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Mrs. S. Biddulph (London, UK)
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The Intimate Adventures Of A London Call Girl
The Intimate Adventures Of A London Call Girl
by Belle de Jour
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.74

3.0 out of 5 stars Quite a tour de force, 2 Mar 2010
Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl is easy to read, unchallenging and salacious. I enjoyed it as a switch-off book. Belle is candid, frank and in your face. She's very matter of fact about what she does with her clients despite the racy, pornographic detail. Somehow none of it seems sordid, it's more a transaction devoid of any emotion. This is contrasted with her life outside work where she has the same needs and desires as everyone else - to be loved and appreciated. This diary was a glimpse into another world, and despite feeling like a voyeur at times, it's a real page turner. I liked Belle, she's never boring, pretty gutsy and always comes out on top.


Dubliners (Everyman's Library Classics)
Dubliners (Everyman's Library Classics)
by James Joyce
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.99

5 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, bitterly disappointing, 22 Feb 2010
I rarely do this, but I stopped reading this book 120 pages in. It's beautifully written, but I just can't connect with it. I think part of the problem is the short story format which makes it rather disjointed, there's no momentum to it or thread of continuity. Lots of the tales just stop instead of ending and the whole experience is deeply unsatisfying.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 10, 2013 1:43 AM GMT


The Notebook
The Notebook
by Nicholas Sparks
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful love story poignantly told, 27 Jan 2010
This review is from: The Notebook (Paperback)
This is a beautiful and poignantly written love story which grows before your eyes, from the first flush of teenage love to a true and faithful marriage that's weathered the storms and stood fast. I completely connected with Allie and Noah. The way Sparks writes love, passion and emotion really struck a chord with me, it is how I feel. The closing chapter had me in tears, so moved by the will to continue loving someone and making them the centre of your world despite Alzheimers slowly stealing them from you. Seeing the past alive in the present, how one old man can look at an old woman and see the bride he fell in love with. I have two criticisms-it took me a while to get into the book and I don't know why, as once in, I couldn't let it go. The other is the cover - there is no way the picture can be of Allie, her clothes and hair are modern day, I think it was a major oversight in a book that is so meticulous with the detail of memory.


Annus Horribilis: The Worst Year in British Politics
Annus Horribilis: The Worst Year in British Politics
by Ann Treneman
Edition: Unknown Binding

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A political romp, 18 Jan 2010
This book does what it says on the tin - a collection of Ann Treneman's sketches from the past political year...and what a year it was. From the expenses scandal to economic meltdown, all acted out by ballooning personalities and mega egos. I enjoyed the book, the vignettes are well written and wry, but it's a victim of its format. Treneman's sketches are best read day to day alongside other newspaper articles in context. Putting them altogether in one place is overkill. The style, wit and repartee become boring when read in the round. For this reason I found the book rather dull.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 24, 2010 5:12 PM GMT


Silvertown: An East End family memoir
Silvertown: An East End family memoir
by Melanie McGrath
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A gritty portrait of the East End, 6 Jan 2010
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Poor Jenny Fulcher, her joyless life spent surviving rather than living in wretched conditions in the East End, her only real escape her sweet tooth and penchant for confectionery. Silvertown shows you just how far we've come as a society, how the nature of poverty has changed. For those at the bottom life is much better today than it was, but the facts of life remain constant - family, food, love, work, making ends meet, community, tragedy, health, survival - Silvertown has it all. It's a very evocative book, yet matter of fact and I really enjoyed it. The old East End lives and breathes in its pages. I particularly liked the references to places I know from living in London. The East End has changed beyond all recognition - first with the Blitz, then the slow death of the docks and it'll change even more with the Olympics, yet the history lives on in place names like Jamaica Road and King Albert Docks. Places Jenny Fulcher inhabited and whose life embodied East End spirit. My only criticism is that the novel always portrays her as a victim, but she had determination and gumption or else she would never have survived. I'd have liked to have seen this every now and again inbetween the misery and rare moments of joy. But overall an interesting memoir and a great insight into almost a century of life as an Eastender.


