Fatelessness

On the 31st March 2016 Imre Kertész died. I hadn’t heard of him before I saw the post on Metafilter marking his passing, but in the thread his first book, Fatelessness was mentioned. It is a fictionalised account of Kertész’s own experiences as a teenager in Hungary and then Auschwitz and Buchenwald. He was fourteen […]

Doc

Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp are names that are linked together with gunfights and dust and the US West. In Doc Russell takes a look at their lives away from the O.K. Corral. How they came to know one another and their histories, together and apart. It is a story of violence, gambling, prostitution, dentistry, […]

Euphoria

On the verge of suicide anthropologist Andrew Bankson bumps into Nell and Fen. They too are anthropologists, and are just about to head back to Australia, Fen’s homeland, after an expedition. Nell and Fen are a husband and wife team, although Nell is the more famous of the two. Before they met she published a […]

The Paris Wife

Before Ernest Hemmingway was the famous author of hie time he was a struggling writer, trying to figure out how to make ends meet, trying to find his voice. In the 1920s he meets Hadley Richardson in Chicago and after a whirlwind, and often long-distance, romance they marry and move to Paris. Paris is the […]

In the sea there are crocodiles

In the sea there are crocodiles

The story of Enaiatollah Akbari, trans. from the Italian by Howard Curtis When Enaiat is around ten his mother takes him from his village in Afganistan and they travel Pakistan. And then, after a few days, she leaves him there, and goes back home to his younger brother and sister. At first Enaiat isn’t sure […]

Me Cheeta: the autobiography

ISBN: 9780007280162

On my last day in motion pictures I found myself at the top of a monkey-puzzle tree in England, helping to settle a wager between that marvellous light comedian and wit Rex Harrison and his wife, the actress Rachel Roberts, and thinking, This is gonna look great in the obituaries, isn’t it? Fell out of a fucking tree.

I should have known from that opening paragraph that I wasn’t going to enjoy this book. It has that “amn’t I amusing and witty” narration style that, for me, simply fell flat. Perhaps it is just that I don’t know enough about the stars of the 1940s & 50s to get all the hilarious references and anecdotes. Or maybe it was just written in a style that left me uncaring. Who can say.

Read more about Me Cheeta: the autobiography

The good man Jesus and the scoundrel Christ

by Philip Pullman

The back of the edition of this that I read has only the words: This is a story. Interesting. Is that because the publisher’s don’t want to offend the ultra religious in the Christian world. Or is it a message from the author that the life of Jesus is a story. That the bible is a story.

Pullman, of course, is known for his ever so slightly controversial views on religion, he has used them in his fiction before. In that case it involved a worn-out god, and power-hungry angels. Here he revisits the myth:”(is a myth a religion we dont believe in?)”: of Jesus Christ and weaves a new story out of it.

Blankets

Blankets by Craig Thomspon
Blankets by Craig Thomspon
ISBN: 1891830430 DDC: 741.5973
LibraryThing : Author’s blog
Read for the Graphic Novels Challenge

When we were young, my little brother Phil and I shared the same bed.

This is one I picked up because I’d seen positive mentions on a few blogs, I think Nymeth’s post was the one that prompted the purchase. So it came with a little bit of hype. That being said, I don’t really read reviews before I read a book, just skim the opening paragraph for a sense of what the reviewer thought of the book, so I wasn’t all hyped out. And Blankets did live up to those positive reviews.

Read more about Blankets

The greatest knight

Author: Elizabeth Chadwick

William Marshall was a real person; born in relative obscurity he rose through the ranks to become “the greatest knight that ever lived” as well as Earl of Pembroke. He served under four kings of England, although this book only covers his exploits under two, Henry II and Richard I. He married Isabel de Clare, who was the daughter of Strongbow. And through her gained the rights to Leinster.

The Giant, O’Brien

ISBN: 038525895X See also: Elsewhere ; RIP III

“Bring in the cows now. Time to shut up for the night”.
There came three cows, breathing in the near-dark: swishing with the tips of their tails, their bones showing through hide.

This book isn’t labelled as horror; I’m guessing you are more likely to find it in the fiction or literary fiction section of a bookshop rather than the horror or even historical fiction section. But it fits under both. If you ask me.

The Giant of the title is based on the real life story of Charles Byrne but this is never intended to follow his life story. The real Byrne merely provides the inspiration. Along with the real John Hunter, real-life surgeon and anatomist. What Mantel does is use their stories as a jumping off point, an examination of the characters and their times. So of course it makes no pretence at being a real story.

Read more about The Giant, O’Brien

The Assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford

He was growing into middle age and was living then in a bungalow on Woodland Avenue. Green weeds split the porch steps, a wasp nest clung to an attic gable, a rope swing looped down from a dying elm tree and the ground below it was scuffed soft as flour.

I think this is one of the rare cases where watching the film version improves your enjoyment of the novel. Maybe because for certain passages I could really here the narrator from the film while I was reading. I think that this might make an excellent audio book. Then again, I’ve never listened to an audio book, so what do I know.