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si reads in 2018

50 Book Challenge

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Edited: Dec 28, 2017, 11:35am Top

Jan 5, 10:17am Top

1. The Cricket Match by Hugh De Selincourt

Fiction. 1st published 1924. 159 pages.
This tale of a village cricket match dates from 1924 with later illustrations by Paul Cox (around 1990). Set on a hot August day in 1921 it weaves the lives of the week-end cricketers around a Saturday match on Tillingford's
cricket/football ground. The second half of the story concentrating on the match itself; giving you an almost ball by ball description. The wives and children of the main characters are as well drawn as the players, but non-cricket fans might find it as dull as ... well a Saturday afternoon village cricket match.

Edited: Jan 9, 1:50pm Top

2. The Disappearance of Signora Giulia by Piero Chiara

Fiction. 1st published 1962. 122 pages. Translated by Jill Foulston
Short mystery novel which attempts to avoid the traditions (formula) of crime fiction while leading us along a well travelled path. Wife disappears, an affair is exposed, jewels are missing, the husband acts as if nothing serious has happened, and so on. The subtle variations Chiara introduces work fairly well, but personally I disliked the ending.

Jan 9, 1:58pm Top

Here's to a great reading year. Cheers!

Jan 26, 2:33pm Top

3. Ripley's Game by Patricia Highsmith

Fiction. © 1974. 256 pages.
Third novel to feature Tom Ripley. Set six months after the events in Ripley Under Ground.
Approached by Pierre Minot, a contact in the criminal world, Ripley mischievously put Jonathan Trevonny's name forward as someone who, if approached in the right way, might commit murder.
Compulsively readable.

Edited: Feb 1, 2:36pm Top

4. Franklin's Flying Bookshop by Jen Campbell

Fiction. Children's picture book. © 2017. 30 pages.
Illustrated by Katie Harnett.
Charming picture book which gently promotes the pleasures of reading. Well illustrated by Katie Harnett.

Feb 24, 7:01am Top

5. The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

Fiction. © 2015. 410 pages.
Travelling into London each day Rachel passes her old home and looks-out for her ex-husband and his new wife. She also watches the neighbouring houses and one day sees something unexpected - which ties-in with a woman's disappearance.
Told in the first person, from three difference women's point of view, this is an involving mystery-thriller; not overly complicated so you can't work out most of the solution.

Edited: Feb 26, 1:08pm Top

6. The Height Of The Scream by Ramsey Campbell

Fiction. © 1976. 208 pages.
16 short horror stories. Well-written but a mixed selection of stories. For me 'The Telephones' is the stand-out tale. Worth reading; but going by other reviews not his best book.

Mar 8, 7:54am Top

7. Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

Fiction. © 1980. 219 pages.
Outlining the plot doesn't really help in capturing the heart of this novel which deals with people in a particular landscape reacting, as best as they can, to the transient nature of life. Well worth reading.

Mar 19, 10:46am Top

8. Butterflies in November by Audur Ava Olafsdottir

Fiction. © 2004 (English translation 2013). 296 pages.
English translation by Brian FitzGibbon from the Icelandic.

A proof-reader decides on a holiday, driving around Iceland, after being dumped twice, winning two lotteries & killing a goose. Along for the trip is Tumi, the four year old son of a friend; who is in hospital expecting twin girls.
Told with humour this is an enjoyable, incident packed story told in an idiosyncratic style.

Mar 21, 7:57am Top

9. Birds of Heaven by Ben Okri

Two essays and a single poem. © 1996. 47 pages.
A Short book, which is a good introduction to Ben Okri's ideas and style of writing. I have a copy of The Famished Road - which I hope to get to this year.

Mar 25, 6:09am Top

10. Mary Poppins by P L Travers

Fiction. © 1934. 195 pages.
Decidedly more bite than the film. Stands up well to comparisons with E Nesbit and even Jonathan Swift in parts. Very enjoyable. Surprised it dates from 1934; would have guessed 1940s, 1950s even. Illustrations by Mary Shepard are simple but effective; her father famously illustrated the original Wind in the Willows and Winnie-The-Pooh stories.

