Bookiness from above

I’ve just finished reading Roddy Doyle’s latest book; ‘The Guts’.

I blog all the time about children’s books on my other, sensible blog, but I see I haven’t written much about my recent grown up reads on here.

Let’s rectify that.

Go and read ‘The Guts’.  It’s ace.

I’ve been reading Roddy Doyle on and off since Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha! and loving him.  I don’t rush to buy his books the minute they come out, but every time I read one I am struck by how clever they are, and more importantly, how enjoyable.

I love that he writes for children too, and The Giggler Treatment is an absolute classic of a book that will be guaranteed to have a child in stitches in no time at all, and is a delight to read to children.

Doyle is probably best known for the fact that his book ‘The Commitments’ was made into a hit film way back when.  It is actually only one of three books called The Barrytown Trilogy, which includes The Snapper and The Van, all of which are wonderful, bittersweet novels that are a pleasure to read.

The Guts is the Douglas Adams style fourth in The Barrytown Trilogy.  It is wonderful.  It tells the story of Jimmy Rabbite, the hero of The Commitments, and what happens to him at the age of 47, when he finds out that he has bowel cancer, and along with his health, and the possibility of a future, his business is also sliding away from him.

It sounds grim – but it really isn’t.  It is funny, and full of heart. The dialogue is blisteringly good, and you can see that this book would make an absolutely stunning film it is so well done.

Other recommendations include:

The Property of a Gentleman by Catherine Gaskin

This was sent to me as a review copy by the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

To be totally honest, I wasn’t sure I was really going to like this. I had always avoided Catherine Gaskin on the grounds that she sounded a bit too much like Catherine Cookson, and I really can’t be doing with consumptive heroines with one leg who bravely soldier on after Da has been killed by a loose pit prop in a mining accident.

Luckily I was completely mistaken in this comparison. They are nothing like each other, which is a huge relief to me, and probably would be to them were either of them still alive.

This book reminded me rather a lot of Daphne Du Maurier’s ‘Rebecca’ but with slightly more high camp and melodrama.  This is not a criticism by the way. I totally loved it.  It was ludicrous and excellent and a fantastically compelling read. If you like a bit of old fashioned romance mixed with dark mystery and a hint of supernatural sub plot, this book will please you as much as it pleased me.

My last recommendation is:

She is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick

This is technically a teen/YA novel, but don’t let that put you off.  Sedgwick is best known for his macabre horror/ghost stories.  This is somewhat of a departure from the norm, but no worse for it.  It tells the story of a teenage girl who finds out that her father has gone missing.  Suspecting foul play, she sets off to find him and gets embroiled in a complex web of deception and trouble.  It sounds rather pedestrian until you realise that he has made his heroine blind.  His descriptions of her life and experiences are brilliantly written and give a whole extra dimension to the book that makes it a truly excellent read.

3 responses to “Bookiness from above

  1. You have another blog?

  2. Hi Connie, Merry Christmas.

    Yes, it’s a children’s literacy blog


  3. Strange that Amazon USA does not show your review!! I could have sworn that I have read reviews from the UK here in the past. anyway the Gaskin bopk sounds very interesting.

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