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Acquired via BookCrossing 28 Sep 2006 – BookRing

Unlike the other readers, I didn’t find this hard to get into, and found it a poetic, lyrical meditation on one day in the life of a small rural community in Nova Scotia. I found the conversations easy to follow, as the speech was marked with an indent and a dash. I thought the internal monologues of the men, especially Herb, well done; more difficult to do than those of the women.

However – two minuses, I’m afraid. First off, the cover picture was really off-putting, a sixth-form-art-y picture of an old woman and a shadowy figure at the window. And I wish I’d been warned about the animal thing (not wanting to give the plot away), as this was upsetting and I’d rather have known. I’m putting this JE through almost the minute I finished the book so I can not think about it and go on to something else in the next book.

JOAN BAKEWELL – The Centre of the Bed : An Autobiography

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Acquired via BookCrossing 01 Jul 2006 – Uncon NSS from Calalilly

I enjoyed this – a thoughtful and insightful autobiography, with a lot of information about life at the BBC from the 1950s onwards, and the television and journalism professions. Information about her private life (which was the big shocker when this came out in hardback) was scattered through the book, and quite distanced, but I sense she is a very private person and unwilling to share this info. I did recoil for her when she got the letter in Venice…

I see I said I would offer this as a bookring, so I will do so in the next tranch of rings…


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Acquired via BookCrossing 01 Jul 2006 – given to me by Lynne/Molyneux at the Unconvention

Well, I got to about p. 85 but I couldn’t really get into it – it read a bit like a first novel, and, like If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things, a bit creative-writing-class-y. I did like the descriptions of Brixton but the dream sequences were a bit much and I just didn’t settle into it.

This is good for Mt TBR anyway – and I appreciate Mol putting it my way!

As there’s a pic of the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton on the front cover of this edition, I’m going to try to get it sent down to the OBCZ there!

JOSEPH McKENNA – Birmingham Between the Wars

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Bought 03 Sep 2006 – Birmingham Libraries stall at Kings Heath Gardeners’ Weekend

A small but interesting book of photographs of Birmingham city centre 1918-1939. Some landmarks are still recognisable, some are long gone – and it’s nice to see the Town Hall out of its scaffolding!

JIM DEROGATIS – Staring at Sound : The True Story of Oklahoma’s Fabulous Flaming Lips

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Bought 16 Jun 2006 – Borders

Rock biog of the fantastic trippy, mad band, The Flaming Lips. Written by a respected music writer (who’s also done a biog of Lester Bangs that I have to read), this has the right amount of decent research, direct quotations and eager fandom. It’s pretty comprehensive, talking about most tracks from each album. I wish there’d been a better pic of Jonathan Donahue (now of Mercury Rev) but that’s just a minor complaint!

Excellent and absorbing.

K.M. PEYTON (ed) – The Puffin Book of Horse and Pony Stories

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Acquired via BookCrossing 15 Jun 2006 – from Gill

A lovely book of extracts from pony stories. Some new authors and some old favourites in here. Will probably pop this in the OBCZ in Kings Heath…

E. A. MARKHAM (ed) – The Penguin Book of Caribbean Short Stories

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Acquired via BookCrossing 16 Jun 2006 – from Gill

I was (what counts as) good and didn’t read any of the stories that didn’t catch my fancy, but what I did read (about half of them) was good and well-written in the main. Covered a good many aspects of the Caribbean and beyond, written in a variety of voices.

CARL CHINN – Birmingham Irish: Making Our Mark

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Bought 03 Sep 2006 – Library stall at the Kings Heath Gardeners’ Weekend

Hm… this consisted of a very detailed social history of the Irish in Birmingham up to WWII, and then several chapters of oral and individuals’ written history from then until the mid-1970s.

There was a lot of value in this book but, as someone not connected with the subject matter apart from living in Birmingham, I found the beginning a little slow, and the second part a little over-sentimental. The proof-reading was annoyingly lacking, too.

Again, of value to my Local History collection, as I am trying to build a multi-faceted collection including all the various groupings that make up today’s Birmingham.

JAMILA GAVIN – Out of India

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Acquired via BookCrossing 15 Jun 2006 – from Gill

A delightful book, aimed at the Young Adult market but happily readable by a rather Older Adult. An autobiography of her childhood, we follow Jamila back and forth between India and wartime/postwar England, with evocative portraits of both locations and a clear explanation of the religions and 20th century history of India.

I would recommend this to any inquiring young reader, although it’s best if they have an understanding of WW2, Nazism etc as there are otherwise some mentions that would need explaining.

I’m going to offer this small and excellent book as a Ring in my next batch.


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Acquired from publisher (Tindal Street Press) 20 Sep 2006

This is the other book published in association with the Birmingham Book Festival. Another set of 8 short stories by 4 authors – this time with an African and Asian theme.

A great book of short stories; I particularly liked The Syndicate of Tears and Simran Kaur in Great Barr.

I have released this at the new OBCZ in Kings Heath.

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