BRITISH ISLES AUTHOR CHALLENGE 2019 - GENERAL THREAD

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BRITISH ISLES AUTHOR CHALLENGE 2019 - GENERAL THREAD

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1PaulCranswick
Editado: Ene 5, 2019, 5:40am


2PaulCranswick
Editado: Ene 5, 2019, 6:42am

BRITISH ISLES AUTHOR THEME CHALLENGE 2019



January 2019 - The Natural World https://www.librarything.com/topic/296824#6632759
February 2019 - Pat Barker and Peter F. Hamilton
March 2019 - The Murderous Scots https://www.librarything.com/topic/296824#6637458
April 2019 - Rosamond Lehmann and John Boyne
May 2019 - The Edwardians https://www.librarything.com/topic/299559#6656870
June 2019 - Nicola Barker and Wilkie Collins
July 2019 - YA Fantasy Series https://www.librarything.com/topic/299559#6660927
August 2019 - Anita Brookner and Jim Crace
September 2019 - Biography and Memoir https://www.librarything.com/topic/299559#6674204
October 2019 - Rose Tremain and Louis de Bernieres
November 2019 -The Jewish Contribution https://www.librarything.com/topic/301575#6688724
December 2019 - Zadie Smith and Michael Morpurgo
WILDCARD - Back to the Beginning - LIVELY and ISHIGURO

3PaulCranswick
Ene 5, 2019, 5:42am



4PaulCranswick
Ene 5, 2019, 5:43am

OUR FINAL SELECTION FOR DECEMBER 2019 PLUS WILDCARD..................

5PaulCranswick
Editado: Ene 5, 2019, 5:47am

BRITISH ISLES AUTHOR THEME CHALLENGE 2019



DECEMBER 2019

Our lady?

ZADIE SMITH



6PaulCranswick
Editado: Ene 5, 2019, 5:49am

BRITISH ISLES AUTHOR THEME CHALLENGE 2019



DECEMBER 2019

ZADIE SMITH

White Teeth (1999)
The Autograph Man (2002)
On Beauty (2005)
NW (2012)
Swing Time (2016)

Collections
Martha and Hanwell (2005)

Novellas
The Embassy of Cambodia (2013)

7PaulCranswick
Ene 5, 2019, 5:51am

BRITISH ISLES AUTHOR THEME CHALLENGE 2019



DECEMBER 2019

Our gentleman........and a little bit of self-indulgence

MICHAEL MORPURGO



8PaulCranswick
Ene 5, 2019, 6:30am


BRITISH ISLES AUTHOR THEME CHALLENGE 2019



DECEMBER 2019

MICHAEL MORPURGO

Series
War Horse
1. War Horse (1982)
2. Farm Boy (1997)

Mudpuddle Farm
Cock-A-doodle-do (2008)
Pigs Might Fly! (2008)
Alien Invasion (omnibus) (2008)
Six Animal Adventures (omnibus) (2008)
Hee-Haw Hooray (2017)

Novels
Long Way Home (1975)
Friend or Foe (1977)
Nine Lives of Montezuma (1980)
Miss Wirtles Revenge (1981)
Twist of Gold (1983)
Little Foxes (1984)
Why the Whales Came (1985)
Tom's Sausage Lion (1986)
King of the Cloud Forests (1987)
Mossop's Last Chance (1988)
My Friend Walter (1988)
Mr. Nobody's Eyes (1989)
Waiting for Anya (1990)
The Sandman and the Turtles (1991)
The War of Jenkins' Ear (1993)
The Dancing Bear (1994)
Arthur, High King of Britain (1994)
The Wreck of the Zanzibar (1995)
The Butterfly Lion (1996)
The Ghost of Grania O'Malley (1996)
Robin of Sherwood (1996)
Gullivers Travels (1997)
Arthur, High King of Britain - Excalibur (1998)
Camelot: The Last Days (1998)
Red Eyes at Night (1998)
Escape from Shangri-La (1998)
Wartman (1998)
Joan of Arc (1998)
Kensuke's Kingdom (1999)
Black Queen (2000)
Dear Olly (2000)
Billy the Kid (2000)
Out of the Ashes (2001)
Toro! Toro! (2001)
Private Peaceful (2001)
The Sleeping Sword (2002)
Mr Skip (2002)
Cool! (2002)
The Last Wolf (2002)
Cool as a Cucumber (2003)
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (2004)
The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips (2005)
I Believe in Unicorns (2005)
Born to Run (2006)
aka Best Mates
Alone on a Wide Wide Sea (2006)
Beowulf (2006)
The Mozart Question (2007)
Kaspar (2008)
aka The Titanic Cat
Running Wild (2009)
An Elephant in the Garden (2010)
Not Bad for a Bad Lad (2010)
Shadow (2010)
Little Manfred (2011)
Outlaw (2012)
Sparrow (2012)
A Medal for Leroy (2012)
Listen to the Moon (2012)
An Eagle in the Snow (2015)
The Fox and the Ghost King (2016)
Toto (2017)
Lucky Button (2017)
Flamingo Boy (2018)
The Snowman (2018)
The Day the World Stopped Turning (2019)

9PaulCranswick
Editado: Ene 5, 2019, 6:36am

And the Wildcard?

Who can remember the first BAC selections?

For the wildcard it is back to the beginning.

Penelope Lively and Kazuo Ishiguro

Lively has proven possibly the most popular pick ever, whilst Ishiguro has won the Nobel Prize since we picked him.



10PaulCranswick
Ene 5, 2019, 6:42am

JANUARY 2019

THE NATURAL WORLD

Here is a link to the choice:

https://www.librarything.com/topic/296824#6632759

11PaulCranswick
Ene 5, 2019, 9:40am

WHAT I'M READING

Minimum

Findings by Kathleen Jamie

and

The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane



12Caroline_McElwee
Editado: Ene 5, 2019, 10:05am

Well I'll cheat a bit, as I read this at the end of last year, but it deserves a mention.



