Category: Books & Reviews

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What the…? No books!

I was just taking a look at Goodreads and I’ve discovered that I didn’t read a single book in October, and I’m on track to not read any in November as well. Does this ever happen to you? I was on a roll. Not that reading books is a trackable...

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Review: The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole

I have to admit, I picked The Castle of Otranto from the library because it was a very slim volume. At 140 pages, it suited me nicely. And then I couldn’t resist this blurb: Manfred, wicked lord of Otranto Castle, is horrified when his son is crushed to death on...

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Review – Soul Tourists by Bernardine Evaristo

Soul Tourists by Bernardine Evaristo is not at all what I was expecting from the cover or the blurb. It is a fairly linear story, but told partly in prose, partly in verse and partly in a sort of condensed dialogue format which swings from internal to external. It doesn’t...

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The peripatetic book lover

It’s not easy being a book lover on the road. My parents (bless them) have several hundred of my books in storage in their garage, and yet I still shipped over two boxes of printed matter! One box of those were my diaries and notebooks and various works in progress....

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Review – Home Truths by David Lodge

We live in a society that is obsessed with celebrity and success. We like to think this is somehow new, but it was as true in 1999 – when Home Truths was first published – as it is now. Adrian and his wife Eleanor live in a nice home in...

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Review – Hothouse by Brian Aldiss

Review: Hothouse by Brian Aldiss Look, I persevered. It is no doubt an interesting book concept. And I came away from it with a clear and unsettling feeling that I had just spent a week in overgrown and hostile jungles, amongst the sticky, sharp, cloying, impenetrable vegetation of Aldiss’s future...

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The Jungle – Upton Sinclair

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair is an unrelentingly awful tramp through the worst parts of early American capitalism. Normally I would hate something this despairing, but actually I found myself drawn in and – unusually for me – unable to look away. Upton Sinclair’s expose of the Chicago meat packing...

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Did not finish – reading by numbers

Adding a book to the ‘did not finish’ pile always feels like a failure. On whose part, I don’t know – the reader and the writer are sometimes equally to blame. There are plenty of (probably) truly excellent books that I just haven’t been able to finish, and loads of...

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American Gods – Neil Gaiman

Review: A love letter to the great American road trip, featuring gods, demons and zombies. An interesting tale told in fits and bursts. American Gods, Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins, 2001) I’m mostly familiar with Neil Gaiman from his work on Dr Who, and for being the other half of Amanda Palmer....