The Snowman might just be the last human left alive, apart from Crake's children.
The stupid humans were messing around with genetics again, to say noThe Snowman might just be the last human left alive, apart from Crake's children.
The stupid humans were messing around with genetics again, to say nothing of creating creatures. Now it's all gone terribly wrong.
Atwood's skill in leaking pieces of information, allowing the reader to guess at what has happened, what might happen before hitting them with what does happen is that of a master storyteller. Kept me turning pages long after my bedtime, and this book not only works as dystopia, but thriller and romance.
When I was still in single digits, I asked the fountain of all knowledge (my Dad) why no-one tried to save the jewish people from the death camps duriWhen I was still in single digits, I asked the fountain of all knowledge (my Dad) why no-one tried to save the jewish people from the death camps during the 2nd WW. 'There was one man, I think his name was Schindler, but what happened to him after the war I don't know. I think he went to Russia. Apparently he was a bit of a playboy.'
I pondered on Schindler's fate a little, and somehow the fact that one man tried to make a difference helped elevate the horror slightly. (I know now that there were many people quietly and bravely placing their own life and freedom in danger, not just Schindler.) When Speilberg's film was announced I wanted to see it. When I discovered that it was based on Keneally's book I immediately got a copy. It seemed Dad remembered correctly. Schindler could be termed a play boy. Although at first it appears he was as willing as anyone to exploit a persecuted race, little by little the humanitarian in him was outraged and from being merely an employer of almost slave labour, he became their champion using wit and charm and bribery to save his workforce against an increasingly ruthless regime.
Keneally has done a magnificant job, drawing on first hand experience from survivors and presents the reader with a flawed hero, a man who when the occasion called for it demonstrated great personal bravery and selflishness in order to protect other humans who at the time where demonfied by the controlling forces of most of Europe.
In my opinion, films don't usually measure up to the original books, but Speilberg too is to be commended for bringing this particular story to a wider audience in a sympathetic although at times ghastly manner. This is a book that I could only ever read once, it brings home the true horror of how a bunch of people who considered theirselves the 'master race' managed to isolate then exploit in every manner imaginable another group of fellow human beings.
It really is hard to believe this book was written at the turn of the last century. It is still so fresh. I can never decide which illustration I prefIt really is hard to believe this book was written at the turn of the last century. It is still so fresh. I can never decide which illustration I prefer but agree with Alice: What use is a book without pictures! Still reread it to this day. ...more
The five stars are from my eight year old self. Because I can remember like yesterday sitting in infant class for the last lesson before home time, anThe five stars are from my eight year old self. Because I can remember like yesterday sitting in infant class for the last lesson before home time, and our teacher reading this out to us. Actually, I think he was a frustrated would be thespian, because he used to act out the story. Everything about this story captivated me. Pauper Charlie hunting for and then when least expecting it finding a 'golden ticket' to enter the mysterious Willy Wonka's Chocolate factory - Grandpas Joe & George & Grandmas Josephine & Georgina all sharing a double bed which they never moved from because they were too poor to afford heating - the waterfall of milk - the river of chocolate - the oompha loomphas frightened me a little - they were always so happy when something nasty happened.
Oh - sorry - almost forgot! You wanted a book review. Got carried away there. The story is about a mysterious Willy Wonka, whose factory produces the most amazing sweets and chocolate you've ever imagined. A competition is announced, half a dozen lucky children will get to see inside the factory, and the race is on to find 'golden tickets' hidden inside sweet wrappers. Dahl introduces us to the winning children one by one, and a motely bunch they seem too. We're all cheering Charlie on, but being so poor his family can only afford to buy him a bar a year. Luckily he finds money on the street, and can't resist buying a couple of bars of Willy Wonka's chocolate, winning the final golden ticket.
True to Dahl's wicked humour, as the children and their parents are shown around the factory, each new invention proving more amazing than the last, one by one the children show their true colours and are suitably rewarded.
