2016 Unite the Kingdoms Reading Challenge

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( ...who released a copy of this book for KarmelK's Irish challenge and recommended it - http://www.bookcrossing.com/---/13898476 )

• Call My Brother Back by Michael McLaverty
e-book

Colm MacNeill is growing up just after the Great War, during the unrest that took place around the time of the Partition of Ireland. When the story opens, he is living with his family on Rathlin Island, and getting ready to go to Belfast to continue his schooling. Then tragedy strikes, eventually leading to the family's move to Belfast, where they are caught up in the sectarian troubles.

Because the story is told from the viewpoint of a young teenager, it is able to provide a view of some of the turmoil of the time without being overly grim. One of my favorite parts was when Colm's younger brother Jamesey writes a letter describing the neighbors on their Belfast street.

So that's 4 of 4 for me. Thank you J4shaw for this challenge: it's always fun to stretch my reading horizons!

(Now I really need to get cracking on my Canadian reads!)

 

Complete Thread
Ok, so this came to me earlier today....
Given that the 666 challenge combines the countries of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland as one country being: United Kingdom, I though it might be a neat idea to host a side challenge.

Yep you guessed it, this is a reading challenge to read at least one novel from each of the Kingdoms!
The novel should be SET in each of these countries. It is your choice if you accompany the author's origin too.

ie

ENGLAND
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit - Jeanette Winterson
Set in Lancashire, England

SCOTLAND
The Death of Bees - Lisa O'Donnell
Set in Glasgow, Scotland

.....you get the idea


This will be an easy one for some, but most of all it'll be interesting seeing the books that people find to use/count for this challenge as the year goes on.

This challenge will start at 12:01am January 1st, 2016 and will close 11:59 December 31, 2016.

 

You mean just four books, right? One from each? If so, I'm in. Does non-fiction count, or only novels?

 

I often read books set in Scotland or England, less so in Wales or Northern Ireland....so that might be a bit more challenging. This should mean I can count a few more books towards a challenge that won't be counted for the 666 one.

Good luck with reminding people that Ireland and Northern Ireland aren't the same country ;)

 


Good luck with reminding people that Ireland and Northern Ireland aren't the same country ;)


I actually do check which "Ireland" the place is, so I know if I have a unique country for the 666 challenge (which I do hope runs again & I have better luck!)

 

wingJ4shawwing 3 yrs ago
RE: I'm keen
less so in Wales...

I can highly recommend the beautiful "The Earth Hums in B Flat" by Mari Strachan
http://www.bookcrossing.com/---/1625536

Good luck with reminding people that Ireland and Northern Ireland aren't the same country ;)

Good point!
For reference people, Dublin is the capital of the Republic of Ireland = doesn't count!

To give you a tip for this challenge:
✓Derry ✓Belfast ✓Armagh ✓Newry ✓Lisburn
✗Dublin ✗ Cork ✗Limerick ✗Waterford ✗Kilkenny ✗Galway


lils74 you can count non fiction if you like

 

less so in Wales...

I can highly recommend the beautiful "The Earth Hums in B Flat" by Mari Strachan
http://www.bookcrossing.com/---/1625536

Ohh, I read that when I got sent it as a RABCK by the lovely nelllu when Edinburgh was the city of literature and Canon gate books were giving away free books.

 

wingNancyNovawing 3 yrs ago
I'm in
England, Scotland and Wales turn up all the time (and probably in the first series I read in 2016). Northern Ireland...not so much.

 

Another challenge, fantastic. Count me in.

 

 

..although I expect Wales & Northern Ireland to be a bit of a challenge.

Reminds me of trying to find something set in American Samoa (Pago Pago) vs. Samoa (Apia, Upolu, Savai'i) for NancyNova's challenge a couple of years ago.

 

I finished reading the Peculiar Children trilogy today with Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs.
He is not British, but the novel takes place in London.

I really don't need to count it because I'm sure to read something by a British writer...but I wondered.

 

The novel should be SET in each of these countries. It is your choice if you accompany the author's origin too.

Totally up to you

 

The novel should be SET in each of these countries. It is your choice if you accompany the author's origin too.

Totally up to you

Thank you! I'll count it for now but will probably replace it with something by a British author. That will give me another goal. :-)

 

wingMrsPeelwing 3 yrs ago
Good Idea!
I can think of books on my tbr list in all of them I think!

 

Bounce by Matthew Syed
Why did one town ( Reading how apt) produce a huge number of top table tennis players in a decade or so? Former Olympian and Commonwealth champion examines what it is that makes top athletes and successful people in all walks of life. Genes, DNA, race, coaches, wealth or purposeful practice?
A brilliant book which I highly recommend. Syed has just written a second book which I will be seeking out. This was not a BC book but found on the shelf of the beach bach where I have been holidaying.

