Archive | Books Club & Literary Work

God’s Own County Book Club selections, anecdotes, comment and literary works

War Years to CND a Good Yorkshire Book Companion

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Preface to Yorkshire Book Club (B2)

Something a bit different this time about one of Yorkshire’s famous literary sons John Boynton Priestley (JBP).
It is hard to know what is JBP’s most abiding legacy. ‘An Inspector Calls’ and the West Riding farce ‘When We are Married’ are plays that are regularly performed as are ‘Dangerous Corner’ and his ‘Time’ plays.
‘The Good Companions’ may be out of print but there is many a copy nestling on book lovers shelves up and down the country.
There is a special anniversary edition of ‘An English Journey’ linked to an earlier story on God’s Own County. However this time we are concerned with JBP’s wartime exploits.

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Priestley’s War Years by J.B. Priestley with contributions from his sons Tom Priestley and Nicholas Hawkes, with editing and collation by Neil Hanson with illustration by David Burrill.

Yorkshire God’s Own County Book Club Comments

I vaguely knew that JBP was a founder member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) but I had no inkling as to why. He started work as a clerk in Swan Arcade Bradford but quickly joined up in the infantry during the first World War where he was badly gassed in the trenches. Doubtless this influenced his feelings about ‘weapons of mass destruction’.
JBP’s famous quote “I came out of the war with a chip on my shoulder . . . probably some friend’s thigh-bone.” seems very poignant.
Returning from France he went to Cambridge University and became a writer, journalist and critic.
As one of the founders of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament he went on the famous Aldermaston march in 1958 and was a friend of Tony Benn and Michael Foot (he stood as an independent parliamentary candidate of Oxford failing to get in).

Footnotes

I haven’t read this particular work but may get the Kindle version when I get sometime for serious reading.
JBP interests me as a complex character who stood apart from some accepted norms but captured the spirit and ‘spoke for the common sense of the common man’.
Photo Credit for J B Priestley statue image IMG_1301 by riotcitygirl, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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Crime Thrillers and Writing Festival in Old Peculier Harrogate

Budding authors and active readers can join the thriller and crime writing fest in Harrogate during July as part of the Harrogate festival. Plot your time as you feast on the programme of events and you will have no time to kill.
Mass murderers, obvious suspects and serial killers need not apply for tickets

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The Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival is back at the Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate and claims (again) it could be the best yet. This year sees the grittier and true crime end of the spectrum meet with some of the biggest names in the business:

Crime Authors at Writing Festival

2012

  • Harlan Coben
  • Peter James
  • Mark Billingham
  • Kate Mosse
  • Jo Nesbo
  • John Connolly
  • Sue Townsend and almost 100 others

2011

  • David Baldacci, Linwood Barclay, Lee Child,
  • Martina Cole, Lisa Gardner, Tess Gerritsen,
  • Dennis Lehane and Howard Marks
  • As usual there will also be many lesser well known authors with many a tale to tell.

Improve Your Own Books and Scripts

Crime Writers Reference Guide: 1001 Tips for Writing the Perfect Crime above as a Kindle edition from amazon

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Crime Writers Guide to Police Practice and Procedure

Or check out the competition with the latest Crime Thrillers from amazon

Crime Books for Theakston Beer Drinkers

  • Cask & Ale by Yorkshire Muagham
  • Bitter is the Beer, Dark is the Mild by Duke O’York
  • Old Peculier Goings On By Mollie Masham
  • Danger XB by Bomber Graham
  • Black Bull the Politically Incorrect Boozer by Shep Black
  • Gottle of Geer by unknown junkie ventriloquist
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Orange Prize for Fiction – Winners 1996-2012

For the last Orange Prize for Fiction it is a first-time novelist who has scooped this women’s literature prize from under the noses of many award-winning and in some minds more suitable writers.
Madeline Miller won the 2012 Orange Prize for Literature for her novel ‘The Song of Achilles’ which tells the story of a young prince’s experiences of love and war in Ancient Greece.

