Friday, May 31, 2013

What I read on my holidays....

Getting away from it all for a few days meant I had the time to read all the book club books I had outstanding, plus 7 more books on top of that. Here are some short reviews:

Gone GirlGone Girl by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

** spoiler alert ** Where to start with this? I found it hard going to start with, but got into it about 1/3 through. I didn't like Diary Amy, and always felt a large amount of sympathy for Nick, although he wasn't exactly likeable himself. I never thought he'd killed Amy, which means I wasn't surprised by the turn the book took when it became clear that she'd faked Diary Amy and her own death. I'm still not sure what the big twist was everyone talks about - the switch from Diary Amy to real Amy happens too soon in the book for it to be that, surely? And it was obvious she was going to kill Desi, she'd shown herself to be capable of anything by then. Her pregnancy announcement at the end was also not much of a surprise...

I thought the descriptions Nick gave of the affair with Andie were interesting, and gave a different perspective on him. Was that supposed to make us dislike him, I wonder? It really just made me feel sorry for him. Are we to assume Hannah, as mentioned in one of Amy's diary entries is made up, as Nick categorically states Andie was his only affair, or do we assume Nick is lying?

I was left hoping that Nick somehow managed to escape from Amy's clutches, the idea that their baby could solve what was desperately wrong with their relationship is just too horrible to contemplate. That poor poor child!

Kill Your FriendsKill Your Friends by John J. Niven
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

One of the most horrendous books I've ever had the misfortune to read. And he doesn't even get his comeuppance in the end, which is about the only thing that could have saved this book for me, though I doubt even that would have done it. Grim grim grim, revelling in the worst kind of racist, sexist awfulness. Someone will no doubt now tell me it's satire and I've missed the point but I don't care! Horrible.


The Taming of the ShrewThe Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not sure how one reviews Shakespeare, but this is entertaining enough... A bit sexist though ;)





The Damned UtdThe Damned Utd by David Peace
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Absolutely superb. A must-read for anyone with even the vaguest interest in football and with lots of bonus Huddersfield Town material to boot.





The Thief's JournalThe Thief's Journal by Jean Genet
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Despite the fact that this seems to jump about all over the place and doesn't really have a narrative as such, I did enjoy it. I particularly enjoyed reading the descriptions of old Barcelona, which the author brings to life very well. I wish I could read it in the original language because I can't help feeling a few things were lost in translation with the version I was reading (which oddly has the footnotes interspliced at random points in the text.)

I warmed to the author greatly through reading the book, despite, or perhaps because of its haphazard nature. I wouldn't necessarily recommend the book though, all things considered.


Where's Your Caravan?: My Life on Football's B-RoadsWhere's Your Caravan?: My Life on Football's B-Roads by Chris Hargreaves
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a quick and easy read for anyone who is interested in football and has ever followed lower/non-league teams. I'd say it probably doesn't have a lot of general appeal beyond that though. It could have benefitted from a bit more editing, although I suppose leaving it more 'as is' gives it a more honest feel.



Confessions of a New York Taxi DriverConfessions of a New York Taxi Driver by Eugene Salomon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is based on a blog called Cabs are for Kissing and is a beautifully written and sympathetically edited selection of vignettes from the author's time as a taxi driver in New York City. It made me laugh and cry in almost equal measure and was a delight to read from start to finish. Perfect.



KrabatKrabat by Otfried Preu├čler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Really enjoyed this, kept me guessing to the end.






The Turn of the ScrewThe Turn of the Screw by Henry James
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Funnily enough I didn't enjoy this as much as the book it inspired: Florence and Giles by John Harding.





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