Saturday, November 06, 2010

The girl who kicked the hornet's nest by Stieg Larsson

This is the third book in the Millennium trilogy and very long. The story is good, but I find the number of characters (especially their Swedish names) confusing. Actually I think the story would have been as good if he'd left out some of the characters. Having said that, it has to be read if you've read the other two as it brings a conclusion to the plot. Although if the author hadn't died he could probably have managed a few sequels!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

White Jazz by James Ellroy

Another James Ellroy and the most eccentric writing style so far. Packed with 1950s American slang/oplice language and strangely short sentences - 5 words, sometimes only 3. Good story line if you like his extremely blunt style. Still got more to read but not for a while.


Saturday, October 02, 2010

Generation X by Douglas Coupland

Hmmmm, don't know what to say about this book. It is remarkably gentle and wandering. I expected something much sharper and focused. Worth the read but it took me some time 'cos I only took in it fairly short doses and didn't find it a page-turner, but did want to finish it.

Comments from K & S about Generation A in view of what I've said above would be welcome.

Erm, 5/10

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Postcards by E. Annie Proulx

This is the story of a man who has to leave his home and family after he kills his wife. As the years go by, his only contact with his former life are by sending postcards from the different parts of America where he settles. He never finds out about the troubles that happen at home, although the reader gets both sides of the family's life. Quite an interesting idea for a story, but at times it was a bit slow...not what I'd call a "page turner"!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

If nobody speaks of remarkable things by Jon McGregor

I read this book before but don't seem to have added it to Beck Book Club. It was this month's book club book and I enjoyed reading it again. I think it is such a beautiful book. I couldn't believe it when I went to Book Club and several people thought it was dreadful and others weren't impressed by it at all. But then I recommended "What I loved" to one of the group and she thought it was aweful. People are so different aren't they? Anyway I still thought the book was lovely...beautiful style. We all know what it's about don't we?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Cities Of The Plain by cormac McCarthy

The last in a trilogy by the man who recently wrote No Country For Old Men. Once again, beautiful writing style, beautiful imagery, really touching stories about people leading a simple 'cowboy' life in 1950s to 1980s small town Texas and Mexico. I loved them but it's a heavy trilogy which tested my stamina.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Girl who played with fire by Stieg Larsson

This is the second book in the trilogy and I don't think it's as good as the first. I have lots of problems with all his characters.....their Swedish names sound very similar and I get mixed up. Also the ending this time was very could just imagine Hollywood getting their hands on it. Will still read the final one though.

The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

However I did enjoy this book.....even though I read this one ages ago too. It's about Odysseus' wife and how she coped while her husband was away in the Trojan War. Very amusing in a Margaret Altwood sort of way.....prompted me to have another look at Carol Ann Duffy's poems "The Worlds' Wife" which are a humourous look at imaginary wives of famous people, e.g. Mrs Midas.

The Rachel Papers by Martin Amis

Read this ages ago but only just getting round to updating beck book club! Seem to remember that I didn't really like it. I find his style very over the top and the plot of the book was pretty all in all I'd say...don't bother reading it if you haven't already!

The Big Nowhere

The strongest style yet from James Ellroy - but I've got more of his to read. Los Angeles 1950 cops and (very) baddies story. His writing style is everything but some people might find it offensive or think it is tacky. Me, I love'em.


Friday, August 06, 2010

Letter From America by Alistair Cooke

Only enjoyable if you have heard and liked Alistair Cooke's 'letters from America' on radio 4 in the past. This is a selection of his 'talks' using topical items to give people in Europe and elsewhere an understanting of what life is like in America. Delightful - if you love his style.

9/10 for me

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets' Nest by Stieg Larsson

I paused Alistair Cook's Letters From America book (partly because it is very long and a break was wise) to read this. It's twice the length of Larsson's two previous books but it is just as compelling a read. Bit sad that it will be the last - Larsson died after writing this one. Important to read it after the other two books. Excellent modern thriller with great characters. That applies to al lthree books. Read the first one yet, Katy?


