- Peggy Farooqi
- Mum of 3 (1994, 1995, 1998)- born in East Germany --lived in UK/ Kent since 1993 -- studied criminology -- love reading / writing / travelling / knitting / cats.
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16 February 2015
19:35 | Posted by Peggy Farooqi | | Edit Post
|Not in the Hand of Boys|
With dreams of becoming a success in the financial world, twenty-year-old Dai Bowen leaves his small Welsh village to seek a career as a banker in London. When World War I breaks out and the banks are forced to close, Dai enlists in the army, hoping that the war will be over before he is ever called on to fight. However, Dai soon finds himself marching to the treacherous front lines in Belgium and battling the Germans in brutal trench warfare. Back in Wales, Dai’s girlfriend, Gwyneth Hughes, envisions a future of marriage and children when he returns. When calamity forces her to flee the village, she embarks on a rocky journey that leads her to England, where she finds work in a munitions factory. Although the couple exchange letters during their separation, both Dai and Gwyneth harbor deep secrets as they try to navigate the harsh uncertainties of wartime. Woven into the story is the life of twenty-five-year-old Adolf Hitler. Serving as a dispatch runner in the Bavarian Army, the novel explores the future dictator’s budding political ideology, murky service record, and uneasy relationship with his fellow soldiers. What Passing Bells details the horrors of trench warfare and hand-to-hand combat, illustrating how the ripples of conflict touch the lives of families, lovers, and brothers-in-arms. It is a story of innocence lost but insight gained, leaving readers to question the role fate plays in shaping our lives, and to rethink how we define our enemies and ourselves.
You will definitely need to take your time with this book, but it will be so worth it.
Let me tell you from the beginning that I am not usually one to read books on wars, neither fictional nor factual. Maybe because I'm a pacifist at heart? And I was brought up in (East)Germany where they usually don't really talk about the World Wars. Maybe because we feel that often, as a nation, we get reduced to stories about the world wars only.
Saying all this, I was content to give this book a go. And right from the first page, I was hooked and wanted to know what's happening with Dai and all his friends and foes. Dai is a very likeable young man.Big dreams as a young man, he leaves his small home village for the big city. The reality of the real world very soon bites him (and who can't relate to that!). And that was before the World War I even started. I just loved his girl Gwyneth, she was probably my favourite character. A strong women in many senses. She was not on the front line, but had to fight her own battles.
One thing I really liked is that I learned a lot through this book. Not the obvious facts about WW1. But, for example, I didn't know that young and fit men had white feathers thrown at them in the street if they hadn't enlisted yet to fight for their country (the signs of a coward). And than there is the trench warfare. I know that there are many books on the trenches and what's happened. I felt the author manages to give us a true account without even using the strongest descriptive words and endless adjectives. Just the normal days for the boys in the trenches are described, and that is enough for us, he doesn't need overtly emotional language. The whole senselessness of this war and the killings becomes clear during the Christmas truce, and the following day the soldiers who had shaken hands and exchanged food were ordered to kill each other. The common man does not want to kill his fellow man,but is forced to act. And this applies on both sides.
Highly recommended if you don't usually read books on the subject. I have given the book to my 16 year old daughter to read and she finds it very interesting and has talked about it in school history lessons.
Any criticism? This is nit-picking: as a German speaker, I think some of the German translations could have been better - there are some words which have a double meaning and the wrong translated word was used. I said it - it is nit-picking and would only be noticed by a German-speaker.
I have received this book from the author in return for an honest review.
28 January 2015
08:09 | Posted by Peggy Farooqi | | Edit Post
From Guardian Books:
Helen Macdonald wins Costa 2014 Book award with H is for Hawk.
I haven't read the book but have heard of it. One of the issues the book deals with is grief, bereavement and how to overcome this. I do deal a lot with bereaved families in my line of work. Reading about it is kind two sides of a coin for me. Sometimes I find it very interesting and it helps me to really understand the issues around grief better. On the other hand, it kind of feels 'oh, I hear enough of this at work, don't want to be bothered at home about this as well'.
In any event, I shall give this book a try.
Following info is From Guardian Books:
A book which explores grief, love and nature – as well as just how you train a goshawk you’ve bought for £800 – won its author Helen Macdonald a second leading literary prize.
H is for Hawk was named the £30,000 winner of the 2014 Costa book prize, adding to the Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction that it won in November.
The writer Robert Harris, who chaired this year’s judges, said it was a book that haunted several members of the panel and was one they would never forget.
“Everybody agreed it was wonderful, muscular, precise, scalpel-like prose. It was a very clever and accomplished piece of writing that wove everything together.
