Tuesday, 31 March 2015


The only thing I can be really sure about this book, is that I have read it for the short story category. But because it's a book of short stories, I can't really say either way whether or not I liked it. Some I felt could have been expanded into and entire book they were so amazing, whereas others I have no shame in admitting that I wanted to skip them.

This book is basically a collection of short stories (no surprise) which all center around an unnatural creature or two. Gaiman has chosen stories which take about everything from unicorns and phoenixes, to odd spots on the table cloth.

The book set itself up with two amazing stories. The first was so amazing that it left me with a three day book hangover, and the second was just an incredibly imaginative, original and well written short story. After the amazing success of these two, the rest in to volume just didn't seem quite able to match up to the same standard and left me feeling a little disappointed. Other that those first two, I think there were two, maybe three others which lifted me out of my disappointment momentarily.

I've never particularly been a fan of short stories and although I have enjoyed reading some of these, I don't feel that this book particularly champions them and shouts 'SHORT STORIES ARE AMAZING!' I think I remain to be convinced by the short story phenomenon.

A good book, but not one I will hurry back to any time soon. I would recommend it, after all this is only my opinion and we all like reading different things. You might like it and I hope that you do. Happy reading :)

Thursday, 26 March 2015

THE ELEPHANT MAN By Bernard Pomerance

For ages, I have been wondering what I should read for the play category and then it twigged, tonight is the opening night of my dramatics society's performance of The Elephant Man. I've been reading a play every night for the last two months.

This is an absolutely phenomenal play and you need a strong constitution to avoid being brought to tears. This is the true story of John Merrick, a young man burdened with horrific physical disfigurements, known to many as The Elephant Man. For many years John worked in freak shows, touring the country and selling himself for the rich and famous to gawk and laugh at. In this play we see the saviour, Dr Frederick Treves, take Merrick off the streets and into his own care, and attempt to introduce Merrick to society. It is an utterly moving story and one that I am all too familiar with, and feel I will be for many, many years to come.

The script in itself is rather basic, however I personally feel that Pomerance has done this to allow the actors enough room to interperate and develop the play as they see fit, something very important to actors, professional and amateur alike.

The only quarm I have is the use of modern americanisms such as 'alright' but other than that I have not a bad word to say.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

PERSEPOLIS By Marjane Satrapi

I was a bit unsure about what I was going to read for the graphic novel category as I've never really found any interest in graphic novels. I tried to avoid manga graphic novels, not because they're bad because many people enjoy them, but because I wanted to see if there were any other forms of graphic novel that never really go any notice. I chose this one because; on the shelf, it looked the most like a normal novel rather than a comic book or annual. Uncertain of whether I would enjoy it, I pick up another one that looked different so that I could give them both a go. in the end, I didn't need the second one, Persepolis was more than interesting to read.

Persepolis is the story of a young Iranian girl who is the grand daughter of a Prince who was thrown out of power and a rebellion started in the country. Marji attempts to fight in the rebellion and encourage her parents to do the same. This is a story of how a young girl's religious and political views are chopped and changed rapidly as she grows up in a world that no one would ever wish on their children.

This was not at all what I had expected from a graphic novel. I was expecting romance and teenagers along with drama and relationship crisis'. In no way did I expect to be reading a book that really ought to come with a health warning.

I really liked that fact that this focussed on a war which wasn't the first or second world war. This was a much more recent war which impacted many of the community still alive today. Why is it that was seem happy to talk about the horrors other generations had to face, but we wont talk about our own? This is an important portrayal of how war doesn't just affect the people on the front line.

I did enjoy reading it although I would never have picked it up if it hadn't been for the reading challenge. I enjoyed the experience of reading a graphic novel more than expected to. I can't say that the GN section in the library will be my firs port of call from now on because that would be a lie, but I do think that I may be a little open-minded to the world of comic style and graphic novels.

Sunday, 22 March 2015


So this could actually fit into a number of categories including, a book with non human characters, a book published the year I was born, a book of short stories, but I have chosen this to be read for the category of a book from my childhood.