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Devil Bones by Kathy Reichs

Kathy Reichs is the real-life forensic anthropologist who writes thriller books about a forensic anthropologist (as opposed to Patricia Cornwell who is an author who writes books about . . . a forensic anthropologist.)

Devil Bones is Reichs' latest book. They are all written to a formula but it is a good formula. If you like that sort of thing. I do. Murder, mystery and mayhem and lots of opened-up bodies and bones etc. in Charlotte, North Carolina. Plus a group of good quality characters who provide continuity from book to book.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson

A good thriller and a natural and enjoyable sequal to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. But somehow it is easier to live with all the Swedish names. I'm ready for the last one in the triology now but I'd better read something else for a change

You must read them in the right order.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Crossing by Cormack McCarthy

Second in the trilogy (first was All the Beautiful Horses). Even more poetic/artistic in its description of situations but also even longer and felt like a long, slow read. Will read the final book soon and hope it is equally beautiful - but crisper!


Wednesday, May 05, 2010

My Dark Places by James Ellroy

Only readable if you are a strong fan of James Ellroy, and even then it is a tough and long slog. Ellroy writes cop/crime/lowlife novels about America from the 1940s to now (seen the film of L A Confidential?). This book is a biography built around his reinvestigation of his mother's murder in very seedy circumstances when he was ten.

I'm glad I read it (I now understand why he writes as he does) but I would not recommend it.


Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Really enjoyed this book although I did find the ending a tear jerker. The story is told by Death and concentrates on the 2nd World War in Germany. The main characters become involved with a Jew and their concern for what is right and how this conflicts with their country's belief on the situation is very touching.

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lakiri

If the next two entries look like Dad and I have been reading together that's not quite true. However when we go away it's better not to take lots of extra books, so we do sometimes tend to read the same ones. This was left by Patti in the apartment and tells stories with similar themes about Bengalis living in North America. Some lovely insight and written with the benefit of experience I expect.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson

Enjoyed it along with the rest of the world. It's the first book of a trilogy so am keen to read the next two. The girl in the story helps solve a murder from several years ago. Interesting characters and family conflicts.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Katy's book, I think. Thank you . A lovely read. Story told by someone looking back on their childhood in Germany during the rise of the nazis and the war. Lovely writing style, great painting of many people, ordinary people but eccentric or full of character. And a very touching story.


Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

I saw this on a 'top 10 to read list' and then mum found that Patti had left it at our apartment. Five not-so-short stories about Indians (that's asians) living in America. Very good - well worth a read. I don't normally like short stories but these create an overall picture and her writing style is very enjoyable.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Triffic Chocolate by Alan MacDonald

A book dedicated to the history and all other things chocolate. A lovely fun read, given to mum by Douglas Cave (the 12/13 year old who produced our website). Gives you a very easy and digestible insight into chocolate.


Now I'm going to try reading The Book Thief, on loan from Katy. (Is this a new feature on the blog - a trailer of the next review?)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Indignation by Philip Roth

Thanks for the loan of this Sarah. An excellent book by a very skilled author. Clever, funny in parts, sad in parts and with some story twist which take you by surprise. Does he write anything which is not from an American jewish perspective? I'll read more of his stuff.


Sunday, March 07, 2010

Bright Blue by Rabbi Lionel Blue

A collection of some of Lionel Blue's talks on Thought For The Day. OK - some gems but many ordinary talks. And not quite the same as hearing him on radio 4 on Friday morning when you are on your way to work.


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The Old Man And The Sea by Ernest Hemingway

My third time, I think, of reading this. And I'd forgotten how perfect it is. You may not like Hemingway's books or his macho male image but this book is an exercise in writing perfection. His other books are not like this, but this is 100 pages with not a sentence wasted or unfocussed or extraneous. Even if you don't like the story he has composed a bit of literary perfection. Did I go over the top?


