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Hannah "Hannah" (London)

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The Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh (Penguin Modern Classics)
The Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh (Penguin Modern Classics)
by Evelyn Waugh
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.88

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Transcending, 1 Dec. 2010
I have a great interest in literature from the 40s and 50s but this full collection of correspondence between two great writers and personalities never appealed. When I finally picked it up I couldn't put it down for two solid days.
It makes the text more interesting if you have a passing knowledge of Waugh and Mitford but is perfectly readable without. It reads like a literary gossip who's who -Maugham, Greene, Amis etc all make fascinating appearances. However the book is more then this, and gives a real insight into a long-standing friendship. The letters themselves are well-written, witty, and occasionally biting and caustic (usually Waugh). I lived and breathed their world and felt completely bereft when it came to a rather sad end. I can't recommend this book enough- it's pure, unadulterated joy and escapism. Yes, like the reviewer before me, I frequently SHRIEKED, but by the end I was also in floods.

Regarding the footnotes - yes they are long and in the beginning a tad intimidating. I tended to ignore them when I started the book, but when I was fully engrossed ten pages later devoured them all.

The Brothers Karamazov (Everyman's Library Classics)
The Brothers Karamazov (Everyman's Library Classics)
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic still relevant today, 15 July 2010
I kept this book on my shelf for 3 years before reading it, but once I did, I finished it in less then a week. Dostoyevsky has incredible insights on socialism, philosophy, religion and society, most that are still relevant today. It is easy to see how Camus and Sartre were influenced by it, and there were passages also that reminded me of Huxley's Brave New World, especially about the englightened few controlling the masses.
Above all else however, this is an enjoyable whodunnit. An excellent crime novel centring round the three Karamazov brothers; Dmitri, Ivan and Alyosha and their wayward father, Fyodor. All the human emotions are here - love, hatred, jealousy, bitterness, and although Tolstoy may be the master of relationships, no-one can draw out the tension like Dostoevsky.
I was intimidated by the sheer size and reputatio of this, but it is one of the best books I have ever read, and I would wholeheartedly recommend it.

Between the Sheets: The Literary Liaisons of Nine 20th-Century Women Writers
Between the Sheets: The Literary Liaisons of Nine 20th-Century Women Writers
by Lesley McDowell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Too intent on scoring points, 2 July 2010
Great subject matter, but distracted by the really poor writing and bad editing. Rather then giving us information, the writer is too intent on scoring points against other biographies, and pushing forward her own opinion which she seems to think is controversial (it's not). Try Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Marriages in Literary London which is a similar theme but much better written.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 25, 2010 1:03 PM BST

Her Fearful Symmetry
Her Fearful Symmetry
by Audrey Niffenegger
Edition: Hardcover

8 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Childish, 1 Oct. 2009
This review is from: Her Fearful Symmetry (Hardcover)
It was always going to be to the detriment of Her Fearful Symmentry that it is compared to The Time Traveler's Wife, and this book is close to being as imaginative and original. Niffenegger's writing style however is unrecognisable here, with the simple prose grating after the first few pages. Her device of putting thoughts in italics after a character has spoken seems childish and unnecessary - she leaves nothing to the imagination or our own interpretation, always making sure we know when a character is lying, or feeling scared, cold or hungry etc, by spelling out even the most uninteresting fact.
The book could have been written by a child. While the descriptions of Highgate Cemetry are beautiful they are not enough to pull the story along for over 300 pages. If you want a book that is incredibly easy to read and can be polished off in a day or 2, do pick this up. If you want to be a tad more challenged, leave well alone. Really disappointing.

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