Roald Dahl is amongst the best loved children's authors, and rightly so. He knows that kids not only love gruesome descriptions, they also have a very rigid sense of fair play. Recommended as amazing and I hope this book continues to entertain and delight children of all ages for a very long time. ...more
I love Kipling. I love his Jungle Books (Rikki Tikki Tavi the brave mongoose is my hero), his poetry, and these - the 'Just so' stories - so called beI love Kipling. I love his Jungle Books (Rikki Tikki Tavi the brave mongoose is my hero), his poetry, and these - the 'Just so' stories - so called because they are 'Just So'. This is a collection of whimsical animal stories for small children and are delightful.
Kipling falls in and out of fashion, his name forever associated with the British Empire and "jingoism." Yet his poetry (The Power of the Dog) and his books (The Man who would be King) deserve to be judged on their own merits. Autobiographies of this man portray a sensitive loving husband and father who loved words and displayed a fine sense of humour. Kipling's own life was not without tragedy, he famously pulled strings for his teenage son to join the British Army in Flanders, although 'Jack' Kipling was almost blind without his glasses. Within a week Kipling's son was dead, resulting in Kipling's famous lines: "And if they ask you why we died/tell them that our fathers lied." From his children's stories, to novels to poetry, Kipling writes with a simplistic genius which still has the power to entertain, and I've chosen to pick out the 'Just So' stories simply because my Daddy loved them too.
This book came to be written by accident (Robert Massie was researching haemophilia) & I read it be accident. The cover & subject didn't appeaThis book came to be written by accident (Robert Massie was researching haemophilia) & I read it be accident. The cover & subject didn't appeal but a copy was laying around & out of boredom I flicked it open & began reading. The mystery of Anastsia is prob. what most people think about when the last Russian Royal family is brought up, and that really was the extent of my knowledge prior to reading this whoops I nearly said novel. Because it recounts one of the greatest events in Russian history, and is also very much a love story. Nicholas and Alexandra could give Romeo & Juliet a run for their money. They loved their children too. And there lay their tragedy. The youngest son inherited haemophilia, probably from our own Queen Victoria. If this had been common knowledge, it might just have saved the royal family. As it was no-one could understand the high regard they held the self proclaimed mystic Rusputin. Almost undoubtedly the man was something of a hynoptic individual. And when their beloved younger son was screaming with pain in unbearable agony due to his internal bleeding, Rusputin appeared to be able to help the child. So while the great war raged around them, and Russian peasants starved and the aristocracy were kept in the dark, Nicholas and Alexandra were so involved with their own magic circle of daughters, son and the man of god who seemed able to cure the boy, that they missed all the danger signals.
A great book and highly recommended. It works on all fronts. A tragic doomed family for all their wealth and power. ...more
this was the first Wambaugh novel I read, and I was swept along by his offbeat humour and wry observations of how misconceptions and jumping to concluthis was the first Wambaugh novel I read, and I was swept along by his offbeat humour and wry observations of how misconceptions and jumping to conclusion can backfire. I'm hoping the characters are a little larger than life, but ready to believe in them, and they were wonderfully drawn, and even felt some (until he cut vicky's ear) sympathy for the Terrier King. The budding romance between the old world weary white russian cop and the smart young ladycop is heartbreaking pathos. Every now and then though Wambaugh makes you sit up and pay attention when reporting on how people will spend eternity. I have since snapped up any Wambaugh work that comes my way, but for my money, this is the best. :)...more
I read this book as a seventeen year old and rediscovered the innocence of childhood. Enchanting touching and vibrant, with a writing style that folloI read this book as a seventeen year old and rediscovered the innocence of childhood. Enchanting touching and vibrant, with a writing style that follows no rules yet works beautifully. ...more
