BOC Book Group will be reading ‘Annihilation’ by Jeff VanderMeer on Thursday 26th April.

BOC Book Group will be reading ‘Annihilation’ by Jeff VanderMeer on Thursday 26th April in Committee Room 1, 12 till 1pm.

A contemporary masterpiece’ Guardian

anniahilationannihilation

THE FIRST VOLUME OF THE EXTRAORDINARY SOUTHERN REACH TRILOGY – NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY ALEX GARLAND (EX MACHINA) AND STARRING NATALIE PORTMAN AND OSCAR ISAAC

For thirty years, Area X has remained mysterious and remote behind its intangible border – an environmental disaster zone, though to all appearances an abundant wilderness.

The Southern Reach, a secretive government agency, has sent eleven expeditions to investigate Area X. One has ended in mass suicide, another in a hail of gunfire, the eleventh in a fatal cancer epidemic.

Now four women embark on the twelfth expedition into the unknown.

Read more. . . https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/feb/22/annihilation-review-natalie-portman-thriller-leaves-a-haunting-impression

 

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BOC staff book group will be reading PAX by Sara Pennypacker on 3rd March 18.

BOC staff book group will be reading PAX by Sara Pennypacker on Thursday 8th March 2018 12 – 1 pm in Committee Room 1.

pax

‘I slowly made my way through this book and I wanted it to last forever, because it was simply the most calming and beautiful thing I have ever read’  (The Guardian)

Compelling, heartrending story of boy and fox in dystopia. (Commonsencemedia.org)

Foxes are fable animals: Their fur carries the electric charge of literary history. As with cats, their faces suggest they have no need of us, and in literature they have all the power that goes with independence.

The novel is told through alternating chapters, with one strand following 12-year-old Peter and the other Pax, as each grows wilder and tougher. After the death of his mother, we learn, Peter had rescued a baby fox from the cold and reared it as a pet and friend. When his father enlists in an unspecified war (“It’s heading for our town. They’ll take the river”), Peter is sent to live with his grandfather, and Pax is sent into the wild, the car speeding away as he watches in bewilderment.

In the opening chapters Peter rebels, slipping out in the night to walk 200 miles back to the spot where Pax was released. What follows is, structurally, a classic quest narrative; Peter walks through dark woods both literally and metaphorically, breaks his foot, encounters characters who help or threaten him. The most vivid of these is Vola, a female war veteran with a prosthetic leg who takes Peter in, and together they face down their own traumas: the suffering of war, physical pain and inherited anger. What makes the book truly remarkable are two things: the quality of Pennypacker’s prose, which is sharp and restless and vulpine, and the pull of the love between Peter and Pax.

There are resonances in this love of Katherine Applegate’s Newbery Medal-winning “The One and Only Ivan,” which shares the intimate use of the animal voice. “Pax” also offers a meditation on the bond between children and animals, and how the longing for closeness to the animal world shapes childhood: the desire to touch, to squeeze, to be loyal to something as familiar and as unknowable as a pet.

Of course, for a writer to give voice to an animal is to purport to offer up a secret, and the difficulty becomes how to tell it without shading into cuteness. Many writers, even Kipling, have failed, in books in which the animal becomes the mouthpiece for the moral. Like Applegate and E. B. White before her, Pennypacker succeeds. In an author’s note, she explains that “fox communication is a complex system of vocalization, gesture, scent and expression. The ‘dialogue’ in italics in Pax’s chapters attempts to translate their eloquent language.” Pennypacker, the author of several well-regarded books for children, including the “Clementine” early chapter-book series, uses the chapters in which Pax speaks to deliver something more, too: a sense of enchantment in a landscape freshly discovered, as Pax explores the natural world for the first time in the company of feral foxes. “Pax” is not comparable tonally to “Charlotte’s Web” — it has less irony and wit and a less insouciant protagonist — but Pennypacker does share White’s resistance to sentimentality, offering in its place a pragmatic kind of awe. White wrote that he “always felt charged with the safekeeping of all unexpected items of worldly or unworldly enchantment, as though I might be held personally responsible if even one were to be lost.” In this aspect, Pennypacker, with “Pax,” may be his heir.

The book is illustrated by the Caldecott Medal winner Jon Klassen, whose style is a perfect fit. His sharpness of line maps onto the jagged, sharp-edged quality of growing up, which Peter must do. In the end, Peter builds himself back up from scratches and mistakes, piecemeal, and ends the journey braver and bolder and wiser than he began it. “Pax” the book is like Pax the fox: half wild and wholly beautiful.

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/14/books/review/pax-by-sara-pennypacker.html

PAX

By Sara Pennypacker

Illustrated by Jon Klassen

276 pp. Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins ­Publishers. $16.99. (Middle grade; ages 8 to 12)

WATCH THIS SPACE FOR OUR COMMENTS:

 

Our next book for discussion is CAT’S CRADLE by Kurt Vonnegut on December 14th, BOC staff book group.

