Books 65 to 72
So, in my Bucket List quest to read at least 80 books, this is my 9th list of 8 books that I've held onto. As explained in my blogs previously, my lists are an eclectic mix of book types. Hopefully you'll see something that you might read on a winter’s day. (See Blog 16, Blog 22, Blog 32, Blog 38, Blog 48, Blog 65, Blog 76 and Blog 86 for my previous book-related blogs).
65 The Past Is Myself … by Christabel Bielenberg
Christabel Bielenberg, a niece of Lord Northcliffe, married a German lawyer in 1934. She lived through the war in Germany, as a German citizen, under the horrors of Nazi rule and Allied bombings. Closely associated with resistance circles, her husband was arrested after the failure of the plot against Hitler's life on 20th July 1944, and she herself was interrogated by the Gestapo. Not only do we meet her friends whose tragic bravery shines from the book, but dozens of everyday Germans, from the simple-minded Nazi official who was also her odd-job gardener, to the good-hearted Black Forest villagers who sheltered her till the liberation. They are presented with humour and sympathy, allowing the reader a remarkable insight into their character. All the more haunting, then, is her night-time encounter with an SS man from Riga who searches desperately for death on the battlefield. The human dimension of her writing brings about an unforgettable portrait of an evil time.
This is a beautifully written book which gives great insight into what it was like to live in Germany throughout the war. – Mary@80b480
No other reviews found.
About The Author
Christabel Bielenberg wrote about her experiences in her memoir, The Past is Myself, and in its sequel, The Road Ahead. The Past is Myself was adapted for television by Dennis Potter under the title Christabel. In 1988, the Federal Republic of Germany awarded her the Commander's cross of the Order of Merit for her contribution to German-English understanding. She and her husband, Peter, had three sons and lived in Ireland. She died in 2003 aged 94.
66 Pillars Of The Earth … by Ken Follett
Set in 12th-century England, Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth chronicles the building of the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has known and the struggle between good and evil that will turn church against state, brother against brother. It tells the story of Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, a devout and resourceful monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has known; of Tom, the mason who becomes his architect - a man divided in his soul; of the beautiful, elusive Lady Aliena, haunted by a secret shame; and of a struggle between good and evil.
This is a page turner!! Right from the very first page till the last page not a single dull moment. It has everything a well woven novel should have. At around 1100 odd pages initially it would seem an uphill task to get through this but once anyone starts reading this, I can vouch that it is unputdownable. – Mary@80b480
Enormous and brilliant .... this mammoth tale seems to touch all human emotion - love and hate, loyalty and treachery, hope and despair. This is truly a novel to get lost in - Cosmopolitan
A highly enjoyable tale...this book evokes its period brilliantly. - Sunday Times
A tale of human courage and perseverance. - Evening Times
A historical saga of such breadth and density...Follett succeeds brilliantly in combining hugeness and detail to create a novel imbued with the rawness, violence and blind faith of the era. - Sunday Express
About The Author
Ken Follett was only twenty-seven when he wrote the award-winning EYE OF THE NEEDLE, which became an international bestseller. His celebrated PILLARS OF THE EARTH was voted into the top 100 of Britain's best-loved books in the BBC's the Big Read and the sequel, WORLD WITHOUT END, was published to critical acclaim. He lives with his family in London and Hertfordshire.
67 The Remains of the Day … by Kazuo Ishiguro
BOOKER PRIZE WINNER - This is Kazuo Ishiguro's profoundly compelling portrait of a butler named Stevens. Stevens, at the end of three decades of service at Darlington Hall, spending a day on a country drive, embarks as well on a journey through the past in an effort to reassure himself that he has served humanity by serving the "great gentleman," Lord Darlington. But lurking in his memory are doubts about the true nature of Lord Darlington's "greatness," and much graver doubts about the nature of his own life.
The main attraction of this book is its language and its message. A message that is true for every one of us; when we regret in hindsight for lack of foresight. – Mary@80b480
An intricate and dazzling novel. - The New York Times
Brilliant and quietly devastating. - Newsweek
A virtuoso performance ... put on with dazzling daring and aplomb. - The New York Review of Books
A perfect novel. I couldn't put it down. - Ann Beattie
About The Author
Kazuo Ishiguro was born in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1954 and moved to Britain at the age of five. His eight previous works of fiction have earned him many honours around the world, including the Nobel Prize in Literature and the Booker Prize. His work has been translated into over fifty languages, and The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go, both made into acclaimed films, have each sold more than 2 million copies. He was given a knighthood in 2018 for Services to Literature. He also holds the decorations of Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from France and the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star from Japan.
