Category: Uncategorized

  • Review: Olive, Again (Olive Kitteridge, #2) by Elizabeth Strout

    I wasn’t aware that “Olive, Again” was a sequel until I came to write this review – I thought the “, Again” was because Olive Kitteridge appears in each chapter of this connected collection of short-stories, sometimes the focus, other times just passing through. I didn’t feel I’d missed anything by not reading the first […]

  • How to Have Meaningful Conversations by Sarah Rozenthuler

    This book doesn’t discuss day-to-day conversations, what I was expecting, but the Big Conversations (used by Sarah throughout the book) – those chats where the outcomes can save marriages, get that promotion, or start a new way of life. The book started slow, a few too many anecdotes from Sarah’s past, but once it kicked […]

  • Review: The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

    This book has all the cliches of prison books and films – the framed innocent, the beatings and sexual abuse, corruption and murder – but the most alarming is that this is based on true events over a 100 -year span at Florida’s Dozier School for Boys. Various reforms outlawed certain abuses, but corrupt regimes […]

  • Review: The Hiding Game by Naomi Wood

    Naomi Wood is a very skilled writer – her prose flows like a river, beautiful sentences with wonderful word choices. Her words are lyrical, beats pulsing through the page, all playing in harmony to make the reading a joy. I suspect I’d get pleasure reading her to-do list. When I finished The Hiding Game, I […]

  • Review: Bad Science by Ben Goldacre

    This is an excellent book, explaining the tricks of the medical industries, how they can work around the regulator bodies, and how the journalists aren’t censoring their wild claims. There have been a few recent scandals, the MMR and MRSA, which are pulled apart here – showing how the only ‘scandal’ was how people who […]

  • Review: The Byzantine World War by Nick Holmes

    The oddly titled Byzantine World War mostly covers the rule of Emperor Romanos IV Diogenes and his betrayal and untimely death at the hands of the Doukas family, which led to the demise of the Eastern Roman Empire. The book continues with a brief continuation into the Crusades, with the Fourth Crusade actually sacking Constantinople, […]

  • Review: Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries by Safi Bahcall

    Safi Bahcall was a recent guest on the Tim Ferriss podcast. He told interesting stories, like his first date with his wife-to-be, though she believed it to be a business meeting, and how he’d sit in a bar for hours studying a single page of a book to appreciate the use of language. He came […]

  • Review: Property: Stories Between Two Novellas by Lionel Shriver

    This is an intelligent book – from the language, to the character observations and even the clever sub-title (it really is short stories sandwiched between two novellas!). Few people are able to form characters like Shriver, she catches their nuances, their foibles and their strengths, and this makes their behaviour and motivations all the more […]

  • Review: Time and How to Spend It: The 7 Rules for Richer, Happier Days by James Wallman

    James Wallman’s Time and How to Spend It is a mixed bag. I found the first half a struggle – trying to overlay a book structure onto your holiday arrangements seems great in theory, but in reality no-one does, or would do, that. Plus, the anecdotes seem shoe-horned into places where they didn’t belong, with […]

  • Review: Summer Crossing by Truman Capote

    Summer Crossing is one of those books that aspiring writers bang out, then, when they re-read it, realise it’s tosh and cast it aside. All great writers have these novels – Stephen King has a few, even J. K. Rowling progressed two novels before abandoning them. Unfortunately for Truman Capote, several years after his death […]