Monthly Archives: April 2011

Florence & Giles by John Harding

DATE FINISHED: April 30th, 2011

RATED: *** (3.5)

SYNOPSIS:  In a gothic mansion, Florence and her younger brother Giles are in the ‘care’ of their absentee uncle. The uncle has forbidden his niece from learning to read (and education of any kind), but she has secretly defied him and spends every available moment devouring the contents of the library. When Giles is returned home from boarding school, a governess enters Blithe House – soon to be followed by a second governess, after the first suffers a tragic accident. Florence is convinced that Blithe is now haunted, and that Miss Taylor harbours the spirit of her predecessor.  Florence is also determined to foil Miss Taylor’s plans to steal her brother away…

THOUGHTS:   Read more of this post

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Doctor Salt by Gerard Donovan

DATE FINISHED: April 28th, 2011

RATED: *** (3.5)

SYNOPSIS:  This two-part novel begins with Sunless, travelling to and from the Pharmalak hospital, participating in trials for new pills, for every kind of anxiety disorder. In the second half of the book we meet Salt, whose life-course is altered irrevocably by the aftermath of a family tragedy in his early childhood, shedding new light on the world of Sunless.

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Our Precious Lulu by Anne Fine

DATE FINISHED: April 26th, 2011

RATED: ****

SYNOPSIS: Lulu – ex-stepdaughter/stepsister – is the archetypal cuckoo in the nest. Since their shared childhood, Geraldine has always felt eclipsed by Lulu’s dramatic moods, demands and sneaky tricks, and her mother’s determination to sweep the drama under the carpet at Geraldine’s expense. Luckily, the unflappable and relentlessly supportive Robert is on Geraldine’s side, but as parenthood looms for one of the ‘sisters’, Geraldine’s frustration builds to breaking point. Something has to give – but who or what will it be?

THOUGHTS: Read more of this post

Illusions by Richard Bach

DATE FINISHED: April 23rd, 2011

RATED: ***

SYNOPSIS: Donald Shimoda, has quit his role as Messiah, bored with the crowds who craved miracles but would not listen. Making ends meet by selling short flights in his bi-plane, Richard meets Donald in a field in Illinois, and through their conversations, Richard learns what it is to be the Messiah.

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The Hearts and Lives of Men by Fay Weldon

DATE FINISHED: April 23rd, 2011

RATED: ****

SYNOPSIS:Helen and Clifford fall in love at first sight, and the conception of Nell is the result. Love is simply not enough, however, and while Helen and Clifford are caught up in a bitter cycle of divorce and re-marriage, hurt and neediness, Nell disappears, falling into a series of bizarre guardianships until fate guides her back into the art world inhabited by her parents.

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Sulphuric Acid by Amelie Nothomb

DATE FINISHED: April 18th, 2011

RATED: *** (3.5)

SYNOPSIS: A large number of people are randomly incarcerated and their lives in a specially created death camp are televised for the viewing public in the latest reality TV project: working all day long, surviving on gruel and stale bread, prisoners are daily condemned to death. Inmate Pannonique captures the imagination of the public and camp alike but does she have the power to put an end to the insane project?

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Neverendings e-zine #1: Antipodean fiction

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Click here for FREE neverendings e-zine of reviews ( titles as listed below) & further reading suggestions

 

  • Oscar and Lucinda – Peter Carey
  • The Potato Factory – Bryce Courtenay
  • Strandloper – Alan Garner
  • Miles McGinty – Tom Gilling
  • The Bone People – Keri Hulme
  • Snake – Kate Jennings
  • Sixty Lights – Gail Jones
  • Remembering Babylon – David Malouf
  • Pobby and Dingan – Ben Rice
  • Everyman’s Rules for Scientific Living – Carrie Tiffany

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Lists are not intended to be all-encompassing, but representative of books I have personally read and enjoyed.  Feel free to post further reading suggestions in the comments, as I will update the list with my future reading.  I will also link reviews as I re-read & they are added to the site.

The Ape House by Sara Gruen

DATE FINISHED: April 8th, 2011

RATED: **

SYNOPSIS: Isabel has been working with a group of Bonobo chimpanzees on a pioneering language acquisition project (the chimps have learned to communicate using sign language).  Shortly after the lab is blown up (apparently by animal rights activists), the chimps first disappear then become stars of their own reality TV show.  Journalist John who met the chimps the day before the explosion is as determined as Isabel to find out the truth of what happened but regardless of the truth, Isabel is equally determined to rescue the stolen chimps.

THOUGHTS: Read more of this post

The Second Coming by John Niven

DATE FINISHED: April 7th, 2011

RATED: **

SYNOPSIS: God has been on a fishing trip, and when he gets back he’s more than a little pissed off to see the horrors that have been inflicted on the world & humanity in his absence.  Jesus is therefore sent back to earth to rectify some of the damage, and decides that the best way to reach the most people is to compete in America’s most popular TV talent show.

THOUGHTS:  Firstly, I should say that I know I am not this book’s intended target market so I do feel I am being slightly unfair in commenting at all.  However, Read more of this post

Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold

DATE FINISHED: April 5th, 2011

RATED: ****

SYNOPSIS: President Harding dies just hours after participating in Carter the Great’s magic show.  Secret services want to know what (if anything) Carter had to do with the death.  The story flashes back to different episodes throughout Carter’s life & career until the mystery reaches its conclusion.

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