It surely can’t have been easy taking orders from a megalomaniac sister, and yet men did in the hospitals caring for injured soldiers. This seems to be an honest account of the struggles and challenges faced by the orderly in a war hospital – and is punctuated by anecdotes about escaping patients (apparently the blind ones are the worst), particularly one about a new-fangled escalator. This is a very enjoyable book, and is also a valuable first person account of a significant time in British history.
I love being tucked up on my sofa with a good book; and reading about the wilderness areas these people passed through, and how they explored the Yellowstone area and were instrumental in making it a national park, is tremendous. It was (obviously) written over 100 years ago, and yet, the petty squabbles they had the the personality clashes are easily understandable today – even if the remoteness of the area is not quite so easy to relate to now.
You know what you’re going to get with Mr Wilde, he’s clever and he’s funny, and he makes sure you know it. From this play, you quickly realise you probably wouldn’t want to sit next to him at a dinner party, because he’d probably talk you’re head off. And once he’d sufficiently dazzled you, he’d go and dazzle someone else. This is clever writing, but as with most of his work, the characters are not well-developed because they all talk like Mr Wilde. I ended up feeling like I was being ranted at, and all I could do was nod and smile.
Not a massively catchy title. This is a short but beautiful book, mostly it is written by the man himself and edited by Hodder-Williams, with a few comments by him also. It gives a really good idea of what went on in the trenches, and what life was like for ‘Tommy’.
As he says himself: ‘Isn’t it wonderful how many sorrows the British army can drown in a cup of tea?’ I reckon it’s changed a bit since then though.
There is one particular bit, in which the soldier writes about his experiences with the YMCA (while it was still effective, and before it had completely sold out on its origins): ‘I am sure everyone was overstocked with chocolates and cigarettes, for we all kept returning to the counter to buy something just for the sake of a smile or a ‘How are you getting on, Tommy?’ from one of our hostesses. The whistle blew and we all made a rush for our trucks. The ladies stood in a body at the end of the paltform, and as each truck passed waved and wished us good luck. The noise we made was deafening; we cheered and cheered until the little group of England’s unknown heroines on the platform passed from sight. Our hearts were very full.’ That just about says it all. I had to pause a little bit at this point. The line between life and death in this book is so thin, and these acts of kindness really hit home almost as much for the reader as they must have done for the soldiers involved.
There’s also the camaraderie and humour of the trenches too: ‘We have a rare lot of ditties. We often sing across ‘Has anyone seen a German Band,’ or ‘I want my Fritz to play twiddly bits on his old trombone.’ We really have a good bit of fun at times; other days are – crudely, but truthfully putting it – ‘Hell’.’
It’s so sad that these people had to give so much. I wonder what they’d think if they were able to come back. That’s probably not a good thing to wonder.
This is the sort of book you need to read now and again. Like when you forget that Britain hasn’t always been like this. Sometimes it’s been Great.
Looks like Disney needs to check his sources. The chap who wrote this account had a bit of a downer on Captain Smith’s record-keeping, but apart from the frequent jibes at Smith’s erratic memory for dates, it’s quite an interesting story. He makes the interesting point that if Pocahontas hadn’t died when she did, the story would have been a load less romantic as the fashionable types of the time became bored with the Indian princess. As it was she died with her foreign mystique intact, as well as her faith in the goodness of the average Englishman(!)
This is a passionate plea following World War I to quit with the fighting. It illustrates how the conflict of nations is carried out to fulfilment by men who have no personal ‘beef’ with the other side, and in fact in many cases were more interested in building bridges and friendships than they were maiming and killing each other. Mr Carpenter makes an interesting point: ‘Not one man of ours in ten, probably not one in a hundred, has any direct rights or interest in his native soil; and the Motherland has too often (at any rate in the past) turned out a stepmother who disowned him later when crippled in her service.’ A point that’s partiuclarly poignant now, don’t you think?
Mr Carpenter later, rather misguidedly, calls for a united Europe (but then we have the benefit of hindsight, don’t we?)
Interesting little book, particularly in that what’s concerning Mr Carpenter is still concerning a lot of people today.
These meditations were some of the things cooked up by Mr Wurmbrand when he spent years in solitary confinement being tortured. He says himself in the introduction that these are things he was pondering then, and that his faith and knowledge had moved on since then – and yet, it’s still a really interesting book, even if you don’t agree with all of it. Enjoyable, bitesize chunks, just right for kicking off your MQT.
One of the original Gothic horror novels – it’s a classic, but what makes it a bit annoying is although it’s all written in the first person to keep the quick pace, it’s done from four different viewpoints not including ‘newspaper cuttings’. There’s none of Heinrich Böll’s finesse in The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum (Die velorene Ehre der Katharina Blum), rather at times it’s got the clunkiness of a piece of English GCSE coursework. Still, having said that – it is entertaining; the plot’s good – it’s just that the quality of writing doesn’t stand up to the hype.
In this play, Mr Wilde’s wit sparkles rather than dazzles, which is a relief. Again though, there is little to identify the characters othen than stage directions. What Mr Wilde lacks in character development he makes up for in wit – although if you’re reading it, it can get a little confusing as to who’s who, and who’s related to whom. It’s an OK plot, with OK characters made funny by the writing.
This is how fairy tales used to be. It’s not too short, and it’s not in baby language, it is truly a lovely read. Settle in, put the kettle on and enjoy the purity of a good story.
This is lovely, it’s a children’s book; but because of the way it’s written, it is a good light read for adults too. Five children find a psammead (sand fairy) and the rest of the book is concerned with the chaos that occurs each day that the psammead grants the children a wish.
Sometimes it’s good to read something you wouldn’t normally choose. I have absolutely no desire to go to the Antarctic and munch on penguin legs and seal fritters, but this is an excellent book. These men had it hard. The success of their mission relied on good organisation, but it succeeded or failed on the state of the weather – and in this case it failed. Not only this, but they were mostly completely cut off from e outside world, to the point that they had to rescue themselves – and even that was touch and go. Exploring just isn’t the same today. This book is refreshing because it makes you realise how people struggled to make the discoveries and achievements they did. From reading this I am filled with admiration for the guts of these men, it’s amazing what they did and what they attempted. It’s not all Goretex and GPS.
This is an interesting book. It was written before the big discoveries such as that of antibiotics, and yet the majority of what Miss Nightingale says is still good nursing practice today. Not only did she revolutionise nursing in her lifetime, she still has wisdom to offer nurses today (perhaps with the exception of the bit about keeping a lid on your ‘utensil’). It’s nicely written too, it’s a good read.
Jane Austen is the queen of character development, probably because she’s so socially observant – no quirk or defect seems to escape her, and they appear in the characters of this book, particularly Mssrs Wickham, Collins, Lucas and even Darcy. This is a true classic because not only does it combine good characters with a good plot, it’s beautifully written, scarily insightful and has plenty of social comment. People don’t change, and although we don’t say to each other ‘My dear, would you care for a turn about the room? It’s so refreshing!’ or similar, we’re basically the same animals driven by the same things and subject to the same foibles. And that’s what makes Miss Austen such a genius.
Mr Wilde is the king of the slightly complicated plot where all the messy bits get tied up at the end. The plot is great, the ending is gratifyingly predictable and there are some tremendous lines in it (not including the infamous ‘handbag’ one that gets murdered so often by am-drammers). The only negatives are that because Mr Wilde is so incredibly clever and funny, ALL of his characters sound like him, and therefore they sound alike, so when reading the play (rather than watching it) it’s sometimes necessary to keep checking whose talking. Massively entertaining though.