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A - Z Author Challenge > Ian's A to Z of Authors and Book Titles 2014

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message 1: by Ian, Moderator (last edited Oct 18, 2014 07:48AM) (new)

Ian (pepecan) | 5528 comments Mod
For 2014 doing both authors plus for a change book titles, excluding The, A and An. Thoughts on each book posted as I go.

As of mid October just added my K book title - The Killing Pool.

A to Z of Authors 2014

A - Abulhawa, Susan - Mornings in Jenin - 4 stars - read August 2014
B - Brooks, Geraldine - March - 5 stars - read January 2014
C - Castellani, Christopher - The Saint of Lost Things - 3 stars - read May 2014
D - Drakulic, Slavenka - As If I Am Not There - 4 stars - read February 2014
E - Erdrich, Louise - The Round House - 2 stars - read March 2014
F - Faber, Michael - Under the Skin - 4 stars - read March 2014
G - Graves, Robert - Goodbye To All That - 4 stars - read February 2014
H - Haynes, Elizabeth - Into The Darkest Corner - 5 stars - read March 2014
I -
J - Jungersen, Christian - The Exception - 1 star - read July 2014
K - Kenneally, Thomas - The Daughters of Mars - 4 stars - read January 2014
L - Lindqvist, John Ajvide - Let the Right One In - 3 stars - read January 2014
M - Monaghan, Alan - The Soldier's Song - 4 stars - read January 2014
N - Nesbo, Jo - Cockroaches - 3 stars - read June 2014
O -
P - Parsons, Tony - Man and Boy - 3 stars read June 2014
Q -
R - Rabb, Jonathan - Rosa - 4 stars read July 2014
S - Sebker, Jan-Phillipp - The Art of Hearing Heartbeats - 3 stars - read February 2014
T - Thomas, David - Ostland - 3 stars - read February 2014
U -
V -
W -
X -
Y -
Z -

A to Z of Book Titles 2014

A - As If I Am Not There by Slavenka Drakulic - 4 stars - read February 2014
B - Blood and Beauty by Sarah Dunant - 3 stars - read April 2014
C - Cockroaches by Jo Nesbo - 3 stars - read June 2014
D - The Daughters of Mars by Thomas Kenneally - 4 stars - read January 2014
E - The Exception by Christian Jungersen - 1 star - read July 2014
F - A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway - 3 stars - read September 2014
G - Goodbye To All That by Robert Graves - 4 stars - read February 2014
H - The House of Special Purpose by John Boyne - 3 stars - read March 2014
I - Into The Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes - 5 stars - read March 2014
J -
K - The Killing Pool by Kevin Sampson - 1 star - read October 2014
L - Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist - 3 stars - read January 2014
M - March by Geraldine Brooks - 5 stars - read January 2014
N - Norwegian by Night by Derek Miller - 4 stars - read August 2014
O - Ostland by David Thomas - 3 stars - read February 2014
P - Please Look After Mother by Shin Kyung Sook - 3 stars - read April 2014
Q -
R - The Round House by Louise Erdrich - 2 stars - read March 2014
S - The Soldier's Song by Alan Monaghan - 4 stars - read January 2014
T - Truth Dare Kill by Gordon Ferris - 3 stars - read April 2014
U - Under the Skin by Michael Faber - 4 stars - read March 2014
V -
W - The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty by Sebastian Barry - 4 stars - read February 2014
X -
Y -
Z -


message 2: by Helen (new)

Helen | 4238 comments The US version of the film was shown on Sunday, too scary for me to watch.


message 3: by Ian, Moderator (last edited Jan 23, 2014 07:37AM) (new)

Ian (pepecan) | 5528 comments Mod
Saw it was on......book didn't inspire me enough to bother watching.

The book was Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist by John Ajvide Lindqvist. Started reading this thinking it was scandi crime, so the arrival of vampires was a bit of a surprise - long time since I'd bought it - enjoyed it but not enough to have any enthusiasm for any more in this popular genre.


message 4: by Tania (new)

Tania | 1008 comments Is it possible to run both challenges in tandem so that they both take the same letter but you get 2 letters as jokers say Z and X where they don't have to be related like L. Does that make sense? It would make it harder to find the books/authors together for each letter.


message 5: by Ian, Moderator (new)

Ian (pepecan) | 5528 comments Mod
You could do it that way Tania if you have a masochistic streak......not for me though.......far too hard. Good luck with Q lol.


message 6: by Tania (new)

Tania | 1008 comments Q The Autobiography of Quincy Jones by Quincy Jones by Quincy Jones, its the others that had me!


message 7: by Ian, Moderator (new)

Ian (pepecan) | 5528 comments Mod
First names as well.....now that's cheating lol.


message 8: by Tania (new)

Tania | 1008 comments A pure fluke, saw it on a Amazon promo they sent me last week


message 9: by Ian, Moderator (new)

