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I have always been a bookworm and have learnt over the years that I need to exercise some self-discipline if I want to get things done. So now, I read nonfiction for most of the year and have an annual splurge on fiction during the summer holidays. As good and interesting as many nonfiction books are, I don’t find myself staying up too late reading them or reading them when I should really be doing something else. Fiction, on the other hand, can snare me and make me incapable of thinking of, or doing, anything else and then leaving me in a daze when it is finished. An unputdownable book draws you into its world and makes you care about its characters but precisely how it does this – I’m not sure. Obviously the characters need to be believable but the setting and situation don’t. Some unputdownable books are completely realistic but I have found some fantasy and science fiction to be equally unputdownable. My first (remembered) experience of an unputdownable book was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. My mother was reading it to me, a chapter a night, but when it got to Aslan being killed we couldn’t just stop there but had to read the next chapter as well.
All year, I note down book titles that friends have recommended or that I have read reviews of or that have caught my eye in a book shop or library. Then, once the bustle of Christmas is past, I head to the library to see what I can find. I have read 18 novels (and some recipe books) since Christmas and whilst all of them were enjoyable only a couple were of the unputdownable kind. One of these was The Lollipop Shoes by Joanne Harris. It is the sequel to Chocolat, following the exploits of Vianne and Anouk in Paris. They have changed their names, and their charactors as well apparently. Vianne has abandoned her magic (but not the chocolate) and seems ready to settle for a boring life with a boring man. Things are stirred up by the arrival of a woman, Zozie, who is on the run and wants to steal Vianne’s identity. This book was published as The Girl with no Shadow in some countries.
Although I have seen the movie of Chocolat several times and even attended a church study group on it, I haven’t read the book. It is definitely now on my ‘to read’ list along with the rest of Joanne Harris’ books. My library didn’t have any copies of Chocolat immediately available but I was able to borrow Five Quarters of the Orange. I will need to get a move on and read it as the study notes for the paper I am doing this semester arrived a couple of days ago – the end of the holidays are in sight!

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