Tag Archives: review

Moonwalking with Einstein, by Joshua Foer

Moonwalking with Einstein, book review by Ruth LivingstoneMoonwalking with Einstein: the art and science of remembering everything

Joshua Foer opens the book with a teaser. He is a young journalist attending the USA Memory Championship in 2006. But he is not there as a journalist, he is there as a contestant. Continue reading Moonwalking with Einstein, by Joshua Foer

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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

Postmortem, by Patricia Cornwell

Postmortem, by Patricia Cornwell, book review by Ruth LivingstoneI had forgotten how good Patricia Cornwell is. This is her first Kay Scarpetta novel and one that I read a long time ago. As part of my Birkbeck University course, I recently had to revisit it.

This is crime fiction at its best. Kay Scarpetta is the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond, Virginia, and works with the police to uncover the identity of the serial murderer who is terrorising the city. There is no equivalent role in the UK, but Scarpetta’s responsibilities appear to be a combination of postmortem pathologist and police surgeon. Continue reading Postmortem, by Patricia Cornwell

The Lonely Londoners, by Sam Selvon

The Lonely Londoners, by Samuel Selvon, Book review by Ruth LivingstoneThis book was written the same year as I was born, 1956. A short book, it describes the interweaving lives of the first West Indian immigrants to England as seen through the eyes of an established immigrant, Moses Aloetta. The book is written in the third person and includes a number of characters, but the narrator is firmly established at the outset as Moses. Continue reading The Lonely Londoners, by Sam Selvon

The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende

house of the spirits, novel book cover, book review This book is on the reading list for one of my Birkbeck modules this year. The debut novel of a Chilean author, Isabel Allende, and originally written in Spanish, this is an English translation.

The style of writing is rich and dense. With a host of eccentric characters, a story line that spans many years and a meandering style that goes off on numerous digressions, it reminded me of Continue reading The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende

The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy

The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy - book coverThis is a rich, multilayered book which tells the story of various members of an Indian family and the calamities that befall them.

When the book begins, we see the world through the eyes of the grown up daughter, Rahel, returning to her family home to visit her mute twin brother, Estha. Then we flash back to the twins’ childhood and there are a serious of lengthy passages where the histories of various members of her family are described – the awful great-aunt, the frustrated grand-father, the divorced mother, the spoilt uncle, etc. The timeline bounces back and forth. We know, very early on, that someone died in the past Continue reading The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy

Rates of Exchange, by Malcolm Bradbury

Rates of Exchange, Malcolm Bradbury, reading review by Ruth Livingstone This book is set in a mythical mid-European country. It opens with a 10 page travel guide to the imaginary city of Slaka and the first chapter follows with an account of a plane touching down on the tarmac. Aboard the plane is a Dr Petworth. He may or may not be an important character in the story to follow. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you whether he was, nor can I tell you what happened to him – as I read no further Continue reading Rates of Exchange, by Malcolm Bradbury