Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The Year In Books October Update

I am really enjoying taking part in the Year in Books Project I have already discovered some great recommendations of books that have now gone on to my wish list for the future.  I am sadly of an age where if I don't make a note of something or go straight onto Amazon and put it in my wish list I am likely to forget and then I get very cross with myself when I can't remember the name of an author or of a book.

My October reads have been my usual eclectic mix .
I like reading from my kindle but I do still like the feel of a book so I do tend to flit between the two.

I started my October reads on my kindle with The Sweetest Hallelujah by Elaine Hussey. 
Betty Jewel is a single parent to her 10 year old daughter and they live with Betty Jewels elderly mother.  Betty Jewel has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and in desperation she places an advertisement in the local paper seeking a loving mother for her daughter. 
Cassie Malone is a journalist whose late husband loved Jazz and had visited the clubs where Betty Jewel sang.  When Cassie reads the advertisement in the want ad's she decided she had to follow up this story only to find that she has more in common with Betty Jewel and her daughter than her late husbands love of Jazz. 
It was a very moving story and a box of tissues and plenty of chocolate is recommended when reading this book.

At the beginning of the year I set myself a challenge to re-read some of the books from school and for October I chose Educating Rita.
Educating Rita: Novel (A Star book): Peter Chepstow, Willy RussellNow I wasn't at school when Educating Rita based on the Willy Russell play was released in 1983, but I had loved the book and when my eldest son came home with a copy to study for his GCSE, I jumped at the chance of re-reading it with him and I thought it was just as good, he on the other hand wasn't that struck by it but then at that age he was definitely not a book worm.
For those of you who don't know the story of Rita, she is a young women married to Denny and they live in Liverpool and she works as a hairdresser.  Denny thinks it's time they should be thinking of starting a family where as Susan (or Rita as she likes to be called now) doesn't feel ready for babies she wants to learn.  So she swaps her scissors for Shakespeare when she embarks upon a course in literature at her local university, and here she meets her tutor Dr. Frank Bryant who will teach her that there is more to academic life than romantic poetry such as his whisky bottles behind his impressive bookshelf.
If you have never seen the film or read the book both are worth a visit at least once in your life.

Then came my next challenge.  At the beginning of the year I had 26 books that I had purchased over 2013 left sitting on my bookshelf.  I challenged myself to have read half of these by June and should I accomplish this to continue working my way through the second half until I had read all 26. I have now achieved this by completing Bay of Secrets by Rosanna Ley.  I hadn't read any of her previous novels so had nothing for a comparison.
The story is set between England 2011 and the Spanish Canary Islands 1939. When I started to read this one I wasn't quite sure how the two stories were going to link as, as you were reading them they came across as very separate stories within the same novel until you get to the last chapter when all becomes clear how the two stories are  linked.  Very well written and I would certainly read more of Rosanna Ley's novels in the future.

I have always loved the film The Help  and it is one of my all time favourites  and must see films.  I was given the book earlier this year and it has been patiently waiting on my bookshelf. I was a little concerned that having seen the film first that there would be a lot of differences between the two as they sometimes do when adapting a book into a film.  I was not to be disappointed the book The Help by Kathryn Stockett  was every inch as good as the film.
 When Skeeter returns home from college with aspirations of being a writer she applies for various jobs to no avail. She eventually lands herself a job at the local newspaper writing the Miss Myrna column answering questions on domesticity of which she knows nothing.   She enlists the help of two maids who work for white families in Jackson The story is around the lives of two maids who work for white families in Jackson Mississippi. She gets a notion to write a book on how black maids feels about looking after white families with the help of Aibileen and Minnie she embarks on writing a book that will tell the good and the bad of the white folks of Jackson. 

I had read Jodi Picoult's The Storyteller earlier this year and loved it. I had also been given Songs of the Humpback Whale as a birthday gift and unfortunately I really didn't gell with this book at all.  My book swap buddy at work assured me that there were no end of Jodi Pocoult's novels that I would like.
  She has recently given me Plain Truth to try.
This one is about a young Armish girl, Kate, who finds herself unmarried and pregnant.  In the early hours of the morning she realises labour has begun and so as not to wake her parents goes across to the barn where she gives birth.  Exhausted from the labour and birth she falls a sleep. When she awakes the baby has gone and to Kate her prayers have been answered, that is until the body of a baby is found the next morning. From then on the police become involved and it is up to her attorney to prove her innocence.
My book swap buddy was right. this was a fantastic book and has now restored my faith in Ms. Picoults book.  I think she is going to be an author whose works I am either going to truly love or hate.  Very much a marmite situation.  I have her book My Sisters Keeper to read at a future time but my daughter tells me the ending is very different to that of the film so I will just have to wait and see what I make of that one.

Kim Edwards The Memory Keeper's Daughter was recommended to me by the ladies at my local Waterstones store.  They had read it at their book club and highly recommended I should give it a go. Kim Edwards is not an author I am familiar with but the write up did look like something I would be interested in so promptly put one of those in my basket too.
Dr David Henry delivers his wife's twins.
Although David's son is  a healthy boy, his daughter has Down's Syndrome. He tells his wife their daughter died when in reality has given the nurse assisting him an address for a home for children with Down Syndrome and asks her to take her there.  When she arrives at the home and sees the conditions she cannot leave the baby there and makes a decision to take her home and raise her. She packs her belongings and leaves her home ready to begin a new life with the baby she now regards as her own.  She informs Dr Henry of her decision by letter but does not give a forwarding address only a PO Box number.  Over the years the communicate by letter on a semi regular basis and Dr Henry supports her financially.  Never telling his wife and son of his that their daughter/sister is alive the secret never to be revealed until Dr Henry's untimely death some years later. 

