Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Books to be Reviewed: Against The Flow by Tom Fort

Thanks to Natalie Higgins for sending me a copy of Against the Flow by Tom Fort for reviewing. This is a travel book about one man's travels and angling adventures around Eastern Europe on two trips, one just after the collapse of Communism and one more recent.

"Twenty years ago, Tom Fort drove his little red car onto the ferry at Felixstowe, bound for all points east. Eastern Europe was still a faraway place, just emerging from its half-century of waking nightmare, blinking, injured, full of fears but importantly full of hope too. Things were different then. Czechoslovakia was still Czechoslovakia, Russia was the USSR and the Warsaw Pact had not formally dissolved. But what did exist then, as they do now, were the rivers: the nations' lifeblood. It was along and by these rivers that Fort travelled around Eastern Europe meeting its people and immersing himself in its culture. Since that trip though, much has changed and in more recent years around one million Poles have settled in Britain. Fort's local paper has a Polish edition, his supermarket has a full range of Polish bread, sausage and beer and an influx of Polish businesses opened in his town centre. And it's not just the Poles, his gym has a Lithuanian trainer and the woman who cuts his hair is from Hungary. As a tide of people began to leave Eastern Europe and settle in the UK, Tom Fort started to wonder about what they were leaving behind and whether the friends he had made all those years ago remained. And so he decided to make the journey again."

A review will soon appear here. For those that want to purchase a copy now, orders can be placed here: Against the Flow.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Books to be Reviewed: The Missing by Jane Casey

Thanks to Caroline Newbury for sending me a copy of The Missing by Jane Casey for reviewing, this is her first novel and deals with the investigation of a missing child.

"Jenny Shepherd is twelve years old and missing...Her teacher, Sarah Finch, knows better than most that the chances of finding her alive are diminishing with every day she is gone. As a little girl her older brother had gone out to play one day and never returned. The strain of never knowing what has happened to Charlie had ripped Sarah's family apart. Now in her early twenties, she is back living at home, trapped with a mother who drinks too much and keeps her brother's bedroom as a shrine to his memory. Then, horrifically, it is Sarah who finds Jenny's body, beaten and abandoned in the woods near her home. As she's drawn into the police investigation and the heart of a media storm, Sarah's presence arouses suspicion too. But it not just the police who are watching her... "

A review will soon appear here. For those that want to purchase a copy now, orders can be placed here: The Missing.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Book Review: The Seven Gifts That Came To Earth by John Mellor

The Seven Gifts That Came To Earth is a set of seven allegorical stories linked by the story of a boy being tutored by an angel for the purpose of delivering seven gifts that have been bestowed upon earth.

This highly unusual tale delivers seven thought-provoking stories, laced with a large collection of some of the most bizarre and memorable characters that have ever appeared in a book. However, the linking narrative of the boy and angel make this far more than a collection of short stories and provide a clearer picture as to the meaning of each tale.

One of the wonders of this book is the strange set of characters and peculiar events set in an unusual juxtaposition; a medieval queen hosting a rock concert, a space-exploring bee and a philosopher that talks to a stone are all central to their own tales. At times, these quite incredible characters and events begin to strike the reader as insanity on the part of the author. However, if insanity it is, this is the type that gives birth to great achievements and in examining so many themes such as society, religion and environment, this book can be considered a great achievement by its author.

The Seven Gifts That Came To Earth is not a normal book with a normal story; it must be approached with an open mind and no preconceived ideas of how books should be written. If readers are looking for something original and thought-provoking, this offering from John Mellor nearly perfect - my only disappointment with the book was that it was over too quickly.

I would recommend The Seven Gifts That Came To Earth to a wide variety of open-minded and adventurous readers. Fans of the absurd and philosophy would particularly enjoy it and students of religion and the environment will find some useful themes here too.

Score: 9.5/10