Far to Go. Alison Pick by Alison Pick

Cover of

This is the first book I’ve picked up from the 2011 Booker Prize longlist. By the end of the Kindle sample – where I usually decide whether I want to keep reading or not – I really wasn’t into the story, hadn’t figured the characters out and wasn’t especially bothered about keeping reading. I went against my own judgement however and carried on. And got captivated by the family story.

In retrospect it is hard to understand why all Jewish families weren’t taking every opportunity to flee from Nazism in 1938. This book does a great job of painting the picture of a pretty ordinary family in Czechoslovakia, with Jewish heritage but not really practising Jews, seeing jobs and opportunities taken away from them, being betrayed by friends and still not really getting how bad it was going to get.

As is pointed out in other reviews, the decision to send children to safety on the Kindertransport is central to the story, and I thought the “contemporary framing story” (phrasing stolen from Fleur) was necessary to show the after effects of the Kindertransport and made this into a 21st century book rather than one that could have been told anytime post-World War II. I completely agree with Fleur that it was an excellent decision to tell the main story through the eyes of the non-Jewish non-family member nanny though, Marta had just enough distance from the main characters to tell the story objectively whilst still being involved in the story.

A good book, that doesn’t get five stars from me because I found the beginning confusing, but I thought it was well worth a read and a Booker longlist place.


More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
This was a kindle eBook.

Wish You Were Here by Graham Swift

Cover of

I loved this – very possibly the best book I’ve read this year.

All the reviews I’ve seen seem to concentrate on it being a story based around the return home of the body of a soldier from Iraq. However I don’t think that’s really the centre of the story. It’s certainly a story with a lot to do with death, dying and legacies left behind, but the return of a soldier is only one part of it and not to my mind the most important part. He’s just part of the story of the end of a Devon farming family.

It’s a really deep read giving you plenty to think about and although there were a couple of places where I thought it went rather off track – possibly to prevent it from being too dark a read – it was still the most interesting book I’ve read in ages. I was rather surprised to find it’s not on this year Booker Prize longlist, so I’m hoping there are some really *really* good books on the list!


More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
This was a kindle eBook.

The Herring in the Library by L.C. Tyler

Cover of

In the beginning I really enjoyed this light hearted satirical take on the classic mystery. The first few chapters were a really easy and fun read. However it started to grate about half way through and I found I didn’t really care very much about the plot or the characters. A pity, as it started in a very promising fashion.


More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
This was a kindle eBook.

The House at Seas End (Ruth Galloway, #3) by Elly Griffiths

Cover of

I enjoyed this just as I did the first two books in the series. I’ve marked it down to 3 stars because Ruth gets put in ludicrous danger for the third book running. From here on out I will expect that to happen and go with the flow as I enjoy the rest of the story and the characters and think there is, on the whole, a good set up for a mystery series here.


More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
This was a kindle eBook.

Land of Marvels. Barry Unsworth by Barry Unsworth

Cover of

Picked this up along with several other library book possibilities for a ‘U’ author to read. Didn’t expect it to grab me but it easily hooked me in for the first half of the book. After that though I found it easy to put down again. Everyone else seems to concur that the ending is faster moving than the beginning but I lost interest as the book went on. Probably one of those ‘It’s not the book, it’s just me’ things!


More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
This was a library book.