Book review: Collected Short Stories, by E. M. Forster, 1947

Having recently broken my short story review duck, I decided to read another collection, this time by the Edwardian modernist E. M. Forster. This edition, available as a Penguin 20th Century classic, is a good introduction to Forster, because it so clearly demonstrates what is wrong with his work, avoiding the need (if you areContinue reading “Book review: Collected Short Stories, by E. M. Forster, 1947”

Book review: Tarzan of the Apes, by Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1912

Tarzan of the Apes is unquestionably pulp fiction, but it is also great fun, if you can stomach the appalling colonialist attitudes. Tarzan has become one of those archetypal characters from fiction – Dracula, Frankenstein, Sherlock Holmes – with a life far beyond the confines of their original story. Rice Burroughs went on to really milkContinue reading “Book review: Tarzan of the Apes, by Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1912”

Book review: The Buried Giant, by Kazuo Ishiguro, 2015

The Buried Giant is an enigmatic, allegorical novel. Do those two features work well together – can an allegory actually be enigmatic, because if it is then is it really an allegory (and if so of what?). These are the questions that I am grappling with in shaping this review, whereas I suspect they mayContinue reading “Book review: The Buried Giant, by Kazuo Ishiguro, 2015”

Book review: The Lottery, and other stories, by Shirley Jackson, 1949

I haven’t checked but I think this may well be the first collection of short stories I have reviewed in over 400 posts. That must at least be in part because I focused on the Guardian’s top 100 novels for a long time, but it is probably also a comment on the limitations of theContinue reading “Book review: The Lottery, and other stories, by Shirley Jackson, 1949”

Book review: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey, 1962

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is one of those novels (such as The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind) where the film of the book is better known than the book itself. In this case that is completely understandable – Jack Nicholson’s Oscar winning performance in the 1975 film is truly memorable, there are loads ofContinue reading “Book review: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey, 1962”

Book review: The Discworld Companion by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Briggs, 1994

By a wonderful act of synchronicity, I stumbled across this £1 charity bookstore treasure very shortly after completing Soul Music. This edition of the Companion (later editions being called the New Discworld Companion, followed by The Turtles Moves..The Discworld Companion…So Far) was published in 1994, ending with the publication of – and therefore fully describingContinue reading “Book review: The Discworld Companion by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Briggs, 1994”

Book review: Soul Music (Discworld 16) by Terry Pratchett,1994

There’s a disappointing, cut and paste feel to Soul Music which for me makes it the weakest of the Discworld novels thus far (i.e. of the 16 published up to this point). And it is still wonderful! How come? I’ll come to the mitigation, but first this is the plot outline: A young harpist, Imp YContinue reading “Book review: Soul Music (Discworld 16) by Terry Pratchett,1994”

Book review: The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry, 2016

When Cora Seaborne’s bully of a husband thankfully dies, she begins her new life as a widow with a sense of relief. Cora is our story’s heroine, an intelligent free-thinker, interested in the ideas of Marx and Darwin, ill-suited for the role of society wife. Seeking a change of scenery following the funeral, Cora movesContinue reading “Book review: The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry, 2016”

Book review: This Census-Taker by China Miéville, 2016

I’m usually pretty comfortable with novels that ask the reader to do all the heavy-lifting; that only give the barest context and leave it to us to fill in the gaps. Mieville takes this idea close to if not beyond its limits in This Census-Taker, a 2016 novella in which almost all of the detailsContinue reading “Book review: This Census-Taker by China Miéville, 2016”