Category Archives: Fiction

Minority Report, by Philip K Dick (collection of short stories)

Minority Report (Read a Great Movie)This edition is a collection of stories by the fabulous Philip K Dick.

It includes the renowned Minority Report, made famous by the film adaptation, and some other great stories, mostly, in my opinion, even better than Minority Report. Continue reading Minority Report, by Philip K Dick (collection of short stories)


Black Dogs, by Ian McEwan

This is a book about two obstinate old people with a failed marriage – and how dangerous challenges can shape our lives.

I had previously read Ian McEwan’s more recent book, On Chesil Beach, and had not particularly enjoyed it. Since Ian McEwan is one of our most respected British authors, I was determined to have another go.

What I liked about this book:

  • The sympathetic portrayal of the main female character, who we first meet as an old woman. Later we learn of her experiences when young and how these shaped her life. (To start with, I thought the narrator was going to favour the analytical, but cold, husband.)
  • The underlying tension created by the vague menace of the episode of the ‘black dogs’, introduced early into the narrative, but not revealed in full until near the end.
  • The linking of the fall of the Berlin wall into the narrative – as this was such a powerful news story and had such tremendous resonance for those of us who lived through the age of the Wall and saw its fall.
  • The fact that walking plays an important role in the story. (As I am a keen walker and involved in my own epic walk around the coast).

What I didn’t like about this book: The book starts with an interesting preface. I would have liked to know more about the narrator, his family and, particularly, what happened to his neice, Sally. The main story opens at a languid pace and, being told through the eyes of a third person, I felt somewhat distanced from the main characters and the events that slowly enfolded, until the pace picked up and the story came alive in the second half of the book. Widgets

Farewell Summer, by Ray Bradbury

Farewell summerRay Bradbury is one of my favourite science fiction authors. And his non-science fiction books are pretty good too.

I have to confess, I found Farewell Summer hard going. But, in the final few chapters, the book finally came alive for me – so alive, I started it again and read it through from the beginning. (This is the first time I have ever read a book through, twice, all in one sitting). Continue reading Farewell Summer, by Ray Bradbury

The Undomestic Goddess, by Sophie Kinsella

The Undomestic GoddessThis is not the type of book I usually read.

Science fiction, action adventure and psychological thrillers are my usual choices. I am not a ‘girly’ girl and I don’t like literature that is marked as ‘chick lit’. The cover alone would put me off picking this one of the shelves.

But, I am making a real effort to broaden the genres I read. And have read one of Sophie Kinsella’s books before and found it entertaining. So, when I found this for sale in a charity shop, I bought it.

What I liked about the book

Told from the point of view of the main character – a young female lawyer who falls from grace and ends up doing something completely different – this was frothy fun. The story moved at a pace and there was always something happening. The language chosen was easy and clear, without being patronising. So, I will confess to enjoying this amusing (but ridiculous) story.

What I didn’t like about the book

I just couldn’t quite picture the main character as a seriously good lawyer – she was more a Bridget Jones character, dippy and scatterbrained. The basic plot was unlikely. The love interest was too obvious. The ending was predictable.

Who would enjoy it?

Young women (probably younger than the main character) who like the idea of being seriously successful, while living a wildly crazy sort of life with no ties. Great for holiday reading, reading while travelling; or for cheering yourself up when life gets just a bit too serious.

Stephen King’s Bag of Bones

I am not a fan of the horror genre and Stephen King is a best selling author so – my illogical thought processes reasoned – I couldn’t possibly enjoy his books.

But other authors acclaim his story telling skills and I decided I should read at least one King novel, if only to prove my own prejudices
correct. So I picked this book off the shelf of my local library.

Well, I was wrong. He is not a good writer. He is a great writer.

I read “Bag of Bones” – during daylight hours only! The story was complex, the characters believable and the supernatural elements were woven into the plot with such skill that disbelief was easily suspended (by this reader anyway).

Anyway, back to the library for more ……

This Book Will Save Your Life, A M Homes

Just finished reading this book.

I have to confess, I chose it for its title. Who could resist that catchy hook and the doughnuts?

A good read – I couldn’t put it down – but not a great book.

Things I liked:

The opening premise, the view of LA life, the relentless pace, the many different interwoven strands, the page-turning hooks.

Things I didn’t like:

Although told as a first person narrative, there was little opportunity to understand the thought process of the narrator. I wanted to believe in this lonely, control freak of a man, but I realised from the narrative voice, a few chapters in, that the author was a woman.

Things just seemed to happen to him and he suffered from many significant external events – each one would have caused his life to change anyway. There were too many unexplained teasers, and unresolved plot arcs, by the time we reached an unsatisfactorily disconnected ending.