Books 57 to 64
So, in my Bucket List quest to read at least 80 books, this is my 8th list of 8 books that I've held onto. As explained in my blogs previously, my lists are an eclectic mix of book types. Hopefully you'll see something that you might read on an autumn day. (See Blog 16, Blog 22, Blog 32, Blog 38, Blog 48, Blog 65 and Blog 76 for my previous book-related blogs).
57 The Green Fool … by Patrick Kavanagh
A delightful autobiographical novel from one of my favourite writers. Time hardly mattered in the village of Mucker, the birthplace of poet and writer Patrick Kavanagh. Full of wry humour, Kavanagh's unsentimental and evocative account of his Irish rural upbringing describes a patriarchal society surviving on the edge of poverty, sustained by the land and an insatiable love of gossip.
There are tales of schoolboy skirmishes, blackberrying and night-time salmon-poaching; of country-weddings and fairs, of political banditry and religious pilgrimages; and of farm-work in the fields and kicking mares. Kavanagh's experiences inspired him to write poetry which immortalised a fast-disappearing way of life and brought him recognition as one of Ireland's great poets.
Loved, loved this book. Well written and gives you a view of an Ireland that is long gone. – Mary@80b480
No other reviews found.
About The Author
One of the major figures in the modern Irish poetic canon, Patrick Kavanagh (1904-67) was a post-colonial poet who released Anglo-Irish verse from its prolonged obsession with history, ethnicity and national politics. His poetry, written in an uninhibited vernacular style, focused on the 'common and banal' aspects of contemporary life.
58 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy … by Douglas Adams
It’s an ordinary Thursday morning for Arthur Dent . . . until his house gets demolished. The Earth follows shortly after to make way for a new hyperspace express route, and Arthur’s best friend has just announced that he’s an alien. After that, things get much, much worse.
With just a towel, a small yellow fish, and a book, Arthur has to navigate through a very hostile universe in the company of a gang of unreliable aliens. Luckily the fish is quite good at languages. And the book is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy . . . which helpfully has the words DON’T PANIC inscribed in large, friendly letters on its cover.
Douglas Adams’s mega-selling pop-culture classic sends logic into orbit, plays havoc with both time and physics, offers up pithy commentary on such things as ballpoint pens, potted plants, and digital watches . . . and, most important, reveals the ultimate answer to life, the universe, and everything. Now, if you could only figure out the question. . . .
Clever & witty. An excellent little book about the absurdity of our place in the universe. And definitely worth reading at least once. – Mary@80b480
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “Extremely funny . . . inspired lunacy . . . [and] over much too soon.”—The Washington Post Book World
“Lively, sharply satirical, brilliantly written . . . ranks with the best set pieces in Mark Twain.”—The Atlantic
“Irresistible!”—The Boston Globe
“With droll wit, a keen eye for detail and heavy doses of insight . . . Adams makes us laugh until we cry.”—The San Diego Union-Tribune
“One of the greatest achievements in comedy. A work of staggering genius.”—David Walliams
About The Author
Douglas Noel Adams (11 March 1952 – 11 May 2001) was an English author, screenwriter, essayist, humourist, satirist and dramatist. Adams was the author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which originated in 1978 as a BBC radio comedy, before developing into a "trilogy" of five books that sold more than 15 million copies in his lifetime and generated a television series, several stage plays, comics, a video game, and a 2005 feature film. Adams's contribution to UK radio is commemorated in The Radio Academy's Hall of Fame.
59 The Investor's Handbook: Making the most of your Money … by Barry McCall
This is a nice, simply written book which explains jargon and tries to provide as many options as possible for someone whose savings are gaining little or no interest. The author, a journalist, shows those which are “no-risk options” and why higher risk can sometimes bring more reward over a longer period. Anyone reading this as a novice will be better informed and won't be afraid to look at the realistic options open to them.
The book was sponsored by a building society which has since gone - it went under and was bought up by another bank during the fallout from the economic collapse. Maybe the managers should have read their own book.
As an accountant, I was often asked for investment advice down through the years. This book at least gives people the basics. – Mary@80b480
No other reviews found.
About The Author
The author, Barry McCall, is a freelance journalist who was a regular contributor to the Irish Times business and finance pages, and to financial magazines.
