TOBY YOUNG – How to Lose Friends and Alienate People

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Acquired via BookCrossing 09 Jun 2006 – BookRing

Memoirs of his time in New York, including writing for Vanity Fair.

It’s interesting that this has aroused so much detailed comment – so often I join rings that have a sentence or two for each JE. I didn’t like the guy but I thought it was a fun read – he repeated himself a little and yes, got a bit woolly in the middle, but in the main it’s pretty well-done and a good expose of the lives of a particular sector of society. His comments on the idea of the meritocracy are interesting, but I think he gets a bit holier-than-thou, while feeding off the edges of their lives (he gets peeved when someone insults his dad, having made great mirth out of insulting lots of other people/sectors of society). He was like a little boy, out to shock with rude words and willy-waving, and like another reader, I wasn’t that interested in his sudden finding of love – how long will that last, I wonder.

Well an interesting read and I’m glad I had it on a ring and didn’t buy it!

ALTON DOUGLAS – Birmingham At War: A Pictorial Account

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Bought 01 May 2006 (Kings Heath church fete)

I had a tidy up in my study yesterday after realising there were no more boxes of books in front of the sofa and I could actually reach it – and out popped a good few books of mine which had got a little buried!

So I put them on the TBR but I’m “allowed” to pick off smallish local history books from the pile whenever I have a spare hour, so I had a nice hour looking through the pictures (well, OK, not all nice, but very interesting) and learning about Birmingham’s WWII history.

Now joining my growing local history collection.

DEBBIE MACOMBER – Thursdays At Eight

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Acquired via BookCrossing 12 Jun 2006 (BookRing)

Had to go on holiday in between receiving this and reading it – I don’t like taking ring books on hol as that is when something would happen to a book! Anyway – really enjoyed it as I always do hers – I have read a few recently and definitely a new favourite. This follows the fortunes of 4 women who met on a journalling course and continued meeting each week. The book was gentle but exciting as you follow the womens’ lives, and she portrays different ages and kinds of women with a deft and light touch. I really liked the quotations at the tops of the chapters too.


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Acquired via BookCrossing 04 May 2006 (Rabck from Weebly/Aly)

A jolly pony story following Jinny’s attempts to tame the Arab horse she rescued from a circus. Strong themes of care for the environment and staying true to oneself make it a moral as well as a fun read.

As I didn’t have these books as a child, I am being strong and making them available again as I read them – suitable, however, for another pony-book-loving careful adult as this one, at least, is a little fally-apart.

D. H. LAWRENCE – You Touched Me

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Acquired via BookCrossing 17 Jun 2006 (Rabck from Pennina)

A dear little Penguin 60. Two not-very-Lawrence-like short stories (hence I liked them!) based around a theme of human touch in threatening situations. Well done and thoughtful.

I was so pleased to have this sudden RABCK for only passing a bookring on that I took this on holiday and released it in Perpignan.

MERRIDY EASTMAN – There’s A Bear In There (And He Wants Swedish)

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Acquired via BookCrossing 16 Apr 2006 (NSS Easter bunny gift from yowlyy)

Engaging narrative of Australian actress and former (Australian) Play School presenter Merridy’s 11 months as a brothel and escort agency receptionist. Lightly done, with sympathetic portraits of the girls and an honest appraisal of her own feelings and reactions. Funny, if not outrageously so, and interesting.

Read on holiday, didn’t find anywhere suitable to release it, making it available.

V. S. NAIPAUL – The Suffrage of Elvira

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Acquired 04 Nay 2006 – from Freecycle books donated to bookcrossing by Sam

Amusing and sweet novel about the coming of democracy to Trinidad, focussing on the local election in Elvira. Deceptively simple, like R. K. Narayan, and nice that it mentions Ganesh, the “mystic masseur” of his previous novel.

Read on holiday and released in France

GISH JEN – The Love Wife

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26 Dec 2005 – present from Matt’s parents

Another good Gen novel, looking at what happens when a mainland Chinese relative is shipped over to join a blended Chinese-American family. The teenage and younger daughter and the different voices are well-drawn and there are plenty of plot twists.

This is a Liz-and-Matt read so I’ll post Matt’s review when he’s read it.

E. M. FORSTER – Howard’s End

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Acquired via BookCrossing 14 Jun 2006 – RABCK from Gill

I wanted to read this primarily because Zadie Smith’s “On Beauty” famously “echoes” this book. It was pretty interesting to read this one second, as of course I could see all the bits that Smith used as well as enjoying it as a story. I was particularly pleased to see the joke about the house having belonged to a Mr Howard and representing his “end” or “ending”, as I had drawn a conclusion that “On Beauty” represents the character Howard’s “end”. It was also interesting to see that those who remained true to themselves remained alright in the end, where those who tried to change their situations, by marrying into respectability or by trying to improve themselves, ended up in trouble.

So – an interesting read and a good intellectual exercise to “spot the echoes”! I will now pass it on via BookCrossing by wild release or at a meetup.

MARY WESLEY – Part of the Furniture

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Bought 24 Mar 2006 (not sure where – charity shop somewhere)

Hmmm…. maybe I’ve read too much Mary Wesley but they all do get a bit samey – groups of young things, mysterious children, WW11 etc, and this one just didn’t hit the spot – I carried on reading it just because I was reading it (and while locked out of my office on Wednesday morning!) and not out of any huge pleasure. Am thus registering it on BookCrossing to pass on to someone who might enjoy it more.

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