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Bleak House, by Charles Dickens

Bleak House, Charles Dickens, book review Ruth LivingstoneBleak House is, according to some, one of Dickens’ best books. I thought I better read it.

At the heart of the story is a long-running civil law suit, and the effect this has on the young wards of the court. It is also a story about secrets and mysteries, including a hidden scandal and, in the closing sections of the book, a murder. Continue reading Bleak House, by Charles Dickens

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Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn

Cover of Gone Girl by Gillian FlynnGone Girl is a thrilling read.

I won’t give away the story, but will just say that this book invites you to make assumptions, but then blows those assumptions away in a series of plot twists. Continue reading Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn

The Cuckoo’s Calling, by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

Cuckoos Calling, Galbraith, book review Everyone knows that Robert Galbraith is the pseudonym used by J.K. Rowling in her recent venture into crime fiction.

I picked up her latest book, The Cuckoo’s Calling in my local library with some trepidation. Would I like it? Continue reading The Cuckoo’s Calling, by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, by Paul Torday

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, book review by Ruth Livingstone
This is a delightful comedy based on the unlikely plan to release salmon into a river in the hot and dusty Arab state of Yemen. It deals with the nature of faith and the boundless optimism of hope, whilst also promoting the application of technical skills to a seemingly insolvable problem. And it has a sly dig at politics and the duplicity of politicians.
Continue reading Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, by Paul Torday

Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway

Fiesta by Ernest Hemingway, book review Ruth Livingstone I have mixed feelings about Ernest Hemingway. I loved Farewell to Arms but struggled through To Have and Have Not. And Hemingway himself was the kind of man I despise: a shooting, hunting, fishing type who loved bull fighting and drank too much and equated all these nonsensical pursuits with masculinity. So, mixed feelings.

The Sun Also Rises was Hemingway’s first full length novel. Finished in 1926 and told in the first person, the book is loosely based on a trip that Hemingway made to Spain with a group of friends to see the bullfighting during the Pamplona Fiesta. Continue reading Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway

Pattern Recognition, William Gibson

Pattern Recognition, book by William GibsonGibson’s first novel, Neuromancer, is a cyberpunk classic and was published in 1984 – an apt year for such a visionary novel. Pattern Recognition is written in much the same style, using ‘hip’ language and featuring computer technology – but it isn’t a science fiction book.

The book is engagingly written in Gibson’s cyberpunk style. Continue reading Pattern Recognition, William Gibson

Solaris, by Stanislaw Lem

Solaris, book coverPublished in Poland in 1961, this novel is a very interesting work from a Sci-Fi perspective. The book deals with the darkness of the human psyche, communication difficulties and the unknowability of alien life forms.

Narrated in the first person, the novel begins as a seemingly straightforward space adventure – with a scientist called Kelvin leaving a space ship in a small capsule. His mission is to join an established scientific expedition aboard a space station in orbit around the mysterious planet Solaris. Continue reading Solaris, by Stanislaw Lem