stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
A charming, if rather paint-by-numbers, lesbian romance story between a Palestinian Christian and a British Muslim. The plot was terribly predictable, so there was very little suspense to it, and the characters were rather puppet-like - one felt they'd been pushed into the appropriate positions and instructed, 'now, advance the plot'. The author is a screenwriter by trade, and it shows: in the formulaic plot, the cardboard characters, the frequent point-of-view changes - and the absolutely luscious scene-setting. Seriously, I would like to see the film of this, because it sounds gorgeous: Jordan, London, Oxford, all evoked with a masterly touch; and I shouldn't be surprised if the film works a lot better than the book in putting the three dimensions across. Frustrating in parts - I would have loved it to have gone a little deeper into the clash of culture - but a nice enough read on the whole.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/10402240
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
A rather transparent attempt at being the Great Anglican Novel of the Twenty-First Century (Trollope, Howatch, Arditti...?) What did I just say about the present tense? Breathy and irritating, that was it - and also there were too many characters, and the good ones were good, and the bad ones were bad, and it was painfully earnest in places - and I still devoured it.

It takes the form of a triptych, the centre being a modern Passion narrative, and either side being a running commentary on the services and other events of a London Holy Week. I rather think that Arditti is trying to be a bit too clever, and that he pushes his symbolism and his Message at the expense of his characters. I did find it interesting, in that it deals with one of my perennial hobby-horses, namely, being LGBT and Christian - but really, Rev. did it better.

I know that I will want to re-read this in time, but it's not one of the real greats.
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
An informative and readable, if necessarily somewhat ghoulish, tour around the history of British executions, by a former Yeoman Warder. Geoffrey Abbot has an engaging style, and slotted the various case histories into their historical context neatly and efficiently.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/7877305
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
Re-read prior to bookcrossing. I first came across Larkin in general, and this volume in particular, at A-level, and have been a fan ever since. For all that he's a grumpy old sod, he's a perceptive observer and is very competent at conveying the sights, sounds, and moods of his time. It's as if he's distilled the Britain of the sixties, and here it is. Of its time in the best sense of the phrase.

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stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
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