Author: Diane

The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino, Italy, 1957

The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino, Italy, 1957

  I launched into this book by Calvino with much enthusiasm, having read and enjoyed If on a winter’s night a traveller. Unfortunately the first pages are filled with reference to a creature to which I have a very real and paralysing phobia. I skimmed those pages, but the word, popping up as it does …

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Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, UK, 2009

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, UK, 2009

  This is an amazing book: Mantel’s research is overwhelming to say the least, and the book is filled, not only with facts and historical characters but also with hundreds of small incidental details that set the book well apart from many other books on the subject.  The main subject is Thomas Cromwell and the …

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The Bourne Ultimatum by Robert Ludlum, USA, 1990

The Bourne Ultimatum by Robert Ludlum, USA, 1990

    Like the previous two books about Jason Bourne, the third, and final, book in this series does not disappoint. It is fast-paced, intelligent, well researched and difficult to put down. Bringing the story of Jason Bourne and the Jackal to a close was no mean feat with characters flung between the United States, …

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Winter by Christopher Nicholson, UK, 2014

Winter by Christopher Nicholson, UK, 2014

        This beautifully written novel about a few weeks in the life of the author Thomas Hardy is a work of fiction based on fact. The story itself concerns Hardy, his second wife, Florence, and an amateur actress, Gertrude Bugler; the background is Dorset; and the season is winter. The style itself …

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En droppe midnatt by Jason Timbuktu Diakité, Sweden, 2016

En droppe midnatt by Jason Timbuktu Diakité, Sweden, 2016

  As it says on the front cover, this is an important book. Not only does it look at the black/white situation in America, it also examines the same situation in other countries, more specifically  Sweden. In translation the book could be called ‘A Drop of Midnight’, though I am not sure that it has …

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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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