Monday, November 14, 2011

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

Briiliant book, recommended by Sarah, but I think I finished it before her. It's about an American family and the things that go on in their lives. The characters are very recognisable...I think I'm very much like Patti....and she drives me mad!!!!
Well worth a read. The only thing I didn't like is that the chapters are very long and there is often no obvious place to stop reading. So you either read into the early hours and stop when it doesn't feel like a natural stop.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton

Mum thought this might not be my thing either but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Sensitive and touching at some times but also a good complex mystery story. Well worth a read.


Nemesis by Jo Nesbo

My second Jo Nesbo book and no doubt I'll read more. Another swedish cop story and a good enough story to be a page turner. Won't set the world on fire but I'll get the next one in his series.


One Day by David Nicholls

Mum thought I might think this book was chick lit but far from it. The characters grabbed me and held me, and I had this disoriented feeling that they might be real - you know, when you think about them when you are not reading. ( I think Katy coined that description.) Haven't seen the film yet and don't need to - the images from reading are very stong. Read it if you haven't already.


Sunday, October 09, 2011

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

I knew I had to read this as everyone over in USA is talking about it. A very good read about the relationships between black women and their white mistresses in Mississippi in the early 60s. The author was raised by a black help so I expect it's pretty authentic.

Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann

Read this book many years first came out in the 60s and caused quite a stir. It's about life in Hollywood and supposedly based on the lives of true people. It deals with drug taking and the "high" life of the famous in Hollywood. An easy read but not sure I'd call it a piece of good literature.

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

Again another loan from Katy. An interesting read about a mother and daughter who arrive in New York from Hong Kong and how they manage to live there. The mother never really loses her Chinese identity. Enjoyable read and I'm sure pretty authentic for a lot of people in similar circumstances.

One Day by David Nicholls

Katy leant me this and let's face it, we've all heard loads about the book and the film. It's about 2 people who meet up at various times during their lives...looks at the same date every year. I enjoyed it...I have to confess bits of it made me think about Sarah and Rick Wray (sorry). I want to see the film...I think it will be better than the book.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Crossing The Lines by Melvyn Bragg

Been promising myself I'd read some of his stuff, not because of his first name (with a 'y') but because any reviews or references I've heard are very complimentary. And he always seems interesting on t' radio.

This is about a teenage boy's rites of passage in a 1955 Cumbrian farming/industry town and where life took him from there. Beautiful use of language and very touching (and insightful) telling of a simple story. Superb portrayal of lots of characters. I want more.

Anybody want to borrow it?


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Breakfast on Pluto by Patrick McCabe

A really strange book set in Ireland in the 60s/70s. It's about a boy who was fathered by a priest and handed over to a large family in the village. He grows up as a very mixed up child who spends his teenage life as a tranvestite prostitute. Very funny in places but also very sad. It was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1998.

Selected Poems by Carol Ann Duffy

This month's book club choice. For some reason we decided to try a poetry book although I'm not sure what everyone will make of it. The poems are chosen by Duffy from various of her anthologies. I love the last selection from The World's Wife, but am not sure I completely understand some of her earlier stuff.

Afterwards by Rosaund Lupton

Rosemary leant me this book when we were up in Norfolk. She said it was a serious weepy one.....and she was right. It's about a mum and her teenage daughter after they have been in an accident. A bit like "Lovely Bones" they are telling the story as if they are spirits - their bodies are still in hospital on life support machines. Not a story if you don't fancy a good cry!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Ok so I know I've read it before, but it was Book Club's July read so I read it again. Equally good the second time. I think we've all read it so can't spoil the story for you. Very interested to hear what Book Club think. Surely no one could not like it.

Monday, August 08, 2011

The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo

Nesbo is flagged as the next Stieg Larsson. Hmmm, we'll see.

