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I read a lot of books and I write about them on here. Mummy Geek is sometimes a guest blogger....people seem to love her.....Oh and you can find me on Twitter.....@book_geek_says. Shortlisted for Blog of the Year by the 2015 Love Stories Awards...THANK YOU!!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Unlikely lines in fairy tales

Stolen from:

Hardback: £ 14.99
Publisher: Boxtree

'Old Mother Hubbard, we're from the NSPCC and we're acting on a tip off.'

'Look, I know the duckling's different, but that's no excuse for calling him names. He's not ugly, he's just alternatively plumed.'

'Red Riding Hood, you are not going out dressed like that, you look like you're gagging for it.'

'There's been a terrible accident - is there a doctor with vinegar and brown paper?'

'The third pig made his house out of bricks - which soon plummeted in value.'

'Tom, Tom, the piper's son - invented satnav.'

Book Geek

Friday, 24 February 2012

Review: If you liked school, you'll love work

Paperback: £ 7.99
Publisher: Vintage

I've only read one Welsh book before and that was 'Filth' it was as the title says! Hee hee! I've seen Trainspotting and The Acid House and I know yes, yes they are not books but it's still Welsh. 

This collection of short stories has kept true to his form! He is as vile and funny and grotesque and disturbing etc etc etc as ever! Wooo!

This is a terrifying story, truly, truly terrifying!!! From the start you can tell that this is an IW story. His stories begin on a normal and mundane path and then take a perverse and grotesque twist somewhere along the line. It's a normal buddy helping out a buddy tale (in a rather disgusting situation I have to admit) that ends up with guns and misinterpretations of situations with assumptions being made about 'blood sports' and homosexuality! There is sexual assault (to an extent) wanking, terror, fear, porn...THE LOT!

If you liked school, you'll love work...
IW turns to his familiar school of manipulating spelling to convey accents and dialects. I took a while to get used to it when I read Filth but I was expecting it here and enjoyed it! It helps to build up the identity of characters. This story doesn't take the usual disturbing path. It's the normal life of a normal guy who is a bit too cocky, a bit too sure of himself and well, a guy who pretty much fancies himself a bit. It is more conventionally funny and basically describes a short part of a lads life!

The DOGS of Lincoln Park
Bloody hell, the three main girls in this story are annoyance personified! Snobby, stuck up, anorexic, drug supported pains in the arse! I can't say too much about the story as it's very cleverly written and takes a spiffing twist. You defo don't see Mr Welsh being so restrained and held back. He is no way takes you in the direction you expect. Enjoy!

Miss Arizona
A story of obsession, addiction and loneliness! I thoroughly enjoyed it. I won't tell you about the plot as, once again, I don't want to give it away. It was good to read however, I could kind of see where it was going from the start. And in this instance it went there, no questions asked. Once again IW uses the written word and spelling augmentations to depict accent and I enjoy that thoroughly.

Kingdom of Fife
The final story sees the return of the scottish dialect and accent style of writing. It took me bloody ages to read because of that! I did enjoy it, don't get me wrong, but it does end up frustrating me as it takes so long to read! Anyway, a good, fun story that has sex, violence, drugs, love, stalkers, the lot!

Happy Reading

Book Geek

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Part 3: Best Books???

Howdy all!

I've got lots of #top5books from you lovely lot, however, I won't say no to other people giving me their list via twitter @book_geek_says or comment on my lovely blog!

Any way.......soon I shall unveil the results of my poll, however, I have explored the lists mentioned in my previous Best Books posts a bit more indeed. I've worked out how many of the 'must read' books I've read and how many I own and have left to collect dust for god knows how long.

Telegraph - 110 books to make a perfect library
Titles read: 21
Titles on shelf: 3

Telegraph - 100 novels everyone should read
Titles read: 19
Titles on shelf: 5

Guardian - 100 books of all time
Titles read: 9
Titles on shelf: 1

Modern library - readers list and experts list
Titles read - expert list: 9
Titles on shelf - expert list: 4
Titles read - reader list: 11
Titles on shelf - reader list: 2

Telegraph - top 100 books
Titles read: 45
Titles on shelf: 4

The best 100 novels
Titles read: 28
Titles on shelf: 5

I'm quite proud with some of my efforts! YAY!

I'm going to crunch some numbers for a few days and then I'll get back to you with your #top5books!

Happy Reading

Book Geek

Friday, 17 February 2012

Review: Room

Paperback: £ 7.99
Publisher: Picador

The first thing I'll say about this book is that the language takes some getting used to. It's in the first person of a 5 year old boy called Jack who lives in one room with his Ma. He's never been out of the room and the only other human he has contact with is Old Nick, his mothers kidnapper/abuser and Jack's father.

I can't say too much about the plot and my liking of certain parts of the book as I don't want to give things away! Things happen that I didn't expect and aren't given away in the very tiny blurb. Also, my colleague who read this book a while ago didn't give the plot away which I am hugely thankful for! YAY!

