Monday, January 26, 2009

Therapy by David Lodge

David Lodge
1995, Penguin, London

Laurence Passmore is a TV sitcom writer living in London. This book is his journal as he goes through therapy, divorce, sexual encounters and an obsession with Kierkegaaard.

Passmore is a bit of an annoying character, but you can't help but love him! I really enjoyed all his philosophical theories, they were so amusing. The reader becomes a part of Passmore's life as he goes through his highs and lows. I think that this author captures people really well - all the characters are believable.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Walking Ollie by Stephen Foster

Walking Ollie
Stephen Foster
2006, 2007, Short Books, London

Writer Stephen Foster decides to adopt a dog from a shelter. He brings home Ollie, a Saluki-Greyhound mix, with a number of personality problems.

This author is very British! I enjoyed reading about the dog-ownership culture in Britain, which is a bit different to here in Australia. He nearly lost me with the "real dogs are big dogs" swipe early on, but it's a delightful story about an obviously traumatised puppy.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Child Called 'It' by Dave Pelzer

A Child Called 'It'
David Pelzer
1995, 2001, Orion, London

This is the story of David Pelzer who was a victim of brutal child abuse and neglect.

It is a shocking book to read, but it's not too intense which I think is a good thing as this is an important book that most people should read.

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Day of the Storm by Rosamunde Pilcher

The Day of the Storm
Rosamunde Pilcher
1975, 1991, Coronet, London

When Rebecca Bayliss' mother dies of leukaemia, Rebecca goes in search of her extended family whom she never knew. Whilst staying at her grandfather's large Cornwall mansion, dark family secrets are revealed.

This is a seemingly simple story with shades of complexity. The prose is very descriptive. I enjoyed the English seaside village setting, however, the main character of Rebecca is such an idiot. And then there's that whole cousin thing ...

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Blood Heat by Jim Mortimore

Blood Heat
Jim Mortimore
1993, Doctor Who Books, London

The TARDIS goes haywire, taking The Doctor, Ace and Bernice to what appears to be pre-historic Earth. But it turns out to be modern-day Earth, and the Silurians are ruling.

This was an action-packed story, and I enjoyed the premise of alternate timelines. The Silurians are great characters, it was interesting to see what a different outcome for them would look like.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Masuto Investigates by Howard Fast

Masuto Investigates
Howard Fast
1967, 1977, 2000, ibooks, New York

This book contains two stories featuring Masao Masuto - a Japanese-American Beverly Hills cop. In the first, a film producer is murdered, followed by an actor; investigations lead to an incident - a gang rape - which occured years before. The second story is of a stamp-dealer who is murdered with no apparent motive.

The character of Masao Masuto is annoying, though after reading two stories in succession, you kind of get used to him. He never says what he is thinking, which I guess is good for the plot progression, but highly unrealistic.

I found the second story to be far and above better than the first - perhaps that's because it was written ten years later and is a little more modern, although both stories are a bit dated.

Despite characters you want to throttle, unlikely plot progression and dated police procdures, these stories kept me reading as I wanted to know the ending!

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Monday, January 5, 2009

Red Dwarf by Grant Naylor

Red Dwarf
Grant Naylor
1989, Penguin, London

Lister gets drunk one evening and when he wakes up he finds himself stranded on one of Saturn's moons. In order to get back home, he enlists in the Space Corps and ends up on an ill-fated vessel called the Red Dwarf.

I never really watched much of the TV show, I only had pictures of the characters in mind and not much else. So I went into this book without much expectation and was totally surprised. This is an excellent stand-alone science fiction novel. It has a few hard sf concepts, a few lessons for humanity, and so much poignancy it makes you smile. It's always nice when a books blows you away like that.

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Friday, January 2, 2009

The Way to Dusty Death by Alistair Maclean

The Way to Dusty Death
Alistair Maclean
1973, 1975, Fontana, London

Grand Prix champion Johnny Marlow is involved in an accident in which another driver is killed. The world blames Marlow for the death, but he knows it was not his fault and goes after those who are truly responsible.

My first foray into Alistair Maclean and I rather enjoyed it. It reads like a James Bond novel, car chases and everything. However, the book is a little dated in both attitude and writing style. Maclean uses a large vocabulary and sure does have an interesting way with words.

Link to journal at bookcrossing