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December, 2010:

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Hilary Mantel’s widely acclaimed Wolf Hall collected the prestigious Man Booker Prize in 2009, and was shortlisted for a number of other awards. It has taken me quite a while to get around to finding out what all the fuss was about, but it proved to be well worth the wait in the end, it really is a superb piece of work. It has received some degree of criticism for annoying elements in its writing style; so is it a flawed masterpiece or simply flawed?

Read on for a full review…. (more…)

The Stars in the Bright Sky by Alan Warner

2010 has seen me become a huge admirer of Alan Warner, after reading his excellent Sopranos I recently finished  The Stars in the Bright Sky. Sopranos was a difficult act to follow, but he has managed in my opinion to go one better than the earlier book, developing the characters and raising the bar even higher with the humour. The panel of the 2010 Man Booker Prize obviously thought so too, as it made it onto this year’s longlist.

So long as you are not too easily outraged, this is one very funny novel, and I am most definitely looking forward to Alan Warner’s next.

Read on for a full review…. (more…)

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

Those of you who have visited Novel Suggestions previously may have cottoned on by now that I am hugely drawn to books that open my eyes to far off lands and lifestyles. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao certainly fit the bill in that respect as I have to admit that prior to reading it I was more than a little ignorant of the people and politics of the Dominican Republic.

This winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction gives not only a good insight into the the beauty of the country, but also a taste of its cruel history. It is certainly a novel full of energy, romance and more than a touch of sadness.

Read on for a full review…. (more…)

Buying Books for Children

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

I recently received a brief review of Heidi, kindly sent in by one of my visitors, and although I don’t usually feature reviews of children’s books, it got me thinking about some of the great classic children’s titles and how well they would be received by today’s youngsters. I never actually read Heidi myself, but can well remember my older sisters enjoying the book; at that age I had my own personal favourites by writers such as Alan Garner and Roald Dahl to keep me enthralled.

So how do these old classic children’s books stand the test of time? Are they still able to deliver the joy we all remember them for? First let’s start with Aakanksha Singh’s review and discuss it further from there. (more…)