Tag Archives: book review

Book Review: Barrel Fever (David Sedaris)

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A book of two halves.

Or, perhaps more accurately, 3/4 and 1/4.

I’ve heard David Sedaris reading his essays and have always found his stories honest, entertaining and sometimes quite raw, so I was looking forward to this book.

The first part of the book is a collection of short stories. I will admit I didn’t read all these. In fact I ploughed my way through one and a half before heading to the essays and the end of the book.

The short stories I read seemed ridiculous and pointless. Not funny; not entertaining; not believable. Yes, I know it’s fiction, so obviously not true, but fiction – no matter how outrageous – needs to be believable.

The essays, on the other hand, were everything I’d hoped for. I thoroughly enjoyed his amusing take on these personal stories.

I’ll definitely read more of his work but will be a bit more discerning about which book I buy next.

3 stars out of 5.

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Book Reviews: Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

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I was so excited about this book, and the potential for the rest of the series.

It sounded like just my thing – my ideal mix of mystery and fantasy and little bit of ridiculousness thrown in.

Sadly, it didn’t hold my attention the way I thought it would. I read it and was a little disappointed.

I haven’t gone on to read the rest of the series yet. I’ll consider it down the track.

Book Review: The Torso in the Town by Simon Brett

I wondered if I shouldn’t have posted something a bit more positive for my first review. But, hey, I was just being honest.

Still, I wouldn’t want you think I’m totally negative, so here’s one that I actually did enjoy.

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My first Simon Brett novel. I’ll be back for more.

A nice, light English murder mystery that doesn’t pretend to be anything else. The solution was unexpected without being unbelievable.

My biggest complaint was the loose ends that were irrelevant or unimportant were tied up, but they didn’t need to be. It could have been finished a few pages sooner without losing anything. And the American spelling. Surely an English novel should have English spelling, even for an American audience. Sigh!

Book Review: Summer Garden Murder by Ann Ripley

Life has been getting in the way of my reading so I haven’t been doing as much as I‘d like. And I’m a slow reader – always have been. But since I’m making an effort to find time I thought I’d start reviewing some of the ones I’m reading.

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What can I say about this one? Dreadful.

Although this is the 9th in the series, it was the first Ann Ripley book I’ve read. And the last.

The writing itself is riddled with mistakes of grammar and syntax, but the most galling thing for me was the discrepancies in the timeline. From the very beginning, sections were given dates. The first was a party on 4th August. The next date was 18th August. But in between was reference to that same party “3 weeks ago”. You don’t have to be a prize winning mathematician to work out that’s wrong.

So I was off-side almost from the beginning.

Then there was the murder itself. The whole plot relied on you having read a previous book. I hadn’t. Although I’d have liked to start at the beginning of the series, our small library won’t necessarily have them all so sometimes we have to settle for what we can get. Recurring characters are one thing, but relying on information not available to a first time reader is unacceptable. Each book should stand alone.

Despite this, I easily worked out who the murderer was. I couldn’t figure out the motive … because I didn’t know the history.

I soon got bored with the bumbling attempts of the amateurs to solve the mystery and flicked to the end to check if I was right and find the “why”.

My assessment: Tedious and poorly written. Don’t bother.

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