Includes teaching ideas. Katz, Ian, and Sarah Boseley. Reardon, Colleen. The musical subtext of the novel is a clue to the characters and their emotional development. Shealy, Daniel, ed. Madeleine B. Stern and Joel Myerson. Westport, CT: Greenwood, Contains the "most substantial" of the thrillers; Stern's introduction relates them to major works. Stern, Madeleine B. Boston: Northeastern UP, Many of these periodical stories are about acting.
Van Gelder, Lawrence. Apparently never offered for publication, The Inheritance contains elements developed in later Alcott novels. Alexander explains why he wrote Towards Freedom with Avis Glaze. Lloyd Alexander Alexander, Lloyd. Gloomy observations about the breakdown of civility and the lack of support for education and the arts.
An overview of the career of the Brazilian writer. Andrews Huntley, E. Andrews: A Critical Companion. ISBN Credit card orders A new series similar to the Twaynes aimed at students and fans; bibliography, index. Ginette Anfousse Pouliot, Suzanne. Paris: La Nacelle, I didn't really know anything about this book before I read it, so I hadn't realised that it was a sci-fi alien encounter type book.
Not that that would have put me off, it just came as a bit of a surprise. It was better not to know, because there was a time while the reader didn't know what big step the main character was about to take sorry, I've spoiled that for you now, if you are thinking of reading it - forget everything I just said, it's really about a librarian in Dudley. I found this to be a very interesting and enjoyable book - not fast moving, but thoughtful and atmospheric, if a little depressing to see the journey of the lovely sincere Christian couple when faced with various trial and tribulations that came their way.
It was a book that lingered in my mind when I wasn't reading, and it ended up being carried about with me so I could snatch every available minute of reading time. It started out okay, but sadly went downhill from there in my opinion. Lots of books get a bit boring in the middle, and I forgive them if they redeem themselves with a satisfying ending, but I thought the ending of this book just got a bit silly.
Too new agey for me. Ancient lost souls communicating telepathically - yeah right. Oh well, I don't think I'll bother with the remaining two books in the trilogy. Saying that, the book wasn't as bad as I though it would be. I didn't have the impact of trying to work out what was going on, having already seen the film, but I did have to advantage of hindsight to see things pan out knowing what was coming. The book had a little more substance than the film, and I actually quite enjoyed reading it. This book deals with a fairly young and intellectual woman who discovers she is in the early stages of dementia, and we follow her journey through the pain of discovery and the growing confusion and frustration of losing who she was.
I have to say that I very much preferred Elizabeth is missing, because the sense of confusion we got from the unreliable narrator where glimpses of real life were clues we had to work out, I think, gave a much more tragic and empathetic feel for what the character was going through than this book which was just the narrator telling us 'this is my symptom and this is how I feel about it, this is my next symptom and this is how I feel about it I have loved other books by Clare Morrall, I always seem to identify with her characters who tend to be insular and reclusive to their own detriment.
This one took me a little longer to get into than her others. It's a dual time novel set during the war at a well to do girls' school and then some time later about forty years later, I think at the same school with the main schoolgirl character working as a teacher. It's about the long reaching effects of war and loss and it's quite sad. The war time school girl bits reminded me of the Mallory Towers and St Clare's books I used to read as a child! I enjoyed this sci-fi book about a man stranded on Mars having to fight for his survival.
Although it was set on Mars, it could equally have worked in any inhospitable setting where the main character had to use his wits to survive with minimal resources. The main character was fortunately both a botanist and an engineer, so was well equipped to jury rig the bits of equipment and survival gear with him on Mars that was only supposed to last for much less time than he is forced to stay there. There's quite a lot of science, explaining how he's doing things - eg, how he was able to introduce bacteria in to Martian soil and play around with the humidity and oxygen levels in the habitat building to grow potatoes from the small number of actual potatoes which were sent to Mars for the astronauts to celebrate a 'proper' thanksgiving dinner.
I was looking for inspiration about what to read next by going on Amazon and looking at books I've loved and seeing what was in the 'people who bought that also bought this' section I can't now remember which book I was looking at but this one was there, and it was cheap so I bought it. Terrible book. Only got about twenty percent in and then gave up. This is a very beautiful book set in Ireland and told by a bedridden young woman surrounded by books and stories from her father and grandfather. She tells us their stories interspersed with her own, with snippets of their and her favourite fictional characters' stories and bits of mythology.
I loved all the literary references, and I loved how every word felt like well considered poetry. Although I loved the book, I sometimes found it a little heavy going, and I had a break in the middle of reading it and re-read for the umpteenth time Good Omens I shelled out for a kindle copy since my paperback is falling apart.
As I said in the previous review, I took a break in the middle of reading History Of The Rain to re-read this, my all time favourite book. Partly because History Of The Rain is quite heavy going but worth the effort and partly because I was feeling a bit meah - not quite depressed by not cheery either, and Good Omens is a book that always makes me laugh and everyone knows that laughing and smiling lifts the spirits. I'm so sad about the death of Terry Pratchett who's wisdom, wit and wonderfulness shines through this lovely if irreverent book. What a strange sad, funny, deep, interesting book!