“There are some books that win prizes because they demand it and then the public don’t quite get it. This is a book I think which everyone will like.”
Macdonald’s book has been hailed a triumph by almost every critic who has written about it.
It tells of how the Cambridge historian, illustrator and naturalist was so overcome by grief after the death of her father that she went almost mad and decided to train the most untameable of raptors, the goshawk.
Weaved into the book is a biography of TH White, who also tried to train a goshawk more than 60 years before her.
Harris said it was at the back of judges’ minds that it had already won a big literary prize but “it’s very hard to say: ‘OK, this has had its place in the sun’”.
The Costa is different to other prizes in that it pits individual category winners against each other. So the best novel goes up against the best biography, best poetry, best debut and best children’s book.
It took judges 90 minutes to decide the overall winner with support for all five of them. By the end it was a decisive if not unanimous vote, although Harris declined to go into details.
“Having been in literary prizes myself and been told I’ve come second – believe me, it’s no comfort.”
26 January 2015
05:00 | Posted by Peggy Farooqi | | Edit Post
Spring 2015 choices for the Richard and Judy Book Club are out. Mine are ordered and can't wait to pick them up from the book shop. As always, there is something for everyone. I have heard a lot about The Miniaturist, and Elizabeth is Missing is receiving very good reviews as well. The Book of You sounds exactly like my cup of tea as well.
1. The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed ...On an autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman knocks at the door of a grand house in the wealthiest quarter of Amsterdam. She has come from the country to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt, but instead she is met by his sharp-tongued sister, Marin. Only later does Johannes appear and present her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. It is to be furnished by an elusive miniaturist, whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in unexpected ways ...Nella is at first mystified by the closed world of the Brandt household, but as she uncovers its secrets she realizes the escalating dangers that await them all. Does the miniaturist hold their fate in her hands? And will she be the key to their salvation or the architect of their downfall? Beautiful, intoxicating and filled with heart-pounding suspense, The Miniaturist is a magnificent story of love and obsession, betrayal and retribution, appearance and truth.
2. The Book of You by Claire Kendal
A terrifying psychological thriller about obsession and power, perfect for fans of Gone Girl and Before I Go to Sleep. Clarissa is becoming more and more frightened of her colleague, Rafe. He won't leave her alone, and he refuses to take no for an answer. He is always there. Being selected for jury service is a relief. The courtroom is a safe haven, a place where Rafe can't be. But as a violent tale of kidnap and abuse unfolds, Clarissa begins to see parallels between her own situation and that of the young woman on the witness stand. Realizing that she bears the burden of proof, Clarissa unravels the twisted, macabre fairytale that Rafe has spun around them - and discovers that the ending he envisions is more terrifying than she could have imagined.
3. Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey
Meet Maud. Maud is forgetful. She makes a cup of tea and doesn't remember to drink it. She goes to the shops and forgets why she went. Sometimes her home is unrecognizable - or her daughter Helen seems a total stranger. But there's one thing Maud is sure of: her friend Elizabeth is missing. The note in her pocket tells her so. And no matter who tells her to stop going on about it, to leave it alone, to shut up, Maud will get to the bottom of it. Because somewhere in Maud's damaged mind lies the answer to an unsolved seventy-year-old mystery. One everyone has forgotten about. Everyone, except Maud...
4. The Murder Bag by Tony Parsons
This is the gripping first novel in an explosive new crime series by Tony Parsons, bestselling author of Man and Boy. If you like crime-novels by Ian Rankin and Peter James, you will love this. Twenty years ago seven rich, privileged students became friends at their exclusive private school, Potter's Field. Now they have started dying in the most violent way imaginable. Detective Max Wolfe has recently arrived in the Homicide division of London's West End Central, 27 Savile Row. Soon he is following the bloody trail from the backstreets and bright lights of the city, to the darkest corners of the internet and all the way to the corridors of power. As the bodies pile up, Max finds the killer's reach getting closer to everything - and everyone - he loves. Soon he is fighting not only for justice, but for his own life...
5. The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin
Here is a truth that can't be escaped: for Mia 'Rabbit' Hayes, life is coming to an end ...Rabbit Hayes loves her life, ordinary as it is, and the extraordinary people in it. She loves her spirited daughter, Juliet; her colourful, unruly family; the only man in her big heart, Johnny Faye. But it turns out the world has other plans for Rabbit, and she's OK with that. Because she has plans for the world too, and only a handful of days left to make them happen. Here is a truth that won't be forgotten: this is a story about laughing through life's surprises and finding the joy in every moment.
