First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday – the best of 2014

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As the year draws to a close, all sorts of ‘Best of 2014’ lists are popping up. And there are a couple of books that keep appearing on ‘Best books for 2014’ lists that I haven’t yet read, despite owning them – Nora Webster by Colm Toibin, The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and The Strays by Emily Bitto.

So I’m stretching the parameters of First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday (hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea) and presenting four opening paragraphs and a poll – you decide which book I should read next. Continue reading

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First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday – Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar

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I’ve picked Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar based on the fact that it is likened to Loving Frank (and The Paris Wife, which I still haven’t read!). It begins –

“I opened the great sash window onto the morning pink of the square and made a decsion.
Yes. Today. Continue reading

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday – The Eye of the Sheep by Sofie Laguna

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Sometimes a new book keeps popping up on your radar and, after enough trusted reading buddies have given it the thumbs up, you get yourself a copy. Then there are the times when you read just a single review, and that review has a  subliminal message that’s written just for you. It whispers “Read this now Kate”. And then I have to hurry to the bookshop. Which is what I did when I read Anna’s review of Sofie Laguna’s latest, The Eye of the Sheep.

The Eye of the Sheep begins – Continue reading

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday – Hungry, The Stars and Everything by Emma Jane Unsworth

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Last week I reviewed Emma Jane Unsworth’s Animals. It’s been one of my favourite books this year (up there with We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma and The Goldfinch). However, Unsworth’s debut novel was Hungry, The Stars and Everything and it has a food theme – I know, right? How did it escape my attention until now?!

Here’s how it begins – Continue reading

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday – Berlin: Imagine a City by Rory MacLean

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Earlier this year I visited Berlin. I’ve been to Germany a number of times but it was my first trip to Berlin. Within three days, it was love. In fact, Berlin has bumped New York from the number one spot on the list of my favourite cities. I’m already thinking about my next trip.

So I pounced on Rory MacLean’s Berlin: Imagine a City. The book is described as a “…biography of one of the world’s most volatile and creative cities”, charting its highs and lows through a “…dazzlingly eclectic cast of Berliners…”, from Marlene Dietrich and Goebbels to medieval balladeers and the time when David Bowie recorded ‘Heroes’. It begins – Continue reading

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday – Five Men Who Broke My Heart by Susan Shapiro

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It’s hard to resist a book in which the author’s note says she changed names and dates “…to protect privacy, and so my husband won’t divorce me.”

Plus the title – Five Men Who Broke My Heart – immediately made me think back over previous relationships and who had broken my heart.

This relatively short memoir by Susan Shapiro will be coming on holiday with me next week (because I own a paperback and pools and Kindles don’t mix). Here’s how it begins – Continue reading

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday – Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes

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It’s been far too long since I participated in Bibliophile by the Sea’s First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday- that will change now that exams and study are over for six weeks and I have a huge, tempting reading stack.

In that stack is Timur Vermes’s political satire, Look Who’s Back. I think you can guess who it’s about from the cover. The question is, are we ready to laugh at him?

It begins – Continue reading

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday – What Nora Knew by Linda Yellin

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Why did it take me so long to discover the (written) wisdom of Nora Ephron? Who knows but I loved Heartburn  when I read it earlier this year. Linda Yellin must also love Nora Ephron because she’s based her latest book, What Nora Knew, around all the romantic advice that can be gleaned from Ephron’s romantic comedies – sort of like what Julie and Julia was to cooking.

Although it’s not released until January 2014, I’ve managed to get my hands on an ARC and thought it would be a good one to share for Bibliophile by the Sea’s First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday. It begins – Continue reading

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday – Unexploded by Alison Macleod

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What’s your NetGalley ‘effort level’? Until recently I made sure that I reviewed (in a timely manner) at least half of what I requested however that has slipped a little of late. I don’t want the nice people at NetGalley to stop sending things my way so I’m making a two-fold effort – request less and review more.  I have five ARCs in the TBR stack and next is Unexploded by Alison Macleod. Thought it would be a good one to share for First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday (as always, with thanks to Bibliophile by the Sea for hosting).

The story is set in 1940. Geoffrey and Evelyn Beaumont and their eight-year-old son, Philip, anxiously await news of the expected enemy landing on the beaches of Brighton.  The year brings tension and change. While Geoffrey becomes Superintendent of the enemy alien camp at the far reaches of town, Evelyn struggles to fall in with the war effort and her thoughts become tinged with a mounting, indefinable desperation.  Then she meets Otto Gottlieb, a ‘degenerate’ German-Jewish painter and prisoner in her husband’s internment camp. As Europe crumbles, Evelyn’s and Otto’s mutual distrust slowly begins to change into something else, which will shatter the structures on which her life, her family and her community rest.

It begins – Continue reading