A Jewish American man, Solomon Kugel, moves to an old country farmhouse to have a fresh start with his wife, young son and aging mother, only to discover that Anne Frank yes, the real Anne Frank is living in the attic. She's very old and difficult, and had to hide the fact that she survived the war because it would hurt her book sales. Poor Kugel is caught in the middle of family squabbles, money worries and angst over wanting to get rid of Anne Frank but fearing the backlash if he threw her out.
It's a book that stayed with me for a long time after I read it, and one I've wanted to tell friends and family about. This book messed with my head! It's not until the final paragraph of the book that a single sentence makes the reader say 'hey, wait It's one of these stories where all is not as it seems, but the ending is left open for the reader to draw their own conclusions.
I had to go on-line and read lots of comments and forums to make sense of what was going on, and even then there's no real consensus of opinion. Even Ishiguro admitted that it was o btuse! Good book, though.
The Miracle Inspector - Helen Smith kindle book. I really liked this book. It's a dystopian I loved the subtle undercurrent of menace and the less is more approach to telling the story leaving the reader to read between the lines. It felt very Orwellian with a sort of 'thought controlled' society with men in charge and women in the kitchen and I found it very compelling.
My only criticism was that it is a really short book, more of a novella, and I'd have liked it to be longer - saying that, it didn't have the boring middle that longer books often do. It inspired me to look for more by the writer. Well, apart from also being very short, this book is very different to The Miracle Inspector -it's much lighter and more comedic. I'll read the other two at some point, but I don't feel as excited by them as I was after reading The Miracle Inspector.
Wow - I loved this book. It's very long - its little line of dots on the kindle went almost all the way across the page, whereas most of my books only go about a third of the way. I had to stop in the middle to read my book group book, but then I came back to it. It's a lovely mix of fabulous characters the settings of New York City and the ethereal 'Lake of the Coheries' being characters in their own right magic realism, historical fiction, family drama and a perfect love story.
I have to admit to being often quite confused while reading, but enjoying the ride so much that I didn't really mind. I watched the film after reading the book both myself and my husband Paul really liked the film, in spite if it being panned by critics and it missed out a lot of stuff, but made what was going on a little clearer I felt. This was my book group read for May. It's set in Ireland and opens with a newly widowed mother of four and follows her over a year or two as she starts to cope with life again. It shows both the claustrophobic lack of privacy and the web of support offered by living in a small town with extended family and friends close at hand.
The writing is beautiful and quite understated. My book group all loved it, although I had to admit to getting a bit bored by it. It turns out that the book is based on the experience of the writer as a child, so it's really more of a memoir about his mother, which is maybe why I liked it less because 'slice of life' or biographies aren't really my cup of tea - even if they're well written and beautiful, I like the structure and completion you get with fiction more than the meanderings of real life.
Every time she goes in he recommends books to her and she invariably buys them! This was one she bought and lent to me. It's a pastiche or homage to the classic noir detective thriller except it's set in Aberystwyth! I enjoyed the book - it is very stylish, and the protagonist is likeable. The plot became a little far fetched but I guess it was supposed to be humorous and it does manage to be both funny and touching while still quite compelling.
I didn't like having to read a real paperback again - after spending most of my life gushing over how I love everything about books, I now am spoiled to paper by the kindle and my experience of paper books will never hit the mark again. I've added other Malcolm Pryce books to my kindle wish list! I won this from Waterstones with the deal being I write a review on their website when I've read it which I am yet to do - shame!
It is a companion book to Life After Life, but can easily be read without having read the other and although it follows a character who appeared in Life After Life, it's a very different book. The central character is a man who we meet as a small boy and again as an old man, but the main part of his story we learn through flashbacks of his time as a fighter pilot in WW2.
The story also revolves around his extended family, although as we got to know them I found myself wishing the book would get back to the war scenes, which is odd for me, as I wouldn't willingly read a book about soldiers and war if I could help it. It is a book which works on lots of levels - family drama, war time thriller and more don't want to give away spoilers and I grew into it until I didn't want to put it down and I found the ending, which took a while to sink in, to be with hindsight, perfectly right.
This book kept cropping up in lists of people who liked this also liked.. I found the style a bit emetic - very American pre-pubescent 'Oh gee, I'm a nerd but I have feeling for this really cute guy Putting that aside though, I enjoyed the story and although I didn't get all the American cultural references, I liked the darkness, because true fairy tales are always dark, and a true reflections of the actual Grimm fairy tales.
Not bad. This was my book group read for June. When it was suggested as our next read, I was pretty keen having seen the film really good I thought it would be a good book, and it was. The reading was slightly spoiled or enhanced by knowing what was going to happen, and being more attuned to spotting differences between the book and the film to just enjoying the book. It's a tragic tale of the hardships faced by pioneers in the American west and the effects on peoples lives and mental states.
