Radders

Random Ramblings; books, music, films, other stuff…

Books: August to October

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I have had a blogging lull in my 50 book challenge so this is a 3 month catch up!

Northern Lights – Philip Pullman

I was given an old World Book Night copy of this book by a regular at the book club I attend. Young adult fiction and as such, an easy read. I enjoyed the magic and intrigue of the story and thought the characters were well developed but it didn’t grip me in the same way that, say, the Harry Potters did. I’m in no rush to read the rest of the trilogy although I’m sure I will at some point for completeness.

3/5

Westwood – Stella Gibbons

A bookclub choice I had high expectations of this. Having always intended to read Cold Comfort Farm but never quite getting round to it I was looking forwards to seeing what Gibbons had to offer. I was left utterly disappointed. The characters were unlikeable, the plot flimsy and fickle and the setting unbelievable. Set during the war there was a lack of exploration of this and the impact of the war upon the characters life. This didn’t seem plausible and really detracted from the credibility of the story for me. I utterly despised the main character and felt the book offered very little on the whole. I gave up halfway through which rarely happens but judging by our bookclub discussion I merely saved time rather than missing anything. I’m now debating whether I actually want to read Cold Comfort Farm at all.

2/5

Pilgrim – Timothy Findley

Another bookclub choice I enjoyed this novel centred around an immortal character. The prose was rich and descriptive and the characters well fleshed out. Heavy with psychology references which I could have taken less of, although I loved the chapters exploring Carl Jung and his wife. It did feel that some of the other “famous” characters from history were somewhat shoehorned in and the plot certainly blurred the lines between history and fact (I found myself googling events to find out if they really happened or if they were fictional). A good read.

4/5

Stoner – John Williams
I gave into the Twitter hype which has surrounded this book since its release by Vintage Books recently. I was not to be disappointed. Williams’ prose is breathtakingly good and I savoured every word of the novel. Exploring the life of William Stoner from youth to old age, there’s no great plot lines here, simply an ordinary life story told in beautiful detail. I found the book pretty harrowing emotionally. A book that makes you realise that you give out 5 star ratings far too easily. Deserves more than all those. Cannot recommend enough.

6/5

The Time Keeper – Mitch Albom

I’ve liked Albom’s previous work greatly particularly “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” which I found inspirational on a non-religious level. I was looking forward to reading this, his latest offering. The story of the man who invented time being punished by God. He can redeem himself by saving the life of two characters about to give up on their time; a teenage girl and an elderly businessman. This is a good solid fable but nothing as life affirming as Five People.

3/5

Alex’s Adventures in Numberland

This was the first pick for Maths Book Club. It had been sat on my shelf for a while and although I’d dipped in and out I’d never given it my full attention so was glad when it came out on top in the poll. This is a great book, even for those with only a passing interest or vague knowledge of Mathematics. It explores many different areas of the subject and is all presented in an easy to access and understand format. I liked Alex Bellos’ prose throughout and the book didn’t feel “heavy” to read. Special nod to the rather cute illustrations scattered throughout the book too.

4/5

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy – Helen Fielding

I was a huge fan of the first two books in the Bridget series and this didn’t disappoint although I did find the character harder to relate to, presumably because of her being in her fifties in this installment. This is still a laugh out funny read and perhaps more of an emotional read than the previous books. I found the whole situation surrounding Bridget dealing with Mark Darcy’s death emotionally turbulent. I wasn’t sure about the “toy boy” storyline but I think in the end, Fielding deals with this well in a manner which is fitting of Bridget’s character. The book didn’t seem to end fully so I’m presuming that this has been left open for another book.

4/5

I also read the six Booker Prize Shortlist books for 2013 reviewed here.

Total books read 37
Books to read : 13

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This entry was posted on October 13, 2013 by in 50 Book Challenge, Books.
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