A lifestyle blog from a forty-something mum

Showing posts with label Book reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Book reviews. Show all posts

Friday, 29 July 2016

To Be Continued by James Robertson - Book Review

To Be Continued by James RobertsonThe latest release from James Robertson is a heart-warming, yet slightly surreal tale about the adventures of Douglas Findhorn Elder. A journalist who, as he celebrates his 50th birthday realises that his life is in a sorry state. Recently separated from his girlfriend, he's also lost his job at a local newspaper and his father admitted to a nursing home.

Enter Mungo Forth Mungo, a talking toad who introduces himself as Douglas celebrates his 50th birthday alone by getting drunk and sitting out on the back porch.

Without work to keep him preoccupied, Douglas embarks on writing a novel about nothing in particular and secures some freelance work from his former editor at the newspaper. His mission is to interview former MP, Rosalind Munlochy, as she celebrates her 100th birthday and to find out how she voted in the Scottish referendum.

In this novel Man and toad forge an unlikely friendship and embark on a journey together from Edinburgh to Glentarager House in the Scottish Highlands. The journey is beset with challenges and along the way he meets an assortment of eccentric characters who aren't all they seem. 

Toad at night

Douglas could be anyone who's experiencing a midlife crisis, but attempting to remain philosophical in the face of adversity. I loved the hints of eccentricity and wry humour throughout the book. 

I suspect that we could all do with a talking toad, or something similar (and preferably cuter) in our lives. Mungo Forth Mungo is a modern day fairy godmother with warts on, (pun intended). He's also infinitely wiser and opinionated with his own unique and horribly accurate take on the world around him.  

The ending is well-rounded, rather sublime and plays to the theory that life can change for the better often when you least expect it - just as long as you're open to ideas and willing to take a chance.

Not my usual kind of read, but thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless.

Rating 4/5

Thanks to Penguin Books for the advance copy.
Release date: 4th August 2016.

To Be Continued by James Robertson

Copyright ©2016 Izzie Anderton
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Monday, 30 November 2015

The Christmas Reading Edit

Books, Great Christmas readsNever happy unless I have at least five books on the reading pile next to my bed - here's what I've been reading during the past couple of weeks...

The biographical one...

Spectacles - Sue Perkins

Spectacles, Sue PerkinsFeaturing an assortment of anecdotes and written with great warmth and humour, this is both honest and hilarious for a memoir. There's no topic off limits and Ms Perkins is brilliant at putting herself down and coming across as someone who would make an eccentric (but lovely) best friend. Funny, laugh out loud and one cringe-worthy moment so memorable... that you'll be grateful the book doesn't come with scratch-and-sniff. I loved the description of Pickle the Beagle as 'The only creature I've ever met that was as wilful, stubborn and downright odd as I am.' Expect Great British Bake Off gossip and revelations such as, 'Is Mary Berry real?' and 'What styling products does Paul Hollywood use on his hair?' Unassuming, honest, and if Ms Perkins ever makes an appearance at our local literary festival - I will be first in line for tickets.

The not so eagerly awaited one...

Go Set A Watchman - Harper Lee

Go Set A Watchman, Harper LeeOriginally I'd looked forward to the release of Go Set A Watchman, but after reading the reviews I decided against reading it on publication. The problem being that I loved To Kill A Mockingbird and didn't want anything to change my opinion of Atticus Finch...
Go Set A Watchman is a much less likable read than To Kill A Mockingbird. It tells the story of Jean Louise (Scout) returning to her home town of Maycomb to find that everything she believes in has changed. Atticus, now 72, is portrayed as a racist and the book is ultimately a coming of age tale about a daughter realising that she has (wrongly) looked up to her father, and rebelling against his beliefs via civil rights. The heroine of this book is undoubtedly, Jean Louise (Scout). For me, this was not a good read. That doesn't mean you shouldn't go ahead and read it for yourself though.

The rather eccentric (but brilliant) one...
Furiously Happy - Jenny Lawson

Furiously Happy, Jenny Lawson
I read Let's Pretend This Never Happened when it was released back in 2013 and concluded from the outset that Ms Lawson was eccentric, but brilliant. Having followed Jenny's angst via her blog (The Bloggess) while writing and promoting her second book, I looked forward to its publication in the UK. Furiously Happy is described as 'A funny book about horrible things.' Throughout, Jenny explores her lifelong battle with mental illness and writes about finding happiness in the unlikeliest of places. I especially loved the advice she gives to herself while recording the audiobook... 'Pretend you're good at it.' I suspect this is something we could all use. The second book does not disappoint... and for anyone who's a fan of The Bloggess, Ms Lawson is the queen of telling it like it is - expect multiple expletives and some unexpected laughs.

What's on your reading list at the moment? Do you have any recommendations you'd like to share?

Copyright ©2015 Izzie Anderton 

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