Tuesday, 27 September 2011

SnowdropsSnowdrops by A.D. Miller
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This the last book from the booker short list and it left me cold. I could see that it had merit. But, it did little to move me. It covers a westerners view of modern day Russia. I could see that the main character was having a rough time but did not care for him. The other characters seem to be stereotypes; the corrupt, party oligarch come tycoon and the gold digging Russian women. I know these people exist but there must be more to them than this. Russia itself comes across as a stereotype, full of corruption and stupid western business.

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Monday, 26 September 2011

Dead Sea Scrolls Go Online

I know that I have already posted today. But, I thought you might be interested in this. Call it a bonus.

Dead Sea Scrolls Go Online:

JERUSALEM — Two thousand years after they were written and decades after they were found in desert caves, some of the world-famous Dead Sea Scrolls are available online.

Israel's national museum and the international web giant Google are behind the project, which put five scrolls online Monday. The scrolls include the biblical Book of Isaiah.


More on Israel

Jamrach's MenagerieJamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, I’m nearly done with the booker shortlist, only one more book after this one. I must say that this has been my favourite book on this list. The story had me gripped from page one and kept me within its clutches right until the end. Its structure, beginning in the characters childhood, makes you really get to know the characters and therefore makes you care about what happens to them in later life. It makes you even more heart broken when things do not go their way. I don’t think that this will win but I am hoping that it does. It deserves it.

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Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Half Blood BluesHalf Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The story is played on a large geographical and political stage. It has Europe as it canvas. It covers the experiences of ‘Black’ and ‘Mixed Race’ individuals, living in Europe, during the reign of the Fascist Government. But, it also looks at the lives of individuals. This book is voiced from the perspective of an elderly African American who is looking back on a time when he was living in a racist, Nazi, Germany. He speaks of the lives of his band mates as they; formed friendship, played music, found that they were not as talented as they thought they were, betrayed each other and tried to keep one step ahead of the Nazi police.I loved the lightly poetical language, and the beautiful descriptive passages that make you feel that you are in the scene with the characters. You were with them as they hid in different, uncomfortable rooms in which Louis XIV chairs looked like “geese hiding from the hatchet”. (p.6) in a flat that was so empty that it was “... only depths, like you stranded at sea. Whole place nothing but darkness...” (ibid). You felt their fear as they fled from one country to another. This is an important book that should be read by many people

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Friday, 16 September 2011

Pigeon EnglishPigeon English by Stephen Kelman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I just finished Pigeon English. This was the third booker prize short-listed (2011) book that I have read. I must say that it didn't seem to have any impact on me at all. I scan read the final chapters. Perhaps, It was due to my allergy to books which have young working class boys as their main narrator/character. I had to read Kes and Billy Liar for my school exams and hated them. This has led me to have an allergy to these kind of books. Will this win the booker? My money, if I were a betting type, would still be on Julian Barnes. But, this stands a chance. It's what they like. It might remind them, as it does the blurb writer, of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. It may also remind them of Kes, Billy Liar and other books in the long tradition books about working class boys, including Oliver Twist etc., Have you read this book? what did you think?

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Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The Sisters BrothersThe Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Well, this is the second book from the Booker Prize Short list. Let me first admit that I am not a big fan of either westerns or comedy. I would not have read this book except for the fact that it is on the Booker Short List. So, if you like comedy or Westerns, ignore this review and try this book. The idea that lies behind the work is novel and interesting. But, for me the book itself doesn’t fulfil the potential of the ideas on which it is built. I just didn’t feel that I knew the characters. I couldn’t empathise with them. And, therefore didn’t really care what happens to them. I am not sure if this will win. The Julian Barnes stands a better chance. Since, he is a tried and tested author. But, a comedy won last year and this is a historical novel of sorts. They’re usually a safe bet. Next book Pigeon English

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Monday, 12 September 2011

Booker Short-list Review number 1 -The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes-

This year I have decided to read, and blog about, the Man Booker prize short listed books. I will do this in the order that they arrive from the library or Amazon. This is the first book that I have read. The first thing to say about this book is that it is short, weighing in at 149 pages. It really is nothing to write home about. It is standard literary fiction stuff. Pseudo intellectual, pretentious unknowing young lad grows into cynical, unknowing, apathetic retiree who learns that he never actually understood what was happening to him. What do you think of this work? Have you read any of the Booker shortlist? What did you think?

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Who Fears DeathWho Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. I have wanted to read it for a long time and was glad that I did. I found it be well written with captivating characters, a strong plot and ideas that really made you think. The book crossed genre borders, being at once magic realism, science fiction, 'weird fiction'? and literary fiction.

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Man Booker Prize 2011 shortlist announced: Man Booker Prize news http://ping.fm/10tzm