 

183 Times a Year by Eva Jordan
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26722669-183-times-a-year#
Set in Southern England, written by an English author.
Due for release in 2016, I received this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

MY REVIEW
There was as much to love about this book; almost as much as there was to hate!
Frankly the early narrative of Cassie, for want of a better phrase: "shit me to tears", and almost put me off reading the book altogether.
At times this was simply brilliant, and at times it showed evidence of it being a debut novel.
The plot was great, the characters frustratingly believable.
I would look for future books by this author, but would hope for them to be more polished than this one was.
Overall, a good foundation to build off for an upcoming author.

 

Thanks for the email J4shaw. This challenge would have been FANTASTIC last semester as I was pounding two plays a week for a seminar on Modern British Drama. But a lot of things I do end up reading fall into this category, and hopefully with a lighter academic load this coming semester I can actually finish a challenge. I have a Scarlett Thomas novel coming to me in the mail from England, and I just finished my first book of the year, The Earth Hums in B Flat by Mari Strachan (Wales), and a review is up on my blog, here:

http://wp.me/p3Aqzs-CF

If anyone is interested in British drama, let me know and I can tell you what we read. It was supposed to be British theatre of the last 100 years but I think that just about all of it was from England. For my final paper, I did include a play from Wales (Speechless, by Linda Brogan and Polly Teale) in comparison with a play from England (Elmina's Kitchen, by Kwame Kwei-Armah) and both of them are outstanding reads. I would also recommend The Silent Twins by Marjorie Wallace, about the real story behind the main characters of Speechless; a heartbreaking monograph taking place in Wales.

 

England: all of these take place in and around London

• The Man Who Invented Christmas by Les Standiford
http://www.bookcrossing.com/---/13829860

Well, Standiford makes an argument that Dickens "re-invented" Christmas, but mostly it's a catchy title for a book about Charles Dickens and A Christmas Carol. The author appears to be an American but his subject is English. Dickens does travel a bit over the course of the book, but mostly he's in England.

• A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Audio download read by Tim Curry

Since I was reading about the story, I wanted to go back to the source material..and I happened to already have this version.

• The Chimes by Charles Dickens
Audio download read by Richard Armitage

This was a Christmas freebie this year, and it's also mentioned in Standiford's book so I gave it a shot. Not destined to be a favorite: very grim in the middle, but I held on because I was sure there had to be some sort of positive resolution at the end.

 

• The Water Horse by Dick King-Smith
Audio download

After a big storm, Kirstie finds a strange egg-case washed up on the beach. When it hatches, her family is quite surprised to see what was inside. (You only get one guess as to where their "wee beastie" finally ends up!)

 

I loved this movie! Perhaps I'll be reading this book too!

 

I loved this movie! Perhaps I'll be reading this book too!

Yes, I saw the movie before I knew there was a book. Not a lot of depth (or length) to the King-Smith books I've read so far, but they've all been fun.

 

While I often read books set in England, Scotland & NIreland, I rarely have any set in Wales.

 

ENGLAND:
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
http://www.librarything.com/---/125172114

It's actually an excellent choice for this challenge since Harold's journey takes him from south-west England (Devon) to the most northerly town in England, Berwick-upon-Tweed in Northumberland, with many stops along the way.

 

Did not read anything else this month that met the criteria; however, I wanted to see what others were reading and let you know I am still participating.

 

but I've just finished re reading James Oswald's Inspector McLean series ready for his new book coming out soon.(hopefully the library will get it,then I can read it from them,while I wait till the paperback edition to get my own; bookshelves/weight bearing capacity+too many hardbacks=collapse)
They're set in Edinburgh and have the usual nasty murders and hunch following trouble magnet copper with incompetent superior common to the genre,but with a good supernatural element and interesting characters
Oswald lives in Fife so a double for Scotland. 1 down,3 to go;)

If you've read Stuart Macbride you'll probably spot a good bit of similarity,though each has their own unique twist.Judging by the acknowledgements page they seem to know each other,so I've no idea how much this influences the writing.Both are great series though.
http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/---/james-oswald/

 

As yet I haven't read any this year which qualify, but will shortly. Pretty sure I'll be able to find the four during the year.

 

This is a ghost story set in Yorkshire in the 1950's. The affects of WWII are fading in many people's memories along with the slow decay of some military bases. It was a quick and atmospheric read.

Isabel is struggling to adjust to married life, and is an outsider to the village she has moved to with her GP husband. After discovering an old RAF greatcoat she begins to be visited by a pilot.

 

Ian Rankin's latest book features John Rebus (retired), Big Ger Cafferty, Siobhan Clarke and Malcolm Fox. Strange bedfellows (metaphorically speaking) indeed.
http://www.bookcrossing.com/---/13514483

 

as expected! Reading through Stephanie Laurens' Bastion Club series, and all the books so far as set in or around London in the early 1800's.

