Tag Archives: Books

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: 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: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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BOOK REVIEW: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

For months I have been hearing that The Girl on the Train is the next Gone Girl/Before I Go to Sleep, one of which I really liked… one of which I liked until it turned to crap. But I figured that I wanted to know what everyone was taking about so I might as well give it a go. Plus there’s going to be a movie of it later this year and you I have to have something to compare it to. Read more…

BOOK REVIEW: A Brief History of 7 Killings by Marlon James

My book club picked A Brief History of 7 Killings as our most recent featured book mostly because it won the Man Booker Prize for 2015 and it appeared to be about Bob Marley. Initially we almost immediately regretted it and I think I am one of only two of the six of us that actually finished it. I realise that this makes it sound like this is going to be a negative review. It’s not. It is going to be a challenging one though since Marlon James’ latest novel is a very challenging book. Read more…

BOOK REVIEW: Miss Peregrine’s School for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

This book was my pick for our most recent book club. I had read a few reviews and seen the marvelously creepy cover as well as the hyped up marketing campaign and it sounded like it would be right up my street plus it’s young adult fiction, which has always done quite well in my book club. Read more…

BOOK REVIEW: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This isn’t the first time I have read To Kill a Mockingbird. I have some fond memories of reading it in my early teens but while I remembered that I enjoyed the book I couldn’t actually remember any of the details. There were two reasons I wanted to reread it. The first is that it’s a classic and I wanted to revisit it and actually remember what happened. The second is that Harper Lee’s follow up Go Set a Watchman is out and while I really want to read it, it didn’t seem right without getting back in touch with To Kill a Mockingbird. So I suppose the question is whether my fond memories were warranted.

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BOOK REVIEW: Stardust by Neil Gaiman

I got Stardust as a free download when I bought something else. I can’t remember what though. Having read a few Neil Gaiman novels and enjoying the film interpretation it seemed like something I would like so I picked it as my holiday read while Mr O and I were in Tallinn and Helsinki.

Compared to some of Gaiman’s other novels Stardust  is quite a quick, simple read. It also has a somewhat different, gentler tone from most his other works, lacking their grit and darkness. Read more…

BOOK REVIEW: Paper Towns by John Green

I decided to read Paper Towns because I saw the film trailer and thought it looked kind of intriguing. Despite being in my thirty-fifth year of existence I have always enjoyed a bit of Young Adult fiction as well as the occasional teen movie so the premise seemed like it had some merits. Generally when it comes to film adaptations I quite like to have read the book in advance so I thought why not check it out? I will be upfront and say that I didn’t like The Fault in Our Stars, which is by the same author, one bit but I don’t think you can judge an author by just one book so I decided not to let it put me off. Read more…

BOOK REVIEW: The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan

You would think after Moby Dick I would be avoiding books set at sea but our latest book club assignment had me right back in the ocean.

This time I was reading about Grace Winter a twenty-two year old woman who is one of a handful of survivors following the sinking of The Princess Alexandra. Grace is on trial along with two of her fellow survivors for an unspecified crime that occurred during the twenty-one days they were trapped on a lifeboat. Read more…

BOOK REVIEW: Moby Dick by Herman Melville

I have a confession to make. Before I got my Kindle I wasn’t particularly well-read. I had read an awful lot but when it came to any kind of classic literature there was a big hole in my repertoire. As most of you will know you can download books that have fallen into the public domain (i.e. out of copyright) for free. That includes a whole bunch of classic novels. So when I first got my Kindle I downloaded loads of famous works of literature, which I have been working through interspersed with assignments from book club, questionable Young Adult fiction and Game of Thrones. Some of them I absolutely fell in love with – Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice,  The Three Musketeers and absolutely everything Sherlock Holmes being among the favourites. Others have been less good and I don’t think I would recommend Madame Bovary or Tess of the D’Ubervilles to anyone. Read more...

Books About Town – City Trail

I hit the final and biggest trail on the National Literacy Trust Books About Town tour on my own today to pick up the last fifteen benches (minus the 1984 one, which isn’t back from repair yet) and the upcoming 51st book which is still being voted on by book lovers. The City is one of the most interesting parts of London, being technically made up of only a square mile. The rest of London is actually the City of Westminster… but I digress. The City is the heart of London’s financial district as well as some of its most iconic sights including St Paul’s Cathedral and The Tower of London, which means the super modern stands shoulder to shoulder with the truly historic. If you are going to do any of the trails and want to be awed by London, this is definitely the one for you… plus it’s the easiest to navigate. Here are the benches I snapped.

Katie in London by James Mayhew


Noughts and Crosses by Oliver Dean



Usborne’s that’s not my bench by Rachel Wells (original illustrations) Jenny Hillborne (design) Painted by Sarah Jane Richards



Jacqueline Wilson by Nick Sharratt (original illustrations) created by Jane Headford


Bridget Jones’s Diary by Paula Bressel


Mary Poppins by Darel Seow



Peter Pan by Laura Elizabeth Bolton



Dickens in Liverpool by Hillside School


Fever Pitch by Sophie Green


Brick Lane by Charlotte Brown


Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack by Trevor Skempton


The Laura Marlin Mysteries by David Dean (original illustrations) created by Jane Headford


Alex Rider by Kanako and Yuzuru (original illustrations) created by Mike Snowdon



The Wind in the Willows by Mik Richardson



A Brief History of Time by Paraig O’Driscoll



Book Love

My friend, Jen, who lives over at Gin & Kerosene challenged me on tumblr to do a book love post. The original challenge says:

Rules: In a text post, list ten books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take but a few minutes, and don’t think too hard – they don’t have to be the ‘right’ or ‘great’ works, just ones that have touched you. Tag ten friends, including me, so I’ll see your list. Make sure you let your friends know that you tagged them!

But I cheated… and I have decided to do a blog instead with images cos you know, rules, whatever. You can read Jen’s original post here. And I tag anyone of my lovely readers who wants to join in to do their own. I have been an avid reader since I figured out how to do it myself at four (yes, really… baffled my parents and made first grade into a bit of a nightmare for my teacher but I digress). I have read hundreds, if not thousands of books in my life so far but these are ten of the ones that made the biggest impact although I could easily make a list of 100.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Because it inspired my interest in classic literature


Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Because it was my favourite book when I was a child


The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Because it’s filled with magic and carries you on its epic journey


Kringe in ‘n Bos by DaleneMathee
Because it was the first time I had an Afrikaans set novel for school that I actually enjoyed and it inspired me to read all her other novels


Watership Down by Richard Adams
Because I have probably read it about twenty times and it never fails to absolutely engross me


The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
Because it explores what it means to be human and how family is not just who you are related to by blood


A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
Because although it is long it rewards you at every step of the way


Rant by Chuck Palahuniuk
Because I had never read anything like it


Forever by Judy Blume
Because it was passed around the girls in our school in year seven and acted as our introduction to sex beyond what we were taught in sex ed


Die Eerste Lewe van Adamastor by Andre P. Brink
Because no book has ever won me over from being so totally disinterested at the beginning