All the history…

Typical Peter Robinson fare… This series may well have run its course and has little that is fresh about it. I am now only buying and reading them because I have bought and read all of the previous ones.

This is a perfect example of why you should never expect a book to give the you the same response some 25 years after reading it the first time. I just didn’t find it funny and in my opinion the farce was far too contrived and lacking . Oh well, lesson learned; read other books.

In my opinion this is King’s best since the Tommyknockers. A wry look at how society may be affected by a dramatic external event

This is a fantastic tightly written, murder-mystery. It goes though a number of twists and turns before alighting on the solution. This truly is the defining book of the “closed room” mystery.

A really good story with plenty of mystery to keep the plot ticking along. Slightly superfluous sub-plot for Thora and her family life and the ending was not quite what I expected, otherwise would have given it full marks. All the same, I would read more by this author

Excellent book – sad; but excellent.

An interesting concept to cover just one day and build the whole plot around one incident. This works very well and because you are allowed into the inner thoughts of Perowne it allows for expansion on the back story.

Great, just fantastic. I totally fell for the grand piece of misdirection in this book. Magical

Grotesque

Natsuo Kirino

A fantastic set of character studies elaborating the background to a pair of murders. I loved the way this book was written “backwards”, using the voices of the key players. The stories are quite disturbing in some ways. This kind of fiction gives an insight into the mind-set of the Japanese, but I am never quite sure how much is lost in translation or I miss because I do not possess the cultural knowledge. All in all a great read.

Brilliant, head spinning stuff. There is so much here to unpack. A book that sort of has a story and sort of has a theme but actually is just an exploration of existentialism. I’m off to knit socks… bye.

I said I would never read another RG book after “found wanting”, but I was drawn back. They are a good read and this one highlighted yet another historical topic, about which I knew nothing. This makes his books very readable, despite the formulaic character flaws which annoy me every time. I was very impressed that the final event was not fully explained, as this leaves a bit for the imagination to do some work.

This is not the best of the discworld novels and I found myself struggling to bring the themes together. The satire on football did not work for me.

I rarely give a book such a low rating, but this one is one of the few which deserve it. The prose is only marginally improved from that of the screenplay even down to the character descriptions.

There was a complete lack of research as to what would actually happen if you had a heart attack in Coniston. You would be taken to the nearest general hospital where there are ample facilities (Barrow-in-Furness; Paul Callow take note) and this could either have happened by road ambulance or more ikely air-ambulance. To suggest (as is stated) that the character might have to travel to Scotland (???), just shows how much effort Mr Callow put into his book.

There was very little to redeem this text, the ending being trite and so obvious from just a little way into the book.

The best historical thriller I have read for a long time. This, at first glance seems to take an odd route to get the heart of the matter in hand (Stone’s fall) by going backwards through time, but it works! The contemporary corollary with the BAE / saudi / bribe scandal is surely prescient.

I really enjoyed this book. It brings a whole heap of seemingly unrelated strands together under the over-arching look at belief and self awareness in contemporary city life. I would suggest that if you enjoyed the film “love actually” then you would almost certainly enjoy this book.

There’s no point in writing a review of Harry Potter, you either love them or hate them or indeed may well be ambivalent (I am). The “love” brigade will spend hours decrying every last negative review – get over it, its only a book.

Short, but perfect crime mystery. This, in my opinion, is far better than many of the over-bloated police procedurals that have been written recently. A tight story with plenty of suspense and a neat end. Brilliant.

This is a superb tale, rattling along through the time of the age-of-enlightenment. This book neatly circumscribes the issues of reason and irrational thinking and how they clash.

It looks at “belief” from all angles and how that fuels the kind of obsessive human behaviour which can be very destructive. I include within this the kind of obsession shown by those devotees of “reason”. Jennet has an almost identical but polar opposite obsession to that of Dunstan. How you. perceive their relative merits depends entirely on the belief system you espouse. There are those who still think that “evil spirits” exist and equally there are those who think that science already explains or will explain everything. Both sides need to get-a-grip and realise that it is more complex than it at first seems.

Superb and thought provoking. Fantastically well researched and there is much that is similar to the works of Neal Stephenson. Bring me more!

This is great stuff – a good plot and does not rely on unremitting gore to try and catch attention. Really enjoyable

This is a varied collection of short stories. I would suggest that Robinson suits the longer novel better but the three Banks stories do work well in this context.

