Round up of The British Book Challenge 2016

It’s that time of year again… time to reflect on the British Books I’ve read this year for the British Books Challenge. I read a grand total of 66 British books! (I shall add anymore to this post if I read more between now and 1st January) Yay!

The challenge involves reading 12 books from British authors, so I think we can safely say I smashed that number! 😉 I really enjoy finding British authors to read as much of my reading is dominated by US authors (they are amazing though!) Linked below are the reviews of the 66 British books that I read!

  1. Lighter Than My Shadow– Katie Green
  2. For Holly– Tanya Byrne
  3. Am I Normal Yet?– Holly Bourne
  4. The Demon Headmaster– Gillian Cross
  5. The Unbelievable Top Secret Diary of Pig– Emer Stamp
  6. The Haunting– Alex Bell
  7. In A Dark, Dark Wood– Ruth Ware
  8. The Number One Rule For Girls– Rachel McIntyre
  9. Carrie’s War-Nina Bawden
  10. The Sin Eater’s Daughter– Melinda Salisbury
  11. Radio Silence– Alice Oseman
  12. The Samaritan– Mason Cross
  13. Moving– Jenny Eclair
  14. More Of Me– Kathryn Evans
  15. The Next Together– Lauren James
  16. The Boy In The Dress– David Walliams
  17. Consumed– Abbie Rushton
  18. V is for Violet– Alison Rattle
  19. Read Me Like A Book– Liz Kessler
  20. Follow Me Back– Nicci Cloke
  21. Noble Conflict– Malorie Blackman
  22. When I Was Invisible– Dorothy Koomson
  23. Poppy’s Place– Karina Charman
  24. The Horse and His Boy– C.S. Lewis
  25. Orangeboy– Patrice Lawrence
  26. Always With Love– Giovanna Fletcher
  27. The Moonlight Dreamers– Siobhan Curham
  28. According To Yes-Dawn French
  29. The Borrowers– Mary Norton
  30. Swimming To The Moon– Jane Elson
  31. The Castle– Sophia Bennett
  32. The Woman Next Door– Cass Green
  33. Songs About A Girl– Chris Russell
  34. Maggot Moon– Sally Gardner
  35. Shtum– Jem Lester
  36. The One We Fell In Love With– Paige Toon
  37. My Embarrassing Dad’s Gone Viral– Ben Davis
  38. Cuckoo– Keren David
  39. Harry Potter and The Cursed Child– J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne
  40. All About The Hype– Paige Toon
  41. The Girls– Lisa Jewell
  42. Head Over Heels– Holly Smale
  43. Crush– Eve Ainsworth
  44. Perijee and Me– Ross Montgomery
  45. How Not To Disappear– Clare Furniss
  46. A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding– Jackie Copleton
  47. Looking for JJ– Anne Cassidy
  48. A Boy Made Of Bricks– Keith Stuart
  49. Robyn Silver- The Midnight Chimes– Paula Harrison
  50. Isadora Moon Goes To School- Harriet Muncaster
  51. The Last Act of Love– Cathy Rentzenbrink
  52. Time To Say Goodbye– S.D. Robertson
  53. On The Other Side– Carrie Hope Fletcher
  54. Beautiful Broken Things– Sara Barnard
  55. The Widow– Fiona Barton
  56. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase– Joan Aiken
  57. Dead Romantic– C.J.Skuse
  58. Haunt Me– Liz Kessler
  59. Missing, Presumed– Susie Steiner
  60. Strange Star– Emma Carroll
  61. Ballet Shoes– Noel Streatfeild
  62. The Lie Tree– Frances Hardinge
  63. Into The Trees– Robert Williams
  64. Lighthousekeeping– Jeanette Winterson
  65. Infinite Sky– C.J. Flood
  66. The Sleeping Prince– Melinda Salisbury

A massive thank you to Kirsty from Overflowing Library for hosting this challenge this year.

As this is one of my favourite challenges, I am definitely on board for 2017. In 2017, the challenge will be hosted by Michelle from Tales of Yesterday. Sign up here!

Talking About ‘A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding’ with Bibliobeth

A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Beth!

Synopsis:

When Amaterasu Takahashi opens the door of her Philadelphia home to a badly scarred man claiming to be her grandson, she doesn’t believe him. Her grandson and her daughter, Yuko, perished nearly forty years ago during the bombing of Nagasaki. But the man carries with him a collection of sealed private letters that open a Pandora’s Box of family secrets Ama had sworn to leave behind when she fled Japan. She is forced to confront her memories of the years before the war: of the daughter she tried too hard to protect and the love affair that would drive them apart, and even further back, to the long, sake-pouring nights at a hostess bar where Ama first learned that a soft heart was a dangerous thing. Will Ama allow herself to believe in a miracle?

CHRISSI: Amaterasu spends most of the novel feeling that she is to blame for things that have happened. How has this affected her life and does the novel provide a resolution?

BETH: Poor Amaterasu! I found her such a fascinating character and alternated between feeling really cross with her and then really sorry for her after her actions lead to her living such a sad, lonely life when her husband dies. Her potential grandson turns up on her doorstep one day after he had been searching for her for quite a while and you begin to see the start of a relationship between the two as Amaterasu thinks back to the events that caused her to lose her daughter and believe her grandson was dead. She escapes to America with her husband as she doesn’t feel that she can stay in Nagasaki because of all the bad memories associated with it. Even though she promises her husband on his death bed that she will try and integrate herself with the community, she becomes a virtual recluse, even developing a bit of an alcohol problem and it is only with the appearance of a man that claims to be a grandson that she can put old ghosts to rest.

BETH: Could you understand why Amaterasu made the decisions she did?

CHRISSI: Somewhat, I don’t want to spoil the reading experience for others! Amaterasu has to look back at her life and begin to come to terms with what happened in the time period before, during and after the bombing. It takes Amaterasu some courage to look back at her past and look for forgiveness for her actions so she can live the rest of her life in peace. It is a particularly painful look back for Amaterasu as she feels pain and immense guilt after her actions.

CHRISSI: What did you feel that you learnt about Japanese culture and the differences between East and West?

BETH: I felt I learned so much! This book is really special for the little paragraphs above each chapter that describe a Japanese word or phrase and what it means for the Japanese people. Even though the author is British, the novel is inspired by her years living in Nagasaki in the 90’s and it’s obvious she’s done her research and really integrated herself into the Japanese mindset. The East and West cultures can be quite different but it’s always fascinating to learn about a different culture and way of life.

BETH: Did your opinion of Sato change at any point in this novel and why?

CHRISSI: Not really. I have to be honest and say that I didn’t like Sato as a character at all. I get the feeling that I was supposed to find some sympathy for him, but I just found him infuriating. I guess he did try and find redemption within his letters and his adopting an orphan, but for me, my opinion didn’t change. I didn’t find him likeable at all.

CHRISSI: You love Japanese fiction.  Did this book live up to your expectations?

BETH: I certainly do and it certainly did. It reminded me of Memoirs Of A Geisha and was beautifully written with a fascinating plot and intriguing characters, especially our main character Amaterasu. I also felt like I learned a lot about the horrors of the Nagasaki bombing and the effect it had on so many people’s lives and it’s encouraged me to read a bit more into it.

BETH: Would you read another book by this author?

CHRISSI: I think it would depend on what the subject matter was. I do think the writer has a beautiful writing style, but I wouldn’t race to read another.

Would we recommend it?:

BETH: Of course!
CHRISSI: Yes!