Review: The Christmas Cookie Club by Ann Pearlman

The Christmas Cookie ClubTitle: The Christmas Cookie Club

Author: Ann Pearlman

Publisher: Pocket Books

Published: Jan 2009

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Source: Bought at a charity shop

My Rating: 4/5

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

Despite the fact that Christmas is my favourite time of year, I very rarely read fictional books about the season. However, when I saw The Christmas Cookie Club, I knew I had to give it a try, and I’m very glad I did.

The first thing that struck me was the fact that each chapter is preceded by a cookie recipe, and to begin with those chapters seem to focus on the character whose cookie it is. As you get further into the story and learn about all twelve of the women in the club, the chapters become less focused on one particular character.

There wasn’t really much of a plot, but as we get further into the book the more back story we discover about each woman, and how being a member of the Christmas cookie club has or is changing their lives.  While some heavy issues are included in the novel, none of them were delved into deeply and so the book easily keeps the feel of a light and easy read to enjoy over the holidays.

One thing I’m unsure whether I liked or not was the description and information about each ingredient between the chapters.  While I found it interesting, it didn’t seem to support the main character’s story or characterisation, and generally took me out of the closeness the women have with one another in the group.

Overall this is a book I feel I could read again (and I hope to try a few of the recipes), and is a very enjoyable festive read. I would recommend it to anyone looking for stories about female friendship and want something that will give them hope with a little Christmassy spirit.

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Musing Mondays (Dec 16)

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Musing Mondays is a meme hosted by Should be Reading and asks you to muse about one of the following each week…

• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it! 
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

As I’ve written about before, it hasn’t really been a reading year for me. At least, it hasn’t been until last week when suddenly all I seem to want to do is read, read, read. I don’t know what has changed, but I am thoroughly enjoying getting stuck into book after book. I have to admit that it probably isn’t the best time of year to keep my eyes pasted to a page, especially as I am feeling perpetually behind with all my plans and ‘to do’ lists relating to the holidays. Despite that I am so happy to find myself devouring books (not literally as they would just be empty calories) and hope to continue being drawn in again and again next year.

Review: The Fry Chronicles by Stephen Fry

the fry chronicles by stephen fryTitle: The Fry Chronicles

Author: Stephen Fry

Publisher: Michael Joseph

Published: 2010

Genre: Autobiography

Source: Library

My Rating: 3/5

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

In The Fry Chronicles, Stephen Fry talks about part of his childhood, but mostly about his University years and those that followed when he was first starting as an actor and writer.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from The Fry Chronicles, as I have never been a huge fan of Stephen Fry, but he has the kind of personality I felt would make a good autobiography. As it turns out The Fry Chronicles comprise only a small part of his autobiography, the first memoir he published is Moab Is My Washpot. Honestly, after reading The Fry Chronicles I am not sure whether I like Stephen Fry less or more.

What I did like is his total and frank honesty when it came to things like the way his depression makes him see the world. For me, this was very relatable to, though his experience is nothing like mine (as every experience is different). Fry openly discusses his discontent, and the causes of such, as well as making a point that I have felt often myself – that we feel worse about ourselves for the very fact that we are feeling depressed when there is no real reason to be.

I also found it very interesting to read of how his career started. I am always interested in success stories, and the nuances of how they happen in such a random way as it did with Fry. I enjoyed reading about his escapades with Hugh Laurie and Emma Thompson; I wished I was at University with them as the way he describes it is almost idealistic and I almost felt as though I could have been a part of it.

In general I felt the book was well written, though at times Fry seemed to go round and round the same point, which made it a little tedious. It isn’t completely in chronological order, but this didn’t affect the storytelling for the most part.  As I said at the beginning, I’m not sure if I like Stephen Fry better or worse after having read it, but I am certainly a little more interested in his life and career so will likely read more about him at some point.

Overall, this autobiography is interesting to read, at times funny, and quite enjoyable. I think anyone who enjoys the genre will find merit in reading The Fry Chronicles, though I’m not sure I would recommend it for people who aren’t keen on it, unless they are Stephen Fry fans.

Musing Monday (2nd December 2013) – Reading Widely

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Musing Mondays is hosted by Should Be Reading and asks you to muse about one of the following each week…

• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it! 
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

I am currently reading ‘From Belly Fat to Belly Flat’ by Dr. C. W. Randolph. I have never read a ‘dieting’ book before, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. The book is mainly about how hormonal imbalance can cause health problems, including putting on weight; I will do a proper review once I have finished it.

I am slightly surprised that I picked this book up at the library, as it is so different from my normal choices. For so long I stuck primarily to ‘easy’ reading such as chick lit, but over the past few years I have noticed I have begun to read a little more widely.

It started when I was in University, when I discovered I enjoyed autobiographies. I think this was the first step to reading ‘out of my comfort zone’. After Uni, I got my Kindle which opened up my reading habits as well, as there are so many free ebooks available in every genre (though remember that you still have to spend your time on them, so they aren’t really ‘free’). Over the past year I have found myself making the conscious decision to try other things such as science fiction, which I never would have considered before. It seems that forcing myself to try new things has finally become a habit, and one I am very glad of as I hate to think I would constrain myself against reading an incredible book. Of course, I have stumbled upon some truly terrible books as well, but I figure I can learn something from everything I read, even if it’s simply how not to write.