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Justin's 2014 reads

Posted: Wed February 5th, 2014, 11:45 pm
by sweetpotatoboy
1. Au Bonheur des Dames (The Ladies' Paradise) by Emile Zola - 2.5/5
2. The Last Caesar by Henry Venmore-Rowland - 2.5/5
3. Amenable Women by Mavis Cheek - 4/5
4. The Know-It-All: One Man's Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World (NF) by A.J. Jacobs - 3.5/5

Posted: Thu February 27th, 2014, 6:40 pm
by sweetpotatoboy
5. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman - 3/5
6. City of Women by David Gillham - 3.5/5

Posted: Tue April 8th, 2014, 8:10 am
by sweetpotatoboy
7. The Criminal Conversation of Mrs Norton by Diane Atkinson (NF) - 3.5/5
8. Harvest by Jim Crace - 3.5/5
9. Making It Happen: Fred Goodwin, RBS and the Men Who Blew Up the British Economy by Iain Martin (NF) - 4/5

Posted: Tue April 8th, 2014, 11:26 pm
by annis
Some time ago I started reading Henry Venmore-Rowland's Sword and the Throne, set around ancient Rome in the Year of the Four Emperors period. I just couldn''t get into it - realised too late that it was a sequel and the first book (Last Caesar) really needs to read, well, first, the writing style was rather clunky and I couldn't feel any empathy whatsoever for the Roman soldier "hero", who's an ambitious, unlikeable snake of a man. Gave up on it.

There's better around on the Roman military adventure front - Harry Sidebottom or Douglas Jackson, for example. Rather different in approach but very engaging are Ruth Downie's historical mysteries set in Roman Britain. She excels in capturing the complexities of two alien cultures (Celt and Roman) trying to come to terms with each other.

Posted: Wed April 9th, 2014, 1:57 pm
by sweetpotatoboy
[quote=""annis""]Some time ago I started reading Henry Venmore-Rowland's Sword and the Throne, set around ancient Rome in the Year of the Four Emperors period. I just couldn''t get into it - realised too late that it was a sequel and the first book (Last Caesar) really needs to read, well, first, the writing style was rather clunky and I couldn't feel any empathy whatsoever for the Roman soldier "hero", who's an ambitious, unlikeable snake of a man. Gave up on it.[/quote]

We read 'The Last Caesar' for my HF book group. It was almost universally panned. Some of us found it readable but not sophisticated or memorable. On the plus side, we had next to no historical bones to pick with it (which is rare in our discussions of historical novels), so it seems he got a lot right in terms of the history. Just as a novel it fell down. One has to bear in mind that he's a teenager, or at least was when he wrote it, I think.

Posted: Mon May 12th, 2014, 2:56 pm
by sweetpotatoboy
10. The Clock Winder by Anne Tyler (contemporary fiction) - 4/5
11. Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Bracewell - 4/5
12. Le Roi de Fer by Maurice Druon - 4/5
13. Case Histories by Kate Atkinson (contemporary fiction) - 4/5
14. The Night Flower by Sarah Stovell - 4/5

Posted: Wed October 29th, 2014, 6:37 am
by sweetpotatoboy
15. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent - 3.5/5
16. City of Thieves by David Benioff - 4.5/5
17. Augustus by John Williams - 3/5/5
18. The Fault in our Stars by John Green (contemporary fiction) - 4/5
19. Old Filth by Jane Gardam - 3.5/5
20. After Flodden by Rosemary Goring - 3.5/5
21. The Summer Queen by Elizabeth Chadwick - 3.5/5

Posted: Wed December 17th, 2014, 8:15 am
by sweetpotatoboy
22. The Spider King's Daughter by Chibundu Onuzo (contemporary fiction) - 3/5
23. Bosworth: The Birth of the Tudors by Chris Skidmore (NF) - 4/5
24. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen - 4/5
25. The Firebird's Feather by Marjorie Eccles - 2/5
26. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (contemporary fiction) - 4/5