68 The Rosie Project … by Graeme Simsion
Love isn't an exact science - but no one told Don Tillman. A thirty-nine-year-old geneticist, Don's never had a second date. So, he devises the Wife Project, a scientific test to find the perfect partner. Enter Rosie - 'the world's most incompatible woman' - throwing Don's safe, ordered life into chaos. But what is this unsettling, alien emotion he's feeling?
Very humorous story and characters. – Mary@80b480
Don Tillman is one of the most endearing, charming and fascinating literary characters I have met in a long time ― The Times
A poignant, funny novel about how you don't find love; it finds you ― Glamour
Beneath the fun and the fluff there is a quietly profound exploration of the assumptions around autism and what it means to have an atypical - or typical - brain ― The Independent Daily Edition
A very funny and touching love story ― Sunday Express
About The Author
Graeme Simsion is a former IT consultant and the author of two nonfiction books on database design who decided, at the age of fifty, to turn his hand to fiction. His first novel, The Rosie Project, was published in 2013 and translation rights have been sold in over thirty-five languages. Graeme lives in Australia with his wife, Anne, and their two children.
69 The Selected Works Of Oscar Wilde
Flamboyant, stunning, witty, stylish and dazzling are just a few adjectives to describe Oscar Wilde. Celebrated by the famous humourist Max Beerbohm as "a lord of language", Oscar Wilde is still hugely popular all over the world, even a century after his death. Widely acclaimed as one the greatest writers of the "fin de siecle", Wilde packed an astonishing amount of work and genius into two short decades, producing masterpieces in every genre; from poems and short stories to plays, novels, and essays. This book includes the complete text of The Picture of Dorian Gray, as well as a wide ranging, sparkling selection from his other works.
This book contains Oscar Wilde's essays, short stories, plays and his novel Picture of Dorian Gray altogether in one volume. A great edition for your bookshelves. If you want a value for money addition to your collections, this book is the one. – Mary@80b480
Other reviews of Wilde’s work are too numerous to mention!
About The Author
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was born on the 16th October 1854 and died on the 30th November 1900. He was an Irish playwright, poet, and author of numerous short stories and one novel. Known for his biting wit, he became one of the most successful playwrights of the late Victorian era in London, and one of the greatest celebrities of his day. Several of his plays continue to be widely performed, especially The Importance of Being Earnest.
70 Time and Tide … by Charlie Bird with Ray Burke
WINNER Biography of the Year 2022 – An Post Irish Book Awards A poignant and introspective memoir from Irish journalist and broadcaster Charlie Bird. In 2021, Charlie Bird was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (Lou Gehrig's disease in the US)- a man whose voice was so synonymous with his career faced losing it completely. Yet knowing he had just a short time left with family and friends, what emerged was a great sense of resilience and motivation to take advantage of every moment.
Here, Charlie reflects on his life and phenomenal broadcast career through the lens of his diagnosis, as he ponders the big questions and takes stock of the small moments that we so often overlook. Written over the course of 2022 as his health deteriorated, with the help of long-time friend and fellow journalist Ray Burke, this is a candid and unforgettable story about the triumph of the human spirit and, ultimately, what it means to be alive.
As a big fan of Charlie Bird, I had to buy this book. Coming face to face with my own mortality in 2017, I have somewhat of an understanding of his situation but am left in total awe of the determination Charlie has mustered to make the most of every day. – Mary@80b480
A hugely moving account of coming to terms with one’s own mortality and a frankly useful guide to others in a similar situation … It is an account of our times, an insider’s view into some of our country’s most important moments. And it is a story of love, friendship and family, and how the people in our lives sustain us through the worst of times. - Sunday Independent
Charlie told it as he saw it. He does exactly that here. – Frank Coughlan, Irish Independent
About the Authors
Charlie Bird is one of Ireland's most well-known journalists and has had a long and distinguished career in Irish public service broadcasting. In 1974 he joined RTE as a current affairs researcher and in 1980 he joined the newsroom as a reporter. In a career which spanned almost four decades he held a number of positions; Chief News Reporter; Special Correspondent; Chief News Correspondent and Washington Correspondent. Over those years he was involved in many foreign assignments and also reported extensively on humanitarian stories around the world. Charlie also covered the troubles in Northern Ireland and the peace process. For over ten years he was RTE's designated link to the IRA. In November 2004 he was awarded an honorary doctorate of laws by University College Dublin for his outstanding services to Irish Journalism and in April 2015, he chaired the launch of the historic 'Yes Equality' marriage campaign.
Ray Burke is from Galway and a graduate of University College Galway. He was News Editor of the Irish Press and Chief News Editor of RTÉ News. He is the author of critically acclaimed books on the Irish Press and on James Joyce. Since retiring from RTÉ News he has written for the Century Ireland website and for the Irish Times and the Connacht Tribune.
