On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
It’s the early sixties, Edward Mayhew and Florence Ponting have just become engaged and headed to their Honeymoon at Chesil Beach. They are both virgins, and have had no sex education. So things are tense, each comes with their own baggage and things don’t go well.
I found this read long, slow and tedious. It had moments which almost seemed to get emotional but then it just dragged on. I saw that it was a film starring the wonderful Saorise Ronan and had to give it a try, to see how they could possibly have taken a story I found so dull and made it into a film.
On Chesil Beach (2017)
As it happens, the film was a pretty decent reflection of the book, which unfortunately meant it was slow and dull. Though apparently I might be a bit alone on that one… there were a lot of good reviews, though there are also a few clankers in there.
Nguyen tells a series of stories of different accounts of refugees from Vietnam in various different American lives – from a young man who ends up living with a gay couple in San Francisco to a girl whose brother, who died during their escape, has his ghost come to visit her.
Nguyen’s writing is so beautiful and these stories are heartbreaking.
Bani Adam is at school at Punchbowl Boys High School in Sydney which is a wild world of the violence and aggression of teenage boys. And it’s intense. Even though he is also Lebanese, the dominant group in the school, Bani sees himself as separate to them. He sees himself as smarter, more committed to his faith and generally just better.
It’s a hard book to read perhaps because it is so close to the ugly truth. The racism, the misogyny, the do-gooders, the otherness which is part of living in Australia. Ahmad went to the school some time ago, and so it may be representative of a different world, although has it changed much? I don’t know. I hope that things are getting better, nicer, kinder… but I know that may not be the case in reality.
The Lebs was shortlisted for the 2019 Miles Franklin Literary Award and won the Multicultural NSW Award at the 2019 NSW Literary Awards.
This is a very hard but a very important book for teenagers, based on an horrific event that happened in the US. A queergender teen named Sasha who liked to wear skirts was asleep on the bus home from school when an African-American teen called Richard as a joke set their skirt on fire. Sasha was badly burnt and was sent down a path of hospital stays and operations. Richard was charged as adult with hate crime. What the book does is it explores each of the teens lives, it doesn’t treat either as a statistic or a just as their gender identity or race or social status. It shows that things are often far more complicated that they see, with Sasha and their parents arguing against the type of change against Richard despite the horrible crime.
There is a lot to recommend this book. While it is an extremely hard concept to read about, it is a wonderful, in-depth book which also educates the reader on gender and sexuality, on the concept of hate-crimes and other legal things. It’s hard, but clever, and everyone should give this a go.
Detective Jack Spratt and his new assistant Sergeant Mary Mary work for the Nursery Crime division in this weird alternate reality world. However, the Nursery Crime division hasn’t been doing too well, so when Humpty Dumpty is found dead, the pressure is on.
I love these characters and this world, Fforde has such a delightful sense of humour and I really just love all the little tiny references to different rhymes and cultural references.
Victor, Kezia and Nathaniel went to uni with each other, but now they are reaching 30 and trying to figure out who they are. Victor becomes obsessed with a possibly real fictional piece of jewellery and somehow, through their own paths, all three end up in France.
I felt as though I shouldn’t have enjoyed this book as much as I did – the characters are annoyingly self-obsessed and under achieving – but it is funny and fun. I wanted it to be about 50 pages longer (as I seem to often want from a book)- I felt like there was a lot of setup in the book and I wanted it to go further. I loved the meeting between Victor and the mother of the groom at a wedding and the obsession that Victor develops around this story. The idea that a brief but significant conversation can lead to a whole thing.
Mare Barrow is a ‘Red’ – the foot soldiers and workers and lower classes in the Kingdom of Norta. The ‘Silvers’ are in charge, and they stay that way through their magical, supernatural powers. So when Mare ends up in a situation which shows that maybe the Reds aren’t as powerless as everyone thinks, maybe things will be about to change.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, although the idea of having to commit to three more books in the series is, well, a big commitment. But I really want to know who they can and can’t trust, and while I presume that by the end of book four, everything will be ok, I do want to see how it happens.
Red Queen won the 2015 Goodreads Choice Award for Debut Goodreads Author and the Goodreads choice Award for Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction.