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August 2012 Reading Round-Up

Well, what little summer we had in the United Kingdom is over, but we had a very good Olympics experience to make it better and the Paralympics is proving to be excellent. It was awesome to see a Brit win at Wimbledon, even if it wasn’t Wimbledon. And whilst our wheelchair basketball teams have had trouble, they’ve also won games, and are particularly exciting to watch. Yet despite the fact that for two and a bit weeks of August I was watching a lot of television (isn’t it ironic that we become couch potatoes whilst watching others running around?) I got a good lot of reading done. Is there a Reading Olympics?

The Books

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Joanna Denny: Anne Boleyn – Denny presents us with a Boleyn-positive biography. It would have been good it if wasn’t so malicious towards Catherine of Aragon and the Catholic church; Denny has some interesting things to say but her unnecessary hate is too potent and makes the book incredibly biased.


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Dodie Smith: I Capture The Castle – Cassandra writes about her quirky family who live in the remains of a castle in poverty and seclusion, that is until the Cottons come along. Funny, poignant, and influenced by the Victorians.

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EL James: Fifty Shades Of Grey – I reckon even the oldest people on earth know what this book is about, but here goes: a Twilight fan-fiction, Ana meets Christian who is rich and proposes a BDSM relationship to her. She doesn’t actually say yes, but they have lots of sex anyway. My review will likely conform to the more critical opinion.

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Kate Morton: The House At Riverton – Grace, 98, creates a collection of cassette tapes for her grandson which reveal the secrets of the family she worked for in the early 20th century, including the real reason a famous poet died. Okay, but would have been a lot better if the bulk of it had been edited out.

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Sarah Pekkanen: Skipping A Beat – Julia’s husband died and was resuscitated, and now he’s changed. The millionaire owner of the company and product he created, the newly alive Michael now wants to give it all away and start again with the wife who had come second to his business. But Julia has become used to the money and does not understand how Michael has changed, and while Michael desperately wants to get back to how their relationship used to be, Julia’s not so sure. The ending is rather easy and convenient but otherwise this is a strong book.

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Thomas More: Utopia – A philosophical discussion and debate about the fictional land of Utopia. Very good and lots to talk about, especially as Utopia, the country, isn’t as utopian as our usage of the phrase.

Quotation Report

If you listen to Rose of I Capture The Castle you may find the man you wish to be in a relationship with spurning your advances. Well, behaving like a bona fide Victorian woman in the 20th century is a bit much, don’t you think? However, if your father is refusing to write and you know that he has another book in him, and if you have a castle tower to spare, you can always lock him up until he’s written something. Or at least you can if you’re a fictional character, doing it in real life might be pushing it a bit far.

I’m not at all a fan, but hello northern hemisphere’s September.



September 3, 2012, 3:14 pm

Olympics or not, that’s an impressive set of books for one month! I liked your review of the Anne Boleyn book–it’s too bad when personal agendas (which so often manifest themselves as hate and intolerance) mar a good book, like this one seems to have done.

I’m a fan of I Capture the Castle and you’ve reminded me that it’s due for a reread soon.

The House at Riverton sounds like something I would like–I love flashback stories for some reason.

Utopia’s on my list because of its and its author’s place in history, but I’ve always assumed it would be borderline unreadable. I’ll have to read what else you wrote about it.


September 3, 2012, 7:28 pm

Of your list I’ve only read The House at Riverton, which I loved. Of Kate Morton’s three books her second is her best, her third the worst. So you may find you like her second novel better?

I want to read I Capture the Castle but I am worried i’ll find it too, sentimental?

Utopia interests me, I think I’ll add it to my reading list.

Amy Reads

September 6, 2012, 6:11 pm

I Capture The Castle! I love that book :) So glad to hear you got to read it! There should be a reading olympics!


September 7, 2012, 10:58 am

Jane: Thanks! I’m really happy with the number I read, it’s not a lot compared to other bloggers, but as a slower reader I’m happy with six. Re-reading I Capture The Castle sounds a great idea, with all the knowledge you’ll have of the plot now I reckon there could be some subtlies for the taking (at least I’d expect so, I’ve only read it the once). Utopia gets very philosophical but it is readable – I worried about that myself. I think you just need to find a good translation as I assume older ones would make it a lot more academic. What’s great about it is the way More presents an ideal but then pulls it apart, showing how it’s also not such an ideal.

Alice: My mum saw me reading Riverton, which she didn’t finish, and tried to get me to read The Forgotten Garden instead. I wasn’t keen on Riverton, but I liked it enough to know that The Forgotten Garden might well work for me. There are aspects of I Capture The Castle that are sentimental, but the modernity and overall quirkiness of it trumps everything else. I wouldn’t want to say you’d love it as I’m not sure, but I’d say you’d enjoy it enough. I reckon Utopia would work for you.

Amy: I think if it hadn’t been for blogging I never would, because I remember my sister hating the film – so thank you again blogging world, you’ve introduced me to another awesome book! Yes, I think it could work, splitting books by genre or length.



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