Here's book 4: A Fine Passion https://www.librarything.com/---/reviews

All the gentlemen that formed the "Bastion Club" were spies during the war, and each their former commander turns up in each book, as they're working on something and, of course, rescuing the damsel in distress. I expect the commander will finally be unmasked in book 8!

 

"Runt" by Niall Griffiths
http://www.bookcrossing.com/---/13854805

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Niall Griffiths is an English author of novels and short stories, set predominantly in Wales. His best known works include his first two novels "Grits" and "Sheepshagger", and his 2003 publication "Stump" which won the Wales Book of the Year award.

ABOUT THE BOOK:
Told through the boy's internal monologue of beauty and damage, a sixteen-year-old boy goes to live with his uncle on a remote Welsh hill-farm. His aunt has recently committed suicide after losing her livestock in the foot-and-mouth epidemic and his uncle has turned, once again, to the bottle. The boy is an innocent, a spiritual savant; his uncle sees him as a shaman. An unwitting repository of folk memory, he is a boy from the margins: barely educated but possessed of extraordinary insights; barely literate but able to speak a language of his own - a poetry laden with Pagan and Christian myth. He is unaware that he is gifted, unaware of what he knows in general - which is probably for the best since the enormity of his knowledge, were it to be understood, would crush him. During one of his ecstatic trances the boy learns that he has an appointed role in the world, which he must discover for himself. During an episode of brutal and climactic violence, he does exactly that.

MY REVIEW
There just aren't enough books like this one!
Loved being in rural Wales for this story of boyhood and pure raw emotion.
This book is described as being of "limited vocabulary" which equates to being the story of a boy who is pushed out by his own mother for her abusive boyfriend, to her alcoholic Uncle who is getting over the suicide of his wife.
This voice of a 16 year old boy, may seem so much younger, but its just beautiful. Just so so beautiful.

 

http://bookcrossing.com/---/13020199 The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson
http://bookcrossing.com/---/12496219 London Under by Peter Ackroyd
http://bookcrossing.com/---/13798900 Fear in the Cotswolds by Rebecca Tope
http://bookcrossing.com/---/13384614 Us by David Nicholls
http://bookcrossing.com/---/12516512 That Part Was True by Deborah McKinlay
The Edge, Blood Sport, Reflex & Straight by Dick Francis.

So, England isn't a problem...

 

The Photograph by Penelope Lively
Set mostly in and around London, but does wander a bit further afield as well.
http://www.bookcrossing.com/---/13857178

 

varykino 3 yrs ago
Book 1
A Stranger in the Family by Robert Barnard

takes place in Leeds England. On her death bed, Kit's mother reveals that he was adopted and his family's name was Novello. Kit travels to Leeds to rediscover his family. Not one of Barnard's best
http://www.bookcrossing.com/---/13786660/

 

Middlemarch by George Eliot 1001 2/9/13 [881 pages]
http://www.bookcrossing.com/---/11696839

Glad I read this classic book.

 

Bargain e-book - I thought this one sounded interesting, and then while I was reading it, I realized that Patrick was going to university in Cardiff... Good stuff. I'd be happy to read another book by this author, and if I ever find a hard copy of this one, it would be great for the medicine chest box. :)

I did think the description of the book was a bit misleading: when it says a cadaver is trying to tell him something, it sounds like there's something otherworldly going on, but it's really all about Patrick's very focused attention to detail. No fantastic elements here, unless you count a whole lot of coincidences.

• Rubbernecker by Belinda Bauer
e-book

Patrick Fort has Asperger’s Syndrome, and his widowed mother has a hard time coping with him. Patrick's fascination with death (triggered by his father's accident) doesn't help. When he's accepted into a nearby university to study anatomy, she's relieved to have him gone.

Meanwhile, a coma patient named Sam Galen tries to figure out what's happening to him, and one of the nurses on the ward sets her sights on one of the not-quite widowers who visits regularly.

I like that this challenge has only 4 pieces...so now I can say I'm 75% done, which sounds a lot more impressive than 3 books! :p

 

"The Cutting Room" by Louise Welsh
http://www.bookcrossing.com/---/13893116

THE AUTHOR:
Louise Welsh is an author of short stories and psychological thrillers. She is based in Glasgow, Scotland. Welsh studied History at Glasgow University and traded in second-hand books for several years before publishing her first novel.

THE BOOK:
Rilke, an auctioneer, comes upon a hidden collection of violent erotic photographs. He feels compelled to unearth more about the deceased owner who coveted them. What follows is a journey of discovery, decadence and deviousness, steered in part by Rilke's gay promiscuity and inquisitive nature.

