Unlike half the country, I was not forced to read To Kill a Mockingbird at school and with all the fanfare and kerfuffle going on around the publicatiUnlike half the country, I was not forced to read To Kill a Mockingbird at school and with all the fanfare and kerfuffle going on around the publication of Go Set a Watchman, I thought I’d finally get round to reading it. And I was pleasantly surprised. I was expecting it to me more focused on the court case rather than the life of a small, southern town through the eyes of a child. It is a charming book and not as dark as all the critical analysis would make it out to be.
My cluelessness regarding the book extended to the existence of Boo Radley. Clearly that’s where one hit wonder The Boo Radleys got their name from and consequentially I ended up with Wake Up Boo stuck in my head for half the book. The whole spooky house where the recluse lives thing has become a bit of a cliché over the years but things become clichés for a reason. I felt the lesson of prejudice Scout learns regarding Boo makes much more of an impression on her than her father’s court case.
Of course the central themes are injustice and racism, much explored and discussed in numerous places already. It’s hard to fathom such a world existed not all that long ago. I can imagine it having a greater impact when it was first published, but taking a more modern viewpoint, it doesn’t quite challenge enough. Atticus is a decent man doing his job, but everyone else just turns a blind eye to racism and it isn’t challenged. I guess it was a sign of the times…
I read this piece in The Guardian shortly after finishing Mockingbird and found myself nodding. I don’t think Atticus was ever perfect in the first place, the story is told through the rose tinted spectacles of youth after all. He is infuriatingly nice and respectful to everyone, even racist old drug addicts. It’s an admirable quality in a father to teach his children to respect everyone equally, but then some people don’t deserve that respect. I wanted to side with Scout and her desire to fight anyone who disparaged her father’s good nature.
I was also really saddened by Mayella, she is such a brief character but the poor girl. She’s “white trash” and a liar so we’re not meant to care in the confines of the story. Yet she was so lonely and a victim of abuse, not to mention the guilt she must have been burdened with. I would have liked to have known what happened to her.
I’m not particularly interested in reading Go Set a Watchman, but I can understand it’s a different perspective on a man who we only know through his loving daughter’s eyes. I’m more put off by the fact it was a book Harper apparently didn’t want published, that many people have said isn’t as polished and also that it’s lacking Scout’s innocent charm. Now if it were about Boo Radley’s life… ...more
The message here is, don't blindly believe the media. It's quite shocking at how much rubbish has been made up by the media around medicine in recentThe message here is, don't blindly believe the media. It's quite shocking at how much rubbish has been made up by the media around medicine in recent years. Whilst I'm not a big newspaper reader (I sometimes get them at the weekend to read the 'arts' sections), I'm definitely going to have to do more digging when I hear a health story that interests me.
I like Dr Ben's style of writing, there are a few laugh out loud moments, but beware that there is quite a lot of sections where you need your brain turned on. It's not really a read in one go type of book either, unless you're a real geek, I liked dipping in for a few chapters at a time....more
Another slow paced yet compulsive thriller in the Roy Grace series. Grace is starting to get past the loss of his wife and we learn more about the worAnother slow paced yet compulsive thriller in the Roy Grace series. Grace is starting to get past the loss of his wife and we learn more about the workings of the seious crime unit....more
It was refreshing to read a crime thriller where the dectective doesn't become personally embroiled in the case! I imagine this is much more like theIt was refreshing to read a crime thriller where the dectective doesn't become personally embroiled in the case! I imagine this is much more like the real thing. Not very fast paced but still gripping, there is, after all, a man buried alive by his friends at the start......more
It started with growing human organs inside pigs - pigoons they call them - but scientists were intent on solving all of humankind's problems with genIt started with growing human organs inside pigs - pigoons they call them - but scientists were intent on solving all of humankind's problems with genetic engineering and the big businesses just wanted to make more money. In the future, a man now known as Snowman lives alone in a tree. He must watch over the Children of Crake, with their green eyes, UV resistant skin and childlike thoughts and try not to dwell on his memories, especially not the whisperings of his lost love, Oryx.
The story of what happened is told through Snowman's flashbacks, from when he was known as Jimmy. Even when he was a young boy, he was living in a somewhat dystopian world, his parents working within a research facility with no contact from the outside world other than dubious internet access. The world that Snowman lives in is considerably different and the information is revealed at a perfect pace to piece together the events.
Jimmy doesn't have an aptitude for science or numbers but he is good with words. He clings to them as if they are under threat of extinction, like the fate of so many animals have before them. His childhood friend, Crake, was always the genius of the two but perhaps lacking in empathy.
Whilst I understood Oryx's role in the events, the whole passages about her childhood didn't seem necessary. Her parents were poor and starving and sold her to a man for nefarious purposes that they chose to be ignorant of. Jimmy pries into her experiences and she tells him quite a lot but she has a flippant attitude to the whole thing. I can only think that Atwood is trying to highlight the things wrong in the world and this is why something needed to be done. However Crake's logic works without being spoon-fed this information, we all know the challenges of the world and it could have been woven into the story in a more elegant fashion.
