Collapse by Jared Diamond, 2005

Collapse – How Societies Choose to fail or Survive Jared Diamond (2005) An amazing book, which may well have finally cured me of my aversion to non-fiction. I am told it has since been made into a TV programme (or series) but not one which I caught. In brief, this is, as the title suggests,Continue reading “Collapse by Jared Diamond, 2005”

Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy, 1895

My campaign of self improvement and of reading books I should have read a long time ago continues. I have steered clear of Hardy previously largely due to prejudice – his poetry, which formed part of one of my school courses many years ago, felt sentimental and dull, and those of his novels that IContinue reading “Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy, 1895”

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Earlier in the year, just after the Christmas/New Year break, I read “Treasure Island”, largely out of curiosity to see how close the TV adaptation was to the original. In some respects it was very faithful – for example in the way Silver kills the seaman (Tom) who will not join the mutiny once theyContinue reading “Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson”

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, 1868

Books aren’t hailed as classics, and don’t stay in print for 150 years, without good reason. Sometimes the challenge a reader faces is to find that reason. The Moonstone is a good example of this challenge – without it coming so highly recommended by a wide cross section of authors and critics I highly doubtContinue reading “The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, 1868”

Book review: Dracula by Bram Stoker, 1897

Thrilling and Repulsive – an oxymoron perhaps, but one that neatly summarises the central theme of Dracula. The broad elements of the plot of Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel will be familiar to most if not all, but the text is unlikely to have been read by many outside those compelled to do so by college curricula, horrorContinue reading “Book review: Dracula by Bram Stoker, 1897”

Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde

Something Rotten is the fourth in Jasper Fforde’s “Thursday Next” series. I am a big fan of Fforde – he has a comic inventiveness mixed with erudition that is rare in today’s literature. He is hard to categorise – comic fiction certainly, but that is only the start of it. In Thursday Next he has createdContinue reading “Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde”

The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne

I have written previously about one of the probably unintended but positive consequences of the Kindle and its free books – namely that it has led me (and I doubt if it is just me) to read things I wouldn’t have dreamt of reading previously, and would probably have struggled to got my hands onContinue reading “The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne”

The Long Walk to the Hunger Games

There are some books that contain ideas or images which make an impression on you that is wholly disproportionate to the novel itself. In other words you principally remember not the novel but a scene or an image from it, long after the name or the author has been forgotten. One example from my early twentiesContinue reading “The Long Walk to the Hunger Games”