HHhH by Laurent Binet. Release Date: May 3rd
HHhH by Laurent Binet. Release Date: May 3rd
Happy Birthday Mr Shakespeare, hello St George (do leave the dragons alone) and welcome World Book Night!
World Book Night celebrates the wonder, the glory, the fun and the fundamental necessity of books and reading. With this in mind the organisers have selected 25 titles ranging from non-fiction to sci-fi to classics and all and everything in between. People have then been selected up and down the country to hand out 24 copies each. There are over 2 million copies out there so Britain is going to be awash with people who love books passing on free copies to new converts!
I have The Player of Games by Iain M Banks, just a stunning science fiction novel that is clever, interesting, challenging but most importantly accessible. My other title is Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Not just a soppy love story. In fact it’s not very romantic at all, it’s dark and cruel, murderers flourish and madness reigns. Great fun.
It’s fair to say that I don’t like going up to strangers but I needn’t have worried, I picked on the Mevagissey fishermen and they were poppets. Many requests for the Karma Sutra but I had to tell them we only had the Braille version, half of them picked Rebecca which I thought was great, one boy said he was going to give it to his wife for her birthday but we all pointed out the word “Free” copy on the book. It wouldn’t be the best move. Much joshing about who could and couldn’t read but I hope that they do get a moment out at sea to just stop for a second and read a chapter. If they have The Player of Games they can dream of alien seas, if they have Rebecca, they can look back to shore and see the rhododendrons rolling down to the shore and just picture the scenes in front of them.
If you want to know more and see if there is an event near you visit www.worldbooknight.org
The Testimony – James Smythe. Release Date 26th April.
If you heard a voice in your head would you think it was God or that you were mad.? What if the whole world heard the same voice?
One morning almost everyone in the world hears static in their head. No one can understand it or explain it, with a paranoid middle east and a trigger happy United States, nations start to feel the strain. The following day, the world hears the words “My Children.” Panic ensues, nations start blaming each other, is it God, aliens, terrorists? On the third day the voice says ”Do not be afraid” and the world falls apart.
This was a very clever apocalyptical novel, told through the lives of 26 people spread across the planet. It challenges how we view religion and politics and poses the question what would we do if we thought God was suddenly speaking to us? The book also cynically observes how quickly panic can destroy societies. Although no issues were posed in detail and no answers were given it still made for a gripping read.
All this heartache and misery because some people out there are lazy, stealing, deeply, deeply unpleasant people. The police don’t think they’ll catch them and if they do John will never get his tools back or be properly recompensed and they will get minimal sentences.
There is something really wrong when it’s the hard working, honest types that lose out whilst the cheating, feckless sorts prosper. As I said I am in a bad mood.
Home to Roost – Tessa Hainsworth. Release Date: April 12th
This is a welcome return from the musings of the posh postie in Cornwall. Tessa Hainsworth left her high powered job in London in a fit of euphoria and decided to restart her life and that of her family’s in Cornwall. Life was tough at first until she got a job as a postie in the Roseland area of Cornwall.
In common with her first two books describing her trials and tribulations, Home to Roost is written with humour, love and a huge dollop of self-deprecation. Tessa shows what life is like in Cornwall today for villagers coping with “incomers” and “up country” attitudes” and shows how communities try to keep together and make ends meet. The book is refreshing in that Tessa never fails to show how she puts her foot in it but also tells all about the lives of her friends and neighbours that she visits during her rounds. For obvious reasons all names have been changed as these books are contemporary.
The writing is confiding and welcoming and it reads like a letter from a friend. The characters in the book seem larger than life and their concerns from dying trees, paved front gardens and fear of icy roads all leap off the page and keep you turning until in a rush you are at the end. This is a lovely read and will make you smile from ear to ear, it may also make you think twice about the realities of living in Cornwall all year round.
A Visitor’s Companion to Tudor England – Suzannah Lipscomb.
Suzannah Lipscomb is well qualified to write a history book of tudor England as she spent many years as curator of Hampton Court Palace. In her own words she appreciates the “value of telling history where it happened” and this strongly comes through in this informative and well written book.
The book works on many levels. It is a practical handbook to fifty of the most interesting Tudor houses, palaces and castles; it’s also a handy guide for the casual visitor of these sites. More importantly though it’s a history book and offers a fascinating and informative introduction to the key events and people of the period. Lipscomb does not set out to write a scholarly book, her style is chatty and, as a result, the book is very readable.
As you read the book there is a strong sense of walking through history which is the authors intention. If your knowledge of Tudor England is lacking, as mine was, this is the book for you.
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