What better way to introduce the power of poetry to a child, or indeed, an adult than with Sharon Creech's Love That Dog? A short volume written in frWhat better way to introduce the power of poetry to a child, or indeed, an adult than with Sharon Creech's Love That Dog? A short volume written in free verse, it does everything poetry should; it elicits an emotional response, it paints vivid imagery in concise language and it speaks of the human condition. A simple, accessible structure that describes a boy's response to poetry with his class teacher, gradually he begins to appreciate great words and even writes his own moving verse about his beloved dog. It is both poignant and funny. Don't worry about searching out the poems mentioned - they are all supplied in the back of the book. In short, it is beautiful and moving and I am still crying ... I am not a writer but if I could have chosen to write anything, I would have written this perfect little book....more
This is a truly first rate book for serious artists wishing to gain insight into the anatomical structure of animals, but who don't wish to skim throuThis is a truly first rate book for serious artists wishing to gain insight into the anatomical structure of animals, but who don't wish to skim through pages of unecessary text. Goldfinger has complied a massive 256 pages of informative and detailed drawings and photographs that are not only useful but amazing to look at. Text is kept to a minimum, and his written information is fascinating and insightful. He has aimed the book at both the sculptor and figuritive painter/drawer making it a valuable resource for all artists. He begins by explaining in easy to understand terms how anatomical structure is compiled; how cartilage works, why muscles sit where they do etc. Throughout each animal group (of which he covers many) he describes some of the behavioural habits of creatures and how these impact on the animals appearance - the teeth of rodents for example. You cannot turn a page without finding either a detailed drawing of a skeleton, musculature, silhouettes,black and white photography or even vascular construction. In fact the only minus is the black and white photography which would have added a new dimension had it been in colour. It cleverly compares similar animals to one another thus highlighting their differences. The four silhouettes of the Lowland Gorilla, Chimp, Orang Utan and Gibbon are incredible. Animals covered are too numerous to mention here but they include a thorough analysis of the horse, dog, cat (domestic and big), primate and then the dometic and wild hoofed species. He includes rodents, elephants, giraffes, ox, seals, sea lions and a fabulous insight into birds and their wing construction. I am smitten with this book and would recommend it to everyone seeking a highly detailed insight into these species. ...more
Outstanding introduction to making 3D models in Polymer Clay. Katherine Dewey begins by introducing us to the different types of polymer clay and theiOutstanding introduction to making 3D models in Polymer Clay. Katherine Dewey begins by introducing us to the different types of polymer clay and their properties - saving the beginner a lot of time and money in choosing the right clay. She then explains what tools you will need and how to make them, which keeps start up costs down even more. Dewey also guides you through the scary stuff like how to make armatures and what paints to use.
The brilliance of this book lies in the step by step lessons for modelling each project. The images are clear and accompanied by detailed text. She even includes handy diagrams to show how the clay pieces will be pieced together.
The projects include; Deer Mouse, Seal, Basset Hound, Fawn, Black Bear, Bull Frog, Bluebird, Siamese Kitten, Fox and Rabbits.
Finally she explains how to alter size, position and how to mount them on a polymer clay plinth.
In short, achieving professional looking pieces of art are achievable with this fantastic guide. This is a book to treasure for animal modelling enthusiasts....more
Absolutely breath-taking. A wonderful lyrical novel of depth, that delicately sketches beauty and the darkest of human pain. The prose is intoxicatingAbsolutely breath-taking. A wonderful lyrical novel of depth, that delicately sketches beauty and the darkest of human pain. The prose is intoxicating and the plot has you holding your breathe. It tears you up to read it and it left me gasping at the end. This is literary crime fiction of such power that it deserves its own sub genre. One of the most profound and moving books I've ever read in any genre. Just beautiful. Gotta go now and buy EVERYTHING Cook's ever written...10/10.
