Archive for book review

All Behind – and a personal challenge – Day one

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on July 27, 2011 by echostains

You have heard the expression ‘getting ahead of yourself?’ Well I am getting all behind with myself – especially as far as my Bookstains blog is concerned.   I’ve been so busy with other stuff.  I have book reviews to post, films to mention and there’s a couple of new poetry challenges to be posted.  All these posts have been started – and lie in various states of incompletion.  I shall have to get myself more organised as  the future looks to be even busier.

One year I spent every day blogging for the entire year.  I still don’t know how I did it really.  That was on echostains, I have never tried that on Bookstains.  However, I intend to post a post on here each day for one week as a personal challenge to myself (and because I feel guilty for leaving it for a couple of weeks. 

I can’t promise an in-depth post every day, but I may even get round to finishing some posts that really need to be posted – that will be an achievement in itself for me.  So what you may expect? (though it’s probably more likely not to expect) book reviews;- Notebooks of a Naked Youth by Billy Childish, Grayson PerryPortrait of the artist as a young girl by Wendy Jones, among others. 

32 Brinkburn Street

Also 32 Brinkburn Street (a  period drama shown on TV) Dexter (also televised) and at least one poetry challenge.  Now lets see if I can deliver for one week 😉

Cartoon from here with thanks

Grayson Perry book image here

Brinkburn Street image here

Billy Childish book image here

Book Review ‘London Belongs to Me’ by Norman Collins

Posted in Dear Reader I read it! Book reviews with tags , , , , , on January 4, 2011 by echostains

Just finished ‘London belongs to me’ by Norman Collins, and it’s took me quite a while to read it (just saving it for bedtime reading).  I enjoyed it very much.  On the face of it looked like it may have mirrored Patrick Hamilton’s Hangover Square’, but apart from it being set in a shared house in Wartime London, there ends the comparison.

There are some interesting characters in the story of the house in Dulcimer Street, Kennington and all of them are brought vividly alive by Collins. The Josser family are more or less at the hub of the story.  It starts with Mr Josser’s retirement farewell, and ends with his re instatement.  In the middle, adjustments are made to all the residents lives and their life styles.  The lonely widowed land lady, her suitor and  lodger the enigmatic Mr Squales are amongst the characters that also share this house in London.

The Boons, consisting of mother and son Percy, a mechanic deals with the way the legal system works and how respectability can be lost very quickly.  Other characters include Connie, an old-time showgirl, a rather sad character, but a survivor (well for most of the book).  She is ‘old’, though we don’t find out how ancient she actually is.  Connie always seems to be there, in the wrong or right place when something exciting is happening – most of it, profitable in some way to the old girl.

There’s also a character who’d whole life revolves around making meals – a Mr Puddy.  He must have aneroid trouble, given the way he speaks – but the  writing makes it easy to  understand what he’s saying.  Meanwhile while all the large and small dramas are being played out: black out curtains are dutifully drawn and life goes on regardless.  A highly enjoyable and diverting read,  a jolly good book and very well written. I was very sorry to have finished it.

Note:  This post  has been transferred from my art blog Echostains.  I shall be transferring my book, DVD and film reviews to this space.

London in the Blitz HERE

Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd

Posted in Authors I've read, period drama with tags , , , , , on September 29, 2010 by echostains

I wrote this short review quite a while ago –  and forgot all about it.  I just found it again in my drafts so……

Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd


It has taken me quite a while to read Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd.  this isn’t because it was boring – quite the contrary.  It is a strange novel – even for Ackroyd and it is written from the perspective of  two duel personalities which span hundreds of years.  The first narrative is by Nicholas Dyer and architect who serves under Sir Christopher Wren.  The language takes a bit of getting into but is well worth the perseverance as intrigue, plague, fire and a fascination and indoctrination into the occult weave themselves into the personality of Dyer.

Hawksmoor on the other hand is a detective. separated from Dyer by a few centuries.  This is a very strange tale fraught with bygone actions and future consequences.   Deja vu  ensues as the past reveals and yet repeats itself, and self fulfills its own prophesy showing Aykroyd’s amazing skills yet again in  esoteric matters.

Nick Dyer is a horrible character but a compelling one also. He is a product of his time, hardened by life’s experience and with a dark  mysterious childhood.  The inspector Hawksmoor, though eccentric, doesn’t quite take off for me and pales by comparison to Dyer.  Nevertheless these two are wrapped up in a cycle of murder,intrigue and superstition.  Dyers dark spires and Hawksmoor’s descent into Dyers world leave a tingly aftertaste!

book image from here