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Bookworm


BOOK REVIEWS FOR JANUARY 2021

BEARTOWN  by Fredrik Backman   

This novel is set in a remote Swedish town called Beartown i.e. the back of beyond.  It is on the edge of a huge forest and 9 months of the year it is cold and 3 months warm.  Beartown is a ice hockey town and the novel is based around the hope that the Town’s Junior ice hockey team will bring National glory and economical revival to the town. Beartown is small and while this is a hockey story it is really about the community and their involvement.  It’s heart rending and engrossing but far more relevant is Right v Wrong and Fear v Courage.  This novel is well worth reading and a page turner with ‘thought provoking’ issues. 

Cost [Amazon]   Paperback - £7.37       Kindle - £4.99


US AGAINST YOU by Fredrik

This book is a sequel to Beartown and continues the story of the same people and towns of Beartown and Hed. It is captivating and moving as is Beartown and continues the story and well worth the read.

‘Us Against You’ like ‘Beartown’ is an emotionally charged novel.

After all the residents have gone through they are struck with another blow when they hear their hockey team is to be disbanded. The former players of Beartown have given their allegiance to the rival team in Hed.A new team is developed around Amat the 16 year old fastest player, along with Benji a loner and Vidar a born troublemaker. Getting the team together is a challenge, old bonds broken and new ones formed and politically motivated.  Will both towns be the same after all they have been through?

Like ‘Beartown’ ‘Us Against You’ is moving and heartbreaking with characters showing their worst and best sides and it touches your emotions. 

 

Cost {Amazon]  Paperback - £7.37     Kindle - £2.99


A SONG FOR DARK TIMES by Ian Rankin

 

And now for something completely different. Different to my previously reviewed book, that is. There will be two audiences for this review; those familiar with the twenty-odd earlier books by Rankin in his series of detective novels featuring Edinburgh detective, now retired, John Rebus, and those who aren’t. For the former audience, you won’t be disappointed as the familiar cast, old friends you might say, are back: Rebus, obviously, but also Siobhan Clarke, Malcolm Fox and ‘Big’ Ger Cafferty, and several minor characters. For those who haven’t read a Rebus novel previously, I don’t think I’d start with this one as such a lot of the enjoyment I get from it derives from the knowledge of the character’s back-stories. This helps set the scene without Rankin having to write about it. However, don’t let me put you off. It’s still Rankin’s page turning style, strong sense of Scottishness and place, plus a writing style that’s both intelligent and easy. A new reader would get a good idea of the world into which they are entering and enjoy following the, as is usual, twisting and turning plots (yes, there’s more than one). They might even be lured into starting at the beginning of the series with ‘Knots and Crosses’. Usually Rankin weaves some level of social undercurrent and comment into these books, but that that’s not strongly evident here, although I’d say he’s not particularly fond of rich aristocrats. It helps a bit if you are about the same age as Rebus, as I am, and recognise, now, rather dated pop music. 

Cost [Amazon] Hardback - £7.50    Paperback - £13.21 !!    Kindle - £9.99


THE SALT PATH by Raynor Winn

This book has been in the number ten book list for many weeks and is highly praised  by book reviewers from The Financial Times, Guardian and Independent newspapers.

A couple decide to walk the South West Coast Path, from Minehead in Somerset  viaDevon and Cornwall to Poole in Dorset, after they learn, that Moth, the husband of Raynor for over 32 years, is diagnosed with a terminal illness and they lose their home and livelihood.  They are accompanied on this wild and free living in a tent, often in storms and gorgeous weather, with very little money in their pocket, by the musical sounds of the countryside and the sea. This 630 mile trek takes them away from their despair of losing their home and the worry of Moth’s illness to  the regenerative power of nature and togetherness.

What will they find at the journey’s end?

This is an easy and relaxing read.

Cost [Amazon]  Paperback - £7.99    Kindle - £4.99


THE DIARY OF A NOBODY by  Weedon Grossmith & George Grossmith

A friend mentioned this book to me and I found it on Google. Since then he has read from “The Diary of a Nobody``each morning guaranteeing our daily laughter - so necessary in these solemn times. 

The diary begins on the 3rd of April and finishes on the 3rd of July in the following year.

The authors of this fictional account were George and Weedon Grossmith and illustrated in the early editions by Weedon with comical pen & ink drawings. 

The introduction on the fly-leaf is as follows;

“Proud to be ensconced with his wife, Carrie, in the desirable suburb of Holloway, bank clerk Charles Pooter who has worked for  Perkupps for 20 years decides to keep a diary. From the frequent visits of his dear friends, Mr. Cummings and Mr. Gowing,to the ups and downs of his feckless son, Lupin, the self regarding Mr. Pooter considers , mistakenly, that all aspects of his life are worthy of note.” The result is an hilarious spoof and a perfectly pitched satire on late Victorian society.

“The Diary of a Nobody” is a comic masterpiece that has been hugely influential sine it’s first publication in 1892. 

The diary was originally published in “Punch” and considerably added to, plus a title ,before it was published in book form. In 2019 it was republished  by the MacMillan Collector’s library.

Much of the humour relies on Mr. Pooter’s sense of his own importance and the frequent puncturing of that by domestic staff, upstart tradesmen and his own son January 22nd. Mr Pooter verbally chastises his daily help for walking through their drawing room with a piece of yellow soap stuck to her boot. Sarah after hotly denying it for some minutes resorts to tears when her master adds a further complaint concerning the runny egg which she serves him each morning for breakfast. This tale ,of course, is told self importantly by Mr. Pooter.

Had Mr.Pooter been a 21st century suburban commuter he would undoubtedly have written a blog and edited a vanity publication.Many of the scenes in the diary when Mr. Pooter trips up one way or another happen in the set pieces of carefully planned parties to show him in his best light either in his own home or that of his friends or employers.

Cost [Amazon]  Paperback - £5.98     No Kindle Edition Available