All posts filed under: Books & Lit

‘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 …

‘The Silkworm’ by Robert Galbraith ~ A Review

Hardcover: 464 pages Publisher: Sphere (19 Jun 2014) ISBN-10: 1408704021 ISBN-13: 978-1408704028 Find it in English here Find it in Greek here Having greatly enjoyed Galbraith’s/ Rowling’s 1st installment of the Cormoran Strike series (a well written and fast paced mystery) I had actually pre-ordered this immediately, and so received it on the day it was published. No sooner had it appeared on my Kindle than I had downloaded it and sunk my teeth in. In that sense, I guess you could say my expectations were (just the tiniest tad) high… ‘The Silkworm’ got my favorite duo involved in a case much grittier than the first one (squirmish readers please be warned: this is quite graphic). Novelist Owen Quine has gone missing and his distressed wife calls on Cormoran Strike to investigate. Pretty soon the writer turns up, brutally murdered – and Strike must figure out who (& why) did it. Once again the setting was atmospheric, the characters were quirky & engaging and the plot was pretty decent (if not what I’d call groundbreaking). …