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2023 - Book Challenge - Second thread

(351 Posts)
TerriBull Fri 18-Aug-23 08:55:28

Welcome fellow readers to the new thread. This is a first for our book reading community, spilling over on to a subsequent thread.

Do keep reading and posting.

Callistemon21 Thu 31-Aug-23 20:00:05


^I’m reading The Lost Man by Jane Harper, our bookgroup choice. Not my usual type of book, set in Australia, but I was hooked quite quickly.^

I loved it too hollysteers ... in fact I've read all Jane Harper's books and there hasn't been one I haven't enjoyed.

I love Jane Harper books too, waiting for another one now 🙂

At the moment I'm reading What Eden Did Next by Sheila O'Flanagan.

Oreo Thu 31-Aug-23 20:07:33


I have read and enjoyed Act of Oblivion and after recommendations for John Irving on here have read A Prayer for Owen Meany and in the middle of The Cider House Rules. The World according to Garp is waiting.Unusual and loving them. Often wondered about the 50 books though. Does an 800 page book count for two books ? Just asking 🤔 as many Iread are lengthy.

I’ve just started A Prayer For Owen Meany, have a feeling it’s going to be an intense sort of read and as the only reading timeI get is generally just before sleep not sure I’ll manage it.
Sure is quirky tho! Tiny Owen getting lifted up and passed around by kids in Sunday school.😂

Oreo Thu 31-Aug-23 20:10:30

Best book I’ve read in a long time is Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead. Shortlisted for womens prize for fiction 2022.

Sara1954 Fri 01-Sep-23 08:02:13

I think once you have read Owen Meany, it will always hover around your top ten ever books

TerriBull Fri 01-Sep-23 15:40:12

48 A Spell of Winter - Helen Dunmore, this is my third book by this author who I think evokes both her characters and the landscapes where they live very vividly.Set in the early 20th century Cathy and Rob growing up on their grandfather's rural estate in England,largely raised by a couple of servants, in particular their governess, Miss Gallagher who they hate Their mother, a shadowy figure, of distant early childhood memories, having left some years before for southern Europe and their father committed to a sanatorium. Thrown together most of the time their sibling closeness of younger years turns to incest as they approach adulthood, leading to alarming outcomes and for their forbidden relationships being discovered by aforementioned loathed governess when she stumbles upon them. Meanwhile, an older wealthy neighbour, Mr Bullivant befriends Cathy and intervening WW1 brings consequences for both brother and sister as the book draws to a conclusion. A slow starter, pretty disturbing, but well written.

49 Trust - Hernan Diaz this was a joint winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Literature, with my absolute best book so far this year "Demon Copperfield". I was therefore expecting a lot particularly as on the sleeve it had been mentioned as "The Book of The Year" for Barack Obama, The Guardian, The New York Times, Daily Mail and numerous accolades by all the other well known newspapers, which made me think "why did I find this book so uninspiring and dull" Unlike the last book mentioned above, I didn't find it a slow burner and thought started quite well and I did find it interesting at the beginning. Essentially it's about capitalism and in particular the crash of 1929. What I did learn from the book was there wasn't anything particularly new, there had been boom and bust and runs on banks throughout the 19th century, I quite enjoyed the way the author described the "old moneyed families of Dutch descent" one such character, Benjamin Rask occupies the first section. The book is essentially divided into four parts, and as I got further along into those subsequent sections I began to lose interest, the second part is primarily about a financier, Andrew Bevel who becomes the richest man in the world by shorting the market which lead to the stock market crash of 1929, I have to admit there is much mention of shorting the market, much of which went over my head. I couldn't help feeling like the late Queen when she was heard to say about the crash of 2008 in recent memory, "how did all this happen?". The final part of the book concerns the writing of Andrew Bevel's biography, by which time Trust had descended into a tedious bore for me and I started to skim read it once I was two thirds through. I couldn't get my head round the fact that it had garnered so many accolades, but that's books for you subjective in their nature. Anyway, so glad I'm done with it now!

Diggingdoris Sat 02-Sep-23 11:21:28

67- Raven Black-Ann Cleeves. The first in the Shetland series. A well deserved award winner, that kept me guessing right to the last few pages. I was never a fan of the TV series, but reading this story has given me a thirst to read more.
When a teenager is found dead, the finger is pointed at a vulnerable old man. Is there a link to another missing child from years ago? Detective Perez knows almost everyone on this remote island and realises there are many possible suspects.

Diggingdoris Sat 02-Sep-23 12:22:14

I keep a list of books I've read and it doesn't match the numbers I've put on here. So I've checked and found I put the wrong number in way back, so Raven Black should have been no.73. and I hadn't added 74-Sara Cox- Thrown. A lighthearted story based on a village pottery class. No doubt inspired by her presenting The Pottery Throwdown. Good fun and interesting characters.

Musicgirl Sat 02-Sep-23 14:06:38

I have been away from the thread recently - thank you for starting this new one, TerriBull - as l have not been reading much owing to a house move. However, I read a memoir on my kindle and Reader, l buried them; a collection of short stories by Peter Lovesey. The last book I read took me, l think, to no. 52 and was The Killing Place by Kate Ellis, the latest in her Wesley Peterson series. It was excellent as usual. We are going away for three weeks to my husband’s home country on Wednesday, which is on the other side of the world, in order to celebrate our nephew’s wedding so I will post when I can.