I was actually a bit disappointed with this offering from Jonathan Barnes. I thought his “Sonambulist”, witty and exhilarating, but this failed to light a fire, in my opinion. The plot was a near carbon copy of “The witches of Chiswick” and the style is done better by the author of that title. I wouldn’t even say that there were moments of brilliance, because there weren’t. Oh well, bring on another book. All that said, it wasn’t so bad that I wouldn’t buy another of his just wouldn’t stick him at the top of my reading list. ,

Good thriller.

I’m not normally a fan of short stories, but these are very good. Definite hints of Murakami. Haunting and affectionate.

Superb. In turns; harrowing, shocking and heart warming. There are no wasted words and the dialogue is sharp. It forces you to reappraise your relationships and interactions with those with whom you come into contact and shows you neatly that a story is never quite as simple as it may seem on first glance.

This is yet another excellent installment in the Harry Hole series. I’m glad we are all over the “Waaler”/ Prince conundrum and can get on with a high quality scandinavian crime novel. To me, this series exceeds the much lauded and applauded “Girl with a…”
Here we find Harry toiling to uncover the secrets behind a serial killer who has a rather disturbing modus operandi and a rationale which I got nowhere close to figuring out. This one keeps you guessing right until the end, and the plot twists and turns, leading you down some very blind alleys before narrowing in on the actual killer in the final few chapters. None of the characters are wasted in this book and although quite long, everything comes together nicely to leave a satisfied feeling for the reader

I normally like Stuart MacBrides work, but I felt that this book felt very rushed towards the end. There was the usual gritty and stomach churning detail (would anyone dare to live inAberdeenafter this?), and some incredibly implausible moments (blown up in a flat inPoland???). I think this idea would have worked better over 2 or 3 books with an additional sub-plot for each of them. OK, just not superb.

A truly excellent read, well worth the effort. Packed with surgical detail. Tremendous

This book promises to be excellent – I got a mere 85 pages in before I worked out that I lacked the prerequisite basic assumed history, which is vital as a backbone on which to pin this collection of essays. I’ll get back to it once I have done that.

This book is very, very good. It gets to the heart of an issue which is crippling the effectiveness of just about every church in the western hemisphere. It suggests ways of making things happen and stacks of helpful advice on what to do with Men in the church. This is truly revolutionary stuff.

This Bateman felt a bit strained compared to others of his works. His recent thrust into the limelight may be the cause, I have no real idea. The plot was OK but essentially it is the same book as “Mystery Man”, with little development. The one (brief) laugh out loud moment is the bit where Mystery Man is caught out on the toilet by Pat – now that was inspired! I think “I predict a riot” is much better.

Deeply sad, on so many levels and no less a book for that. A great trip round the psychology of greed and how it affects our personality. Perfect.

This was a good, pacy, thriller with a decent plot, although not enough was made of the illness suffered by Ingram Fryzer (the weakest part of the plot). A little too much coincidence as well, but on the whole very likeable and I will be searching for some more by this author

I laughed; a lot. I like Tom Holts work, his sense of the absurd is keenly judged and you cant help but be drawn into the hypnotic world of monsters… and lawyers… or are they the same?

Standard Stephen Booth fayre – murder and mayhem in the Peak district with bags of atmosphere and a nicely complex and developed plot.

The Gum Thief: A Novel
Douglas Coupland

This is a great social commentary by Coupland – a discourse he always manages to do so well. This time he looks at the fragility of human relationships. This is cleverly done by means of the epistolary telling of the tale and the fact that there is more than one book in this book.Loved it. Shame it was over so soon.

Catch-22
Joseph Heller

“I’m finished” doesn’t really cut it for my reading of this book. Was there nothing much else to read in the Seventies? I’m presuming this to be the case as it can be the only reason that such a dire book made it to “cult classic”. The story, such as it is, never really hits any emotional high, nor does it hit any satirical or philosophical points save on the very outskirts of standard western philosophy. I find it very hard to understand why so many people laud it highly nd am highly suspicious that the majority of those who think its so fantastic, have not actually read it and only know of it from the realm of a collective popular culture.

There is a distinct lack of a coherent narrative thread made worse by its presentation as a series of vignettes from a myriad of viewpoints. The only poignancy it manages is to look at the needless and pointless deaths occurring due to war, but the characters are so 2 dimensional that real engagement with them is not possible, so you don’t ever really care about them.