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All the Winners of the Orange Prize for Fiction 1996-2012

1996 winner A Spell of Winter Helen Dunmore
1997 winner Fugitive Pieces Anne Michaels
1998 winner Larry’s Party Carol Shields
1999 winner A Crime in the Neighbourhood Suzanne Berne
2000 winner When I Lived in Modern Times Linda Grant
2001 winner The Idea of Perfection Kate Grenville
2002 winner Bel Canto Ann Patchett
2003 winner Property Valerie Martin
2004 winner Small Island Andrea Levy
2005 winner We Need to Talk About Kevin Lionel Shrive
2006 winner On Beauty Zadie Smith
2007 winner Half of a Yellow Sun Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
2008 winner The Road Home Rose Tremain
2009 winner Home Marilynne Robinson
2010 winner The Lacuna Barbara Kingsolver
2011 winner The Tiger’s Wife Téa Obreht
2012 winner The Song of Achilles Madeline Miller

The Orange Prize for Fiction was one of the United Kingdom’s most prestigious literary prizes. It has been awarded each year 1996-2012 to a female author of any nationality for the best original full-length novel written in English.

What Happens Next – The Plot Thickens

Orange are no longer enamored with their sponsorship and the award will need to find a new source of funds. Orange have squeezed the juice out of fiction and given authors the pip! What pithy organisation will take on the mantle?
Enter Kindle, Kobe or Knorr if they are really in the soup.
The chance to rename the female fiction prize is a marketing dream and with a top prize of only £30,000 there must be many footballers wives who could stump up the cash! How about naming it ‘The Cole’.

Hardback or Kindle from Yorkshire at Amazon.co.uk,  paperback for pre-ordering  (released 6 November 2012)

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Ee By Gum Book Readers

Ee by gum they now have computers or electronic devices that read your books for you, so you don’t need to bother! Well not quite, on many levels.

Lassie

Entry Level E Book Readers

The batteries do most of the work or not if you forget to recharge them.
The software can’t read at all. All software and programmes can do is represent a digital stream of binary data as letters in liquid crystal display, a bit like morse code on speed!
You still need to buy or acquire ‘the books’. Local charity shops and jumble sales are still looking for ways to get digital donations.
After learning a new language of downloads, Kobos and Kindles you are nearly set to acquire your first complete work.

Level 2 E Book Readers

Let us get this straight you do the reading! If you don’t it isn’t reading!
Talking books have been around for ‘yonks’ and are a digital light year from e books (so the youngsters tell us).
Now you are kitted up with an ‘ebook reader’ you can load up and get browsing. (not as easy as flicking the pages to my mind nor as tactile but I am an old fashioned dinosaurs [so the youngsters tell me]).

Three E Book Readers from 57 Varieties

The all-new Kindle – Lighter smaller faster so was the last one heavy, big slow and clunky?
The ARCHOS 70 eReader is the ultimate e reader with a 7″ TFT color screen it is as big as a paperback. 10 hours of battery life, so you may be half way through your second book (or first for us slow readers).
The Sony PRS-T1 is ‘ultra slim and lightweight reader with superior paper-like touch screen and Wi-Fi. Ah paper like thats sounds like the one for me at £129 to feel like paper it is only paper money.

Ee By Gum Mild Marketing

Waterstones shops have succumbed and are now selling e readers in partnership with Amazon. Good for them, I hope it helps fund real book shops for a bit longer. GOC recommend you buy (if you must) your Kindle, Sony, Kobe or what ever from them. In the event you are not so keen remember you can make your purchases through Yorkshire at Amazon.co.uk

‘Ee By Gum’ it’s an amazing fact that Amazon now have over 1,000,000 books available in digital format so come on readers get reading.

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Yorkshire Book Festival – Leeds 2012

The Big Bookend Festival is almost upon us (13-17 June). Advertised as ‘A Rock Festival for Words’ and using the same catch phrase as last year ‘if you can read this – thank a teacher’ you will discover an interesting programme of activities.

