Book 10 – The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

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Well, I really enjoyed the first two thirds of this novel, which established and developed the narrative and characters, but found the final section tying up the many loose ends less engaging.

The Essex setting was great and all the characters were quite interesting (the only genuinely nasty person died conveniently on page 2). However the relentless serpent theme grated. Also tbh, some of the characters were so interesting, I would have liked a longer novel, so I could have known then better.

Other plus points:

– The rector actually seemed to be a Christian

-Interesting autistic character

-Beautiful cover design

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Filed under 2017, Novels about Clergy

Book 9 – My Uncle Napoleon by Iraq Pezeshkzad

This one’s a fail, I’m afraid, I only made it to the end of Chapter 2.

Things I didn’t like:

  • The adult world described through a juvenile narrator (just not my taste),
  • I don’t think the dialogue, particularly the idiomatic phrases, came across very well in translation,
  • The servant (who I think is a key character throughout the novel was REALLY annoying).

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Book 8 – On Fairy Stories by J.R.R. Tolkein

Strictly one for fans and scholars, the essay itself only takes up 80 out of 300 pages. The rest consists of footnotes, an editor’s glossary, correspondence and the originated manuscripts.

I haven’t really digested what Tolkein is saying yet. One thing I’m sure of; he would have hated living in the present time.

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Book 7 – Home by Marilynne Robinson 

I found this companion novel to Gilead quite hard to read, very emotionally demanding. It’s beautifully written, and almost unbearably sad. But I found the central characters frustratingly reserved with one another and I don’t have much patience for people who seem to generate great offense from one slightly misplaced word.

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Filed under 2017, Christianity, Novels about Clergy

Book 6 -Prayer by Timothy Keller

I think I need to read this book a few times and make copious notes to do it justice. Keller states in his introduction that he isn’t setting out to say anything new about prayer (in fact he draws heavily on the writings of the sixteenth and seventeenth Reformers in particular) but aims to bring existing material to modern readers in a book that covers the theological, the devotional and the experiential aspects of prayer.

The main point of course is; just pray and trust that God will lead you to Him.

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Filed under 2017, Christianity, Non Fiction

Book 5 – The Spy Who Came In From The Cold by John le Carré 

Terrifically fast paced and complicated spy novel. You’ll need to concentrate to keep up.

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Book 4 – The Plot Against America by Philip Roth 

A very timely, pertinent read. Written in 2004, and describing an alternative history where populist right wingers plot to usurp American democracy during the Second World War, the plot contains some scarily prescient parallels with current events (dateline February 2017)

I don’t usually like novels which interpret the grown up world through the voice of a child narrator, but Roth writes so beautifully and intelligently, that it works.

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Filed under 2017, Alternate History