This is pretty much what you would expect from Murakami. It is a series of short stories, some of which have been incorporated into other of his longer Novels. As usual they are careful observations of human life peopled with a cast of well-drawn characters. I cannot claim to be able to fully understand the philosophy behind each of the stories and I am sure that not being able to read the text in the original Japanese is a serious shortcoming on my part as a reader of these works. I also feel that it would be useful to have a better cultural awareness of Japanese people and their way of life. That all said the works are quite beautiful in their own right…

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest
Stieg Larsson

Fairly good. A pacy finish to the trilogy with enough detail to keep interest throughout.

“Finished reading” is not really the right way to describe my relationship with this book. It would be better to say that I am now familiar with its contents and will allow it to continue to surprise me and inform me. I love the graphical display of information and this book is a real treat. I had a copy way before it was released in theUKand it is just great.

Marvellous. A truly great novel. A properly written book (unlike this review), with a story and the full range of literary devices. I loved it.

I particularly enjoyed the mix of fact with fiction and quickly gave up worrying about my lack of knowledge aboutHollywood’s early years and Chaplin, to allow the story to captivate me.

I am currently also reading Catch 22 and fail to see how that book is classed as a classic when this one is self evidently so much better.

Not the End of the World

I read this book shortly after the 2004 Tsunami and was sat on a tropical beach at the time. It just didnt feel quite as fresh this time round although it was fun to review the story. The whole “crazy fundamentalist” thing just was not as “new” in 2010 as then. A good read nonetheless.

Typically grisly fare from McBride. Just when you thought it couldn’t get more horrbile, it does. This is nowhere near as grisly as “Flesh house”. A good procedural, but you cant help wondering if the police would get away with being quite so incompetent for quite so long.

Another excellent read by Jo Nesbo. The plot was as twisty as ever and I got nowhere near the reasons until they were revealed in the last few pages.

This book is typically populated with a cast of thoroughly unlikeable characters. This is just as well, as the story in which they are all involved is a well woven tale of lust, betrayal, envy and misplaced love. Barbara Vine at her best.

Inspiring – you cant say anything else. I just hope that I never have to be tested in such a way but equally would hope that I would at least take a small amount of the positivity this guy has.

Excellent. Tight plot. Well drawn characters.

This is a good book. I enjoyed the historical detail and the tense psychological drama.

A fairly mediocre outing by Mark Billingham – Tom Thorne is a well described character but this story does him no justice. The twist in the plot is visible from several chapters out and I was not surprised. Please go and read “In the dark” which is far better. Ho hum.

This is Brookmyre taking a diversion, and I like it. He is in a much more thoughtful mode with this book but doesn’t leave out the trademark chaos. The final chapters leave the reader with a very real choice and one which has incredible resonance in our society.

I would love to interview a stack of readers and ask how they approached the choice and would also like to know what of their own personal ideology they brought to make that choice. This is not just any Brookmyre but Brookmyre with depth and philosophy.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Mark Twain

This is obviously, such a classic book that it will undoubtedly pitch readers into one of two camps, from which they will not be moved. As a story, it is quite good, but only “quite good”. As an allegory for the American “way”, it may well have a good basis but I know too little about American history to take this any further. It does explore issues of race and morality but only in a very superficial way. I wouldnt necessarily read this book again, but at least I have done so once

Portobello
Ruth Rendell

This book was OK. No more and no less. It is as well written as you would expect from this author, but failed to ignite any kind of read-on from this reader. I guess that it is all about the minutiae of suburban life, but I didnt actually like any of the characters and in y opinion none of them were actually likeable. I didnt care what happened to them and therefore wasnt that interested in their ultimate fate. It was also all a bit too neatly wrapped-up for my liking. This is nothing like th. e normal life writing which other authors do so much better.

Unrelentingly brutal from the first chapter onwards. It was a reasonable read and well paced. Character development was as good as any other thriller I have read. The serious downside was that the ending is obvious from the start and the plot is fairly thin.

It is pointless to review this book. You either love the works of Dan brown or you hate them. I think they are great within the context of what they are.

I slightly dislike the creation of cinematic tableaux / set pieces which are obviously just a series of scenes from the (inevitable) resultant film.

However there is much to chew over in the background. There is a very positive expression of humanity in general and a broadly theistic theme. One presumes the research has been done and I c. cant be bothered to check facts for a book like this.

