• Gemma

BookCosy Reads 2010

Updated: Feb 6, 2019

After a record breaking year of immersing in 13 books we were keen to get started with our new selection for the year.

Below is a list of the books we manged to perusal with a brief description about each one and our group's average score. There are no spoilers, so feel free to scroll through the list and perhaps chose your next novel to read? For more information about each book please see the individual blogs and what each individual member scored it.

Our first book was Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man. The book is written in the form of a journal by the main character, Daisy Fay Harper, from the ages of 11-18. She is an only child living in Mississippi with her alcoholic father after her parents separate. Although it is refreshing to read a novel through the character's own voice it became a bit frustrating at times as she would flit from one subject to the next and chatter incessantly. Overall a book with little substance, once finished it was easily forgotten. Our group average was a score of 4 out of 10.

Not a great start to the year but we were all ready for the next book.

Our second book was How To Be Good. With the promise of being a wise and hilarious book we all had high hopes. Those hopes came crashing down quite soon into the novel. For us there were no laugh out loud moments and the characters were annoying. This book follows the character's marriage and family dynamics. Whilst it is always intriguing to delve into the lives of others this book fell short to keep us entertained. Individually we all gave it a low score making an average of 2 out of 10. Our lowest group average to date.

Two books down, both with low average scores. We needed something to lift our spirits, to get our teeth into and to bump up this years average scores. Then along came book number 3...

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox. Esme is a troublesome young girl growing up in Edinburgh in the 1930s. She causes embarrassment to her family and after a terrible assault is committed to an institution. Years later she is released into the custody of her great-niece where the mystery of Esme's family history is finally revealed. The story is told through the eyes of three of the characters, it is an easy read which is hard to put down, especially as it has no chapters. This point in itself would normally irritate me. However, it is beautifully written, is unforgettable, heartbreaking and haunting. There are lots of twists and turns along the way and an ending which is both shocking and ambiguous. We loved this book, such a refreshing change from our previous books this year. Our group average scored a 7 out of 10.

The Rapture was our forth read of the year. The story is about a returning therapist who takes on a job in a psychiatric hospital, for troubled teenagers, after recovering from a car accident which leaves her paralysed from the waist down. There she meets Bethany, a sixteen year old who has murdered her mother and says she can predict natural disasters. Bethany is then called upon to assist a team of experts to identify the disaster that she can foresee. The book delves into scientific and religious matters, which gave us lots of talk about. There is lots of suspense and tension within the pages but we felt the ending was unexpected and a bit rushed. We were left waiting for more. The book left us with a few niggles, not only related to the ending but some elements of the book were hard to believe. Such as, would a vulnerable woman who was in a wheelchair really be left alone with a murderer? Overall the book scored an average of 6 out of 10.

Our April read was Notes On A Scandal. In a nutshell this is the story of a teacher having a relationship with one of her pupils. However, the story is not written from the viewpoint of either character that is having the affair, it is from Barbara's. A colleague, friend and bitter woman coming up to retirement. The book has less than 250 pages which was an added bonus as we felt the book was lacking substance. For us the characters were one dimensional and hard to emphasise with. We were all glad when the book came to an end. An easy but forgettable read with an average score of 3 out of 10 .

Our sixth book of the year, The Help. This story is based in Mississippi in the year 1962. It follows several maids, their relationship between their own families and the families they work for. The book explores many themes such as the black/white divide, the struggle for equality, motherhood, domestic violence and feminism. The characters are strong, robust, interesting, and funny. The book is well written, an enjoyable, emotive read with some laugh out loud moments. This was definitely the read we needed to immerse ourselves into after a year of some disappointing books. We all really enjoyed it and individually scored highly, giving this book an average of 7 out of 10.

Our July read, The Woman in White. This was written in 1859 and considered to be one of the first mystery novels of its time. The story unfolds through a series of documents/witness statements held by a variety of characters designed to elucidate a conspiracy plan against innocent women. This novel is very long and written in the Victorian era so stamina is required unless you are used to reading classic literature. We had mixed feelings towards this book, some members really submerged themselves into the novel and loved it whilst others struggled to get through it and found it boring. So not only did we have some high individual scores we also had scores as low as a one. This of course had an impact on our group average score. Thus scoring a 4 out of 10.

