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Book review: <i>Overtaken</i> by Alexei Sayle



If this was an evening at home it would be a flukily good art-house movie, a favourite sitcom, a good conversation, tasty leftovers and kinky sex.

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Book review: <i>Pattern Recognition</i> by William Gibson



I found this book to be EXTREMELY difficult in a multitude of ways. During the reading process, which was quite drawn out due to the following, I struggled through stages of ambivalence, irritation, eagerness, interest, distaste, and the desire to just read something else and forget about it. So, I suppose you could call Pattern Recognition emotionally evocative... [...]

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Book review: <i>Breakfast of Champions</i> by Kurt Vonnegut



If this was a sofa, it would be a sublimely comfortable, utterly kick-ass retro-style seventies design which will only get more expensive as the years progress, despite being upholstered in a scary orange and brown design.

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Book review: <i>Divided Kingdom</i> by Rupert Thomson



If this was a video game, it would be a free-roaming third-person action-adventure with epic storytelling goals that never really resolve, but you don’t mind too much because you’re half-glad it’s finished and you can stop playing.

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Book review: <i>Bridget Jones's Diary</i> by Helen Fielding



As far as I’m concerned, this is one of the defining books of the “chick lit” genre; so defining, in fact, and followed by so many pale imitations, that Bridget Jones’s Diary should probably surpass this tired and overstuffed genre into something else with the emphasis on “literarty”. There have been so many awful books that have tried to sneak into a similar category, but they just can’t touch the wit and style and glorious lovability of Bridget Jones’s Diary.

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Book review: <i>The State of Michael</i> by Merle Esson



If this was a meal, it would be a reheated roast dinner eaten alone in a dirty bedsit as late afternoon sunlight peeks through a slate-grey sky.

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Book review: <i>A Man In Full</i> by Tom Wolfe



A good ol’ Southern real estate tycoon, a black mayor and a black lawyer, who just aren’t black enough for their constituents, a young follower of the Stoics, and a high profile rape case that could turn Atlanta into a racial battleground are the main features of this door stop of a novel. And, while Tom Wolfe seems to bang on a bit, some of the detail is great. The only major complaint I had with this book was the fact that Wolfe obviously decided that “gloaming” was his new favourite word, and used it five times through the story. And it stuck out. Aside from that, good for Tom! Doesn’t he compare favourably to such book exchange annoyances as James Patterson et al? Finding A Man in Full amongst the Jodi Picoults and German copies of Da Vinci Code was a rare stroke of luck, I tell you.

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Book review: <i>On Beauty</i> by Zadie Smith



There’s nothing quite so enjoyable as a book that challenges the way we think, in my opinion—as long as that book does it in a particular way. Most readers don’t want to be preached at, or aggressively challenged, or be treated like they’re stupid while reading a novel (there are academic and religious texts for that, thanks). And often, when an author is trying to comment on race, or socio-economic status, or politics, they more often than not come across sounding like self-righteous snobs. However, Zadie Smith manages to tackle all of these topics in On Beauty, and manages to be simply thought provoking, maintaining the integrity of the reader by not assuming the reader is an idiot. It sounds simple, but it’s actually a rare and beautiful thing.

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Book review: <i>Walkin’ the Dog</i> by Walter Mosley



The mistake a lot of writers make is believing that their story has to have lots of big, dramatic occurrences to make it good. Like explosions, young rugged heroes, missing treasure, conspiracy, blood… otherwise, who would be interested? Walter Mosley knows different and proves it to great effect in this glorious collection of short stories about Socrates Fortlow, ex-con, hard worker, honest man, murderer, unofficial foster-father, dog owner, confidant of revolutionaries, defender of his friends, fighter for justice.

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Book review: <i>Something Happened</i> by Joseph Heller



I purchased Something Happened hoping that some of Heller’s Catch 22 glory—cult classic, literary masterpiece, all round stab at war and man and the big stuff—might have rubbed off. It sure did, but in a different way—Something Happened is a desperate, suffocating, sad stab at the middle-class American man—in an internal monologue that is awful and perfect and... nothing I say about it can do it justice. American Beauty eat your heart out! You can only dream about being this real.

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