Category: Book Reviews

The Shepherd’s Hut by Tim Winton, Australia, 2018

The Shepherd’s Hut by Tim Winton, Australia, 2018

This would have to be one of the best books I read in 2018; the writing is magnificent. Set in Western Australia, the descriptions of the bush are so realistic that you can hear the birds, smell the vegetation and feel the insects. The characterization is beautiful – both main characters in the novel are …

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The 2½ Pillars of Wisdom by Alexander McCall Smith, UK, 2004

The 2½ Pillars of Wisdom by Alexander McCall Smith, UK, 2004

In keeping with all of McCall Smith’s books The 2½ Pillars of Wisdom is a delight to read. It is witty, informative and extremely observant. Divided into three sections, The 2½ Pillars of Wisdom is about three German professors at the university of Regensburg, north of Munich: Professor Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld, Professor Dr Detlev …

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje, UK, 2018

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje, UK, 2018

This is a beautifully written book set in the period directly after the end of the Second World War. It is a time when everyone is thinking of peace, while there are still strands of the war cutting through everything that seems normal. We may think that the war is over, but it follows us …

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A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen, UK, 2012

A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen, UK, 2012

This is a heart-warming, true story about Bob, a ginger cat, and his soul mate, James Bowen. After a difficult growing-up period split between two countries – England and Australia – James returns to England in the hope of getting his life together. This, however, does not happen, and he slides into heroin addiction and …

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This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay, UK, 2017

This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay, UK, 2017

Told as a series of diary excerpts, this is the story of Kay’s six-year period, working for the NHS, as Junior House Officer, Senior House Officer, Registrar and Senior Registrar. He is well on his way to becoming a Consultant, but before this happens he leaves the medical profession. There is probably no one reason …

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Towards Zero by Agatha Christie, UK, 1944

Towards Zero by Agatha Christie, UK, 1944

This beautifully constructed and presented tale is in true Agatha Christie style. A group of disparate characters is collected in one place – a small seaside village in the south of England – where the murders take place. The reader is presented with numerous possibilities as to who might have been behind such an abominable …

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Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, UK, 2005

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, UK, 2005

Beautifully written by the winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature, Never Let Me Go is sad, confronting, horrific and, at all times, thought-provoking. Superficially about a children’s home, as seen through the eyes of Kathy, one of the children (now an adult), the book dances around images of creative activities and the relationships …

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The Dark Side by Jane Mayer, USA, 2008

The Dark Side by Jane Mayer, USA, 2008

Well researched and intelligently written, Mayer’s book about the Bush Administration’s response to 9/11, comprising more than 300 pages, is not entertaining reading – anything but. It is, however, a book that should be read. 9/11 horrified the world, but what happened afterwards dragged the US into the despicable netherworld of torture and ruined America’s …

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Hägring 38 (The Wednesday Club) by Kjell Westö, Finland, 2013

Hägring 38 (The Wednesday Club) by Kjell Westö, Finland, 2013

I loved this book, which is beautifully written, sad, thought-provoking, intelligent and, at all times immediate. At times I felt that the Finnish/Swedish-speaking Westö must have ‘been there’ and that he must have experienced everything about which he was writing, but the book, set in 1938, was actually written in 2013.   The central ‘character’ …

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Saga Land by Richard Fidler and Kári Gíslason, Australia, 2017

Saga Land by Richard Fidler and Kári Gíslason, Australia, 2017

This is a delightful book that combines a bit of everything: historical fact, personal biography and fantastic sagas or stories. Richard Fidler is an Australian radio commentator with the ABC while Kári Gíslason, who is part Icelandic, is a lecturer and a writer based in Brisbane, Australia. The two met when Richard interviewed Kári about …

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