MARGARET WILLES – Reading Matters: Five Centuries of Discovering Books

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Jan 2009 – University Library

Covering reading and readers from the dawn of the age of the printed book up to festivals, ebooks and Richard&Judy, this is a good comprehensive survey, settling each chapter around a book collection or collector, with lots of additional information and written in an accessible but not over-simplified style.  I particularly liked the chapters covering the printers around St Pauls in the 16th/17th centuries, as so many of the names were familiar to me from my work with special collections material at the University.  A good read.

PAUL REIZIN – Date Expectations

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Acquired via BookCrossing Oct 2008 – from the Red Cross donation bags

This is quite jolly but a bit cruel too, as the author takes us through his dating experiences using Guardian Soulmates (I got a bit worried as I used that service at around the same time, too – but I don’t appear to be in the book!). As is often the case in the "quest" kind of book, the momentum and appeal slackens a bit when he does seem to strike success.  I think my favourite bits were his relationship with his ex, "Morticia". A nice easy read and some laugh-out-loud moments.

Dr THOMAS GORDON – Parental Effectiveness Training

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Acquired via BookCrossing 28 Sep 2008 – donation from a local freecycler

Slightly over-optimistic discussion of a "new way" to interact with your kids. Might be useful but was a bit formulaic and I think people may see through the technique and resist it. Interesting though.

KATHLEEN GARDINER – The Adventures of Gusto the Dragon: Challenge of Destiny

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Read / listened to at Unity FM where Gill and I recorded it for broadcast

More adventures of the healthy eating dragon and his friends. This one had a very religious section which I felt sat a little uncomfortably – although there was a section that stressed that all religious should be equally respected etc.  Gusto sorts out a few problems and helps the fairy folk find their feet.

DEBBIE MACOMBER – Dakota Home

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Acquired via BookCrossing 10 Jan 2009 – on a BookRing

Second in the Buffalo Valley trilogy.

Lindsay Snyder’s best friend Maddy has moved to Buffalo Valley and takes over the grocery store. She’s intrigued by reticent farmber Jeb, but it takes one of Dakota’s fierce winter storms to help her know more… Meanwhile dear old Buffalo Bob is struggling with his love for barmaid Merrily, and the other well-loved characters’ lives are updated and intertwined too.

The short story in the end of the book was an excellent bonus!

MARY LAWSON – The Other Side of the Bridge

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Acquired via BookCrossing 05 Nov 2008 – from the Red Cross donation bags

I was excited to find this book in the bags as I enjoyed the author’s "Crow Lake". The nuances and histories of far-north Canadian small towns are captured just as well in this one, and the effects of personal actions resonate down the years.  The fates of the central characters were a bit unremitting, though and some rather icky scenes in the doctor’s surgery. In less skillful hands, this would have become a doom-fest; it’s a tribute to her excellent and light touch that events seem understandable and fated rather than unlucky or just too much.

IRIS MURDOCH – Bruno’s Dream

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Bought ? 1990s?

Not as bad as I’d remembered – I’m sure I only read this the once when a lot younger and the subject matter and characters didn’t appeal. More mad families and complicated relationships, centred around the dying Bruno, crouched in his room like one of the spiders he studies and loves.

SUSIE VEREKER – Paris Imperfect

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Acquired 03 Jan 2008 – from the author

The front cover of this book, the Eiffel Tower in a knot, is delightful and promises quirky charms that are delivered by the bucketful.  The author’s deft ways with an approachable, identifyable-with heroine and a cast of supporting characters are well demonstrated in this charming novel.  A familiar setting – Paris – comes to life as do the environs, as we struggle alongside Clio, who is slightly too much (ample of stomach, English, curly of hair, often married) and at the same time not enough (groomed, French, rude, appealing to the family) for her fussy French boyfriend, trying to work out if she should settle for his slightly dubious charms and rather mad family, or strike out on her own.  Conscious of her need to provide a safe background for her teenage son, Clio tries to do the best for everyone until she finally realises that she should do the best for herself.

A lovely setting, marvellous characters (her women are as usual a delight, from the porcine boss to the frosty mother-in-law and the all-too-perfect third-wife-of-the-first-husband) and animals that remain safe and sound.

My only wish would be that this could come out in paperback.

Available for loan – it is a hardback so although I’ll offer it as a bookring, and it is a *small* hardback, one should bear that in mind.

MIKE GAYLE – Turning Thirty

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Acquired via BookCrossing 02 Nov 2008 – at the KGC from katisha50

I had been on the lookout for this one as I’d heard it was set in my neck of the woods. And it was! It was also very good – I picked it up to read on the way into town yesterday and ended up not being able to put it down.  It was a quick read and in the "man-lit" genre but well written and funny and I would read more by this author.

I think Gill might want to read this after me so I’ll take it to the cafe this afternooon (also fits in with this week’s Never Judge challenge!)

KATHLEEN GARDINER – The Adventures of Gusto the Dragon: The Secret Islands of the Seven Clouds

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02 Jan 2009 – read aloud / listened to Gill reading aloud at Unity FM.


More pics on katisha50 ‘s blog.

More adventures of Gusto the healthy dragon, with plenty of silly voices to do and silly names to giggle over.  In this one we learn to avoid fizzy drinks and rum and eat a range of fruit and veg every day, as well as respecting people and being kind to them.

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