Tuesday, March 12, 2013

march 2013 books

More book stuff:
Who Will Run The Frog Hospital? (Lorrie Moore): It’s a book about adolescence and middle age through the eyes of a girl/woman from upstate New York. This is the first book I’ve read by Lorrie Moore and found her writing style both engaging and amusing… but, ultimately, I was a little disappointed.   
The Lemur (Benjamin Black aka John Banville): Set in present-day New York, this short book tells of John Glass - a one-time crusading journalist, now “burnt-out” - who is asked to write a biography of his rich, ex-CIA, father-in-law. “The Lemur” is the nickname Glass gives to a rather strange-looking man he interviews as a possible research assistant. It’s an easy-read “thriller” which, for me, didn’t quite live up to its early promise.
Bulldog Drummond (Sapper/HC McNeile): This is a ridiculously-dated, crime thriller (written, as it was, in 1920) which starts off with our hero placing this newspaper advert: “Demobilised officer, finding peace incredibly tedious, would welcome diversion. Legitimate, if possible, but crime, if of comparatively humorous description, no objection. Excitement essential…” – you get the sort of thing! Ian Fleming apparently confessed that Bond was “Bulldog Drummond from the waist up”! While you’re reading, you sense the Dick Barton theme tune is constantly playing in the background… easy, non-challenging, but enjoyable, stuff.
The Things He Carried (Stephen Cottrell): Our Ithaca Lent study book. I’m afraid that, although I found some of the book extremely helpful and thought-provoking, much of it left me underwhelmed… rather like his “Do Nothing – Christmas Is Coming” book we read for Advent.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (Rachel Joyce): I absolutely loved this book. It’s about a recently-retired, married man (Harold) who sets off, with his wife hoovering upstairs, to post a letter to a former work colleague at the other end of the country who is dying of cancer… he decides, on the spur of the moment, to continue walking (without hiking boots, map, compass, waterproof or mobile phone) to visit his friend in Berwick in order to “save her life”. The journey is both physical and metaphorical. It’s about loss and regret; it’s about misunderstandings and relationships; it’s about romance and loneliness… but it’s about simple pleasures, caring, kindness, encouragement and joy. You REALLY need to read this book!  

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