Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Inimitable Jeeves - P.G. Wodehouse

Title: The Inimitable Jeeves
Author: P.G.Wodehouse
Publication information: Arrow Books (2008)

This book is a collection of stories revolving around Bertie Wooster and the mishaps that happen in his life. I have previously watched and enjoyed the television series starring Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry and felt obliged to read at least one of the books that Jeeves and Wooster is based on.

The plot was interesting throughout as the chapters were each separate stories but continued on from each other so you could easily read this in one session. It is only 253 pages long so I managed to read this in a day and was drawn in by the various events that take place.

The characters were my favourite part of this book. Wooster, the protagonist, was a bit annoying to be honest, mostly because he seemed to just go along with everything that he was told, but Jeeves was definitely intriguing and held the reader's interest. I found him mysterious and funny in parts and felt that he interacted well with all of the side characters and added a lot to the development of the characters and plots.

This book was originally published in 1923 and this is evident by the type of language that is used throughout. I found it difficult to get used to but got into it eventually and couldn't put it down! The individual stories tied together really well but I feel they could also be read separately.

Overall I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars as I found the writing style difficult in parts and it was not as funny as I thought it would be, but this was an enjoyable read and I will definitely pick up some of the others in this series at some point.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Everyman - Philip Roth

Title: Everyman
Author: Philip Roth
Publication information: Vintage (2007)

This book is about an old man's life concentrating on loss, regret and stoicism. I found this book very bleak and depressing to be honest. It is very short and I think that if you are after something that is emotional then this book would be perfect as it is very emotion driven rather than plot. This feels strangely like a biography written from a third person perspective as it shows a man's life until death. Instead of telling the reader everything, it seems to only concentrate on the negative aspects of  his life and this is why I felt I could only give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency - Douglas Adams

Title: Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
Author: Douglas Adams
Publishing information: Pan Books

This book is about Dirk Gently, a self-styled private investigator, who sets out to prove the fundamental interconnectedness of everything. I picked this book up for 20p at a local market which was amazing although the condition of my copy isn't very good but for that price, who would turn that down?!

The plot overall is quite a confusing one but captivating all the same. The story includes a mysterious mrder, pizza, professors and quantum mechanics, amongst other strange and wonderful things. Although in parts I got a bit lost, I found this very entertaining and it raises interesting and thought-provoking ideas about the universe.

I love the characters in this book. They're all very eccentric and strange but this adds to the mystery and excitement of the plot. I really like the intelligence of the characters, especially Dirk and Richard, because it creates intrigue and makes you really think about subjects that I, personally, wouldn't know about.

I have never read any of Douglas Adams' work and have only seen The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and will definitely be reading the book after reading this one. I found his writing captivating although very technical at some points. I enjoyed the short chapters even though the book itself is only 247 pages long.

Overall, I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars because although I enjoyed it, the ending wasn't as good as I thought it should be. I enjoyed the sci-fi aspect and the mystery too, and will definitely be reading more of Douglas Adams' books.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Talented Mr Ripley - Patricia Highsmith

Title: The Talented Mr Ripley
Author: Patricia Highsmith
Publication information: Vintage

This book is a classic murder mystery about Tom Ripley who just wants money, success and a good life, and he's willing to kill for it.

This book is essentially a murder mystery but it isn't as straight forward as some classic mysteries that I have read. I have recently over the past few months become very interested in mystery novels since reading Barry Durham's The Demdike Legacy. On my edition of this book, The Sunday Times have been quoted saying "as haunting and harrowing a study of a schizophrenic murderer as paper will bear". To be honest this is completely accurate as there were some parts of this book where I was genuinely disturbed. I won't say what happens in this as it is a mystery but the plot captivated me from the start, because even though it doesn't pick up until about halfway through, the beginning builds up so much tension that it just keeps you turning pages.

Tom Ripley, the protagonist, is one of the most charismatic yet disturbing characters that I have ever read about. Again, I can't really say much without spoiling it but I love all of the characters and was happy to be given enough back story for each one. It is unusual for a novel to be centered around the murderer rather than the mystery behind them which makes The Talented Mr Ripley quite unique.

I think this book is well paced and the language used is perfect for this type of story. The poetic descriptions of Italy really sets the scene and contrasts with the more dramatic scenes. Although this is an adult publication, I think that it would also be suitable for teenage readers.

I would give this book 5 out of 5 stars and would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading mysteries.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Fry Chronicles - Stephen Fry

Title: The Fry Chronicles
Author:Stephen Fry
Publication information: Penguin

This is the autobiography of Stephen Fry detailing his life from high school until he reached the age of thirty.

