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Having A Lovely Time
Having A Lovely Time
by Jenny Eclair
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Do `happy families' even exist?, 12 Jun 2006
This review is from: Having A Lovely Time (Paperback)
On the plus side, this book is both honest and funny, however, the characters are a bit caricature-ish, and it's just too obvious which ones you're supposed to like. Otherwise, a fun read.


Me Talk Pretty One Day
Me Talk Pretty One Day
by David Sedaris
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A series of anecdotes�, 20 July 2005
This review is from: Me Talk Pretty One Day (Paperback)
This is not a novel as such, but more a series of short stories from various phases of the author's life... and being raised by Greek immigrant parents, before moving to France, via a series of odd jobs gives plenty of opportunity for some hysterical anecdotes.
This book has the same feel as an entertaining acquaintance recounting his experiences over a drink or the dinner table, and even the events that aren't that funny by nature are transformed by this natural storyteller.


Starter for Ten
Starter for Ten
by David Nicholls
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Falls back on clichés a few times too often, 20 July 2005
This review is from: Starter for Ten (Paperback)
This book starts off as a "been there, done that..." of first year at university. It covers a lot of ground common to most students (tick as many boxes as appropriate: trying to 're-work' your personality, trying to find a new equilibrium with the friends you left behind at home and who didn't go on to university, the person you have a huge crush on is not the person you end up with, and the person you end up with is the last person you expected to end up with, etc.) but unfortunately, this is hardly original ground, and I felt that by focusing on just these parts, the author settled for a lot less than this book was capable of.
That's not to say I couldn't relate to it, or that it didn't make me laugh a number of times, but the storyline just gets carried away with itself and spins out of both relevance and control.
Maybe it's because I've outgrown that phase of my life, but I found the [anti-?] hero, Brian Jackson, his insecurities and his constant under-achieving a bit tiresome.


Babyface
Babyface
by Fiona Gibson
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Funny, but predictable, 20 July 2005
This review is from: Babyface (Paperback)
This book deals with the frustrations of every new mum trying to fit into her new role. Trying to do it all (including trying to fit into your 'before' life, not to mention 'before' clothes!) and to have it all (or at least keep it all afloat), and not going 'round the bend in the meantime.

This is an entertaining read, but you won't feel too bad when you have to put it down for a bit - which makes it an excellent read for mothers... as well as commuters!
Certainly not a waste of time, but this is not one of those books that will stay with you once it's over.


Survivor
Survivor
by Chuck Palahniuk
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Weird and wonderful, 20 July 2005
This review is from: Survivor (Paperback)
This book starts and ends with Tender Branson's suicide attempt - by throwing a Boing 747 into the dessert (after releasing all the passengers and crew). Everything in-between is him telling his story ... being brought up in a religious cult, of which he is the last [known] surviving member and a having become celebrity-of-sorts for it.

The book is beautifully written: Dark, angst-ridden, funny, unpredictable, and addictive, it could well keep you up all night.


The Distance Between Us
The Distance Between Us
by Maggie O'Farrell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why, oh why, go soft on us now?, 20 July 2005
I'm a fan of Maggie O'Farrell's and was really looking forward to reading this. O'Farrell has always been about love, but love with a twist of melancholy. In this book, classic romance creeps in a big way and ... for me, part the thrill has gone [soft] for it.
The characters in "The distance between us" are not as involving and her writing is a lot less dark, losing some of its bite in the process.
In summary, this book is still a pretty good read, but it doesn't pack the same punch as some of her previous work (e.g. this is nowhere near as hard hitting as "After You'd Gone).


Notes on a Scandal
Notes on a Scandal
by Zoë Heller
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars friendship turned obsessive�, 20 July 2005
This review is from: Notes on a Scandal (Paperback)
History teacher Barbara Covell doesn't have much of a life of her own. Although she'd never admit it, she is desperately lonely. But then relatively bohemian Sheba Hart joins the staff at her school and befriends her.
But Sheba is not an innocent... she is found having an affair with one of her underage pupils. But even then Barbara is willing to accept that Sheba is simply naïve and takes it upon herself to take control and stand up for her friend. She wants to be the ultimate friend in need ... why can't Sheba appreciate that? Why won't she simply let her take over and make everything right? Why is she once again being scorned?
This is a story of hidden agendas, ulterior motives, malice and of 'friendship' turning into obsession. It is dark, chilling, well-paced and hard to put down.


I'm A Believer
I'm A Believer
by Jessica Adams
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.77

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A surprisingly funny book, considering it deals with death., 20 July 2005
This review is from: I'm A Believer (Paperback)
Mark Buckle isn't a spiritual kind of guy. But his girlfriend, who has recently been killed in an accident, appears to be trying to make contact ... or is he just falling apart at the seams?
This book is about destiny, forgiveness and the 'natural order' of things. It's a sweet, optimistic, generous and upbeat book, and even if it doesn't make a believer of you, but it will probably make you wish you could believe.


Blood Lines: Long and Short Stories
Blood Lines: Long and Short Stories
by Ruth Rendell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.56

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short stories that don�t feel like a compromise., 20 July 2005
Whether in a novel or a short story, Ruth Rendell's storytelling is just captivating. Her style is consistently haunting, there is depth to her characters, and there's the twist which will come at you out of nowhere. Whether you're a dedicated mystery fan or simply enjoy reading extremely skillfully put together prose, regardless of genre, Ruth Rendell is irresistible (and very addictive!).


The Consolations of Philosophy
The Consolations of Philosophy
by Alain de Botton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.79

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars nice �soundbites� but only just scratches the surface, 20 July 2005
As I understand it, this book is not aimed at people with any more than a passing interest in philosophy. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I can't help but compare it to "Best of the Classics" type CDs containing excerpts of classical music which have become 'semi-hits' through featuring in TV ads.
How you feel about this book will then largely depend on how you feel about this popularization of was once believed to be culture intended exclusive for the intelligentia.
I've never had any interest in really studying philosophy, so this was a good introduction to some of philosophy's Greats for me, but the book only skims the surface of each. Anyone with a real interest in a particular philosopher or philosophy in general will certainly need to dig deeper. Having said that, this book could be a good starting point - I have highlighted some passages in my copy as cues for further reading.
As to whether this book can serve as "consolation" or help in dealing with "the problems of everyday life" I'd have to say that my jury's still out.


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