A very good read and one I enjoyed and I am reliably informed by Edwina from Under the Norfolk Sky that Kim Edwards previous novel Lake of Dreams is equally as good. So yet another one for the wishlist. 

For those of you who have followed Tea and Biscuits for a while, you will know that I like to pick a book of the month from the books I have read.  It's been quite difficult this month as all of them have been so good but I think my book of the month for October definitely has to be

                                     Kathryn Stockett's  The Help 

Happy reading one & all 

I look forward to sharing my November reads with you.


Tuesday, 7 October 2014

The year in Books Project

Last week I read a post over at Penny's The Homemade Heart blog about  The year in Books project run by Laura from Circle of Pine Trees I thought this was a great idea and decided to take part. 

 Already I have discovered some great recommendations the first being 

'Quarter Past Two on a Wednesday Afternoon' by Linda Newbery   recommended by Edwina from  Under a wide Norfolk sky

and the second 'The Rosie Project' recommended by Doris Eleanor from Inspired Follies 
Both of these seem just the sorts of novels I like to read so I have added them to my wish list for future reads. 

There also seem to be a lot of discussion around Donna Tartt's 'The Goldfinch'. I have seen this on many a supermarket bookshelf but wasn't sure it was one for me. 

This one seemed to have lots of mixed reviews and definitely came across as a bit of a Marmite novel. 

So far I am enjoying being a part of this project.
If you would like to find out more about The Year in Books Project you can here.

Happy reading one and all 


Wednesday, 1 October 2014

The Year in Books - October

I have decided to have a little change around on Tea and Biscuits and a Good Book.  Over at Circle of Pine Trees Laura invites you to add the books you are going to read to a link on her blog so that you get to share even more about the books you are going to read and find recommendations from other book worms.

So here are my list of October reads

Families have secrets they hide even from themselves....

It should have been an ordinary birth, the start of an ordinary happy family. But the night Dr David Henry delivers his wife's twins is a night that will haunt five lives forever.

For though David's son is healthy boy, his daughter has Down's Syndrome. And, in a shocking act of betrayal whose consequences only time will reveal, he tells his wife their daughter died while secretly entrusting her care to a nurse.

As grief quietly tears apart David's family, so a little girl must make her own way in the world as best she can.

Kate Fisher is Amish. For eighteen years, she has grown up in a community set apart from the modern world by lifestyle and belief, It is a community fiercely protective of its way of life. To turn your back on it is to lose everything - your church, your home and your family.

So in the middle of the night when the baby comes, Kate does the only thing she knows how to do in times of stress: she prays.

Exhausted, she falls asleep, when she wakes the child is gone. Her prayer has been answered.

But faith alone cannot help when the body is found.

Set between England and the Spanish Canary Islands, three women discover a surprising truth about their shared pasts.

Spain 1939

Following the wishes of her parents to keep her safe during the war, Julia is forced to enter a convent in Barcelona. Looking for a way to maintain her links to the outside world, she volunteers to help in a maternity clinic. But worrying adoption practices in the clinic force Sister Julia to decide how far she will go to help those placed in her care.

England 2011

Six months after her parents' shocking death, thirty-four-year-old journalist and jazz enthusiast Ruby Rae has finally found the strength to pack away their possessions and sell the family home. But as she does so, she unearths a devastating secret her parents, Vivien and Tom, had kept from her all her life.

Enter a vanished world: Jackson Mississippi, 1962. Where black maids raise white children but aren't trusted not to steal their silver. 

There's Aibileen, raising her seventeenth white child and nursing the hurt caused by her own son's tragic death: Minny, whose cooking is nearly as sassy as her tongue; and white Miss Skeeter, home from college who wants to know why her beloved maid has disappeared.

Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny. No one would believe they'd be friends; fewer still would tolerate it. But as each women finds the courage to cross boundaries, they come to depend and rely upon one another. Each is in search of a truth. And together they have an extraordinary story to tell.

Kim Edwards The Memory Keeper's Daughter was recommended by the ladies who work in my local Waterstones.  They had recently read it as part of their book club and said it was one I should definitely add to my wish list.

I had recently read Jodi Picoult's the Storyteller which I thought was brilliant and Songs of the Humpbank Whale which I didn't.  My book swap buddy at work wanted to restore my faith in Jodi Picoults novels so has lent me Plain Truth.

At the beginning of this year I had 26 books residing on a bookshelf and I challenged myself firstly to have read 13 out of the 26 by June and if I completed this challenge then I would continue working my way through the remaining 13.  Rosanna Ley's  Bay of Secrets is number 26 so had to be included in my October reads in order for me to empty the shelf ready for more.

Educating Rita: Novel (A Star book): Peter Chepstow, Willy RussellAnd of course there will be my Return to School read challenge and this months book is Educating Rita.  I am far too old to have read this one when I was at school my eldest son had to read it for his GCSE.  I always loved the book and the film.  He on the other hand wasn't that struck. Each to their own as they say.

Not sure which order I will read them in but to start off my October reads  I am going to read Elaine Hussey's The Sweetest Hallelujah which has been patiently waiting on my Kindle.  

Desperate.  Nowhere to turn. Dying women seeks mother for her child. Loving heart required. Call Vinewood 2-8640 Mississippi, 1955 Betty Jewel Hughes is dying of cancer. Her final wish? To find someone to take care of her young daughter Billie., when she's gone. On the other side of town, Cassie Malone, is an outspoken housewife insulated by her wealth and privileged white society. Recently widowed and childless, Betty Jewel's advert speaks to her own deep longing for a child. With racial tension in the South brewing, any bond forged between the two women and Billie will need to be as deep as it is forbidden. 

Happy October reading one and all.