My Choice of Events

I have got a couple of tickets to listen to Peter James or Roy Grace the ‘Not Dead Yet’ talk at the Carriageworks (Yorkshire value at £3 each)
I will miss ‘The Story of the Pogues’ on Thursday 14th June 2012 tickets from Waterstones but I will not miss Simon Jenkins, author of the ‘Great Leeds Pub Crawl’ who is hosting a tutored beer tasting.
Women, Sex and History with Jane Borodale, Gabrielle Kimm, Hallie Rubenhold and Anne O’Brien and An Audience with Joanne Harris are on Saturday and Sunday 16-17 June.
If your children are recently inspired by a teacher or yet to meet a great one get down to one of the many events designed for them (kids that is not teachers but then again).

Book Festival Sponsors Include

Virtuoso Legal – The intellectual property Lawyers. Website
Land Securities – The UK’s largest commercial property company. Website: 
Leeds Libraries Link
Waterstones Leeds, who have started selling tickets for Yorkshire Book Festival Leeds 2012 The Big Bookend, have displays of all the authors featured in the festival.

Other Yorkshire Book Festivals

The Richmond Walking & Book Festival 2012 will run from 21st – 30th September 2012 sponsored by Castle Hill bookshop.
I expect a Beverley-literature-festival in October but no details are available
Ilkley Literature Festival September 28- 14 October 2012
Yorkshire Book Day takes place in Scarborough on Thursday 2 August as part of the five-day “A Festival of Yorkshire – Scarborough”. The authors taking part include Craig Bradley, Andy Seed, Penny Dolan, Malcolm Rose and Mike Pannett.
Ryedale Book Festival 20 October in Maltonis an event featuring workshops, talks, competitions and inter-active performances by authors, poets, artists, musicians and story-tellers.
Bridlington Poetry Festival 8-10 June 2012

If you know of another Yorkshire Book Festival let us know and we will add it to our God’s Own County website

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Lee Child Latest – Yorkshire Book Club Offering

Author - Lee Child

Preface to Yorkshire Book Club (A2)

Lee Child is a Yorkshire man from Leeds now living and working in the United States of America but we can’t hold that against him. So for that reason we have Lee as our second (A) choice for Yorkshire’s GOC book club.
Lee’s character Jack Reacher features in a growing series of books based on a successful formula of good triumphing over evil or at least pretty bad if not true evil.
‘The Affair’ is due out in paperback shortly but Kindle and hardback versions are now available, ‘The Wanted Man’ is due in a short while.

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With out giving the plot away or reproducing the publishers mindless hype, this is another book by Lee Childs.
Like Lee’s other fiction it features Jack Reacher a military policeman who regular readers of these books will know leaves the job to roam the United States finding trouble in most of the other books.
This book takes Jack back to his days as a Major and is all the better for true fans as it is filling in ‘the back story’ of his career.

Yorkshire God’s Own County Book Club Opinion

Amazon claim the latest Lee Child’s novel is ‘the coolest, sexiest, punch-packing Reacher’ to date but that is over hyped to sell more books.
There is a loyal following for Lee Child and rightly so. The Jack Reacher books are a fast, entertaining, escapist read where you can expect the good guy to triumph in a responsible and acceptable manner.
I like the none adherence to a strict chronology when writing and publishing the books but this prequel lacks some elan found in Killing Floor, 61 Hours or Bad Luck and Trouble.
It must be hard to invent new plots for a asset free gypsy like figure who hitchhikes into trouble in many of the other titles featuring Jack Reacher.
Given the problems with The Affair, let us hope that the next book ‘A Wanted Man’ re-establishes the Child’s brand and that the Reacher franchise has not run it’s course.

Book Club Type Questions for Consideration

Did the plot of ‘The Affair’ pull you in or did you feel you had to force yourself to read the book?
Is the title reasonable and appropriate?
Is the main character Jack Reacher a female fantasy or a man’s rough, tough, action hero. Can a character be both?
Do you think the Jack Reacher books would make good films or a TV series.