Bob Gilbert's Ghost Trees walking in the footsteps of the author as he wanders the streets of the old borough of London in search of any remaining black Poplars that the borough takes its name from, and what he finds along the way. Some wonderful little natural history and historical nuggets. And I look more closely at the trees in our urban environment now too, though I have always enjoyed them.

I plan to read Adam Nicholson's Seabird's Cry this month.



It doesn't cover just Britain, but I'm not going to be pedantic.

13BekkaJo
Ene 5, 2019, 10:35am

I didn't mean to, but so, so in!!!

14thornton37814
Ene 5, 2019, 12:19pm

Lots of things on my radar fit the BIAC for January. I picked The Outrun by Amy Liptrot for its Orkney setting.

15EllaTim
Editado: Ene 5, 2019, 12:40pm

I'll be looking for either The Seabird's Cry, or The Outrun, probably. Love that puffin on the cover of the first.

16amanda4242
Ene 5, 2019, 8:40pm

It's here! It's here!

Will there be separate threads for each month, or just the one again?

17cbl_tn
Ene 5, 2019, 11:13pm



I read Rain: Four Walks in English Weather by Melissa Harrison. It's a lovely, poetic book that takes considerably less time to read than the walks that it describes. I've spent time in all four counties where Harrison walked, and her descriptions are so vividly detailed that I could easily imagine myself there with her. It reminded me of walks of my own.

18SandDune
Ene 6, 2019, 7:27am

>14 thornton37814: >15 EllaTim: I read The Outrun last year and can strongly recommend it.

19Morphidae
Editado: Ene 7, 2019, 5:04pm

I've ordered Findings by Kathleen Jamie from the library.

Hey, Paul! We'll be reading the same book! *gasps, holds the back of her hand to her forehead then gracefully faints onto the chaise longue*

20amanda4242
Ene 7, 2019, 6:06pm

Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine

My first BIAC read of the year is an old favorite. Written with typical Adams humor, Last Chance to See is a record of Adams' and Carwardine's trip around the globe to visit and bring attention to various critically endangered species. It's been nearly thirty years since the book was published and in that time two of the species visited, the Yangtze River Dolphin and the northern white rhino, are almost certainly extinct. But the news isn't all bad: through dedicated conservation work and captive breeding programs a number of the species discussed have been brought back from the brink and, while their numbers are still alarmingly small, there is still hope for them.

21PaulCranswick
Ene 11, 2019, 1:51am



Findings by Kathleen Jamie

Date of Publication : 2005 (1 of 150)
Pages : 190 (190 total)
Author Origin : UK (1 of 80)
British Isles Author Challenge (January 1 book total)

Very rich writing mainly concentrating on the natural world of the far north of Scotland.

Jamie is a poet and this shines through in evocative prose:

"it was a weakling light, stealing into the world like a thief through a window someone forgot to close."

Recommended

22PaulCranswick
Ene 11, 2019, 1:52am

>16 amanda4242: I'll probably keep one thread, Amanda, but I hope it will be busier than last year. xx

23PaulCranswick
Ene 11, 2019, 1:52am

>19 Morphidae: Gazooks!

Can't wait to see whether you like it or not, Morphy.

24PawsforThought
Ene 11, 2019, 4:59am

>20 amanda4242: Ooh, that sounds like a good read. I love Douglas Adams, and endangered species is a topic very close to my heart. It's somewhat heartening to know that despite the age of the book, "only" two of the species have gone functionally extinct.

25thornton37814
Ene 11, 2019, 9:00am

>21 PaulCranswick: I added that one to a wishlist when I saw it as a suggestion on the January post. Hopefully I'll eventually get to it.

26cbl_tn
Ene 11, 2019, 10:56pm



I read a second book for January - The Bafut Beagles by Gerald Durrell. This book is an account of a trip Durrell made to Cameroon to collect animal specimens. Durrell's popularity has been renewed thanks to the ITV/PBS series based on his Corfu trilogy. This book is, however, a product of its time, and I cringed at the dialogue in pidgin English with Africans addressing Durrell as Masa.

27Ameise1
Ene 21, 2019, 12:44pm

I've finished H Is For Hawk by Helen Mcdonald. My thoughts can be found here.

28amanda4242
Editado: Ene 24, 2019, 5:52pm

>26 cbl_tn: It's always jarring to come across things like that which are so at odds with modern sensibilities; even when the intent isn't malicious, it strikes such a sour note.

I read Durrell's Menagerie Manor, which chronicles the establishment of his zoo in Jersey. It's a little startling to read about how much guesswork went into caring for the animals, but Durrell's love and concern for his charges is very clear; I have a feeling he was at the forefront of improving zoo practices. I also really liked catching up with some of the animals first introduced in A Zoo in my Luggage and The Whispering Land.

On a side note, as I was looking up some of the species mentioned in Last Chance to See, a number of the animals' Wikipedia pages made mention of the conservation efforts of the Durrell Wildlife Trust.

29laytonwoman3rd
Editado: Ene 26, 2019, 10:16am

I found that my library system had only one book by Robert Macfarlane, so I put it on hold. I was not sure what to expect, but I picked the book up this afternoon, and have now read through The Lost Words twice, and popped onto Amazon to order my own copy, as well as a copy of Macfarlane's Wild Places. My review of The Lost Words is on my own thread, and the book page now. Suffice it to say here that I have never been so completely overcome by my first exposure to an author on any of the challenges I've been following here on LT over the years. If Macfarlane's prose is anything close to as magical as his "summoning spells" in The Lost Words, I have a new favorite nature writer.

ETA: I have just discovered that Macfarlane wrote the introduction to my edition of The Peregrine, which is an excellent choice for this challenge as well. So I'll probably be getting to that one very soon. Kudos to you, Paul, for bringing Macfarlane to my attention. You have opened up a very wide doorway for me, I think.

