I enjoyed this more than I expected. It was a short, but challenging, allegory on the meaning of what it is to be human. Even a man who believes himseI enjoyed this more than I expected. It was a short, but challenging, allegory on the meaning of what it is to be human. Even a man who believes himself wholly good must recognise that a metaphorical devil sits on his shoulder willing him to recognise a darker side of his nature.
It might also be said to represent the frightening possibility of the acts a previously ordinary and relatively civilised group of people can be convinced to perpetrate for a supposedly greater good....more
I started this book the moment I heard it had won the Booker Prize. It is a short novel, but not a word is wasted. I have read books twice as long thaI started this book the moment I heard it had won the Booker Prize. It is a short novel, but not a word is wasted. I have read books twice as long that say half as much.
I think an indication of the truth of this story and the sincerity of the narrator's voice is how many people had highlighted passages in my kindle edition. It is packed with truisms about life, different ways of living it and the ways we find as humans to use memory to blot out, justify or explain how certain events in our life impacted on others and on our own life story.
Tony and his pals at school (sex mad teens in the 1960s) are intrigued by a new pupil, Adrian, who joins their clique but somehow remains his own person -accepted by them and admired as an original thinker. As they leave school, go to University and form new relationships things change and a life-changing event occurs that will resonate down the years. One day, 40 odd years, a quiet but satisfactory career and an amicable divorce later Tony receives a letter. It makes him re-examine his memory of these times, his life and his assumptions.
Fabulous, utterly compelling and truly worthy of the Booker which has chosen a book of quality which, thank goodness, is readable and accessible to anyone who enjoys great writing....more
The Finn family Moomintroll was a book read to me as a child and I remember a cartoon, in translation I think, only vaguely.So Tove Jansson was not faThe Finn family Moomintroll was a book read to me as a child and I remember a cartoon, in translation I think, only vaguely.So Tove Jansson was not familiar to me as a writer of short stories for adults. However, I saw a young student reading this and was intrigued by the title. Picking it up in a charity shop I couldn't believe how lucky I had been to find it.
Some of the stories are very simple and autobiographical tales of her childhood, told in the first person. The child has a clear eye for the foibles of adults and although lightweight that is part of their appeal.
Other stories deal with issues of aging. 'The Squirrel' is the story of a lonely woman's battle with a small mammal who is seems to be the only other occupant of a wintry Finnish island. 'Travelling Light' is a wonderful tale of one person's determination to break habits of a lifetime, leaving their physical and mental 'baggage' behind and (unsuccessfully) trying to live only for themselves. It spoke to me as someone who, like the main protagonist, seems to absorb the sorrows of others until they weigh so heavily it is hard to live ones own life.
Some reviewers have given a low rating to this book on the basis of an absence of likeable characters. I do agree that everyone of them has serious flSome reviewers have given a low rating to this book on the basis of an absence of likeable characters. I do agree that everyone of them has serious flaws and that would normally suggest I wouldn't engage with the story. However, the horrific back stories that go some way to explain the frailties of all concerned make this a very intelligent thriller.
Although the first chapter hints at horrors to come the ending is always in doubt and there were times when I simply had to read on, regardless of the time of night or the necessity to cook dinner. Great stuff....more
This is not a typical Christmas book. it is a well researched 'biography' of Santa which spends two thirds of its length discussing his origins as StThis is not a typical Christmas book. it is a well researched 'biography' of Santa which spends two thirds of its length discussing his origins as St Nicholas and how that venerable saint managed to manouevre himself into the right places at the right times to become the 'father' of Christmas. Fascinating, rich in detail and ultimately a book that really does convince, despite all the current commercialisation, that there is an element of truth in the genuine goodness of the season....more
Anne Perry is not a writer I have come across before. Even though she was described by The Times as one of the top 100 crime writers of the 20th centuAnne Perry is not a writer I have come across before. Even though she was described by The Times as one of the top 100 crime writers of the 20th century, some of her books are probably titles I would not pick up as a rule. She is also incredibly prolific and very popular in the US with her Victorian mysteries which, as I picked up this book at a car boot, worried me a little. Would she be writing about a schmaltzy US view of a typical English Victorian Christmas? Well no, although I wondered if Maribelle was a name common in English villages in the 1890.
Anyway - I sniff, and I don't mean to as I thoroughly enjoyed this. It was light, the characters weren't particularly finely drawn and at just over 130 pages it is really an extended People's Friend Christmas Special but I am not one to criticise that? It is Christmassy; and whips along at a brisk speed - as the characters clearly have to in the frozen snowy landscape she describes to a point that I felt a little shiver as I read.
