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Book Reviews

Book Review – The Funeral Birds

The Funeral Birds by Paula R.C. Readman.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

Funeral Birds is a charming little tale about a private detective who is about to close his agency for good when one last client walks in.

I don’t usually read crime fiction, but I found this to be a fun, fast-paced story with some very well-shaped characters. I liked the protagonist and his wife, and the dynamic between them. Miss Legs Eleven intrigued me too, of course – the clue as to why is in her name!

What made this an interesting story was the subtle genre cross-over between crime and horror. Elements of the gothic were plentiful, including owls, churchyards, and graves. The fact the narration was from the perspective of a detective agency allowed the story to flow easily without being heavy on police procedure.

I think this could be the beginning of a series of novellas about Dave Cavendish.

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Book Reviews

Book Review: About a Boy

About a Boy by Nick Hornby.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

About a Boy is a simple tale about a relatively shallow man in his thirties who thinks he has everything, and a twelve year old boy who is struggling to fit into life at a new school after the separation of his parents. The two of them go on a journey of self-discovery as their lives become more entwined.

Nick Hornby’s easy, humorous writing style is pleasant and engaging, and the development of the characters and story is thorough. I read this book in a week, which is very quick for me, and a sign of how enjoyable it was. I intend to read more of his books.

I was in the position of reading About a Boy after seeing the film at least twice over the years. Personally, I found this to be a good thing as it meant I could picture the main characters straight away. Other people may disagree, and feel the book should always be read first.

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Book Reviews

Book Review: Atlas Shrugged

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.
My rating: 1 of 5 stars.

Atlas Shrugged is a behemoth of a book that doesn’t know what it is. It wants to be a novel, but it also wants to be a vehicle for Rand’s objectivist philosophy. By trying to be both, it fails to be either.

For a long time I persevered with it, forcing myself to read on through the never-ending streams of dialogue that captured every minute detail of conversation between characters. I started to care about the protanist, Dagny, and some of the other characters, and I liked the premise. I wanted to see where the story went, and needed to feel like one of Rand’s heroic beings for reaching The End, but it wasn’t to be.

I don’t remember ever abandoning a novel before, and even forced my way through Anna Karenina about ten years ago, but after an excruciating stretch of dialogue that went on for dozens of pages, I finally decided life is too short, and gave up, without ever knowing the answer to the question, “who is John Galt?”

Unless you have to read it as part of a course, or are interested in objectivism, I suggest you steer clear, or read a sample first, before buying a book that you are statistically likely to abandon.

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