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1001 Book Review: Crash J G Ballard


Crash by J.G. Ballard
First Published: 1973
Joint review: Jen & Book Worm

Synopsis: When Ballard, our narrator, smashes his car into another and watches the driver die, he finds himself drawn with increasing intensity to the mangled impacts of car crashes. Robert Vaughan, a former TV scientist turned nightmare angel of the expressway, has gathered around him a collection of alienated crash victims and experiments with a series of auto-erotic atrocities, each more sinister than the last. But Vaughan craves the ultimate crash – a head-on collision of blood, semen, engine coolant and iconic celebrity.

First published in 1973, ‘Crash’ remains one of the most shocking novels of the twentieth century and was made into an equally controversial film by David Cronenberg.

Jen’s Review: Read more

Jen’s Life in Books: Nursery Rhymes

I acknowledge that I can be a bit of a book snob, but I have enjoyed books from many different genres and I have eclectic tastes. So, it is hard for me to select only one nursery rhyme to reflect my development as a reader. I also have to admit that Book Worm has a much better memory than I do because the truth of the matter is I can’t think of only one nursery rhyme that stood out to me above others. Read more

Blindness by Saramago: Non-1001 Book review


Blindness by José Saramago
Published in: 1995
Reviewed by: Jen
Rating: 4 stars
Find it/Buy it here: Blindness (Harvest Book)

Synopsis: A city is hit by an epidemic of “white blindness” and one by one every citizen loses their ability to see. During early phases of the epidemic, the authorities attempt to contain the disease by setting up quarantine zones in various locations. A group of characters who are among the first to become blind, find themselves quarantined in an old mental institution. As the epidemic spreads and society starts to break down, more and more “inmates” join the original group until the place becomes saturated. Among the blind, there is one woman who retains her eyesight. This woman, “the doctor’s wife,” pretends to be blind in order to avoid being separated from her husband. She becomes the central character in the story and ultimately leads the group through a variety of harrowing experiences. Blindness is more than just a apocalyptic tale. It is a story of the merits and downfalls of human nature that is both terrifying and uplifting. Read more

Kid’s Corner: The Giving Tree by Silverstein

Welcome to our very first Kid’s Corner! Each month, my daughter and I will pick a book to read and review together. I’ll provide my thoughts on the book and I’ll write out my daughter’s thoughts.

Some things to know about my daughter:

  1. She is 4
  2. She LOVES all things princess (mermaids are a close second)
  3. She likes to read all kinds of books but particularly princess books

Some things to know about me:

  1. I HATE princess things, particularly princess books (Barbies are a close second).
  2. I like to pick different kinds of books, except for princess books.

So for our first book, we picked a classic… Read more

1001 Book Review: Flaubert’s Parrot


Flaubert’s Parrot by Julian Barnes
First Published in: 1984
Reviewed by: Book Worm and Jen

Synopsis (from book jacket): Which of two stuffed parrots was the inspiration for one of Flaubert’s greatest stories? Why did the master keep changing the color of Emma Bovary’s eyes? And why should these minutiae matter so much to Geoffrey Braithwaite, the crankily erudite doctor who is the narrator of this tour de force style and imagination?

In Flaubert’s Parrot, Julian Barnes, who has been compared with writers such as Joyce and Calvino, spins out a mystery, an exuberant metafictional inquiry into the ways in which art mirrors life and then turns around to shape it; a look at the perverse autopsies that readers perform on books an lovers perform on their beloved; and a piercing glimpse at the nature of obsession and betrayal both scholarly and romantic.

A compelling weave of fiction and imaginatively ordered fact, Flaubert’s Parrot is by turns moving and entertaining, witty and scholarly, and a tour de force of seductive originality

Bookworm’s Review
Rating: ★★★

Flaubert’s Parrot deals with Flaubert, parrots, bears and railways; with our sense of the past and our sense of abroad; with France and England, life and art, sex and death, George Sand and Louise Colet, aesthetics and redcurrant jam; and with its enigmatic narrator, a retired English doctor, whose life and secrets are slowly revealed.
Read more

Book Review The Shining Girls Lauren Beukes

shining girls


“It’s not my fault. It’s yours. You shouldn’t shine. You shouldn’t make me do this.”


Kirby is lucky she survived the attack. She is sure there were other victims were less fortunate, but the evidence she finds is … impossible.


Harper stalks his shining girls through the years – and cuts the spark out of them. But what if the one that got away came
back for him?

