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.


1 comment:

  1. Having found your blog through Laura and The Year in Books, I have been going back through the archives to see what else you have been reading. I've picked up some really good recommendations - thank you!

    The Memory Keeper's Daughter has been made into a film.


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