Category Archives: Books

BOOK REVIEW: Stasiland by Anna Funder

I was recommended this book by Mr O, who is predominantly a non-fiction reader and thought that I’d enjoy this look at life behind the Berlin wall. I was fortunate enough to travel to Berlin a few times for work in my previous role and to actually spend a weekend there in 2016 in the former GDR. I visited the wall and some of the historical sites related to the separation of both the city and the country. I was also a big fan of the film The Lives of Others so prior to reading this I had some interest in the historical context.

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BOOK REVIEW: Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch

Late last year I came across a series of novels about a London police detective and modern day Wizard in training called Peter Grant and absolutely loved the first book. After the heaviness that was reading Shantaram for three months, I decided it was time to go back to Peter and try out his second adventure.

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BOOK REVIEW: Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

It probably feels like an absolute eternity since I did a book review and in fairness it has been. I have been reading the book I am about to review for three months. Before you judge me harshly, I think I need to point out that it’s over a thousand pages long and I only really get to read on the train because of small human interference and general exhaustion.

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BOOK REVIEW: Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

I found this book on my Goodreads to read list. I have no idea where it came from but I did see that several of my friends had either added it or rated it highly so I decided to make it my latest read. It was definitely a good choice.

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BOOK REVIEW: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

I am continuing to choose books from my long reading list on Goodreads, which you can actually check out here. This Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock has been on the list since 2013 and I have no idea where it came from. I think it might also have been a potential book club selection that was rejected. Interestingly the author, Matthew Quick, also wrote The Silver Linings PlaybookRead more…

BOOK REVIEW: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

For my latest reading adventure, I decided to go for a children’s’ classic and chose The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I was in the mood for something uplifting and not too taxing and I figured this would fit the bill. Read more…

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…