Hi and welcome to this months Book Blog Post. Readers of my weekly blog post will know things have been a bit hectic this month which is partly why this is so late in the month. You will also notice there is a large Roald Dahl influence this month. This is because of the anniversary this year and because it was the basis of a theme we were using at work so it was partly for research and inspiration. It has been nice revisiting some of my childhood favourites  and discovering some Roald Dahl stories I have never read before.  At this time of the year Always have good intentions of reading the shortlist of the Booker Prize but I haven’t managed that yet. I might talk about the Booker in next months book blog though.

As it is fast approaching the end of the year (scary I know) book award ceremonies are happening all over the place. What has been your favourite read of the year? Let me know and I will put together a list of them and see if there is any standout winner. Anyway let’s get on with the post.

BOOKS I HAVE READ IN SEPTEMBER

The BFG by Roald Dahl(Puffin, 1984)

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This was a re-read for me. I read it as a child and haven’t read it since until now. I remember not liking it when I was little because it scared me. Now as an adult I can really appreciate the amazing words Dahl has created and the message behind the story.

This is a classic childhood story.

Format: Paperback

Rating 3/5 (Good)

The Many by Wyl Menmuir (Salt, 2016)

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I decided to read this as there was a lot of buzz about it following it being on the Longlist for the Booker Prize 2016. I wasn’t sure what to expect and I am a bit wary of first novels as they can sometimes try to hard.

After finishing this book I think towards the end it does fall into the category of trying too hard. I might be missing something but just not sure what happens at the end. I wanted a better conclusion. The characters and narration are very strong but some parts of the plot come across a bit vague and I don’t get why.

I hope others on the Booker List are better than this

Format Kindle: E-Book

Rating 2/5 (OK)

Matilda by Roald Dahl (Puffin, 1988)

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As a child I never read this book all the way through and never owned it which was odd as I loved all Rod Dahl.
This is a classic Roald Dahl tale and celebrates the joy of reading which is probably why it is often regarded has his most popular.
The characters have become iconic in children’s literature.
No matter how old you are find time and read or reread this book and fall back in live with reading.

Format: Paperback

Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Danny the Champion of the World (Puffin, 1975)

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I love this book and I feel it is often overlooked in lists of favourite Roald Dahl books as it is quite serious unlike many of his other children’s books.
It is a book about a father and son relationship and what delights the reader is seeing this relationship work. It is a bit sentimental but you forgive this as you fall in love with the people in the story.
I haven’t read it since I was a child and it has been a joy to rediscover it and learn new things such as this book introduced the initial story idea for The BFG.
If you have never read this book then go and get a copy and if you have then find the time and reread it and you won’t be disappointed.

Format: Paperback

Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)

CURRENT READ

Kiss Kiss by Ronald Dahl (Penguin, 1959)

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Continuing with the Roald Dahl theme I thought I would try some of his adult short stories. They are also know and Tales of the Unexpected and some of the stories I do know such as ‘The Landlady’ and ‘Champion of the World’ which became Danny the Champion of the World. The stories featured originally in the New Yorker, Esquire, Nugget and even Playboy. Not usually a fan of short stories but wanted to try something different from Roald Dahl.

Format Paperback 

RECENT ACQUISITIONS

Esio Trot by Roald Dahl (Puffin, 1990)

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Yes another Roald Dahl book. I missed this book as a child as it was one of his last children’s books and was published in 1990. By this time I was moving away from Roald Dahl stories. So I wanted to give it a go. Review will be in next months book blog.

Format Paperback 

SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard (Profile books, 2015)

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A bit of Non Fiction. I do like my history and this book has had very good reviews both from academics and non academics so I thought I would take advantage of the e-book offer and purchase it.  I think we all should read more non fiction when we can.

Format: Kindle E-Book

Regeneration by Pat Barker (Penguin, 1991)

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I have a confession I am not keen on books or poetry about the war. I just struggle with them. I know this book is highly regarded and I believe they even teach it in schools now. The author is also a local author and Think it is important to read local authors as it shows support to them. Pat Barker doesn’t need the support as she is already well-respected but I am looking forward to finally reading it at some point. I received the copy for free through ‘The Big Read’ which was for Durham Book Festival.

Format: Paperback 

Hag Seed by Margaret Atwood (Hogarth, 2016)

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This is the latest retelling of a Shakespeare play as part of the Hogarth Shakespeare series. I have a big confession and that I have never read any Margaret Atwood. Many book lovers will be horrified at this. I’m sorry but it is true. In this book Margaret Atwood had retold the story of ‘The Tempest’. The Tempest is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays and I have such happy memories of performing in it a few years ago. The artwork for the cover is brilliant too. and I can’t wait to get started on it.

Format: Hardback 

Calling Major Tom by David M Barnett (Trapeze, 2017)

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I received this book as an advanced proof copy from Sam Eades at the brilliant  Trapeze Books to read.  It is a book about a grumpy 46-year-old Star Wars, David Bowie fan. He is the guy who complains about his neighbours, who tuts at you if you don’t have the right change at the checkout, the colleague who sends an all-company e-mail when you accidentally use the last drop of milk. Beneath it all though lies a sadness. After reading this description I thought this was about me in 10 years time.  The cover reminds me a bit of the John Lewis advert at Christmas in 2015 with the old man on the moon.

The book is due to be available as an E-book in January 2017 and in paperback in June 2017.

Thank you to Sam Eades for this advanced copy.

Format: Paperback 

Well that is it for this months book blog. I have only just got it out in time this month. Sorry for that but better late than never I suppose. As you can tell I have a lot of reading to get on with.

If anyone has as suggestions for future books t o read or want me to read some proof copies then please do get in touch (leave a comment or message me on Twitter).

Anyway until next month happy reading.

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