Anyway, once you get used to the language/style of writing you will become totally absorbed in this book. It's terribly terribly sad. I feel so upset for Jack, Ma and their family all at the same time. I have no sympathy for Old Nick, he's a bastard. 

Obviously Donoghue had to do an immense amount of research to write this book. I do wonder if she interviewed people who had found them selves in positions like this. It must have been totally fascinating but at the same time highly upsetting and I'd imagine on occasion disturbing.

Even though Jack and Ma have both lead a hard life in Room, Jack and Ma did annoy me on occasions. I know this is a rather terrible thing for me to say, I am sorry! Jack did become a whiney annoyance on a few occasions, but he's 5 and well, that is what 5 year olds do, trapped in one room or outside in the real world. Ma annoyed me on occasions due to her lack of patience but, she didn't ask to be in this situation and even though it is obvious she has an overwhelming amount of love for Jack I couldn't help but feel that when she was 'Gone' she was being a tad selfish. However, in retrospect I chastise myself for thinking such things! Of course you would have many many days when you couldn't cope in a single room after being trapped in there, and taken away from your family and friends for such a long time!

Once again, I've read another distressing and upsetting book! I have a habit of doing so it appear. 
However, it was a great read!

Happy Reading

Book Geek

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Harry Potter titles you'll never see

I know, I know, stolen again!!!!!

Hardback: £14.99
Publisher: Boxtree

- Harry Potter and the Wheel of Cheese
- Harry Potter and the Bucket of Shit
- Harry Potter and the Half Mast Pants
- Harry Potter and the Confit of Duck
- Harry Potter versus Predator
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Commerce
- Harry Potter and the Pus Like Discharge
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Curry

Monday, 13 February 2012

Review: The Opposite of Mercy

Paperback: £ 12.99 (one of those giant ones)
Publisher: Orion

So, I'm afraid I don't have much to say about this. SORRY!
It was a page turner, don't get me wrong, as thrillers go, it did the job. I wanted to know what happened next, I wanted to know who did what and all that jazz.

I enjoyed the portions of the book discussing Paul's time in Afghanistan and Pakistan the most. They were interesting and refreshing as they weren't as predictable and formulaic. Also, it was interesting to read about post/pre/during war events. I didn't really find anything overly thrilling about the rest of it. It was hugely generic and did the job.

I'm sorry! I don't really have much more to say about it!

I'll try better next time

Happy reading

Book Geek


Friday, 10 February 2012

Review: Tom-All-Alone's

Hardback: £ 12.99
Publisher: Corsair

I was given Tom-All-Alone's by the lovely @CorsairPR as a read and review copy.

The minute you start reading this book you can see the Dickens influence. I wonder if it was no coincidence that it was released at the same time as celebrations started for Dickens' 200th birthday. The style of writing is great and I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that on occasion the author/narrative voice yanked you back to the modern day and reminded you that the author/narrator and yourself are rooted in 2012 and not 1850. When this first occurred I was delighted to find that this did not annoy me! In retrospect I would think it would annoy me as it would remind me that I'm not in fact in the books/a character in the book/a spectator at the time of the events. I love to loose myself in a book and I managed to despite the occasional jolt from Shepherd.

Charles, Charles, Charles....I have fallen for him. What a delicious specimen he is! I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I always end up falling in love with a character from which ever book I'm reading.

I didn't find myself waiting for Hester's narrative portions to be over, nor did I find myself anticipating them. Sometimes when a book is inter-spliced with a minor plot I am either desperate to finish it and move on to the main plot or get to it and find out what happens. I felt indifferent towards it. I think because it went a bit Bronte/Austen on your arse!

I enjoyed the plot, the Bleak House influence was very much there. It's far more dark, sinister, violent and in some places humorous (without being a parody) than Dickens' books and this was obvious from the start. This is another book with some gruesome and very distressing parts.

Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely!

Happy Reading

Book Geek


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Part 2: Best Books???

I'm clocking up the numbers for my little straw poll thing (atm I have 36...I'm looking for 50 at least).
Please do keep them coming as a comment on this post or my first Best Books blog or tweet at my twitter account, @book_geek_says with #top5books included!

Anyway, down to part two business....

I've been doing a little bit of research using the 7 lists mentioned in part one of this little series (see link above). There are four books that appeared most frequently (on 6 or 7 lists). I'm most sorry there aren't 5 to go with my #top5books poll...all other books appeared 5 times or fewer.

There is only one book that appears in all 7: Ulysses - James Joyce.
There are three books that appear in 6 of the lists: 1984 - George Orwell, Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien and Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov.

Will these appear in my 'survey of the people' list? Will they be as hugely popular?
Only you can help me find the answers!

Happy list compiling

Book Geek

Monday, 6 February 2012

Review: The Pianist

Paperback: £ 6.99
Publisher: Orion

I saw the film of this a few years ago, VERY long but well worth the watch.

I was given the book as part of the 'Books to Films' set I've mentioned in my Best Books of 2011 post. I wasn't aware it was a book until I received this lovely set!

