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Book review: <i>A Time To Kill</i> by John Grisham


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A Time To Kill is the first novel of John Grisham, written in 1989. And it’s not half bad, if you’re into that kind of thing.

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Book review: <i>A Painted House</i> by John Grisham


The cover of the book

A Painted House is the story of cotton farming, baseball, family secrets, poverty, and growing up in Arkansas in the 1950s. A bit of a deviation from your standard John Grisham, but I’m not complaining.

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Book review: <i>From Stockport With Love</i> by David Bowker



If this was a gadget from Q’s laboratory, it would be a flame-throwing bassinet.

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Book review: <i>Everything Is Illuminated</i> by Jonathan Safran Foer



If this was made into a film starring Elijah Wood, it probably wouldn’t work very well, because it’s far too good a book. Oh wait, whoops.

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Book review: <i>The Island</i> by Victoria Hislop



A story about the loves, lives and losses of four generations of Greeks; from the fishing village Plaka to London; and the devastating effect of the island off the coast of Plaka: Spinalonga.

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Book review: <i>The Raw Shark Texts</i> by Steven Hall



If this was a meal, it would be a fine Japanese dish eaten with a beautiful returned astronaut.

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Book review: <i>Patriot Games</i> by Tom Clancy



Wow. Way to hit an all new low in reading! I recall the TV ads for the movie adaption of Patriot Games from way back when, and I remember the huge deal the segments made about how you can identify a woman by her breast size VIA SATELLITE. Oh my God. And now, having read the damn thing, I realise they made a big deal of it because it may have been the high point of the novel. And I mean that in a very relative sense. So there go a couple of hours of my life that I will NEVER GET BACK.

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Book review: <i>Carrie</i> by Stephen King

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Book review: <i>Diary</i> by Chuck Palahniuk



I admit I started reading Diary based exclusively on the fact that it was written by Chuck Palahniuk, having previously read and enjoyed Fight Club some years ago. I had no idea of the story. But I’ll tell you something... I was hooked from the first page.

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Book review: <i>Are You Experienced?</i> by William Sutcliffe



Ah, India. Land of mystery, spices, saris, exotic religions, “travellers” in their late teens looking to find themselves spiritually on their big adventure before university... and of course, the dope’s really cheap.

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Book review: <i>Perfect Match</i> by Jodi Picoult



Firstly, I’ll qualify this review with a confession that I didn’t quite go into this reading experience feeling impartial. I have read a couple of Jodi Picoult’s other novels (she’s a prolific best seller with millions drooling over her writing capability; she’s pretty difficult to avoid) and I didn’t think they were that great. So I wasn’t overly open minded about this latest reading experience, and she certainly didn’t manage to change my mind with Perfect Match. Although, to be fair, apparently lots of people hated this one, even her fans. So what chance did I have?

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Book review: <i>Starter For Ten</i> by David Nicholls



Ah, to be a young man at university. The challenges, the girls, the fumbling relationships and difficult friendships. I wasn’t ever one myself, but I think that, while I was at university, I may have met a couple of young men very similar to the main character, and I certainly met some of the peripheral characters! And as an added bonus, while I had only ever heard of “University Challenge” on The Young Ones, and seen the spoof with Ben Elton et al, I have now been formally introduced to the phenomena thanks to Starter for Ten. While the book definitely had me reminiscing about Adrian Mole, it was very much its own story and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole excruciating business.

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Book review: <i>Snow Flower And The Secret Fan</i> by Lisa See



I can’t say I ever thought that much about the tradition of foot-binding, which in some places in China was still happening at the beginning of the twentieth century. Whenever I previously heard it mentioned, it was always in a context that suggested the practice was barbaric and cruel, but I don’t think I every fully conceptualised the idea. Thanks to Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, I am now somewhat better informed on the subject of footbinding, as well as other traditions and lifestyle practices in nineteenth century China. Ouch.

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Book review: <i>Waiting</i> by Ha Jin



Nothing says love like waiting eighteen years for your boyfriend (who you’ve never even kissed) to divorce his wife and marry you. Really. Waiting is the heartbreaking tale of a man and a woman and another woman, living in China and making sure they adhere to the regulations of the communist party and the conventions of everyday life. Ha Jin manages to describe the utterly foreign (to me, anyway) experience of living in communist China, but he also manages to make it seem commonplace, interesting and alive all at once.

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