A single women brilliantly played by Hillary Swank in the movie volunteers to transport three women driven mad by the traumas they'd been through by wagon to the nearest city for them to get help. She hires a rough gruff characters again, brilliantly played by Tommy Lee Jones in the film to help her and they go on a journey both physically and metaphysically.
The writing is simple yet profound and I enjoyed reading it. I liked this one better than the last one, and I'll continue reading the series. This was my book group read for July I'm two months and eight books behind in my write up - and it's the school holidays so I don't even have an excuse. From what I remember, I enjoyed reading the book - the main character evoked a strange mix of sympathy, fascination and wariness in me - When we first meet her, she is being treated very badly by the soldiers or police? We get to know her better with the family who are forced to take her in while the details of her execution are worked out the right axe being purchased, etc with them we are initially suspicious, but soften and warm to her as we realise she is not a monster, just a normal woman.
As she tells her story, we feel more sympathetic, although there's always a hint of suspicion, especially when her version of events doesn't tie in with the police reports from the scene of the crime. The country and the historical context are well realised and fascinating and all in all it was a good read. A japanese Canadian woman finds a package washed up on the beach containing a diary and other objects written by a teenaged Japanese girl in Japan. We get the dual story of the Canadian woman trying to research and translate various bits to get the true story, and we see things from the point of view of the diary writer, a girl who had grown up in the USA but returned to Japan when her dad lost everything in the dot com bubble crash.
She is horribly bullied by her Japanese school mates, and has a pretty rough time of it as her dad keeps trying to commit suicide and she is sucked into prostitution. Things improve for her though when she is sent to spend the summer with her aged Buddhist monk grandmother. The book was quite shocking, and even the protagonist behaved in ways that disturbed me, and I wondered if I was seeing things with my own cultural bias. The book stayed with me though, and made me thoughtful. This is the relative rarity of a young adult book that didn't really annoy me. In fact I really liked this tale of a troubled teen with Tourette's.
I think the writer was criticised for having swearing and sexual language in a young adult book, but obviously a book about Tourette's is going to have that, and young adults have seen way worse from lots of other sources. I found the boy's interactions with his friends to be believable, and his home family story was sweet and uplifting without being preachy or saccharine. Good book, I liked it. This is an odd fish of a book pun intended! It's the tale of a man Gould transported to Australia for fraud and having escaped, being sent to Van Dieman's Land now Tasmania where there was a penal colony for hardened offenders, run by various insane or corrupt officials according to Gould.
Gould has a talent for drawing and painting, and manages to escape death on more than one occasion by impressing those in power with his art. The book has cold hard brutality as well as humour and lightness and it descends in to a kind of kaleidoscopic hallucinogenic madness when Gould, who has been commissioned to paint an encyclopedia of fish believes he is turning into a fish, and the reader is left to decide if Gould is mad, or if he did in fact turn into a fish I think as a spiny seahorse - if I remember rightly.
I found it quite compelling reading if a little long and I enjoyed it. The book follows the life story of Holly who begins as a troubled teen in the s and continues until her old age in a dystopian future. We get other points of view as well, and it sometimes feels a little jarring at first, like, 'wait, who is this now?
Then there's the supernatural magic realism side of the book, which I also loved - immortals both good and evil fighting for their own ends and using mortals as pawns - it reminded me a bit of A New York Winters Tale which I also loved as well as the better Nick Harkaway novels which is the pinnacle of praises in my book.
This book apparently started life as a continuing blog post story my son Christy, who is 18 is familiar with David Wong's blog and it is often very madcap and very puerile it never misses an opportunity to use a willy related joke. Saying that, I actually mostly really enjoyed the book. I found the characterisation, plot structure and building tension to be superb and was drawn into the plot which made a lot more sense in the book than the dire movie which I watched on Netflicks after having read the book. The friendships and blossoming romance was cute and I loved the talking dog.
There were intricacies and surprises that kept me on my toes and the ending was satisfying. I was reading it on the plane going on holiday with my book group ladies, and the look of confused horror on their faces when I explained what the book was about was priceless! He was saved from hanging by the efforts of his wife, who wrote letters appealing to various gentlemen to act on his behalf.
I found the book a little slow to get into, but once I had I became engrossed and couldn't wait to get back to it. It shows both the worst and best of people being brought out in difficult circumstances, and it stayed with me after I finished it. I do remember that I found the book to be as near to perfect as a book can be - a modern day fairy tale with real characters and magic and love and sadness and art. Patrick Ness is becoming my new favourite writer. This book is set in a dystopian future where all records of history prior to about 75 years ago have been erased and for some reason a herd or Crash of rhinos roam freely around what otherwise seems like a normal town.
The chapters are told from different points of view, including the POV of the female leader of the rhinos, and deals with love, religion and politics as they butt heads and inevitably, tension rises to a cataclysmic conclusion. I really enjoyed the book and was sad when it was over. Oh, and there's some magical realism in there too, which every great book needs. I liked this book, I think. It's starts off quite excitingly with an apocalyptic world wide asteroid shower strike.
