The Handmaid’s Tale review

The series of The Handmaid’s Tale has recently been on the TV.  I heard great things about it so decided to follow the hype and watch. It was hard going; not because it didn’t live up to the expectations but it felt so real and believable in the political climate of today. The plot deals with so many issues including fertility, environment disaster, rape and extreme religion that are consistently talked about on the news. It is violent in places so it is not one to watch or read if any of those are triggers for negative mental health. The imagery of the women dressed in red or blue depending on their status is powerful. Intrigued and caught in the plot it was only natural I needed to read the book. After all, books always win in the book vs film debate.
The waiting list at the library was mind-bendingly long so there was a wait between the “I need to read this” thought and holding the copy in my hand. The cover showing the TV character Offred was striking and more appealing than previous covers I have seen that made me walk by when they were on the shelves of bookshops.
I admit I am not a reader of classics even modern ones so I was concerned I would struggle with it but I didn’t have to worry. I enjoyed it. I can not get my head round the age of the book, 21 years, because it feels so relevant. The TV imagery helped me visualise some scenes and I felt the programme complements the book well. At the beginning if I had not seen an episode of it, I may have got distracted by other books I needed to read for book clubs but once I was into the world of Gilead I had to binge read to the end.
It follows the story of Offred a Handmaid to the Waterford’s. In a world where an extreme religious group has overthrown the US government changing the social dynamics of America and fertility has dropped dramatically,  children are seen as a rare commodity and a women’s place is firmly in the home her only purpose is to breed.
The story sent shivers down my spine; there were moments I wanted to put the book down because I did not want to know what happened next. It is a rich, emotional, clever and powerful read. I can understand why it is studied at school in English Lit courses and I wish I had the opportunity to read it then instead of An Inspector Calls.
It will take a while for my mind to stop thinking about Offred’s reality.

Comment below if you have read/watched it, did you enjoy it too?

Kate

Star Rating  4 out 5

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Summer reading in Tremarnock

I was lucky enough to win a copy of Tremmanock Summer – thank you Emma Burstall. When I read the first of the series I fell in love with the Cornish coastal town of Tremarnock and it’s residents especially Liz and her daughter Rosie. It was a pleasure to revisit this delightful place. Her descriptions capture the sea air, stunning scenery and atmosphere of living near the sea so even if you can’t go on holiday, it provides a respite from real life.

Tremarnock Summer

Her relaxed style of writing lulls you into the calm and more relaxed pace of life  in Cornwall. The Tremarnock series, including this one, make perfect holiday reading.

Unlike the other books it took me a while to connect to Bramble, the main character,  but until then, the other characters drew me in including old favourites such as Liz, Loveday and Pat and new ones like Fergus and Shannon. Bramble is a young woman from Chessington living a normal life when she inherits Polgery Manor in the village. On coming to live far from home, she gets more than she bargained for. I  assumed I knew where her story would lead but I was wrong because the story thankfully, twisted in another direction.

Emma Burstall has a way of making the story about whole town not just the star of the current book, like a chilled out  soap opera.  I can’t wait for next year’s arrival to see how everyone are doing.

3.75-stars

Have you read this series? What did you think?

Happy reading!

Book Lovers Day Favourites

There is nothing quite like a new book with its fresh pages, disintinctive smell, unblemished spine yet to be opened and a story waiting inside to be released for the first time into your imagination. That said, favourite books which are old and shabby with multiple rereads  have  a special place in a book lovers heart  and they deserve to be celebrated on Book Lovers Day. On days when it is miserable outside, life is hard or the duvet is refusing to let you get up, immersing yourself into a familar world with well known characters is a pleasure and soothes the soul.

Some of my favourites are:

The All Souls series by Deborah Harkness. I have them all on my Kindle, phone and paperback just in case I need to visit Diana, Matthew and Hamish. 

The Path Keeper by  N J Simmonds – a new one on my list and I am only halfway through it but within the first few chapters, I knew this was a forever book.

The Shadow Sister by Lucinda Riley –  part of another series I love “The Seven Sisters”. It was love at first sight when I saw the hardback cover on the shelf with its gold leaf constellations.

Marshmallows for Breakfast by Dorothy Koomson. A read from one of my favourite authors and its title alone means I can justify eating marshmallows at 8am with no guilt.

Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland – another new read for me but the characters, the bookshop and its local settings made me fall in love with it.

Audrey Rose by  Frank de Felitta – an in depth read on reincarnation. It is heartbreaking  as well as enlightening. I fell in love with the 1970s film of the same name first and was overjoyed when I discovered the book in a secondhand book shop. 

Remember me by Sophie Kinsella – a go to read for rainy days when you need to be uplifted. Everytime I plant sunflowers in the spring I remember these characters.

Hiding from the Light by Barbara Erskine – All her books should be included on my list but this one with Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins  beats them all. It quarantees a restless night with the light kept on. 

Angelology by Danielle Trussoni – Angels as you have never seen them before, a convent with a secret and a race against the clock adventure what more do you need? It is the first of a trilogy but works well as a standalone which is handy because the third book has yet to be released and  many readers  wonder whether it will ever be. 

Dark Dividing – A story about twins. It is creepy, clever and deserves to be read over again.  

Sacred and Profane by Marcelle Bernstein – a story surrounding twins again and the mysterious connection they have. One is in jail while the other hides in a closed convent. What secrets do they both hide? I have read it many times and I am still unsure whether I know. 

As I searched my bookcase for my fave books I discovered many reads I needed to visit again; not good for my overlarge TBR pile including The Dead Zone by Stephen King and Dean Koontz’s Lightening.

What do you love reading again and again?

Happy Book Lovers Day and happy reading!

Love Kate

The problem of the ever growing TBR list

The problem with online book clubs, reading reviews and Kindle deals as well as library browsing and retail shopping, my TBR list is growing faster than I can physically keep up with. My reservation list at the library is full, my bookshelves are overflowing and books are now hiding unsucessfully under the bed. Luckily this month, the theme is to read something from your pile of books waiting to be read. – phew!

I am now faced with the dilemma of what to read? In my stash, there are books from new authors, favourite authors alongside old favourites that long to be revisited, it is difficult to choose. So far I have:

The Gift by Louise Jensen

The Path Keepers by NJ Simmonds

The Other Sister by Rowan Coleman

Angelology by Danielle Trussoni

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern

Last seen alive by Claire Douglas

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

and many more. If you have any recommendations on which to read, comment below.

 

What are you reading this month?

tea book duvet

The Golem and the Djinni review

The Golem and the Djinni by Helene Wecker

Golem and Djiini

Length: 657 pages

I loved this book. It isn’t the kind of book I would generally read – which is why I thought I would write a review. The main attraction was the book’s length – over 600 pages, I’m a quick reader so anything under 350 is usually a no-no. The trouble with this book is I didn’t want it to end!!
As well as being long the Golem and the Djinni ticked a couple more of my boxes – it is based around Middle Eastern and Jewish culture and is set in the late 19th century. If you like magic then it ticks that box too – I personally don’t generally read magical books but I know it’s a popular genre.
I had no idea what a Golem was before reading this book so had to Google before I took the plunge – a golem is a figurine made of clay and then brought to life by a rabbi – it is part of Jewish mythology. In this story, the Golem is created as a wife for a particularly unpleasant man who specifies the characteristics he wants the creature to have. Her story starts in Poland but moves to New York where she is discovered by another rabbi who then takes her under his wing, this rabbi helps the golem to cope with life in New York, helps her find a job and eventually somewhere to live.
Parallel to the golem’s story we have that of the djinni. The djinni hails from Syria and again he travels to New York where his path eventually crosses with that of the golem.
The book goes back and forth from the history of the two protagonists and their new lives in New York. The characters they meet are well drawn and the author skilfully creates an atmospheric read with a lot of twists and turns. As Chava, the golem, and Ahmad, the djinni, try to establish ‘normal’ lives, their own natures cause various difficulties for themselves and those around them. Both characters feel their alien-ness and have to come to terms with being out of their comfort zone in the busyness that is New York – the portrait of that great city is also skilfully woven by Ms Wecker as she creates a great backdrop for Chava and Ahmad. The struggles faced by the two main characters are those faced by many people – the addition of their magical qualities just makes this a fascinating read.
The Golem and the Djinni is a slow burn, a book to be savoured and not hurried, blending historical fiction with magic and fantasy the author has created a book that leaves the reader wanting more. Highly recommended.

