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review 2015-12-30 15:04
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
Child 44 - Tom Rob Smith


23.12.2015: Re-visit via the film

Had binned this but after such glowing reviews by trusted friends it went back on the shelves.

Read by Dennis Boutsikaris

Excellent mid three. #87 TBR Busting 2013

NEWS 15:04:2015 - Hollywood's Child 44 pulled in Russia after falling foul of culture ministry: Fears of censorship in Russia as Ridley Scott film about serial killer, starring Gary Oldman, withdrawn over ‘distortion of facts and interpretation of events’. Source
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review 2014-07-10 15:37
Enon by Paul Harding
Enon - Paul Harding

bookshelves: net-galley, autumn-2013, published-2012, recreational-drugs, e-book, families, teh-demon-booze, slit-yer-wrists-gloomy

Read from September 07 to 09, 2013

Uncorrected proof ARC from Random House. Many thanks.

Opening: Most men in my family make widows of their wives and orphans of their children.

Charlie Crosby's descent into drugs and alcohol following his daughter's death is painful to read, however this tragic story is beautifully rendered.

Not having read Harding's Pulitzer winning novel Tinkers, I have to rely on others to tell me that Enon is set in the same town.  The writing is wonderful and one of the best examples of first person narrative I've run across, usually it is such a confining mode.

A quick read at only 256 pages.

Crossposted: Goodreads, NetGalley, Anobii, LibraryThing

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review 2014-06-02 11:35
First Aide Medicine
First Aide Medicine - Nicholaus Patnaude

bookshelves: published-2013, boo-scary, librarything-giveaway, summer-2013, shortstory-shortstories-novellas, young-adult, recreational-drugs, ghosties-ghoulies, suicide, noir, poetry, next, mental-health, north-americas, slit-yer-wrists-gloomy, washyourmouthout-language, under-50-ratings, revenge

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Librarything
Read from August 26 to 29, 2013


Hmm, I thought this was going to be straight forward BOO!, yet reading through the premise it looks a little too out there for my usual taste. Nevertheless, I have been happily surprised on many an occasion.
for Johnny & Cabera
“Infected minds to their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets.” William Shakespeare

Opening: I want to burn down his house. I will. He used Karen. I can’t stomach that. He was older than piss and uglier than a worm. He lived just down the street with his lights on until late at night. He had an artic fox that turned blue in the summer. But then he had to gouge his kitty’s eye out when it killed his pretty blue Alopex lagopus one dreary midnight.

National Geographic photo of Artic Fox alopex lagopus

LATER: An extended prose poem featuring Jack, the narrator:'I have a decade on most of the high school kids who work here. They live with their parents too, but for them it’s more natural.'

...who is mourning Karen's suicide, even though she was hardly his girlfriend:'Karen would never understand if I told her all about those dates I’d arranged on the beach only to break and sabotage them ten minutes before they were to begin. I am not in a good enough place to commit.

...because she had an sexual relationship with an older man:'What do you see in her, old man? Why do all these antediluvian douche bags want to rip off her panties with their dentures?'

Interspersed with macabre doodles and vomit-inducing passages this Romeo and Juliet story is not something for me, yet I can see in it a great appeal to mid-teen hipster/ goth types, and that seems to be the niche Patnaude is aiming for. And my distaste is an endorsement to the good for this genre.
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review 2014-01-24 13:09
For All the Tea in China
For All the Tea in China: Espionage, Empire and the Secret Formula for the World's Favourite Drink - Sarah Rose

bookshelves: nonfiction, autumn-2012, history, published-2009, biography, colonial-overlords, victorian, recreational-drugs, war, fraudio, china, india, gardening, pirates-smugglers-wreckers

Read on November 05, 2012

Read by the author herself.

Blurb - A dramatic historical narrative of the man who stole the secret of tea from China.

In 1848, the British East India Company, having lost its monopoly on the tea trade, engaged Robert Fortune, a Scottish gardener, botanist, and plant hunter, to make a clandestine trip into the interior of China's territory forbidden to foreigners,to steal the closely guarded secrets of tea horticulture and manufacturing. For All the Tea in China is the remarkable account of Fortune's journeys into China; a thrilling narrative that combines history, geography, botany, natural science, and old-fashioned adventure.

Disguised in Mandarin robes, Fortune ventured deep into the country, confronting pirates, hostile climate, and his own untrustworthy men as he made his way to the epicenter of tea production, the remote Wu Yi Shan hills. One of the most daring acts of corporate espionage in history, Fortune's pursuit of China's ancient secret makes for a classic nineteenth-century adventure tale, one in which the fate of empires hinges on the feats of one extraordinary man.

Camellia sinensis:

Robert Fortune, the tea thief. From wiki: Robert Fortune (16 September 1812 – 13 April 1880) was a Scottish botanist, plant hunter and traveller, best known for introducing tea plants from China to India. Robert Fortune was born in Britain on 16 September 1812, at Kelloe, Berwickshire.

This does have the tang of 'must publish my dissertation or bust', feeling; the author delivers this in rather a dramatic and staccato'd fashion.

Can't fault the historical research and it is enjoyable enough for a solid 3*

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