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Book review: Straw Writes by Christopher Shugrue

the cover of the book

While the US considers itself permanently at war, the devastating effects of conflict so close to home often go unremarked. Straw Writes is the brutal and fractured account of a veteran, haunted by what he has seen.

Book review: The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

the cover of the book

In a generation struggling to come to grips with what the generation before them has done, The Reader is the story of love, betrayal, war, and reading aloud.

Book review: When The Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka

It’s 1942, and overnight, Americans of Japanese decent are turned from citizens to enemy aliens. This is a circumstance that will change their lives, not just for the duration of the war, but forever.

Book review: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Afghanistan, in my mind anyway, marched its way out of near obscurity back when America declared war on it back in 2001. Previous to that I’m sure that I had heard of it, but not in any meaningful way. What I particularly enjoyed about A Thousand Splendid Suns was the loose history lesson it provides, and the way it creates a sense of dimension and identity for a nation of people who have suffered much hardship. Not only that, but the fame of the previous novel, The Kite Runner, has guaranteed that the story of Afghanistan is going to be passed around a much wider audience than it previously had in its long and recently brutal existence.

Book review: A Thread Of Grace by Mary Doria Russell

The Second World War was a bit confusing if you were in Europe. Sure, it was fine for those countries that weren’t actually occupied or at war, but it was bloody difficult for everyone else, running around listening to rumours about who had capitulated, who was on what side, and, if you were one of the unfortunate refugees, which new group of people had been ordered to kill you. A Thread Of Grace works its way through the harrowing years of the Second World War in Europe, and focuses particularly on the contribution of the Italian people supporting and hiding the fleeing Jewish community.

Book review: N Or M? by Agatha Christie

Originally published in 1941, N Or M? by Agatha Christie plunges the reader into the world of middle aged irregulars, boarding houses, knitting, and the worst kind of Nazis... English ones.

Book review: El Infierno by Carlos Martinez Moreno


Okay, so I didn't get through this one. It's not because it isn't good. It could be because too many mainstream thrillers have desicated my brain like a coconut. It could be that I just can't face this brand of highbrow literature in the heat. Or it could be that I just don't feel like finishing it right now. Whatever the case, I have a feeling that "It's not you, it's me" would be the correct thing to say to El Infierno, and one day I might pick it up again and have another go. When I'm feeling more intellectual, and the weather is cooler and more conducive to thought, perhaps.

Book review: Final Impact by John Birmingham

If this was rated on Birmo’s own cheeseburger scale, I’d give it three and a half fat, freshly-made ones out of five, with a coke on the side for the ones who came before.

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