Good hokum and an easy read

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This is a book which I have meant to read for a long time. I may indeed have read it before but I do not remember it. My overall impression is not dissimilar to that which I get from watching a Woody Allen movie; everyone “tells” you that it is superb but in actuality you’re just left a bit flummoxed and rather unsatisfied. The stream-of-consciousness style is certainly unique and the whole premise presents a rather strange out-of-context experience for the reader. It is never explaed at what stage, or from what location, the narrator is elaborating this tale. I could go on, but I don’t think this book is worth the effort.

Without doubt, this is an extremely intelligent text, presenting a comprehensive and coherent argument for the underlying layers of the Narniad.

Initially I was quite disappointed by the style of the book, but once I had got the idea that it was written in a more academic style, I found it much more enjoyable. I have taken my time, and now find I need to bolster my understanding by reading some other works from the Lewisian corpus.

If I had one criticism, it would be that I felt it should. have an explanatory chapter on basic astrological principles and it is for this reason that I gave it 4 1/2 stars and not 5. I am well aware that there are many other texts covering this subject and I do perhaps need to engage with some of those.

A good dictionary is a distinct advantage, as some rather obscure words do litter the text (ichneutic?). Having a theologian in the house is also very helpful! I also feel that it does not detract from the romance of the Narniad and Ward does answer such criticisms in an eloquent way in the closing chapters of the book.

I would like to submit this question to the world of literary criticism: Donegality; Discuss

I hardly thought it possible that the first sequel could be better than the original, but it is. A tense thriller with a lot of explanation of the background to Lisbeth Salander. I can hardly think what will be the basis for book 3.

The Harry Hole series just keeps on delivering excellent crime fiction right on the money.

I have finally finished this book. I brought a whole bunch of preconceptions and previous experience of Neal Stephensons work, when I started reading it. This was a very big mistake. The book deserves better treatment than I gave it and I mean to read it again very soon.

The deeper philosophy strewn throughout the book pervades every part of the plot. It draws very heavily on large portions of major Western philosophical thought from the last 3 Millennia and it can therefore be no accident. that the recent chronology of Abre follows this.

If you throw away the philosophy and religion and philosophy of religion and Nation states, you are still left with an excellent piece of Science Fiction.

I enjoyed the language development which continues throughout the book, leaving you more and more exposed to Orth and requiring that you catch up fast to avoid missing the meaning within the text.

All that and Multiverse considerations as well!

The broad scope of this work will not suit everyone. It does offer a number of levels of access to the story and I just guess that I may have switched Worldtrack half way through my reading.

This is a great book and I don’t know how I managed to miss out on it for so long. The intricacies of the McHoan / Urvill family machinations make for a brilliant side view of how families can be so dysfunctional yet still hold on to what it means to be a family. It missed out on 5 stars, as it took me a short while to catch up with the split timelines in the first part of the book (doing this without some idea of date and time and merely by plot is all very clever but makes for hard reading.
If you like your novels to be clear cut with all loose ends tied up and shown to you in an agatha-christie style ending then you will be disappointed.

If, however, you like holding onto multiple threads from several points in history, then this will grab your attention for at least a few nights.

Sputnik Sweetheart

As is fairly usual for my experience reading Murakami, I am left slightly bemused. The prose is beautiful and the exploration of the themes of love and loss is quite unique. I do feel however that I did not fully understand the text.

My feeling is that Sumire exists fully within the imagination of the narrator and that her story reflects her own (fictional) inability to complete a novel. Miu is, therefore, by defnition, also fictional.

If this is the case then Murakami is also alluding to the creation of fiction within fiction and it would therefore be cleverer than clever.

Goodness only knows, cos I dont.

The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is a simple tale following the lead character TS on his journey out of Montanato Washington. This is mirrored in the text with a group of “sub-journeys” which are more subtly introduced. His whole relationship with the rest of his family is reconsidered and the ending reflects this almost beautifully. His relationship with adults and journey into the adult world allows us to view this process from his unique perspective. The illustrations are superb and although presented as a type of “footnote”, they are relevant to the text and are not to be missed. I had the hardcover version and I would urge everyone to make sure they get this copy. I cannot believe the softcover can do it justice.

I liked this book a great deal. Terry Pratchett does not waste words. This is a succinct discussion of faith, leadership and ultimately what it means to be a thinking, feeling human being.