Things are pretty chaotic though, as only a few straggly junior soldiers who survived are alive, and groups of murderous teens are waging war on then. Then it turns into a road trip like 'The Road' only not as good because most of the people are sent off by helicopter to get on a boat to somewhere I think Australia or New Zealand that wasn't hit by asteroids, but our hero is separated from his family so must travel by foot from Scotland to the south our England. They meet some creepy people and have some adventures, and the ending is kind of sad and noble. I'm having a bit of a Patrick Ness orgy at the moment, because I love The Crane Wife so much and The Crash Of Hennington almost as much but this book didn't quite hit the spot as much for me.
This one is a young adult book, and a little preachy. Saying that, it's still better than lots of other books, and the premise was really interesting and thought provoking don't want to give too much away, except to say that the main character dies at the beginning and the rest of the book is not a flashback, but rather a what happens next I'm happy to say that it didn't disappoint. It's a short book more of a novella but every bit as quirky and satisfying as the first.
The Humans - Matt Haig kindle book. Yay - great book, loved it! It starts with an eminent mathematician, who seems to have been a very bad husband and father wandering naked and confused about the university campus where he worked. He thinks he's an alien, inhabiting the body of the mathematician in order to prevent the human race from progressing too quickly due to the amazing mathematical proof he'd just It has all the sweetness of an innocent and confused alien trying to come to terms with humanness, which it does really well without being annoying or sentimental.
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The Last ever Discworld Book - waily! I was a little unkind in my review of the discworld book before this one Raising Steam but I didn't find fault in this one - lovely Tiffany Aching wise witchy lady and funny Nac Mac Feegles, wonderful story telling, heart aching sadness that this is the last time I'll read a discworld book for the first time again if you know what I mean. My heart is as heavy as my shelf full of lovely Sir Terry Books.
RIP great man. T his was my book group read for September, and judging from the emails that have gone around the rest of the girls are finding it hard to get into. I actually really liked it. The book is told from lots of different points of view, following three main story threads which all come together at the denouement. I liked it's dark humour and interesting writing and I loved the ending. Once again I'm dead late writing up what I've been reading two months and ten and a half books late I do remember this book - not as fabulous in my mind as The Bone Clocks, but still a fairly engrossing and rewarding read by David Mitchell.
A straight tale of a Dutch trader working in a tiny island off the coast of Japan because non-Japanese were not allowed on the mainland trying to fit into the customs while staying honest amidst rife corruption and falling in love with a Japanese girl, around I think, the early 20th century? The side story of what became of the Japanese love interest still stays with me in a haunting way. Again see previous review it's two months since I read this, but I do remember quite a lot about it. It's a dystopian post apocalyptic novel but refreshingly different from most in the genre.
The writing is beautiful and poetic and lyrical and the plot structure is interesting the way it switches perspective and chronology giving us pieces of the jigsaw so the full picture of the story emerges piecemeal and everything makes more sense as it goes along. It's my first book by Emily St John Mandel, and from her picture and bio she seems beautiful, accomplished and elegant, and I can't even hate her for it, because I love her writing so much that it makes me feel like a kindred spirit not that I can write like that, but that I feel an empathetic bond.
I did have a rant here about Mr Site not letting me put in any more pictures, but my clever hubby Paul did something to sort it out, so rant over. Talking of things that I hate This Book. I should learn that even if thousands of people on Amazon like a book, if it's in this genre brain dead, best-seller, pulp fiction, trashy thriller I won't like it.
Fair play to Mark Edwards, he's obviously tapped into a market that lap up this kind of drivel most people it seems but for me, I'd rather poke needles in my eyes than read this kind of book I'm wouldn't really rather poke needles in my eye - I'm not mental, but in case a fan of Mark Edwards is reading this review and doesn't understand figures of speech that aren't explained many times in small words - I just meant I hated it. This one didn't blow me away as much as Station Eleven, but I still found it engrossing. A young American follows the mysterious girlfriend who disappeared from his New York Apartment up to Canada where he has a lead on where she might be.
Like Station Eleven, the story is told from several perspectives and jumps around in time. The characters' motivations and quirks make sense only when the reader had the full picture, which turns out to be a complex and tragically sad human story. I liked it very much. I bought this because I loved Humans by Matt Haig so much, and this one also didn't disappoint. A modern day twist on the age old vampire story with real heart and soul that doesn't just fall back on gory shock tactics.
Matt Haig is becoming one of my new favourite writers! Humans: an A to Z - Matt Haig kindle book. This is just a fun little companion book to the wonderful Humans - a quirky look at all things human in a handy alphabetical format for visiting aliens. Made me chuckle. It has similar themes to her other books - people searching for lost loves who are running away and hiding. It's probably my least favourite of her books that I've read so far, but since she sets the bar high with such good writing, it is still an excellent and book, very worth reading.
He's a very prolific and well liked Sci-Fi writer, but I have to say I found this book a bit of a slog. I think it was too hard core sci-fi for my taste - lots of science and way out space stuff, with not as much gentle humour or character empathy as the Long Earth books I guess those were the bits supplied by Terry Pratchett?
