BALI RAI – Jugglin’ (Tales From Devana High)

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27 Jan 2007 – Bookends

Another fresh, funny and well-done YA novel. This one centres on Suky, resourceful and athletic but saddled with a foul-mouthed Grandma and two boyfriends. Jit, the “boyfriend”, is Sikh like her; Imtiaz, her real love is Muslim. They’re pretty sure their parents will mind this, so they spin a web of deceit which is hilariously unravelled by the parents themselves. I loved Suky’s family and the way the parents are shown in a realistic but positive light. I’m definitely going to look out for the other books in this series.

TEMPLE GRANDIN / SEAN BARRON – Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships

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21 Jan 2007 – birthday present from Matthew

Written for people on the Autistic Spectrum, their families/teachers, and interested parties, this is a fascinating look at how Grandin (one of my all-time heroes) and Barron (whose autobiographical work I have also read) have coped in their very different ways with the obligations, catches and downfalls of human relationships. The sections of direct experience are linked smoothly by the editor (Veronica Zysk) and the whole is fascinating and very well done.

BALI RAI – Sold As Seen (Tales from Devana High)

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27 Jan 2007 – Bookends

An excellent teen novel – we meet a loose collection of friends of different ethnicities who are in a few linked books. This one features Dean, trying to deal with his incomprehensible granddad, his friend Jit’s family problems, and the issues of trying to sell dodgy CDs and phones at school for his big brother. Well done, funny and fresh.

Bathroom painting!

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A rare personal post.

“Our Terry” has finished painting the bathroom. If anyone in the Midlands is looking for a painter and decorator, I cannot rate him highly enough. He has done what *none* of the other people we have had working on this house has done…

* he turned up on time, when he said he was going to, when he quoted, popped back to show us some samples, and each day he was working here (5 days)

* he brought his own lunch and as a result didn’t “pop out” for hours each lunchtime

* he didn’t have a radio

* he didn’t even drink TEA! or demand biscuits

He was quiet, professional, extremely trustworthy and I would not hesitate to recommend him to anyone. He has done a lovely job in the bathroom and I am hoping the flooring (which Matt is home for – hah!) goes as smoothly!

THALASSA ALI – Companions of Paradise

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25 Jan 2007 – birthday present from Ali/Heaven-Ali

The long awaited third book of the Paradise Trilogy – and this one did *not* disappoint. We meet Mariana as she’s moving to Afghanistan with her English family, not sure if she will ever see her Punjabi Muslim adopted family again. A series of military mistakes and assumptions leaves the English cantonment in deadly peril. Mariana is torn between two cultures and must decide who to trust, and how to use the knowledge of those cultures to save as many people as possible.

A rich list of characters, some familiar and some new, and very atmospheric writing. Of necessity more action and less on the mystical Sufism than in the previous 2 books, as there’s a lot of history and explaining to do. I had to sit up late to finish this book, racing through it, as it was a tense and exciting read and I didn’t want to go to sleep not knowing the characters’ fates.

It is also a timely book and, though set in 1841, relevant to today. The English rush into a war, complacent and lacking knowledge about their friends and enemies, make mistakes that lead to their own civilians and military being horribly affected, don’t know how to deal with insurgents, or understand the tenets of a religion other than their own… hmm…

Thanks for this wonderful book, Ali (and I think I’ve been careful enough not to include any spoilers for when you read it!)

LAVANYA SANKARAN – The Red Carpet

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27 Jan 2007 – birthday present from Jen/Wyldetwo

You’ve heard about the call centres and IT companies in Bangalore, now meet some of the residents of this burgeoning city. A lovely fresh, readable collection of short stories with slightly and well interlinked characters; a quick and very enjoyable read.

I’ll be offering this on a bookring in time…

HAZEL K. BELL (ed) – Indexers and Indexes in Fact And Fiction

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22 Jan 2007 – birthday present from Gill/Katisha50

This has been on my wishlist for *ever* and I’ve been hassling Anglersrest to read her copy for about a year. So when I, sniffly from my cold, brought this out of the present bag, I shrieked, jumped up and gave Gill a big hug.

And it’s just as good as I’d hoped. Lots of amusing extracts from indexes through the ages, some laugh-out-loud funny, some raising an eyebrow and a smile, and then some examples of indexers themselves in fiction, including some lovely Barbara Pym.

Will go nicely with my compilation of librarians (can’t remember the title) and I think Linda might well enjoy it so will lend to her too.

Thanks Gill!

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