I finally finished the Narnia series. I cant actually recall ever having read the whole series before. The copy I read had a price of 60p on the reverse, and had been mine, but I dont think I had actually read it, until now. A very enjoyable conclusion to the series and I think I now understand the whole point. It really is very important to read the whole series as the whole thing makes a lot more sense. I am now looking forward to reading “Planet Narnia”.

I think that any book which can describe public key encryption as succinctly as this one does, deserves a good heap of praise. I did enjoy the puzzles and the mathematics.
As I am violently anti-homeopathic (if you dilute something it does NOT get stronger (how thick do you have to be to believe that?)), I found the new-age undertones a little annoying. The anti-capitalist stuff is a bit subversive but quite fun (I can’t stand large congolomerate corporates).
I would be surprised if anyone reads this book and then doesn’t immediately find out how to play Go. I did (I’m rubbish – want a game?).

I really liked this follow-up to “Redbreast”. A great story with plenty of contortions to keep the mind awake. I still dont think we have seen the last of Waaler though.

This book is well written and a great police procedural. I was not entirely satisfied with the way the “loose ends” were (or were not) tied off. I was, therefore, a tad frustrated.

I like this book. I think this and “Orpheus Rising” mark a great departure for this author, away from pure satire / black humour to a more mature, fuller story leaving a feeling of satisfaction on the part of the reader. I can only hope that Bateman can come up with more in this vein.

This is a superb book. Very deep but superb. It is a complete tour of the philosophy of what it means to be human and the concepts of consciousness. I kept getting the feeling of being in the presence of a great intellect. It would help to have some knowledge of basic philosophy and having someone to bounce the concepts off can be very rewarding.

Very good, but the stories were not as interlinked as I expected.

Good childrens fantasy. Impossible to fault.

This is an excellent run-through of 20th century conspiracy theories, their origins and impact upon our society and also makes a good fist of presenting evidence to convince you that they are bunkum. I felt that the really interesting chapter was actually the last one, looking at the whys of belief rather than the beliefs themselves. This is certainly an area I would like to explore further. The bibliography is quite comprehensive. If I had one complaint it would be the rather obvious “nobody likes us everybody hates us” self pitying that is slightly indulged by the author. You can read past this to a very interesting text.

I would really like to know just how a book like this gets published. I gave in to the turgidity of it at about half way and skip read the remaining half. Dire doesn’t even begin to describe how awful it is.” Tripe”. I have a sneaking suspicion that it has gained prominence merely because the author is Irish and the fact that it is not mainstream fiction, thus turning it into a “cult” book. I would consign it to the cult of “rubbish”. It is not funny and is without any literary merit whatsoever – do not waste time on it.

A good fantasy read

I wouldn’t usually give such a high score to a book but this one is so good, that I actually HAD to finish it today. That almost never happens. It is a tense thriller and just when you think it cant get any darker, it does.

Magical.

You cant crtitically appraise something that has this timeless quality so I am not going to.

This does not need a review. Enough said

This book is captivating, the central theme of cricket is merely there to add a structure to the novel. I thought it worth the read and would rate it on a par with Work by Foer and Hoeg.

This is a great book – I think I almost grasped the fundamental difference between Gaussian and Mandelbrotian randomness. Certainly quite prescient given the current financial crisis. Does, however, require a good deal of thinking to read properly.

An interesting exploration of mental illness and perspectives on reality, but all in all very similar to his last outing. I am not sure this would have made it to the bookshelves if he had not already had a bestselling 1st novel.

An excellent book but not as easy to get into as the title may suggest. There are a whole host of concepts to get your head around in the first 2/3 and some of these are very challenging. They are necessary to set the scene for the final 1/3, which gets to the heart of the discussion. There is a lot of interesting philosophy in this section. Somehow I did feel that the final sentence should be “42, now stop worrying and get on with your life”.

This book, is as ever by Simon Beckett, an excellent read – but VERY gruesome – I thought the latest Stuart MacBride was quite gory, but this manages to top it! Only a minor criticism, in that I got the killer very early on in the book, so was not suprised. In some ways this slowed my thinking and I was still surprised when the end of the book came, so all in all cant be too bad.

An excellent book taken as a whole. Well researched and extremely evocative of the period. If I have one criticism it would be that the end is a touch weak, but I realise that this must be due to the nature of a “real” subject.