60 The Last Precinct … by Patricia Cornwell
Thwarting an attack by a suspected serial killer puts Virginia’s Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta in the harsh glare of the spotlight. As her personal and professional lives come under suspicion, she discovers that the so-called Werewolf murders may have extended to New York City and into the darkest corners of her past. A formidable prosecutor, a female assistant district attorney from New York, is brought into the case—and Scarpetta must struggle to make what she knows to be the truth prevail against mounting and unnerving evidence to the contrary. Tested in every way, she turns inward to ask, “Where do you go when there is nowhere left?”
Overall a good read but a bit confusing to read with conflicting story lines in places. – Mary@80b480
“Ignites on the first page…Cornwell twists escalating violence, unrelenting tension and growing paranoia into a thick rope of horror and unfolding conspiracy. No one depicts the human capability for evil better than she…Cornwell has created a character so real, so compelling, so driven that this reader has to remind herself regularly that Scarpetta is just a product of an author’s imagination.”—USA Today
“Plots within plots, fraught atmosphere and unrelenting suspense keep readers on tenterhooks while one trap after another springs under unwary feet. Cunningly designed, ingeniously laid out, composed with Cornwellian skill, this far-from-the-Last Precinct is a model of the art.”—Los Angeles Times
“The most unexpected of the Kay Scarpetta novels so far…The Last Precinct unfolds deliberately, keeping you in the dark along with Scarpetta so that when the revelations dawn, you’re almost reeling, too. The overwhelming feeling, though, is that Cornwell has the series on the verge of spinning off in a thrilling new direction. The Last Precinct may just be a terrific first step toward something even more exhilarating.”—The Miami Herald
About The Author
Patricia Cornwell is considered one of the world's bestselling crime writers. Her intrepid medical examiner Kay Scarpetta first appeared on the scene in 1990 with Post-mortem—the only novel to win the Edgar, Creasey, Anthony, and Macavity awards and the French Prix du Roman d'Aventure in a single year—and Cruel and Unusual, which won Britain's prestigious Gold Dagger Award for the best crime novel of 1993. Dr. Kay Scarpetta herself won the 1999 Sherlock Award for the best detective created by an American author. Ms. Cornwell's work is translated into 36 languages across more than 120 countries.
61 The Line Of Beauty … by Alan Hollinghurst
Winner of the Man Booker Prize, Alan Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty is a classic novel about class, politics and sexuality in Margaret Thatcher's 1980s Britain.
It is the summer of 1983, and young Nick Guest, an innocent in the matters of politics and money, has moved into an attic room in the Notting Hill home of the Feddens: Gerald, an ambitious new Tory MP, his wealthy wife Rachel, and their children Toby and Catherine. Nick had idolized Toby at Oxford, but in his London life it will be the troubled Catherine who becomes his friend and his uneasy responsibility.
Innocent of politics and money, Nick is swept up into the Feddens' world and an era of endless possibility, all the while pursuing his own private obsession with beauty.
The author tells the story of the London life of the 1980s seen through the eyes of Nick Guest, a young man seduced by the discovery of homosexuality and the luxury of experience in the English high society under Margaret Thatcher. It took me a while to read it. – Mary@80b480
Luminous... [an] astonishingly Jamesian novel, a crafty, glittering, sidelong bid by a contemporary master of English prose to be considered heir to James himself. For a novel that spans only four years, 1983 to 1987, it seems to encompass a world as capacious as any in a James novel., The Times
There is something memorable on every page... there is much to savour in The Line of Beauty, not least its humour, a shivering yet morally exacting satire that leaves no character untouched., Times Literary Supplement
Superb . . . Alan Hollinghurst is in the prime of his writing life, and the immaculate rolling cadences of his new novel are right now the keenest pleasure English prose has to offer., Daily Telegraph
Quite simply a joy to read. It is solid and traditional, beautifully crafted. A quiet masterpiece., Scotland on Sunday
About The Author
Alan Hollinghurst is the author of five novels, The Swimming-Pool Library, The Folding Star, The Spell, The Line of Beauty and The Stranger’s Child. He has received the Somerset Maugham Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction and the 2004 Man Booker Prize. He lives in London.
62 The Lovely Bones … by Alice Sebold
"My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973."
So begins the story of Susie Salmon, who is adjusting to her new home in heaven, a place that is not at all what she expected, even as she is watching life on earth continue without her -- her friends trading rumours about her disappearance, her killer trying to cover his tracks, her grief-stricken family unravelling. Out of unspeakable tragedy and loss, The Lovely Bones succeeds, miraculously, in building a tale filled with hope, humour, suspense, even joy.
