Category: Uncategorized

  • Review: Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children’s Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death (Paperback) by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

    In an interview, Kurt Vonnegut explained that he writes all his novels in short, uncluttered sentences, never using words or phrases that a teenager couldn’t understand. He joked this was because he wanted to get onto high-school curriculums, and the sight of a semi-colon would scare the kids off. This simplicity also generates a fairy […]

  • Review: The Whale Tattoo by Jon Ransom

    As debuts go, this is impressive and I’m sure Jon Ransom has a healthy writing career ahead of him. The problem, I felt, was that he tried to cram all his creative ideas into a single book – dysfunctional family, (non-)romantic trysts, and a bit of the supernatural (or mental health, it’s never made clear). […]

  • Review: The Whispering Muse by Laura Purcell

    The Whispering Muse is a good summer read – well, late autumn read I guess now. It’s well paced, describes the theatre and the productions well, and is easy to read. The ending felt rushed (was the deadline looming or was the mortgage payment due!), and I’m sure it’ll be forgettable in weeks, but it’ll […]

  • Review: Awareness by Anthony de Mello

    Tim Ferriss has recommended this book several times, so I was keen to give it a try, but wow, this was a slog. I believe it was transcribed from de Mello’s classes and presentations, and may be in the flesh it works better, but in the written word it comes across as smug and arrogant. […]

  • Liberation Day: Stories by George Saunders

    I read George Saunders’s Lincoln in the Bardot a few years ago and was blown away by his creativity and narrative style. He takes well-used concepts, strips them bare, then reassembles them into unique and quirky stories. This collection of shorts certainly won’t be for everyone – his inventive use of language and punctuation takes […]

  • Review: Lessons by Ian McEwan

    Lessons is more biography than novel. It follows the span or Roland Baines’s life, from his youth in the Middle East to his twilight days in London, and because of the length and slow pacing I felt at times that I was living this in real-time! Every description is huge, passing characters are given full […]

  • Review: Upgrade by Blake Crouch

    Could you alter genome sequences to give yourself superhuman advantages? Could you run for miles without fatigue, use two computers at once, absorb multiple media sources simultaneously? That’s the premise of Upgrade. This amazingly researched, fast paced thriller often feels like it’s a movie script, and I suspect it won’t be long before someone snaps […]

  • Review: Hide by Kiersten White

    Hide is how Stephen King would’ve tackled the Hunger Games! An excellent opening with a great setup, then some irritating PoV jumps and a bloated over-written ending (I found myself skimming paragraphs), but a fun holiday read. It won’t change your life, but the premise will keep you entertained! Book supplied by Netgalley for an […]

  • Review: French Braid by Anne Tyler

    I’ve loved Anne Tyler’s books for years, including her last, “A Spool of Blue Thread”, which was marketed as being her final novel. Unfortunately, I feel she should’ve stopped there. Her books are always a slow burn – typically following a family over a generation or so – but a focus and a direction drive […]

  • Review: Vladimir by Julia May Jonas

    Vladimir is a book of three parts. The first, introduces John and his unnamed wife, literary academics, and the writing is gorgeous. The wife’s wit and intelligence shine – she discusses the #MeToo movement, her husbands need for sexual attention from the younger students, and what it means to grow old and how that shapes […]