Wednesday, 22 June 2011

All that is certain

The Book: The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin

The Review: "Certain to become a classic"

The Reviewer: Science Fiction Monthly

The Verdict: This book is in every science fiction fans pantheon of great books alongside I, Robot, Day of the Triffids and Dune. Hang on...

(Look - slap bang on the cover!)

(More great 70s sci-fi covers here)

Spaced out

The Book: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

The Review: "Speeds across the sky like a new-century comet heralding great events in the asteroid belt of fiction."

The Reviewer: Financial Times

The Verdict: I'm sorry, what now? The book speeds across the sky? The asteroid belt of fiction?
This book was only ok. Has this nameless reviewer been up there with Lucy in that sky full of diamonds?

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Being brutally honest

Breaking away from our usual mould for a brief picture post. This is the back of the book I have just finished reading: This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper.

Yes, those are little quips from critics and yes, the 'find out more inside' is infact a key that tells you the poor peoples' names who couldn't even fit onto the cover, because there was just too much praise for Mr Tropper.

Although maybe 'praise' is the wrong word. For all we know, these tiny little words have been fully taken out of context.
Perhaps number 15 said, "To be brutally honest, I couldn't get past the first chapter."
Or maybe number 2 wrote, "If you're smart, you won't pick this book up."
Or even number 11, "I'll give the book some credit: it made a very graceful arc as I threw it into the bin."

Actually, Jonathan Tropper is one of my favourite writers, but whichever publisher decided this was a good way to market him should be shamed.

Friday, 10 June 2011

The Stieg Larsson of Swedish crime writers

The book: Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The review: "Swedish crime fiction, like the country itself, has both class and a social conscience. It was only a matter of time before it produced its own War and Peace."

The reviewer: Robert Dessaix, Sydney Morning Herald

The verdict: Let's not even entertain the notion of comparing this titillating little thriller to Tolstoy. (Were Tolstoy's protagonists a shameless proxy for the author? Did Anna Karenina tell you the model name of her Ikea bookcase?) No, the real question is, what does it mean for a book to be the War and Peace of Swedish crime fiction? Does that make the BT building in Cardiff the 'Empire State Building of Wales'? Is Kung Fu Panda the Citizen Kane of Jack Black movies?

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Must Try Harder

The book: The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
The review:
"Obama's open & engaging style can be found on almost every page"

The reviewer:
Sunday Times

The verdict: "...on almost every page"? Granted the index is rather prosaic but can we really judge a man for that?  I fear The Sunday Times is being unnecessarily harsh and hereby proclaim that Obama's "open and engaging style" is to be found on EVERY page of this highly enjoyable book.  Take that Sunday Times!