I enjoyed this book which was harrowing and thought provoking in equal measure. This isn't a 'whodunit' or murder/mystery; we already know who the murderer is. This is more about the strain, changes and impact that Susie's murder has on her family and her friends. – Mary@80b480
'Moving and compelling . . . It will put an imperceptible but stealthily insistent hold on you. I sat down in the morning to read the first couple of pages; five hours later, I was still there, book in hand, transfixed.' - Maggie O'Farrell, Sunday Telegraph
'Spare, beautiful and brutal prose . . . The Lovely Bones is compulsive enough to read in a single sitting, brilliantly intelligent, elegantly constructed and ultimately intriguing.' - The Times
'Takes the stuff of terrible tragedy and transforms it into something hopeful and redemptive.' - Daily Mail
'[Sebold] has created a novel that is painfully fine and accomplished, one which readers will have their own difficulties relinquishing, long after the last page is turned.' - Los Angeles Times
About The Author
Alice Sebold is the bestselling author of The Lovely Bones, The Almost Moon, and Lucky a memoir. She lives in California with her husband, the novelist Glen David Gold.
63 The Master … by Colm Tobin
In January 1895 Henry James anticipates the opening of his first play, Guy Domville, in London. The production fails, and he returns, chastened and humiliated, to his writing desk. The result is a string of masterpieces, but they are produced at a high personal cost.
In The Master Colm Tóibín captures the exquisite anguish of a man who circulated in the grand parlours and palazzos of Europe, who was astonishingly vibrant and alive in his art, and yet whose attempts at intimacy inevitably failed him and those he tried to love. It is a powerful account of the hazards of putting the life of the mind before affairs of the heart.
I started reading this book with next to no knowledge of Henry James' life and works. I finished with a fascination for the man, thanks to Tòibin's incredible storytelling and beautiful prose. – Mary@80b480
An audacious, profound, and wonderfully intelligent book. (Hermione, Lee Guardian)
A marvel of lightly worn research and modulated tone. (John Updike, New Yorker)
A must read. Colm Tóibín has not only written a spectacular novel he has found a way to pay tribute to Henry James. We should all be so gifted and so lucky. (Alice Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones and Lucky)
About The Author
Colm Tóibín is the author of four previous novels, The South, The Heather Blazing, The Story of the Night, and The Blackwater Lightship, which was shortlisted for the 1999 Booker Prize. He lives in Dublin.
64 The Naked Ape … by Desmond Morris
Zoologist Desmond Morris's classic takes its place alongside Darwin's Origin of the Species, presenting man not as a fallen angel, but as a risen ape, remarkable in his resilience, energy and imagination, yet an animal nonetheless, in danger of forgetting his origins. With its penetrating insights on man's beginnings, sex life, habits and our astonishing bonds to the animal kingdom, The Naked Ape is a landmark, at once provocative, compelling and timeless.
This is one of those iconic books which once read, are never forgotten. I think many of Morris's observations based solely on anthropology have been debunked by scientists in related fields – and many aspects are now considered antiquated but this book remains one of my favourite of all time in endeavouring to understand my fellow humans. – Mary@80b480
Readable, surprising and provocative ― The Times
I really enjoyed The Naked Ape by Desmond Morris. It was published in 1967 and is often a very amusing zoological perspective on human beings. The chapter on sex is hilarious -- KT Tunstall ― Independent
Stimulating -- Arthur Koestler
Thought-provoking...Morris has introduced some novel and challenging ideas ― Natural History
Fascinating ― Sunday Times
About The Author
Desmond Morris was born in 1928. Educated at Birmingham and Oxford universities, he became the Curator of Mammals at London Zoo in 1959, a post he held for eight years. In 1967 he published The Naked Ape which has sold over 10 million copies worldwide and has changed the way we view our own species forever.
An accomplished artist, TV presenter, film maker and writer, Desmond Morris's books have been published in over thirty-six countries.
Bucket List Items Partly Ticked Off in the above Blog post 86
Number 55 - Skills - Read 80 Good Books
Other Blog Posts
Blog 7 - Alice Springs, Australia
Blog 8 - Adelaide, Australia
Blog 9 - Melbourne, Australia
Blog 10 - Cairns, Australia
Blog 11 - Sydney, Australia
Blog 16 - Books 8 of 80 to read now!
Did you read any of these books? Which ones? What did you think of them?
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My name is Mary and this is my bucket list blog ...having survived a near-death experience. I hope it encourages you to "live your best life". See how I'm completing my own bucket list items. And let me know how you're getting on with yours!