30laytonwoman3rd
Feb 1, 2019, 9:14am

>29 laytonwoman3rd: And my copy of The Wild Places arrived yesterday. So I'll be reading that one before too long as well.

31fuzzi
Feb 1, 2019, 6:48pm

I read Double or Quit by Joyce Stranger, the last in a series of six books about the author's experiences training her dogs. I wish there were more.

32Morphidae
Editado: Feb 1, 2019, 9:48pm

>21 PaulCranswick: Sorry, Paul. I would have enjoyed the book, I think, if I hadn't had to stop on every other page to write a word or place down to look up later. By the time I finished the book, I was so frustrated I didn't even bother going back. Even if had been on an ebook, it would have been annoying because I would have had to keep stopping and would have lost the "flow." Did the woman write the book with a pen in one hand and a thesaurus in the other?

I mean, I have a huge vocabulary, and I can guess most words from context, but I'd rather not guess. I want to KNOW. I just checked. I had 73 words (a few were places) to look up. That's 73 words in 148 pages.

Being a Brit, you probably knew more than I, but still...

33amanda4242
Editado: Feb 3, 2019, 6:10pm

I've just started Hamilton's Great North Road, a crime novel set about 100 years in the future. There's a lot of technical terminology being thrown around at the beginning, but Hamilton is doing a decent job of explaining without resorting to massive infodumps.

34PaulCranswick
Feb 3, 2019, 8:54pm

>32 Morphidae: She is a bit wordy, Morphy, I'll give you that. As a poet Kathleen Jamie does tend to use five words where two ought to suffice. I don't in fairness remember too many words I wasn't familiar with so it must have been a Brit thing.

>33 amanda4242: I have started it too Amanda. One of the longest books on my shelves so I'll be pleased if I get through it this month.

35Morphidae
Feb 4, 2019, 4:50pm

I've ordered Border Crossing by Pat Barker for February. My choices seemed to be WWI/WWII novels or door stop-sized space opera, neither which I like. This looked like the best choice that wasn't one of those. We'll see how it goes.

36evilmoose
Feb 6, 2019, 5:25pm

I read The Outrun for January, and loved it. Thanks for the recommendation! Currently trying to decide on whether to revisit Peter F. Hamilton for February (my University boyfriend was a huge fan, and I read quite a lot of Hamilton back in the day, thanks to him... and then subsequent sci-fi geek boyfriends)... or to cover new ground and try Pat Barker.

37EllaTim
Feb 6, 2019, 6:35pm

I started The Seabird's Cry by Adam Nicolson. It's very good, well written, informative, but also poetic. I have read three or four chapters and plan to finish it. But I had made a planning error: two non-fiction books about nature in one month, that didn't work for me. I need some fiction as well:-)

38amanda4242
Editado: Feb 20, 2019, 6:14pm

Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton

A hell of a ride! It's part police procedural, part corporate thriller, and part horror story, all wrapped in an excellent science fiction setting. I really appreciated how much effort Hamilton put in to developing his characters and making them believable human beings; despite the futuristic and alien setting, people still need to figure out who can pick up the kids, worry if they have enough money to move to a better neighborhood, and are convinced the younger generation are too reliant on technology.

Another World by Pat Barker

The parts are greater than the whole. Has some interesting things going for it, especially WWI vet Geordie, but it feels underdeveloped.

The Goshawk by T. H. White

White's account of training his first goshawk is by turns amusing, frustrating, and heartbreaking. Really adds a new depth to the hawking bits in The Sword in the Stone.

39laytonwoman3rd
Feb 20, 2019, 9:21pm

I have 2 of Pat Barker's books out of the library, but probably won't get one finished by the end of the month. I hope to at least start The Silence of the Girls in the next week or so.

40EllaTim
Editado: Mar 11, 2019, 2:49pm

I got stuck in The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker. It is based on The Iliad by Homer. Having read a couple of chapters in The Silence of the Girls I started to wonder, should I have read the Iliad first? Decided I should have a look, browsed the internet for an online version. Got bogged down in difficult to read ones. And realise that Yes I want to read it first.

So now I am going to look for a good dutch translation of the Iliad first.

I know it's all about war, and awful heroes, but there is something so fresh and lively and original about it.

41laytonwoman3rd
Mar 11, 2019, 3:41pm

I gave up on The Silence of the Girls as well. I didn't "buy" the voice of the first person narrator, which sounded too much like a modern author telling a tale to me.

42amanda4242
Editado: Mar 11, 2019, 6:44pm

>40 EllaTim: I actually just finished The Iliad a couple of days ago. It's not always easy going, but there are many truly moving moments between the gruesome battles that make it worth reading.

43EllaTim
Editado: Mar 16, 2019, 6:41pm

>42 amanda4242: That's good to hear! I started it, and loved it for it's language. I think it's fascinating to read a book that dates from such a long time ago. And that such an old book still manages to move us, that is special.

>41 laytonwoman3rd: Yes, I agree. That's why I felt I had to read the Iliad first, The silence of the girls reads like a comment on it.

(Sorry Paul, for diverting the discussion away from the British isles to the Greek ones!)

44EllaTim
Mar 17, 2019, 8:26pm

For March, the murderous Scots, I just finished Cold Granite by Stuart MacBride, the first book featuring Detective Sergeant Logan McRae.

I quite liked it. A gritty police procedural, Scottish noir. The setting is Aberdeen. A child is found murdered. It seems there is a serial killer on the loose. But there is a lot going on in the plot. A complex story, good characters, and well told. I will be looking for part two!

45PaulCranswick
Mar 17, 2019, 11:13pm

>44 EllaTim: I like the McRae books, glad you did too, Ella.

I have read books by Ian Rankin and Denise Mina both of which I enjoyed.

46amanda4242
Mar 26, 2019, 11:15pm

My March reads:

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

The original Sherlock Holmes never disappoints.

