Category Archives: Books

BOOK REVIEW: Notes From a Small Island by Bill Bryson

When the O Family was in South Africa recently Mr O found a book by Bill Bryon in our Air BnB called A Short History of Nearly Everything. He had finished the books he brought with him to read so he decided to give it a go. He absolutely loved it and kept giving me little snippets that he was enjoying.  Read more…

BOOK REVIEW: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs

When I first got my Kindle many years ago, I downloaded some classic books that had become free as they were more than 100 years out of copyright. I think I found a list of recommended books somewhere and picked off a collection that I wanted to read. I have been working through them in between various books that I have purchased. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl was one of those still hanging around. Read more…

BOOK REVIEW: Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz

I have something like 130 books to read on my Goodreads list. I remember where some of them came from… but not all. Usually when I finish a book I go to the list and see if there’s something on the list I fancy reading. I mean otherwise the list will never get shorter, right? This time I picked Teeth by Hannah Moskovitz. I have no idea where it came from. It might have been one of the suggestions for my old book club that we never ended up reading. Read more…

BOOK REVIEW: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

With all the recently holidaying going on around here, I decided I wanted a light read that wouldn’t require too much of my very limited brain power. I saw a load of adverts for The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue so I decided to give it a whack and see if it was up to the hype. Read more…

BOOK REVIEW: The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle

I became interested in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle because of his most well known character, Sherlock Holmes. I was a big fan of the Guy Richie film and decided to read some of the stories to see how close his interpretation of Holmes was to the original and became hooked. (Spoiler: he’s not far off. Also Watson is my ideal literary husband). Recently I decided to see if the magic was confined just to Holmes by checking out one of Doyle’s other novels. Read more…

BOOK REVIEW: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

I first found out about In Cold Blood when watching Capote, which starred the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in the title role. It’s a great film and focuses on author, Truman Capote’s, obsession with the the Clutter murder trial and in particular accused killer, Perry Smith. I added the book to my “to-read” list but it’s taken me three and a half years to actually read it.  Read more…

BOOK REVIEW: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

This is the last one of the books that I mysteriously bought while Little O was days old and forgot about. Once again I really had no idea what this book was about before I started reading it. I am starting to enjoy this approach to new books more and more since it means no pre-conceived notions or expectations of what is to come.  Read more…

BOOK REVIEW: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

I was poking around in my Amazon account the other day and discovered that I bought some books for my Kindle when Little O had just been born. I have no recollection of doing this or when I thought I was going to read these books. For some reason they never delivered to my Kindle so the whole thing seems a bit odd. Anyway, now that I have time to read on my commute, I am quite glad very new mum me somehow sort of pre-arranged me some reading material. A Wrinkle in Time is the first of these books. Read more…

BOOK REVIEW: The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

A while ago I got a choice of free books after buying something on Amazon. I have no idea what since I buy all the things on Amazon. I chose The Corrections because it was the only one on offer that I had not read and I had no idea what it was about before I started reading it.  Read more…

BOOK REVIEW: Don’t be a Dick, Pete by Stuart Heritage

I suppose I need to mention as a disclaimer to this review that I sort of know the author… or more that I sort of know his wife, which is why I knew the book existed. That has nothing to do with this review though as it is based completely on my experience of reading the book, which I bought and paid for. Read more…

BOOK REVIEW: Lolita by Vladimir Nabakov

Every so often, I like to pick out a so-called classic to read, to try to broaden my literary knowledge but also to decide whether I think they’re actually worth the hype e.g. a resounding yes to Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice and all the Sherlock Holmes outings… a resounding WTF to Moby Dick and flat no to Tess of the D’Ubervilles. This time I decided to go for Lolita by Vladimir Nabakov. Read more…

BOOK REVIEW: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

It’s been quite some time since I did a book review because, let’s face it, I didn’t read any actual books for about 8 months. Since I have been back at work reading has been back on the menu as I spend about two hours a day on the train and I have managed to read a few books. Unfortunately none of them have really been interesting enough – good or bad – to motivate me to actually write something, until now.

