The wonderfully created character of Vera solves another crime against the odds. It is hard not to love the blunt detective, keen on her food and reliThe wonderfully created character of Vera solves another crime against the odds. It is hard not to love the blunt detective, keen on her food and relishing her private space. A group of teenagers, taken to Holy Island by a teacher for a school trip, meet there every 5 years for a reunion. When one of their number is murdered, it raises questions about a previous death at a similar event. Before the case is solved, another person dies. There are many twists and turns and of course, red herrings, to keep the reader guessing right to the end. This is just what is needed in a detective novel and no one does it better than Ann Cleeves. I read an advance reading copy thanks to Netgalley. ...more
I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley, courtesy of Penguin Random House.
It will be common knowledge that the much loved children’s author MicaI received an ARC of this book via Netgalley, courtesy of Penguin Random House.
It will be common knowledge that the much loved children’s author Micael Rosen caught Covid-19 in March last year and rapidly deteriorated to the point of needing hospitalisation. The advice at the time was Do not attend A & E , Do not go to your Dr’s surgery. Fortunately for everyone, a local GP and friend came to the door with a newly arrived gadget for measuring the oxygen level in his bloodstream, which was so low that it was surprising he was conscious. His wife, Emma, drove him to A & E, thinking it would be faster than waiting for an ambulance. From then on, he is in the capable hands of the NHS and was treated with care, love, dignity and above all kindness. It must have been a very frightening experience for all concerned. After 47 days in an induced coma in ICU, Michael is slowly returned to health, minus a few bits like a working eye and ear! The book which is a tribute to the NHS as well as a love story with his wife is moving, sad and funny and tells the story of his care and return to his beloved family as well as all the children who appreciate his school visits and love his books. The early part of the book is the letters written by the staff who cared for Michael in hospital, gleaned from a book by his bed in which they wrote of their thoughts and love on each shift. they write about his condition and what they are doing to and for him, as well as how much they loved his books. Many were physiotherapists, helping out in ICU. In the hospital the staff printed and laminated his poem “These are the Hands” which he wrote as a tribute to the NHS, for its 60th anniversary. It was on the wall beside his bed. This too is in the book. The rest of the book is written in poetry, blank verse for the most part, and concerns his rehabilitation and recovery. He is back on the radio in Word of Mouth, a year later. The love of his wife and for his wife shines through the whole book. The subtitle A Story of Life, Death and the NHS is so apt, although maybe the word ‘Love’ should also be there. It is a love song to the NHS, as well as a good read which should be read by everyone, Covid deniers, and politicians alike. I thoroughly recommend it....more
The subtitle of this is How Skiffle Changed the World. Billy Bragg argues that skiffle was the link between jazz and big band and modern rock and pop.The subtitle of this is How Skiffle Changed the World. Billy Bragg argues that skiffle was the link between jazz and big band and modern rock and pop. He tells the reader that the famous George Harrison quote that Lead Belly led to The Beatles misses out a bit. Lead Belly led to Lonnie Donegan and Lonnie Donegan led to The Beatles. It is a fascinating book even if you are not that interested in the history of music. There are many references to the giants of pop and rock. Billy Bragg tells us that George Harrison begged to borrow the cash, aged 13 , to attend every one of Lonnie Donegan’s six night stint at the Liverpool Empire. Of course Lead Belly had recorded Rock Island Line before Donegan but it was Donegan that took it into the charts and started the stampede to buy guitars and join a skiffle group with its washboard and double bass. Up until then teenagers listened to what their parents wanted them to hear but from then on we can chart the rise of pop and rock through punk and spot the difference between popular music and pop music. The thrill of the skiffle group was partly that the traditionalists didn’t like it. I think all music that appeals to teenagers has part of its appeal in their parents disliking it. My parents hated the Rolling Stones and the Who although they came to love the Beatles later, at the time they were "long haired layabouts". A good read, well written and very informative....more
Brilliant and mercurial Will Tye suffers a life changing accident. The terrible event ripples through three generations of the complex and eccentric TBrilliant and mercurial Will Tye suffers a life changing accident. The terrible event ripples through three generations of the complex and eccentric Tye family, bringing to light old tragedies and dangerous secrets. Each member of the family holds some clue to the chain of events which may have led to the accident and each holds themselves to blame. Most closely affected is Will's cousin Cecelia, whose affinity with Will leaves her most vulnerable to his suffering and whose own life is for ever changed by how she will respond to it.
Told through the eyes of three women close to Will, his sister, his grandmother and his aunt, Cousins is a novel weaving darkness and light which takes us from the outbreak of World War Two to the present day, exploring the recurrence of tragedy, the nature of trangression, and the limits of morality and love. I really enjoyed this family drama....more
Mary Beard, Professor of Classics at Cambridge, and obviously a very clever, successful woman. This is the text of a couple of lectures she gave to thMary Beard, Professor of Classics at Cambridge, and obviously a very clever, successful woman. This is the text of a couple of lectures she gave to the London Review of Books, one in 2014 and one in 2017. her aim was to “work out how I would explain….to the millions of other women who still share some of the same frustrations - just how deeply embedded in Western culture are the mechanisms that silence women, that refuse to take them seriously, and that sever them (sometimes quite literally) from the centres of power. This is one place where the world of the ancient Greeks and Romans can help to throw light on our own. When it comes to silencing women western culture has had thousands of years of practice. “ Using modern examples - Hillary Clinton as Medusa and Diane Abbott’s treatment when she got the figures wrong as compared with Boris Johnson in the same election when he had no clue about a particular policy and bumbled his way through. Mary Beard has given enormous food for thought. You can see one of these lectures on Women and Power on You Tube. This book is no 3 in the Sunday Times list this week. Clearly a book that has captured a moment with the #metoo campaign and the current preoccupation with equal pay and the gender gap. This review also appears on my website www.moragwat.wordpress.com...more
New tale from a master storyteller, Jodi Picoult. It concerns a nurse with 20 years experience who is the single parent of a teenage son. She ends up New tale from a master storyteller, Jodi Picoult. It concerns a nurse with 20 years experience who is the single parent of a teenage son. She ends up accused of murder because a newborn baby died in the hospital she worked in. The parents of the child were white supremacists, believing that white people are superior to black people. Ruth, the nurse, had come on shift just after this baby was born and did some of the newborn tests that are routine in the hospital. When she tried to help the mother nurse the baby the father told her to take her hands off and requested that she not touch his child again because she is an African American. When the baby dies the parents need someone to blame and Ruth is the scapegoat. As ever with a Judi Picoult book the story is told from several perspectives - Ruth, the father of the baby and Ruth's defending lawyer who is the public defender. When her lawyer advises her that they must not mention race in court, Ruth is appalled as surely the whole case hinges on the issue of race. I do not always enjoy Jodi Picoult as some novels have very similar formats. However, this one is very thought provoking. Perhaps we are all prejudiced in some way? Well worth a read. ...more