How do you choose a new book? Most of us start by looking at the title or the cover. Each person has their own private code of colours, typefaces and titles which signal whether a book is bad – consciously or unconsciously.
I like geometric or abstract covers with well-chosen colours; I refuse to read anything with a title that begins “The Girl/Boy Who…” Most of all, I avoid books with one-word titles. These rules of thumb are usually quite accurate. I trust the authors and cover designers to do their job well, and help me find the books I like by creating covers that appeal to me.
But sometimes, you have to break your own rules: because a book comes highly recommended, or you’re in a rush to choose a book before your plane leaves, or because it’s personal. Fen, the first collection of short stories from Daisy Johnson, ticked all those boxes for me.
Continue reading “Fen – Daisy Johnson (Review)”
Young Adelia Wright is left alone in the wild back country of 1890s Oregon to deal with her unpleasant brother, puberty, and not much to eat. So she takes matters into her own hands and sets out to find a better life.
Fog Coast Runaway is in the best traditions of novels from the 19th century. We have a tough young heroine with a kind heart – and she needs to be both tough and kind, because scarcely a paragraph goes by without a birth, death, fight to the death, or romantic gesture.
Continue reading “Fog Coast Runaway – Linda B. Myers (Review)”
“Do we really need another childhood nostalgia movie?” I asked, as we wandered through the park on the way to the cinema. “Haven’t they all been done by now?”
The picture on the left is my face, 5 minutes into the movie.
It turns out that we do need more childhood nostalgia movies – or at least, more movies like Detective Pikachu. Against all the odds, against the entire track record of live-action movies about cartoon characters, Detective Pikachu is a really great film. Let’s get into it.
Continue reading “Detective Pikachu (2019) – Review”
The latest bout of 20th century nostalgia has been taking us back to the 1960s. Something about violent social conflicts, the constant threat of international war, and egomaniacs spending millions of dollars on space travel seems to strike a chord with artists and audiences in 2019. I wonder why.
Snark aside, I like this trend. The story of space exploration is a story of disasters, near-misses and over-spending. But it also brings out the best in us: adventure, imagination, and collaboration. In this post, we’ll look at three different ways that story has been told.
Continue reading “First Man, Hidden Figures, and the Race for Space”
When his brother is killed by a teenage gang, a retired East End mobster gathers his old crew to settle the score.
Normally I’d go into more detail here, but that’s pretty much the entire concept. It’s a battle of old versus new, hoodies versus suits, respect versus modernity.
Continue reading “We Still Kill the Old Way (2014) – Review”
When the police can’t protect a surgeon’s family, he takes the law into his own hands; with his wife dead and his daughter paralysed, Paul Kersey (Bruce Willis) becomes the “Grim Reaper”, a hooded (technically hoodied) vigilante. Continue reading “Death Wish (2018) – Review”
“In 1914 a large number of British women doctors and nurses formed their own medical units for war service; but, as women, they were rejected by their own authorities so they volunteered for service with Allied armies, and nowhere were their courage and fortitude put to the test more savagely than in Serbia where bitter campaigns raged between 1914 and 1918 in circumstances the equal of those faced by Florence Nightingale in the Crimea.” Continue reading “The Quality of Mercy: Women at War, Serbia 1915-1918 – Monica Krippner (Review)”