Category: Book

Book Review: Dune by Frank Herbert

Posted on by 5WC in Book
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Ever since this passion I now have for reading exploded in my life I have wanted to read Dune by Frank Herbert. Not only do people rave about it as one of the seminal and biggest selling science fiction novels ever written but also, I grew up playing the computer games that take it name on the Sega Mega Drive, as well as, watching Sting prance around in his underwear in the film adaptation and so, have always had a natural draw and loyalty to it.

However, the book had always scared me because it’s 608 pages long; and thus, always appeared to be too thick, too demanding to commit to reading. The size implying an almost aggressive and uninviting attitude to the story it holds. Somehow, I have just never looked at it and felt moved to read it. It would be something I’d start and end up demoralised by, as the pages appeared never to turn. But, literally as I finished The Night Manager by John Le Carré I noticed it was heavily reduced in price as an eBook and so, I decided, finally, to take the plunge! After all, you can’t see how many pages are left in electronic form! Read more

Book Review: The Night Manager by John Le Carré

Posted on by 5WC in Book
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Having only recently discovered the true delights of reading a book from cover to cover I have turned into something of a literacy sponge, soaking up anything and everything, picking recommendations from family members, social media and even celebrities; if someone I like, trust or follow says they enjoyed a book, chances are I’ll add it to my “wish list” and eventually read it. Whether it’s good, bad or indifferent.

And it’s because I’m a fan of Hugh Laurie that when I heard him speak in an interview with Empire Magazine about his love for John Le Carré’s The Night Manager and how it was his wish to always star in any adaptation of it, that I decided to read it. After all, I had heard of Le Carré from Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and for reasons of simple fan adoration didn’t believe Laurie could let me down! Read more

Book Review: How To Build A Girl By Caitlin Moran

Posted on by 5WC in Book
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It’s far to say that I don’t share many traits with a teenage girl. In fact, I think it’s probably more accurate to say that I don’t share any, at least that society would deem stereotypical or acceptable! I am also sure that I am not Caitlin Moran’s target audience. That when she sat down to write ‘How To Build A Girl‘ she wasn’t doing so purely to provide me, a 31 year old male, with something to read over his three daily meals.

But there is just something about the way Moran writes that sucks me in and has meant that even though it is at times overly feminist and liberational, I also, randomly, enjoy it. I first read her musings when she wrote a column in the free Waitrose Weekend magazine, and then became hooked on her Times Newspaper column, before moving on to row many a mile listening to her narrate How To Be A Woman. So it seemed only right to continue this almost hetrosexual lesbianism by reading How To Build A Girl. Read more

Book Review: Solo By William Boyd

Posted on by 5WC in Book
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I really don’t know whether to call myself a huge James Bond fan or not. You’ll be able to see from my blog that I’ve watched all 23 films and currently wait the 24th with anticipation. I also rowed many, many anorexic miles listening to the books of Ian Fleming narrated by a variety of different stars and I’ve even read Devil May Care by Sebastian Faulks. Yet I’m not instantly drawn to the character and his stories. I’m interested in them more through celebrity and routine than passion and love.

William Boyd’s attempt at a writing a new James Bond novel has been hailed by many to be a close and fitting tribute to the style and ideas designed by Fleming. And it was also the fourth book recommended to me by my Father on his list of “books I should read”. Everything adding together to bring back to life a character that I enjoy spending time with in a style the fits the mental imagery I already hold. So it’s fair to say that I was actually looking forward to reading it. Read more

Book Review: The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson

Posted on by 5WC in Book
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So I was first introduced to The Millennium Series and Lisbeth Salander by watching the 2011 Hollywood remake of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. A film that originally gripped me so strongly that I went out and brought a paperback of The Girl Who Played With Fire, longing to know how the story continued, yet it is has taken until now to finally get around to reading it.