Hellblazer: Empathy is the Enemy and Hellblazer: The Red Right Hand by Denisa Mina

These are a bit of stretch, but crimes involving the supernatural are still crimes, right? In this arc, we find John Constantine reluctantly investigating a series of murders and a cult which appears to have weaponized empathy. It's a pity Mina's run was so short because she really nailed Constantine's voice and his world.

47cbl_tn
Mar 27, 2019, 9:00am

>46 amanda4242: I also read The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes! (Actually, I listened to the audio read by Ralph Cosham.)

48Familyhistorian
Mar 29, 2019, 7:00pm

I knew I had some Scottish mysteries on my shelves. I chose to finish Peter May's Lewis trilogy for this month's BAC and read The Chess Men. It tied the rest of the books together but this is one trilogy that needs to be read in order. The mystery in this last book was slowed down with all the past events that came to the hero's memory as he was trying to find answers. This was true of the other books in the trilogy but it felt even more old stuff was dredged up in this, the last book.

49amanda4242
Abr 2, 2019, 9:15pm

My first March read was Rosamond Lehmann's Dusty Answer, which didn't impress me. The main character was super naive, most of the others suffered from a high degree of self-absorption, and there were a ludicrous number of unfulfilling love affairs.

50amanda4242
Abr 7, 2019, 5:36pm

Stay Where You Are and then Leave by John Boyne

A thoughtful book about WWI, as seen through the eyes of a child. Although it is written in a child-appropriate way, Boyne doesn't skirt around the pain and horror; and, while the characters end the book in a hopeful place, the reader with even the slightest knowledge of history knows it's all going to happen again. Bittersweet, but highly recommended.

51amanda4242
Abr 23, 2019, 10:46pm

A couple of Wildcard selections:

A Stitch in Time by Penelope Lively

An imaginative girl staying in an old house during a vacation starts to wonder about a girl who lived in the house a century before her. This one reminded me strongly of Penelope Farmer's Charlotte Sometimes, although there isn't any actual time travel occurring (and it isn't quite as good).

Dragon Trouble by Penelope Lively

Cute story of a boy who gives his grandfather a pair of eggs that hatch dragons. A slight story, but it would be perfect for children who are transitioning from picture books to chapter books.

52amanda4242
Mayo 1, 2019, 5:11pm

My first Edwardian read was Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows. How have I not read this beautiful book before?! Toad's story is fun, but the really great parts are the depictions of life along the riverbank.

53Caroline_McElwee
Mayo 2, 2019, 4:48pm

>52 amanda4242: it's a lovely book Amanda. Glad it was a late surprise for you. I stay in the grounds that inspired the novel most years, for a weekend, Odney, in Cookham. The main house was the inspiration for Toad Hall.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hLjdgmG4zGE

Unfortunately they've not taken you much along the river, which is wonderful, and so evocative of the book.

54amanda4242
Mayo 14, 2019, 4:28pm

>53 Caroline_McElwee: Beautiful! Thanks for sharing the link!

55amanda4242
Mayo 14, 2019, 4:42pm

Another Edwardian read: Five Children and It by E. Nesbit

It has a very formal feeling to it that I'm not sure would go over well with children these days, but I enjoyed it, especially the Psammead's grumbling about the childrens' poor wishing skills.

56amanda4242
Mayo 28, 2019, 9:18pm

Hello? Hello? Anybody around? I brought beer.

57kac522
Mayo 28, 2019, 11:56pm

{Waves} Hi Amanda. I haven't forgotten about the BAC. Although I haven't participated yet this year, I hope to read an Elizabeth Von Arnim soon (for May's Edwardians) and for June I have several Wilkie Collins' around here, including Blind Love and The Moonstone. The latter would be a re-read, but it was from so long ago, I really don't remember much about it.

58PaulCranswick
Mayo 29, 2019, 4:28am

>56 amanda4242: I'm fasting Amanda but I am always available for Beer!!

This one though is eminently preferable:

59EllaTim
Mayo 29, 2019, 6:25am

>52 amanda4242: I love The Wind in the Willows and would like a visit to that river country.

For the May challenge I read The Scarlet Pimpernel, but I didn't care for it much. I thought it rather outdated. Sorry.

60fuzzi
Editado: Mayo 29, 2019, 7:07am

I was going to read Kim for this month, but I ran into another good but slow read God's Secretaries: the Making of the King James Bible, which is NOT a religious book so don't let the title put you off. It's fascinating, but I'm taking my time reading/digesting it.

61amanda4242
Jun 2, 2019, 4:30pm

>57 kac522: *waves*

>58 PaulCranswick: Never heard of that one before. I'll have to see if I can find somewhere nearby that carries it.

>59 EllaTim: Too bad about The Scarlet Pimpernel; I've enjoyed several of the film versions and had often thought of giving the book a try.

>60 fuzzi: I keep meaning to read Kim, but keep putting it off. It's becoming a little embarrassing how little Kipling I've read, so I should really move it further up the tbr stack.

62amanda4242
Jun 2, 2019, 4:42pm

I finally got around to reading Howards End, which I found as beautiful as I've come to expect from Forster.

My first BIAC read for June was Collins's Who Killed Zebedee?, a collection of two longish short stories. Both stories, while not brilliant, are well crafted and have made me curious about Collins's better known works.

63cbl_tn
Jun 2, 2019, 4:53pm

I finished Peter Pan on Friday. Although I'm very familiar with the story, I don't think I had ever read the book before.

64EllaTim
Jun 2, 2019, 5:20pm

>61 amanda4242: It's probably very entertaining as a movie. I've never seen it, but I can imagine. Romance and heroics. The book didn't work for me though.

65PawsforThought
Jun 2, 2019, 5:50pm

>52 amanda4242: Oh, I love The Wind in the Willows - it's one of my favourites. Toad is actually my least favourite, and I'm not keen on his story in the book (I hate frogs in real life and it obviously spills over to the world of fiction). The parts set around the riverbank are my favourites, too.

