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Face of Spain
3.82
really liked it
(Note: this book is by Gerald Brenan, not Gerald Brennan!)
I enjoyed this more than his 'South from Granada' - although that was also interesting and i
...more
Jul 16, 2016
Jul 19, 2016
 
Burmese Days
3.85
really liked it
I bought this book off a street vendor in Bagan in Burma, and it was a good decision! It's Orwell's first published novel I believe, and although it h ...more
Mar 25, 2014
Mar 25, 2014
 
River of Time
4.15
liked it
A harrowing account of the horrors of war in Indo-China, lightened somewhat by Swain's reflections on his own youthful captivation with Cambodia, Viet ...more
Oct 06, 2015
Oct 07, 2015
 
All That Man Is
3.69
really liked it
Close to five stars, but I'm tightfisted with those. I read this twice, and it provoked interesting discussion at my (all male) book group. An alterna ...more
Oct 27, 2016
Oct 30, 2016
 
Quarantine
3.69
really liked it
This was a highly original story I thought, creating circumstantial detail around the biblical account of Jesus's forty days and nights in the wildern ...more
Mar 28, 2015
Mar 28, 2015
 
Prester John
3.62
liked it
As a schoolboy in the 1960s I remember the thrill whenever our English teacher Mr Hogan, a bearded man with an American accent, came into the classroo ...more
Jul 04, 2016
Jun 04, 2012
 
Landmarks
4.26
really liked it
An engaging account of a lifetime's experiences of different landscapes, and how the mediation of other writers' books about places has enhanced those ...more
May 20, 2018
May 20, 2018
 
Hokkaido Highway Blues: Hitchhiking Japan
4.00
liked it
A thoroughly enjoyable read, which prepared me for my upcoming first visit to Japan (not that I intend to hitch-hike). The author offers insights into ...more
Mar 2015
Mar 17, 2015
 
Crime and Punishment
4.22
really liked it
I re-read this classic after a gap of forty years or so, and was thoroughly gripped most of the time by Raskolnikov's mental agonies. The build up to ...more
Apr 20, 2015
May 02, 2012
 
The Corrections
3.80
really liked it
This is a fine piece of writing, driven by character rather than plot. Each of the five main characters is portrayed in convincing detail, and althoug ...more
Apr 2016
Apr 22, 2016
 
An Instance of the Fingerpost
3.94
really liked it
I was very engaged by this novel, with its four different narrators each giving their own account of the events surrounding the murder of an Oxford cl ...more
Feb 05, 2017
Oct 16, 2013
 
South From Granada
3.87
liked it
An entertaining and perceptive book, although somewhat random in its organisation. Brenan captures the nature of rural Spanish life in the years befor ...more
Jan 21, 2016
Jan 21, 2016
 
Rob Roy
3.70
liked it
An enjoyable yarn with an engaging hero (Francis Osbaldistone, the young narrator - Rob Roy himself is not the central character in spite of the book' ...more
Jan 02, 2013
Jan 04, 2013
 
Hell
3.68
liked it
'Hell' struck me as a forerunner of the body of fiction and philosophy labelled as 'existentialist'. The protagonist is an isolated individual observi ...more
Sep 25, 2014
Sep 25, 2014
 
London Fields
3.72
liked it
Jeez! That was probably the most depressing book I've ever read! I kept wanting to put it down, but it was too clever and well-written and had me unwi ...more
Feb 13, 2018
Feb 13, 2018
 
Veneer
4.67
it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel which traces the interlinked lives of disparate characters in the fictional London borough of Rhowing, largely through ...more
Nov 14, 2019
not set
Nov 14, 2019
 
The Garden of Evening Mists
4.11
liked it
I enjoyed this book, in particular because I have stayed on a tea plantation in the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia, which is its main setting. It also ...more
May 28, 2015
Jun 01, 2015
 
A Journal of the Plague Year
3.56
really liked it
Picked this up to read as a new (1665!) perspective on what the world is going through today with the Covid 19 pandemic. Because our current science h ...more
May 04, 2020
May 04, 2020
 
Freedom
3.75
really liked it
Phew, finally finished this! It deserves its four stars for the quality of the writing and the depth of characterisation, but I didn't enjoy it as muc ...more
Apr 14, 2017
Apr 14, 2017
 
His Bloody Project: Documents Relating to the Case of Roderick Macrae
3.92
liked it
Well, to start with the positives, I did get engaged by the characters (although not much in the case of the father) and the depiction of hard rural l ...more
Feb 23, 2017
Feb 23, 2017
 
Vanessa Bell
4.17
it was amazing
I have rarely enjoyed a biography as much as this one. Vanessa Bell and the other Bloomsbury-ites were evidently prolific letter writers, and so Franc ...more
Jun 08, 2017
Jun 08, 2017
 
Birdsong: A Novel of Love and War
4.09
liked it
Powerful writing about war which moved me close to tears at times. Bears comparison with passages in Ford Madox Ford's 'Parade's End'. However, I didn ...more
Mar 17, 2015
Mar 19, 2015
 
The Radetzky March
4.08
liked it
This came strongly recommended by a friend, and indeed many glowing reviews are quoted at the beginning of this edition. However, I found it very heav ...more
May 10, 2019
May 10, 2019
 
El entenado
3.98
really liked it
With a caveat regarding my own imperfect Spanish, I found the prose lyrical and evocative as well as being very clear and circumstantial. I don't know ...more
Dec 27, 2016
Jan 01, 2017
 
Dance To The Music Of Time Volume 4: Winter v. 4
4.22
it was amazing
I have now finished this linked series of novels - which feels more like a single long novel to me. In spite of its length, I read it in a comparative ...more
Dec 15, 2018
Dec 15, 2018
 
Gironimo!: Riding the Very Terrible 1914 Tour of Italy
4.05
really liked it
A very funny book, like his earlier 'French Revolutions'. Tim Moore combines a masochistic desire to drive himself and his ancient disintegrating bicy ...more
Jul 16, 2014
Jul 19, 2014
 
A Round Of Golf Courses: A Selection Of The Best Eighteen
4.20
really liked it
It's no easy thing to describe the assorted man-made landscapes that create the settings for the game of golf. There are, on the face of it, only so m ...more
Jul 10, 2012
Jul 10, 2012
 
Silence
4.09
liked it
I read this with my book group and it provoked a good discussion, ranging over Japanese history (to the extent that we knew about it!) and the nature ...more
Jul 02, 2017
Jul 02, 2017
 
A Far Cry from Kensington
3.85
really liked it
My first Muriel Spark, and a delightful read. The narrator, Mrs Hawkins, is a true original, old and wise beyond her tender years,and a shrewd plain-t ...more
Aug 21, 2017
not set
Aug 21, 2017
 
The Hearing Trumpet
4.07
liked it
I was led to this by an interest in Carrington's paintings. I hadn't known that she had also written a novel. This started strange and surreal and pro ...more
Jan 26, 2017
Jan 26, 2017
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