It's a memoir of Wladyslaw Szpilman's time during the first world war. It is very short in comparison to the film, but I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. It is beautifully written. There is a lot of emotion in some parts but there is an air of detachment to it also. This could be because Szpilman wrote the book very shortly after his ordeal during the war ended. The detachment could be a self protection thing. 

Some parts of the book were shocking and horrifying. There are details of murders, raids and mass killings that I have not come across in other things I have read about WW2 that upset me hugely. They are written about in a very matter of fact way which is not surprising as they were a frequent and almost everyday occurrence for poor Szpilman. 

In the film, Szpilman seems to an extent (and in search of a better word) cowardly. He seems to run, and run, not care for others and only look out for himself. In the book it is highly different. He is forced away from his family when the clearing of the ghetto starts, he is made to run and hide even when he doesn't feel he wants to and he wants to stay with his family or not bother with the continuous hiding which is taking a great toll on him. 

The diary extracts from the German soldier who helped Szpilman (sorry, his name escapes me now) are a very stark contrast. As they are diary entries they are more immediate, but they also seem more controlled, formulaic and to an extent prescribed. Yes, this soldier is speaking of his disgust at what the German's are doing but there is something that seems slightly false and clinical about his outrage and anger. Of course, he had to contain it and not show his superiors as no doubt he would have found a fate similar to the Jews in the book, but there still wasn't the passion I was hoping for.

All in all, this is a great memoir. Very interesting, engaging and thoroughly educational. Not one for those who are overly young or who get upset easily though!

Happy reading

Book Geek 


Sunday, 5 February 2012

Unlikely things to read on the back of a book

I stole them from here..I know, I know, but it's funny!!

Hardback: £ 14.99
Publisher: Boxtree

'I literally shat myself' - New York Times 

'I have a copy of War and Peace permanently by the side of my bed. How else would I get in? - Ronnie Corbett

'Unusually good quality paper.'

'Fiscal Accountancy Part Four is a rollocking good read' - Gordon Brown

'Kept me guessing right till the end when I found out the policeman did it.'

'If you only read one book this year - you're thick.'

The Very Horny Chihuahua is a very different sort of book from the author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

'Easily Nick Hornby's best book' - Nick Hornby

'It's so nice to read a book that's on my intellectual level' - Wayne Rooney

'£ 6.99 or nearest offer.'

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Review: The Alchemist

Paperback: £5.99
Publisher: Harper Collins

Years and years ago, a very good friend of mine said to me 'Read The Alchemist, it'll change your life.'

It has been on my bookshelf for a good three years and I've finally read it. It hasn't changed my life.

This is the type of book I hate, detest, despise! I came across millions of books like this when doing my English degree and millions of people who thought they were all marvelous, wonderful, life changing! They are tosh, bollocks, piles of pretentious crap!

I'm sorry, but I can't stand books that try hard! I can't stand books that are self aware and trying in a very conscious way to be philosophical and provoking. ARRRRGH!!! Stop being such a pretentious arse!

I've read 'eleven seconds' by Coelho and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Yes, it offered up food for thought but not in such a self-conscious way, the book didn't seem to be so self aware.

I know people have loved The Alchemist and will continue to love it, I'm sure that if you are the right type of person you will love it too!

I think I'm just a bit too skeptical for such books. I don't like books that try to force you towards a way of thinking, a school of thought.

I will of course admit it is a very pleasant book and well written but there is nothing more I can say that is of a positive note! 

I'm sorry, I did really want to like it when I started out!

Happy Reading!

Book Geek

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Best books???

What are your top five books?
Do you have a list of books that you think people should read before they die?
Do you have a top 100 books?
Do you think you know what makes the perfect library?

There are loads of lists everywhere declaring everything from what '110 Books Make The Perfect Library' to what '100 Novels Everyone Should Read' to the '100 Books of All Time' to the '100 Best Novels' chosen by experts and then by readers and to the 'Top 100 Books' AGAIN and the 'Best 100 Novels' Oh yes, AGAIN!!

Who are the people who decide what appears on these lists?
Why are allllll these lists different?
Why do some books appear on all of them but not others?
What qualifies a book for these lists?

When it comes to a top list of any thing I've noticed that you always have to choose from the options offered by the compilers. They never let you actually announce your favourite.

If you were asked to choose your top 5 songs of the year 2011 you'd find Adele, Lady Gaga, Jessie J, One Direction, etc, etc. You wouldn't see the obscure, the niche, the off the radar....Said the Whale for example or   Unto the Locust???? You aren't actually allowed to give your own individual opinions....well very rarely anyway....booooooo!

So now I'm on a mission, a small, straw poll mission, but I'm trying to find out what books should be on the list! I want to know what books people would say are their favourites if they weren't constrained by the expert lists!!!

It may be tough, but I'm going to try and do it!

I'm on my way, I have people from the lovely twitter verse helping me out, but I could do with more! Either tweet me @book_geek_says with the hashtag #top5books or just leave a comment!

If you do this you will have my love forever!!!

Thanks and happy thinking!

Book Geek