>59 EllaTim: Sad to hear you didn't like The Scarlet Pimpernel, Ella. I've read about half of them and find them to be quite a romp. I agree that they're fairly dated and certainly wouldn't be possible to write nowadays, but I enjoy them anyway. They vary quite a lot in quality - some better, some decidedly worse.

66EllaTim
Jun 2, 2019, 5:58pm

>65 PawsforThought: Glad you like them Paws. Just not my cup of tea. It happens;-)

67PawsforThought
Jun 2, 2019, 6:34pm

>66 EllaTim: Yeah, we can't all like the same things. That's be boring.

68amanda4242
Editado: Jun 4, 2019, 4:52pm

The Cauliflower by Nicola Barker

I do not recommend this book; in fact, I feel like I should warn people to go out of their way to avoid it. Half the time it reads like Barker tried to salvage a day wasted on Wikipedia by novelizing her clickstream, and the other half...well, let's just say it wasn't any better. I should have known better than to pick it up when the blurbs on the back used words like "overlong" (it's a little under 300 pages, btw) and "maddening."

I've started rereading A Room with a View as a palate cleanser.

69fuzzi
Jun 4, 2019, 8:35pm

>65 PawsforThought: I loved the first Pimpernel book...lots of wordplay.

70amanda4242
Editado: Jul 1, 2019, 7:44pm

I started early on July's theme and maybe might have gotten a little carried away again and finished a few of the series already.

Wolves Chronicles by Joan Aiken (13 books)

Set in an alternate history where the Stuarts retained the throne, the Wolves Chronicles are kind of gothic with an occasional brush of fantasy/supernatural elements. The best books feature Dido Twite foiling the dastardly plots of Hanovarians, but most of the others are also enjoyable.

Avoid any book where Is Twite is the main character.

The Borrowers by Mary Norton (6 books)

Utterly enchanting! I devoured these, anxious to know what would happen next to Pod, Homily, and Arrietty.

Aviary Hall by Penelope Farmer (3 books)

The Summer Birds is a lovely idyll, Emma in Winter is really weird, and Charlotte Sometimes is truly breathtaking (and it inspired a Cure song).

The Chronicles of Chrestomanci by Diana Wynne Jones (7 books)

Oh, how I wish I had read these as a child! Chrestomanci is a Psmith-like wonder, if a bit of a diva, and his wife, Millie (a former goddess), is a treasure.

71amanda4242
Editado: Jul 1, 2019, 5:33pm

Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake (5 books)

Titus Groan

Dark, dense, demanding, and practically perfect in every way. Peake's ability to paint a picture with words was breathtaking. Take, for example, his description of Lord Sepulchrave and his library:

The library appeared to spread outwards from him as from a core. His dejection infected the air about him and diffused its illness upon every side. All things in the long room absorbed his melancholia. The shadowing galleries brooded with slow anguish; the books receding into the deep corners, tier upon tier, seemed each a separate tragic note in a monumental fugue of volumes.


Gormenghast

Just so damn good! The final battle in the flooded castle is one of the most thrilling things I've ever read.

Boy in Darkness and other stories

Although he is not exactly named as such, the titular Boy is definitely Titus Groan of Gormenghast. The novella "Boy in Darkness" is far stranger and more explicitly fantasy than the novels. The other stories in the collection are kind of all over the map tonally, with some reading like Saki and others like Poe. Worth reading, especially for the title story, but doesn't contain any masterpieces.

Titus Alone

Titus has left the confines of Gormenghast and entered into a decayed industrial landscape. It's a strange, fractured tale that doesn't really fit well with the first two books; characters aren't as well realized and the setting seems more of a sketch than the grandly conceived world of Gormenghast castle. There's still much to admire, but I think Peake's declining health prevented him from truly finishing it.

Titus Awakes by Maeve Gilmore

When Mervyn Peake died he left behind a handful of notes for a fourth Gormenghast work, which his widow used as the inspiration for this novel.

Left wounded and alone at the end of the third novel, Gilmore takes Titus from a world of darkness and pain and leads him to a place of peace. It is not the book Peake would have written, but Gilmore's love for her husband and his creation are evident in every line she wrote and Titus Awakes serves as a satisfactory end to Titus's journey.

72cbl_tn
Jul 1, 2019, 6:38pm

I am still finishing up Man and Wife by Wilkie Collins. I'm enjoying it lots. I just ran out of days in June! I'm also listening to The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken as my July selection. I have about 2 hours of listening left. It's read by her daughter and includes a non-spoilery introduction by the daughter.

73kac522
Jul 13, 2019, 8:26pm

I read The Guilty River by Wilkie Collins. It started out very atmospheric and mysterious, but I found the last parts of the book disappointing.

74amanda4242
Jul 27, 2019, 5:03pm

I managed to get my hands on the British editions of some of the Harry Potter audiobooks and am having a blast listening to Stephen Fry's narration.

75cbl_tn
Jul 28, 2019, 8:22am

I am looking forward to August's authors. I have a hold on the ebook of Harvest in OverDrive and I've ordered a used copy of Hotel du Lac which should arrive before the middle of August.

76amanda4242
Ago 7, 2019, 12:51pm

I read Anita Brookner's The Debut (aka A Start in Life) and it has not inspired me to read anymore of her work. It's a chronicle of banal events in the lives of dull people.

77amanda4242
Ago 23, 2019, 4:02pm

Well, I read Jim Crace's Continent and I enjoyed it while reading it, but I can't say it's left a lasting impression.

78amanda4242
Sep 2, 2019, 1:10am

For September's Biographies and Memoirs I read Roald Dahl's Going Solo, his account of his time in East Africa and service in the RAF at the start of WWII. It's entertaining enough, but the first half comes across like a Gerald Durrell knock-off and the second as less exciting Biggles.