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Great for hard core sci-fi fans, but not for me. I'm glad that JK Rowling's pseudonym of Robert Galbraith got outed or I wouldn't have read this series of detective novels. I do enjoy them. I made the mistake of reading this while eating my lunch one day as very gruesome murder details were described and I genuinely felt very sick. The ending left me desperate to read the next book. Carey Kindle Book. The writing was fabulous, the characters were fabulous, it started well and continued well and ended well. It is a wonderful twist on an old genre I don't want to spoil it by saying what the genre is - it really is better if you come at this book not knowing what is going on.
I really was bowled over by how good this book is. I hope M. I bought this by mistake, thinking it was a full length novel and was cheep because it was the kindle deal of the day, when actually it was just a 'recommended for me' kindle book and is in fact a short story. If you've read many of my reviews, you'll know that I generally don't like short stories, but I do love Neil Gaiman, so I probably would have bought this even if I knew what I was getting.
It's a nice little story that slots into the Neverwhere book one of my favourites, and I watch the tv adaptation regularly so worth a read if you like that kind of thing. Again, see previous review I didn't realise this wasn't a full length novel. It's more then a short story - a novella I guess. I have mixed feelings about it - bits felt a bit cringe-worthy like chick-lit romance but there were things about it that I really did like.
Not as good as other things I've read by this author, though. Matt Haig is fabulous. Echo Boy is a young adult book but don't let that put you off about a girl whose family are killed by a supposedly totally safe artificial intelligence robot thingy. It reminded me of the tv series, humans which I loved and the films AI and I Robot also great but with Matt Haig's awesome writing thrown in for good measure. Adventure, peril, love, loss etc - loved it! This book was hyped up on Amazon as being all amazing, and I was really disappointed when I started reading because I thought it was awful!
It's told in lots of conflicting points of view, and jumping through time around some un-revealed terrible happening which turned out to be a bit of an anti-climax. It was okay, but not great, I thought. Bete - Adam Roberts Kindle Book. Set in a dystopian future where everything is smart chipped so wine glasses tell you when you've had too much, or mirrors tell you if you need to lose weight etc some animal rights activists put smart chips into farm animals and they somehow fuse with the animals neurological networks to become something more than just a computer chip, effectively making animals sentient.
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- Peter Summerfield.
- Staff Picks.
- The Crimson Falcon.
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The chips get into the animal worlds food chain so all kinds of rats, mice, birds, wild creatures etc are now sentient. The protagonist was a meat farmer, but now that animals have rights, he's out of work and itinerant with a wonderfully black sense of humour. He meets up with a sentient cat who must be one of my all time favourite fictional characters who also has a black and sarcastic sense of humour, and they form an unhappy alliance. I loved the black humour and flawed characters. I didn't know Adam Roberts before, but will now look out for more of his books.
Set in a future where unemployment and crime are rife, a solution is offered where people are sent to a highly controlled environment where they spend alternate months as prisoners and as free working people. The environment inevitably is not so great as it's made out to be, and as secrets are discovered, a daring escape ensues. I liked it a lot, but it's not on my list of all time faves. This is a strange yet compelling book, which is ultimately disturbing I had to go and google the book when I'd finished to make sense of what I'd read and my interpretation of it.
A young girl is taken by her father to a remote cabin in a forest somewhere in Europe and told by him that the rest of the world was killed in some great catastrophe. It's a coming of age, survival story, family drama with a dark twist. I enjoyed reading it I think and it certainly made me think and ponder after I'd finished reading it. Inspired by having loved Bete so much, I tried this one.
The list « A year of reading the world
I didn't enjoy it quite as much as Bete, but still liked it. It's set in a future where humans have been genetically engineered to photosynthesise through their hair. Society has split into two classes - the ultra rich who shave their heads and still eat food and consider hair to be distasteful, and the very poor who can be made to work for nothing since they don't need to be fed, and who can live but not thrive on only sunlight.
The plot revolves around the kidnapping of a rich child by the poor underclass. It's more about inequalities and the character flaws imposed by both being very rich and being very poor than about the sci-fi element. An interesting and enjoyable read. I love Matt Haig's fiction, and this book about his own personal struggles with depression and anxiety and journey through darkness to comparative lightness was going cheep on Amazon, so I thought, why not. I've had mild bouts of depression and anxiety myself, although reading this book put them into perspective as nothing like as bad as he went through.
There are lots of uplifting and funny moments in the book. It has short chapters with lists and quote and is the sort of book you could and should dip into regularly to remind yourself why not to despair. I don't normally like this kind of modern family thriller, and yet I really did like this book. It's about a little girl who is abducted by a man claiming to be her grandfather, who is actually a travelling faith healer who is convinced she has a healing gift which he could profit from.
The book follows the girl and her mother over the years following her abduction, and it is well written and subtle and deep, unlike many similar thriller type books. Set in Scotland and following the multiple threads of interesting characters in the police force, a PhD student who is an expert in sea currents and tides and who is researching the history of his grandfather from a remote Scottish island, and a young Indian girl smuggled to Scotland as a sex slave and how their stories intertwine. I can't wait for the next book in the series.
