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.
This is an interesting book; it’s a novel set after the Rapture, but because it was published in 1970, it’s got some funny ideas about how the author thought contemporary culture would be like in the 21st century. Mr Kirban makes a lot of use of the ‘picture phone’ which is like the iconic 1970s plastic telephone but with a video screen; even he couldn’t have envisaged ‘facetime’. He also uses ‘heliojets’ to get around, and ‘seahouses’ is not the name of a Northumberland town, but rather a collection of massive semi-submarine ships built to accommodate the world’s excessive population. My favourite bit was when the locust demons were released from the abyss – with jetpacks on! Hurrah! Brilliantly entertaining book, there’s nothing quite like it.
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.
The title is a complete misnomer, it’s not about him at all. After the first third of the book he doesn’t appear at all. The book is the last part of the last volume Dumas wrote about the D’Artagnan and the musketeers, but published as a stand-alone book. When you know that, the book becomes less frustrating. Dumas writes sympathetically and affectionately, his characters glow; even Aramis, the schemer, escapes criticism. Not only is the characters’ goodbye to their readers, but it’s Dumas’ goodbye to the characters, and is more fitting as a eulogy than a novel.
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.
A tremendously vivid book, it’s good to read the original from which all the imitations sprang. Interesting characters, good plot, and written with Dumas’ usual blustering and rapid style.
Wonderful book, I think this is the fourth time I’ve read it, and I’d forgotten what a well-rounded, well-written book it is. It’s a longish book, so it’s perfect for a holiday, or a time when you’re able to spend hours devouring it.
The characters are well drawn, Mr Rochester is tremendous and multi-dimensional, and what I noticed this time round was that Miss Brontë writes an accurate account of what it’s like to be ‘zapped’ by the Holy Spirit. Interesting, although it shouldn’t be surprising, that people were familiar with it then too.
An truly amazing work of literature.
If you croak before reading this, you’ve misspent your time. Not only is it an unusual story, it’s well-written (and well-translated), the plot is comprehensive, although not too confusing, the characters are well-developed – and it’s big enough to keep you occupied for days! Despite its 1243 pages, it’s one I can see I’ll be going back to. I’m a little bit in love with the Count…
This book also gets the award for the characters that spend the longest time shuddering; read it and you’ll see what I mean.
It’s a book as Russian as Shostakovich and Prokofiev, and in the same vein, it’s as dark, cold and a little bit creepy, just like their music. This Kafka-esque novel portrays a clerk who encounters his exact double who although no one seems to notice the extreme similarity between the two (including their names) manages to take over the man’s life and relegate him to an asylum. But was it real, or was it the raving of a man unhinged?
It’s one of those books you hear about and think ‘I really must read that’. And then you take some time of work, get it from the library and settle down to read. And you get ever so slightly disappointed. It gets bigged up quite a lot, considering that there isn’t a huge amount of plot – but it makes up for that with a lot of yachtty technical jargon and stuff about tides. Not massively my kind of book, however, the two main characters were really well thought out, both of them endearing – particularly Davies’ penchant for looking for stuff to throw overboard. I’m glad I read it, but it was a mite disappointing.
This is a bizarre book about the minutiae of life. Each short chapter signifies a match in a matchbox that the narrator uses to light his early morning fires, and then he rambles on about what he’s been doing and what he’s thought. It’s all everyday stuff, but kind of heart-warming too, he has two children and a wife he loves, and a cat and a duck called Greta. It’s middle America as it’s not generally seen. It’s special. The bit about the pee is the best bit.
Reading something a bit odd every now and again is good for the soul. This is a strangely compelling book, despite having absolutely no characters in that are likeable or can be identified with. Not sure why it’s appealing, but it is.
This is a quick read, nothing wrong with that. It also gives a frighteningly accurate account of the spiritual bankruptcy of the Church of England today. Mr Bennett is shrewdly observant and his descriptions strip away the façade to reveal the rather pathetic motive beneath. As with all Mr Bennett’s writing, again here’s one which leaves the reader with a forlorn sense, although at times it’s quite difficult to see why.
This is a masterpiece, written in the format of a collection of letters written and sent between the main characters. Quite easily because of the style, the book could be stilted and difficult to read, but it flows. As with any seriously good work of this kind, there are different levels of messages that lie beneath the plot. The characters show that in life we are always a slave to something, it’s up to us to choose what. The two principal characters shun falling in love at all costs, and therefore fall prey to becoming a slave to vanity and selfishness, destroying the lives of others in order to prove to themselves and to each other that they are not in love, ending in their own destruction. It shows the negativity of such cynicism, and the self-destruction that occurs when that cycnism is taken to extreme. Another level served to show, at the time the book was first published, what the landed classes were deemed to be capable of. This type of writing fuelled the French Revolution. It also showed that society of the time (not so much now) was the great regulator of behaviour; anything might be got away with – until it entered the public sphere.
On many levels, this is a truly great, enjoyable, absorbing book.
It’s probably a good idea to avoid the film; this book could never have justice done to it on the screen. Although it is ostensibly a book for older children, its sensitivity and subtlety mean that probably the huge majority of older children will enjoy the plot and the characters, but not understand the undertones and nuances. There are some biblical concepts within the plot, some of them reasonably overt, and some less so; and the plot is not the usual predictable pap that kids seem to get fed these days. It is a masterpiece of writing, its entire concept is unusual, its characters are well-drawn and well-rounded – and in short it is one of those rare books that you really can bury yourself in, only to emerge out the other side with perhaps a slightly different view of things. This is a lovable book that while being gentle is at the same time powerful, and well before its time. In fact, were it to be written today, it would still be ahead of its time. Beautiful.
This book is wasted on kids! Although this most certainly is an adventure story, there’s a lot more to it than that – and what’s more, it’s so brilliantly written, and has such excellent character sketches that it really needs an adult audience to do it justice. Could Phileas Fogg be the first literary character to show decidedly autistic tendencies? Who knows – but the depths of each character, the plot, and sheer novelty of the story, is testament to the genius of the brain that cooked it up. It would be wrong not to read this book.
A perfect book for a rainy day. Leroux is reminiscent of Wilkie Collins in his plot, characters and style, and yet here’s a tremendously, deliciously French book. And just like Victor Hugo’s ‘Hunchback’ he crafts a beautiful ending giving an all round eminently gratifying reading experience with a hefty daub of gothicness. The film/musical does violence to the subtleties of the plot and characters; yet here is a story that is in turns graphic, violent, romantic, tragic and at last, wistful – entirely deserving of a place on the ‘Bucket list’. Ignore the musical – just read the original!
Isn’t it funny what people find to write books about? I have a love/hate relationship with Mr McEwan. I love his attention to detail; his observation of down-to-earth everyday thoughts or occurrences adds an elegance and realism to his writing which I find beguiling. But then on the other hand his plots and his characters always leave me underwhelmed, and kind of little bit annoyed that I spent all that time sitting there reading his book. I don’t know quite how I expected this one to end, but at least it wasn’t the cheap, short-changing ending that Atonement got saddled with. Be nice to your readers, Mr McEwan, then they will buy more of your books!
It’s short. I’ll give it that.
It’s a bit odd, but I like it. It’s one of those books you can sort of bury yourself in with a comfy chair and an endless supply of tea. Mr Maguire has an interesting style and builds characters well. And thank goodness, the book’s long enough to get really stuck into.
Mr Maguire retells the story of Cinderella to an adult audience, employing attention to detail and treats even his most unattractive characters with benevolence. And what’s partiuclarly refreshing he doesn’t dismiss the reader with ‘…and they all lived happily ever after.’