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28 thoughts on “Submit a book review

  1. “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” Robert Frost.
    Robert Frost’s ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’ is so evocative of a deep winter scene it makes me shiver. I can picture the frozen lake, the snow-filled woods and the solitary rider stopping on ‘the darkest evening of the year’.
    The poem is very still and quiet. The wind is ‘easy’, the snow ‘downy’ and the rider can hear the bells on his horses harness. The rider is not fighting a blizzard, but rather a longing to escape his obligations and rest under a soft, white blanket of snow in the deep, dark woods.
    For me this poem is about choices and journeys.
    The rider is wrestling with a dilemma; to stop and succumb to the pull of the woods, or to carry on and accept his responsibilities.
    When I have a difficult day ahead with an ever-increasing to-do-list, or when I am far from home; in my head I repeat the last lines of the poem:

    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep.

    The Complete Poems of Robert Frost.

  2. Thanks for this review, Adam. (“Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keys)…..I was wondering what to read next as I enjoy all books connected with disability, having a 55yrs old son with multiple problems. I like to ‘compare notes’ so to speak!…Most are very inspiring, even the non-fictional have grains of truth buried within the story which help the non-disabled to have an idea what it is like to be disabled. My own son has lived an adventurous life in spite of everything….indeed, many people have asked me to write a book about him….! Watch this space! Meanwhile, thanks once again for pointing me towards my next good read…

  3. Thanks for this review (“Flowers for Algernon”), Adam! I have a disabled eldest son and like to read all books, fiction and non-fiction, about the struggles of people and others connected with the disabled. I find most are inspiring in a way, and one day I may get round to writing my son’s journey now he has reached the grand old age of 55 today! He has certainly had some unbelievable adventures and people often tell me to get them down in a book…. Anyway, I was wondering what to read next, so thanks to your review I shall try “Flowers for Algernon”…

    Like you, I don’t much like the “spaceship” type of Sci-Fi, and tend to avoid it, but this sort is right up my street! ..Thanks

  4. First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August – Claire North

    From The Time Machine to Doctor Who time travel is a consistently popular device in entertainment. Bestselling author Kate Atkinson had an award winning stab at it recently with Life After Life. Claire North’s novel mines similar territory yet North manages to find her own distinctive voice within the genre with the mind bending tale of Harry August, a seemingly normal man with an extraordinary gift. Each time Harry dies he is reborn at exactly the same time in his lifespan destined to travel his own time line with differing consequences after each rebirth. Harry soon realises that he is not alone in having this gift and that there are rules in place designed to protect the fabric of history but what does it mean for humanity when somebody else with the gift decides to break these rules with potentially devastating consequences? Is Harry destined to be the one to stop them and if so how?
    This is an original and engaging thriller stretched across fifteen very different and surprising lifetimes as Harry discovers what he is, who he is and what he can become.

    I was sufficiently impressed to look up other work by Claire North only to discover that this is a pseudonym for author Catherine Webb who has also written a number of excellent Urban Fantasy books under the pen name Kate Griffin. Webb was just 14 years old when she completed her first novel. Still aged under 30 I suspect that the best is still to come from this talented and diverse young author.

  5. ‘Flowers for Algernon’ by Daniel Keyes

    ‘Flowers for Algernon’ is a classic sci-fi novel from the 1960s. It tells the story of a man with learning disabilities called Charlie. At the start of the book Charlie receives surgery to artificially increase his intelligence. As his intelligence gradually increases, he faces all sorts of problems, challenges and tragedies.

    I don’t read much sci-fi so I was slightly wary of starting this book. Fortunately it was just the type of sci-fi I like – instead of having zooming spaceships, it focused on character development and real-world issues (such as the implications of scientific development). Definitely not a cliché sci-fi book; anyone can read this.

    The main idea behind the book was intriguing – what happens when someone with learning difficulties increases their intelligence really quickly? I enjoyed finding out the different consequences. The most interesting consequence was the effect on Charlie’s emotional development – as his intellect changed he had to deal with lots of rapidly developing new adult emotions (such as his changing attitude towards his teacher). Don’t think I could have coped myself!

    The writing in the book was excellent. I enjoyed the journal format, which gave the story an extra layer of plausibility. I also like the idea of having different writing styles to mark the different stages of Charlie’s intellectual development – this really highlighted the drastic nature of the changes he went through.

    I found the book a bit depressing. Although there are a few positive characters, most are a bit cruel or self-centred (it was heart-breaking when Charlie realised his workmates had been teasing him for years). The plot developments were also sad (I had tears in my eyes when Charlie starts losing his intelligence at the end!). Maybe the book went too far with the negative bits, or was it just being realistic?

    Would Charlie have been better off if he had never changed at all & just stayed as he was at the start? I think he would definitely have been happier. However, happier doesn’t necessarily mean better. Because of his changes he had new experiences & gained new knowledge. I think this is more important & beneficial, even though it led to tragic consequences.

    I really enjoyed Flowers for Algernon. A heart-breaking, though-provoking and rewarding read.

    • Thanks for this review (“Flowers for Algernon”), Adam! I have a disabled eldest son and like to read all books, fiction and non-fiction, about the struggles of people and others connected with the disabled. I find most are inspiring in a way, and one day I may get round to writing my son’s journey now he has reached the grand old age of 55 today! He has certainly had some unbelievable adventures and people often tell me to get them down in a book…. Anyway, I was wondering what to read next, so thanks to your review I shall try “Flowers for Algernon”…

      Like you, I don’t much like the “spaceship” type of Sci-Fi, and tend to avoid it, but this sort is right up my street! ..Thanks

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