79amanda4242
Editado: Oct 22, 2019, 10:15pm

Oh, dear! Has it really been that long since I've visited here? I really should put down the books occasionally and try to be a little sociable.

Earlier in the year I read Matt Lucas's Little Me, which counts for September's Biography and Memoirs theme. You can read my review here.

For October, I read Louis de Bernières's Red Dog and Rose Tremain's The Colonel's Daughter and Other Stories. Red Dog is a novella following the wanderings of a dog in Australia; it's not a bad book, but I thought it was kind of uninspired. Tremain's short stories were very well-crafted, with some truly touching moments.

I've also been continuing with July's YA Fantasy theme:

The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper (5 books)

I wanted to like this series, but it just didn't do anything for me. The battle between the Light and the Dark should have been epic, but Cooper's restrictions that the Dark couldn't really harm anyone or use or destroy any of the objects the Light were hunting made the villains paper tigers. And the side of Light came off as being made up almost entirely of portentous assholes.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis (7 books)

I ended up liking this series far more than I thought I would. Sure, it's not exactly subtle and The Last Battle is pretty f-ed up, but I loved the adventures.

The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (3 books)

Cut up my library card and throw me off the site if you must, but I proudly state I liked the movies better. Peter Jackson's adaptations are a little rocky sometimes, but he did the world a favor by cutting Tom Bombadil; there is no excuse for Tom Bombadil.

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman (8 books)

I love this series. I love it to the point where I shelled out for the hardcover of The Secret Commonwealth. Pullman created a dark, complex world that I am utterly taken by.

It also holds the distinction of being the only thing that made me ever *want* to finish reading Paradise Lost.

Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling (13 books)

I don't think it's the best series ever written, but I really do enjoy Harry Potter. The last two novels aren't a patch on the first five, but they're not without merit.

The companion books have some fun stuff in them, especially The Tales of Beedle the Bard, and are worth reading.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Another series I adore. Child prodigy/criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl has become a favorite character.

80amanda4242
Nov 13, 2019, 3:56pm

Anybody home? I brought steak and ale pie.

81fuzzi
Editado: Nov 13, 2019, 9:42pm

>80 amanda4242: I need to try that, sometime.

>79 amanda4242: why didn't you like The Last Battle?

I like Tom Bombadil. Who else could have handled the barrow wights? And Old Man Willow?

82amanda4242
Editado: Nov 13, 2019, 10:17pm

>81 fuzzi: I didn't dislike The Last Battle, but I think it's the most heavy-handed book in the series and its lessons more than a little disturbing.

With all of the mysterious beings with nearly infinite power running around Middle Earth, I'm sure there was someone who could have defeated the wights without inflicting annoying songs about their wife's hair upon unsuspecting readers.

83PaulCranswick
Nov 13, 2019, 10:27pm

>80 amanda4242: Amazing, I actually had steak and ale pie for supper yesterday!!

>79 amanda4242: What a completist you are, Amanda.

Favourite from all the series? The Gormenghast books?

84amanda4242
Editado: Nov 13, 2019, 11:04pm

>83 PaulCranswick: Favorite series is a tough one. I dearly love Gormenghast, but Chrestomanci is a delight and His Dark Materials is entrancing...uh, can I have more than one favorite?

85PaulCranswick
Nov 14, 2019, 12:37am

>84 amanda4242: Great thing is that there are clearly no rules. xx

86PawsforThought
Nov 14, 2019, 2:24am

>79 amanda4242: Completely agree on Tom Bombadil, whose existence in T Fellowship of the Ring very nearly made me put the book down and never pick it up again the first time I read it. I've been told that the new(ish) Swedish translation of The Lord of the Rings makes the chapters on Bombadil decidedly shorter that the original translation - which is making me want to buy a copy right now. His existence brings nothing whatsoever to the overall story and just slows the whole thing down.

I bought La Belle Sauvage as soon as it was available for pre-order, and did the same thing for The Secret Commonwealth - but still haven't read either. I haven't yet decided if I want to re-read the original books first or go straight into the new ones. Philip Pullman is part of a very small group of authors that I instinctively trust and will buy books by without reading at least part of them first (Neil Gaiman is another member of that group). I haven't read any of the companion books - I should really get around to that.
And now *YOU'RE* making me interested in reading Paradise Lost!

I genuinely didn't live The Last Battle. It's been ages since I read it so can't remember the details but I strongly disliked how Lewis handled Susan.

And Gormenghast... I should try that one again. I started Titus Groan at a bad time and couldn't get into it. I'm hoping that it was just the timing that make it not work for me and a re-read in the future might work better.

87amanda4242
Nov 16, 2019, 4:50pm

>85 PaulCranswick: :)

>86 PawsforThought: His existence brings nothing whatsoever to the overall story and just slows the whole thing down. Yes! This! A thousand times this!

Gormenghast can be a tough one. It took me several tries to get going, but once I did I was completely mesmerized.

88PawsforThought
Nov 16, 2019, 6:38pm

>87 amanda4242: Good to know about Gormenghast. I will keep it in mind for when I get around to trying it again, and let myself have some extra patience.

89amanda4242
Dic 4, 2019, 5:52pm

My November theme summary:

1. The October Man by Ben Aaronovitch

An excellent expansion of the Rivers of London series. Although short, this tale manages to show the Folly's German counterpart as a wholly distinct entity, yet still a believable part of the RoL world.

I still love Peter Grant, but I hope to see more of Tobias Winter.

2. Death and the Underworld by Anthony Horowitz

Half a dozen tales from various mythologies dealing with death. I was pleased to see that Horowitz looked beyond the Greco-Roman myths so common in these types of collections and included stories from India, Scandinavia, and West Africa.

3. Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman, graphic novel adaptation by Colleen Doran

I've long enjoyed this retelling of Snow White and was so happy to find that the graphic novel adaptation more than lived up to the source material. Doran's Art Noveau-inspired art is out of this world.