You can't really describe the plot of an autobiography because this is the point of reading the story of someone's life. I have to say that the "plot" of this book is captivating. I am a fan of all of Stephen Fry's work from A Bit of Fry and Laurie to QI. I have a huge respect for this great national treasure and it was interesting to find out more about his education and career. I found it all to be very insightful about an acting/writing career and enjoyed hearing of the funny stories of his past.

Many famous and wonderful people are mentioned in this book, many of whom I recognise as being brilliant; Emma Thompson, Hugh Laurie and Rowan Atkinson play a large part in this book, but also Douglas Adams (author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), Chris Barrie (who later starred in Red Dwarf) and Robert Lindsay, amongst others, are also mentioned.

The writing is what made me pick this book up in the first place. It is written in such as way that it feels as though Stephen Fry is speaking to you and, in fact, on several occasions he directly addresses the reader which makes you really connect with what you are reading. It was difficult to get into at first but I got into it after a few pages and just loved the intelligence that seeps out of this style of writing whilst still sounding real and even using some swear words. The ending shocked me and definitely suggests a follow-up which I am now really looking forward to reading.

I would give this 5 out of 5 stars and would recommend it to any lover of Stephen Fry and anyone who is interested in biographies/autobiographies because I promise you this is one of the best you'll read.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Versatile Blogger Award!

I've never been nominated for any award before on this blog but I have been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by Jillian and PidginPea's Book Nook. I got given this over a week ago so I'm sorry for taking so long!

Here are the rules for the award...
- Thank the blogger who nominated you.
- Add the Versatile Blogger award picture to your post.
- Share 7 random facts about yourself.
- Nominate 15 fellow bloggers who are relatively new to blogging.
- Let the nominees know that they’ve been nominated.
And so...

15 nominations (some of these aren't that new but I love them all!):
  1. Amber
  2. Jessica
  3. Jenny
  4. Debra
  5. Eli
  6. Jenny and Nick
  7. Taschima
  8. Abby
  9. Christina
  10. Jessica
  11. Stephanie
  12. Alison
  13. Jennifer

7 facts about me...
1. I am studying Illustration in university and hope to develop a career in publishing/comics/concept art...
2. I love penguins and still have a sequin polystyrene model of one that I made when I was 7 :)
3. My heroes are John Green and Stephen Fry...they're just the most intelligent people I've ever had the pleasure of listening to.
4. I'm obsessed with tea and drink waaay too much of it
5. I live on Youtube...I don't have my own channel yet but one day I may pluck up the courage to make my own videos
6. My favourite thing about Christmas is buying other people gifts....I always get to a point of having to stop myself because of my skinny student budget
7. My favourite place to read is on can get lost in a book much easier :)

Thanks again to Jillian for nominating me :)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Book with No Name - Anonymous

Title: The Book with No Name
Author: Anonymous

This book is an adult book about a town called Santa Mondega, vampires, monks, an Elvis impersonating hitman, and a serial killer called the Bourbon Kid.

The plot was amazing in this novel! I think that the depth of the mystery in this book and the gore, contrasted with humourous dialogue and situations. Just the synopsis on the back of the book made me buy this and I toally understand why it is a number 1 international best seller. The plot was helped by the characters and writing and everything tied together really well.

The characters in this are not as well developed as they would be in other novels but I think that it was not needed because reading it, I was still interested in all of them in different ways. The chapters switch focus to different characters throughout the novel and I think that this shift in focus helps the reader get a better image of what is going on and helps you to try to figure out the mystery on your own as well as reading it unfold.

The writing definitely makes this an adult book rather than a young adult. The language used and the amount of gory details that are provided make this a very visual read and some parts would definitely not be suitable for younger readers. The short chapters made this book very fast paced, as did the changing perspectives. The writing propelled the story along at a good pace and the cliffhanger chapter endings made me want to just keep reading.

Overall I would definitely give this book 5 out of 5 stars and would recommend it to any adult reader who is a fan of a good murder mystery. I finished this in 2 days and found myself not wanting to put this book down.

Ministry of Pandemonium - Chris Westwood

Title: Ministry of Pandemonium
Author: Chris Westwood

This book is a children's publication about a young boy who gets a "job" in a mysterious field, literally holding the balance of life and death on his shoulders.

I think that the plot was intriguing when I read the synopsis and it did not disappoint. For a children's book, I found this compelling and found it difficult to put down. I found the monsters frightening enough to make me want to read on and see what happened.

The characters were my favourite part of this book. The protagonist was interesting and had enough back story to make him a well-rounded character that is impressive for a children's book character. Mr October was a highly mysterious character who I was unsure about throughout which made the book even more exciting.

The writing style is basic because it is a children's book but it is still compelling and I really liked this book.

Overall I would give this book 5 out of 5 stars and although it is a children's book, it may be suitable for teenage readers too and I would definitely recommend it.