All entries for November 2004

November 30, 2004

Unlike anything you have read before!

5 out of 5 stars

Have you ever read a book written by an autistic boy? Me neither, so this book is probably the closest we will ever come. Someone once described this book as being new-age childrens' literature, because it contains a lot of swearing and has no happy end. I would agree with that and hope that we will see a lot more of this genre and definitly by Haddon.

We follow the life of Christopher, an autistic child and see the world through his eyes. It's a marvellous story and one which makes you want to stand up and applaud Mark Haddon for his inspiring and deeply insightful book, which has the power to teach all of us a little about how society behaves towards those who are different. Seeing the world through Christopher's eyes also gives us an insight into how strange and surreal human behaviour is to anyone who is not accustomed to it. Don't expect this book to be happy and cutesy, it isn't; it's downright tearjerking at times.

This book successfully manages to combine a look at autism with the story of a little boy and his quest to solve the murder of his neighbour's dog. In a word: Brilliant.

Tight rope walking the Second Amendment

5 out of 5 stars

Watched Bowling for Columbine? Interested in the gun control debate? This book will answer all your questions and more. Richard North Patterson presents the second amendment to the american constitution from both sides in this action packed, political thriller.

The plot is well conceived and the twists and turns aren't always predictable, giving us an ever changing perspective on gun crime and American's freedom to carry guns. Balance of Power marries political intrigue in the American Senate with personal tragedy arising from gun violence.

If you find this book in Waterstone's, don't be put off by the 800 pages! It's a quick read and guaranteed to hook you right from the start. You find yourself drawn into the process of eradicating gun violence with all the characters, whether they are goodies or baddies.

The only negative comment I would make is that the gun debate, though presented from both sides, is not argued as strongly from the gun enthusiasts point. It may just be that they generally have weak arguments, but I think that Patterson was biased, which he admits in the post scriptum.

If you are at all interested in the Second Amendment debate, or in American politics or indeed in a good thriller then buy this book.

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

4 out of 5 stars

I know the book is the german version, but that does not mean it's less funny!

Ok, so I'll admit, it's probably less funny than in the original, but that's because of translation difficulties, not because germans don't have a sense of humour.

I have to say that I found the Guide quite funny. However, that's where it stops for me. It's hilarious at the beginning and then manages to loose pace towards the end, when it just becomes strange. I found myself wondering more than once, where the hell the story was going. That's not necessarily always a bad thing, but in this case, I thought the humour didn't quite cover for the deteriorating story line.

I would rate it as funny, but certainly not funnier than Pratchett! I will, however, read the otherones in the series, hoping that Adams was just finding his feet on this one.

A good sequel

4 out of 5 stars

Well, what can I say about "Good Wives" that hasn't been said about "Little Women"? The two books are pretty much the same style and are, of course, about pretty much the same characters.

Good Wives is a good (pardon the pun) sequel to Little Women and that's about it. If you enjoyed the first one, you should read this one. If you didn't, spend the £1.50 elsewhere!

On the good side, however, the character development in Good Wives is excellent. While reading, you can literally see all of them evolving into more mature "ladies" rather than staying "girls". I won't summarise the plot (because I never do!) but I can say that the title suggests what will happen in the end.

A word of warning though! If you're a fan of "Friends", do not, I repeat, do not watch the episode where Joey and Rachel swap books. Rachel will spoil the end for you as well!

That said, the book deserves a shiny four stars, for not slacking off but not being better either! A good read.

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