ALAN BENNETT – The Uncommon Reader

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Borrowed from Matthew

I had a mind to read this and luckily Gill gave it to Matthew the Christmas before last, so there it was on his TBR. What a brilliant book! Funny but also poignant, political, acerbit and eventful.  A quick read, and unputdownable – also laugh-out-loud funny in places. I have now forced it into Matthew’s hands and he’s on p. 39 already!

BARACK OBAMA – Dreams From My Father

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From the University Library

I’ve been meaning to read Obama’s books for ages so was pleased when they passed through my hands at work and I could bagsie them.

I thought I’d read them chronologically and get an idea of the man behind the ideas first.  Well, it’s good to have a President of the US who can string a sentence together. He comes across as intelligent, socially aware, and humble.  He admits in the preface to the new edition that some of the content was a bit embarassing when he came to run for Senator – but he left it in.  He refers to himself as "a black man with a funny name" and whether the humility is exaggerated for the book or not, he comes across as a decent man, honest about his struggles with his dual-race background and African roots. Fascinating stuff and a good read.

DEBBIE MACOMBER – Always Dakota

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Acquired via BookCrossing 10 Jan 2009 – Bookring

Last in the Dakota trilogy, which I have really enjoyed.  The town continues to flourish, established couples settle and negotiate their way into the community and new friendships are forged.  Margaret Clemens, the most unfeminine of ranch owners, manages to snag her man in unorthodox fashion, thinking she knows better than her doubting friends…

A lovely book and a good end to an excellent series. Macomber always gives good value!

Oh and Julie – I’m waiting a few days to send this on to you so you don’t feel swamped!!

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.

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