I’m sure its bindun but… You have one choice… To read this book. An excellent read – full of great intelligence and I loved the idea of the troposphere. The last 50 pages or so were even more fun than what had preceded them. Wont say any more because you simply have to go out and get a copy to read.

Its a Robert Goddard – enough said I should think. Absolutely what you would expect and none the worse for that.

This is a vy very good crime novel with a superb plot and leaves you guessing well into the final section of the book. The characters are well drawn and there is enough depth to the book to give you a good few nights reading!

Firstly: This book is nowhere near as good as the superlative “Attention all shipping”.To emphasise the positive; I felt there was brilliant precis of the aspects of history explored within the book. As a piece of travel writing, however, it left me cold with little of the warmth and sense of adventure found in the aforementioned book. There are a couple of excellent moments – The bit at “Partick” and the “Lincolnshireembankment incident” are the best of these.

Complete toot, but I wont mention that. I found this to be Robert Rankin at his best – his Rebus stories are just fab arent they? Anyone who can bring together the Rolling stones and George Formby in a strange amalgam demands your attention. I do wonder what films Mr Rankin has been watching though – I do have my suspicions…

What is there not to like about this book. It is a beautiful childrens story with superb illustrations. Its worth 2 hours of anybodys time.

Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West
Cormac McCarthy

There are a lot of reviews below with which I agree totally. This book is like reading in panoramic HD vision. The prose is beyond compare. However and it is a very big however; this book is a hard read, unmitigatingly brutal, and without a strong narrative thread. It feels more like a series of tableaux loosley joined by a thread which is undoubtedly hard to follow. It would be best if you gave it your full attention whilst reading as it does not do well being read in short bursts. I cant really recommend it but I can see its position as a work of literature. Beautifully written but not really my type of book.

There are a lot of reviews below with which I agree totally. This book is like reading in panoramic HD vision. The prose is beyond compare. However and it is a very big however; this book is a hard read, unmitigatingly brutal, and without a strong narrative thread. It feels more like a series of tableaux loosley joined by a thread which is undoubtedly hard to follow. It would be best if you gave it your full attention whilst reading as it does not do well being read in short bursts.

This book was a better read than Norwegian Wood. The parallel story idea works really well. The ending, such as it is, was really the only ending that could have been written. A wonderful exploration of consciousness and ideas about the philosophy of the mind.

This is excellent – part murder mystery and part history of early detection practices in Victorianenglandand part social history. I spent far too long reading it, probably as it contained lots of long words assembled into sentences more than 5 words long. I can think of nothing to criticise it for. Highly recommended to anyone who reads any detective fiction.

I read part of this book before – see below. I re-read it to give it a proper appraisal. I feel that it is very derivative and does not add anything to the general benefit of literature. That said it does have some moderately amusing aspects and I was actually intrigued and engaged enough to investigate more about Millport. I’d love to say lots of good things and retract my previous statement but I cant. I’m not sure that would read anything else by the same author.

This book is terrible. I managed 24 pages before giving up. I spotted rudimentary typos on the second / third page. The standard of the writing is worse than mine and above all the character names are really annoying. I suspect this book is self-published as I cant see any decent publisher giving it the time of day.

I read part of this book before – see below. I re-read it to give it a proper appraisal. I feel that it is very derivative and does not add anything to the general benefit of literature. That said it does have some moderately amusing aspects and I was actually intrigued and engaged enough to investigate more about Millport. I’d love to say lots of good things and retract my previous statement but I cant. I’m not sure that would read anything else by the same author.

Yup – a must for everyone. Particularly good for anyone who has a tendency to believe in things which are not rooted in good evidence. By the time you have finished you will know more about scientific papers and journalism and pharmaceutical companies than maybe would be good for you. I love the social and psychological elements that are brought into the argument. It does, however, have one huge, insurmountable flaw. This is well described in the text as being applicable to poor thinking, but can be mirrored right back onto the book itself – a bit of a philosophical own goal. I’ll leave you to work it out but will explain if you so wish.

Ha ha ha, ha ha ha, cackle, guilty giggle etc – a brilliant farce which just gets madder and madder, cant fault it for what it is. Easy to read and tremendous fun.

I thought this book a superbly well written piece. I love the exploration of the themes of love and self indulgence and how different parties can pereive the events that are taking place. I am still, however, flummoxed by the last paragraph – explain?

