Book Reviews - All

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Thu 15th Jun 2017

When Breath Becomes Air
by Paul Kalanithi

Book Review

This is a book to read in one sitting, in fact, I challenge you to look away. One man’s meditation on his life in medicine, set against his terminal diagnosis with inoperable cancer part way through the writing. Powerful, poignant stuff, not least his wife’s afterword.

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Thu 13th Apr 2017

The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes

Book Review

A slim volume that packs a punch, examining the life of Shostakovich, in the elegant form of a Julian Barnes novel. Life, art, the nature of courage are set against the background of Soviet Russia. There are moments of great wit, and electric jolts of fear as he navigates the perilous and often arbitrary nature of surviving the system.

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Fri 7th Apr 2017

The Lauras by Sara Taylor

Book Review

“I didn’t realize my mother was a person until I was thirteen years old and she pulled me out of bed, put me in the back of the car, and we left home and my dad with no explanation.”

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Tue 4th Apr 2017

My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal

Book Review

Nine year old Leon adores his new baby brother, Jake. He loves looking after him and everything should be wonderful. But Leon’s mum is not coping well and as more and more responsibility falls on Leon’s young shoulders, things get out of hand.

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Fri 14th Oct 2016

Days without End
by Sebastian Barry

Book Review

A huge in-house favourite and deserved winner of the overall Costa Book of the Year, Days Without End is a novel of love and war set in the American West. A novel that will make you wince with pain and gasp in awe in almost equal measure.

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Tue 2nd Aug 2016

The Girls by Emma Cline

Book Review

An edgy and disturbing book. Cline steps indie the skin of her teenage protagonist with an ease that makes for uncomfortable yet compulsive reading.

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Sat 14th Nov 2015

Nopi by Ottolenghi

Book Review

The new book in Ottolenghi’s oeuvre is a thing of beauty in itself, complete with glorious gold edges. Don’t be put off by its restaurant heritage, all the recipes have been rigorously tested, with head chef Scully teaching himself to become a home cook in the process.

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Fri 9th Oct 2015

The Last Tour of Archie Forbes
by Victoria Hendry

Book Review

Step out of your reading comfort zone and pick up The Last Tour of Archie Forbes. It is a gem of a novel that will have you amused, horrified and scared – for all the right reasons. It may even make you a more sympathetic human being. I carried it with me, hoping for a spare moment to read but not wanting it to end too soon. This is Victoria’s Hendry’s second novel, I may just have to buy the first.

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Sat 1st Aug 2015

A Little Life
by Hanya Yanagihara

Book Review

Set in mostly New York, this is ostensibly the story of friendship between four men from their days immediately post-college, through to their 50’s. But is so much more than that. The author, through her characters, redefines what family and friendship can be. Utterly compelling from page 1, I was absorbed to the exclusion of everything else while on holiday, and this is not a light book to carry to the beach… It packs serious emotional punch, full of pain and beauty, but astonishingly also flashes of brilliant humour.

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Wed 13th Aug 2014

To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee

Book Review

I read Go Set a Watchman on publication last year and, despite the controversy, thoroughly enjoyed hearing Scout’s voice again. On seeing that my daughter had finished reading To Kill a Mockingbird on holiday, I was delighted to scoop it up in her wake and immerse myself in the deep South once more.

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Wed 6th Aug 2014

Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel

There are some books which, when you’re finished reading them, seem to pop into your mind for weeks (or years) afterwards. Set in three periods, just before, just after and twenty years on from a deadly flue that wiped out 99% of the world’s population. It is a remarkable book about memory, love, loss, faith and hope with that rarest of things – a satisfying ending. Our bookshelves are not short of post apocalyptic fiction, but this is something so much more – think Margaret Atwood, not Suzanne Collins.

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