Monday, 27 October 2014

The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald

Ever had that scenario where the whole of Amazon and Goodreads seems to have read a totally different book to you? Well it just happened to me.

Don't get me wrong, this book isn't terrible, I just don't get all the hype! I had high expectations considering the fact that it's considered a classic and has also been made into a major blockbuster movie. But for me I couldn't really get into it. And when I did get into it, the book was almost over.
It's well written and I love the narration and I can appreciate that the book is allegorical for the anti American dream and all that. But it didn't rock my world, the way it seems to have rocked the world of a lots of most people out there in AmazonWorld and GoodreadsWorld.

It doesn't go into my top ten but it doesn't go into my bottom ten either. I can appreciate the style of writing but that's as far as it goes for me. I loved Scott F Fitzgerald's collection of stories, The Popular Girl, but this one wasn't as enjoyable.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

The Shining - Stephen King


One 5 year old boy (preferably with an an uncanny psychic ability.)
One alcoholic and slightly unhinged father.
A haunted house with lots of creepy corridors.
One dead lady in a bath tub.
A glass of wine of your choice.


Mix together all your ingredients until you create a vintage Stephen King novel that will give you lots of thrills and the inevitable crazy nightmares.

Drink the wine!

I have always been a big fan of Stephen King and have read quite a few of his books over the years but his old ones are the best if you ask me. I don't know how I have missed reading the Shining, but it's superb. Classic King. The movie was great. The book is greater.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The Importance of being earnest - Oscar Wilde

Because this is a very old book I didn't really know what to expect when I turned over the first page. I think I was expecting something old worldly and stuffy and difficult to get into but I was totally wrong. It's funny! Actually funny, not just mildly amusing but really funny.
The whole play is based around two men who invent fictitious brothers so that they can get away with living two separate lives. The farcical storyline that inevitably follows has probably been borrowed and stolen by countless TV sit-coms and soaps ever since.

If you want to chuckle away an evening, try this one. Yes the ending relies upon a coincidence bigger that the land mass of the antarctic itself but it won't stop me from sleeping and maybe you'll get over it too.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L Frank baum

When I was a kid I loved the movie and I remember that I used to fight with my sister at Christmas, who always wanted to watch Peter Pan instead. I won, every time, I think. But that's a long time ago!

I have always been aware of the original Oz books but never quite got round to reading them until now, the first one anyway. It's difficult to review children's books. Only children should review them but as I'm a book reviewer I will do a small, quick one.

This is very different from the movie but in a good way. I found myself enjoying it just as much as I would if I were a kid again. Compared to the movie, there are notable differences including the amazing world of china and the hammerhead people and a few gory bits that wouldn't have been included in the movie! Other bits appear from the film but in a different order and the tin man is the tin woodsman and the ruby slippers are silver shoes. Overall this is a fun read that I'm sure lots of adults would enjoy reading too. I did!

This is a proper children's book. There are a few morals and themes that come out of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, namely that by helping each other we can achieve more but also that we can achieve anything, if we just believe hard enough.

I want to go to Oz.


Dream Weaver by Rejean Giguere

What do you do when your sister disappears and all your efforts to find her hit a brick wall?

What about a bit of Voodoo?

This is a mixed bag for me. I really like the hook of the book and it gets off to a blistering start and I was immediately taken on a whirlwind of adventure across several continents into one dark and unsavoury place after another. For a short book it definitely kept me turning the pages and there's lots of action, drama and gore. And you can't beat a bit of gore from time to time can you?

Rejean writes with an imaginative quill, there's no doubt, with great chunks of humour weaved in along the way. This is what I like about the book but I think ultimately it's also it's main downfall. I found that towards the end the story kind of loses the plot and becomes a little bit unrealistic and over the top. At one point it felt like the main character was turning into Tarzan Lord of the Jungle and I was half expecting all the animals in the jungle to come to his rescue! And there were also one or two grammatical errors that made the book difficult to read at times.

Overall this is a fast paced, high speed chase of a book that keeps the pages turning but ultimately it's a bit like a beautiful garden that is overrun with weeds. I can't help feeling that with some clever and careful editing this book could be a much stronger.

I think maybe one of the main problems is that for a quick read there's just so much going on and the reader is taken to so many strange places, you don't really have time to settle into the book. And you are left feeling a little overwhelmed and disjointed.


Forst Time Gardener by Kim Wilde

It's great when you manage to find exactly what you are looking for.

I am a complete beginner to gardening and I was looking for something that would teach me the basics and this book managed to do that as well as wetting my appetite to take my interest to the next level. I am no spring chicken and my front garden is tiny and all I have at the back of my rented house is a small yard, but I am managing to tinker around a little with the little that I have.

It's encouraging too to think that Kim Wilde was once a complete novice too and has managed incredibly to forge a second career for herself. There is hope for us all. My interest in all things horticultural is new and fun and who knows where it can take me in the future.

This is written in an easy reading style, it is helpful, encouraging and there are a few chuckles along the way. It has certainly encouraged me to plod on regardless of whether I will one day manage to get myself a garden bigger than a postage stamp!

If you are interested in gardening, this is just the thing to help you along the way.


Starting Over by Tony Parsons

                            How many chances do you get to make it right?

At 42 George is given another chance in the shape of a new heart. The heart of a 19 year old. But as well as adding years to his life it also appears to be making him younger and younger as his own family continue to get older.

      Where has Tony Parsons been all my life?

 I have been aware of his books for a while but they have always existed in a some strange extra dimension at the corner of my eye. But this one jumped out at me for some reason and to be honest I didn't really know what to expect. It's a really good read! I love Tony Parson's writing style. It's witty, emotional and wonderfully readable. This is one of those books where the pages manage to mystically turn themselves.

I don't really know how to describe this book. I could try and describe it as literary fiction or family literary fiction or women's literary fiction, but none of those do it justice at all. I'm a bloke but I loved it!

I think the best way of describing it is simply to say it is a really great story. That's what I like when it boils down to it. A really good story.

In need to invite Mr parson's into my home more often, as long as he doesn't make any builders tea!