Aug. 11th, 2011

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It’s Week 4 of The Amber Spyglass (with BTTS)! This week Mark will be reading and reviewing Chapters 16-20 of the third instalment of our favourite trilogy.

Over at
our weekly forum thread we’ll be talking about the human/daemon relationship. Come and join us! Also, be sure to check out this week’s lovely banner (above), and click it to see the image it’s taken from!

contains the final clue for our August Contest, so get entering! The prize is a signed copy of The Amber Spyglass!

If you need some help, you can check out our Mark Reads gallery which contains all of the MarkReads banners to date. Send your entry in to us at, with the subject line “August Contest” by 11:59pm GMT on the 21st of August. The contest is open to everyone. Good luck!
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Philip Pullman has signed a call for a ‘public jury’ in Britain, which would take away the power from the ‘feral’ elite who seem to run the country. The call blames three significant crises of recent times - the MPs’ expenses, the bankers’ bonuses and the phone hacking scandal – on politicians, bankers and media moguls, who, left to their own devices, “could not regulate themselves.”

The group, whose signatories include Greg Dyke, former director general of the BBC, says that 1,000 citizens should be selected at random to sit on a public jury that will propose reforms to banking, politics. The jury, to be funded from the public purse, would examine:

* Media ownership.
* The financial sector’s role in the crash.
* MP selections and accountability.
* Policing and public interest.
* How to apply a “public interest first” test more generally to British political and corporate life.

To support the call for a People’s Jury for the British Public Interest go to

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The Republic of Heaven’s Book Club has decided on its August/September book and it’s going to be… Look Me In The Eye by John Elder Robison! The theme was memoirs and the other nominations were A Life Like Other People’s by Alan Bennett and Moab Is My Washpot by Stephen Fry.

From the time he was three or four years old, John Elder Robison realised that he was different from other people. He was unable to make eye contact or connect with other children, and by the time he was a teenager his odd habits – an inclination to blurt out non-sequiturs, obsessively dismantle radios or dig five-foot holes (and stick his younger brother in them) – had earned him the label ‘social deviant’. It didn’t help that his mother conversed with light fixtures and his father spent evenings pickling himself in sherry.

Look Me in the Eye is his story of growing up with Asperger’s syndrome at a time when the diagnosis simply didn’t exist. Along the way it also tells the story of two brothers born eight years apart yet devoted to each other: the author and his younger brother Chris, who would grow up to become bestselling author Augusten Burroughs.

This book is a rare fusion of inspiration, dark comedy and insight into the workings of the human mind. For someone who has struggled all his life to connect with other people, Robison proves to be an extraordinary storyteller.

Any member of the forum can see the Book Club sub-forum, but to nominate and vote on future books you have to be a member. To join the book club you can either private message Moderator Bee who runs the Club, or go to User Control Panel > Usergroups tab > select Book Club Members, and click join.

You can buy the book here on, here on and here on Kindle.
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