It isn't a complex literary piece but that isn't what Anne Perry was aiming for. Not sure I will search out more of her books but this kept me cosy for a couple of evenings in the run up to Christmas.
I bought this book when I fell for a shrewd piece of twitter marketing by author Ben Hatch but I am not in the least bit sorry that I went to my KindlI bought this book when I fell for a shrewd piece of twitter marketing by author Ben Hatch but I am not in the least bit sorry that I went to my Kindle and downloaded it straight away. It is longer than I imagined but even at this busy time of year I found myself wanting to get back to it; to see what happened next.
Are We Nearly There Yet? it not simply a funny travelogue; a description of the joys and otherwise of a trip around Britain spending days at tourist attractions and nights in various hotels reviewing for an American guidebook. Yes, there are the usual stories and anecdotes of life with a 4 and 2 year old - many of us will have our own versions of the same stories - but it also a memoir and a loving portrait of the author's father, a man who had a significant impact on much of the comedy we still listen to on Radio 4 now. The moment, half way through the trip, when his father dies is so very poignant it made me want to call my mother immediately and tell her how much I love her.
There is much in this book for everyone to enjoy (they clearly live just down the road from where we lived in Brighton with our 4 and 2 year old a few years ago)and I wish I had a physical copy to lend to my firends. It is the kind of book you long to share....more
It is a fascinating story and it is a book of interest to those who enjoy following the trail through the history of the West in the US as well as those who enjoy poetry or a rattling good biography....more
Health anxiety has blighted the last five years for me. It is common amongst cancer sufferers and possibly understandably so. I should have recognisedHealth anxiety has blighted the last five years for me. It is common amongst cancer sufferers and possibly understandably so. I should have recognised that I was prone to worrying about my health even before my diagnosis and basically finding out my worst fears were realised compounded earlier issues.
I came to this book via the kindle store and I have two main concerns.1) The solutions it offers are not right for everyone with health anxiety, but they do rather make it sound as if to face your worst fears - eg visiting an oncology ward, reading books about people who are terminally ill etc is always a positive way forward. I have had cbt and the effect was temporary and all those memories are still stored in the old anxiety box somewhere and 2) the editing of this ebook is awful. Mis-spellings abound and the charts are almost impossible to read on a kindle - they are far too small to be useful.
I have given it three stars as there is some useful information in this book that will be helpful to many. But if you don't find it so, please don't think you are beyond hope. ...more
I was so disappointed - until two thirds of the way through this book I was enjoying the premise and the various discussions the characters have about I was so disappointed - until two thirds of the way through this book I was enjoying the premise and the various discussions the characters have about the nature of Jewishness, and what it is to be Jewish in the 21st century. But then, like others who have reviewed this Booker Prize-winning novel I began to feel it was losing its way. Was this Howard Jacobson's way of working out his own views on Israel, anti-Semitism and the weight of Jewish history? If so he came to no conclusion and although that is fine in itself, it isn't, in my view, if you want to take your reader with you to the end of what you must have hoped they would find a satisfying read.
It would be hard to spoil the ending. It isn't that sort of book. It left me thinking I admit; but thinking what? Now there's a proper question....more
Disappointed in this, but largely because I enjoyed The American Boy so much. In its own right it is the work of a terrific storyteller (it kept me grDisappointed in this, but largely because I enjoyed The American Boy so much. In its own right it is the work of a terrific storyteller (it kept me gripped) but as a book it was a little over-populated with disagreeable characters for me and even the 'goodies' seemed to be constantly berating themselves for deeds done, or not done. This is not a ghost story at all, but one rooted firmly in human misery and failings. ...more
I can only give this three stars on here because a) it is not a genre I am really familiar with and b) it would be too easy, because it is written byI can only give this three stars on here because a) it is not a genre I am really familiar with and b) it would be too easy, because it is written by someone I know to go too far with the praises, which in my view would negate the value of Goodreads as a social network (I use it to link with people with common interests and find books I know I will be really interested in trying).
However, I would definitely recommend this to anyone who loves historical romance, or who loves Lyme Regis and the West Country. It is reminiscent of the Poldark novels and although the themes of poor girl making good, seduction and redemption are often used Ann handles them well and the conclusion is satisfying. There is a sequel on the way and I think readers of this first novel will be eagerly anticipating it. A rattling good read!...more