Leonard and Hungry Paul Review

Summary

Leonard and Hungry Paul is the story of two quiet friends trying to find their place in the world. It is about those uncelebrated people who have the ability to change the world, not by effort or force, but through their appreciation of all that is special and overlooked in life.

Author: Rónán Hession
Format Reviewed: Paperback
Print Length: 245 pages
Publisher: Bluemoose Books (2019)

Ronan Hession’s debut novel is a delight.

A tale of two seemingly unremarkable people, the novel’s introverted protagonists spin entirely on their own axis to the rest of society.

And yet, despite this, both Leonard and Hungry Paul – the latter’s hungriness remains to be established – are really quite relatable.

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The Enduring Humanism of The Martian

*Spoiler Warning: This article will discuss plot points within The Martian.

The Martian, written by Andy Weir, is a fantastic piece of fiction.

It’s well-researched, witty, and – most importantly – entertaining.

But it’s more than that. Weir’s novel (and by extension, the fantastic movie adaption) is a celebration of human ingenuity. It’s a sincerely touching endorsement of what we can achieve as a species when we aren’t fighting each other.

The Martian is, without a doubt, one of the great Humanist novels.

Find out why >

Stuck at Home Book Tag (1)

As we head into the final quarter of the year, the Stuck at Home book tag seemed like a great opportunity to reflect upon the year.

I’ve actually been on furlough for most of the year, and whilst this hasn’t been ideal, I’m thankful for it. It gave me the opportunity to reflect upon what I value most, what makes me happy (or unhappy!), and the direction I want to head in as I approach my 30s.

It gave me the nudge to start this blog, which has been a revelation. It helped me find myself again. 

I can share my love of literature and philosophy, whilst meeting some truly wonderful people online – especially Twitter.

Anyhow, thank you to Nikki Swift Reads for tagging me in this Book Tag! Do go and check her blog out – it’s a vibrant website with some really great content! Also, full credit to Ellyn @Allonsythornraxx as the original creator of this book tag!

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Inside Story Review

Summary

His most intimate and epic work to date, Inside Story is the portrait of Martin Amis’ extraordinary life, as a man and a writer. This novel had its birth in a death – that of the author’s closest friend, Christopher Hitchens.

We also encounter the vibrant characters who have helped define Martin Amis, from his father Kingsley, to his hero Saul Bellow, from Philip Larkin to Iris Murdoch and Elizabeth Jane Howard, and to the person who captivated his twenties, the alluringly amoral Phoebe Phelps.

Author: Martin Amis
Format Reviewed: Kindle Edition (ARC kindly provided by the publisher*)
Print Length: 576 pages
Publisher: Vintage (2020)

Inside Story, Martin Amis’s latest autobiographical novel**, is brilliant at times.

It’s well written and a sombre ennui pervades his entries on late father-figure Saul Bellow and now-departed best friend Christopher Hitchens.

Other times, the novel** falters with frustratingly smug and self-indulgent meanderings.

Such is the nature of autofiction, I suppose.

*Disclaimer: I received a free advance reading copy from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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BBC2 is set to launch a Friday afternoon book club show, called Between the Covers.

Starting Friday 9th October, Sara Cox will present the 30-minute TV programme that is expected to run for 7 episodes. I’m presuming that this will be on during dinnertime, based on the people involved and the description. According to a BBC press release,

 

Between The Covers ‘will feature some of our best known personalities chatting about their favourite books in a funny and warm-hearted half hour – a book club just for BBC Two.’

 

When I first read this, my eyes rolled into the back of my head. I think my exact response in a now-deleted Tweet was simply ‘WTF’.

And whilst I am pretty disappointed by what I’ve heard so far, I’m not sure my initial response was entirely fair.

It was reductive at the very least.

Find out why >

Bloggers Publish a Negative Review Blog Header

“Should book bloggers ever publish negative reviews?”

This is probably one of the more polarising discussions I’ve observed in the writing community.

There does seem to be a notion amongst certain book bloggers that publishing less-than-favourable thoughts on a book in the public domain is something that should just not be done.

I disagree.

Find out why >