I had high hopes for this book, having loved other David Almond books I've read, and initially I didn't really warm to the structureless stream of conciousness type of narrative, even though it is suited to the point of the book, which is that sticking to plans and structures, and a 'one size fits all' approach to education doesn't suit everyone.
Still, I did warm to the style, and actually found the resolution to be very uplifting. Not my favourite David Almond, but still worth a read. This was Matt Haig's first published book, and doesn't seem to be available on Kindle so I was forced to go back to the dark ages and by a second hand paperback. Apparently it's a reworking of Shakespeare's Henry V with talking dogs. Since I'm not familiar with the plot of Henry V, I can't really comment on that side of it, but taken at face value I liked it very much. There was intrigue and murder and adultery and family and honour and so on and it was well done and believable.
One such night, I knew the only thing to comfort me would be to re-read one of my favourite books from my youth, and even though I have it on paperback downstairs I bought it on kindle via my ipad in bed at about three in the morning and read it in two sittings finishing it in the middle of the following night. I love this book and it brought back lots of memories and made me all contemplative about life and ageing and being the same person and yet a different person now that I'm 46 and not 16 when I read it first. This book was recommended to me by one of my book group friends, and I agree with her that it is an excellent read.
Told from two points of view - one a young French girl who loses her eyesight and the other a young German boy in events leading up to and including the German occupation of France during WW2. It's a story of people caught up in their circumstances and underpins the humanity and complexity of both characters in seemingly opposing roles. The two narratives eventually come together in an unexpected and yet fulfilling way, and the story highlights the best and worst and just everyday normality of people in extreme situations.
The Giver - Lois Lowry Kindle. This is the first in a series of four young adult dystopian novels written in the early nineties. It was the kindle daily deal, so I gave it a go, and loved it. It's American, but not in the bad way. The story is creepy and draws the reader in compulsively. Everyone lives in a very controlled society with all the memories, emotions and even appreciation of colour are held by one chosen person so everyone else can get on with their pre-selected roles in a state of if not blissful ignorance, at least sleepy compliance.
The hero is the next chosen keeper of memories, and with him we discover the extent of control the society has and we share his indignation. The story ends on a bit of a cliff edge, so I went ahead and bought the next book right away. Gathering Blue - Lois Lowry kindle. Since I was desperate to find out what happened to the hero of the previous book in the series, I was annoyed at first to discover that this book while set in the same world as The Giver was about totally different people with no overlap.
Once I got passed that, I appreciated that this was a totally different but equally engrossing and thought provoking book set in a village which seemed less controlling than the town in the first book, but actually the control was just more subtle and insidious. Messenger - Lois Lowry Kindle. After reading the first two books in the Giver Quarter, I hardly paused for breath before buying and devouring the third.
This one follows one of the characters from the second book, and we finally get some hints about what happened to the star of book one. Again, this book is different to the others, but equally gripping and intelligent. Son - Lois Lowry Kindle. Like the other books in the series, it follows a new main character, but we do finally get to learn what happened to the main characters from the other books.
These books are a masterclass in how good young adult dystopian fiction can and should be - not slushy or overblown with earnest romance, but full of truly delightful and devastating human emotion and motivation - love, honour, pain and sacrifice. This is a very strange surreal novel. It feels kind of old fashioned and kind of European and kind of otherworldy.
There's romance, menace, coming of age-ness and lots of oddity. I really liked it! It really wasn't what I was expecting from an older Irish writer. A strange foreign alternative healer turns up in a wee Irish town and the townsfolk are shaken up and excited by his arrival. The second half of the book is about Fidelma, who has fled to London and is having a terrible life and an array of refugees that she meet and who share their own harrowing tales with her. It got mixed reviews from the book group ladies, but I quite liked it although I found it quiet disturbing. I think this was a kindle daily deal, and because I loved The Sea Detective, I thought this might be similar, and it got good reviews so I went for it.
That really annoyed me. Saying that, the actual plot was okay, and I did finish the book and found the murder stories fun enough. The Dressmaker - Rosalie Ham Kindle. Now this book I really liked. Set in a small town in Australia, it's about the return of Tilly, who was sent away as a child after the death of a boy in her class at school which was blamed on her.
- Hot, Hot Winter (A Curvy Chef Wants to be Hired by a Billionaire as His Private Cook).
- Scientific Basis of Healthcare: AIDS & Pregnancy.
- Petit Pierre, il était une foi (French Edition).
- Themes and style.
Neither Tilly, nor her wonderfully cantankerous and tactless mother, really remember what actually happened, and we discover the truth along with them as things jog their memories, or people add bits of information. Tilly is a fabulous dressmaker, and the women of the town are torn between hating her and wanting her to make them dresses. Its funny, sad and great fun to read - I also loved the film which I watched after reading the book.