After an intense read we were presented with our next book which was a complete contrast and to some a welcome relief.

Book number eight, A beginner's Guide to Acting English. This book is written by the comedian Shappi Khorsandi giving an account of her childhood. She recounts her immigration from Tehran to London, her experiences of school life and gives an insight into her eccentric family. Whilst it is not a 'laugh out loud' book that you might expect from a stand-up comedian it does have humorous antidotes from her childhood. It includes information about the Iranian revolution but doesn't linger too long on the political aspect. It instead focuses much more on how her family had to adjust to a new life in a new country. If you like reading autobiographies and finding out about different cultures then this is a book for you. We gave it an average score of 4 out of 10.

Our next book, One Day. This novel follows the lives of the two main characters spanning over the decades. They meet up every St. Swithin's Day (15th July) for a catch up along with some flirting/banter. The two lead completely different lives, one strives hard to achieve, the other given a privileged life from birth. Despite their differences the two remain 'friends' and secretly carry deeper feelings for one another. As a reader you know that they will eventually get together but life keeps presenting different paths for them to follow. There is a shocking twist towards the end of the novel. I personally believe the book should have stopped at that point rather than carry on for another 20 or so pages, as I found these had little purpose. Whilst some may find the twist added depth to the book it completely ruined the novel for me. This book definitely got us talking. We gave it an average score of 5 out of 10.

So far our groups averages had been quite disappointing, with only 3 books left before the end of the year we needed to find a book that we all would rave about.

Book number ten, Hurting Distance, a fast paced psychological thriller. Naomi has fallen in love with a married man who has suddenly vanished. After reporting his disappearance the police reassure her that his wife has insisted he is not missing. Desperate for answers and scared that something has happened to him Naomi must relive secret events from her own past to aid her in discovering the truth. Although Naomi is a frustrating character, with her ridiculous approach in convincing the police to look for Robert, this book was a crowd-pleaser. We all gave it the same score of a 7 out of 10, the first time we have all agreed on a score.

With three books now receiving an average score of 7 out of 10 we were eager to find a book that would top that score. The next book looked very promising.

The Secret Life of Bees. This is the story of Lily who loses her mother at an early age and is taken in by a trio of sisters. It is a coming of age novel with lots of humour, love, racial issues and information about bees. There is a strong theme of motherhood running throughout the book and a definite feeling of feminism/'girl power' which is endearing. The book is well written with strong charming characters.

On face value the concept is similar to The Help; white girl being raised by black females in the 1960s. However, each book offers something unique and if you loved one I am positive you will love the other. We all scored this slightly lower than The Help but enjoyed it nonetheless. Our average score was 6 out of 10.

Our last book of the year, Stone's Fall. A very different book to the others we had read so far. A historical/mystery novel set in Venice, Paris and London from the years 1867 to 1953. Interestingly the novel moves backwards through time. The story starts with the character Matthew Braddock who reminisces about meeting Elizabeth a beautiful and mysterious woman in 1909 and the death of her husband William Stone. Here we follow the life and death of Stone and his character deepens as the book progresses. The ending was not what we were expecting and gave the book a real 'wow' moment. The novel is 596 pages of very small print but it was worth reading just for the twist at the end. Unfortunately, we didn't give the book high individual scores and therefore it received an average score of 4 out of 10. However, it is a book I would like to read again and one we have recommended to others.

So there we have the break down of the books read during 2010. Unfortunately, we had a lot of low scoring books this year. Maybe due to the fact that we are expecting so much more from each read. We want the whole package; humour, emotive, captivating, strong characters, riveting plot, twists and turns. Books that generate lots of discussion.

Our favourite book of the year goes to The Help. Although three books received an average score of 7 when I looked at the decimal place of each novel The Help was the highest with a score of 7.6, in close second was The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox scoring 7.5 and Hurting Distance with a score of 7.

Our least favourite book of the year goes to How to be Good.

In fairness we had a lot of disappointing reads this year so our challenge for the coming year is to find books that enables us all to score more highly, thus bringing up the average score. And to find the book that has the 'wow' factor.

To find out all about the books read in 2011 please see the blog BookCosy Reads 2011. If you have any recommendations for future reads please get in contact with us at thebookcosy@yahoo.com and if you would like to add your comments/opinions on any of the books in our blog please do so by commenting below.

Happy reading.

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