The Great Gatsby – by F Scott Fitzgerald

24 03 2019

After loving Rebecca, I felt more confident and so picked up another 20th Century Classic from my bookcase.

Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy this one so much – I persevered primarily because it was only 180 pages and wasn’t necessarily difficult to read, it just didn’t feel like anything was happening at all until about 40 pages from the end! Upon finishing my main feeling was just relief that I could tick it off and move onto something else.

It’s supposedly one of the greatest pieces of American Literature, but I just didn’t get it – not one for me!





Found Poetry – by Dave Gorman

9 03 2019

I’m a huge Dave Gorman fan, the man is stupidly clever and also hilarious, and a complete geek – a superb combination! The YouTube video I send people most in this world, is below:

As part of his old radio shows, and then more recently as part of his “Modern Life is Goodish” (of which you can watch the most recent four seasons here), he shares Found Poems. He describes them as comments he’s found when searching “the bottom half of the internet”. Each one is themed around a news story, and he collates sentences from comments sections from different news websites, and the results are pure gold. Each one he reads out to the backing music of Handel’s Saranbade.

This collection was put together in 2012 so there are a few around the Royal Wedding, but the absolute best has to be the horse meat scandal – his performance of it is below, and if you enjoy it, just search “Dave Gorman Found Poem” on YouTube and you’ll find further examples!





Rebecca – by Daphne du Maurier

9 03 2019

I had a couple of friends rave about this and thought I’d brave a “classic” if it came so highly recommended (at least it’s 20th century!). It took me a fair while to read the first chapter or two, but once the description stopped and the story started, it gripped me. The second half of the book I could hardly stop and put it down!

The book has a really interesting quirk in that you never find out the name of the main character who narrates the entire story, and while we know she is “young”, we never know just how young.

Our heroine meets a widower in the south of France and marries him, but when they arrive at his large Cornish estate, everything is still very much in the shadow of his first wife, Rebecca. I won’t give much more away, but it was much easier to read than expected and I really enjoyed it – as my friends who recommended it will verify as I frantically messaged them!





Wonder – by R J Palacio

4 02 2019

From the back cover of the book:

“My name is August.
I won’t describe what I look like.
Whatever you’re thinking,
it’s probably worse.”

August was born with a combination of genetic abnormalities which mean he has a face rather unlike other peoples. He’s 10 years old, and about to go to school for the first time having been home schooled so far. Not something that would be easy for any kid, let alone August. Obviously it’s a tough year, kids can be cruel, we know, and there is no exception here, but some kids can also be completely wonderful.

For the first chunk of the book, August is the narrator, sharing his story of that year, but as we go through, others including his sister and his friends get to share from their perspective, which is really important – they might overlap a little to explain how they got to a point, but then take you on further through events.

Much as there are some truly awful moments, this book is incredibly uplifting. I read the majority of the book in just two days – completely insane. Though I will say that the chapters are REALLY short, so often you do have half blank pages which I guess must have sped me up a bit, but truly I couldn’t put it down – I read for 90min straight this evening without falling asleep – unheard of!

And yes, I will be trying out the film soon!





The Tattooist of Auschwitz – by Heather Morris

31 01 2019

This book ticks a couple of my categories lately: books I see everywhere and so give in and buy, and books set in world war two!

The tattooist of Auschwitz is Lale (this is a true story, he really existed), a Slovakian Jew who ends up in Auschwitz and Birkenau as a prisoner. All the prisoners have jobs within the concentration camp and Lale manages to get a job tattooing all the prisoners numbers onto their arms as they arrive, a job that comes with a bit better treatment than the labouring that most do.

At its heart this book is a love story between him and a girl he meets as he tattoos her on her arrival, intertwined with the horror of life in a concentration camp. What really highlighted itself to me was just how trigger happy the guards were, the slightest thing and you could be shot dead – some even just while they popped to the loo in the middle of the night – horrifying.

One thing that really struck me with this book was only a tiny thing really, but I kept stumbling each time I picked it up to read some more and re-remembered that it’s all written in present tense – a little strange, but I got used to it by the second half!





Anne of Ingleside – by L M Montgomery

20 01 2019

After two years, I’ve finally finished the main part of this series of books! There are two more that follow, but their focus is on the children, no more “Anne of….”, so I sort of consider this a job done!

That said, even thought this is an “Anne of” book, the focus really is on the children – Anne and Gilbert have six children including a set of twins, all with their different escapades, and not a huge amount of time spent on Anne other than when the children take their problems to her to solve. For the most of the book, Anne has become a flawless woman with her days of escapades and learning about herself long gone – but there is a really nice moment near the end where we find she’s not perfect after all, and she struggles with something so completely relatable to us all, it’s nice to see she’s still got a realistic side to her.

Still very enjoyable, warm and fuzzy, and an easy read.

As with the previous books, this one still has some lovely one liners – here are a few of my favourites:

  • “‘Praying’s good. I lost a dime once and I prayed and I found a quarter. That’s how I know.'”
  • “‘Hasn’t the world got its face washed nice and clean?’ cried Di, on the morning sunshine returned.”
  • “‘God doesn’t make bargains, He gives… gives without asking from us in return, except love.'”
  • “‘If a minister preaches a sermon that hits home to some particular individual people always suppose he meant it for that very person,’ said Anne. ‘A hand=me-down cap is bound to fit somebody’s head, but it doesn’t follow that it was made for him.'”
  • “‘David is going to be married at last,’ said Miss Cornelia. ‘He’s been a long time making up his mind which was cheaper, marrying or hiring.'”
  • “‘The same summer will never be coming twice'”
  • “Anne knew quite well that this idea was absolutely unreasonable, but when was jealousy ever reasonable?”





Theologygrams – by Rich Wyld

30 12 2018

My brother got me this for Christmas. I generally don’t consider myself intelligent enough to read books on theology, but this is practically a picture book full of graphs and diagrams, and those I can do!

Some of them are serious, but many are a mixture of humour too – three involve Doctor Who and one involves Mr T, so it’s pretty lighthearted, but still got some interesting content – seeing Paul’s missionary journeys presented as a London tube map was inspired!