This book is the perfect sort of tripe – enjoyable, easy to read, without real substance and has all the depth of a puddle. I did wonder whether Sam Bourne was a pseudonym of Robert Goddard (the master of the incredulous twist). That all said it does have an interesting factual basis of which I was partly unaware o completely redeemed by this feature.

Gruesome – very gruesome – anyone else spot a vegetarian agenda? Excellent though. OKay Mr McBride what are you going to do after that one?

This book is totally unlike any other Bateman I have read. It is an excellent love story with a unique underpinning idea. I am still rather bothered by the ending of chapter 24 and why Bateman chose to discontinue that story at that particular point – I have my own theories but I may have been thinking it was more elaborate than it actually was.

Standard Bryson fare – a whimsical trip thorugh American life in the fifties. Enjoyable for his turn of phrase and witty recollections. Fun and quick to read.

This book just got better and better as I read it. The style takes a little getting used to , written as it is in the style of a diary. It is more approachable than Generation X and at least has a story rather than being a set of disjointed musings. Jpod is not a “sequel” for this and is completely different. This book has some startling foresight, being written in 1993, well before the dot com crash of the early 2000s. The book finishes with a startling display of pathos and brings a very warm human touch to the whole story – quite touching.

THis book is an excellent primer on philosphical ideas and leaves you wanting to discover more.

This book is exactly as it says on the tine: a well written police procedural. It is however, no more than this. An easy unchallenging read.

This book is a real treat. It winds quite slowly from an historical travelogue to tight thriller. The writing is very evocative and it is certainly one of the most imanginative books I have read recently. A great re-working of the classic ghost story.

This is, I think, as close as it comes to “easy” in understanding the current status of the understanding of the Universe as we see it. Frank Close has done an excellent job in making the science understandable by those with some knowledge of the subject. He has also explained extremely well, why exactly the LHC experiement at CERN is so very important. Beware though, the book will tip your thinking upside down and leave you wondering what the true nature of reality is. Doesn’t answer the really big question of “what came before” but that I suspect is well beyond the limited capabilities of our 4 dimensional thinking.

This is typical Mark Billingham fare – I enjoyed it. It is a good story and a neat way of tipping the police procedural on-its-head.

In both this and his previous outing, Robinson has produced an excellent read, revitalising the character of “Banks”. I certainly felt that the formula had been rewritten.

This book turns you upside down and inside out. It is in turn, funny, sad, terrifying, erotic, meaningful, unfathomable, beautifully written and much much more. I never saw the end of the book coming and I am certainly still pondering the whats, whys and wherefores. I am slightly perturbed that I might not have been able to fully grasp the book as a translation may not cope with the nuances of the original language, and I have little to no cultural knowledge to act as a basis for my understanding. I think also that i possibly missed a great deal in that respect. A truly brilliant work nonetheless.

An interesting book; in parts funny and in parts touching but quite positive in the end despite the “suicide” topic. Not quite sure it should have ended in that way though.

My initial impression was that this book was far from being the best Brookmyre has written, and the scene to reintroduce Angelique de Xavia had me thinking that he was about to really scrape the barrel of comment on religion. However, the book improves dramatically and becomes a superfast romp thorugh vacuous “celebrity” culture whilst touching on some of the previous material from his back catalogue. I particularly liked the vignette of the “Lombardyincident” and sorely wish that it had happened for real. The best bit for me is the superb piece of misdirection in respect of the final stages of the plot – I only spotted it after a VERY LARGE clue but should have thought of it earlier. At least I got it before the “words-of-one-syllable” explanantion for ITV viewers. The implicit reference to All fun and games…. at the end of the book is superlative. In the end the book is much better than it initially promises and hey, Bud Neill and Rank Bajin are for real!

This book was far better than I thought it was going to be. I think there was a good degree of depth to the characters and touches of humour which lightened what could have been a depressing book.

An interesting book, quite an incisive view of a subset of population. I did not feel I could identify at all with the group but the whole prospect made for an entertaining read.

Excellent – enough said.

This book is good, but odd. I kept wondering when we would be treated to the insight which it has to offer. It is an amiable bumbling read and beautifully translated. I cant help thinking I missed something though..

This book is a very easy read. It does nicely deal with the conundrum of fundamentalism both theistic and atheistic and in this respect it earns my praise. For too long we have had to put up with fundamentalist claptrap and I believe that it undermines whichever viewpoint it claims most highly.