I remember very clearly, the only thing I ever enjoyed about primary school was listening to our teacher read stories about Maximus Mouse and his friend Patrick, in assembly. They must have had every book Ogden ever released about Maximus Mouse, but despite being 19 I had to by a copy when I found it in a charity shop for 30p.

These are fabulous stories about a small mouse named Maximus who lives in the church vestry, his best friend Patrick who lives with his wife and 37 children in the Sunday school cupboard, and his other furry critter friends who live in the grounds of the church. In this particular volume of his adventures, they visit the seaside and learn how to enjoy nature and respect it at the same time, Maximus tries to fly and learns that he's better off trying to be a mouse, and together with Patrick, he climbs the church bell tower to reach the flag pole, despite his fear of heights, learning that so long as we have faith, we can do anything. These are just three of the stories in this book, but they are all equally beautiful and captivating in the way Ogden has told them.

These may have been published last century, but the messages and lessons taught through them are no less poignant today and the stories are in no way outdated. These are a definite for any parent who wants to encourage their children morally and spiritually, and even if you don't want to use the little prayers at the end of each tale, they are still amazing little independent stories. I am so glad that I got the opportunity to go back and read this. It really has made me smile, and remember the tiny glimmers of good from school.

ITCH By Simon Mayo

This has been on my reading list ever since it came out just under three years ago. It wasn't something I found myself dying to read, it was more of a book which I figured looked like something interesting have a go at if I found myself with nothing else to read, however I am very glad that I picked it up at work and gave it a read.

Itchingham Lofte is a young boy in high school who has a hobby just like most other kids in school do; he collects things. However, unlike the other kids, Itch doesn't collect trading cards, footballs or bottle tops.... he collects elements. It isn't until he manages to get hold of some of the higher elements on the table that he begins to see just how dangerous some of them can be. Undeterred, this fourteen year old boy continues to travel round fairs and contact dealers, faking his age to by out of date medical equipment. He just never imagined he might find something that no one else had.

I really did enjoy this book. I expected to enjoy it and I did and I think the best thing about this book is that it can be enjoyed by people of all ages no matter how old you are, even though it's supposed to be a kids book. I should imagine that this idea has been used before, but not in this sort of way.

I found the book easy to read and the story line easy enough to follow. It was refreshing to read a book that simply satisfied your need for a good book that excited you and you enjoyed, without having to put a marathon amount of effort into reading it.

This is a definite read for all readers, young and old, boys and girls, and I look forward to reading more of Mayo's novels.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

I AM PILGRIM By Terry Hayes

Okie doke folks! Here is the book that I have read for the category of A book with more than 500 pages. In fact this book has closer to 900 pages and that is also the reason that it has taken me so long to read it and upload a review about it.

This book follows the story of a retired intelligence agent who is pulled out of retirement to try and solve the biggest terrorist attack that America has ever seen, a new, hot, unstoppable strain of small pox.

Obviously this book contains a lot more than just this one story and I'm not going to lie, I did get a little bit worried when I realized that smallpox was going to be the terror agent in this book and I as quick to become sceptical that it was going to become samey and unoriginal, however, I loved it. I really really did enjoy this book an awful lot.

The thing I found most interesting about this book it the way that the beginning, middle, and end of the book, are all completely different and could; in themselves, be separate volumes, but they still flowed seamlessly from on to another, and it honestly didn't feel like 850+ pages.

It was also really nice to read a modern book which is aimed at adults without being sexually explicit. It really goes to show that although sex sells, it isn't the only thing that makes a book worth reading, or a film worth seeing. I think throughout the whole book, there is only one mild innuendo that i can remember and to be honest, I've read this more graphic than that in YA books.

This is a fantastic book which I would recommend to everyone. It is ridiculously well written and if I hadn't know beforehand, I would never have guessed that this was a debut novel. Hayes may have little novel writing experience, but he has the talent and voice of a master.