20th July – Review of The Saint-Fiacre Affair

Another excellent book from Georges Simenon. This one is personal for Maigret as he goes back to his childhood home and village as a note is received by the police in Paris indicating a crime will be committed at the Church of Saint-Fiacre during first mass on All Souls’ Day. Sure enough a crime isContinue reading “20th July – Review of The Saint-Fiacre Affair”

17th July – Treasure Island

It’s a classic and rightly so. A tale of pirates, the high seas, and of course a treasure map created by the buccaneer Captain Flint. The many memorable characters include Long John Silver, Jim Hawkins, Ben Gunn, Billy Bones, and Blind Pew. Robert Louis Stevenson’s original title for this book was ‘The Sea Cook’ asContinue reading “17th July – Treasure Island”

29th June – As I walked out one Midsummer Morning

I suppose this could be referred to as the sequel to Cider with Rosie. This book is superb as it’s equal measures of memoir, travel book, and historical reference. Laurie Lee leaves the Cotswolds, heads to London, and then determines to head further afield, arriving in Vigo in Galicia before taking a year to walkContinue reading “29th June – As I walked out one Midsummer Morning”

22nd June – The Plague

Written by Albert Camus, The Plague is at least partially an allegory of the German occupation of France during WWII. The narrator of the story is only revealed at the very end of the story. Most of the story is told in the third person, with only occasional references to ‘we’. The plague that comesContinue reading “22nd June – The Plague”

20th June – In a Sunburned Country

Darwin hoteliers don’t come out of it too well but generally Bill Bryson is enamoured with Australia and the writing shows it. There are wonderful stories such as the one about the Desert Rat Kangaroo which outran white people on horses for 12 miles, yes 12 miles non-stop in desert heat. The consensus is thatContinue reading “20th June – In a Sunburned Country”

19th June – A Study in Scarlet

This is the story that started it all, the one where Dr Watson meets Sherlock Holmes for the first time and they move into 221B Baker Street. It’s a slightly clunky story in that the murderer is revealed half way through, then the background to the reasons why the murders were committed is provided, andContinue reading “19th June – A Study in Scarlet”

16th June – The Forgotten Gospels

This book by Tim Newton is excellent and introduced me to some gospels I’d never heard of. It’s a real education to read the Gospel of St Thomas and recognise some of the sayings but not all of them. Why was the gospel nor included in the Bible but others were, and who decided this?Continue reading “16th June – The Forgotten Gospels”

31st May – The Amazing Maurice

This is one of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels though don’t expect any of the usual characters to appear – there are no wizards – apart from Death and the Death of Rats, who make only a fleeting appearance. Yes, some animals do perish in this book, but don’t worry remember how many lives cats have.Continue reading “31st May – The Amazing Maurice”

29th May – The Sign of Four

One of the classic Sherlock Holmes’ books written by Arthur Conan Doyle, the one about India, missing treasure, a boat chase on The Thames, and Dr Watson meeting his wife. The only thing I don’t appreciate about these tales is how weak the female characters are written, as though they’re just useful for creating plotContinue reading “29th May – The Sign of Four”

20th May – Profit over People by Noam Chomsky

Chomsky traces the history of neoliberalism from the Reagan / Thatcher years through to the 1990s via a series of free trade agreements. Neoliberalism refers to the policies and processes whereby relatively few private interests are allowed to dominate as much as possible of people’s social lives in order to maximise their profits. Chomsky analysesContinue reading “20th May – Profit over People by Noam Chomsky”