BOC staff book group will be reading Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, as it’s an easy read with short chapters and fast pacing; explores religion, science, war and the apocalypse including some fun characters, satirising the arms race and many other targets along the way.

cat's

There are many editions.

Told with deadpan humour & bitter irony, Kurt Vonnegut’s cult tale of global destruction preys on our deepest fears of witnessing Armageddon and, worse still, surviving it …

Dr Felix Hoenikker, one of the founding ‘fathers’ of the atomic bomb, has left a deadly legacy to the world. For he’s the inventor of ‘ice-nine’, a lethal chemical capable of freezing the entire planet. The search for its whereabouts leads to Hoenikker’s three eccentric children, to a crazed dictator in the Caribbean, to madness. Felix Hoenikker’s Death Wish comes true when his last, fatal gift to humankind brings about the end, which for all of us, is nigh…

Happy reading!

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OUR NEXT READ FOR BOC CHI UNI BOOK GROUP IN NOVEMBER is, Noggin by John Cory Whaley.

OUR NEXT READ FOR BOC  IN NOVEMBER, chosen from our wish list  (DATE AND ROOM TO BE CONFIRMED) IS:

NOGGIN by John Corey Whaley

NOGGIN

2014 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST

Travis Coates has a good head…on someone else’s shoulders. A touching, hilarious, and wholly original coming-of-age story from John Corey Whaley, author of the Printz and Morris Award–winning Where Things Come Back.

Listen—Travis Coates was alive once and then he wasn’t.
Now he’s alive again.
Simple as that.

The in between part is still a little fuzzy, but Travis can tell you that, at some point or another, his head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado. Five years later, it was reattached to some other guy’s body, and well, here he is. Despite all logic, he’s still sixteen, but everything and everyone around him has changed. That includes his bedroom, his parents, his best friend, and his girlfriend. Or maybe she’s not his girlfriend anymore? That’s a bit fuzzy too.

Looks like if the new Travis and the old Travis are ever going to find a way to exist together, there are going to be a few more scars.

Oh well, you only live twice.

John Corey Whaley-Who is this guy?

JOHN ‘COREY’ WHALEY grew up in the small town of Springhill, Louisiana, where he learned to be sarcastic and to tell stories.  He has a BA in English from Louisiana Tech University, as well as an MA in Secondary English Education.

He started writing stories about aliens and underwater civilizations when he was around ten or eleven, but now writes realistic YA fiction (which sometimes includes zombies…).

He taught public school for five years and spent much of that time daydreaming about being a full-time writer…and dodging his students’ crafty projectiles.

He is terrible at most sports, but is an occasional kayaker and bongo player.  He is obsessed with movies, music, and traveling to new places.

He is an incredibly picky eater and has never been punched in the face, though he has come quite close.  One time, when he was a kid, he had a curse put on him by a strange woman in the arcade section of a Wal-Mart.

His favorite word is defenestration.  

His favorite color is green.

His favorite smell is books.

He currently lives in Southern California.

Here’s what people are saying about NOGGIN:

*“Travis Coates has lost his head—literally…. [A] wonderfully original, character-driven second novel. Whaley has written a tour de force of imagination and empathy, creating a boy for whom past, present, and future come together in an implied invitation to readers to wonder about the very nature of being. A sui generis novel of ideas, Noggin demands much of its readers, but it offers them equally rich rewards.”
-Booklist, November 2013, *STARRED REVIEW

*”Like baseball great Ted Williams, Travis Coates has his head surgically removed and cryogenically frozen after he dies (of leukemia at age 16). Unlike Williams, Travis is a fictional character, and five years after his death, technological advances allow doctors to attach his head to a donor body that’s taller and more muscular than the original. Whaley’s second novel (following his Printz-winning Where Things Come Back) is far more concerned with matters of the heart than with how head reattachment surgery would work. Travis awakens to restart where he left off—sophomore year—but everyone he knew has moved on. Best friend Kyle is struggling through college; former girlfriend Cate is engaged to someone else. As only the second cryogenics patient successfully revived, Travis is in uncharted territory; he’s “over” high school, but not ready to be anywhere else. Travis’s comic determination to turn back the hands of time and win Cate’s love is poignant and heartbreaking. His status in limbo will resonate with teens who feel the same frustration at being treated like kids and told to act like adults.”

Publishers Weekly, January 2014, *STARRED REVIEW

“The madcap story of a boy who loses his head and finds it again. . . . Readers will recognize the Printz winner’s trademark lovable characterizations. . . . They’ll also recognize the poignantly rendered reflections on life, love, death and everything in between. . . . Whaley’s signature cadence and mad storytelling skillz are worth every page. A satisfyingly oddball Frankenstein-like tale of connectivity.”