Footnotes

Photo credit Author – Lee Child by Steve_C CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Lee Child’s next Jack Reacher novel A Wanted Man due to be published 30 August 2012 can be pre ordered from amazon

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God’s Own County Book Club Top Ten Travel Guides

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South Yorkshire seldom gets coverage because it is not a proper area unlike our three famous ridings, North, West and East. However to redress the balance slightly I have started with this South Yorkshire County Planning Map: No. 1A by Jonathan Davey who claims to have ‘The county administrative boundary … highlighted on each map and for added emphasis the mapping outside the boundary has been faded out’.
However again and on to the main event of the evening….

Top Ten Travel Guides for Yorkshire

1.The Rough Guide to Yorkshire or ‘Roughing It Around Yorkshire’

2. ‘Images of Yorkshire Moors & Wolds’  Our own images and the coffee table book  ‘The Yorkshire Moors and Wolds’    by Mark Denton

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3. Yorkshire Dales: A Dog Walker’s Guide by Rob Godfrey Yorkshire is great for walkers and this leads you on countless footpaths, ancient lanes and bridleways but not necessarily with a guide dog.

4. Dent Dale Howgills, Dentdale, Ribblesdale, Airedale, Wharfdale a Cicerone Guide.

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5. Waiting for a post on this book but if it is as good as Mark Denton’s other work then ‘The Yorkshire Coast’ will have earned a place here.

6. A quick guide to Slow North Yorkshire: Moors, Dales & Coast, including York – Local, characterful guides to Britain’s special places from Mike Bradshaw

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7. The Insight Guide to Great Breaks in York. Our recommendation try Cycling York

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8. Do not overlook the North Riding or the East Riding. We have been guilty of doing so and intend to fit it. ‘Tourist’s Guide to the East and North Ridings of Yorkshire: Containing Full Information Concerning All the Favorite Places of Resort, Both on the Coast and Inland’ by George Phillips Bevan

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9. Holding temporary place at number 9 is the ‘Tourist’s Guide to the West Riding of Yorkshire’ by the above author.

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10. We started with a map and end on the same note.

Click on the book image for a link to Amazon. Where there is no book image we have a full report on the subject and have provided a link to our internal God’s Own County Book Club Top Ten Travel Guides appraisal.

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Scarborough Setting for 1st Yorkshire Book Club Offering

bempton scarborough

Preface to Yorkshire Book Club (A1)

Finding a book to start Yorkshire – God’s Own County book club proved to be an interesting challenge.
Should we opt for a tried and tested author who was already popular and well known? Should the genre be the most popular and frequently read or should we opt for something different and challenging?
Initially it was decided to have at least one link to the county and in this case it was clearly Scarborough and the setting for this weeks book.

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So a top selling, tried and tested author Charlotte Link offers us all ‘The Other Child’.
Charlotte is not yet particularly well known in the UK but has sold over 16 million books in her home country of Germany. This is her first book to be translated into English but it could be the first of many. Much of her psychological suspense work has been the focus of television adaptations and with the UK appetite for Scandinavian TV products we may be getting the German versions shortly.

Yorkshire God’s Own County Book Club Opinion

Throughout the 400 plus tight pages the attention is held by a range of characters. The strongest participants in this ‘who done it’ are the women that despite their varying backgrounds cope with the Yorkshire environment if not the pressure of the plot.
Bella are quoted on the cover as saying ‘High suspense. A book to read in one go’. Whilst I could not disagree the size and complexity of the book was not one to skip through and it took me longer than one day to finish the story.
It is not a blood and thunder murder mystery and there is little or no foul language but the characters are crafted to hold your interest until the end.
There is a very clever ‘flash back device’ that fits neatly into the plot that links the war time evacuation of children from London to the relative peace of Scarborough. Enough about the plot you want to read the book for yourself.