Redbreast is a standard cop-v-killer story, clever and set in present day Norway and in the second world war, but not as addictive as the Larsson books & characters. There's lots more Nesbo books and I'll try some because I've already got 2 more books (think I'll also try one on my Kindle App). But I wouldn't rush if I were you. They may be formulaic.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Week In December by Sebastian Faulks

Much faster and up to date than his earlier stuff such as Birdsong or Girl At The Lion D'or, I thoroughly enjoyed this book (though mum didn't). Good complex story about people in London only loosely connected in the run up to terrorist activity and the collapse of the world's banking & economies. Hooked me quickly and I needed to read quickly, which is a very good sign.


Early warning: now starting the Jo Nesbo books!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Any Human Heart by William Boyd

This was last month's Book Club choice and when I first got it I had my doubts about whether I'd read it or not....pretty thick book. It starts a bit slow but well worth's a great read about the life story of a writer called Logan Mountstuart who was born at the beginning of the 1900s. It's all based on journals he kept and a real page turner. It had me completed fooled....I was about to look for some of the books it claims he wrote....until someone at Book Club told me the truth!!!!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The Cold Six Thousand by James Ellroy

The usual 600 pages of really complex story from James Ellroy which would have been virtually unreadable if I had not kept saying to myself "Is this true? Is it real?". Long ramble about America in the early 60s - politicians (mainly Kennedies) mobsters, seedy police & CIA, Cuba and other 'marginal' countries.

And there's another book to complete the trilogy! Can I face it? I will because he hasn't written anything else so I will have read all his stuff then. Phew!


Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Do you all know that the whole book is in cartoon format? I suspect you do.

Lovely book. Intriguing format and very effective, lots of information( and true!) story.


Monday, July 04, 2011

A week in December by Sebastian Faulks

I'm afraid that I didn't really enjoy this book....I know he's supposed to be a good writer, but I think he introduces too many characters who don't appear much in the book and also he spends a lot of time talking about the ins and out of the financial world. I didn't understand what he was on about and I don't think it's necessary to the story development. As the title suggests it's about what happens to a group of people during a week in December. They are linked loosely.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Sarah gave me this for Mothers' Day...thank you. The story is about a girl growing up in Iran, who is sent to Europe in her teens to escape living through the troubles in the country. In the second half of the book, she returns and tries to live under the religious oppression. The book is written as a cartoon and is very easy to read. However that doesn't stop it being a powerful insight into life in Iran. Well worth a read!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

So many ways to begin by Jon McGregor

This is the second book by the man who wrore "If nobody speaks of remarkable things" and it might even be better! A fantastic story about a man trying to find out the truth about his background. The author has such a wonderful understanding of characters and a beautiful way of writing.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Very Thought of You by Rosie Alison

A Christmas/birthday present fr5om Katy and Mark (thank you) the story starts with a girl being evacuated to a big house in Yorkshire which runs as a boarding school. The girl eventually returns to London when her father comes home from active service. The girl's life while evacuated plys a significant role in her relationships in later life and in the second part of the book she returns to the house to meet one of her teachers who owns the house and still lives there. Probably more of a feminine book than what Dad chooses to read, but worth borrowing if anyone wants to.

Blood River by Tim Butcher

This was a Book Club book and I have to confess I wasn't really looking forward to it. It's about Tim Butcher's attempt to follow the route of Stanley along the Congo River. In fact it proved better than I thought, giving an amazing insight into what life is like in the Congo since independance. The corruption that was around in the colonial years continued and parts of the country in the 2000s is still very primitive.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sea glass - anita shreve

Another one centred around the beach house. this about a couple who move there in the 20s and he is involved in a strike 'up mill'.


A body in the library - agatha cristie

nice miss marple but an awful lot was unveiled as she was explained who done it.. that you didn't know earlier in the book.


A wedding in december - anita shreve

About a group of college friends who get togther for a wedding 15 years after graduating.

Not in anyway corny


Getting rid of Matthew - jane Fallon

Pretty much chick lit that I've fancied reading for a while.

reasonable story but a slightly odd idea that a guy leaves his wife for his mistress and she decides she doesn't want him and spends the book trying to get him to get back together with his wife


Body Surfing - Anita Shreve

there are a lot of books centred around the same house and this is another one.

about a woman who is tutoring a girl from a swanky house on the beach and her relationship with the family.


the carhallan army - sarah hall

this was mark's book for book club which he recommended.

about a group of wormen who live together in a commune after the collapse of civilisation.

