I don't know what to make of this book. It watches the life of a former Physics prodigy (he was young when he won his Nobel Prize) after he's old, fatI don't know what to make of this book. It watches the life of a former Physics prodigy (he was young when he won his Nobel Prize) after he's old, fat, divorced on multiple occasions, and in charge of a government agency looking at renewable energy.
The book is in 3 parts. The first watches Beard as he runs a crumby little agency in Reading, while he divorces from his fifth wife. The second watches what happens when his divorce becomes more final and he leaves the agency, while the third section looks at the build up to what should be the second great triumph, the opening of a renewable energy plant he owns in New Mexico.
NcEwan said he wanted to write a book about the Greenhouse Effect, but couldn't find an "in" (without it being nerdy) till he decided to tell it watch the bureaucratic goings on in governmental life, using that contrast for comic effect. The problem for me was I didn't like the main character, I didn't find the book very funny, and I wondered why parts of the story were there (the unwitting thief story for example).
Maybe it's me, maybe I just can't access "good fiction", but this was the second McEwan book I've read, and I haven't enjoyed either....more
Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised, given it's got the word Requiem in the title, but this book was depressing.
The book has an interesting structure. ItPerhaps I shouldn't be surprised, given it's got the word Requiem in the title, but this book was depressing.
The book has an interesting structure. It alternates between an historic story about Joe Pike, a former LAPD patrol officer whose partner died, and a modern story where Pike and Elvis Cole (Pike and Cole are private investigators) investigate the disappearance, and subsequent death, of the daughter of a client. Neither of the stories have a particularly happy ending.
The story was a good story. It's a modern detective story, which means it focuses more on being more realistic than the stories told by Agatha Christie and PD James. Like all works of fiction there are differences between it and reality, but it was still a good read if you like your stories more modern (though not that modern, it was written before the internet became widespread).
As a general rule, I use "reading speed" as an indication of my enjoyment of a book. Admittedly I was on a long flight (13hrs), but I read the book in one sitting, which tells me I enjoyed the book, and I think most people who like modern detective fiction will like it too....more
The Shining is probably one of the most famous books by Stephen King. It's status was helped by the Jack Nicholson/Stanley Kubrick film of the same naThe Shining is probably one of the most famous books by Stephen King. It's status was helped by the Jack Nicholson/Stanley Kubrick film of the same name.
In The Shining, the Torrance family act as caretakers at a hotel that closes over the winter (due to "beyond inclement" weather). While there, the father has a melt down (the book emphasises more mystical reasons for this), and the son discovers others have his "condition" (which he find is called "The Shining", which allows him to read people's thoughts).
This book sees what happened to the child when he's become an adult. He naturally has "issues" (if The Shining doesn't screw you up, having a violently drunk father who goes bananas in an enclosed space will), but he's learning to live with the issues when he discovers a child whose "Shining" is so powerful, he can feel it across continents.
The problem is that there are "baddies" (The True Knot) who are dining on children's Shining, and they've discovered the child. So she, and Danny Torrance (the child from the previous book) have to stand up to them to save the girl.
The book itself wasn't bad. It's a fairly easy read (I read it quickly) and it's a clever story, it's just not brilliantly scary. Maybe that's because I've read a lot of King's books (so I know his style), but I felt I knew too much about what was going to happen to get scared....more
This book consist of responses to a questionnaire that is sent out to as many current professional cricketers as the editor can find. Up until the 201This book consist of responses to a questionnaire that is sent out to as many current professional cricketers as the editor can find. Up until the 2011 edition, the questionnaire didn't change much between editions. The questions it asked ranged from the obvious (name, date of birth, club you play for) to the random. The result was you got a bit of colour about the guy you were watching (particularly from the random questions).
The format was probably due for a change. You probably can't expect people (even cricket fans, who are fairly conservative) to fork out almost £20 a year for something that's too samey, but the problem is I'm not sure the authors know what to replace it with.The last couple of years the questions have been very cricket focused. That's understandable, but it reduces the "colour" we used to get about the players, and that's half the fun for people who've historically bought the book I think....more
I grew up in the 1980s. My teenage years cover most of Reagan's presidency, and I was brought up in a family that was instinctively against Reagan's aI grew up in the 1980s. My teenage years cover most of Reagan's presidency, and I was brought up in a family that was instinctively against Reagan's agenda.
This said, I actually enjoyed the book. It looks at all aspects of this life (with a good chunk focusing on his pre-Presidential life, which was quite interesting), and after I read the book, I can see why they called Reagan the "Great Communicator." In short, the book was an interesting read.
Having said I found it a good read, It didn't necessarily change my view of Reagan's policies. I found myself thinking "Ah yes but have you thought about..." a fair bit, but he was more effective at explaining his views (compared to a lot of other politicians I've read in their autobiographies), which suggests I have have underestimated the man.
One thing Reagan did get me to think about, as I read the book, was the need to invest in the military. I'm aware there's a military-industrial complex, but the way his predecessors as President funded the armed forces, and the consequent level of morale made me think I'd have been a more "war-hawk" President, had I been in his position.
