Just Seventeen

17 Duplicate Books

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Hope you’ve had a great Easter! I am here again, and the title of tonight’s blog, as well as being a magazine back in the 80s, is a reference to the Duplicate Books List. Regardless of anything I am actually reading right now, let’s go through this list of books, books of which I somehow own two copies…

With some books, I have no idea how I fetched up with two copies. With others, it’s because I saw it at a charity shop and forgot I already had that book, or perhaps I thought I’d previously had it but given it away, and with a few of them, I think I knew I had it somewhere, but wasn’t entirely sure I could put my hands on it… So, I have reached this stage where I have two copies of these seventeen very different books!

(For the record, I used to read Smash Hits when I was a teenager, but my sister read Just Seventeen back in the day.)

My thoughts are that I would really like someone, ideally someone fairly local, who was a fellow bookworm but hadn’t read many, if any, of these books, so we could read them together. I have read two of them, and half-read another, but I wouldn’t have a problem with reading those books again, especially as I really loved Attention All Shipping anyway!

Manual of the Warrior of Light does not really take much reading, to be fair. I guess you’d put it in the Mind, Body & Spirit category in a book store. It’s basically advice for life. The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan, is a book I partially-read at university, so we are going right back to the early 90s here with this one. As I said, it’s one I’d probably skimmed through for the purposes of one of the literature modules of my degree, so I’ve not really read it properly and not read any of it since 1994 at the very latest, as that’s when I graduated, which will be 22 years ago this summer! A bloody long time ago, lol!

Anyway, what I plan to do, is go through all 17, giving some sort of brief description as best I can. This list is as I typed it out, it is in no particular order, although I do think, if I DO get this reading challenge done, the first book on this list should be the first one in the challenge. I think it would be an apt choice for starting something like this…

The Year of Reading Dangerously, by Andy Miller. Essentially, Andy finds himself with loads of books but, he thinks, no time for reading, so he makes time to read them and gets enjoying books again, from what I can gather.

The Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov. Banned in the former USSR for 26 years, which probably added to its popularity, as bans tend to do in most instances – look what happened to “Relax” by Frankie Goes To Hollywood when Mike Read kicked up a stink about it and the Beeb stopped playing it. Holly Johnson and his band mates must’ve thought all their birthdays and Christmasses had come at once! Not only was it a number 1 early in 1984, but it shot back up the charts that summer to get to number 2 when “Two Tribes” was number 1! Not a clue what the Bulgakov book is about, but the blurb on the back describes it as Faustian, so I can only hazard a guess that a pact with the Devil might be involved, as that’s what usually happens…

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, by John Boyne. One of those which is in general fiction and also in YA. It wouldn’t really surprise me if it was on reading lists for GCSE English at high school these days. Bruno’s family are relocated as his dad is a concentration camp officer, not that Bruno understands any of this, and he befriends a boy on the other side of the wire.

Attention All Shipping, by Charlie Connelly. A journey around the Shipping Forecast, and exceptionally funny! I discovered this book and brought home one copy of it from Mexico when I was on holiday in 2013! Charlie travels around the UK and to neighbouring parts of Europe, to visit all the areas mentioned in the Shipping Forecast on BBC Radio 4.

The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan. A tale of four mothers and their first generation Chinese-American daughters. I read this, well, let’s be fair, partially-read this, back at uni, so I have basically forgotten it, thus it won’t matter if I re-read it! A question of cultural identity issues, I guess, as is the next book, but the next one is on my side of the Atlantic…

Anita and Me, by Meera Syal. The story of Meena, who is from the only Punjabi family in a mining town in the West Midlands, and her attempts to fit in with those around her and to be like them. This book actually IS on the set list for GCSE English Literature these days, you can buy revision study guides for Anita and Me!

Manual of the Warrior of Light, by Paulo Coelho. The author invites us, in this book, to embrace the warrior of light in all of us. As I said before, probably in the Mind, Body and Spirit category in book shops. Not really an awful lot of writing on any page, so it’s pretty quick to get through. It is probably, really, one of those things you tend to dip into and find relevant bits which most apply to you, but in a 17 book challenge, we have to just view it as a whole book…

The Bone Clocks, by David Mitchell. Starts with a runaway girl in the 80s and moves through the decades in a chunky adventure of just over 600 pages. Let’s not let that put us off. It may be long, but it could well turn out to be easy to read. Other supposedly shorter books might prove more challenging!

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, by Bill Bryson. Essentially, the travel writer’s autobiography, about his own childhood in the US in the 1950s. Should be a good laugh, knowing Bryson, and having read some of his other books.

The Sisters Brothers, by Patrick deWitt. A Western, set in the days of the prospectors, following the notorious brothers, Eli and Charlie Sisters… Has one of the best covers I’ve seen in recent times! I have partially-read this one, as it was a book club choice a few years back, but it was about 5 years ago now, anyway, and I only read part of it, so it would not be an issue re-reading what I’d started and then continuing with it for the purposes of a book challenge.

The No. 1. Ladies’ Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith. First in what has turned out to be quite a series, starring Precious Ramotswe, Botswana’s only, and finest, female private detective, the Miss Marple of Botswana, so to speak…

The Rotters’ Club, by Jonathan Coe. Coming of age in 1970s Britain. Claims to be funny, so worth a go in my estimation, to see if it is. I came of age in the late 80s and early 90s, I turned 18 in April 1991, 25 years ago very shortly when I get to my birthday, but I can remember as far back as the long hot summer of 1976, 40 years ago, so the 70s are familiar to me, and I love the music from those days! It’d be an excuse to listen to some epic 70s tuneage while I read it!

Lady Chatterley’s Lover, by D. H. Lawrence. Caused a massive fuss when first published, with Penguin having to go to court to be allowed to publish it! Essentially, Lady Chatterley’s husband is rendered disabled by war, and thus unable to enjoy a fulfilling love life, so Lady Chatterley goes and gets her satisfaction with the gamekeeper!

A Passage to India, by E. M. Forster. Not to be confused with the Passage To India, which used to be our local Indian restaurant at the bottom of our road, until it closed last year and then became La Turka. Dad and I had many a ruby murray at the Passage! Anyway, the novel… An English visitor shows an interest in Indian ways of life, despite the disapproval of other Brits there. The mystery in the plot comes from a visit this lady makes to some caves. She is accompanied by an Indian doctor, but returns alone and distressed…

The Notebook, by Nicholas Sparks. A guy returns to North Carolina after WWII, haunted by images of the girl he lost more than a decade earlier. Meanwhile, a lady is about to marry a wealthy lawyer, but still thinks about the boy who stole her heart years ago…

The Periodic Table, by Primo Levi. Inspired by chemistry, this is an autobiographical account where Levi assesses his life in terms of chemical elements which he associates with his past.

And, last, but by no means least…

A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens. Historical fiction from Dickens, set during the French Revolution, so expect lots of people having their heads chopped off, I guess…

Normally, at the end of my blogs, I list all the books I’ve mentioned, but I don’t think there’s any need on this occasion, as I’ve just been through them one by one, and I don’t really wish to list all 17 over again! I’ve not mentioned any other books which are NOT on the Duplicate Books List, so that’s about it for now. Until next time, when normal service will probably be resumed, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

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