Eric Moore's teenage son was babysitting his neighbour's 8 yr old girl when she went missing that night. The finger of suspicion points at his son andEric Moore's teenage son was babysitting his neighbour's 8 yr old girl when she went missing that night. The finger of suspicion points at his son and Eric can't decide who he can trust... Thomas H. Cooks's novels are literary masterpieces using the psychological thriller genre. This is more than crime writing - it's literature that just happens to be using crime fiction as a vehicle. You immediately find yourself lost in the most glorious, compassionate, heart-renching, beautiful prose. This is writing with heart and soul. The compelling plot weaves questions of morality, philosophy and the human condition. This is one of those few books that actually reads you. Cook cleverly plants seeds of doubt whilst at the same time tells you that doubt is corrosive and will picture everything you see, hear or read. Ingenious. All this and an ending you'll never predict. Red Leaves is a perfect novel....more
Massive in scope and themes and accomplished in structure, this original novel is a brave and noble work that tackles the problems of the world and thMassive in scope and themes and accomplished in structure, this original novel is a brave and noble work that tackles the problems of the world and the shortcomings of the human race. Wow! Is that all?
The timeline of this novel begins in nineteenth century and ends (?) in a post apocalyptic future sometime after 2200.
By taking six separate narratives and layering them carefully within one another, Mitchell has succeeded where many more experienced novelists would fail – he has managed to explore the boundaries of human history and the realities of power by revealing their nature through the most splendidly crafted metaphors of diary entries, letters, the thriller novel, narrative film, digital recordings and the oral tradition.
It’s essentially six very well written vignettes peopled with distinguishable and realistic characters that each happen to be travelling through time at a different point. The portrayal of Timothy Cavendish is a tragic-comedy that had me chuckling out loud, Luisa Rey had me on the edge of my seat and I adored Robert Frobisher, the arrogant, self obsessed composer.
What emerges is a meditation on power and the old proclamation that those who win power have the right to record history. But Mitchell goes further and tears apart the Hobbesian view of Man as inaccurate and a view peddled by the warmongers of humanity desperate for Dominion.
In fact it’s an optimistic, sensitive and compassionate book that asserts that Man is inherently selfless and peaceful and will evolve. Man’s true nature never changes and this is delicately insinuated by the comet tattoo motif.
The most remarkable part of Cloud Atlas is that he manages to explore all of these themes in an entertaining way. Cloud Atlas is thrilling, it’s funny and it’s poignant. Cloud Atlas is one of the best novels I’ve read in the last ten years and what’s more I will certainly be reading it again and again. It’s deeply textured and multi layered and deserves more scrutiny. Discovering a book like Cloud Atlas is the reason I read books. ...more
A Place of Execution has to be her finrst novel that I have read to date, as it stands head and shoulders above anything else she's written. MesmericA Place of Execution has to be her finrst novel that I have read to date, as it stands head and shoulders above anything else she's written. Mesmeric and utterly beautiful writing which must have taken months/years of research. McDermid has produced a finely crafted masterpiece. One of the most thrilling plots I've ever read and I read a lot of crime fiction/thrillers. This is what every other crime fiction writer should aim for. She should be proud of this it's incredible....more
An original and complex narrative voice introduces the story of Libby Day. A voice that at once invites sympathy and at the same time threatens to smaAn original and complex narrative voice introduces the story of Libby Day. A voice that at once invites sympathy and at the same time threatens to smash your face in for even thinking she needs your sympathy. You can't help but like her. Libby's family was butchered twenty five years ago by her brother and it was her testimony that put him away for life. An encounter with a true crime fan sparks an investigation into what happened that night and Libby takes on the uneasy role of detective into her own past. This is a brilliantly original, refreshing voice in the world of crime fiction. The characters are so real and grimy you can almost smell them. The book is a shocking portrayal of the savagery of the crimes in question and the sadness and desperation of the human lives that surround it. It's a paradoxical novel about good people doing nothing; allowing evil to just happen and the redemption that comes from acceptance. It's also a really good thriller with a break-neck pace. Flynn gently nudges out clues and allows the plot to unfurl slowly. Not a wasted word, not a single boring paragraph. It is rich in texture with Kansas prairies providing the back drop to a shocking murder mystery. The narrative voice, the carefully sketched characters, the political undercurrent of the 80s make this a top class literary thriller and one that I cannot compare with anything else I've read. ...more