4. Mythos: The Greek Myths Reimagined by Stephen Fry

Witty and intelligent and highly readable. Fry spends a good amount of time with the primordial deities, imbuing them with more personality than most authors bother with, and gives some of the less common variations on the more well-known myths.

5. Forbidden brides of the faceless slaves in the secret house of the night of dread desire by Neil Gaiman, adapted by Shane Oakley

An oddball story, but I love it. Oakley's art is like a combination of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Hammer horror, and really suits this tale.

6. Creatures of the Night by Neil Gaiman, adapted by Michael Zulli

Two very short stories, one of a cat protecting a family from evil and the other a strange one involving owls, with okay art.

7. The Books of Magic by Neil Gaiman, art by John Bolton, Scott Hampton, Charles Vess, and Paul Johnson

The art didn't do much for me, but I liked it.

8. Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell

I've read this several times, and listened to the audiobook many more, and it still delights.

9. Harlequin Valentine by Neil Gaiman, art by John Bolton

Maybe it's because I don't know enough about Harlequin, but I did not really like this one. I didn't care for the art, as Harlequin just looked like the Riddler in strange colors.

10. The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell

Loved the story. Loved the art.

11. The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch by Neil Gaiman, art by Dave McKean

A strange tale of childhood memories and the Punch and Judy show. I liked it, but it's definitely nor for everyone.

90amanda4242
Dic 5, 2019, 10:08pm

My Zadie Smith selection was Grand Union, which should be subtitled "how not to write short stories."

91amanda4242
Dic 31, 2019, 3:12pm

Well, I've managed to conquer Redwall, a feat nobeast from Cluny the Scourge to Razzid Wearat managed to do! Twenty-two novels, two picture books, and an illustrated cookbook/storybook and I can recommend about seven of the books; the picture books and cookbook are charming, with lovely illustrations by Christopher Denise, and the first three or four novels (by publication ofder) are fine to read, but the formula wears thin after that and all the plots and characters become largely indistinguishable.

Finishing up December's authors with Michael Morpurgo's The Giant's Necklace, illustrated by Briony May Smith. It's a dark subject for a children's book, but it ended up more melancholy than depressing, thanks in part to Smith's illustrations.

And my last wildcard selection was Kazuo Ishiguro's Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall, which was one of the very first books I read for the BAC. It held up well to re-reading, and I was struck by how subtle the stories are.

92kac522
Editado: Dic 31, 2019, 5:50pm

I read a few things in 2019 that fit the challenge, and others more of a stretch:

Mar -- Scots & crime-- did not read any murderous Scots, but did read Celia's House by D. E. Stevenson, which is set in Scotland, covering 1905-1942.

May -- Edwardians -- did not read any books published in the Edwardian era, but I did read 2 later books of Elizabeth von Arnim (The Enchanted April from 1922 and Mr Skeffington from 1940), and I read Robert Graves' memoir Goodbye to All That, which recounts his childhood in the Edwardian era.

June -- Wilkie Collins -- A Rogue's Life and The Guilty River, two novellas

August -- Anita Brookner --Leaving Home

September -- Memoirs -- Letters from Lamledra: Cornwall 1914-1918 by Marjorie Williams. Williams was a local Cornish artist, and these are collected letters she wrote to her husband from Cornwall while he was working for the war effort in London. These were lovely and quite a wonderful surprise, as I picked the book up on a whim at a used bookstore in Wisconsin on the shores of Lake Superior. Who knew?

November -- Jewish Connection -- Anita Brookner, Strangers, which completed my reading of all her novels. Books with Jewish themes: Elizabeth von Arnim's Mr Skeffington (1940); Bart Van Es, The Cut Out Girl; and Marghanita Laski's Little Boy Lost hints that the lost little boy may be Jewish.

I hope to have better 2020 vision for the British Isles in the upcoming year!

93amanda4242
Editado: Dic 31, 2019, 6:07pm

I've just finished my official tally for the year and come up with 145 BIAC reads. I didn't like all of the books, but I found more than a few I absolutely loved and will reread in years to come.

Thank you, Paul, for organizing this again!

January: The Natural World
1. Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams & Mark Carwardine ★★★★
2. Menagerie Manor by Gerald Durrell ★★★★1/2
3. The Goshawk by T. H. White ★★★1/2

February: Pat Barker & Peter F. Hamilton
Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton ★★★★

Another World by Pat Barker ★★★

March: Murderous Scots
1. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle ★★★1/2
2. Hellblazer: Empathy Is the Enemy by Denise Mina ★★★★
3. Hellblazer: The Red Right Hand by Denise Mina ★★★★

April: Rosamond Lehmann & John Boyne
Dusty Answer by Rosamond Lehmann ★★

Stay Where You Are and then Leave by John Boyne ★★★★

May: The Edwardians (1901-1913)
1. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame ★★★★
2. Five Children and It by E. Nesbit ★★★
3. Howards End by EM Forster ★★★★1/2
4. A Room with a View by EM Forster ★★★★1/2

June: Nicola Barker & Wilkie Collins
Who Killed Zebedee? by Wilkie Collins ★★★

The Cauliflower by Nicola Barker ★1/2

July: YA Fantasy series
Wolves Chronicles by Joan Aiken
1. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase ★★★
2. Black Hearts in Battersea ★★★
3. Nightbirds on Nantucket ★★★1/2
4. The Stolen Lake ★★★1/2
5. Midnight is a Place ★★1/2
6. Dangerous Games ★★★
7. The Whispering Mountain ★★★
8. The Cuckoo Tree ★★★1/2
9. Dido and Pa ★★★1/2
10. Is Underground ★★1/2
11. Cold Shoulder Road ★★
12. Midwinter Nightingale ★★★
13. The Witch of Clatteringshaws ★★★

