In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom by Yeonmi Park

bookshelves: radio-4, autumn-2015, autobiography-memoir, nonfiction, north-korea, published-2015

Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Laura
Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from October 23 to 30, 2015

Description: Human rights advocate Oona Chaplin reads the North Koeran defector, Yeonmi Park’s remarkable account of her escape from one of the world’s most repressive regimes, and her struggle for survival. Aged thirteen, she and her mother crossed the North Korean border into China where the pair fell into an underworld of human traffickers. Following their harrowing experiences, the two crossed the Gobi desert into Mongolia before they finally found freedom in South Korea. In today’s episode, Yeonmi Park recalls what it was like to grow up in a dictatorship.

Twenty-two year old Yeonmi Park is now based in Seoul. She is travelling the world and speaking as a speaker and human rights activist.

1/5: Recalling wjat it was like to grow up in a dictatorship.

2/5: A turning point was reached when Yeonmi’s sister goes missing.

3/5: After a daring escape into China, events take a dark and disturbing turn

4/5: A new and dangerous plan to find freedom takes shape.

5/5: Yeonmi struggles to adjust to freedom, and her sister is still missing

Entry Island by Peter May

Gus am bris an latha agus
an teich na sgàilean
(Until the day breaks and the
shadows flee away)
- Song of Solomon 4:6

Description: When Detective Sime Mackenzie boards a light aircraft at Montreal’s St. Hubert airfield, he does so without looking back. For Sime, the 850-mile journey ahead represents an opportunity to escape the bitter blend of loneliness and regret that has come to characterise his life in the city.

Travelling as part of an eight-officer investigation team, Sime’s destination lies in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Only two kilometres wide and three long, Entry Island is home to a population of around 130 inhabitants – the wealthiest of which has just been discovered murdered in his home.

The investigation itself appears little more than a formality. The evidence points to a crime of passion: the victim’s wife the vengeful culprit. But for Sime the investigation is turned on its head when he comes face to face with the prime suspect, and is convinced that he knows her – even though they have never met.

Haunted by this certainty his insomnia becomes punctuated by dreams of a distant past on a Scottish island 3,000 miles away. Dreams in which the widow plays a leading role. Sime’s conviction becomes an obsession. And in spite of mounting evidence of her guilt he finds himself convinced of her innocence, leading to a conflict between the professonal duty he must fulfil, and the personal destiny that awaits him.

Opening: It is evident from the way the stones are set into the slope of the hill that industrious hands once toiled to make this pathway.

Before looking specifically at this read I must tell you that this was the third book in a row that included an online dating strand.

Want You Dead by Peter James
The Good Liar by Nicholas Searle
Entry Island by Peter May.

Just for interest, each of those three relationships ends in tears and am in no hurry to read another with this trope.

Entry Island is a dual-timelined affair of history repeating itself and that in itself will tell you that the story strands were a little contrived. I enjoyed the trip and the pages turned themselves.

3* Entry Island (standalone)

3*The Blackhouse
5* The Lewis Man
4* The Chessmen

Sanctuary by William Faulkner…

Description: Psychologically astute and wonderfully poetic, Sanctuary is a powerful novel examining the nature of true evil, through the prisms of mythology, local lore, and hard-boiled detective fiction. This is the dark, at times brutal, story of the kidnapping of Mississippi debutante Temple Drake, who introduces her own form of venality into the Memphis underworld where she is being held.

Judith: A Novel by Lawrence Durrell

bookshelves: autumn-2015, palestine, israel, published-2012, film-only, middle-east, under-50-ratings, refugees, migrant-experience, jewish

Recommended for: Laura, Wanda et al
Read on October 29, 2015…

Description: A breathtaking novel of passion and politics, set in the hotbed of Palestine in the 1940s, by a master of twentieth-century fiction
It is the eve of Britain s withdrawal from Palestine in 1948, a moment that will mark the beginning of a new Israel. But the course of history is uncertain, and Israel s territorial enemies plan to smother the new country at its birth. Judith Roth has escaped the concentration camps in Germany only to be plunged into the new conflict, one with stakes just as high for her as they are for her people.Initially conceived as a screenplay for the 1966 film starring Sophia Loren, Lawrence Durrell s previously unpublished novel offers a thrilling portrayal of a place and time when ancient history crashed against the fragile bulwarks of the modernizing world.

4* Justine (The Alexandria Quartet, #1)
TR Balthazar (The Alexandria Quartet, #2)
TR Mountolive (The Alexandria Quartet, #3)
TR Clea (The Alexandria Quartet, #4)

WL Bitter Lemons of Cyprus
3* Judith

A Whole Life by Robert Seethaler

bookshelves: autumn-2015, radio-4, austria, published-2014, translation, shortstory-shortstories-novellas

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from October 15 to 29, 2015

Original title: Ein ganzes Leben

Description: This ‘slim masterpiece’ (Daily Mail) went straight onto the bestseller lists in Germany last summer and has been there ever since. Jim Crace called it both ‘heart-rending and heart-warming’, and over 200,000 people have read and celebrated this book across Europe.