Edited: Mar 26, 6:55am Top

11. Harry Potter: A Journey Through A History Of Magic - British Library

Non-fiction. © 2017. 144 pages.
The 20th anniversary of the publishing of the first Harry Potter book gave the British Library an excuse to curate an exhibition last year (2017) on the theme of the history of magic. This book, aimed at children, works as a compendium to the exhibition and as a chance for Potter fans to see some of J K Rowling's original illustrations and the first drafts of various scenes from the her books.

Mar 29, 8:31am Top

12. Marmalade Atkins' Dreadful Deeds by Andrew Davies

Fiction. © 1979. 96 pages.
First in a series of children's books featuring Marmalade Atkins which were adapted from TV back in the 1980's. A fun quick read, well written by Davies, with simple but impressive illustrations by John Laing.

Apr 11, 8:38am Top

13. I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen

Fiction. Children's picture book. © 2011. 32 pages.
Award-winning illustrator Jon Klassen first book as writer and illustrator. Great art work and a dash of mordant humour. Two further books in the series have appeared so far.

Apr 19, 7:17am Top

14. This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
15. Black Orchid by Neil Gaiman

Fiction. ©2012. 34 & 181 pages.
Two ends of the market I guess - simple children's picture book and a convoluted graphic novel. Both have merits - excellent art work - but perhaps miss a certain spark in the original stories.

Edited: Apr 25, 9:34am Top

16. We Found A Hat by Jon Klassen
Children's picture book. © 2016. 48 pages.
Last in a trilogy of award-winning picture books.

I'm making slow progress with A Suitable Boy. So taking the occasional diversion.

Apr 30, 6:08am Top

17. The Wolf The Duck & The Mouse by Mac Barnett

Fiction. Children's picture book. © 2017. 38 pages.

18. Death Of A Nobody and The Man In The Street by Georges Simenon

Fiction. © 1947, 1950. 58 pages.
Two excellent short stories taken from Maigret's Christmas.

May 4, 1:06pm Top

19. Pump Up The Volume by J S Feliciano

Fiction. © 1990. 148 pages.
Unsuccessful re-working of the film into fiction. I'd say one for fans of the film, except they're the people who would be the most disappointed by this effort.
Joyce Randolph's stills are the only plus point.

May 6, 6:14am Top

20. Bon Voyage, Mr President by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Fiction. © 1992. 58 pages.
Four short stories of varying length -the longest 'Bon Voyage..' is also the best. It's set in Geneva where a former President of an unnamed South American country awaiting surgery exploits the concern of a married couple - also exiled from their home country. The others stories are less successful. The final tale, 'Light is Like Water, which is only 4 pages, gets points if only for oddness.

Edited: May 6, 6:58am Top

21. Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Children's picture book. © 1963. 37 pages.

22. House Held Up By Trees by Ted Kooser

Children's picture book. © 2012. 30 pages.

Edited: May 27, 7:56am Top

23. The Strange Case of the End of Civilisation As We Know It by John Cleese, Jack Hobbs & Joe McGrath

Screenplay. © 1977. 128 pages.
Fairly broad comedy from the late 1970's, which isn't particularly funny. Sherlock Holmes enduring appeal has attracted comedy writers almost from the date of the first publications in the Strand Magazine.

Edited: May 27, 7:56am Top

24. Wacky Wednesday by Dr. Seuss
Fiction. Children's book. © 1974. 37 pages.
Well illustrated, inter-active children's book.

25. The Walking Dead Volume 1 Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman
Fiction. Graphic novel. First published 2003-4 in magazine format. 140 pages.

Jun 17, 6:32am Top

26. The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown
Fiction. Children's picture book. © 1942, 1970. 36 pages.

27. Follow The Rabbit-Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington
Non-fiction. © 1996. 150 pages.
Short history of the effect the arrival of the British had on Aboriginal life in Australia and how in 1931 three children, taken from their families because their fathers were white, escaped The Moore River Native Settlement and walked over 1,600 Kilometres home.

Jul 2, 6:26am Top

28. Square by Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen

Children's picture book. © 2018. 36 pages.
Very good illustrations, as always, by Jon Klassen. The story itself, which is part of a trilogy, is to slight - even by picture book standards, to elicit much interest.

Jul 12, 1:52pm Top

29. 26 by Jonathan Kemp

Short fiction. ©2011. 134 pages.
26 brief stories around the theme of gay sexual encounters. While fairly explicit the prose is honest and well written.

