Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Book Review: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My friend Helen nagged and nagged and nagged me to read this book. 'You must read it', she said, 'you will love it and you will cry'.
I must admit, I read the blurb and cringed. This wasn't my kind of book at all. I read books to take me away from all the crap in my life, I don't pick depressing reads.
From the moment I started reading I knew I would love this book. The character of Hazel Grace Lancaster is brilliant. I'd never read a story from the point of view of someone with cancer. Her attitude to her sickness was interesting to read. I never pitied her, and I think that was important, Hazel Grace would not want to be pitied. I thought she was funny and a refreshing female lead.
Then in walks Augustus Waters, one of the most amazing romantic leads I've ever read. Like Hazel I fell in love with him as I read each page, found out more about him. He also has a wicked sense of humour and this insatiable love of life, adventure and spontaneity.
I must really give great praise to John Green. He writes characters that can be easily related, realistic characters that take you on this incredible journey, through laughter and tears. After only one chapter I looked up the author and plan to read much more of his work.
I don't really want to give away what happens, because reading it and finding each surprise was part of the enjoyment, all I can say is READ THIS BOOK! You won't regret it!

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Sunday, 13 April 2014

Book Review: Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose

Twelve Angry MenTwelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have been considering directing a project for my local amateur theatre and narrowed it down to Twelve Angry Men and 'The History Boys'. I'd seen the film for the former and only knew it was a play because it was recently performed in Birmingham with Martin Shaw and Robert Vaughn.
When I'd first seen the film, my main thought was the tension. Not a lot physically happens and it's very dialogue heavy, but I was hooked from the minute the twelve men entered the jury room to the minute they exited.
The play in written form loses none of this tension. As I am considering it for an amateur theatre I pictured women as well as men in the role of each of the jurors. Reginald Rose portrays each character with individualism and the language used is vivid and filled with energy. The words jump off the page and by the time I had finished my knuckles were white.
Although a somewhat unrealistic play, the journey the reader (and eventually the audience member) is taken on is exhilarating ride, that finds you questioning your decision making and asks what you would do put in Juror #8 situation.

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Thursday, 10 April 2014

Book Review: The Blinded Man by Arne Dahl (#1)

The Blinded ManThe Blinded Man by Arne Dahl
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was familiar with the TV series of the same name before I picked up The Blinded Man, the first in this collection.
The casting director of the TV series did a top notch job hiring actors that perfectly portrayed Arne Dahl's characters. Of course, the obvious exception is the leader of the A-Team, who is turned from a man in the novel, to a female on screen. Despite their flaws, they're all thoroughly likeable and their individual stories and quirks display their humanity. It's also interesting to see how each of them develop relationships with each other.
The case itself is nicknamed 'The Power Murders' by newspapers and media. Over a short period of time, three men who are high in society and wealthy are killed, execution style. Paul Hjelm is our main character and we follow him on his many leads as the case twists and turns to it's eventual conclusion.
Dahl not only writes characters well, but he knows how to wrack up the tension and excitement. As the authorities close in on their suspect, I literally felt on the edge of my seat (or more appropriately, my bed, which is where I mostly read).
My only complaint is the title. In Nordic circles it's known as 'Misterioso' which makes sense as there is piece of music by the same name linked directly to the murders. I feel like The Blinded Man was a quick afterthought.

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