Our Man in Havana

Our man in havana

Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene

A friend of mine plonked a pile of books onto his dining room table as we were leaving his house as his “book recommendation”.  I then transferred this vertical stake into a horizontal on my book case as soon as we got home and didn’t think much more about them. Flash forward a few weeks and I was a little dry on the book front so picked the first one from this recommended list.

The only other Graham Greene I have read was The End of the Affair, which is one of the most beautiful reads I have experienced, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that this GG was in fact an superbly written black comedy.

It follows a British expat (Mr Wormold) in Havana who has a failing business,  a passively demanding teenage daughter and a few old time friends who are a little questionable in post war times.  He is recruited by MI6 to provide them with some valuable inside information on communist Cuba, which he accepts in order to make a bit of extra cash to fulfil his daughter’s needs….. the only problem being that Mr. Wormold’s mundane life doesn’t know any secrets that he could report back to MI6, so his imagination becomes the source.

It is hilarious! There were a few instances in which I laughed out loud. An episode I am particularly fond of is Mr Wormold’s appearance at a large house of a character he seemingly made up where he witnesses a domestic argument…but not between husband and wife as first believed. He then becomes the centre of the argument….all whilst barely saying a word.

A great book, 5 stars for sure! However, I feel that this book is a fabulous book hiding within a boring one. I started reading it without much hope and it took me a few chapters to really read between the lines and appreciate the style of writing, it is an unassuming comedy.

 

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Return of the Mac

So I have been otherwise pre-occupied this past year, I cant’t believe it has been over a year since I last posted.

But, I have a back log of books to review and a new MacBook, so please stay tuned.

……..I need to get back into the swing of writing.

Fractured

Fractured

Fractured by Karin Slaughter

There is a local bookshop which sells second hand books from anywhere between 1 and 5 Euros. What I enjoyed about my visit was the ‘lucky dip’ style of purchase, books were concealed in brown paper wrapping with only a few critic reviews written on the front to entice your purchase. I picked up a large paperback, which stated it was a bestseller and that the “climax will blow you away”….for 1 Euro. The novelty was fun and I will definitely return.

The whole book is centred around a time frame of approximately 3 days, with an investigative team above that of a city police department, swooping in and taking charge of a crime. Two main characters are flawed (shock) and put aside their differences and history to work together in solving the case of 2 murdered teens and a third missing.

The writing style is adequate, that is to say that there is nothing I can really say negative about the book but then it is not like I can sing from the rafters about how great it is either. I am glad I payed only a euro.

3 stars for this read…

3 star

My year in books: 2014

My year in books: 2014

Not my best year for reading, but I did get engaged and married so I am not going to be too hard on myself.  A total of 23 successfully finished, and additionally some half read books I could not bear to finish; one being The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton (Sorry Georgie!).

Just a few awards to dish out, obviously my opinions are my own so please do not start abusing me for my choices…

Best book of 2014

Tracks by Robyn Davidson. The true story of Robyn’s trek from the centre of Australia to the West coast, a truly remarkable account. It was funny, sad and exciting and left me wishing I was there, nay, her! I simply could not get enough of this book and I feel it has made me a better person for having read it. Maybe I appreciate people’s dreams or something, not quite sure how I ameliorated myself but I feel it, and that is what counts.

Runner up

The End of the Affair by Graham Greene.  This book I think deserves to be on everyone’s reading list.  It is a love story, written from a sad and distant perspective, and it is beautiful in every way. This is no story, it is a piece of literary art. It pains me to say, but unfortunately a story with this depth and skill is apparently no contender for the modern day dribble that we see on the Kindle best sellers, people need to wake up and smell the well written books!

Worst book of 2014:

This is a no brain-er. It has to be Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  What killed the ambience of this hollywood read was the terrible writing, shallow characters and the poor quality of the kindle version, to boot! I admit, the story had me turning the pages, but compared to a real thriller (John Grisham is a fantastic thriller writer) it was a wet flannel.

January – 😦

February  – 12 Years a Slave

March – A Respectable Trade

April – Gone Girl, Unchartered

May – The End of the Affair

June – The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Divergent, The Confession (again)

July – Insurgent, Allegiant, Tracks

August – Starting Over, an Officer and a Spy

September – Bite, Sycamore Row

October – Elephant Moon, Daughter, Orange is the New Black, The Secret Life of Bletchley Park

November – Birdsong, Philomena,

December – Dear Daughter

Having the books in list form has reminded me of many an unfinished review. Please bear with me…