6. Miss Carter's War by Sheila Hancock
It is 1948 and Britain is struggling to recover from the Second World War. Half French, half English, Marguerite Carter, young and beautiful, has lost her parents and survived a terrifying war, working for the SOE behind enemy lines. Leaving her partisan lover she returns to England to be one of the first women to receive a degree from the University of Cambridge. Now she pins back her unruly auburn curls, draws a pencil seam up her legs, ties the laces on her sensible black shoes, belts her grey gabardine mac and sets out towards her future as an English teacher in a girls' grammar school. For Miss Carter has a mission - to fight social injustice, to prevent war and to educate her girls.
7. A Colder War by Charles Cumming
MI6's Head of Station in Turkey is killed in a mysterious plane crash. Amelia Levene, chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, wants the incident investigated - quickly and quietly. The only man she can trust is Thomas Kell, a disgraced spy searching for redemption. Arriving in Istanbul, Kell discovers that MI6 operations in the region have been fatally compromised: a traitor inside Western Intelligence threatens not just the Special Relationship, but the security of the entire Middle East. Kell's search for the mole takes him from London, to Greece, and into Eastern Europe. But when Kell is betrayed by those closest to him, the stakes become personal. He will do anything to see this operation through - including putting himself, and others, in the line of fire...
8. Mrs Hemingway by Naomi Wood
In the dazzling summer of 1926, Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley travel from their home in Paris to a villa in the south of France. They swim, play bridge and drink gin. But wherever they go they are accompanied by the glamorous and irrepressible Fife. Fife is Hadley's best friend. She is also Ernest's lover. Hadley is the first Mrs. Hemingway, but neither she nor Fife will be the last. Over the ensuing decades, Ernest's literary career will blaze a trail, but his marriages will be ignited by passion and deceit. Four extraordinary women will learn what it means to love the most famous writer of his generation, and each will be forced to ask herself how far she will go to remain his wife...Luminous and intoxicating, Mrs. Hemingway portrays real lives with rare intimacy and plumbs the depths of the human heart
Are you going to get any of the book club books? Did you read one of them yet? Tell me what you think of them.
Labels: Richard and Judy Book Club
25 January 2015
08:59 | Posted by Peggy Farooqi | | Edit Post
What have I been up to?
It really has been a while since my last Sunday Post, but hoping to catch up with everyone this week. Not much blogging done sadly, but there are quite a few things going on as always.
We are decorating at home. Getting our dining / living room and hallway all done new. No, I've got no talent for such things and neither has hubby, so we have to get people in to do it for us. All old furniture thrown out (believe me, it was time to do this!), wallpaper off and carpets out. Can't wait - but the house is a mess and the 5 of us are camping in our two bedrooms !
Also... I'm doing my first literary translation. It is for a short story I reviewed a while ago called Red. The author is a lovely guy whom I still have contact with on FB. Let's see where it takes me. I'm doing this one for the reference only. I would love to do translation as a main job, but it just doesn't pay enough and unless you are well established, is really difficult to get into. My mother tongue is German, and I sometimes translated books 'just for myself'. I read books translated from English into German and thought: that's really bad, I could do a better job than that. A good translation should not read like a translation!
The worst example I ever read in a translation was in a well-known book about a boy-wizard (yes, that famous serious which shall remain unnamed). The word 'custard pie' was translated as 'Senfkuchen'. Now SENF is mustard! So it was translated as 'mustard pie'. I was scratching my head ... what, a mustard pie? Now of course in the wizardy world anything is possible, eating slugs and all this. But it later occurred to me that someone most likely confused custard with mustard!
On the blog
My latest reviews
- Fifty Shades Darker by E L James
- Silver Kings and Sons of bitches by Michael McGranaham
- What if it's Love (Bistro Boheme Book 1) by Alix Nichols
- Lieb Vaterland mags ruhig sein by Johannes Mario Simmel
What am I reading at the moment:
What passing Bells by Julian Moss
This is a review book I received a while ago (I am so behind with reviews!). I initially shy-ed away from this book as it is 800 pages. It just seems to be a big time investment. However, I'm glad I started it and I'm now on page 368. Not my usual read either - it is around World War I, but beautifully written, telling the story of a young Welshman and his love, both caught up in it. The story is intersected with the story of a young Adolf Hitler.
Books I bought in the last few weeks:
Amazon had a 99p day for Nicci French books so I bought them all :)
And 2 Leigh Russell books. Absolutely love her books. I used to converse with her when she was just writing her first book. What a talent!
Happy reading everyone
Labels: Sunday Post Meme