71 The Seven Daughters of Eve … by Bryan Sykes
When Professor Bryan Sykes, a leading world authority on DNA and human evolution, was called in to examine the frozen remains of a man trapped in glacial ice in northern Italy five thousand years ago, it was the first lead in a fascinating scientific detective story. Remarkably, Professor Sykes was able to track down a living relative of the Ice Man in Britain.
How did he do this? The Seven Daughters of Eve is a first-hand account of his research into an extraordinary gene which passes undiluted from generation to generation through the maternal line, allowing us to track our genetic ancestors through time and space. Professor Sykes has found that almost all Europeans can trace their ancestry back to one of seven women, whom he has named Ursula, Xenia, Helena, Velda, Tara, Katrine and Jasmine.
In this amazing scientific adventure story, we learn where our ancient genetic ancestors lived, what their lives were like and how every one of us is a testimony to the almost miraculous strength of our DNA. It is a book that not only re-examines the way we have evolved, but also addresses our sense of individuality and identity.
Absolutely fascinating. Anyone who has even a minor or passing interest in where they came from really needs to read this book. I couldn’t put it down. The only thing is it’s about 20 years old now, so you have to look at it in its historical context as genetics have come a long way in the past 20 years. – Mary@80b480
A terrific book, written with humour and humanity ― The Sunday Times
An engrossing, bubbly read, a boy's own adventure in scientific story-telling that fairly bounces along... a thumping good read ― Observer
Sykes's wonderfully clear book should be compulsory reading for politicians... an eye-opening guide to the new branch of science that is changing the human race's view of itself ― Literary Review.
About the Author
Bryan Sykes is professor of human genetics at Oxford University. His company, Oxford Ancestors, traces human genetic backgrounds. Sykes’s books include the New York Times best-selling The Seven Daughters of Eve.
72 The Sins Of The Mothers … by Frank Delaney
Ellen Morris is confident, beautiful, bright and educated. Early in 1925, she accepts a teaching post in a rural, misty village. There the young city girl meets two men who will radically transform her. One is the handsome and respected Thomas Kane, a former gunman hero of the Troubles; the other a poor and brutal cottage-dweller, a shadowy and menacing presence. Ellen soon finds that she must conform to the traditions of the local community and toe the rural Irish line, live by the local codes. Beset by violence and turbulent emotion, Ellen rejects the hypocrisy of her religion and plunges into natural instinct, avenging what she sees as the sins of Mother Ireland and Holy Mother Church.
I really enjoyed this. Mr. Delaney is a great story teller. – Mary@80b480
A conjuror with words … fascinating. - NANETTE NEWMAN, 'Sunday Express'
Reads like a blockbuster with a message. Delaney’s images are powerful. - TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
A cleverly plotted epic … keeps the reader hanging on until the very last page for the final twist. He is a storyteller in the purest Irish tradition and proud of it. - IRISH POST
The suspense is artfully maintained. - SUNDAY TIMES
About the Author
Frank Delaney has earned top prizes and best-seller status in a wide variety of formats, from prolific author, a polished broadcaster on both television and radio, to journalist, correspondent, screenwriter, lecturer, playwright and scholar. He has been the president of the Samuel Johnson Society, president of the UK Book Trust, and the Literary Director of the famed Edinburgh Festival.
Born and raised in County Tipperary, Ireland, Delaney spent more than twenty-five years in England before moving to the United States in 2002. His first 'American' book was the New York Times Bestseller, Ireland. His second, the non-fiction Simple Courage, was chosen as one of the top five books of the year by the American Library Association. Since 2006, he has published five Novels of Ireland, all addressing, decade by decade, the twentieth century history of his homeland. His novel, "The Last Storyteller" (Random House, February 7th 2012) celebrates the mysteries of the ancient oral tradition as the last itinerant storytellers work their magic in 1950's Ireland.
Mr. Delaney lives in Litchfield County, Connecticut, with his wife, writer and marketer, Diane Meier.
Bucket List Items Partly Ticked Off in the above Blog post 96
Number 55 - Skills - Read 80 Good Books
Other Blog Posts
Blog 7 - Alice Springs, Australia
Blog 8 - Adelaide, Australia
Blog 9 - Melbourne, Australia
Blog 10 - Cairns, Australia
Blog 11 - Sydney, Australia
Blog 16 - Books 8 of 80 to read now!
Did you read any of these books? Which ones? What did you think of them?
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My name is Mary and this is my bucket list blog ...having survived a near-death experience. I hope it encourages you to "live your best life". See how I'm completing my own bucket list items. And let me know how you're getting on with yours!