Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Review - The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Project is funny, clever and has a big heart.

It's one of the best books I've read in a long time.

It tells the story of Don Tillman, a university professor, and his quest to find the ideal wife. 

Along comes Rosie, an unsuitable match, who threatens to throw his carefully scheduled life into disarray. 

Early on it becomes apparent that Don has Asperger’s syndrome and it is fascinating to see the world through his eyes. While I’m not sure what sort of research author Graeme Simsion did for this book and how accurate his depiction is of Asperger’s, he has given me a greater appreciation for people with autism.

Simsion also uses humour to great effect but in a respectful way. Don’s literal perspective on life provides many laughs – look out for his Standardised Meal Plan.

Thank you to Sarah and Bronte for recommending this book to me.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Review - Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures by Amber Dusick


The most wonderful thing has happened. I’ve become a mum. My husband and I celebrated the arrival of our little boy in March. We love him to bits.

To mark the occasion, this recommendation is a book about the fun and games of parenting – Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures by Amber Dusick

Amber is the mother of two young boys and author of a very funny blog, www.crappypictures.com, where she shares her stories about the humorous side of parenting, illustrated with (crappy) hand drawn pictures.

I first subscribed to this blog long before I ever became pregnant, I was so amused by Amber’s tales of sleepless nights, child logic and endless poo. I often laugh out loud when I read it.

If you haven’t encountered Amber’s blog, you can find it here. It’s worth a read and will give you an idea as to what her book is about.

Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures isn’t a novel but a collection of Amber’s tales of parenting, similar to what you can find on her blog.

If you’ve ever spent any time around kids, you’ll appreciate this book. It would make a good gift for a new or seasoned mum.

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*Please note: You won't pay more if you purchase via these links, but they will give me a small referral fee (5%).

Thank you for being part of The Reading Experiment. Happy reading!


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Review - The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

Have you ever experienced this dilemma? 

One of your favourite authors releases a new book. You buy it. 

It sits on your bedside table, calling out to you. All you want to do is read it. 

But you know that once you do, you’ll have a long wait until the author’s next book comes along.  

Do you read it now or savour the anticipation for as long as possible? 

I tried my best to hold out when Kate Morton released The Secret Keeper. I lasted eight weeks.  

As discussed previously on this blog, I love Kate Morton’s books and The Secret Keeper is no exception. 

The story starts in 1960s England when sixteen year-old Laurel sees her mother commit a shocking crime. 

Fifty years later, Laurel attempts to unravel the events which led to that day. 

In typical Kate Morton fashion it’s a tale of mystery, relationships and long-held family secrets. 

The story travels back and forth in time between the present day and 1940s London during the Second World War and the Blitz. 

Kate Morton is a beautiful storyteller. The Secret Keeper is an intriguing story which kept me guessing, if not to the last page, then fairly close to the end. 

If you have not yet read The Secret Keeper – or any of Kate Morton’s books – and still have the opportunity to experience them for the first time, I envy you. 

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Review - The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman

I haven’t cried this much over a book in a long time. 

Set in the 1920s, The Light Between Oceans tells the story of lighthouse keeper Tom Sherbourne and his wife Isabel, who live on a remote island off the coast of Western Australia. 

One day a small rowboat washes up to shore. 

It contains the body of a dead man and a crying baby. 

Having suffered a series of miscarriages, Tom and Isabel decide to raise the child as their own. 

As the story plays out, the consequences of their decision unfold. 

My book cover describes The Light Between Oceans as “story of right and wrong and how sometimes they look the same”. 

It’s also about parental love and loss, choice and the consequences of our decisions. 

There’s a lot of moral ambiguity in The Light Between Oceans which makes it all the more heartbreaking. I felt so sad for the characters as I tried to figure out whether Stedman could give them all a happy ending. 

True, I am currently six months pregnant and my emotions are in overdrive (probably not the best time to be reading about miscarriages and infertility). 

But if you’re a parent, parent-to-be or have ever been faced with the prospect of being unable to have children, it would be difficult not to be affected by this book. 

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Review - The Dinner by Herman Koch

My grandfather was Dutch. 

Whenever he finished a good meal he would rest his hands on his belly with great satisfaction and announce, “I’m plofft”. 

After reading The Dinner by Dutch author Herman Koch I, too, was plofft. 

The Dinner is a dark novel that takes place over the course of one evening. 

Two couples meet for dinner in a restaurant. There is underlying tension between them. As the evening transpires, it becomes clear they are here to discuss an unspeakable act committed by their teenage sons. 

But what have their sons done? And what do the two couples plan to do about it? 

I started The Dinner with a set of assumptions. My enjoyment of the book stemmed from the way in which Koch first plays along with those assumptions, then begins to challenge them and eventually turns them on their head. 

Koch writes with the theatre of a waiter making his way around a table, removing the silver cloche from each meal with great flourish. 

As the dinner progresses from aperitif to dessert, he lifts the lid on his characters and the back stories that have led to the evening. 

It will also give parents pause for thought – what would you do if your child committed the unspeakable? 

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buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery 

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Book Review - The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling

JK Rowling’s first novel for adults is as far removed from Harry Potter as you can get.

There’s not a wizard or magic spell in sight.

Set firmly in the world of humans, The Casual Vacancy reveals the ugly side of a cast of characters living in a fictitious English town.

Essentially, it’s a book about not-very-nice people being horrible to each other.

It’s also a story about attitudes towards people who are less fortunate than ourselves.

The novel begins with the death of Pagford parish councillor, Barry Fairbrother.

Barry’s death leaves a vacancy in the local council, calling into question the fate of a local housing trust estate and the families living within it.

The Casual Vacancy has received mixed reviews.

However, despite my dislike of many of the characters, I really enjoyed this book.

Before reading The Casual Vacancy I had watched an interview with JK Rowling in which she revealed her inspiration for writing it:

“We discuss the poor as this faceless, lumpen mass….

“I was one of those people. I know how it feels to be talked about in that way….You lose your individuality.

“For a long time in my head, the novel was called Responsible….I’m very interested in how responsible we are, each of us individually for our own personal happiness [and] how responsible we are towards other people.”


Knowing what Rowling was trying to achieve gave me a greater appreciation for her book.

I also admired her ability to inject humour into a sobering story without detracting from her message.

Rowling has a skill for creating characters with personalities that jump off the page and I liked the way she revealed the inner workings of their minds.

Some were so grotesque as to be quite comical.

At times I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

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Happy reading!

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Review - Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan

I felt like a literary detective reading Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan. 

I was certain there was more to this book than meets the eye. 

I spent the entire book analysing every character, every conversation and every scene, looking for clues. 

But try as I might, I couldn’t figure out how it was going to end. 

Sweet Tooth tells the story of Serena Frome, a college graduate who joins Britain’s MI5 in the early 1970s, in the midst of the Cold War. 

Serena is sent on a secret mission and begins an affair with the subject of her undercover task. 

It took me a little while to get into this book – the story doesn’t really take off until around 80 pages in. I also didn’t know whether I would recommend it until about 20 pages to the end. 

However, as fans of Atonement will know, Ian McEwan knows how to write a good ending. 

After giving Atonement a five star rating, I’d award Sweet Tooth four stars. 

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