reading

Morvern Callar by Alan Warner – Book Review

Some books seem to possess a long-lasting hold over your imagination, and I just keep coming back to this deeply strange, macabre and lyrical novel. This must be the fourth or fifth time I re-visited it over the years, and somehow it managed to leave me with a different impression every time.

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The Thirteen Problems by Agatha Christie – Book Review

I made a mistake in my review of The Murder at the Vicarage: while it was Miss Marple’s full-length novel debut, it wasn’t her first appearance, rather it was in a 1927 short story called The Tuesday Night Club. Later, it became the first chapter in this entertaining collection of thirteen short stories, which together form a sort of episodic novel. Midway through the book, I realised that I have actually read it before, but the details of each story completely evaporated from my memory so it was like reading them anew.

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Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found by Cheryl Strayed – Book Review

I really enjoyed the film adaptation of this best-selling memoir with Reese Witherspoon in the lead role from five years back. Now I finally found the time for the original book, the entertaining, emotional and at times harrowing account of a young woman who hiked 1,100 miles alone along the Pacific Crest Trail in the USA.

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Blowing the Bloody Doors Off by Michael Caine – Book Review

This offering from the screen legend Michael Caine is not a straightforward autobiography, but rather a mix of memoir, practical advice for the aspiring actors and general life lessons, drawn from Caine’s 60-something years in the acting business. It’s an entertaining and breezy read, with Caine emerging as an unpretentious, charming and likeable person.

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Lord Edgware Dies by Agatha Christie – Book Review

“Good title that, by the way. Lord Edgware Dies. Look well on a bookstall.” This Poirot novel may not be one of my absolute favourites, but you can tell that Christie had a lot of fun with it, including some self-referential winking. Though I’m not sure if Lord Edgware Dies is necessarily superior to the book’s alternative title, Thirteen at Dinner.

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How Music Works by David Byrne – Book Review

An eclectic and often engrossing collection of essays from David Byrne, best known as the principal songwriter and lead singer of the iconic American band Talking Heads. In this book, Byrne offers his perspective on the subject he’s been involved with for his entire life, music, blending social and technological history, autobiography, business strategies, technical knowledge and personal philosophy.

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The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie – Book Review

I’ll always have a special soft spot for this book since it was the first Agatha Christie novel I’ve ever read back in my early teens. While I probably wouldn’t recommend it to someone else as a first taste of Christie, it’s a fun adventure romp that holds up surprisingly well on a re-read and is one of Christie’s better thrillers. Also, the current coronavirus situation and its restrictions have a way of colouring things I watch and read; reading about someone embarking on an adventure in a far-off country (on a cruise ship, no less!) left me with a wistful pang that otherwise wouldn’t be there.

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Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee – Book Review

I don’t often buy books I’ve never heard of by the unfamiliar authors purely on a whim, let alone for a full price, but this novel by a Korean-American writer, a spontaneous pick while milling around a bookstore, totally justified the gamble (also, I’ve noticed I’m much more likely to buy anything when it’s in red). It’s a sign of a great book when, after spending time with its characters for over 600 pages, you’re sad to say goodbye as you turn over the last page.

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