Monthly Archives: March 2009

“Ours not to reason why, ours but to do and die”

Numbersthe debut novel for teens (and up) by Rachel Ward is a book very much concerned with life and death, and the quote above by Tennyson, seems to me to capture its essence in a nutshell perfectly. Told in the first person, this is Jem’s story of the time spent with her friend Spider. Fifteen year old Jem doesn’t really… Read more »

“Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go.”

… so said Truman Capote. Going to Venice is like stepping into a time-warp. On the surface, it’s ancient, romantic and beautiful, yet it is mysterious and there’s often a whiff of danger from its history as a great trading city. Much of the paraphenalia of modern living is hidden from the tourist’s view allowing you to wallow in adoration… Read more »

“Always winter and never Christmas” in this dystopia

I must admit to a liking for books featuring dystopian futures. It’s really interesting to see what different authors do with the world left after the breakdown of society. Surprisingly then, I’ve yet to read Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, but it has gone up the list. In Far North by Marcel Theroux – Siberia has been settled by Quakers from the… Read more »

Change of style

Felt like a change of template. The funky greens were nice, but I was getting a bit bored with them, so I’ve picked classic white – but stretched widthwise to use more of the page. I’m actually rather pleased with it.

My Easter kid-lit feast

I’ve decided that in the run-up to Easter, I shall concentrate on children’s literature and ya (young adult) novels. Like many readers, and notably dovegreyreader’s recent theme of revisiting her inner child, I get an awful lot out of reading proper children’s novels, the best of which are the equal of any adult book. However rather than re-read books I… Read more »

Loser’s Town by Daniel Depp

Loser’s Town is the first novel by Daniel Depp, half-brother of the more famous Johnny. As a Hollywood insider, it is full of satirical glimpses of life in the public eye and what goes on behind closed doors. Dave Spandau, ex-stuntman turned private eye is an intelligent and gruff hero that you can’t help but warm to, and let’s hope that… Read more »

Boring Postcards by Martin Parr is anything but!

Boring Postcards by Martin Parr This was a book I rescued from a local charity shop for just £1 and fell in love with instantly. Presented in their original size, beautifully printed onto heavyweight paper with plenty of white space surrounding them, these postcards make a brilliant topic for an art book from Phaidon, masters of the subject. Also these… Read more »

Dr Phil Hammond in Abingdon tomorrow!

Dr Phil Hammond – scourge of the medical establishment and a very, very funny man is bringing his one man show to Abingdon TOMORROW! He’s appearing at the Amey Theatre in Abingdon School at 7.30pm, Sat March 21st as part of the Abingdon Arts Festival. Dr Phil will be answering audience questions and performing free examinations (confidentiality assured). The best… Read more »

Capsule reviews

Sorry – I’ve been extremely busy so far this week, so two capsule reviews for you of what I’ve read recently … Marching Powder by Rusty Young This follows the incarceration of a young black Englishman in Bolivia’s San Pedro prison for drug-trafficking. I would not have got this book if my book group hadn’t picked it. A totally corrupt… Read more »

What a show!

AnnaBookBel   March 15, 2009   No Comments on What a show!

Oliver! by Lionel Bart has been my favourite musical ever since the time we performed some selections from the show at primary school, and I was Oliver, aged 11. Ever since then, I’ve needed very little encouragement to launch into Oom Pah Pah! on any suitable occasion or to recreate my star-turn singing the soppy Where is love. We watch… Read more »

Moviewatch – Burn After Reading

The latest film from the marvellous Coen brothers is another of their darker than dark comedies, a tale of dorky folk who all get caught up in a stupidly bizarrely circular chain of events . Burn After Reading has very few laugh out loud moments, but there are plenty of corner of the mouth secret chuckles to be had. It’s… Read more »

Did they actually learn any science?

A new series started on BBC last Friday called ‘Rocket Science’. I don’t shout at the telly much, but I did watching this. An ‘inspirational’ science teacher who loves practical physics and chemistry takes a bunch of typical 13 year old kids who hate the subject and tries to convert them over a period of nine months into becoming fans…. Read more »

Opposites attract

Benny and Shrimp Katarina Mazetti I’m doing well with my resolution to read more translated fiction – eight out of twenty books read so far this year. Benny and Shrimp by Katarina Mazetti is yet another brilliant Nordic novel from Sweden to be translated for us to read.  Both heartwarming and heartwrenching, this romance of two thirtysomethings who are total… Read more »

Guilty Secrets #3

This is another entry in the occasional series where I own up to not having read something. Today I am owning up to not having read the literary quarterly ‘Magazine of New Writing’ Granta. Nothing wrong with that you may say – literary quarterlies are often an acquired taste. The shocking thing is though that over the years, I’ve managed… Read more »

This great book will mess with your mind!

The Juggler by Sebastian Beaumont Last year one of my favourite new books, and really deserving of five stars, was Sebastian Beaumont’s debut novel, the marvellous Thirteen. Framed around the strange life of a depressed night-cabbie, it was multilayered, darkly surreal and edgy. It played tricks with your mind, (which with hindsight reminds me of master-mentalist Derren Brown’s Trick or… Read more »