Two figures walk across a disintegrating and burned out landscape pushing a shopping cart, dressed in rags. A post-apocalyptic vision that will tormenTwo figures walk across a disintegrating and burned out landscape pushing a shopping cart, dressed in rags. A post-apocalyptic vision that will torment and haunt you long after you finish reading. This book is a feast; it can be devoured quickly but takes a long time to digest. I read it some days ago but have only just brought myself to write a review; a review that will develop in my mind the more I live with the after effects of this book. When you read the final paragraph you know you have read something of significance, something that will be appreciated two hundred years from now. The prose is deceptively sparse and not a lot happens in term of plot but if you appreciate beautiful prose that has been mastered and sculpted to perfection you will not care that this is no action packed thriller. This book's power lies in its subtlety, the tiny moments of poignancy that will break your heart. McCarthy has decided on no chapters, no speechmarks and no names to really drive home the barreness of landscape and lack of hope, but also to illustrate the lack of identity, the characters have been left with. If man has no identity he might as well give up the fight. The only character who claims to have a name, the old man Ely, invents it to assist him in survival. Identity is also explored as existing with our relationship with others; the Man and the Boy cling to this like they cling to their scavenged supplies. McCarthy poses some major questions of what it is to be human. Is it the Boy's compassion for his fellow man? Is it Man's insuppressible Hope that the future will fulfill it's promises. McCarthy suggests that life existed before Man and will exist after him. Possibly just as The Road will exist long after we have all departed?...more
Lock the door, put your feet up, you will read this in one sitting…
After a kidnapping and intriguing murder, a Mafia hitman begins to recount his lifeLock the door, put your feet up, you will read this in one sitting…
After a kidnapping and intriguing murder, a Mafia hitman begins to recount his life story and this novel suddenly becomes the most compelling of R.J.Ellory’s I’ve read to date. As with his previous two books I’ve read, A Quiet Belief in Angels and A Simple Act of Violence, Ellory once more demonstrates his astonishing ability to capture time, place and people in a distinctive, poetic voice that makes reading a joy. I am amazed how each of his novels show such versatility, altering his tone and prosaic style to fit the subject matter and time frame of his work. He is one of the most talented and exciting voices to emerge from this genre in a long time.
I found myself unable to stop reading this masterly constructed story. Using some real events and real mobsters the plot feels like a real-life interview with someone from the inside of the Mafia. It is a plot that unravels gradually bringing together the central themes of Choices versus Circumstance and the ties of Family and how we define a Family. You will find yourself staying up late into the night just to finish this. Then he goes and leaves you with a terrific ending that will make you recommend it to everyone you know and force you to buy everything from the author’s back catalogue.
This is more than your average crime/thriller. It is a haunting meditation on the capabilities of man to enact violence and revenge but also on man’s capabilities to offer love and self-sacrifice.
The characters are made up of real-life characters from the Underworld and Ellory’s own complicated protagonists who will wrench from you genuine empathy. Even the fictional bad guys are deeply complex and damaged and you’re emotions towards them are not straightforward, thus we are made to question what makes a man evil - his own choices or his lack of them?. This is serious writing wrapped up in a fantastic story - as the best books always are.
Ellory’s prose is tough, unflinching and always, always perfect. His genius for timing, pace and dialogue make this a novel that surprises you, moves you and challenges you. His descriptions of New Orleans and Havana, that attack the senses, are exquisitely drawn. His ability to elicit emotions and questions from the reader regarding psychopathic behaviour turns crime fiction into something philosophical, original and worth thinking about. A Quiet Vendetta is a disturbing, clever and wonderful tale that will stay with me for a long time....more
Yesterday I had an uncontrollable urge to lose myself in the upper middle class world of a curious country house, obnoxious over priviledged characterYesterday I had an uncontrollable urge to lose myself in the upper middle class world of a curious country house, obnoxious over priviledged characters and an unfathomable English murder, so naturally I turned to Dame Agatha. I had been meaning to read Crooked House since I learnt that it was one of Christie's favourites. She said she had been thinking about it and planning it for years in her mind before she eventually wrote it down and that she had enjoyed the writing of it far more than many of her better known works. The result is a masterpiece in detective fiction. Much more character-led than the rest of her work. No Marple and no Poirot to steal the show, this is 100% about the characters. It was a joy to read and the delicious ending was brilliantly satisfying. I'd say this is now my official favourite Agatha Christie novel and it's one of those you gotta read again... ...more