Book Club Type Questions for Consideration

In what ways, if any can you tell that this is a translation? Does the author have any empathy for Yorkshire?
Are the women more powerful than the male characters and what do you think about the main detective inspector.
Would you recommend this book to other readers or your close friend and for what reasons.
Do not fret there is no test or exam on these questions! Just read ‘The Other Child’ for your own pleasure and amusement.

Footnotes

Please send us your comments and suggestions for other titles or feature via the Leave a reply section below.
Currently available in Hardback and Kindle that can be accessed at amazon by clicking on the cover or link above.

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Yorkshire – God’s Own County Book Club

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We are launching a simple new book club but we are not reprising books covered earlier even though due to popular demand we may show the odd link. The God’s Own County Book Club is an internet phenomenon based on the well known and respected Yorkshire blog (says the ed).
If you have missed some of the literary master pieces in Gods Own County over the last couple of years worry not, (don’t fret thisen the Lord will provide translations in ‘Ee by Gum, Lord!: The Gospels in Broad Yorkshire’ by Arnold Kellett.

The Book Club Rules

There are no rules at ‘Yorkshire – God’s Own County Book Club’.
There is no formal or informal membership.
There are no regular meetings or irregular meetings either.
There is no obligation to read, own or even glance at any of the books covered.

Observations about – God’s Own County’s Book Club

Many but not all the books reviewed or considered will have been read by the staff (of one).
Many but not all the books reviewed or considered will be rubbish or scarcely worth the effort but there may be an occasional gem worth dusting off the bookmark for.
Many but not all the books will have a link to or with Yorkshire!
Feel free to comment in the footnotes ‘Leave a reply’ comments section.
Feel free to recommend other title for consideration and inclusion in our reading list.
Slow readers will be welcome and remember their lips will not wear out as quickly.

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God’s Own County Bookmark Keep Calm Carry on Reading.

A Couple of Recommendations to get you Started

16 million selling author of detective thrillers, Charlotte Link offers us all ‘The Other Child’.
Memories of Hull
Mike Pannett and Martyn Johnson books by former policemen

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Know Your Oliver Onions Yorkshire’s Ghost Story Expert

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Oliver Onions was a contemporary of J B Priestley both were born in Bradford and both authors of significant talent. Oliver Onions wrote some of the finest Ghost stories of the time and his tales of the supernatural are still worthy of being read.

In his early life he was schooled in Bradford living in Undercliffe, Manchester Road and Little Horton. He became a pupil at Bradford Grammar School and as a student attended evening classes at Technical college (as many folk use to do).
After time at the National Art Training School, Oliver was apprenticed to a printer where he illustrated books and acted as a printers draughtsman.
As a war artist during the South African War he turned to journalism and then writing his first novel.

Specialist Subject The Novels of Oliver Onions

Many of Oliver Onions books were of interest to the people of the West Riding as they embodied autobiographical detail and memories from the end of the 19th century.
Oliver Onions oeuvre of 40 novels may not all be in print but a selection of his work is available via amazon
Widdershins (illustrated above) is a collection of short ghost stories Widdershins means “contrary to the course of the Sun”
Oliver Onions was a man of care and detail and this is demonstrated in his stories such as Back o’ the Moon and Ghosts in Daylight.

‘Oliver Onions is unique in the realms of ghost story writers in that his tales are so far ranging in their background and substance that they are not easily categorised. His stories are powerfully charged explorations of psychical violence, their effects heightened by detailed character studies graced with a powerful poetic elegance. In simple terms Oliver Onions goes for the cerebral rather than the jugular. However, make no mistake, his ghost stories achieve the desired effect. They draw you in, enmeshing you in their unnerving and disturbing narratives. This collection contains such masterpieces as The Rosewood Door, The Ascending Dream, The Painted Face and The Beckoning Fair One’ by David Stuart Davies.

Oliver died in 1961 at the age of 87 and I wonder if he is now taking part in some of his own tales of the supernatural or may be he is a genuine ghost and not having to fictionalise his writing.

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