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elizabethtaylor

Phew! I’ve just finished typing names into a random name generator and due to the number of entries it took a while. I’m glad I didn’t have the responsibility and could leave it all to fate – and the internet.

Resh Susan who blogs at The Book Satchel wins A Wreath of Roses which will travelling all the way to India soon.

Anne P – wins a copy of A Game of Hide and seek

Mary Durant – wins a copy of In a Summer Season

Thank you everyone for entering – I’m sorry there can be only three winners. I hope the winners enjoy their books – all three are wonderful novels. Please let me know what you think once you have read them.

Once again, a big thank you to Virago Press and Little Brown books for providing these books for me to giveaway.

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aroomwithaviewThe classic club has spun and the number was number 4.

So I will have the very great pleasure of reading A Room with a view by EM Forster. I have actually read it before – but my memory of it was eclipsed by my great love for A Passage to India – which I read around the same time, and re-read not long ago.

  “We cast a shadow on something wherever we stand, and it is no good moving from place to place to save things; because the shadow always follows. Choose a place where you won’t do harm – yes, choose a place where you won’t do very much harm, and stand in it for all you are worth, facing the sunshine.”

 

I will most likely read this toward the beginning of September  and as I have no memory of it, it will be just as if I have never read it before.

 

Lost and FoundLost and Found giveaway

 

Thank you to those who entered the giveaway – I closed the giveaway last night and randomly chose three winners. So congrstulations to…

 

Si Stokes

Kerry Hale

and KatharineDS

 

I have passed you details to Corsair who have informed me that they sent out the books today.

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Lost and Found giveaway

Lost and Found

 

It started with a letter…Carol is unhappily married to a man she doesn’t love and mother to a daughter she doesn’t understand. Stuck in a life she doesn’t want and crippled with guilt, she can’t shake the feeling that she has wasted her life. So she puts pen to paper and writes a Letter to the Universe.
Albert is a widowed postman, approaching retirement age, and living only with his cat, Gloria, for company. Slowly being pushed out at his place of work, he is forced down to the post room where they sort undeliverable mail. Forgotten in his work place and bullied by his neighbours, Albert is extremely lonely. When a series of letters turns up with a smiley face drawn in place of an address, he cannot help reading them.

A few months ago I read a review copy of a debut novel which I enjoyed enormously. Lost and Found by Tom winter came out in February. Today the paperback edition is published and the lovely people at Corsair contacted me with a view to offering 3 copies to readers of my blog.

Carol wants a disease. Nothing deadly, and nothing crippling. She doesn’t aspire to disabled parking, for instance, despite its obvious advantages.
‘It’s true I haven’t done much with my life,’ she wants to tell people, ‘but it’s the . . . the leprosy.’
She imagines how they would nod sympathetically, albeit while backing away, and even she might feel better about looking at herself in the mirror each morning: a middle- aged woman who hasn’t accomplished much because she can’t, because she’s been too busy peeling off dead skin and looking for missing body parts.
‘Yes,’ she’d say, as she arrives at work late yet again, ‘I know I’m crap at this, but the good news is I’ve found a couple of my fingers.’
But, no, there is no disease, no excuse to hide behind. She has a husband who’s a certifiable dickhead, but this isn’t her disability per se. And her daughter – well, what can she say
on that subject? In the months prior to giving birth, she read

every book on child-rearing she could find. In retrospect, Sun Tzu’s Art of War would have been a better choice, or perhaps a field study of rabid primates.
Naturally, this isn’t how she’d expected to feel about motherhood, but watching her baby daughter morph into a teenager has been an alarming experience, like cresting the first hill of a rollercoaster just as she realized her seatbelt was broken.
Now seventeen, her daughter stands on the cusp of independence, the whole world at her feet. And Carol is on a bus home, staring at a window too wet with rain to offer a view of anything; an indeterminate cityscape, as fractured and abstract as her own life – the hint of a street sign, the edge of a shop front, but nothing complete, nothing she can look at and say, ‘Ah, that’s where I am.’
So, nearly twenty years of married life have come to this:
‘I’m leaving.’
She savours the words for a moment, already regretting that she’ll only get to say them once. Condensing so many years of frustration into two small words has given them a curious, almost nuclear power, as if they might slip from her mouth and accidentally level the whole of London.
She knows she’ll tell her husband over dinner tonight, though she still isn’t sure how she’ll raise the subject. The only certainty is that she’ll serve a nicer dessert than usual – her favourite, as it happens – though she’ll try her best to make
this seem like an act of consolation rather than celebration.

