27 Apr 2005 – 2nd hand (charity shop)

Well-done, mystical book about the coming-of-age for two children in a dysfunctional family. One seeks comfort in a religion outside their own, the other in her sudden ability in spelling bees, and Jewish mysticism. Strange, with some shocking moments, but enthralling and fascinating.

Whew – what a lot of books this weekend! I’ve been poorly with a cold so a chance to finish my home and away from home books, and read a couple more…

TEMPLE GRANDIN – Thinking in Pictures

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Acquired 17 Sep 2005 – BookCrossing BookRing

A truly wonderful and inspiring book, both about her life and the treatment of children and adults on the autistic spectrum, _and_ about the ways she works with animals in abbatoir facilities to make their experiences as gentle as possible. I was going to lend this to my next door neighbour who has a young son just diagnosed autistic – but instead I have just ordered a copy from Amazon which I will lend to her! I know she will draw a lot of interest, reassurance and comfort from it – as indeed am I. As someone at the very end of the spectrum, with mild Aspergers, it’s so nice to know why I am super-reactive to (prescription!) drugs and am not alone in my ability to see flickering lights where everyone else sees steady ones!

Another tribute to the wonder of BookCrossing – as the originator of this bookring took the time to search peoples’ wishlists and found it on mine.


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Bought 23 Apr 2005 – 2nd hand

Account of his visit to Easter Island, including finding out how the famous statues were made, transported and raised, and overcoming the Aku-Aku spirits to obtain the inhabitants’ sacred cave-stones (wonder what happened to those!). Not as mad as some of his later books…

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