I spoke in my review of Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park that as I associate the characters so strongly with the movies that reading the book, no matter what description was given, I saw the on screen actor and not the literacy incarnation when picturing the story in my mind. And while the same is slightly true, Salander was Rooney Mara, Blomkvist Daniel Craig, I didn’t hold the images as strongly in my mind, or over any other character. I think because I haven’t returned to the film as much as I have with Jurassic Park for instance, the images weren’t as cemented in my mind and the world allowed to be that little bit more fluid and engrossing as it developed in the book. Read more

Book Review: A Vision Of Fire by Gillian Anderson and Jeff Rovin

Posted on by 5WC in Book
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I’m not going to lie the only thing that attracted me to A Vision of Fire was the author, well co-author, Gillian Anderson. I grew up on The X-Files, she will forever be Dana Scully and it says, and proves, a lot about the power of celebrity that her name alone is enough command my attention because, even though she is a well respected actress that doesn’t mean that she will or would be any good as a writer, even with the apparent best-selling Jeff Rovin holding her hand.

And yet, I somehow expected her to be. My loyalty almost blinding me before I started that all would be fine. That somehow the talents to portray a character and tell a story on screen mean you instantly have the talents to portray a character and tell a story on paper. Read more

Book Review: The Dogs Of War by Frederick Forsyth

Posted on by 5WC in Book
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The Dogs Of War by Frederick Forsyth is another of my Father’s reading recommendation, and with catalytic converters, African mercenaries and coup d’état it’s an interesting mix of plot points brought together to form a novel. And it is also my first foray into the world of Frederick Forsyth, an author whose name is famous in my mind but whose works I have no knowledge of.

I really found the novel hard going and static to read. The pages seeming to take longer than usual to turn because there just really isn’t a natural narrative flow to it. The pace seems very linear and one dimensional. It presents the story in a way that works as time passes in the book so isn’t hard to understand, but the language is stuffy and simplistic and lacking any richness. And you therefore, just end up with a book that feels like it’s becoming more and more dense the longer it goes on. Read more

Book Review: Dead Cert by Dick Francis

Posted on by 5WC in Book
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My father reads a lot. I don’t mean he likes a book, I mean he likes multiple books, mainly at the same time. Whatever the literacy equivalent of lighting up a cigarette as soon as you’ve stubbed the last one out having forgotten the slowly burning embers of the one in the other room, that’s my father. So he’s a good source for recommendation when I want something to read. So, coming to the end of my recent “to read” list, I asked him to put together some books to keep me going. The demands weren’t too hard: interesting, modern, not overly long and not a “classic must read before you die”.

Now, I’ve never been horse racing. Unless you count the night of “virtual racing” in aid of Charity I attended a good few years ago. And, I don’t bet. Unless you count the night of backing “virtual losers” I had a good few years ago too. I’m just not a horse type person. I don’t mind them, I’m not against racing, or any other equine pursuit, but I keep my distance and let others take enjoyment from a source that doesn’t really interest me. Read more

Book Review: The Man Who Couldn’t Stop by David Adam

Posted on by 5WC in Book
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I read Graham Greene’s The Power & The Glory because Matt Haig told me to. Well, he made such mention of it in his book Reasons To Stay Alive, discussions on how it was a constant source of enjoyment and almost help in his life, that I felt impelled to read it. I didn’t enjoy it, but it’s imagery is still clear in my head whenever I think about it. So it must have made some impact I suppose.

Haig also referenced The Man Who Couldn’t Stop by Dr David Adam. Describing it as “a brilliant and at times highly personal study of OCD, full of insights into the mind.” And with my love, passion and own personal connection to the mind and it’s faltering workings I made a note of the book, determined whether or not Haig had steered me wisely with Greene, that I would read it as well. Read more

Book Review: Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick

Posted on by 5WC in Book
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In the run up to Christmas 2014 the BBC screened a 4 part series on the history of Science Fiction (Tomorrow’s Worlds: The Unearthly History of Science Fiction) detailing what has shaped and defined it as a visual medium. During one programme while talking about Robots they spoke about the film Blade Runner, and therefore, traced the iconic film’s lineage back to the Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?; a book I’d never heard of but a title which instantly grabbed me. A title which has been stuck in my head ever since.

I have to be honest though and say as it’s been a few months since Christmas, while I remembered the title, I’d forgotten it’s follow up into Blade Runner, and so, when I started to read the novel I’d completely wiped the connection and thus, where it was going or what it was really about. I came to it essentially blind, and if I’m truly honest, thinking it was going to be looking more at the psychological comparison of robot to human, and what it means to be “alive”. Hinted at by its cleverly ponderous title. Read more