I liked this book - the two main protagonists, both misfits in their own way and drawn to each other, were a female natural magician Able to talk to birds and do spells etc and a genius techy boy - who as a child designed the best ever artificial intelligence which played a major role later in the book. It began when they were children, and had a kind of young adult literature feel, but quickly becomes quite dark and adult. I'm months late as ever writing up my review, so I'm going on what lingers in my memory after so long, which is, compelling plotting and enough magical realism to keep me happy.
Overall, I really liked, but didn't quite love. It is almost but not quite as good as the likes of Nick Harkaway's Angelmaker. The Buried Giant - Kazuo Ishiguro kindle. This book read like a fable or adult fairy tale and I found it very compelling reading. The old couple who were the main protagonists lived in a world where the air or mists caused continual memory loss, and as they journey to find their son, who they vaguely remember as having moved away, hints of things they have forgotten threaten to ruin their relationship and their peace.
It is an interesting read on many levels, addressing the questions about memory and how we see ourselves - I've always been interested in the way we shape our memories to paint our own pictures of the past which may vary hugely from what actually happened, and how our memories shape who we are compared with how who we are shapes our memories. It's about a London trader who has made a very sophisticated computer programme machine that predicts ripple effects from lots of different events and how they will effect the world markets.
His programme has some teething problems which causes his company to lose a fortune, and he runs away to a little isolated coastal town. I liked that it is a lovely optimistic book with a genuinely good character inspiring others to do good. The Coincidence Authority - John Ironmonger kindle. This one is about Thomas, a statistician, who uses maths to explain away seemingly significant clusters of events as being merely random coincidences and Azalea, who came to him because her life seems to follow a starling pattern which she can't believe can only be due to random chance.
It's a very interesting story - we learn Azalea's incredible backstory as her relationship with Thomas grows and the story become part sweet romance, and part a kind of detective problem solving story. T his is number three in my John Ironmonger reading marathon, and it is quite different from the other two, while still retaining the skilled writing style and quirkiness I'm coming to expect from the author.
Both characters kind of descend into madness as the plan of mapping the mind of Maximilian takes on a more sinister aspect. It was quite gripping. Slade House - David Mitchell Kindle. Loved the magical realism, loved the building tension, loved the characters - love David Mitchell. Sorry if my reviews are short and not very detailed or possibly just wrong it's because I'm working with my less than perfect memory The present time woman found remains of a 'mermaid baby' with fused leg bones when her and her partner were renovating their house and we learn from the back story about the young vicars obsession with mermaids and the selkie myths and how the bones ended up under his house.
Not on my 'wow' list of all time favourites, but not bad. This was my bookgroup read for March , and I was the only member of the group who really didn't like it. Set in Carrickfergus just down the road from us in Belfast in the early seventeen hundreds, it's the story of a witch hunt told from the point of view of a young housemaid. I thought the writing was poor, but since the other book group members all really liked it, maybe it was just not to my taste.
I bought this because I loved The Sea Detective so much, and if I remember rightly sorry, I'm really late writing this up I liked it as well, although maybe not quite as much as the first book. I will definitely want to continue reading the series though I'm waiting for the next book to go down in price before I buy it Following the death of his wife and more recently his son, Mr Cave descends into a kind of paranoic madness, he is over protective of his remaining child, a daughter and is also 'possessed' by the spirit of his dead son.
The book is dark and rich and well worth reading. If he keeps churning them out, I'll keep reading them! About Grace - Anthony Doerr kindle. I thought this book was fabulous. The main character is a specialist in water specifically ice and I loved the science bits about snowflakes, he also had premonitions it's ticking all my boxes because I love books with magical realism too which always come true, and when he dreams that he causes his baby daughter's death, he runs away from his young family to the Caribbean where is hides for many years, never knowing if his baby lived or died.
Eventually he returns to the USA to search for the truth, and we feel every step of his agonising journey. Bright Young Things - Scarlett Thomas kindle. This book started really well - a mysterious newspaper ad drew 'interesting' people for an interview who then ended up on a remote island not knowing what was going on. I wasn't sure what to make of it as it went on though - not that much more happened, although it was an interesting study on human nature - how different people react to the mystery and danger of their situation.
I liked it enough to add more Scarlett Thomas books to my wishlist on Amazon. Florence and Giles - John Harding kindle. There's an evil nanny involved and some shocking violence - I liked it, I think, but didn't love it. This is the sequel to Florence and Giles, although a quite different book.
Set in a Victorian 'lunatic asylum' the book was gripping and I thought the complex flawed characters were pretty well drawn. Again it had some quite shocking violence, and quite a satisfying ending. Fallen - Lia Mills kindle book - BookGroup. As we get to know him we discover the fears and memories that shape him. I liked it. The story jumps about chronologically, and we learn quite a lot about the protagonist life outside of the prison camp as well. Very good book. Death of a River Guide - Richard Flanagan. Again I really enjoyed this book.
It tells of the last few minutes in the life of a drowning man the river guide who sees visions from his own life and the lives of his family members which tell us the story of his life and history as a part aboriginal in Australia, as well as celebrating Tasmania and nature. Medusa's Web - Tim Powers. This was a clever, creepy atmospheric, supernatural, mystery, family drama. I liked it - a good one for fans of David Mitchell or Nick Harkaway ie me!