Atwood makes some interesting observations about the evolution of mythologies and religion. It's easier for Snowman to invent stories to explain the world than to try and explain reality. Without science, humans need to believe in something and curiosity can't be hard-coded out. All it takes is a seed to germinate and transform to become dogma further down the line.
The ending was a real disappointment. Not that of the past, I thought that was wrapped up nicely, but the ending of the “present day” (both past and present are in the future in this case) left me checking that I wasn't missing a few extra pages. The Year of the Flood is not a sequel but a book set in the same world whose plot runs alongside Oryx and Crake from what I can tell. I think there may be answers in it but I don't think that excuses the ending here.
Other than my gripes about Oryx and the ending, it was an excellent read. There's an especially good bit about trying to explain toast to someone who has no concept of bread. If you've enjoyed Margaret Atwood's other work you will know what to expect but I think it is also an example of good dystopian fiction with sensible scientific theories backing it up. It may go a bit far in this fictional scenario, but people are trying to grow human organs in pigs already......more
This book has 2 connected storylines, one set in the past and the other set in the present day. I think the main problem with this is that Mosse triesThis book has 2 connected storylines, one set in the past and the other set in the present day. I think the main problem with this is that Mosse tries to give equal page space to both plots. I enjoyed the story set in the past and thought it had just enough mystery to be maybe logically explained but maybe supernatural. A bit predictable in places but still enjoyable.
In the present day, there seemed to be long passages which read like a guide book, either about the places or the history and in one place, far too much explanation about tarot. Whilst some readers might find this interesting, it doens't help the plot flow and I found a lot of Meredith's story a bit pointless and contrived. The present day ending spoiled it a little for me too. I'd have preferred Meredith just discovering her past rather than having an 'adventure'.
What if words could kill? Chuck Palahniuk starts off Lullaby with a fantastic concept but somehow gets lost along the way. The idea that overhearing wWhat if words could kill? Chuck Palahniuk starts off Lullaby with a fantastic concept but somehow gets lost along the way. The idea that overhearing words in the street or on the radio, the internet, the television, could kill without any reason or malice is quite a scary one. That reading to a loved one could cause their death is heartbreaking and the first half of this book is thought-provoking and sad.
I loved this book up until around the point where Oyster appears. I guess he is there as the villain of the piece but his arrival also signalled the start of strangeness beyond enjoyment. I can understand the role of the extremist vegan in a world where human lives are so easily ended but he ranted on a bit much. I didn't get the point of the class action law suits either (I knew why he was doing them just not the relevance to the story)....more
If you're expecting supernatural you may be disappointed in this. It's been on my shelf for a long long time after I'd read some negative reviews butIf you're expecting supernatural you may be disappointed in this. It's been on my shelf for a long long time after I'd read some negative reviews but I fancied some crime and had run out of 'regulars'. Thankfully the story drew me in and kept me hooked 'til the end. There's a serial killer attacking seemingly random victims and a group of normally solitary assassins band together to prevent suspicion falling on them. I especially loved the character of Jack.
I found the ending a little unsatisfactory however it's probably more realistic and I know there is at least a sequel to keep me going. Although I adore the Otherworld, I wish she would write more straight crime fiction as she definatel...more
Jack has just got out of prison for a crime he didn't commit, statutory rape against a student at the posh private school he used to work at. He arrivJack has just got out of prison for a crime he didn't commit, statutory rape against a student at the posh private school he used to work at. He arrives in Salem Falls and takes a job at a diner run by Addie, who has problems of her own. As soon as the men of the town find out he's a sex offender, they set to work trying to run him out of town until the unthinkable happens and a teenage girl accuses Jack of rape and his ordeal starts all over again.
As always Jodi Picoult is not afraid of tackling controversial subjects and I found the first half of the book to be uncomfortable reading at times. A lot of different viewpoints are included in the book, from the girl who cries wolf to the genuine victims who don't think they will be believed, from the wrongly accused to the guilty.
Loosely based on The Crucible, it is very much a modern day witch hunt which is only highlighted by the fact that the girls are practising Wiccans. As a reader we instantly like Jack and want to believe his innocence, so it's difficult when the town is so hostile towards him. You really think they would have the intelligence to know the difference between statutory rape and a violent crime, whatever your views on the matter they are not in the same ballpark. As you read on, you learn that the locals are in no position to judge either.
Doubt creeps in when the trial starts and evidence mounts up. Even Jordan, who you may know from other books, is only doing his job in defending him. I admit, I seem to be reading Jordan's stories backwards as I have previously read Vanishing Acts and grown to like him as a person. Jacks' life is told backwards from the day of his release right back to his birth and the more you read, the more you think he is not the type of man to have committed these crimes. The defense's investigation and the ensuing trial are pacey and gripping making this another quick yet substantial read. I'm not sure I'll ever get through one of Jodi's novels with a dry eye!
Annoyingly, my copy had more typographical errors than the average uncorrected proof and this is from an edition published four years after its original release. I'm a bit disappointed that no-one thought to correct these....more