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Biblioholic "biblioholic" (Gloucestershire, UK)

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Bracelet of Bones (The Viking Sagas)
Bracelet of Bones (The Viking Sagas)
by Kevin Crossley-Holland
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 12.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An unusual adventure, 2 May 2011
I am a great fan of Kevin Crossley-Holland, and looked forward to reading Bracelet of Bones. It turned out to be a good adventure story written in a poetic vein echoing the saga-type language of the Vikings. It is a kind of odyssey, in which 15-year-old Solveig sets out from Norway to find her father whom she believes to have travelled to Miklagard (Byzantium). It traces vividly the changing scenery and culture from Scandinavia to the last outpost of the Roman Empire.

Unfortunately as I am not really au fait with Norse mythology I felt I was missing something even with the help of a list of Norse deities at the beginning. The plot (like the river!) meandered until the protagonists reached Kiev, after which it picked up in momentum. But the real drawback for me was the lack of familiarity with Norse names, which meant I constantly had to refer to the list of characters at the beginning; even then I was sometimes confused about their gender.

As an adult reader, I did wonder how much the book would appeal to children. However I am looking forward to a sequel which seems to be promised by the title page.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 5, 2012 6:05 AM BST


Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week: from the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection Pt. 2
Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week: from the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection Pt. 2
by Pope Benedict XVI
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 13.38

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good book for Lent, 14 April 2011
This is the second part of the present Pope's reflections on on Jesus. As you might expect it is a faith-filled and faith-inspiring book, grounded on respected theology and New Testament criticism of the past century or so, both Catholic and Protestant. He comments on the events of Holy Week as recorded in the New Testament in order to deepen the reader's appreciation and understanding both of what happened and what that means for contemporary Christians. He is not afraid to point out apparent contradictions or uncertainties in the narrative and leave the reader to draw their own conclusions (or conclude that no conclusion is possible).

Unlike the writings of the last Pope, this book is written in an accessible style and I would recommend it for anyone interested in an overview of the significance of the events of Holy week.


The Finkler Question
The Finkler Question
by Howard Jacobson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 14.08

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Big disappointment, 14 Feb 2011
This review is from: The Finkler Question (Hardcover)
As many others have observed, how did this book win the Man Booker Prize? [The Long Song was much much better!] The 'plot' meanders, the three main characters are only vaguely interesting, and the picaresque humour falls flat as there is essentially only one joke, and it takes a while to sort out what that is. I am sure there is a wonderful novel about modern British Jewishness waiting to be written, but this isn't it.


White Crow
White Crow
by Marcus Sedgwick
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 8.16

5.0 out of 5 stars Deft horror, 10 Nov 2010
This review is from: White Crow (Hardcover)
I was glad I read this in daylight. Some of it is truly hair-raising, and the eeriness is well-maintained throughout. I'm sure teenagers will love it and will recommend it right left and centre.


The Christian West and Its Singers: The First Thousand Years
The Christian West and Its Singers: The First Thousand Years
by Christopher Page
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 34.93

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first and last word on the subject, 8 Nov 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I am not surprised that no one has yet reviewed this book. It took me a couple of months to read: for one thing you can't read it in bed as it is way too heavy, and in any case it is not suitable reading for those only half-awake!
Having said that, I was fascinated by most of this book, in particular the part covering the period up to the reign of Pippin. The author's painstaking piecing together of evidence for this early period threw up many sidelights on the late Roman Empire (and not just the music history aspect) that I found illuminating. The book is well illustrated and has appendices that the real enthusiast can consult.

I think the book is nothing short of magisterial, ending in a thorough investigation of the contribution of Guido of Arezzo not just to the development of musical notation but to the life and thought of the Church. The book should be read by anyone interested in the first 1000 years of the Church, not just musical scholars.

For the price I would have expected better proof-reading: there are errors in the Latin and Greek as well as English, and it lets down the meticulous scholarship of the author. If I were him I would be quite cross. But don't let this put anyone off. The new perspectives offered by the book far outweigh any technical glitches.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 1, 2011 7:59 AM BST


Virtue Reborn
Virtue Reborn
by Tom Wright
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.09

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thoughtful book but not the faint-hearted, 27 July 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Virtue Reborn (Paperback)
This interesting book basically brings up to date the old faith versus good works arguments and by re-focusing the ideas shows that the old arguments are obsolete. The topics range from the Greek philosophers' concept of virtue onwards, and the line of thought is often close-woven, with inevitable technicalities that all the same do not prevent the general reader from following the analyses. However I think it is fair to say that the general reader needs to ingest some intellectual Kendall mint cake before launching into it!


The Bride's Farewell
The Bride's Farewell
by Meg Rosoff
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a holiday read, 13 May 2010
This review is from: The Bride's Farewell (Hardcover)
This is a pretty good yarn but is marred by the lack of historical context - it takes many chapters to work out whether the setting is 1660 or 1840. Geographical clues also made it difficult to follow, unless you are very familiar with the maps of Wiltshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire. The author has no real feel for the state of religion at the time, and there are several Americanisms that jar.

I am afraid I did not find the characters very engaging: some don't even have names (which again makes the plot hard to follow). All in all it was quite depressing, not a holiday read!


Enchanted Glass
Enchanted Glass
by Diana Wynne Jones
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 9.89

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More please, 22 Mar 2010
This review is from: Enchanted Glass (Hardcover)
I am not normally a reader of fantasy, but Diana Wynne Jones is the remarkable exception, and her new book is as enchanting as its title. Her world is alternative but is full of humour (not comedy) and humanity. I don't want to give the plot away, but suffice it to say is very imaginative while at the same time you feel you could meet the characters anywhere. I suspect (nay hope) there will be a sequel, and can't wait to read it.


The Vanishing of Katharina Linden
The Vanishing of Katharina Linden
by Helen Grant
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.24

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An engrossing read, 25 Jan 2010
This book is much more than your regular children's mystery thriller. It intertwines the almost-contemporary mystery with Grimm-like tales, and the domestic situation of the narrator (a 19-year-old looking back on her 10-year-old self), to produce a rich narrative. The grimness, indeed gruesomeness, of the story is counterbalanced by a wry observation of character interspersed with humour.

In some ways it could be compared with Anne Cassidy's 'Looking for JJ', and it is much more mature than you would imagine from the cover, in the same way that the real Grimm stories are earthy and unsettling.

I think adults would enjoy this book as much as teenagers. I note that is published under the Penguin imprint rather than the Puffin.


The Help
The Help
by Kathryn Stockett
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling read, 22 Nov 2009
This review is from: The Help (Paperback)
I recently told someone that I can't read books written in the present tense throughout, and I was over halfway through 'The Help' before it struck me that it was written in this way. I found it so engrossing that I didn't notice something that usually irritates me. The various voices of the story were entirely convincing, and as it unfolded involved the reader in the moral and emotional complexities of the relationships between black and white people in 60's America.

I thought it informative but also deeply moving, and heartily recommend it.


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