Kirkus Reviews, February 2014

“Whaley’s sweet and raunchy first-person narrative provides a thought-provoking look at the notions of self-awareness, the nature of identity, and the angst of a very special teen. The lively, conversational style will engage teen readers in search of an unusual, but relatable, character. At times hilarious and heart-wrenching, Noggin, with its eye-catching cover art, belongs in all library collections serving young adults.”

VOYA, February 2014

 

 

 

BOC staff book group will be reading: A Cat, a Hat, and a Piece of String by Joanne Harris on Thursday 15th June.

BOC staff book group will be meeting on Thursday 15th June at 12-1pm ( room to be confirmed).

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We will be reading a collection of short stories by Joanne Harris: A Cat, a Hat, and a Piece of String.

a cat, a hat and a piece of string

Stories are like Russian dolls; open them up, and in each one you’ll find another story.

Conjured from a wickedly imaginative pen, here is a new collection of short stories that showcases Joanne Harris’s exceptional talent as a teller of tales, a spinner of yarns. Sensuous, mischievous, uproarious and wry, these are tales that combine the everyday with the unexpected; wild fantasy with bittersweet reality.

Come to the house where it is Christmas all year round; meet the ghost who lives on a Twitter timeline; be spooked by a new-born baby created with sugar, spice and lashings of cake. Worry for a young girl in the Congo who rides the rapids to earn a crust of bread; and spy on Norse gods battling each other for survival in modern Manhattan. In her first short-story collection since Jigs & Reels, let Joanne Harris ensnare and delight you with the variety and inventiveness of her storytelling.

joanne harris

Joanne Harris is an Anglo-French author, whose books include fourteen novels, two cookbooks and many short stories.

Her work is extremely diverse, covering aspects of magic realism, suspense, historical fiction, mythology and fantasy. She has also written a DR WHO novella for the BBC, has scripted guest episodes for the game ZOMBIES, RUN!, and is currently engaged in a number of musical theatre projects as well as developing an original drama for television.

In 2000, her 1999 novel CHOCOLAT was adapted to the screen, starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. She is an honorary Fellow of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, and in 2013 was awarded an MBE by the Queen.

Her hobbies are listed in Who’s Who as ‘mooching, lounging, strutting, strumming, priest-baiting and quiet subversion’. Joanne also spends too much time on Twitter; plays flute and bass guitar in a band first formed when she was 16; and works from a shed in her garden at her home in Yorkshire. (I’d love a shed!)

We’re really looking forward to reading this collection.

Watch this space for our comments.

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Please share your comments below.

BOC book group: Next meeting Thursday 9th March 12-1pm

BOC book group will meet on Thursday 9th March 12-1pm to discuss: WUTHERING HEIGHTS by Emily Bronte.

Wuthering Heights

Bronte, Emily, 1818-1848

Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of the intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine’s father. After Mr Earnshaw’s death, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated by Catherine’s brother Hindley and wrongly believing that his love for Catherine is not reciprocated, leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return years later as a wealthy and polished man. He proceeds to exact a terrible revenge for his former miseries. The action of the story is chaotic and unremittingly violent, but the accomplished handling of a complex structure, the evocative descriptions of the lonely moorland setting and the poetic grandeur of vision combine to make this unique novel a masterpiece of English literature.

 

There are many copies in the library if you’d like to borrow a book: shelf-mark 823.8 BRO.

wuthering-heights

There is also a DVD adaptation (1992) 823.8 BRO starring Ralph Fiennes: An adaptation of the classic tale of doomed love set in the wilds of Yorkshire!

Wuthering Heights Trailer 2012:

 

 

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr for January 2017 BOOK GROUP at BOC.

The next book we will be discussing at the Bishop Otter campus ( BOC) BOOK GROUP will be: ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE by Anthony Doerr.

Thursday 26th January 2017 in UH2 at BOC 12-1pm

all-the-light-we-cannot-see

WINNER OF THE 2015 PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR FICTION

A beautiful, stunningly ambitious novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II

‘Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.’

For Marie-Laure, blind since the age of six, the world is full of mazes. The miniature of a Paris neighbourhood, made by her father to teach her the way home. The microscopic layers within the invaluable diamond that her father guards in the Museum of Natural History. The walled city by the sea, where father and daughter take refuge when the Nazis invade Paris. And a future which draws her ever closer to Werner, a German orphan, destined to labour in the mines until a broken radio fills his life with possibility and brings him to the notice of the Hitler Youth.

In this magnificent, deeply moving novel, the stories of
Marie-Laure and Werner illuminate the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.

anthony-doerr

Anthony Doerr is the author of four books, The Shell Collector, About Grace, Four Seasons in Rome, and Memory Wall. His work has won numerous prizes in the U.S., including the Rome Prize, The New York Public Library’s Young Lions Awards, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2007, Granta named Doerr one of the Best Young American Novelists, and in 2011, his story “The Deep” won the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award. He lives in the mountains in Boise, Idaho with his wife and two young sons.

http://www.anthonydoerr.com/books/all-the-light-we-cannot-see/

Any comments about the book? Please feel free to add to our blog.