MY REVIEW:
Ooh this was so very dark and twisty, I loved it!
This crime novel takes place in Glasgow Scotland and is a brilliant debut novel.
Not so much a "who dunnit" but close enough. The intricate web of mystery that the author weaves leaves you powering through chapters to uncover the truth.
So long as you don't mind the odd rather descriptive account of 2 men having hardcore anal sex, plus the odd typo throughout the book, then you'd be hard pressed not to love this book in all of its Glaswegian grime!

 

http://www.bookcrossing.com/---/13088147

This is one of the William Monk series by Anne Perry so it is set in Victorian London. Monk is captain of the Thames River Police and so much of the action takes place in and around the river. That's the most interesting part of the book. I couldn't give the book a very high rating. See my review if you want to know why.

 

The Earth Hums in B Flat by Mari Strachan.
http://www.bookcrossing.com/---/7361080

 

( ...who released a copy of this book for KarmelK's Irish challenge and recommended it - http://www.bookcrossing.com/---/13898476 )

• Call My Brother Back by Michael McLaverty
e-book

Colm MacNeill is growing up just after the Great War, during the unrest that took place around the time of the Partition of Ireland. When the story opens, he is living with his family on Rathlin Island, and getting ready to go to Belfast to continue his schooling. Then tragedy strikes, eventually leading to the family's move to Belfast, where they are caught up in the sectarian troubles.

Because the story is told from the viewpoint of a young teenager, it is able to provide a view of some of the turmoil of the time without being overly grim. One of my favorite parts was when Colm's younger brother Jamesey writes a letter describing the neighbors on their Belfast street.

So that's 4 of 4 for me. Thank you J4shaw for this challenge: it's always fun to stretch my reading horizons!

(Now I really need to get cracking on my Canadian reads!)

 

by Patrick Taylor:
http://www.bookcrossing.com/---/13087916

These books are a comfort read for me which may seem strange given that they are set in Northern Ireland. But this is a rural Northern Ireland at a time (1960s) when the Catholic/Protestant strife seems to be at a low ebb.

 

Runt by Niall Griffiths BCID xxx 13854805

This is one of those books where the writer has invented a language. I am generally a reluctant reader of this type of writing, as I like to read fast and with this style of writing you really have to concentrate.
Griffiths writes the jumbled thoughts and language of a 16 year old who has seizures.
The boy lives with his Mum and her abusive partner, after a violent episode his Drunkle (drunk uncle) takes him to his home in rural mountainous Wales.
Written at the time of the foot and mouth scare, the uncle is suffering and the mad neighbour is paranoid. This culminates in a terrible, brutal episode.
This was worth persisting with. Thanks for sending to me J4shaw as part of the Wishlist tag game.

 

Set in Darkness Ian Rankin BCID xxx 13864061

Rebus, a wreckage of a man, gets involved where he shouldn't and breaks the rules. this was not the best of the Rebus books I have read. However I did enjoy the explanations of the Scottish New Year traditions, that did figure a little as part of my childhood. I now know having dabbled in my family history that there is a lot of Scotland in my veins.

 

Garnethill by Denise Mina
http://www.bookcrossing.com/---/14091525

A really good debut novel from Denise Mina. It's the first of three featuring Glaswegian Maureen O'Donnell. She discovers her lover murdered (in her flat) and as the police are not really looking in the right places, decides to do a bit of sleuthing herself. Some confronting issues here, but handled well.

 

So I admit I'd sort of forgotten about this :) but I've already read several Agatha Christie books this year (pretty much all set in England) and this is the latest one from this week since I remembered this thread so it's the one I'm counting.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/---/7535822

I'm currently reading a book set in Belfast, and I have at least one book in my possession set in Scotland, but Wales I've no idea for yet. I'm sure I'll find something before year's end, though.

 

by Sharon Owens, which is set in Belfast…

http://www.bookcrossing.com/---/11570484/

 

Inishowen Joseph O'Connor BCID. xxx 10023162. I used to bulk buy boxes of used books online, there was always a few gems amongst the garbage. This is a gem that has languished on my shelves for far too long. I was prompted to read it because I participate in the alphabet book rings and O authors are coming my way soon.
This is the story of two families, one American and one Irish whose lives intersect, when the American mother travels to Ireland to find her mother. She travels across the border to Inishowen in Northen Ireland with a policeman whose young son is also buried there. Brilliant and highly recommended.

 

The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne by Brian Moore
Not registered as yet

Set in Belfast in the mid fifties, the novel is a skilfully written depiction of loneliness and loss of faith (Catholicism), along with a snapshot of the cultural and social issues of the time and place. Yes, it is bleak. It's also compassionate and strangely compelling.

 

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