Tag Archives: Dystopian

My Books of the Year 2014 – Part One – the Shiny Edit…

This year for the first time, I’ve split my best of list in two. Having read around 130 books this year, there are too many to feature in just one post and there is an obvious split – today’s first part will feature those books that I’ve reviewed over at Shiny New Books.  Forgive me for continually banging the drum, but I’m… Read more »

Safe inside the wall?

The First Book of Calamity Leekby Paula Lichtarowicz This interesting debut novel is one of those that defy easy pigeonholing. A group of girls with strange names live in a walled community looked after by Aunty with occasional visits from Mother. They spend their days cultivating roses and vegetables, looking after pigs, and sewing cushions. At first it appears that… Read more »

Book Two of the Chaos Walking Trilogy

The Ask & the Answer by Patrick Ness Warning: If you haven’t read the first book in this trilogy The Knife of Never Letting Go, (reviewed here) – don’t read this, rush out and get a copy Book One, then read the second. Book two starts immediately where the first left off; teenagers Todd and Viola are pitched into a… Read more »

A novel of archaeology, food, pandemics and ghosts

Cold Earth by Sarah Moss This novel, published by Granta, is lovely to behold. What you can’t see are the beautiful turquoise blue page edges, and the glossy white fibrils of grassy roots insinuating their way through the bones of the skeleton curled up underneath the title. Luckily I enjoyed reading the book as much as I liked looking at… Read more »

Another brilliant dystopia in this coming of age novel

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness This novel for early teens+ was short-listed for the 2009 Carnegie Medal, and won the vote of the boys shadowing the award at the school where I work. I have to say it was a fantastic read for adults too, being multi-layered and thought-provoking – putting a new spin on the… Read more »

What do you do when love is the only thing left?

The Road by Cormac McCarthy The Road by Cormac McCarthy is the third novel I’ve read this year that is set in a post-apocalyptic world. The others were Far North by Marcel Theroux (reviewed here) and Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban (reviewed here).  In the post-nuke timeline, The Road is set in the years immediately after the big one and… Read more »

A difficult and challenging read – stay with it to be rewarded!

Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban Let’s face it, my book group is probably thinking (to use Sir Alan’s phrase from this week’s Apprentice) there must be “a village looking for an idiot”, for I chose this book as our monthly read. No disrespect to them intended for, although we are a quite literary lot, this book was far, far away… 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 »

The Island at the End of the World by Sam Taylor

This book is definitely one of those love it or loathe it novels. You’ll either love it – for the clever plotting and gradual reveal of what has happened to its family, or loathe it primarily because many chapters are written in eight year old Finn’s phonetic speaking voice, where things like changing an ‘a’ for a ‘u’ in ‘can’t’… Read more »

Blindness by Jose Saramago

1997 Nobel laureate Saramago was born in 1922 and is considered to be Portugal’s top living writer. He wrote this novel in 1995 and what a book it is! This was our book group choice for December, and we all found it an intense and compelling read. When an epidemic of sudden blindness happens, the blind and those contaminated by… Read more »

Oct-Nov Book Group Report

Nine of us met at the new Ask? Italian in Abingdon last night for our monthly meeting. We had 2 books to discuss as October’s was cancelled. A nice place to eat, although slightly pricey for what you get, Ask? was not the ideal venue for a discussion as the high ceiling with gallery (it’s a converted Methodist chapel) made… Read more »

Short Takes

AnnaBookBel   November 2, 2008   No Comments on Short Takes

The Ballad of Peckham Rye by Muriel Spark The 100th book I read this year. It was a delightful short novel about a young man who arrives in a slightly posh bit of South London, stirs things up rather devilishly bringing this staid bit of town to life, and then he disappears. Is Dougal Douglas the devil or just a… Read more »

Genrification … that’s the name of the game?

If a fiction book is labelled chicklit, or Science Fiction, does it put you off? – Possibly … Sci-Fi was one of the most spurned, if not the most derided genre of novels until chicklit came along. Personally, I can’t see anything wrong with either genre – in principle … Now I have to defend myself: Chicklit – I admit… Read more »

Big Brother is watching you…

1984 by George Orwell I read this first, as I’m sure many of us did, as a teenager. I’m also sure that the savage satire on totalitarian states went straight over my head – I was into Science Fiction, and sadly didn’t pay any attention to modern history. Instead I was probably thinking how clever(!) the construction of doublespeak was… Read more »