Jul 12, 2:11pm Top

30. A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth

Fiction. © 1993. 1474 pages.
While bemoaning the length of this historical novel set in the India of 1951-2, I never considered throwing-in the towel.

A very enjoyable read with wonderful characters.

Jul 29, 6:32pm Top

31. Once Upon a Time in the North by Philip Pullman
Fiction. © 2008. 104 pages.

32. Jamilia by Chingiz Aitmatov
Fiction. © 1957. 96 pages.

33. Close Range by Annie Proulx
Fiction. © 1999. 318 pages.

34. The Portobello Road And Other Stories by Muriel Spark
Fiction. © 1958,61. 86 pages.
A run of short fiction; all with their own merits and all worth reading if you like short stories and novellas.

Aug 14, 9:27am Top

35. Summer Requiem by Vikram Seth
Poetry. © 2015. 66 pages.

36. Wind / Pinball by Haruki Murakami
Fiction. © 1979, 1980. 330 pages.

37. Swithering by Robin Robertson
Poetry. © 2006. 86 pages.

38. Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby
Non-fiction. © 1992. 239 pages.

I liked 'Swithering' more than 'Summer Requiem' & 'Hear the Wind Sing' more than 'Pinball, 1973'; none of them bad, just average - except the Robertson - a happy discovery.

The start of a new football season prompted me to finally read 'Fever Pitch'; a book to read and pass-on.

Aug 24, 6:47am Top

39. Suite Seventeen by Portia Da Costa

40. Username: Evie by Joe Sugg

41. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Jack Thorne

I've lost the plot; three disappointing books in a row.

Sep 3, 6:36am Top

42. Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss

Non-fiction. © 2003, 2005. 231 pages.
Not a natural subject for humour, so Lynne Truss deserves all the praise this book has received since being published in 2003. This 2005 paperback edition has an additional forward about the free punctuation repair kit enclosed; although I would hate to remove any of the stickers from my copy.

Edited: Sep 18, 6:46am Top

43. Enigma by Robert Harris

Fiction. © 1995. 390 pages.
Mystery-thriller set at Bletchley Park in 1943. Robert Harris moved from journalism & non-fiction books into fiction in the 1990's with Fatherland, which in truth I didn't like. This his second novel feels less stringent - it's real-life setting and flawed characters results in a more satisfying mystery.

Sep 22, 6:04am Top

44. Doctor Who: One Doctor Two Hearts

Children's book, illustration by Adam Howling. © 2018. 48 pages.

Edited: Sep 25, 1:27pm Top

45. The Hunting Gun by Yasushi Inoue

Fiction. © 1949. 111 pages.
Novella about an affair, told by three women in their letters to the married man.

Edited: Sep 27, 6:19am Top

46. Marmalade Atkins in Space by Andrew Davies

Children's book. © 1982. 87 pages.
Sequel to Marmalade and Rufus. After various plans fail to curb Marmalade's bad behaviour, her parents agree to send her into space. Broad comedy.

Oct 1, 6:01am Top

47. Postcards From Surfers by Helen Garner

Fiction. © 1985. 106 pages.
Short stories with spring into life now and then, but overall are far from being Garner's best.

Edited: Oct 22, 1:48pm Top

48. The Man in the Queue by Josephine Tey

Fiction. © 1929. 247 pages.
Mystery novel from between the wars; the first appearance of Inspector Alan Grant. Dated in some respects, but an engaging and knowing tale.

Oct 14, 7:00am Top

49. Murderers I Have Known by Marina Warner

Fiction. © 2002. 165 pages.
Marina Warner is a highly regarded academic and historian, so I perhaps expected to be more engaged with these nine short stories than was the case. There are interesting ideas and situations but none of these tales held my interest to the end.

Oct 22, 9:14am Top

50. Longitude by Dava Sobel

Non-fiction. ©1995. 192 pages.
Story of the search for a way to calculate longitude, while at sea. And clockmaker John Harrison's long struggle to convince the Board of Longitude of the merits of his work.

Edited: Nov 8, 9:37am Top

51. A Shilling For Candles by Josephine Tey

Fiction. 1st published 1936. 246 pages.

Second Alan Grant mystery, which is as readable as the first and has a similar mix of characters and events. Filmed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1937.

Group: 50 Book Challenge

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