This was the first Quintin Jardine book I had read. I felt the story moved on at a reasonable pace and it had a good plot. On the whole it was a good police procedural but my engagement with the plot was hampered by the “setting”. I understand that books like this need a certain degree of contrivance but this one was a little too far fetched

A very good book if it was written by an A level student; however, it was not. It is unbelievably shallow despite having all the elements to create a much more subtle and challenging work. I wont tell you what I thought the ending should be, as I might just use it for a book myself…

Dogs: A New Understanding of Canine Origin, Beh…
Raymond Coppinger

his book is fascinating. I loved the biologists insight on the origins of behaviour and the clear explanation of the developments that have led to the domestic dog we have today. If I have one critiscism, it is small, and it is that the very last chapter, billed as a “conclusion”, should have had its place earlier in the book and the preceding 3 chapters in the last part should have been rehashed to create a more fitting conclusion. The drawing together of the ideas and principles was all within those 3 chapters. From this I am guessing that the editor was not a scientist, but I could be wrong. Overall an exceptional book. Getting all the “wolf nonsense” out of the head of the public could be difficult. I suggest that all “dog breeders” read this book, if only because they perpetuate a pile of nonsense surrounding our most loved pet.

This book is highly entertaining, combining science fiction, history and detective novel in one volume. It does work and is amusing but it is not “hilarious”.

An OK story – far too contrived in the later stages. I was quite disapppointe with the way it ended – the easy solution. I’m sure it could have been better.

Great Book. Not one to read if you want a neat and tidy ending. Explores some very interesting issues surrounding relationships.

Superb – an interestingly interwoven tale of love in all its forms..

I loved it, and the CD!

Its great, Hugo Rune is a star..

A great follow up to Hollow Chocolate bunnies, loved it.

Very very good, but not as good as The Hollow Chocolate bunnies…

Simply; one of the best absurdist fiction books I have ever read. Witty, scream out loud, original.

Storming. Quite tricky as it is the middle of a trio – I thought that the portable door was more original though.

A strnage trip but an awful lot of fun

Hilarious – you will never feel the same about goblins again

Wahay! This book is simply superb – a rip roaring tale with excellent characters and a great plot. One I wished would not end.

This is an excellent read – very illuminating and crosses briefly into those areas of neuropsychology / neurobiology which are oh so very interesting. A neat starter for 10 and beautifully kicks the bottom of all that paranormal nonsense ( particularly mediums etc). I saw Derren perform live last year and this book explains a lot…

I am reading this because I believe that we should constantly challenge those things that we hold dear but sometimes rather stupidly hang on to with little proper rationale for doing so. This book is.. extremely interesting – I would love some of the die hard idiot Christians to read it and challenge their fundamentalist views. The word “mental” is at the heart of fundamentalism.

Standard Goddard fare and all the better for it – twisty and inventive

Immensely moving and deeply comedic in equal measure – tricky to get started with though – It took me 3 goes before I read it straight through.

This book is simply superb – a touching tale set in a very modern world with very real written illustration ofNew Yorkin a post 9-11 context

I will update later as am just into the first chapter… I didnt get a lot further – I need to explore this as a series of essays rather than a full argument in one book. I’ll be back to it later.

Wildly inventive and a thumping good read – The Metaverse imagined well before the current version of t’internet..

A superbly intricate book peopled by a vast cast of well drawn characters – (Enoch Root – discuss as a literary device….)

This book is amazing – I lent it to a friend who also became absolutely hooked. The only way to describe it is to read it. I would like to read one of the other versions though – I believe that some international editions have different endings. If anyone wants to buy a first edition (with the post-it note still inside), then offers are accepted..

Its a book. A book about wizards ‘n stuff. It was slightly better than I thought it might be and I am worried that the upcoming film adaptation may be somewhat of a disappointment.

The final part of the Baroque cycle – a very big read indeed and I think superior to the middle book (Confusion), it is all starting to make sense (pg 300 of 900 of this book and therefore page 2100 of 2700 of the trilogy!).. I intended to read the trio in a year but this has slipped by a few months as I only read this book in lunchtime at work.

Am just dipping my toes into this one – combines the Christian view with a deeply thoughtful look at animal “rights”

This is shaping up to be excellent – I am about halfway through and already I predict all the elements I really like – complex plot, humour , satire etc

An excellent sature on modernNorthern Ireland

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