It did far more than any history book could have done, or any highly emotive description could have done, to bring home the stunniAn astonishing book.
It did far more than any history book could have done, or any highly emotive description could have done, to bring home the stunning horror of the bombing.
The brief book, focusing on relating in plain & simple language the experiences of half a dozen survivors, was shockingly vivid, and brought home more powerfully than anything else could have done, the bemused muddling through of people caught in an unimaginable situation.
The book leaves rooted deep in the mind & imagination so many vivid & unforgettable pictures of what these people saw & suffered and experienced.
Now that we have become so dulled to the reality of nuclear weapons & the threat they present, now that they no longer seem to warrant the kind of cautions & warnings they once did, but are taken so much for granted, it is a worthwhile book to read, simply to keep in mind that these weapons are still with us, and capable of such terrifying devastation....more
Reading one or two was mildly amusing. reading all of them became tiresome. The same quite lame jokes & phrases repeated too often wore horribly tReading one or two was mildly amusing. reading all of them became tiresome. The same quite lame jokes & phrases repeated too often wore horribly thin - especially at 3a.m. on a night of very light sleeping....more
Having read all of Hughes' previous books, I very much looked forward to the publication of this book towards the end of last year. It arrived and I wHaving read all of Hughes' previous books, I very much looked forward to the publication of this book towards the end of last year. It arrived and I was not disappointed.
For the first time in my life I wrote a letter of appreciation to an author, only to discover the day I posted the letter that Hughes had very recently died. When a couple of weeks later I finished the book, it was quite touching as well as amusing, to read his penultimate sentence: "God's postal service transcends both space and time."
I hope so. I really did want to tell him just how much his books had meant to me over the years since I first read his "God of Surprises". He was one of those authors who gave me a new and enriching outlook on life and faith at a difficult period in my life.
Hughes was impressive in his writings because he was unafraid to repeat within a book, and from book to book, key points and quotations which formed keystones of what he wanted to say. But he never simply repeated, always there was development and enrichment of what the message that was central to him, that which he was so eager to teach, born of his growing experience and knowledge. His style of writing followed a spiral, rather than a linear model.
It was interesting, with this view in mind, that he wrote the following about John the Evangelist's method of writing. It could well have been made as a comment about his own methodology:
"St. John does repeat himself, but with every repetition there is something new added. It is a very good method of communicating, building gradually through constant reminders of what went before, repeatedly returning to the foundational statements from which the new message arises."
This final book proved be a distillation of many of his best writings. Well worth many return visits in the future....more
hopefully time for a full review sometime soon. This is the best of Williams novels. The interweaving of character, plot & symbolism are the mosthopefully time for a full review sometime soon. This is the best of Williams novels. The interweaving of character, plot & symbolism are the most whole & effective of the 7. This was my 4th or 5th read of this particular title & it leaves the joy of much still to discover in future readings....more
His books are terrible! - but I have some strange affection for them. It's something to do with period pieces, it's something to do with the comedy vaHis books are terrible! - but I have some strange affection for them. It's something to do with period pieces, it's something to do with the comedy value, it's something to do with their own little myth of a London that he produces that occasionally sends me back for a read of 2 or 3 in a quick flush of enthusiasm. having said that I've read this one 6 times - WHY?, and the Door with Seven Locks 3 times. Strange, but true - and fun....more
The book was handed to me by an enthusiast: "You MUST read this!" The cover and its illustration were tacky beyond belief, including the irritating clThe book was handed to me by an enthusiast: "You MUST read this!" The cover and its illustration were tacky beyond belief, including the irritating claim of being a #1 BESTSELLER! Reluctantly I began.
It took me half of the first read-through to stop resenting the fact that it was so American (With full apologies to any American friends who have never felt inclined to say of a book: "This is so horribly British!" - if you haven't, I have.) in style, then I began to like it and finished it with enthusiasm.
It's one of the few books I've then turned straight back from the last to the first page to begin again straight away. The second time I really enjoyed it and got a great deal from it. have since re-read it 3 times.
It presented Trinity in such an imaginative and helpful way + the experience of forgiveness in a way that made sense of it.
Feel another re-read coming on in the not too distant future. Yet again I've got to the end & been so drawn to so many quotes from the book, that it won't be long before I return to it....more
The second of MacDonald's adult fiction I've read. I come to them via C S Lewis's enthusiasm for his writings.
It's been said of Lewis, as writer, teacThe second of MacDonald's adult fiction I've read. I come to them via C S Lewis's enthusiasm for his writings.
It's been said of Lewis, as writer, teacher & a conversationalist, that his own love & enthusiasm for certain books & authors could be infectious & send readers & listeners away eager to read works which then proved to be disappointing to them, wondering what he saw in them.
This is partly true of my response to "Lilith". There are many weaknesses in the plot & style of this book that are very trying. Three will do as examples.
