All posts filed under: Books & Lit

‘The Monogram Murders’ by Sophie Hannah ~ A Review

Paperback: 320 pages Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (9 June 2015) ISBN-10: 0062297228 ISBN-13: 978-0062297228 Buy in English here Buy in Greek here Let me preface this by saying, I’m a huge Agatha Christie fan (my absolute favorites being Poirot mysteries). One might be tempted to believe that this would make me less inclined to appreciate any effort to add to the little Belgian detective’s legacy. On the contrary, I was so freakin’ excited to hear of the first new (Agatha Christie Estate sanctioned, no less) Poirot novel that I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into it – and picked it up with the very best of intentions. I mean, it was Poirot… how bad could it be? The answer, unfortunately and soul crushingly is quite… Now, you will probably come across glowing reviews as well but this just didn’t do it for me. Poirot felt like a crude caricature of himself, while his “sidekick”, Catchpool (a.k.a. why, oh why, could we not have also resurrected Hastings?) was the sorriest excuse for a detective that …

‘Levels Of Life’ by Julian Barnes ~ A Review

Paperback: 128 pages Publisher: Vintage (3 April 2014) ISBN-10: 0099584530 ISBN-13: 978-0099584537 Buy in English here Buy in Greek here I cannot, in all honesty, say I am much of a Julian Barnes’ fan. In fact, the only other book by him I’ve ever bought (‘A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters’ 2009) is still  gathering dust somewhere along my bookshelves – unfinished and unloved. There was something about this, though (the title? the book blurb? the front cover?) that grabbed my attention and made me decide to give it a try. I wasn’t disappointed… In its mere 128 pages Barnes explores love and loss by combining three seemingly unrelated genres – historical non-fiction, historical romance and personal memoir. The book is broken down in three parts (Sin of Height- On the Level- Loss of Depth) with the first two feeling a bit disjointed and irrelevant, but ultimately serving as metaphors for life’s diverse highs and lows thus ‘setting the stage’ for Part III: a sad and raw account of grief, over the death …

‘The Girl who Saved the King of Sweden’ by Jonas Jonasson ~ A Review

Paperback: 432 pages Publisher: Fourth Estate (24 April 2014) ISBN-10: 0007557906 ISBN-13: 978-0007557905 Find it in English here Find it in Greek here Having hugely enjoyed Mr. Jonasson’s first book (‘The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared‘), picking this one up was admittedly a bit of a no brainer for me – and, all in all, I can’t really say I was disappointed. Interweaving fact with fiction, the author takes us on another absurd journey of coincidence, this time from 1970’s South Africa to 21st century Sweden. A large cast of quirky, funny & fully fleshed- out characters (including an “illiterate” mathematical genious of a girl, a useless alcoholic engineer, Chinese counterfeiters, Mossad agents, non- existent Swedes, heads of government and Royalty – to name but a few) populates a plot that is just as far fetched and almost as entertaining as that of its predecessor. Truth be told the story does lag a bit, around the middle and the book could probably have benefited from stricter editing at that point. That said, the …

‘Son of Rosemary’ by Ira Levin ~ A Review

Paperback: 224 pages Publisher: Corsair (18 Sept. 2014) ISBN-10: 1472111532 ISBN-13: 978-1472111531 Find it in English here Whenever I go shopping downtown, I always end the day with a nice cup of coffee, just after spending a half an hour or so in my favorite bookstore. During one of my latest visits there, I happened upon ‘Son of Rosemary’ in the new releases section and, being a fan of the original book (& subsequent movie), decided to pick it up and give it a go. Now, there’s really not much I can say without giving up the plot. I will tell you the book got mixed (mostly negative) reviews by the public, though – which I thought was a bit odd, at first. Having read it, I think I now understand why. It’s not that it is a bad book, per se. It starts off quite nicely and builds up slowly – with that slightly claustrophobic feel that was characteristic of its predecessor. It does feel slightly predictable (or did to me, at least), but that’s not necessarily bad …

‘Full Dark, No Stars’ by Stephen King ~ A Review

Mass Market Paperback: 576 pages Publisher: Pocket Books; Reprint edition (September 20, 2011) ISBN-10: 143919260X ISBN-13: 978-1439192603 Find it in English here Find it in Greek here Back when I was in my teens I used to love Stephen Kind and would practically devour everything he published – especially his earlier “full-time horror” novels like ‘The Shining’ & ‘IT’. Somewhere along the line, my dwindling attention span combined with King’s tendency to increasingly verge towards the metaphysical made me give up on him and his high page-count books altogether. Having recently picked up and largely enjoyed some of Joe King’s work (check out my earlier reviews of ‘Heart Shaped Box’ and ‘Horns’), Amazon deemed it appropriate to suggest I buy one of Stephen King’s short story collections, ‘Full Dark, No Stars’. I thought it was about time I gave the ol’ boy another chance and I am delighted that I did. Shorter stories seem to be this guy’s major strength and the ‘Full Dark, No Stars’ collection features what’s possibly some of his best writing to date. Focusing on the …