I found Tess to be quite gripping in places, but also a bit longwinded. I was outraged at the treatment of poor Tess, and of women in general as well as of the lower classes by the English aristocracy. I'm also horrified by the fact that the readers of the time it was first published thought Tess was a bit of a trollop and deserved everything she got! It makes me glad that society has progressed as much as it has at least in some areas.
Hideous Creatures - S. A fabulous book - a road trip, coming of age, historical fiction, magical realism, love story told with great beauty and skill. The Shell Collector - Hugh Howey. I generally like dystopian futuristic novels, and this one started quite promisingly, but sadly for me anyway it fell short of my expectations.
Firstly, I just couldn't get that excited or empathise with the excitement of the protagonists about shells - I thought all the fuss about shells would lead to something else, but it didn't. Just shells. Secondly, I found the love story between the two leads to be cringingly, sickeninlgy, obvious and annoying and ruined what without it may have been an okay book. The Immortals - S. I read this because I loved Hideous Creatures so much, and this, while a very different novel was also fabulous. An epic literary tale of time travel as a genetic abnormality and the pros and cons of living that kind of life.
Well done, S. Lister for writing such great books. I didn't realised when I started reading this that it was also a time travel novel like The Immortals which I read immediately before it and it was interesting to compare the two. This book is less literary and contemplative and more anecdotal, but still good. Like in The Immortals, the main protagonist sorry, I always say protagonist because I can never remember the names of people in books I've read!
He has to hone his skill in order to rescue his sister who went missing when she was a child. I thought it was very well done, I liked the love story and that the time traveller went back in time and bought a winning lottery ticket even if his plan didn't exactly got smoothly and it addresses the issues of changing things in the past having ripple effects on the future well, I though.
I like that famous literary figures Byron, Keats and Shelly are bonded with these mythical creatures who give them their creative spark in return for sharing their life force. What I didn't like was that it was sooooo loonnnngggg sorry that says so long I though it should have been edited down to about half the length - I'm not going to read the sequel.
I bought this for my trip to Paris, and started reading it just before leaving Belfast and during the first half of our stay. It doesn't actually have that much Parisian stuff in it, as the bookshop, which is on a boat on the Seine, takes off from Paris and travels up river for much of the book. I very much enjoyed reading it anyway - I loved that the bookseller made reference to lots of books that I've read and loved, I loved the romance of the language and the story and I spent some very happy evenings sitting in the sunshine in the Luxembourg Gardens reading this little gem of a book.
Fellside - M. Fellside is different but also fabulous - Set largely in a women's prison, it reads like a surreal version of Orange Is The New Black that's a good thing! I loved the characters, and the insight into their backstories, and of course I loved the supernatural element of the story, and the many twists and turns. Great book. Some people were annoyed by the many 'issues' the young protagonists were facing, but I thought that was part of the gentle teasing of the whole young adult book vibe and I thought the 'issues' were tackled well - sympathetic without being overly sentimental or preachy.
I have loved other books by Clare Morrall, especially The Roundabout Man and The Language of Others, largely because I seem to identify with her slightly odd characters. The novel started almost like a normal family drama where the family are the only people living in a deserted city , but became increasingly dark and sinister with the arrival of a lone traveller who is charming, but maybe not all he seems. I enjoyed the book, but it's probably not one of my favourite of Clare Morrall's novels. I thought the story was beautifully told and I loved both the historical details and the romantic story between the two protagonists.
You know when you watch a really deep and meaningful arty foreign film, and you know it's probably considered really good, but you're actually finding it pretty boring or is that just me? It's about a half Chinese, half English young man in Malaya prior to and during the second world war, who's best friend is a Japanese man. The book is all about his struggles with identity and knowing where his loyalties lie and what's the right thing to do in very difficult circumstances.
I thought it was way over long - I think it was almost pages long and I found the regular descriptions of the martial arts fighting that went on to be beyond dull I guess that really just doesn't interest me. I've read better books about the atrocities that the Japanese subjected people to during the war for instance, The Narrow Road To the Deep North. The language was poetic, I suppose, but I was glad when I finally reached the end. The Lie Tree - Francis Hardinge. It took me a while to get into this book, finding the style a bit old fashioned and almost patronising to begin with, but once I got my head around it I started to really like it.
I had suggested this one to my book group, but the other ladies were put off by the magical realism aspect to it. So I ended up really enjoying the story and have added more Francis Hardinge books to my wishlist. I enjoyed this book. As adults they begin to suspect that all is not at they were led to believe and start to investigate what actually happened all those years ago. I liked the mystery aspect, and the family drama and how the little clues fell into place. I like the character of Cal, the 'sea detective' and this is the third book in the series about him. Set in a small Scottish island community, the book is more about the people on the island than about Cal, and while still an enjoyable read, I didn't like it as much as the first two because I missed Cal being the centre of the story.
Ruby - Cynthia Bond.