1) His treatment of innocence & goodness as characterized in the Little Ones. He shows all worst elements of the Victorian period in this area. The tweeness of his presentation these characters, the baby-talk & behaviours are equal to the most sick-making of Dickens' heroines e.g. Dora Copperfield.
2) Some terribly heavy-handed clumsy use of symbols to represent ideas made reading this like eating very doughy bread.
3) The excursions into the language of the Authorized version in conversations between Vane & Adam, Eve etc. just did not work.
However, despite these & many other short-comings there were also some wonderful aspects to his story, some really inventive fantasy & many thoughts well worth underling & remembering. ...more
I’ve rarely read a book, after reading which, the floor was strewn with so many dropped names. With chapters named “Meeting Ben” (Benjamin Britten), “I’ve rarely read a book, after reading which, the floor was strewn with so many dropped names. With chapters named “Meeting Ben” (Benjamin Britten), “Imo” (Imogen Holst), “Morgan” (E. M. Forster) the book ploughed on relentlessly emphasising the connections he had made with the artistic elite & dwellers of the country house set.
There were some good points to the book. I particularly enjoyed the first chapter describing his stay in a beach bungalow as he attempted to launch a writing career, & the chapter about Staverton. Particularly the latter was written more objectively & spoke of the place itself, rather than continuing his relentless but usually inconsequential “me” centred anecdotes about his artistic & social connections.
He had a certain similarity to DeQuincey writing about the Lake Poets. He also was a man trying to add to his own kudos by emphasising his connections with those he sees as the great & the good. There was also a parallel in that, just as DeQuincey stayed with the Wordsworths at Dove Cottage & then moved in when they left, Blythe stayed with John Nash & his wife, and then moved in to their house after they had gone.
All-in-all an ok little read if you’re prepared to put up with the irritations & jarrings. ...more
A delightful, rip-roaring read. Much more enjoyable than both parts of Henry IV, as it did not have Falstaff & crew in those interminable "comic"A delightful, rip-roaring read. Much more enjoyable than both parts of Henry IV, as it did not have Falstaff & crew in those interminable "comic" scenes.
I understand that many people love the character of Falstaff, but he and his appearances left me cold. I was just glad when he croaked it in this play. That may well be a blind spot in me & maybe I am missing something. If so please do show me what it is.
If the mark of a great book/play is to sink deeper into admiration & love of it each time you read it, then this passes the test again & againIf the mark of a great book/play is to sink deeper into admiration & love of it each time you read it, then this passes the test again & again & again.... & ......more
A workaday narrative of Priestley's life by a journalist, which for someone who knew very little about his life or most of his work (other than "EngliA workaday narrative of Priestley's life by a journalist, which for someone who knew very little about his life or most of his work (other than "English Journey", "An Inspector Calls", his wartime "Postcripts" & the odd essay or two) this made a reasonable introduction.
Cook had little to say about each of his works, other than when he produced them, a brief outline of the plot/contents & a little idea of how they were received at the time. However, this is maybe preferable to some writers of biography who write poor criticism of their subject's works, often at great length.
There were some irritating examples of bad proof reading, some occasions when speaking of a "he" or a "she" & it was not very clear to which he or she Cook was referring, & one or two occasions when inaccuracies made me wonder how reliable other facts were e.g. when comparing Priestley's sense of place to that of Dorothy Sayers, she spoke of Sayer's East Anglia & CAMBRIDGE?
But, all-in-all an enjoyable, informative quick read....more
With a desire to read some of O’Donoghue’s poems, I searched the public library catalogue. One book of his they had, and only one – this title. Much aWith a desire to read some of O’Donoghue’s poems, I searched the public library catalogue. One book of his they had, and only one – this title. Much as I love Heaney’s poetry, this was not O’Donoghue’s poetry (or Heaney’s come to that) & the title was not vastly enticing. However, at least it would give some indication of what his writing was like, and so I ordered it without any great enthusiasm.
I do so love being drastically wrong – well it happens so very occasionally! In this case I was very drastically wrong in my first impressions of this book & its cover.
O’Donoghue combines the best qualities of a poet writing about poetry, with those of a scholar when writing about Heaney. He wrote with enthusiasm for Heaney’s work, with great insight & sensitivity, and superb balance. His focus on linguistic aspects of the poems taught me much about work I have read a number of times.
His use & assessment of other critics of Heaney was excellent, drawing from their work what was best, and giving fair representation to a breadth of views.
By the time I had got halfway through, I already had my own copy on order. Well, it is so frustrating to read a whole book of quality without being able to underline or write notes in the margins – in pencil of course.
As to O’Donoghue’s poetry I was also fortunate enough at last to find a volume of his poems in a favourite 2nd bookshop & it’s proving well worth the wait. ...more