Lost and Found is a novel written in letters, the voices of the two main characters come across strongly and are really engaging and likeable. I found the novel hugely enjoyable – a real feel good book that I found hard to put down, I feel sure that many of you out there would enjoy it too. i am certainly looking forward to seeing what Tom Winter comes up with next.

PRAISE FOR LOST AND FOUND:

‘Witty, off-beat and moving’ Genevieve Fox, Daily Mail

‘Winter makes the reader not only smile, but pause and, in the final line, shed an appropriate tear about what it means to be given a second chance at happiness’ The Lady

‘A touching tale, full of pathos and laugh-out-loud moments’ Candis

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tom Winter is a British writer living in Berlin. Lost and Found is his first novel. He is currently at work on his second book.

If you would like to win a copy of this lovely feel good read – then please add a comment to the box below leaving me an email address where I can contact you should you win. I will keep the giveaway open untill Sunday evening – and then choose three winners by a random name generator. I will pass the winners details to Corsair who will then send out the books. Good luck everyone.

tom winter

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foldingstar

Alan Hollinghurst – birthday May 26th

I don’t often find myself setting a book aside – and am always very disappointed – and to be honest a little cross with myself when I do. Very late on Saturday – so late I only read about 10 pages – I picked up The Folding Star by Alan Hollinghurst. On Sunday I was out walking with my rambling group – and as usual I took my book to read on the coach. I tried valiantly to tell myself I was enjoying it – I wasn’t. Hollinghurst writes beautifully but there is a lot of – hmm how can I put it? Well the sexual content seems a little gratuitous at times – although it does serve to set the characters in their selfish self-absorbed context. The central character of this novel seems thoroughly unlikeable, sometimes that doesn’t matter but I found after less than 60 pages – that I really didn’t care about him and his goings on.

So on Sunday evening after getting home I tried a few more pages, and no! It just wasn’t working so I laid it aside. I have put it on the pile to bookcross – despite it being a signed copy I bought when I went to a talk by Alan Hollinghurst shortly after reading The Strangers child – a book I loved. The Stranger’s Child was the second of Hollinghurst’s books I had read, I read The Line of Beauty – which I enjoyed – although most of those characters I seem to remember were rather horrid too. I suspect that The Folding Star has put me off Hollinghurst for life – which is a shame because he really is a beautiful writer.

jamaicainnGiveaway result
Using random.com I have drawn A.M.B to receive the Virago Paperback of Jamaica Inn. Congratulations A.M.B I do hope you enjoy it.

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Blog Hop – the winners.

What a lovely blog hop it has been. I visited so many lovely blogs and have been lucky enough to win a book from Samstillreading – that news really cheered my cold and miserable morning up.

The winners of my blog hop giveaway then are :

Clare – word by Word – who wins a copy of The Moonstone

Helen at She reads novels – who wins a copy of  Far from the Madding Crowd. I so look forward to hearing what these winners think of these books as they are novels I really loved.

Thank you so much to everyone who took part, and an especially big thank you to Judith for organising and hosting this great blogging event.

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This will be my second literary blog hop; I love the chance to give away books I love, to people who also love books. I also love visiting other blogs – it always amazes me how many there are out there, and this is a perfect opportunity to find them. Judith at Leeswammes blog is hosting this hop again, and you can find a full list of all the participating blogs there.
For this giveaway I have chosen two books I know and love. I have bought copies of two of my favourite classics from the new Penguin English Library, editions which are so beautiful, they almost make me want to ditch all my old classics and buy new ones.

So I will select one winner for each of the following books.

