Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Book 15 The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins

Finished 30th March 2011

I don't really want to say too much about this book, because I don't want to get all political and I don't want to draw religion into this ' 52 Books' challenge. Some people will even refuse to turn over the front cover and others will declare this book to be the work of Satan.

Personally I found it fascinating and interesting and educational. It's a heavy book and not one that you can read too quickly.

Has the God Delusion convinced me that God doesn't exist ?


Has the God Delusion made me think about religion and science.


I guess everyone will just have to make up their own minds ( that's if they want to read it in the first place.) I am quite interested in theology and in cosmology and that's why I found it fascinating. It made my head hurt a little, but in a good way.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Book 14 Lord of the Flies - William Golding

Finished 21st March 2011

This is a fine book. A plane crashes into a desert island during the war, leaving a motley crew of schoolboys to fend for themselves. One of them, Ralph is chosen to be chief, however soon the situation starts to descend into chaos. There are so many emotional undercurrents in this book and the characters are wonderful and real. Soon the boys turn against themselves and some of them become savages and dangerous.

I was particularly fond of Piggy, probably the cleverest of the boys, who unfortunately becomes the butt of all the jokes. There is a moral lesson here entangled within the story about bullying and the nature of childhood.

My only gripe with this, Goldings first novel, is that as a book it can lead you to become as lost as the children themselves. Some of the descriptions left me wondering what on earth was going on and it is not always the easiest book to follow at times. On more than one occasion I found myself having to read and re-read a page just to understand what was going on and this is especially true when it comes to the descriptions of the geography of the island itself.

But on the whole this is a good book and an emotionally charged book. The ending is exciting, but some may say a little convenient. I will never forget Lord of the Flies and although it is a book originally intended ( probably) for teenage boys, this old man enjoyed it !

But what is important to remember is that this book is not just an action story for boys, it is an allegorical and symbolic story of man and war and the nature of being human and of being a child. It is more than just a story and is probably the main reason why Lord of the Flies is often quoted as a classic.


Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Book 13 - Sam's Letters to Jennifer by James Patterson

Finished 16th March 2011

I turned 40 this week ( feel free to wish me a happy birthday ;), I am a bald geezer and while I am not the most blokey of blokes , I have never felt the desire to read a romance novel !
I have always been a bit of a horror geek and this couldn't possibly be further from my usual reading material. Poles apart it may be from what I usually read but guess what ? I absolutely loved it !

It may not be artistically or intellectually the most complete or complex book in the world but it was as light as a cool summer breeze.

It is a relatively short book and I loved the way it was made up of tiny little chapters that made it easy to read and put down at my own leisure. I could have read this in less than five days if I had wanted to but that would have gone against the grain. This is a book to be savoured and to read it too swiftly would ( I think) have done it an injustice.

It is basically a love story ( boy meets girl and all that jazz) but for me it was perfect.

In a nutshell, Jennifer has just lost her boyfriend in a tragic accident and now her best friend ( her grandmother) is in ICU and near death. She finds some letters from her Grandmother and learns an amazing secret, a secret that teaches her never to give up on love.

I shouldn't have enjoyed this at all, maybe I am an old girl's blouse after all :)

But you know what ?

I think this is the book that I have enjoyed the most so far in this '52 books in a year' challenge !


Friday, 11 March 2011

Book 12 Macbeth - William Shakespear

Started and finished 11th March 2011

For some reason I have never read Shakespear, although I once performed in one of his plays when I was much younger dressed as a woman. ( Flute in A Midsummer Night's Dream). I was only young then and didn't really understand anything about the play. I can't even remember reading the book at the time and my performance was horrendous, although some people have told me otherwise !

To be honest I was expecting Macbeth to be hard going and difficult to read. I was partly right ! It wasn't as difficult to understand and follow as I thought it would be, partly due to the fact that it had useful notes towards the back. But it was quite hard going. And the actual act of checking the notes to make sense of certain lines was quite a chore.

Did it rock my world ?


Did I learn something from this book ?


I read this book in a few hours, with a few breaks to rest my brain, but at the end of the day I was glad when it was over ! I can see how some people can love Shakespear and I am glad I read one of his books after all these years.

But it wasn't my cup of tea or coffee.


Thursday, 10 March 2011

Book 11. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

Finished 10th March 2011.

This is the first time during this challenge that I have read a book which blew me away.

When I read the back cover and the multiple pages of quotes by various editors and writers I did wonder what I was getting myself into. I was expecting The Da Vinci Code to be hard nosed, hard work and high brow. However I couldn't have been more wrong. This long book is full of twists and surprises and cliff hangers that kept me hooked all the way through and yes it was also educational !

It is the best thriller that I can remember reading and it works all the way through to the ending. The plot is quite complex and impossible to sum up in a short review like this.

Basically ( in a nutshell) the curator of the Louvre museum in Paris is found murdered and leaves behind in his wake a cryptic clue that leads to more clues and more clues ! Robert Langton, a well known historian finds himself in the middle of a cryptic conundrum that merges theology with the world of art and the holy Grail , a story that puts him in danger of his life.

Can't nitpick here.

( Note to myself.) Must read more Dan Brown.


Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Book 10 - Inconceivable by Ben Elton

Finished 28th February 2011

Ben Elton is a funny guy, there's no doubt about that for me. This is the second of his books that I have read, following Stark. On the positive side this book is genuinely funny in parts and is quite heart wrentching as it follows a young couple's attempts to have a baby. Lucy is absolutely bonkers about having a baby, in fact she feels like she was put on the Earth to have a baby. Her husband, Sam wouldn't mind a baby but is not so obsessed. He is going through a career crisis, an aspiring writer who seems to have writers block.

Lucy is so desperate that she will try anything once, if it means having a baby.

Unfortunately on the flip side of the coin there is nothing new in this book, nothing original and the story isn't exactly the most exciting story ever written. The characters are pretty one dimensional and so is the plot. But it was ok. This said however, I did actually finish the book thinking that it wasn't that bad. Maybe romantic comedies are not my bag. I'm an old bald bloke after all !

Average 6.5/10