Sunday, February 28, 2010

When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson

Mum reviewe this recently. I found it a very good read. Modern, light, entertaining, funny. And loaded with references or puns about music, literature (modern and old) and loads more stuff. If you were put off by her Emotionally Wierd book or other recent ones, give this a try.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I, Robot by Iassc Asimov

This month's book club and that's the only reason why I read it! It's been made into a film with Will Smith but in fact the book was written in the 40s. That in itself makes it seems the author wrote lots of sci fi stories. However I found the style very difficult to read...reminded me of adolescent boys who are reluctant readers.

When will there be good news by Kate Atkinson

Tells the story of a woman who witnessed the death of her mother and siblings when she was a child. At first the characters seem isolated, but as the story progresses so do the connections between them. I enjoyed it..the style is easy to read.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

All The Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy

McCarthy wrote No Country For Old Men - if you haven't read that or seen it, I'd strongly recommend doing one or both. Pretty Horses is a lovely, lilting story about a 16 year old boy growing up fast in rural Texas and Mexico in the 1930s. Very low key style of writing which is beautifully descriptive (about cowboys???) and yet a clear, steady story line. I'm after the next two books which make up a trilogy.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dreams from my father by Barack Obama

A Book Club book, although I think I would have read it anyway. It's about Obama life until his marriage. Very interesting and gives a good insight to where he's coming from. He had an unusual background. At times the book drags a little.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy

American author with a very strong distictive style. Black Dahlia is a Los Angeles police story set in 1946. All about a horrific murder and a very blunt - crude - lifestyle. It's like a film noire gone way over the top. I like the author's style so will read the next two books which form a trilogy of life in 1940s LA.


Saturday, February 06, 2010

Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction - Sue Townsend

Really enjoyed this - haven't read any of the adrian moles since the first two and thought the character was really good grown up. Some nice references to the very early books. Good fun and a quick read.


Destination Unknown - Agatha Christie

This was really good - more a thriller than a murder mystery, about a group of scientists who have been persuaded to betray their countries to join a mysterious campaign. A great central female character who is jolly brave throughout, and a pretty good twisty end. No marple or poirot!


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"Am I alone in thinking . . .?" letters to the Daily Telegraph

Hilarious. Thank you very much Sarah for this Christmas pressie. You can rest easy that it won't persuade me to read the Telegraph every day but I did empathise with a lot of the letters! Except for the crazy loony ones. A very fast very funny book.


Friday, January 22, 2010

The Plot Against America by Philip Roth

Mum must have reviewed this before me.

Roth's novel creates a picture of 1940s America seen through the eyes of a 9 year old jewish boy living in a very jewish community - when the Nazis take over Germany and the holocaust emerges. But the novel imagines that a republican president with fascist beliefs and connections with the nazis wins the 1940 election. And implements his beliefs . . . . . Very readable. The boy gives a naive and humorous perspective of life in the USA in the 40s but the reader is in no doubt about the direction America is going in.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby

A gift from Sarah this Christmas...thank you very much. It's much like his other books so an enjoyable read. About a couple in their 40s...he runs a website for a forgotten (by most people) rock star of the 80s. They split up and the woman becomes involved with the rock star to the disbelief of her ex partner. Typical of his other books things don't get sorted out nicely in the end and you always wish there could be a bit more...but I suppose that's life! Very philosophical hey.

The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier

December's Book Club book and surprisingly quite good. It's by the same woman who wrote "The lady with the pearl earing" and a similar plot based this time on 6 tapestries which were thought to have been woven in the Middle Ages. The story is based on some historical fact but Tracy makes up lives for the characters involved. It was made even more exciting by the fact that we went to see the tapestries in a museum in Paris this New Year....spooky!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

The Prostrate Years - Sue Townsend

new Adrian mole.. as marvellous as the others.. read it in 2 days. can praise no more.

fabulouso 10/10