I have had Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on my to-read list for ages but after my friend, J, gave it a rave review, I decided to bump it up the list and I am glad I did. Read more…

BOOK REVIEW: Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin

Black Like Me was the latest choice for my book club inspired by Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin. It features a white character who passes as black. We all thought this sounded kind of far-fetched until my friend, A, remembered that she’d heard of a real life case where someone had done this. We were intrigued and decided to explore this for our next read.

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BOOK REVIEW: Possession by A.S. Byatt

Roland Mitchell is a literally scholar focused exclusively on the works of Victorian poet Roland Ash. He works for Professor Blackadder in a mostly unpaid position and lives in a mouldering flat in a miserable and distant relationship with his girlfriend, Val… not that he’d notice.

When Roland finds some of Ash’s personal papers in a reference book he is overcome by the sudden urge to take them rather than declare and catalogue them. Within these papers is an abortive letter clearly meant for a woman. After a bit of detective work, Roland comes to the suspicion that the woman in question might be Christabel La Motte, a minor poetess well loved by certain feminist researchers so he decides to get into contact with Dr Maud Bailey, a specialist on La Motte. Read more…

BOOK REVIEW: Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

I was lucky enough to receive this book as part of a giveaway that Katya over at Life and Other Disasters did in honour of World Book Day. She was kind enough to post it to me all the way from Austria so I felt like it would make a perfect next bath book. Thank you, Katya!

Elena is a massive Star Wars fan and has been her whole life so when The Force Awakens comes out she decides she wants the ultimate fan experience, which means queuing up outside her local movie theatre in the middle of winter. Elena is expecting a massive turn out but instead she ends up being third in a line of… three. The other two are Troy, an middle aged superfan with a lot of stories that he is very keen to tell and Gabe, who is the same age as Elena and much more keen to keep himself to himself. As Elena battles the cold, her desperate need to wee all the time, her limited phone battery life and her mom driving around the block every five minutes she starts to realise there might be more to Gabe than meets the eye.  Read more…

BOOK REVIEW:Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk

Most people know Chuck Palahniuk because he wrote Fight Club, which inspired one of the best films of all time (in not only my opinion it seems). Although I am a big fan of the film I haven’t actually read the book although I have read a few of his other novels, most memorably Rant. Mr O has quite a collection of Palahniuk novels knocking about since he’s one of the few fiction authors he’s actually interested in reading so when I was looking for my next bath book I decided it was time to delve back in and this was his recommendation. Read more…

BOOK REVIEW: Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin

Written by Armistead Maupin, Tales of the City was first published as a  serial in the San Francisco Chronicle and later became the first in a series of books initially published in 1976 and follows a group of inhabitants of the city and their interwoven lives. Read more…

BOOK REVIEW:Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

By now most people know that Robert Galbraith is JK Rowling going under a pseudonym and that she has published a series of crime novels featuring the private detective Cormoran Strike. Career of Evil is the third book in that series. If anyone is wondering why I started with the third book, it’s because it was recommended by  one of my book club member’s father-in-law who assured us we didn’t need to read the first two. (He was right).

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BOOK REVIEW: Wild Swans by Jung Chang

A couple of years ago a former member of my book club suggested that we pick Jung Chang’s Wild Swans as our monthly read and so it went into the hat (actually a sunglasses case) to be drawn out and it was the winner. We were all a bit drunk though and decided that it sounded too long and complicate and so we never ended up reading it. At the time I didn’t find the premise of the true story of three generations of women growing up in China all that intriguing, not sure why, but when I found an actual physical copy of this in our abandoned book cupboard I decided to make it my “bath book”. Read more…

BOOK REVIEW: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

In 2009 Seth Grahame-Smith came up with the cunning plan of taking one of English literature’s most loved classic novels, Pride and Prejudice and adding zombies to it. Before I even get into reviewing the product of this “scheme” I have to admit that I am not sure how I feel about the entire concept. There is a part of me that finds it appalling. First of all it takes a piece of literary brilliance and makes it into an object of fun without the original author being able to give permission, secondly it smacks of opportunistic laziness considering that the novel retains 85% of its original content.  On the other hand it is getting people back into reading classic literature and zombies are pretty cool.
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