Since reading Carrie, I've adored the manner in which King effortlessly gets you believing in the paranormal. King is known as a 'horror' writer, yetSince reading Carrie, I've adored the manner in which King effortlessly gets you believing in the paranormal. King is known as a 'horror' writer, yet although disturbing there are not too many overly horrific details in this book. Rather it is the slow realisation that Jack Torrance, a man haunted by too many demons and bad decisions is descending deeper into his own nightmarish thoughts and giving himself reasons to take frustration out on his family. The other main character must surely be the Overlook, a hotel which in its 1920s heyday was a place of decadence and hedonism. As Jack's madness runs riot, so the past events at the Overlook grow in significance and reality until the ghosts which still haunt are solid enough to cause serious damage. The characters are very believable, as is the paranormal activity. The tension starts slowly before increasing to an unbearable crescendo which provides a thrilling and satisfying climax. ...more
Mary Webb uses words to paint her native Shropshire countryside in glorious technicolour. This is quite simply a beautiful yet at times hauntingly melMary Webb uses words to paint her native Shropshire countryside in glorious technicolour. This is quite simply a beautiful yet at times hauntingly melancholic story of a young girl growing up in rural poverty in the early 18th century, where 'sin eaters' are still employed at funerals. The heroine has a harelip. Her 'deformity' is attributed to a hare running across her mother's path when she was pregnant. Although not an outcast, her facial disfigurement does set Prue apart from her peers, yet an inner strength and pureness means that she is not without friends or love. In direct contrast to Prue's goodness is her brother Gideon, who loves only money, and will sacrifice his own mother and wife to build his fortune. Prue is the narrator of the book, and Mary Webb effortlessly allows her readers to emphasise with this young girl who can only watch as her brother sets about destroying all that she loves. Prue's best hope of escape lies with a nomadic weaver, Kester. But Prue doubts that even a man who seems to share her own joy and contentment merely to experience life can accept her. Living here in London in the 21st century, I'm willing to believe that people living in the early 18th Century in rural Shropshire really did act and speak as Mary Webb's characters do, and several of them will remain with you long after you have finished this book. Reading this book is like taking a long relaxing walk in the countryside, I highly recommend it....more
The First Casualty of War is of course truth: with hindsight it is easy to label WW1 futile and lament the loss of A 'Golden Generation' At the time aThe First Casualty of War is of course truth: with hindsight it is easy to label WW1 futile and lament the loss of A 'Golden Generation' At the time anyone who spoke out against the senseless carnage risked imprisonment, or social obvilion at the least. and so having defended himself in court, explaining why he refuses to climb into a uniform and shot some hapless German citizen whose government is also urging him to kill Brits & their allies by whipping up the same propaganda, our hero finds himself in Wormwood Scrubs prison. Only the fact that he is probably the best detective in the UK and the authorities need him to solve the most unusual murder of a 'golden boy' saves him from being 'shot while trying to escape.' The Golden Captain was a man who is not only a war hero, but also one of the most popular war poets with his 'Honey Still for Tea' type poems. There isn't a hint of Blackadder humour in this book. There are several terribly grim scenes, for example where a soldier misses his footing and disappears in a sea of mud never to be seen again. Our hero branded the most cowardly man in Britain time after time shows true courage, as he works against time to solve the crime before all the witnesses and the possible killer are slaughtered on the Flanders' fields. The very best of Ben Elton's novels. ...more
The title is deceptive as this book is about so much more than foxhunting. It portrays a way of life at the turn of the 20th century which was a goldeThe title is deceptive as this book is about so much more than foxhunting. It portrays a way of life at the turn of the 20th century which was a golden era for Britian's middle and upper classes. It is all here, told from the point of view of an over indulged spoilt young man whose life is one long round of hunting (of course) cross country riding, point to points, cricket, parties at great country houses, and honey for tea. However a change was coming and the catalyst was the slaughterhouse now known as WW1, although at the time it was known as the 'Great War' of 'The War to end all Wars.' In essence, the privileged life narrated in the first part of this book is thrown into stark relief as the horrors of life in the trenches is described in equally vivid detail. 'The War Poems' by the same author is still in print, and still being studied by students of English literature, but if you really want to get inside the mind of a war poet, read this book. ...more
