HARI KUNZRU – Transmission

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Bought 16 Oct 2005 – Borders in Birmingham

The 2nd Liz-and-Matt read

We finished this one Sunday early morning/normal morning

I’m not sure what I thought of it. I was a little disappointed as I loved The Impressionist and found this a little lacking. It was big on plot, but plot was what it was mainly about. The ending, which was very satirical and funny about conspiracy theorists and theories, was very good, and if you read it as a satire and plot-driven novel, it was good. But I prefer more depth and exposition to my characters.

Matt liked it more than I did, and I will try to get some comments from him to add here.

It yielded some discussion between us – mainly along the lines of looking at the plot, and were the computery bits accurate (apparently they were) but nothing like the depth of discussion on character, morals and behaviour that the Zadie Smith inspired.

Next up is a book of short stories about/around Birmingham, that came out of a competition a while ago. I’m interested to see how our reactions will differ, as I’ll be reading about places I know well, and a lot of it will be new to Matt. I do recommend this reading-together thing – it’s fun and gives us something to talk about!

WARIS DIRIE – Desert Dawn

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Acquired 25 Oct 2005 – BookCrossing BookRing

I did enjoy this – but with some reservations. It was a little repetitive if you have read the first book, which I think many people will have done. And her attitude to Western consumption and money was a little “holier than thou”, complaining about all the waste and not really talking about how she got the money to be able to go and visit her family.

But having said that (and I’m feeling horrid for having said it, as she does do such good work with her charity), I am glad I read it as I had wanted to and would have wondered what I was missing.

DERVLA MURPHY – Tibetan Foothold

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Acquired 21 Jun 2005 – BookCrossing Not So Secret Summer Solstice gift

This was excellent – I love her books and this one is interesting in that she doesn’t actually travel very much, but stays in one area, helping to look after Tibetan refugee children. This is a modern edition which provides update sections in the back, which is great too. Moving, but not sentimental, and a great read.

JEAN SASSON – Daughters of Arabia

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Acquired via BookCrossing 02 July 2005 – picked up from the table at the Unconvention

The sequel to Princess, which I read on a BookRing, and as a sequel lacks its novelty and shock value. But it does have a value as in effect the journal of a Saudi woman trying to raise her family and deal with the secret of the first book coming out. Interesting, but not compulsive reading. I think I will look out for the 3rd one, for completeness’ sake.


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Acquired 18 Apr 2005 via BookCrossing
Bought 20 Jun 2005 – Red Cross charity shop, Kings Heath (read copy)

Have finally read my own copy, which I acquired in June!

A good slice of her slightly Gothic Southern fiction – this time focussing on the mid-20th century growth of Atlanta. Made me want to go there again, even though I’m not sure how much of the book is fact.

BC copy still AVL for any takers!

ELISABETH BUMILLER – May You Be the Mother of a Hundred Sons

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Bought (c.) 20 Jun 2005

Journeys among the women of India – a little heavy-going in places but the bits about real women’s lives were fascinating. A worthy and worthwhile read, if a tiny bit dated now (set in the late 80s) and the printing and binding is truly terrible! But a good book!

JUDITH ARCANA – Every Mother’s Son

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Acquired 19 Jun 2005 – Brenda’s books at Mozfest

This was excellent – good old solid third-wave-feminism stuff about raising your consciousness and that of your sons – made me quite nostalgic for the days I was discovering feminism and all that! Really good book too, I particularly liked the diary at the beginning which talked about the author’s own son. A couple of the ideas were a leetle extreme for me (showing your son where exactly he came from…) but in general excellent, moving and thought-inspiring.


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Acquired 19 Jun 2005 – picked up from the Mozfest leftovers

An adorable book about growing up in Dakar, Senegal – a different culture and way of life but a sweet, cheeky little girl grows and matures through the book – a universal concept.


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Bought 14 Sep 2005 – Waterstones (signed by author)

Matt and I read this together – our first experiment doing this. We read a chapter or two at a time, usually me reading first as I fall asleep earlier than he does. Although it was a bit odd, reading a book so slowly, it was interesting and we had a good discussion about it throughout the process and at the end.

I’m still not sure what I thought of this. It didn’t quite live up to expectations, although interesting commentary on politics and ideology, I think. Also a close descendant of Lodge and Bradbury’s campus novels, an aspect which I enjoyed. She does plot better than she does musings…

Books bought today

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Hm, maybe it will stop me buying more books if I have to write down here what I’ve acquired…

Matt and I have finished reading Zadie Smith’s “On Beauty” together and enjoyed the experience of reading a book together bit by bit and discussing it (I read a chapter then he reads the same chapter etc), so we wanted to look for another one. After looking through my TBR and complaining that all my books were either about women, about Asia, or small town America (pretty true, although I do have some travel and other non-fic too and I LIKE these) and that he read an Amitav Ghosh recently, he looked at my Amazon wishlist and liked a couple. We couldn’t wait, so we “popped” into town and came back with…

Diana Wynne Jones – The Merlin Conspiracy – this one’s for me, I love her books, and it was only a fiver!

Hari Kunzru – Transmission – one for us to read together; we both enjoyed his previous one, The Impressionist

Iain M. Banks – The Algebraist – one for Matt

Charlie Connolly – Attention All Shipping – about the Shipping Forecast, one for me

These three were in a 3 for 2 offer

Lars Saabye Christiensen – The Half Brother – another for us to read together though this is massive and will take us weeks!

Matt got a student discount on these too!!

Look out for our impressions on these in a few months’ time…

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