Interesting but ridiculous ending.


Resistance - anita shreve

again lovely gently written but gripping story. about belgium during nazi occupation and (as the title suggests) the resistance movement.

A plane crashes and the resistance care for the pilot.


Double Vision - Pat Barker

About a guy who served in Afganistan and how he gest used to life when he comes home. I love pat barker.


the big four - agatha cristie

as sarah's chum put.. one of the most dull books ever.

not what we expect from hercule.


At Bertram's Hotel - Agatha Cristie

standard miss marple. now amazing in any way though.


The Pilot's Wife - anita shreve

Fabulous. good gripping story but gently written.. not the kind of book you couldn't put down but it just kept pulling you back.

Good story too.


Escaoe routes for beginners - kira cochrane

This lady writes for the guradian and I really like her style. However the book was a bit dull and childish.

Story was a bit odd about a girl growing up on a prison island in the 50s.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Theodore Boon by John Grisham

Want a light, quick but quite entertaining read? 260 pages in less than a week? Story about a 13 year-old boy on the fringe of a murder case. Almost as if it is written for kids. But I enjoyed it - read it in less than a week. Good enough, especially for J Grisham.

Available for borrowing.


Wednesday, March 09, 2011

American Tabloid by James Ellroy

I hinted about this book in my last blog. It is captivating, massive, complex and hard to read even if you are an Ellroy fan. And it is the first in a series of four! Only readable by people who had read some of his earlier books and who realy took to his style and (sometimes offensive) language. Story? America in the late 50s/early 60s. Kennedies, the mafia, CIA, FBI, J Edgar Hoover (director of the FBI), Howard Hughs and an entire nation of other characters, some who are so seedy, crude, racist, sexist - but sadly, alarmingly, real.

So I need a break of at least two other lighter books (John Grisham next, then) before I attempt the next in the series.

But . . . . 10/10

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro

One of my birthday books from Katy and Mark...thank you. It's a collection of short stories which are very well written but as with lots of books like this I wanted to read more of each story. Definitely worth a read...her style is enjoyable to read.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson

Kate Atkinson is the Behind The Scenes At The Museum author. This is a mystery story told a little bit more seriously than When Will There Be Good News but still very good light reading. Very entertaining story set around a modern day Edinburgh festival. Definitely a page turner. I'd say 9/10 and ask to borrow this copy from mum, even if it is a bit crumpled. A good book to take on holiday.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

This is this month's book club book and winner of 2008 Booker Prize. A good story set in India about a poor man who becomes successful by becomming part of the corrupt society. It gives a good insight into what life is like for the underclasses in India.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Generation X by Douglas Coupland

Only read this because I had nothing else to read at the time....(thank you Katy, now I've got lots)....and thought I ought to read it. As the title suggests it's about the "younger generation" ....who annoy my generation at times by blaming everything wrong in their lives on us!! Oh dear I bet that sets the cat among the pigeons. Intersting book, although I think a bit dated and no doubt much better if read when it first came out.

Never let me go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Fantastic book....the sort you can't put down. To tell you the plot would spoil the story, but it's mainly about a group of children growing up in a strange environment. About to be released as a film in UK next month. A must I think.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Village Centenary - Miss Read

Gentle as all the others I've read.. but I was amazed that the book was set in 1980!


Mini Shopaholic - Sophie Kinsella

I've read all the other shopaholic series so thought I'd read this one.. the shopaholic has a daughter.
the daughter is really quite horrid. didn't really warm to anyone in the book


After the Funeral - Agatha Cristie

when a book has a family tree in the front cover to explain who everyone is, there are going to be too many characters to remember and that was defo the case with this book.

Good thriller with hercule but just too many family members to remember who everyone was until at least half way through!


Borders Crossing - Pat Barker

I'm reading the full Pat Barker set at the mo (unionstreet that I read last year which I think was her first was brilliant).
this was as good as her others. About a psychologist who works with children who've comitted dreadful crimes. He happens to meet one of the chldren he helped commit after he has been released many years later.