Ian (pepecan) | 5528 comments Mod
K author and D title - The Daughters of Mars by Thomas Keneally by Thomas Keneally. Really enjoyed this. Story about Australian nurses in WW1 who travel from Oz to first Gallipoli and then on to Flanders and France.


message 10: by Ian, Moderator (new)

Ian (pepecan) | 5528 comments Mod
B author and M title - March by Geraldine Brooks by Geraldine Brooks. This was brilliant in so many ways. It is based on the imagined experiences during the US Civil War of the missing father/husband of the daughters/mother in the US classic Little Women (Little Women, #1) by Louisa May Alcott by Louisa May Alcott. I haven't read the latter - it was given to me aged c.8 by a rather dotty aunt who thought I'd like it.....I read the synopsis and as it was about girls it got ignored lol - so no need to have done so. It is achingly well written - 5 stars all the way.


message 11: by Ian, Moderator (new)

Ian (pepecan) | 5528 comments Mod
M author and S title - The Soldier's Song by Alan Monaghan by Alan Monaghan. Part 1 of a trilogy of Irish historical fiction with a romantic thread entwined. It is set both in Dublin at the time of the Easter Rising and in the trenches of France/Flanders. It was particularly - for me anyway - informative about the former re the devastation of the city and the self defeating British response to it. Looking forward to picking up the story in part 2 - The Soldier's Return by Alan Monaghan .


message 12: by Ian, Moderator (new)

Ian (pepecan) | 5528 comments Mod
D author and A title - As If I Am Not There by Slavenka Drakulić by Slavenka Drakulić. This a great book but a really difficult one to read. It is set during the 1990's Bosnian war and is about the systematic rape and killing of Bosnian Muslim women by Serbian soldiers both in their towns and villages but later in the concentration camps. It is a story told by a woman only identified by the initial S. - the sad truth being that the women will never identify the rapists, for fear that they will be victimised even further after returning to the Muslim community.


message 13: by Ian, Moderator (last edited Feb 12, 2014 07:33AM) (new)

Ian (pepecan) | 5528 comments Mod
W title - The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty by Sebastian Barry by Sebastian Barry.

This is the tale of an itinerant Sligoman, Eneas McNulty who was born in 1900 and thus comes of age against the backdrop of WW1 and the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin. I love Barry's prose and both the story and the language in the first half of this book were a delight. This narrative quality drops off in the years post WW1 as Eneas is forced to leave his homeland in fear of his life. Still, overall, I really enjoyed it and eventually gave it 4 stars...but perhaps more a 3.5.


message 14: by Ian, Moderator (new)

Ian (pepecan) | 5528 comments Mod
O title and T author - Ostland by David Thomas by David Thomas. This is a fictionalised account of the true story of a German detective in WW2 - Georg Hauser - who following his work in catching a notorious Berlin serial killer was transferred to be part of the SS killing squads in the Soviet Union. Post war he became an acclaimed detective again before being put on trial as a war criminal. The novel attempts to explain how a normal man can become a monster during a war and then revert to normal life once more.

Trouble is that though the parts based on fact are really well done, the imagined parts ie Hauser's motivations and crises of conscience, plus the bits about the lawyers and their efforts to get him convicted are not.


message 15: by Ian, Moderator (new)

Ian (pepecan) | 5528 comments Mod
G title and G author - Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves by Robert Graves.

I really enjoyed this searing memoir by one of Britain's war poets. It is at its best when he is describing his experiences in the trenches of WW1, when he is explaining the oddities of the army regimental system and when he is reminiscing about his friendship with Siegfried Sassoon. It falls away from 5 stars at the start when he talks of his early life and his experiences at his public school which I found a touch dull.


message 16: by Andrew (new)

Andrew | 1010 comments Read it many years ago, but may have try it again, have you read the Claudius books, ive always fancied them ?


message 17: by Ian, Moderator (new)

Ian (pepecan) | 5528 comments Mod
Not read.....always put off by the TV series.


message 18: by Liz, Moderator (new)

Liz | 3537 comments Mod
I read 'I Claudius' last year as part of the time traveller challenge - it's good.


message 19: by Ian, Moderator (last edited Mar 03, 2014 05:38AM) (new)

Ian (pepecan) | 5528 comments Mod
S author - The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker by Jan-Philipp Sendker.

Set in rural Burma, it has at it's heart a beautiful love story that had me gripped. It's let down a bit by the opening set in the US and the rather abrupt ending but it is definitely well worth a read. Keep the tissues handy.

H author and I book title - Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes by Elizabeth Haynes.

Just fantastic. A gripping psychological thriller that just got better and better.


message 20: by Ian, Moderator (new)

Ian (pepecan) | 5528 comments Mod
F author and U book title - Under the Skin by Michel Faber by Michel Faber.


message 21: by Ian, Moderator (new)

Ian (pepecan) | 5528 comments Mod
Managed just 1 author but 4 titles since I last posted.