Based on The Ninth Legion who disappeared behind Hadrain's Wall into the mists of Scotland never to be seen again. A young Roman officer, Marcus FlaviBased on The Ninth Legion who disappeared behind Hadrain's Wall into the mists of Scotland never to be seen again. A young Roman officer, Marcus Flavius Aquila, is unimpressed when he's first posted to the remotest part of the Roman Empire: Britain. He is a professional though, & does his best to get on with the native Celtic tribes. He's even making friends when without warning there is an uprising and Marcus is left with a life changing injury to his leg, resulting in him being discharged. While recovering with his Uncle in London, he learns that his father's standard, the Eagle of the Ninth has become a focal point for Scottish discontents. He determines to travel North and recover the lost standard, in the hope of restoring his father's legion and honour. He is accompanied by a young British Prince, whose life was saved by Marcus pleading for clemency in the Arena. I read this around nine years old, and for the first time became aware of the many different tribes that once populated Britain. As a fictional work, I found it exciting and thrilling, Marcus has to travel through hostile mini-kingdoms, and there are themes of loyalty to friends, family and country. The book doesn't have a conventional happy ending, Marcus loses the career he loved, and his father's legion isn't restored. But other avenues are opened to him, and honour is restored all round. I had no pre-formed ideas for Roman Britain, but the characters are realistic, and even at the age of nine, I didn't find any inconsistancies - although that might change now if I re-read the novel! Recommended reading for confident young readers. ...more
OK - "you cannot be serious!" I can hear you saying it! Five stars for a bunch of folk legends and fairy tales?! But this book represents so much moreOK - "you cannot be serious!" I can hear you saying it! Five stars for a bunch of folk legends and fairy tales?! But this book represents so much more than that. The brothers Grimm are now better known as writers. However, that was never their intention. Early - mid 19th century Germany wasn't unified, rather it was a hotchpotch of kingdoms and states, such as Prussia, Bohemia, etc. Jacob & Wilhelm were keen supporters of a united German state. They were also academics, linguists, and cultural researchers and realised that some of the old dialects and accents were falling into disuse. Wanting to record these for prosperity (in phonetics) they discovered that people tended to slip back into their natural accent & idioms when recounting the 'old tales'. Hence the brothers Grimm tirelessly travelled the country asking in each town and village for residents to relate stories to them. They quickly realised that they had tapped into a goldmine of culture. And Grimms' Fairy Tales was published to an appreciative audience. Germans take their literature like their humour very seriously. It's really no surprise that the first non English speaking country chosen by Amazon for their kindle epublishing is Germany. The western world owes the brothers Grimm a huge debt for their endeavours to record and note these sometimes enchanting, sometimes very grim stories. That's why I've awarded five stars to a bunch of fairy stories. Though I must admit, I have the edition illustrated by Rackham very much in mind. ...more
Every student of English knows the story of 'Canterbury Tales' how it was the first book to be written in recognisable English, and the part it playedEvery student of English knows the story of 'Canterbury Tales' how it was the first book to be written in recognisable English, and the part it played in 'popularising' English. When Caxton started up his press, one of the first books he chose to print was Canterbury Tales, and his 15th century illustrated version is considered amongst the most valuable books in existence.
For that reason alone, it gets five stars. A book holding such an important place in literature, not to mention the English language, in my opinion cannot fall below maximum ratings.
As to how good Chaucer's actual writting is, well it's difficult to judge as he wrote in Middle English and although a modern reader would be able to recognise probably more than half the words, it is hard to read coherently. It appears though that Chaucer was a keen observer of character with a sly wit and amongst the first to portray 'ordinary' people in his stories, some of which can easily be brought up to date and applied to modern day settings, as many authors have already discovered....more