Actually it was last two months and I intended to do this regularly every month – ah, but how many of our best intentions fall by the wayside under a pile of mail/emails etc.? Anyway, here’s a review of some books I read recently:
Books I took out from the library:
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
This an excellent read, slightly difficult to get into as it is written in a series of letters but quickly draws you in and tells a great story. Along the way I learned about the occupation of the Channel Islands by Nazi Germany during the Second World War – something I knew little about. It’s always good to read well-researched books that tell a story and teach you something at the same time. Not sure about this cover though.
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
Brilliant! This parody is so well-written with such humour that there is at least one laugh a paragraph. It has the famous “I saw something nasty in the woodshed”. I tracked down a copy to buy after reading the library version – it has the original Penguin cover (as above) from Abe Books. Found out all about the different types of penguin drawings on front and spine – there’s a dancing Penguin on my edition.
Mrs McGinty’s Dead by Agatha Christie
Excellent plot twists in this cosy crime. I’m definitely more of a Miss Marple fan but I do like the characterisation of the arrogant Belgian detective too!
The Red Pony by John Steinbeck
I love the way Steinbeck draws you so completely into another world, this time the world of a boy growing up in a harsh environment. What really interests me about this Steinbeck title is the way it takes you into the experiences of a young boy and his world – with all the harshness of his environment and the hard lessons he has to learn. As the mother of a son about to embark on the trials of teenage years this book put me into a place of understanding this difficult time for boys as much as it is for girls. I don’t live in the environment that ‘the boy Jody’ experiences but nevertheless there are insights into adolescent boyhood that are valuable to someone who has only experienced growing up from a female point of view.
For another reader’s review of The Red Pony go to: Dark Chest of Wonders
[for my 11-year-old son]
Dark Lord – A Fiend in Need -(the second part of Dirk Lloyd) by Jamie Thomson
This is the follow-up to the first Dark Lord book.
The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
I was pretty hesitant about letting my son read this at his age but his school library gave it to him to read so i couldn’t argue! he seems to come out unscathed after reading it but did tell me he found parts of it disturbing. i hesitated not because of his reading level but the content – the violence, psychological effect, and aggression in the book I found disturbing. A fellow librarian lent me a copy to read to see if I thought it was okay for my son’s age group and I devoured the entire trilogy myself – not just for teens! The brilliance of this book is the reason it made me hesitate to get it for him – it is well written, very compelling and also thought-provoking. There is some of the fearsome insight into child psychology of the classic ‘The Lord of the Flies’.
[for my 7 year old daughter]
Here are just two – she’s had about 40 out in the last couple of months – the great thing is you can get 20 books out from the library at any time so they can have loads to choose from and at no cost!
Pablo and the Artist by Satoshi Kitamura
We love Satoshi Kitamura books – there’s been a superb lot of new books injected into our local library recently amongst these many Satoshi Kitamura and also Eric Carle, Oliver Jeffers and the ever popular Julia Donaldson (with illustrations by Lydia Monk or Axel Scheffler). The illustrations and quirky nature of the Kitamura books are an excellent read for any 6 to 8-year-old – and even my 11-year-old stole the one featuring cats (The Comic Adventures of Boots) from his sister for a while and had a laugh.
The Somethingosaur by Tony Mitton illustrated by Russell Ayto
Charming story of a little creature trying to work out who he is (I won’t spoil it for you by telling the ending). Fabulous illustrations – really stunning! Would like a poster of some of these for the kids wall – or maybe mine!
[for my partner – reporting as ‘M’]
The History of the World in 100 Objects (A highly illustrated book detailing the BBC Radio 4 series of the same name) NB this is a book I’d like to own!
M says: “Splendid!”
Dublin Foundation by Edward Rutherford
M: “A nice straight forward narrative style, not exactly high literature but very absorbing”
Reeling in the Years by Mark Radcliffe
M: “Most excellent”
This book takes one record release from each year and writing about that music and also about the times that related to that music. Written by the 6Music (and “the now defunct” Radio 2) DJ Mark Radcliffe – an enthralling and entertaining writer. A book of modern social history shown through the music of the times. One to read!
Books I bought:
The Library Book
I bought this to keep but it is also now available in the library too. It is a series of essays from various authors including Stephen Fry (always a good read!), Caitlin Moran, Alan Bennett, and Lionel Shriver all about the amazing nature of the library service and what it brings to our lives.
Books do Furnish a Room (and this one)
A large format picture book with beautiful photos detailing the personal library arrangements – shelving, organisation, and decor of various book-lovers. The images are inspiring and the text especially interesting if you are a librarian or book geek. Weirdly, I tried ordering this from the library and mistakenly got a novel by the same title:
I tried to read this but it wasn’t really my style of writing. Interesting insight into upper middle class life of this era. I had no idea they had so many affairs!