I think I am in the minority of bloggers that haven’t written a Happy New Year post.
I like to wait a month.
It isn’t so much happy as just another year. We try to motivate ourselves with new starts but it doesn’t work because we’re sure there’s going to be another new something soon to give us a boost.
But I haven’t written this to be negative, let me assume you have tried, or are trying, in which case carry on because it is around now you will be seeing the results and I bet they are wondrous.
I didn’t start a year with resolutions, only a ‘yeah my year’ chant in my head. A buzz that lasted two days and then I realized ‘oh look, the year has changed but my life hasn’t. What a bummer’ A new year isn’t a magic wand, it is within you. I have decided to keep getting on with it. Head in the game and all things out of my control don’t get a peep in for more than eight hours at a time.
Every day is a new chance. Time might be slow in traffic, or alone at night, but life is quick.
This is a book about the relationship artist Vincent Van Gogh had with a prostitute and her daughter and son. Based partly on fact too, this does a good job of making Vincent seem human and less like the guy that chopped off his own ear. It’s written from the perspective of the daughter as a child and that gives this an innocent portrayal, instead of one that could have dramatized the details that we do know of Vincent and his life. The writing is well polished and the pace doesn’t let up, so this doesn’t become boring at all. The ending is satisfying too and a nice way of finishing the book. On reflection, I don’t feel this has made an impact on me.
What has it been, two, three weeks since I read this? It has made an impact. I think about Vincent and his dedication to his art, even to the unhappiness of those he loves around him. He wants to spend his money on the materials to paint, not food! His love for his partner too, despite what people thought about her being a prostitute, and Vincent remaining with her is, is really the only thing I like about him. He seems cowardly and the girl that narrates this book has more bite to her. It is sad to think of our heroes as anything less than heroic. But then there is nothing heroic about mental health problems and that is indeed what dogged Vincent. The heroes are those that do not give in and eventually Vincent must have felt like he had had enough.
This is a collection of short stories involving the adventures of animals and these have a moral to them. As I’m a cynical twenty year old that just doesn’t cut it for me anymore. With that said, I enjoyed this. I like the inclusion of the illustrations. The Fabra Jay and The Never Moor Hen were two of my favourite stories because I like the message of them and they packed a punch. The Clique Beetle story I wish I had read when I was a child and realized then how it is common interests that bond us with people and not our appearance. Inventive and silly, a yakking yak, gooseberries giving you goose bumps etc.
Buy a copy here.
This is a book of the stories of the Bible, which have been rewritten, and told to the reader in a way we are able to comprehend, by the writer Elvo Fortunato Bucci. The man Emmanuel is Christ, wearing jeans and healing the sick.
I think by far my favourite chapter was when Emmanuel and his friends were on a train journey and sharing their compartment was a pregnant lady and her boyfriend. They start to talk and it emerges she is worried about money and how they will provide for the baby. Emmanuel asks ‘Does worry provide?’
The tales are easier to get into than those in the Bible. This would make a great read for the sceptics. There are nosy reporters, a musician, a deaf boy who saves his fellow friend’s from a gas leak at the school they stay in and treason, government and rebellion. I’m actually surprised how much of this is about selfishness and greed and material things. Emmanuel wades in and shows the people in these stories a different way of thinking. This has been engaging and food for thought.
It’s quite a story.
Discover more here.
This begins with the adoption of a boy. Which then takes us back to the relationship of the adoptive parents and respective families. This is a story told by the adoptive mother in a letter to her son. We are then introduced to another story which is when my head began to spin as I tried to remember everything! I think the writer, Puja Guha, tries to create suspense and a cliff hanger, which is much like a promise, to keep us reading on for the consequences but then this is never fully realized and can be a let down. The writer has skill at creating these. Some of the characters need fleshing out more, the dialogue could do with work (as the repeated ‘yeah’s’ become quite grating) but despite this, the story is well told, it’s compelling and keeps you satisfied, reading on until the final page.
I cannot imagine how strange it must feel to sit down and start to pen your memoir, as John Davis does in this book My Father’s Son. Especially with the subjects of this book being grief, loss, abuse, drugs, crime, family and identity. It is not a book that goes deeply into the history of his family, in fact he admits there are details he cannot tell us because he has no information or recollection of them. This is unlike the majority of memoirs where their subject seems to remember everything.
John does a stellar job of turning his childhood into a story that a reader is able to, for want of a better word, enjoy. There are poignant moments and terrifying moments, where you question the minds of the adults that were meant to be taking care of their children and not abusing them. The first half of this book is truly gut wrenching and to have the second half so uplifting has quite a powerful effect.
This is a wonderful book and I thank the author for publishing and sharing with us his story.
Buy it here.
This is a pleasant read and, at times, like a verse you would find in a hallmark card. These poems are ultimately about humanity. There are poems about being a resident in a care home and about being one of the nurses tending to that resident, which is humbling to reflect on. It’s a sombre mood in these poems, with subtle touches to it that make this something we can all relate to and understand, despite this being the personal experiences of the writer. Worth a read.
An excellent story. This story has a beginning introduction that is a superb insight into the character and endearing him to us. The action comes swiftly and just as you think it’s over the author, Ian Thompson, gives us a fresh and exciting twist. The end is satisfying and brings the story back around to where it begun, in terms of the theme and focus of the character. This is thoroughly spooky, enticing and well written from start to finish.
Visit his website for updates on new releases.
A review by Mark Binmore for my ebook Just: A sign of the times. This you can purchase here.
Jack is a book set in Charleston in the 1800’s, which tells the story of mischievous schoolboys. Jack is the rebellious leader who delights in winding up his school master and setting up his schoolboy friends for a fall. The book does remind me of the work of Mark Twain, there are many similarities but enough differences for this to feel like a new work. In a way I think this is a homage to Mark Twain.
The tone of this is humorous, although I think as it gets further in quite serious and shocking when describing the abolishment of slavery and treatment of the people. I think on that subject this book suddenly becomes more appealing and the dynamics change with other characters introduced to us.
The conversation between a schoolboy and the master when speaking of the slaves and their freedom, I felt tension and empathy because of their differences in opinion. It is odd to read something like that, as now slavery is not even a matter of opinion or discussion. Black or white, we are all equal beings and that makes this into an fascinating historical novel. Jack has a setting with plenty of story opportunities.
The personal background story of the school master is a nice touch and almost elevates this to fairy-tale status as he chucks in teaching and returns to his former occupation, thanks to Jack. He could have easily became a caricature of the idea that we have of schoolmasters of old, who bully their pupils and rap their knuckles with a ruler. The character of Jack becomes more well rounded too as the book reaches its end and you start to understand him a little more.
This is a rollicking read.
Buy the first volume here and look out for the second part, to be published soon!