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P "JDR" (Beaworthy, United Kingdom)

Page: 1
by Roald Dahl
Edition: Paperback

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars worthy of a place on any bookshelf, 8 Oct. 2006
This review is from: Matilda (Paperback)
Dahl has the ability to reach every child by showing them that anything is possible, regardless of your circumstances. It's a nice thought but he succeeds where others have failed because of his skillful use of language. The opening pages -and many thereafter- are filled with insults and perfect put-downs which make children laugh. The gentle pace of the story and the familiar way it's told could easily allow it to be mistaken for an unchallenging read,but closer inspection reveals a high standard of vocabulary and a subliminal message which might send some off in quest of Matilda's reading list.

It's a book that children can read on their own, or that parents can read to their children. It should be a literary family staple.

Keep Calm Phipson J
Keep Calm Phipson J
by Joan Phipson
Edition: Hardcover

1.0 out of 5 stars so calm I fell asleep, 21 July 2006
This review is from: Keep Calm Phipson J (Hardcover)
I commend anyone who takes the time to write a book. In many cases I commend people for making the time to read a book. I offer my criticism constructively.

This is a slow story in every respect. Not an entirely bad plot and thought provoking to begin with. However, it quickly becomes tedius and I found myself scanning the pages, not reading them, searching for a bit of action (actually activity would have done!). I can think of no group who would really enjoy this story and can't think of a single person I'd recommend it to. It's not a long book but no matter how much time you have on your hands, I'm certain there's a better way to spend it than reading this.

Coram Boy (NHB Modern Plays)
Coram Boy (NHB Modern Plays)
by Helen Edmundson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a stinking masterpiece, 21 July 2006
This is a big packed story set in the eighteenth century - and sadly not that different from today. Okay, we tend to bury fewer babies in the ditches but parents remain oppressive and the capitalism/opportunism at the expense of the weakest hasn't varied that much over the years. A fine story which allows the reader to develop bonds with the characters and care about their futures. Maybe a bit predicable in places but that doesn't in any way detract from a well written and constructed novel.

Described by Pullman as 'gothic' it genuinely evokes feelings for Meshak similar to those one feels for (Mary Shelley's)Frankenstein's creature who's life is spent on the periphery of all societies. Similarly, the ugliness and brutality of the historical setting is also comparable with Patrick Suskind's 'Perfume' evoking even a sense of smell from the story!

One of a handful of books I'd consider re-reading as there's so much in it I'm sure to have missed something. Excellent.

Mortal Engines (Mortal Engines Quartet)
Mortal Engines (Mortal Engines Quartet)
by Philip Reeve
Edition: Paperback

31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve, reviewed by J. Reader, Beaworthy, 21 July 2006
I read this book as part of reference material and wouldn't otherwise have considered it. How glad I am to have been pointed in its direction. Easily one of the best books I've ever read (and I've read many) and one that leaves you wondering about the future of its surviving characters.

There isn't a single word which doesn't add to the atmosphere, tension and emotion of the unfolding story. Every character evokes some response from the reader and the physical, social and psychological desperation of the towns is effectively conveyed through Reeve's appropriate, but not excessive, description; in fact, in some cases his brevity adds to the stark and bereft circumstance.

Listed as a children's book this is a prime example of the higher standard demanded by children from modern literature. Any adult would take something away from this story. It's brilliantly written and ultimately demonstrates the disappointment that the young so frequently experience when adults fail them; their resilience is empowering to readers.

This is a great book, not one to be rushed though because there's so much to enjoy.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 28, 2017 5:55 PM GMT

Jude the Obscure (Penguin Popular Classics)
Jude the Obscure (Penguin Popular Classics)
by Thomas Hardy
Edition: Paperback

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jude the Obscure, 12 Feb. 2006
Like many, I read Hardy novels at school rather than through choice. I was put off by his ability to take what seemed like pages to describe a tree!! This book was a gift and I am so grateful for it.
Jude's story is beautiful, heart-breaking, plausible and sincere. His desire to live a content life, demanding very little from society, is thwarted by poverty - and women! I shared his hope, his frustration, his sense of loss and his love for Christminster. I feel richer for having spent my time with Jude and plan to return to Hardy as a grown-up to see what it can offer me today. Do yourself a favour, read this book.

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