Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Book Review: French Revolutions by Tim Moore

French Revolutions is the true and humorous tale of Tim Moore's attempt to cycle around France following the route of the 2000 Tour De France. Whilst this attempt is largely successful, the author does resort to cheating on a number of occasions, something he justifies by outlining the history (tradition?) of cheating in the real Tour. This interesting take on the race is interspersed with a wide variety of factual anecdotes about the Tour De France which gives the book another dimension and making it more than just a jokey travelogue.

This is a well-written and interesting story which takes the reader through the French countryside and the superhuman effort it takes to complete the Tour even at a slow pace, imparting something of the author's emotional journey as he becomes a more accomplished cyclist.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Books to be Reviewed: Thoughts - Life of a Suicide by Dillan Kane

Thanks to Greg Shelangoski for sending me a copy of Thoughts: Life of a Suicide by Dillan Kane for reviewing. This book aims to provoke thoughts on what makes people commit suicide and what happens afterwards in an attempt to prevent further suicides; the book is authored by the brother of a suicide and is self-published through Author House.

"My brother committed suicide in 1999 at the age of 16. Like any suicide it didn't seem to need to have to happen,but it did. This is my attempt to try to understand the impulses of suicide and heal from the aftermath. It is also my attempt to define what death is and what it means to me,interwined with what life means. "

A review will soon appear here but until then readers can order a copy from Amazon: Thoughts: Life of a Suicide.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Book Review: The Case of The Missing Books by Ian Sansom

The Case of the Missing Library Books is the first in Ian Sansom's series of comedic novels featuring the librarian Israel Armstrong who, in this first outing, becomes an unlikely detective. Israel arrives, from London, in small and obscure Irish town where outsiders are made to feel less than welcome. He quickly finds that he has been downgraded to mobile librarian and that he must locate all 14000 missing books.

This is an interesting yarn which draws heavily on Israel's discomfort and inability to fit in with the locals for sources of humour but there is a lot of situational amusement to be derived from this book too. Cultural stereotypes are used a lot in this story but they are not over-relied upon and largely occur because of Israel's lack of social skills and preconceived ideas.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Book Review: The Guv'nor by Lenny Mclean & Peter Gerrard

The Guv'nor is the nickname and biography of Lenny McLean and this book catalogues his violent progress in the east end of London from abused child to petty thief, hard man, minder, bare-knuckle boxer to bit-part actor; a truly astonishing and, at times, disturbing tale.

Although this is a biography it has the feel of an autobiography due to its first person narrative and use of colloquial English, giving it a really authentic feel and making it as if The Guv'nor is telling his story directly to the reader and makes for unusual and interesting reading. Indeed the litany of misdeeds and violence which are described in Lenny McLean's life would sound ridiculous if told in any other way and are only believable when hearing it from a first person perspective. This is the story of one of London's old-fashioned monsters but told in a way that reveals the good qualities of his character.