Can you deem yourself to have no degrees of separation from a famous person if you have seen them at close quarters? If so, then I'm claiming besties with Bill Bryson because I observed him having a drink at my local a few months back. But it isn't just because he's a mate that I love his books; Bill Bryson is a ridiculously funny writer. And Notes from a Small Island is my favourite of all of Bryson's books. I still risk internal hemorrhaging anytime I accidentally think of the underpants scene.
Can you deem yourself to have no degrees of separation from a famous person if you have seen them at close quarters? If so, then I'm claiming besties with Bill Bryson because I observed him having a drink at my local a few months back. But it isn't just because he's a mate that I love his books; Bill Bryson is a ridiculously funny writer. The first Bill Bryson book I read was "Notes from a Small Island". I read it out loud with my mum and dad on a family holiday and I swear it would take us days to get through one chapter... the outbursts of hysterical laughter and regular bathroom breaks slowed us down. While A Walk in the ...
This is a brilliant book. Reminiscent of Henry James' "Turn of the Screw". Sarah Waters is a master of gothic ambivalence and can imbue the most mundane and commonplace with a sense of eeriness. The reader and her characters are left in a suspenseful hinterland guessing at just who is sane, who is unravelling and who or what is of this world. I'm not sure whetehr I'll be relieved or disappointed to finish this one. Creepy, creepy, creepy.
"The Moonstone" was described by T. S. Eliot as "the first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective novels", and all these years later I think that still holds true.
All of the touchstones of detective fiction that we have come to know so well are there, handled with exquisite delicacy by the grandfather of English detective fiction himself:
- A country house robbery
- An 'inside job'
- A celebrated policeman with a touch of amiable eccentricity
- Bungling local constabulary
- Detective procedures
- False suspects
- 'The least likely suspect'
- A rudimentary 'locked room' murder
- A reconstruct...
"Stones into Schools" is a very different book to Mortensen's runaway bestseller "Three Cups of Tea". It is written in the first person and sheds light on the psychology of the author as he deals with the repercussions of the success of that first book; success that generated so much funding for his passions... education and schools... but came at the cost of his own private life and ultimately saw him tethered to the author circuit and isolated from the projects that mean so much to him. If you loved "Three Cups of Tea" then you will enjoy this book too. Although when you put it down you may find yourself hoping...