Author: Diane

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson, UK, 2011

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson, UK, 2011

Where does the line go between sanity, insanity and eccentricity? Is our concept of ‘normal’ constant, or does it fluctuate? Is it possible to draw up a list of characteristics that then label a person mentally deranged or a psychopath? In his book The Psychopath Test, Ronson begins by studying Robert Hare’s check list for …

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All that Remains by Patricia Cornwell, UK, 1992

All that Remains by Patricia Cornwell, UK, 1992

  All that Remains is filled with many unexplained murders, intrigue and suspense, which is usually the right combination for easy reading when entertainment, and not intellectual analysis, is the main focus. Over a period of several years a number of couples are found dead in out-of-the-way locations, their cars abandoned and no clues as …

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The Secret River by Kate Grenville, Australia, 2005

The Secret River by Kate Grenville, Australia, 2005

This is a beautiful book, intelligently written. Grenville’s wonderful attention to detail results in a myriad of small word paintings, each of which add yet another layer to our understanding of both early nineteenth-century London and Sydney. Not only can we see the sights, we can also smell the smells and feel the textures. We …

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Provenance by Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo, USA, 2009

Provenance by Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo, USA, 2009

  This is a true story about one of the twentieth century’s biggest and boldest art frauds. Although factual, it reads like a thriller, is well written and is definitely to be recommended. John Drewe, with a number of aliases from John Cockett to Mr Carnall, is debonair, intelligent and well-spoken; he is also a …

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Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, USA, 2009

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, USA, 2009

  The very first chapter makes it obvious that this is going to be a confronting book. It is the twenty-first century, and we learn that three people were brutally murdered twenty-five years previously in a small farmhouse in Kansas in the 1980s and that the fifteen-year-old son, Ben, was charged with their murders. The …

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The Bourne Supremacy by Robert Ludlum, USA, 1986

The Bourne Supremacy by Robert Ludlum, USA, 1986

  This is the second of the three books in the Bourne series, and like the first book, The Bourne Identity, it is gripping for all of its almost 700 pages. David Webb alias Jason Bourne alias Delta alias Cain is unwillingly pulled into a complicated and deadly fight against a Chinese megalomaniac whose eyes …

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The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K.Rowling, UK, 2008

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K.Rowling, UK, 2008

  This short work, comprising five tales for children, assumes some acquaintance with the Harry Potter books by the same author. Characters from these books are referred to in the tales, and it is assumed that the reader has already made their acquaintance. Moreover, each tale includes a critique by Professor Albus Dumbledore, who was …

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Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey, Australia, 1988

Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey, Australia, 1988

  An unusual and beautiful book about life and love and the things that spur us on to do the things we do; it is also a book about the part that chance plays in our lives. In mid-nineteenth century England, Oscar, acting on his own interpretation of signs, presents himself at the cold, inhospitable …

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The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, USA, 2002

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, USA, 2002

  Set against a background of America’s south in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees is a wonderful piece of feminist literature. The strongest characters in the book are women, and it is the women who remain with us long after we have turned the last page. The main character is Lily, a fourteen-year-old white …

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