Read any good books lately?

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08/04/2008 at 14:17
lurker - which bit? I'll take back my nonsense argument about Americans and WW2, but I stand by my Peter and Jane comments.
08/04/2008 at 14:17
Top books to read with SVTing 1 at the moment are 'Charlie and Lola'.
08/04/2008 at 14:18

I'm currently dipping into The Complete Short Stories by J.G Ballard- wow! What an imagination!

Hi Corinth! Does that mean we're going to get lots of book reviews from you since you don't have much access to movies?

Edited: 08/04/2008 at 14:19
08/04/2008 at 14:18
I read Cocaine Nights and was distinctly unimpressed.
08/04/2008 at 14:19
I haven't read any of his novels yet.
08/04/2008 at 14:22
I'd recommend not bothering!!
08/04/2008 at 14:23
The only novel of his that I've read was 'Hello America' - not particularly mindblowing.
08/04/2008 at 14:27
Thanks for the warning, DM. I did actually look at plot summaries of his novels, but at the moment my attention span is more suitable for short stories.
08/04/2008 at 14:29
I think he's the sort of writer that has good ideas, but then tries to make too much of them. Short stories probably suit him better.
08/04/2008 at 14:30

I'd not put yourself down, Mooms.

 SVT, I've been reading 'Razzle' recently... It's actually quite good.

08/04/2008 at 17:02

My slavery book is great. Just finished the section about John Newton (the bloke that wrote Amazing Grace) and about to start on the bit about someone with an odd name (not a slave in case anyone thinks I'm being roood).

My only criticism is that the author doesn't include as many dates to put his work in a historical context as he could do, and sometimes it gets a bit rambling. This could also be because I read in bed before falling alseep.

TT, to continue the long distance/time discussion about gramps, he was 28 when he joined the RAMC. We haven't found anything about his Lancs Fusiliers "service" yet, but his dad died in 1905, so I wondered if he ran away to the Army then and mum dragged him back to his exciting life in the cotton mills

17/05/2008 at 17:21
(boing to self, to remind me to review the book I've just finished when I've got a spare minute)
17/05/2008 at 21:07

Good timing SVT, I treated myself to some new books today. Nineteen Minutes, Notes from an Exhibition and An Utterly Impartial History of Britain. Still a history geek!

Loads of good sounding books, so I might well be back next weekend

18/05/2008 at 17:17

Right, let's try again and hope the PC doesn't decide to reboot halfway through...

I'm still reading The Battle for Spain, but had a business trip and needed something a bit lighter (both in tone and in weight - my hand luggage was heavy enough)...

'Then We Came to the End' by Joshua Ferris

Anyone who has ever worked in an office will 'get' this book. And anyone who hasn't will enjoy it anyway. It's about those people we spend a large amount of our waking hours working alongside and talking with, yet never really knowing them. This book really captures office life in genreal - the fact it's set in an advertising company in turn-of-the century Chicago makes it no less resonant for me. It could be anywhere.

I've realised with hindsight that most of the story is told in the form of gossip - only later, as a couple of storylines actually develop, do we have something approaching straight narrative (part of this is explained in the last chapter). And by this time, the anecdotes and observations have fully established the main characters so that the narrative can proceed uninterrupted. This is why we never know anything about our narrator - they'd never be party to gossip about themselves. I don't think we ever know whetehr they're male or female.

There's a certain amount of suspense built into the title. Being set at a time of redundancies, does it refer to the company going under? Or each person in turn being made redundant? Perhaps an unhinged former colleague returning with a semi-automatic? The boss's breast cancer being real? Or maybe just the end of the story.  It kept me interested to the end.

A very entertaining read, and contains the great idea of taping sushi behind your boss's bookcase.

19/05/2008 at 13:54

The Time Traveller's Wife

A romantic fiction detailing the life of Henry and his wife Clare.  Henry can travel through time (though not at will) and meets his future wife when she is 6 and he is 36.  They then meet again when she is 20 and he is 28.  Each chapter is written from either his or her perspective.  An easy read, compared in the reviews to The Lovely Bones.  The story is interesting, fun and develops well. I had a little cry at the end (always the measure of a good read).

20/05/2008 at 10:03

I really enjoyed Lionel Shrivers "We need to talk about Kevin" (someone else mentioned this a few pages back) - although trying to stifle sobs at the end was a bit embarassing - yes, I get a bit emotionally involved...

Trying another of hers at the moment "The post birthday world".  Enjoying it so far, though not as much as "Kevin" - will report back when I'm done...

Another book I really enjoyed recently is Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts.  Wow!  It is based on the authors life (prison break in Australia; living in a slum in India using his first aid skills to set up a clinic for his fellow slum dwellers; becoming entangled in the local mafia and the war in Afghanistan - phew!).  There are some truly poignant passages in it and gives a great description of how Mumbai really ticks.  It's a real page turner!

20/05/2008 at 10:06

Sarah Waters-The Night Watch. Brilliant read. Couldnt be bothered with Fingersmith, but this one is excellent. It works it's way backwards from post war, to the war and then pre war. Highly recommended.

Have started both The Time Travellers Wife and We Need to Talk About Kevin but failed to get past the first few chapters. Must make an effort. I am off on holiday in June for two weeks so I have a pile of reading I want to catch up on.

20/05/2008 at 15:17

bit late but

DM - i hated cocain nights too
copmplete rubbish idea

but i loved empire of the sun - i don't think he has bettered that

i liked time travellers wife

28/05/2008 at 19:00

Just finished 'The Battle for Spain' by Antony Beevor - a history of the Spanish Civil War. I loved 'Stalingrad' by the same author and the way he brought the era to life, balancing serious history with lots of human interest from diaries and military records.

TBFS, to abbreviate, was a little disappointing in that it was much more event driven, with less of the human element. However, it was fascinating to study this period that I knew very little about. It was amazing to see just how self-destructive the Republicans were, and how the British and French would turn a blind eye to pretty much anything if it kept Hitler quiet and communism away from their borders.

Whereas I'd recommend Stalingrad to anyone, I'd say you'll enjoy this if you like decent history books. 

28/05/2008 at 19:37

Mouse, I quite like Time Travellers Wife but didn't cry at all at the end.  I didn't like the ending.

Just finished The Adultery Club by Tess Stimson about a man and wife who have a great life, yet a harmless flirting by the man's colleague soon turns into something much much bigger which threatens to destroy everyone.  Brilliantly written, the author enables you to understand everyone's feelings and point of view.  I haven't read a book where my feelings have run so high for a long time, not since Man & Boy.

I'm going on holiday soon and am looking for another good book to read - may try 'We need to talk about Kevin' but would also like something light and fluffy like the Shopaholic series.

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