My biggest complaints about the book focus on his avoidance of Iran-Contra affair, which could have been handled more fully, and his insistence on the need for a "Balanced Budget" amendment to the constitution. The former made me feel like he was unwilling to take the blame for things, while the latter is just wrong economically. A little bit of debt to fund things that help the economy grow are effective, and have been proven to be so, time and again. That he doesn't acknowledge this, makes me wonder if Reagan really grasps that issue....more
This is an interesting book. The author points out that there've been a number of very good books about the founding fathers in the last few years. HeThis is an interesting book. The author points out that there've been a number of very good books about the founding fathers in the last few years. He also points out that those books tend to paint the more instinctively Federalist/pro-English elements (i.e. Washington, Adams, and Hamilton) in a particularly good light, while being negative about the more Republican/Francophile revolutionaries (a category that contains Jefferson). I'd probably agree with him.
I guess you could say that this book tries to address this issue. It looks at Jefferson's leadership style (which could be described as more intellectual (and involving more backroom politics)). The problem was I didn't much like Jefferson before I read the book (I've read a bunch of those pro-federalist biographies), and I didn't much like him after I finished the book either. I mean I can see he was successful (his party was in power for 32 of the 36 years that started with his presidency, and as a result, he defined America, but.... the book still didn't endear him, or his politics to me. I just found his tendency to equate federalism with monarchism too hard to believe....more
This is a depressing book. It trances this history of Jerusalem from the dawn of written history to date.
The book wasn't bad, but... It was too packedThis is a depressing book. It trances this history of Jerusalem from the dawn of written history to date.
The book wasn't bad, but... It was too packed. Personally, I think the author had enough information for at least 2 books of similar length to this book. Because he shoehorned 2 books into 1 story, it felt too busy.... Like he was going from one set piece to another.
Put simply it could read "Jew kill gentiles, gentiles kill Jews, Jews kill gentiles again, Christians kill Jews, Jews kill Christians, Christians kill Jews again, Christians kill Muslims, Muslims kill Jews and Christians, Christians kill Jews and Muslims, Muslims kill Jews and Christians, Christians kill each other and Jews, Muslims lose de facto control of Jerusalem, Muslims kill Jews, Jews outmanoeuvre Muslims." I don't mean that to be insulting to any one religion, but it did feel like he was moving from one set piece religious battle to another.
All in all it's rather depressing. I was left feeling "Let there be a hex on all your families."...more
Means of Ascent is the second book in a five book series about Lyndon Johnson, and America, during his life. This book focuses on the time when JohnsoMeans of Ascent is the second book in a five book series about Lyndon Johnson, and America, during his life. This book focuses on the time when Johnson was a congressman during, and after, World War 2, and his subsequent campaign for the Senate in 1948.
This book was a depressing book. Much of the book looks at how Johnson won his 1948 Senate race. As someone who is instinctively pro-Johnson's achievements, his behaviour in the race can, at best, be described as distasteful, and certainly left me thinking considerably less of him.
This said, if you want to understand American politics in the 1940s and 1950s, this is the book for you.It is a really interesting read....more
This was a good enough book, if you like crime fiction. This book, the tenth Harry Hole book by Jo Nesbo, sees what happens to Harry Hole's colleaguesThis was a good enough book, if you like crime fiction. This book, the tenth Harry Hole book by Jo Nesbo, sees what happens to Harry Hole's colleagues after what happened in the ninth book in the series. It focuses on an investigation where the police try (and fail at first) to find out who is gruesomely killing their colleagues. They eventually get the killer when Hole's old posse steps in.
It wasn't a bad read. If you like your detectives as world weary rule benders, you'll like this book. I will say a couple of things though.
1) Read the books in order. This book gives away a lot of what happens in previous books in the series.
2) It stretches credibility, if you know they series well, or like your books realistic....more
Having read some of the other reviews for this book, I can't decide whether I'm the kid in the "Emperor's New Clothes" or someone who can't do those MHaving read some of the other reviews for this book, I can't decide whether I'm the kid in the "Emperor's New Clothes" or someone who can't do those Magic Eye puzzles from the 1990s.
The story is about a guy who comes over all stalkerish when he meets his creative writing teacher, before being convinced to back off. Once he has backed off, however, she comes over all stalkerish (how can he drop her that easily?), and we see her display the sort of behaviours that he displayed in the first half of the book.
I'm sorry, but I didn't get it. I'm not sure what the story is trying to be. Is it a thriller? Well it's not very thrilling. Is it a sort of love story? Hardly. Is it trying to be amusing? Beyond making me smile once or twice, not really.
In addition, I don't claim to be an expert, but it's my understanding that stalkers (that display the behaviours shown here) don't back off that easily, and I'm not altogether sure it is something that should be made light of, even if they did.
Finally I'd like to point I bought this as a cheap Kindle book. It'll keep you diverted for a while, and the price is pretty low, but part of me thinks you get what you pay for in life....more
This is a useful read if you've moved to interchangeable lens cameras and want to take better pictures. It will teach you the basics of what differentThis is a useful read if you've moved to interchangeable lens cameras and want to take better pictures. It will teach you the basics of what different parts of the "rear menu" and "top buttons" will do, and help prepare you to be a better photographer.
If you want to become the next David Bailey, and become a brilliant photographer, this probably isn't for you, but if you're in a position where you're thinking "Ok, so I've got this expensive camera, with these lenses, I better start taking better photos with it", this is for you....more