The Boy Who Ate Stars – Kochka

Boy Who AteThis is a short and deeply moving book, translated from French by Sarah Adams. It is the charming tale of twelve-year-old Lucy, who has recently moved into a new apartment in Paris. She decides to get to know all of the people in the building, but when meeting the extraordinary four-year-old Matthew from upstairs, everything changes. She learns that he is autistic and wants to understand more, so she sets out to learn all about him and his unusual world. Continue reading

A Year in the Merde – Stephen Clarke

I read this over a very busy week and it was just what I needed; a quick read that didn’t need much concentration. It’s almost exactly what I was expecting after looking at the front cover and reading the back. Full of clichés,  predictable jokes and lots of sexual innuendos.

Paul West, a young English business man in France, is working on a project to introduce typically English tea rooms across the capital. He works with a small, incompetent team and has a corrupt boss, who of course has a sexy assistant. And that is not the only time a sexy French lady is mentioned. In fact the majority of the book is about Paul goggling at sexy French women and trying to think up ways of negotiating himself into their sexy French knickers. Continue reading

Right Ho, Jeeves – P.G. Wodehouse

Right Ho, Jeeves is the perfect book to read if you are feeling slightly dispirited. It is a rollicking, barrel of laughs from start to finish and is sure to put a smile on your face. If, like me you love the TV series, you’ll find the books just as entertaining.

The book is bursting with farcical situations, foolish schemes and some very amusing dialogue between our two favourite characters Bertram Wooster and his butler, Jeeves. Starting with the simple problem of Gussie Fink-Nottle being too nervous to admit his love for Madeline Bassett, Bertie creates a whole confusing mess of matters and causes chaos at his Aunt’s house. Luckily, Jeeves is always around to save the day with a well thought out plan and knowing smile. Continue reading

The Promise of Happiness – Justin Cartwright

I had high hopes for this book and was slightly disappointed. Although it is well written, I found the style at times irritating. The storyline is interesting enough and the characters are realistic, but I simply was not hanging on every word or desperately reading late into the night.

The book revolves around the Judds, a seemingly ordinary family of five. Charles and Daphne have retired to an idyllic Cornish town to live out the rest of their lives walking along the beach, playing golf, arranging flowers and experimenting with fish recipes. However, life for this particular family has been uncertain and on edge since the prodigal daughter, Juilet, or Ju-Ju, was arrested two years earlier. She was then sentenced to prison for art theft which turned their lives upside down. Now, on the day of her release, Ju-Ju’s family are preparing and desperately hoping that the world will now right itself and life will gradually go back to normal. Continue reading

Top 5 Book to Film Adaptations

There has been a big media frenzy this last couple of weeks with the last Harry Potter film being released, which I for one am excited about. I’m looking forward to the film, even though I can’t help but complain about all of them. The films can’t begin to live up to the book and they have turned Harry Potter into something else, a franchise, rather than books to spark the imagination of children all of the world. Children no longer have to conjure up their own personal ideas of the characters, they simply have to picture Daniel Radcliffe.

There have been some terrible film to book adaptations. And I don’t actually think Harry Potter is that bad compared to some of them. It must be extremely difficult to take a good book and turn it into a decent film. Even if you manage to cast the film with brilliant actors and have budget high enough to fill the sets with the perfect props and clothes, there is still so much to think about. So much of the dialogue must be cut down and many scenes scrapped. In fact I think it must be such a daunting task, I’m not sure why anyone would even attempt it!

Here are a few examples of films that I think have been adapted excellently.

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Brick Lane – Monica Ali

At first glance, you may think that Brick Lane is full of unsatisfied and unhappy characters. Luckily, the book itself was a far from an unsatisfactory read. In fact, by the end, I was very satisfied indeed. The characters may be frustrated with certain aspects of their lives, but this book shows how people can rise above their disappointments and live their lives to the full.

Our heroine is Nazneen, who grew up in a small village in Bangladesh. After her sister runs away in a ‘love marriage’ and her mother passes away, she is sent to London to marry an older man. She is only eighteen when this life changing decision is made by her father, and nothing will ever be the same again. Continue reading

Before the Earthquake – Maria Allen

After reading an interview with the author, I simply had to buy this book. The plot seemed too good to miss out on, and being set in a small village in the the south of Italy, at the turn of the last century, it sounded like my sort of thing. The story is about Concetta, a fifteen year old peasant girl who wakes from a coma after an earthquake, finding herself pregnant and with no memory of how she became that way.

Worried about the scandal it would cause, not to mention ruining the chance of marriage for her two sisters, Concetta is quickly married to a family friend to settle an age old debt. Through the rest of the book, we follow Concetta through her new routines as she tries to get to grips with her new life. Continue reading