Sara1954 Sat 02-Sep-23 18:13:49

Two very different crime novels
Book 39
Not Dark Yet - Peter Robinson
Not my favourite Alan Banks, didn’t actually seem to be much policing done, and it wasn’t actually very believable.
But the characters and locations were familiar, so I quite enjoyed it.

Book 40
False Witness - Karin Slaughter
A stand alone novel.
Two sisters abused by the father of the child they babysit, one for years.
I won’t say too much, but the girls become women, one a defence lawyer, one a hopeless addict.
It’s quite predictable, quite gory in parts, and I learned quite a lot about drug addiction.

Musicgirl Mon 04-Sep-23 14:14:32

#53 was A Pen Dipped in Poison by J.M. Hall. It is the second in a cosy mystery series about three retired primary school teachers who find themselves caught up in solving mysteries. A light, easy read but unmemorable.

Sparklefizz Mon 04-Sep-23 16:19:57

#67 Virgin Earth by Philippa Gregory
A follow-on book from Earthly Joys although it can be read as a stand-alone book. It's based on the true story of the Tradescant family during the reign of Charles I and the subsequent Civil War, and I was interested to learn more of that period of history. Also to learn more of the original settlers who went out to Virginia in the 1600s and the Native Americans, the Powhatan people, who were forced out of their territory.

John Tradescant and his son travelled to many places including Virginia in order to bring back plant speciments.

I found this an interesting and fascinating book. The plant Tradescantia is named after John Tradescant.

SueDonim Mon 04-Sep-23 16:30:29

36 Brazzaville Beach by William Boyd. Rather gruesome at times but definitely a page-turner.

Urmstongran Mon 04-Sep-23 16:57:50

Goodness, ‘Owen Meany’! That brought memories back. 😊
Must be 20 years since I read it. An unusual read certainly but gripping in its own strange way.

dragonfly46 Mon 04-Sep-23 22:51:48

I have just finished The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams. I can thoroughly recommend it. It is written by a woman for women and raises some interesting points about the development of language, specifically the editing of The Oxford Dictionary.

TerriBull Tue 05-Sep-23 08:33:06

50 The Dreams of Bethany Mellmoth - William Boyd, a collection of his short stories, which I don't usually go for, but this was quite welcome as I found my previous book pretty tedious towards the end. William Boyd in any case is a talented and versatile author and his writing in this collection, laced with humour at times reflected that.

I remember reading Brazzaville Beach a while back SueDonin, as you say a page turner, but savage, not least of all the study of ape behaviour, what a murderous lot they are.

SueDonim Tue 05-Sep-23 12:15:58

Yes, it certainly makes you look at chimps in a different way, Terribull.

I read Owen Meany years ago but apart from the seminal moment, I don’t remember a thing about it. grin

TerriBull Tue 05-Sep-23 12:41:16

Yes indeed SueDonim, thoroughly led astray but Dr Desmond Morris and his rather sedate chimps' tea parties from all those years ago!

I'm going to duck behind the sofa and hide now, swimming against the tide again, I didn't like Owen Meany at all shock

Sara1954 Tue 05-Sep-23 18:07:28

I’m surprised, I really liked Owen Meany a lot, no accounting for taste is there?

TerriBull Tue 05-Sep-23 19:09:09

Well Sarah that's the nature of books, but we can just agree to disagree on this thread quite happily and come together over the many books that are mutually enjoyable.

Sparklefizz Tue 05-Sep-23 19:13:04

Quite right TerriBull - it would be hopeless if we all liked the same books - libraries and bookshops would be half empty smile

Sara1954 Tue 05-Sep-23 21:10:40

Very true ladies.
We shall agree to disagree.

hollysteers Wed 06-Sep-23 08:36:43

After finishing all of Elizabeth Taylor’s novels, (the writer, not the film star) I’m reading her collected short stories. Dated, but excellent.
After that, no more of her works. That’s the problem with dead authors one loves, there will be no more books and I can’t reread books once read.

Oreo Wed 06-Sep-23 20:25:08


Yes, it certainly makes you look at chimps in a different way, Terribull.

I read Owen Meany years ago but apart from the seminal moment, I don’t remember a thing about it. grin

Having just finished A Prayer For Owen Meany I can report that it was probably one of the most well written books I’ve ever read and the most longwinded and boring as well. No thought or action, however tiny is omitted from the story and it left me feeling worn out just for the act of reading it.😄
It reminded me ( for the boring amount of detail) of The Goldfinch.

Calendargirl Thu 07-Sep-23 06:08:46

#50. Secrets In Blood by Jack Cartwright.

TerriBull Thu 07-Sep-23 08:03:38

"It reminded me of the boring amount of detail in The Goldfinch" yes that was an opinion of many, that book needed some serious editing, having said that, I loved it. Another example of how we all differ in what we like and dislike in booksgrin