One Day
One Day
by David Nicholls
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.59

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One day, Two lives - a clever book, 28 Dec 2009
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This review is from: One Day (Hardcover)
I really enjoyed this book with all its flaws and cliches. You live alongside the two main characters, Dex and Em. At times I wanted to strangle Dexter, selfish, weak and self-absorbed as he is, but at others I cried for him. Emma was different, thoughtful, insecure and clever. She makes mistakes, but is honest and caring, often vulnerable. The premise of the book is novel and clever - seeing the same two people on the same day for twenty years and watching them grow, change and intertwine. There was so much I related to having been at uni and started work soon after the two of them. At times I cringed at similarities, at others I felt frustrated by the choices they made as they kept missing what was staring them in the face. But I really liked this book. It made me laugh and cry, always getting a reaction. There is a lot of me and my husband in its pages and I could totally relate to it. It has stayed with me long after finishing it.


The Abortionist's Daughter
The Abortionist's Daughter
by Elisabeth Hyde
Edition: Paperback

2.0 out of 5 stars Easy, unmemorable read, 3 Dec 2009
This was a very easy holiday read. I enjoyed it, but it's unremarkable and unmemorable. A straightforward murder mystery, very average and not particularly well written, but utterly untaxing, quick to speed through and finish.


Marabou Stork Nightmares
Marabou Stork Nightmares
by Irvine Welsh
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly absorbing, raw and wounded, 3 Dec 2009
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This is an excellent book but it's raw, real and harrowing. Only start it if you're prepared for the grit of a violent and disturbing journey. Welsh is an exceptional author, this book will no doubt become a twentieth century classic. It is brutal in the extreme, but his talent to tell a twisted story in all its depraved detail is incredible. I was horrified by it yet completely absorbed. The narrative flitting between memory, deep coma and dreamstate is cleverly interwoven with one merging into the other. The use of Scottish vernacular gives the story authenticity making the characters seem somehow more alive, piling on layers of dimension. The unsolicited violence, sex, rape, abuse, angst, poverty and above all depravity in the book make it a very bleak read. But it lives, it's real and it shows no sympathy or empathy and it never patronises its subject matter. You're down in it, with it, smelling and breathing it, at times it's a relief when you can come up for air. But soon you'll want to plunge back in because this book moves, challenges and disgusts - it will stay with you for a very long time.


The Time Traveler's Wife
The Time Traveler's Wife
by Audrey Niffenegger
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A clever, wonderful book, 3 Dec 2009
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I loved this book. It is unique, clever, unusual and amazingly believable. Niffenegger is a beautiful writer, lyrical and honest with a simple style, which always captures the moment or feeling perfectly - her use of language seems to hit the nail on the head every time. Henry and Clare are real, at times irritating at others lovable, they grow and develop in front of you. Clare goes from a child to adult in a linear sense, while Henry flits around, sometimes 8 years old, at others 43. But throughout their love flourishes, from adolescent crush to married bliss. I found myself thinking about this book long after I'd finished the final page, sobbing as I turned it. I was genuinely saddened when it ended. The characters lingered. It works so well because at its heart it's a love story that resonates with all of us - two people trapped in time in 2 different ways, who know they are blessed to have found each other. A wonderful, clever and moving book.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 12, 2010 10:44 AM GMT


The Lovely Bones
The Lovely Bones
by Alice Sebold
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Literary Popcorn, 8 Nov 2009
This review is from: The Lovely Bones (Paperback)
I enjoyed this book and it's easy to read, but it's totally unremarkable.The problem is it doesn't ever quite live up to what it is trying to do. Telling the story from the perspective of a murdered child narrating from heaven is ambitious, but the author doesn't really pull it off. For me, the language is too simplistic, too straightforward and lacks emotion. The novel reminded me of Judy Blume, which is fine if you're a teenager, but pretty basic and naive if you're reading it as an adult. The charatcers develop nicely, many of them grow-up before your eyes, but the book doesn't seem to go anywhere. For a novel of 300 plus pages you expect a few more highs and lows. It gets off to a mega start and then just seems to dwindle into a suburban/high school/middle class fog. It addresses the key theme of grief well and explores its destructive, transforming power. You see people learning to live with tragedy as the book progresses, but this is all it does. Sebold's portrayal of heaven is hackneyed, rather than innovative and I think she squandered an opportunity to be different. She never seems to capture the anger a teenager would feel at having her life cut short. The Lovely Bones is literary popcorn, you gorge and finish the tub, but never feel full.


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