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Humorous Books

Florence and Giles by John Harding

Florence and Giles by John Harding I actually read John Harding’s novel Florence and Giles late last year, and it is a book that I have really been looking forward to reviewing. In some ways it is tricky to review this type of book, as it would be so easy to spoil the suspense by giving too much away. The enjoyment in writing this one though, comes from the way in which it has revived my memories of its lead character, Florence. She really is a rather wonderful creation, and I actually found myself smiling broadly as I typed this.

Strong and creative characterisation is at the heart of the majority of the books I most enjoy reading, so John Harding was already half way there in having me hooked, but a truly good novel obviously needs so much more than this — did Florence & Giles deliver?

Read on for a full review…

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Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey

Parrot and Olivier in AmericaBefore you read my review of Peter Carey’s Parrot and Olivier in America, I might as well hold up my hands and admit that I am probably not the most impartial reviewer. I’ve loved Carey’s writing for years, to the extent that he is probably my favourite living author.

Some of his novels have certainly fallen short of the very high standards he set himself with Illywhacker, Oscar and Lucinda and The True History of the Kelly Gang, but there is something about his style that always keeps me coming back for more even after some of his less than brilliant work.

Parrot and Olivier in America, I had high hopes for as it achieved a place on the 2010 Man Booker Shortlist, and it finally came to the top of my reading list last month. So did it live up to my expectations?

Read on for a full review…

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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…)

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…)