Friday, 18 November 2011

Book review: The Commitments by Roddy Doyle

The CommitmentsThe Commitments by Roddy Doyle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Commitments by Roddy Doyle

First of all, I was not aware that The Commitments was based on a book. It's one of my all time favourite films, I love the characters, the music, the story. So, I was very intrigued to see how Roddy Doyle had written singing.
It's a thin book, but I really loved it. It carries the same charm as the film and you're left smiling throughout. The dialogue is impeccable, and you can tell that some parts of the book have been put directly into the screenplay.
There were a few reasons I didn't give it five stars. The first is that sometimes, I didn't understand fully what everybody said, and who said it. There are no speech marks and the author has written everything in an Irish accent, which is brilliant but sometimes confusing. The only other problem was the singing. If you didn't know the songs, it was hard to follow them. However, I did go and search for them afterwards.
Brilliant book! Highly recommended.

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Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Book review: Dreamcatcher by Stephen King

DreamcatcherDreamcatcher by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dreamcatcher by Stephen King

A lot of people dislike this King novel, they say it's very similar to others, and you can tell that he had just recovered from an accident before writing the book in long hand.
As a man who has written 57 books in total, it's hardly surprising that similar ideas arise. I don't mind when King sticks to what he does best. Writing stories focused on groups of four boys, growing up into men and the surrounding events. Dreamcatcher features a very special character, Duddits. Duddits makes this book, especially his relationship with the four other men. All of their relationships make this book special.
The pace of this book was brilliant, it only dimmed when the military arrived. I loved the characters of Henry, Jonesy, Beav and Pete and actually wish we got to read more about Beav and Pete.
Overall, a great King book. I can always rely on him for a good story and great characters.

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Monday, 7 November 2011

Remember, Remember the 5th of November...

Every year, there's the countdown to Christmas. For our family there are two big events before Christmas, and once they're over we can start to celebrate the 25th of December. The second of those (after Halloween) is Bonfire Night. 
In our family it is massive! My Dad has been in it since he was a teenager and his Dad used to march before that. You could say it's a tradition of sorts. I've walked in it as well for the majority of my life as a Tudor, a smuggler and a Greek. I've watched it now, for two years running ever since I've lived in Shropshire and although I don't enjoy it as much, Bonfire Night is still Lewes' biggest event and a sight to behold.
The streets are cordoned off from around five, until two am, but it isn't until later when the fun really begins. 
There are a number of Lewes based societies that parade up and down School Hill before finally ending up at their fire sites to let off the best and brightest fireworks in all of Europe. I have always been Waterloo through and through. 
Bonfire Night is always busy in Lewes no matter what, but on a Saturday night the town is literally flooded with people. Where I was standing it was at least seven deep and occasionally I managed to get to the front of the crowd, to watch the procession. The costumes were incredible, the detail impeccable and the glow from the torches and the flares brings Lewes to life. It's hard to describe what watching it is like without being there yourself. The streets come alive with noise, and light. Each society has one or two bands beating a rhythm, while select society members let of bangers and Chinese firecrackers that make your ears pop and your heart skip a beat. 

Bonfire Night is truly one of the best sights to behold in all of the country, but next year, I think I'll forgo my camera, and pick up a torch.

Book review: When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman

When God Was a RabbitWhen God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman
It was fair to say, when I started this book, I didn't have high hopes. The other books for book club weren't my cup of tea and the books I had been reading lately didn't ignite excitement. I needed a book I was passionate about, one that I couldn't put down and recommended to everyone. This was the book. It was breathtaking, made me laugh aloud and cry. Sarah Winman describes feelings, sounds and smells for each memory, making it come alive. The ecclectic characters are a joy to read about. Elly isn't particularly eccentric, but you share her joys and her pain with every word you read.
This truly is a magical read and I can't wait for more from her. In fact, I'm hoping for a sequel as this book ended far too quickly!

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