Julie

Star Rating: 4 out 5

 

 

Celebrating 20 year’s of Harry

 

June has arrived already and this poor blog has been neglected as I have dwelled under the duvet with zero spoons. Many books have been read by our members on the topics of books vs movies, different cultures, floral books, children’s books (always a favourite to do) and finally classics with Jane Eyre being a popular choice.

#HarryPotter #tea #BookClubforSpoonies #DuvetDwellersbookclub

Perfect combination tea and Harry Potter

 

This month we celebrate 20 years since we were first introduced to the most famous boy wizard, Harry Potter and the magical world of JK Rowling. For some, it will be a time of comfort reading as they plunge themselves into their well-thumbed editions while others will cautiously tiptoe into Rowling’s imagination to meet the famous trio and Hagrid for the first time. It will be fascinating to see what their views will be. Will they find the story worth the wait and be asking the sorting hat what house they will be in or will they shrug their shoulders, bewildered at all the hype that still exists around the protagonist and friends?

Personally, I love the Harry Potter series and the community it has created. It doesn’t seem 20 years ago I picked up my copy of Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone from the shelf at Woolworths. The children in the library I worked at were excited about the book and the reservation list of a copy to borrow was ever growing so I needed to buy it. I was hooked the moment Dudley was scared by the snake at London Zoo. The following years on release nights, I was queuing up at midnight with many other bookworms young and old, at the local bookshop eager to read the next instalment. Each volume conjures up happy memories every time they are read. No other series has captured me like that apart from possibly the All Souls Trilogy.

If Harry Potter is not your thing we are celebrating series of books in general? What would you recommend?

Want to join in discussions and natter about books – click here for a warm welcome to our book club for people with chronic illnesses otherwise known as spoonies.

Happy reading!

 

A New Year, a new chapter

A new year has begun and we leave 2016 behind. As a group we read many books and our must-read list is growing expotentially with every discussion about our current reading. There just is not enough time to read them all. A list of the upcoming themes is now available starting with Movies vs Books, so the popcorn is out along with a collection of DVDs. Perfect for curling up under the duvet and keeping warm during these winter months. Are books always better than the movie or do some movies excel at their portrayal of the characters?

Last year, we met Madeline Dyer, Tom Seaman and MJ Smith in our Meet the Author posts. Hopefully, we will have more authors to meet this year and new books to discover.

jodi-picoult-book

This month, we are trying something new and holding an extra book club event to discuss Jodi Picoult’s new book Small Great Things on 25th Jan. It has been heralded as the To Kill the Mockingbird of the 21st Century – will we agree?

If you would like to join in our book club parties and book natter, feel free to join our warm, friendly book club for Spoonies.

Happy reading and from all of us we hope you have a wonderful New Year with lots of spoons and books!

 

Upcoming Book Club Parties

25th January 2017 Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

27th January 2017  Movies vs Books

24th February 2017 Unique Cultural ways of life

31st March 2017 It’s springtime!

 

 

 

 

Twas the days before Christmas

The tree is dressed in its best baubles and the lights are twinkling. Stockings are hung in anticipation they will be filled with our favourite things – books!

This time of year, books are great to curl up with to escape the overwhelming and hectic preparations, gather spoons or indulge in festive stories that flood the book shelves in the shops. What have you been reading?

christmas-parcel

Are you hoping to find a particular read under the tree?

It is also the time for reading old festive favourites or following family traditions. We particularly love the Swedish tradition of  jólabókaflóð and believe it should be adopted worldwide. Imagine how many happy bookworms there would be and new book lovers created everywhere.

We are pleased to release our themes for 2017 including the one we are all excited about – Harry Potter month in honour of the 20th anniversary of the release of the first installment, Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone. Yes – it really has been out that long. We are also looking forward to the discussions on books vs movies in January. This will conjure up lots of discussions.

Watch this space for exciting book club news in the New Year!

Have a lovely Christmas and hope it is filled with lots of books, spoons and happiness.

Happy reading!

reading blanket free stocksnap

 

Do you love books and have a chronic illness, disability or class yourself as a Spoonie – we would love to welcome you in our warm friendly group.