When Andreas Egger reaches the village on the night that he tries to save Hannes, the goatherd, he goes into the inn and meets Marie – the only love of his life – for the first time. Romance and grief and a sometimes wry stoicism are the touchstones of Egger’s solitary life as the 20th century unfolds around him. The modern world encroaches slowly on the valley, the forest is carved out for ski lifts, electricity arrives, and tourists too. But throughout it all, Egger remains steadfast in his modest struggle to survive and in his ever constant respect for the landscape around and above him.

Episode 1: A snowbound rescue brings Andreas Egger down from the mountain. He carries a man on his back.

2/5: Egger is ready to settle down, he has built a house and knows love.

3/5: War arrives in Europe and Egger leaves the valley for the Russian front.

4/5: Television comes to the valley and stirs emotions Egger has buried deep.

5/5: An echo from his past shocks Egger and he seeks shelter on the high slopes.

Read by Robert Powell
Written by Robert Seethaler

Want You Dead by Peter James

Description: Virtual romance becomes a terrifying obsession in Want You Dead…

Single girl, 29, smouldering redhead, love life that’s crashed and burned. Seeks new flame to rekindle her fire. Fun, friendship and – who knows – maybe more?

When Red Westwood meets handsome, charming and rich Bryce Laurent through an online dating agency, there is an instant attraction. But as their love blossoms, the truth about his past, and his dark side, begins to emerge. Everything he has told Red about himself turns out to be a tissue of lies, and her infatuation with him gradually turns to terror.

Within a year, and under police protection, she evicts him from her flat and her life. But Red’s nightmare is only just beginning. For Bryce is obsessed with her, and he intends to destroy everything and everyone she has ever known and loved – and then her too . . .

Opening:Karl Murphy was a decent and kind man, a family doctor with two small children whom he was bringing up as his own.

Although I love this series, some of the ratings from fellow followers of Roy Grace seem to indicate that they have fallen out of raptures. Is it the Sandi thing? As Louise points out, we would all like to see her out of the picture now and there was ample opportunity to do that via crossbow at the church, dontcha fink? In my mind’s eye she rushed in front of the groom right at the crucial moment, sorted.

Yet *le sigh* you missed the chance to rid us all of the albatross, Mr James: sharpen up! I’m not kidding when I say this background Sandi storyline wouldn’t even make a soap opera episode.


…how cheesy was it that we ended up at a Firework’s factory for 5th November, Guy Fawkes night.*yawn*

The music:

Queen of the Slipstream: Van Morrison
Someone Like You – Van Morrison
Right in Time (Lucinda Williams)
Rod Stewart – “Sailing” (Official Music Video)
Johann Pachelbel – Canon In D Major (Organ Church Version)
Charles Gounod, Faust

I.Had.No.Idea: SpyBubble is really a thing!

4* Dead Simple (Roy Grace, #1)
4* Looking Good Dead (Roy Grace, #2)
4* Not Dead Enough (Roy Grace, #3)
4* Dead Man’s Footsteps (Roy Grace, #4)
4* Dead Tomorrow (Roy Grace, #5)
3* Dead Like You (Roy Grace, #6)
3* Dead Man’s Grip (Roy Grace, #7)
3* Not Dead Yet (Roy Grace, #8)
4* Dead Man’s Time (Roy Grace, #9)
3* Want You Dead
MB You Are Dead (Roy Grace, #11)

3* The Perfect Murder

Intruder in the Dust by William Faulkner

Description: Set in the deep south that provided the backdrop for all of Faulkner’s finest fiction, Intruder in the Dust is the novel that marks the final phase of its author’s outstanding creative period. The chronicle of an elderly black farmer arrested for the murder of a white man and under threat from the lynch mob is a characteristically Faulknerian tale of dark omen, its sole ray of hope the character of the young white boy who repays an old favour by proving the innocence of the man who saved him from drowning in an icy creek.…

The Red House by George Agnew Chamberlain

bookshelves: film-only, autumn-2015, under-10-ratings, forest, mystery-thriller, halloween-2015, boo-scary, north-americas, shortstory-shortstories-novellas, mental-health

Recommended for: Ze Lovely Ladies
Read from October 25 to 26, 2015…

Description: An old man and his sister are concealing a terrible secret from their adopted teen daughter, concerning a hidden abandon farmhouse, located deep in the woods.

The Black Angel by Cornell Woolrich…

Description: A novel as hypnotic as it is suspenseful, its atmosphere haunting, its shadows long, this intimate thriller by past master of noir fiction Cornell Woolrich delivers its unfailing angel from her waking nightmare into a chillingly impossible dream.

From the 1930s until his death in 1968, Cornell Woolrich riveted the reading public with his pulp noir. Classic films like Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window earned Woolrich the epithet “the twentieth century’s Edgar Allan Poe.