E author and R book title - The Round House by Louise Erdrich byLouise Erdrich.

B book title - Blood & Beauty The Borgias by Sarah Dunant by Sarah Dunant.

P book title - Please Look After Mom by Shin Kyung-sook by Shin Kyung-sook.

H book title - The House of Special Purpose by John Boyne by John Boyne.


message 22: by Ian, Moderator (last edited Apr 30, 2014 06:13AM) (new)

Ian (pepecan) | 5528 comments Mod
T book title - Truth Dare Kill by Gordon Ferris by Gordon Ferris.


message 23: by Ian, Moderator (new)

Ian (pepecan) | 5528 comments Mod
C author - The Saint of Lost Things by Christopher Castellani by Christopher Castellani.

I gave this 3 stars but it was more like 2.5 really. Part of a trilogy, it is the sequel to A Kiss from Maddalena & maybe I should have read that first as this was unsatisfying. Maddalena Grosso is the central character in this gentle story of 1950's Italian immigrants to Delaware. For me there were just too many loose ends - perhaps they are resolved in the third of the series - most notably the story lines involving the one black family living in the neighbourhood. Most of the characters were cardboard thin but somehow Maddalena held it together, as I did begin to care about what happened to her and also about the accordian player Julian. I just about enjoyed it but it is badly flawed.


message 24: by Ian, Moderator (new)

Ian (pepecan) | 5528 comments Mod
It's been a month but have managed to get both my N author and C book title in one go.

Cockroaches (Harry Hole, #2) by Jo Nesbø by Jo Nesbø.

Just 3 stars for this, the second in the Harry Hole detective series. This one has HH dispatched to the Far East to investigate the murder of the Norwegian ambassador, a killing that no-one wants him to solve, particularly the diplomatic service and politicians back in Norway. So we get Harry fighting against the establishment, sweating profusely and delving deep into the perverse and very seedy underbelly of Bangkok, whilst trying to get to the truth behind the ambassador's death. It was enjoyable but I much prefer the later novels which are much, much darker and set in Norway rather than in faraway places.


message 25: by Ian, Moderator (new)

Ian (pepecan) | 5528 comments Mod
P author - Man and Boy by Tony Parsons.

It was an engaging tale based around 30 year old Harry, who after being caught playing away from home finds himself all at sea as a single parent to his 4 year old son after his wife walks out on them.

I enjoyed it, often finding it gently funny in a much Richard Curtis film sort of way, related to the era and the cultural references and some of the father son conundrums in a post separation world. But it was all a bit too cute and I can't say it really tugged at my heartstrings that much, because since the plot was so, so similar to the US film Kramer v Kramer, there wasn't much mystery as to the eventual outcome. There were also strident echoes of Four Weddings and a Funeral with Harry and Cyd interchangeable in my head with Hugh and Andie.


message 26: by Ian, Moderator (new)

Ian (pepecan) | 5528 comments Mod
R author - Rosa by Jonathan Rabb.

Excellent crime mystery HF novel set in 1919 Germany. First of a trio of novels spanning the inter war years featuring Inspector Nikolai Hoffner.


message 27: by Ian, Moderator (new)

Ian (pepecan) | 5528 comments Mod
A author - Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa.

Really good novel about the history and fate of the Palestinian people since the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.


message 28: by Ian, Moderator (new)

Ian (pepecan) | 5528 comments Mod
F book title - A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway.

Posh American ambulance driver meets posh English nurse in Italy during the first world war. Breathless romance follows with dramatic ending. Felt so dated and just didn't believe in it for one minute largely because of the anorexic depth of Catherine's character. On the other hand Hemingway's descriptive prose of men and war that interrupt the sickly love story are quite memorable. Take your pick.


message 29: by Ian, Moderator (new)

Ian (pepecan) | 5528 comments Mod
N book title - Norwegian by Night by Derek B. Miller.

Really enjoyed this quirky tale about an 82 year old American who upon witnessing a murder gets caught up in a chase thriller across Norway. It sounds like a non starter but it really works because of the wonderful central character who btw is in the early stages of dementia.......and yes it still works as the story is as much about ageing, memory, love and family as it is about murder, kidnap and danger.


message 30: by Ian, Moderator (new)

Ian (pepecan) | 5528 comments Mod
J author and E book title - The Exception by Christian Jungersen.

Read this back in July but forgot to post it here. Only gave it one star which might explain why. Certainly not a memorable or recommendable read.


message 31: by Ian, Moderator (new)

Ian (pepecan) | 5528 comments Mod
K book title - The Killing Pool by Kevin Sampson.

Another 1 star rating. Crime yarn set in my home city of Liverpool. As we say round here......it was shite.


message 32: by Helen (new)

Helen | 4238 comments Lol


message 33: by Ian, Moderator (new)

Ian (pepecan) | 5528 comments Mod
As was I doing this challenge in 2014. Game over. Taking 2015 off.


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