The Shining Girls Lauren Beukes
First published: 2013
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: 4 Stars
Find it/Buy it here: The Shining Girls: A Novel

So where to start with this one? The book is about a time travelling serial killer. When you say it out loud it either sounds silly or fantastic depending on if time travel is your thing. Guess what? It’s mine, even if the outline sounds silly to you, I would recommend you pick up the book and read the first few chapters. You may find yourself hooked.
Read more

1001 Review: Rites of Passage by William Golding


Rites of Passage by Golding
First published in: 1980
Winner of Man Booker Prize in 1980
Reviewed by: Jen
Rating: ★★★★

Rites of Passage is the first book in Golding’s To the Ends of the Earth trilogy and it won the Man Booker prize in 1980. It is written in the form of a travel journal and it documents Edmund Talbot’s sea voyage from England to Australia. Mr. Talbot is the godson of an English nobleman and he writes the journal in order to share his experiences of the voyage with his godfather. Initially, he uses the journal to describe the setting, the passengers, and his experience experience on board the ship, but the journal ultimately describes the tragic downfall of one passenger: Parson Colley. The novel is a clever commentary about class, bullying, and man’s complicity in the downfall of others. The reader quickly learns that the ship is a microcosm of British society. The lower class passengers are in a separate section from the aristocracy and treatment of the officers is determined by where passengers fall on the social class spectrum. It is part coming of age story and part social commentary.

I was skeptical about this book because I don’t care for swashbuckling, sea voyage, sailing, types of books. However, while the entire story is set during a sea voyage, the plot is not at all focused on the voyage. I thought that Golding does a wonderful job in creating a sense of discomfort in the reader by flipping the switch on our perspective from identification with Talbot (to mild degree) to compassion and identification with Colley. Initially, we are made complicit in the atmosphere of bullying. For example, we are made to feel the absurdity of the parson — the image of him as a bumbling, weak, and awkward man permeates our viewpoint. We find humor in his struggles to gain the favor of the Captain and to gain his sea legs. Then Golding turns the tables on us and we are made to see how the initial light and humorous tone turned into cruelty, leading us to question our roles as readers in finding early events humorous.

The commentary of class, a central theme of this book, is interesting. Social prejudice is rampant and once again Golding turns the table on readers. Characters who are seen as moral and noble (the upper class passengers) are shown to be course and cruel and vice versa.

Finally, I enjoyed picking up on similarities between this book and Lord of the Flies. Golding seems to like themes about man’s isolation and how behaviors emerge in the context of removal from “civilized” society. The writing is solid with an interesting blend of humor and tragedy. It is a book that I was surprised I enjoyed so much and that I would be happy to recommend to others.

Overall: A very engaging and thought-provoking read.

BBC also has a series based on these books. You can find it on netflix. It is supposed to be quite good.

Want to read it? You can purchase it from Amazon by clicking: Rites of Passage (To the End of the Earth)

NOTE: If you do buy your copy from Amazon, don’t get the $1.42 ebook version. I originally bought this copy and it was filled with formatting issues and mistakes. I returned it for a refund and bought the $7.00 version and didn’t have any problems with that version. But, then when I tried to find it again, they only had the $1.42 version listed. So, I’d recommend the paper copy or try your local library.


Featured Author: Haruki Murakami

murakami, harukiMurakami was born in Kyoto in 1949. He found the inspiration to become a writer while watching a baseball game. After publishing his second novel, he sold the bar he was running with his wife (Peter Cat coffeehouse and jazz bar) and dedicated his life to writing. Since then he has published over 15 books and many short stories which have been translated into 50 languages.

His books are quirky, smart, and funny and he has become an iconic figure of postmodern literature. Many of his books focus on themes of loneliness, alienation, and search for meaning within modern Japanese culture. He has won numerous awards and prizes for both is novels and his short story collections. The Guardian recently referred to Murakami as the world’s greatest living novelist.  However, he has been criticized by Japan’s literary establishment for being overly influenced by Western culture and literature. Read more

Valentines Special Book Blind Date & Challenge

If you are reading this, I am betting that, like me, at some point in your life you have sworn that no matter what happens you will not get another book until you have reduced your current TBR pile to a manageable level. And, like me, you know you are doomed to fail. Full of good intentions, I went to the local library to return a book swearing I would not pick up another one (spoiler alert I failed). Just in the doorway I was greeted with this display — could you resist? I mean really? wpid-20150213_131209.jpg After careful consideration, I chose my blind date: “Fiction Victorian Supernatural Romp” wpid-20150210_135949-1.jpg When I got to work I had to share my excitement with the office and it was then that I discovered there are two meanings to ‘romp’…

1) What I thought my book would be an adventure (romp)

2) What everyone in the office thought my book would be sex (romp)

So what is my blind date book…

Read more

Bookworm’s Life in Books; Nursery Rhymes

Right so you have read my introduction page (of course you have) so you know that my favourite genres are postapocalyptic and dystopian fiction but how did I arrive at this choice, like everything we learn I believe it started at an early age…


A small child carries a hardcover book of nursery rhymes it has a plain brown front as the dust jacket has been lost, approaching the nearest she asks for her favourite nursery rhyme to be read Babes in the Wood the adults roll their thinking not that morbid story again..


Back in the present day whenever the small child (who has now grown up) mentions her favourite nursery rhyme she is greeted with blank stares and the immortal words “What, never heard of it”

So for those of you thinking “What, never heard of it” and for those of you going I vaguely remember that one here it is; Read more