1. Far from the Madding Crowd, by Thomas Hardy, Hardy is probably my most favourite author, I have read this novel twice and it’s dramatic, memorable and thoroughly readable still today.
2. The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins – another book I have read twice, often said to be one of the first detective novels in English fiction and the precursor to all the detective and police procedurals we have today. Told in several different voices, it is captivating, and engrossing, and a quicker read than the length of it may lead the reader to expect.

If you would like a chance to win one of these books – please leave a comment below with an email address where you can be contacted shoud you be lucky enough to win.
The Rules.
1. Anyone can enter. You do not need to have a blog.
2. You need a post-office recognised address anywhere in the world, where you can receive packages.
3. You do not have to be a follower or become a follower, although if you like my blog I hope you will! You can follow by email or by RSS (see buttons in the side bar on the right).
4. Fill out the comments box below letting me know which book you would prefer and providing me with an email address which I can use to notify winners.
5. You can enter the giveaway until Wednesday 31st October. I will close the giveaway at 9pm (UK time) on the 31st. Winners will be randomly picked using random.com.
6. Note that double or invalid entries will be removed.
7. I will notify the winners by email. The winners need to answer my email within 3 days, or I’ll announce a new winner.
8. The books will be sent out by me as soon as possible.
9. That’s it! Good luck and thanks for playing.

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There have been several times when someone asked me what I was reading this year I have said “oh such and such by Elizabeth Taylor.” Once or twice I have seen a look come over them – that plainly says – “well I didn’t know she wrote books.” Now I realise many of the people that regularly read my blog already know Elizabeth Taylor – the English novelist. This short post is particularly for those people who don’t.
So if you don’t know Elizabeth Taylor the writer then let me introduce you. Elizabeth Taylor was born Dorothy Betty Coles in July 1912, and upon her marriage in 1936 became Elizabeth Taylor. Her mother’s death had a huge impact on her when she was in her early twenties, soon after this she married John Taylor. She then had a relationship with another man, who she met through her membership to the communist party, and continued to correspond with him for many years. She had two children, and chose her family life with them over this man. This story is told by Nicola Beauman in the excellent biography The Other Elizabeth Taylor. I can’t possibly do justice to her writing in just a few lines, so how to describe her writing? Elizabeth Taylor’s novels are quite domestic, with fantastic wry observation and a wonderful sense of humour she brilliantly exposes the intricate relationships of people in middle class families living usually in small communities. They concern mainly the minutia of everyday life, her characters are exceptionally well rounded and fully explored, and her child characters some of the best to be found in English fiction.
Her first novel At Mrs Lippincote’s was published in 1945, her last novel Blaming was published posthumously, in 1976. During her lifetime Elizabeth Taylor didn’t win any awards, though her novel Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont was short listed for the booker prize in 1972. Elizabeth Taylor died of cancer in 1975 aged just 63.

Her novels are: 
At Mrs Lippincote’s (1945)
Palladian (1946)
A View of the Harbour (1947)
A Wreath of Roses (1949)
A Game of Hide and Seek (1951)
The Sleeping Beauty (1953)
Angel (1957)
In a Summer Season (1961)
The Soul of Kindness (1964)
The Wedding Group (1968)
              Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont (1971)
Blaming (1976)

Her collections of Short stories:
Hester Lily and other stories (1954)
The Blush and other stories (1958)
A Dedicated man and other stories (1965)
The Devastating boys and other stories (1972)

all of which are now available in one beautiful big book – The Collected short stories which contains some previously unpublished.

And a children’s story – Mossy Trotter (1967)

So then let’s get this blog hosting off to a good start – with a giveaway. This is open to those in Europe only this time I’m afraid. I will draw a name randomly on Monday evening and send the book out next week. Hopefully the recipient will get the book in time to read it and post their thoughts towards the end of the month or soon after. I don’t get sent things for free very often – so I have bought a copy of The Soul of Kindness for this giveaway – as I wanted to share my love of Elizabeth Taylor. I am aware that this might not be the best book with which to start reading Elizabeth Taylor – but hopefully the winner if they haven’t read Elizabeth Taylor before, will be inspired enough to read more.

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