Category Archives: short stories

The Darkness of Wallis Simpson, by Rose Tremain

The Darkness of  Wallis Simpson by Rose Tremain, review.I had never read Rose Tremain before, but I picked up this collection of short stories from our local library and was bowled over by the wonderful writing.

The Darkness of Wallis Simpson is the title story. Wallis Simpson was the twice-divorced woman who won the heart of the late Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor, our current Queen’s uncle. This provoked a constitutional crisis Continue reading The Darkness of Wallis Simpson, by Rose Tremain

R is for Rocket, by Ray Bradbury

Today I heard the news: Neil Armstrong, the first man-on-the-moon, died yesterday. So, it is fitting that the next book in my ‘have read recently’ pile is Ray Bradbury’s collection of short stories about space flight.

R_is_for_rocket, Ray Bradbury, cover. Book review by Ruth LivingstoneBradbury wrote most of these stories during the 1950s, the decade when the Russian Sputnik programme began. In 1959, after multiple failures, the Russians managed to achieve a crash-landing of an unmanned craft on the lunar surface. During the 1960s, the American efforts to reach the moon were stepped up and by the second half of the decade, successful soft-landings on the moon were being achieved by both nations. But it was the Americans who set the first human on the moon when, in 1969, when Neil Armstrong stepped off the ladder of the Eagle and placed his foot in the dust of the Sea of Tranquillity. Continue reading R is for Rocket, by Ray Bradbury

Breakfast at Tiffany’s, by Truman Capote

Breakfast at Tiffany -cover of paperbackI am ashamed to confess: I have never read this story. I saw the film, of course. But I never read the book. It is universally regarded as a great story and, when I saw it in my local library, I had to take it out.

Yes. It is a wonderful story. Here are some things that surprised me and some things that delighted me, in no particular order: Continue reading Breakfast at Tiffany’s, by Truman Capote

Quick Reads: – a quick look

three Quick Reads titles - Ruthless Readings Down in my local library, I discovered a whole section devoted to ‘Quick Reads’.

These are thin books, with large writing – novellas rather than novels.

Wonderful, I thought! An ideal length for train journeys. Good print size and I can read without putting my glasses on. And what a great way to sample new authors –¬†without committing to a full length novel.

So I borrowed four books. And found myself, despite my enthusiasm, somewhat disappointed. Continue reading Quick Reads: – a quick look

Will Self, Dr Mukti and other tales of woe

I love seeing Will Self on television. He has an excoriating, acidic wit and delivers lacerating commentary on current affairs with searing insight and refreshing dollops of cynicism. He is also frighteningly intelligent, uses plenty of big words and does not dumb down in a false pretence to be just ‘one of the lads’.

This book is a collection of stories. The longest story, Dr Mukti, is a 130 page novella. The remaining stories are shorter. As you might expect, the tales are dark and brutal; unpleasant characters inhabit inhospitable urban landscapes and do nasty things to each other. Continue reading Will Self, Dr Mukti and other tales of woe