The Borrowers by Mary Norton
1. The Borrowers ★★★★
2. The Borrowers Afield ★★★★
3. The Borrowers Afloat ★★★★
4. The Borrowers Aloft ★★★1/2
5. Poor Stainless ★★★★
6. The Borrowers Avenged ★★★1/2

Aviary Hall by Penelope Farmer
1. The Summer Birds ★★★1/2
2. Emma in Winter ★★★
3. Charlotte Sometimes ★★★★★

Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake
1. Titus Groan ★★★★1/2
2. Gormenghast ★★★★1/2
3. Boy in Darkness and Other Stories ★★★1/2
4. Titus Alone ★★★
5. Titus Awakes by Maeve Gilmore ★★★1/2

The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
1. The Fellowship of the Ring ★★★
2. The Two Towers ★★★
3. The Return of the King ★★★

The Dark Is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper
1. Over Sea, Under Stone ★★★
2. The Dark Is Rising ★★1/2
3. Greenwitch ★★★
4. The Grey King ★★★
5. Silver on the Tree ★★1/2

The Chronicles of Chrestomanci by Diana Wynne Jones
1. Charmed Life ★★★1/2
2. The Magicians of Caprona ★★★1/2
3. Witch Week ★★★★
4. The Lives of Christopher Chant ★★★★
5. Mixed Magics ★★★1/2
6. Conrad’s Fate ★★★★
7. The Pinhoe Egg ★★★★

Harry Potter by JK Rowling
1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone ★★★★
2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets ★★★1/2
3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban ★★★★1/2
4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire ★★★1/2
5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix ★★★★1/2
6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ★★★1/2
7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows ★★★
8. Quidditch through the Ages ★★★
9. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them ★★★
10. The Tales of Beedle the Bard ★★★1/2‌
11. Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies ★★★
12. Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists ★★★
13. Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide ★★1/2

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
1. Artemis Fowl ★★★★1/2
2. The Arctic Incident ★★★★1/2
3. The Eternity Code ★★★★1/2
4. The Artemis Fowl Files ★★★1/2
5. The Opal Deception ★★★★
6. The Lost Colony ★★★★
7. The Time Paradox ★★★★1/2
8. The Atlantis Complex ★★★
9. The Last Guardian ★★★
10. The Fowl Twins ★★★

Redwall by Brian Jacques
1. Redwall ★★★1/2
2. The Great Redwall Feast ★★★1/2
3. A Redwall Winter’s Tale ★★★1/2
4. Mossflower ★★★
5. Mattimeo ★★★
6. Mariel of Redwall ★★★
7. The Bellmaker ★★★
8. Salamandastron ★★★
9. Martin of Redwall ★★★
10. Outcast of Redwall ★★1/2
11. The Long Patrol ★★★
12. High Rhulain ★★1/2
13. Lord Brocktree ★★★
14. The Legend of Luke ★★★
15. Marlfox ★★★
16. Loamhedge ★★★
17. The Pearls of Lutra ★★★
18. Triss ★★1/2
19. Rakkety Tam ★★★
20. Eulalia ★★★
21. Taggerung ★★★
22. Doomwyte ★★★
23. The Redwall Cookbook ★★★1/2
24. The Sable Quean ★★1/2
25. The Rogue Crew ★★★

Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
1. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe ★★★1/2
2. Prince Caspian ★★★
3. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader ★★★1/2
4. The Silver Chair ★★★1/2
5. The Horse and His Boy ★★★1/2
6. The Magician’s Nephew ★★★1/2
7. The Last Battle ★★★

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
1. The Golden Compass ★★★★
2. The Subtle Knife ★★★★
3. The Amber Spyglass ★★★★1/2
4. Lyra's Oxford ★★★1/2
5. Once Upon a Time in the North ★★★1/2
6. La Belle Sauvage ★★★1/2
7. The Secret Commonwealth ★★★1/2

August: Anita Brookner & Jim Crace
The Debut by Anita Brookner ★★

Continent by Jim Crace ★★★

September: Biography/Memoir
1. Going Solo by Roald Dahl ★★★1/2
2. Little Me by Matt Lucas ★★★1/2

October: Rose Tremain & Louis De Bernières
Red Dog by Louis De Bernières ★★★

The Colonel’s Daughter and Other Stories by Rose Tremain ★★★1/2

November: The Jewish Contribution
1. The October Man by Ben Aaronovitch ★★★1/2
2. Death and the Underworld by Anthony Horowitz ★★★1/2
3. Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman & Colleen Doran ★★★★★
4. Mythos by Stephen Fry ★★★★1/2
5. Creatures of the Night by Neil Gaiman & Michael Zulli ★★★1/2
6. Forbidden brides of the faceless slaves in the secret house of the night of dread desire by Neil Gaiman & Shane Oakley ★★★★
7. The Books of Magic by Neil Gaiman ★★★★
8. Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell ★★★★
9. Harlequin Valentine by Neil Gaiman ★★
10. The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell ★★★★
11. The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch by Neil Gaiman ★★★
12. The DC Universe by Neil Gaiman ★★★★
13. The Problem of Susan and Other Stories by Neil Gaiman & P. Craig Russell ★★★
14. Only the End of the World Again by Neil Gaiman & P. Craig Russell ★★★

December: Zadie Smith & Michael Morpurgo
The Giant’s Necklace by Michael Morpurgo ★★★

Grand Union by Zadie Smith

Wildcard: Penelope Lively & Kazuo Ishiguro
A Stitch in Time by Penelope Lively ★★★1/2
Dragon Trouble by Penelope Lively ★★★

Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall by Kazuo Ishiguro ★★★1/2

94Ameise1
Ene 1, 2020, 3:30am

Is there a thread for the BAC 2020? I can't find it.
Happy New Year.

95EllaTim
Ene 1, 2020, 7:12am

>93 amanda4242: Wow, Amanda! You have done great! I have saved your list of books read, there are a lot there that appeal to me.

Thanks Paul for setting up the challenge!