Archive for October, 2011

The Junior Officers' Reading Club (via Amazon)

I have finally finished reading “The Junior Officers’ Reading Club” by Patrick Hennessey, after having started it last year (October 21st 2010, as i found that my bookmark in it was my train ticket for the day i bought it!).

I’m not sure why it took me so long to read it, at first it was just one book i bought in Waterstones’ 3 for 2 offer and started reading on my commute home from university that evening, and read bits of it every journey from uni for a few weeks and then stopped. Maybe because i got too tired on an evening to read with the attention it needed, or maybe because the pain associated with a link i once had to the Forces became too much to bear ( i was in a relationship with an RAF man who left the Forces and then left me about two months before i started reading this).

Anyway, i can’t say i enjoyed reading this book, but it was very educational about just what members of the Forces go through while training and then out on tour in warzones. It describes everything as being horrific, exhilarating, boring, farcical and everything else in between. Just reading about the sheer amount of emotions soldiers go through makes you realise how petty your own are.

The sheer amount of content is staggering, the description doesn’t hold anything back, the prose just flows although is a little confusing and hectic at times as the narrator gets excited. It is very intense but you are drawn into the action and the descriptions have you picturing the scene in your head: the sounds, the sights, and the smells. Not only do we get the strange excitement and bloody horror of the battlefield, we also get the sense of boredom and jealousy during the quiet periods where the soldier is dying to get back into the fight and envious of those who have already fought and proved themselves and have their own battle stories and battle scars.

It seems bad enough to go through such terrible and tough fighting and living conditions in the warzones, but to come back home in be forced to live a civilian life with people who don’t understand what you went through seems unbearable. You don’t realise how when a soldier is distant and troubled back at home, he can’t help it. One poignant quote which will stay with me is:

“They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm”.

This book is a great insight into the mind of a soldier and although it may be difficult for some people to read, i felt it was worth spending the last year trying to read it, even if it was hard for me at times. It makes you realise how grateful you should be to the Forces who work harder than you ever will in your life.

I can’t really give it a mark out of 10 as a memoir, but i guess it would be 10 out of 10 just because its one of those books which you won’t forget in a hurry. I definitely recommend it.

A whole year here on my blog!

Posted: October 23, 2011 in Uncategorized

Today marks a whole year since i first started this blog!

It’s been an interesting year, and although at times i have struggled to find time to blog, i have kept it up for a whole year, so i will carry on!

I definitely feel more knowledgeable about the publishing industry and more widely-read after these 12 months, as i have come into contact with so many new things! I have acquired many new books in the last year, some of which have been good, some of which have been not so good, and a few which haven’t been touched yet!

I have found an interest in translated fiction, largely thanks to my Masters dissertation researching the tiny percentage of translated fiction in the book markets of the UK and other countries. I now try to buy more translated fiction as it’s so rich with foreign culture and there are some amazing books out there!

Who knows what the future will hold, as i am continuing to job-hunt now my Masters is finished.

But i will certainly carry on this blog!

here’s to the future of A World of Randomness!

Little Star

I have just finished reading “Little Star” by John Ajvide Lindqvist, a gripping novel translated from Swedish.

Where to begin?

Well, it starts off most curiously, with a man finding a baby wrapped in a plastic bag in a forest. She is almost dead but he brings her back to life. Her first sound is so magical and musical that he is spellbound by the child and takes her home. This one decision by one man changes the fate of the little girl, and indeed his own fate, that of his dysfunctional family and many others to come. The girl’s existence is unknown to the rest of the world and she is kept a secret and manipulated to believe that the outside world is dangerous to her. This first part of the book demonstrates the confusing mix of love and hate of the family who take the remarkable child into their care. It gives the reader the basis for the rest of the story, and it ends rather abruptly in a way which suddenly seems obvious from early on.

The second part introduces us to Teresa, a teenage girl who is struggling with her own identity and trying to fit in with her family, her peers and the world. She meets Theres, who both helps Teresa and leads her astray at the same time. She finally finds someone who understands, maybe more than she realises.

All the way through, there is the theme of music, with Theres’ family having careers in music, and Theres seems likely to follow in her determination to make music. She and Teresa form a duo and produce music. This introduces some fascinating characters, with the unpleasant music agent trying to take advantage of Theres’ singing talent. We also meet a group of girls who, despite being totally different, all come together with Theres and Teresa with one purpose.

Revenge is the name of the game, and several disturbing events lead up to the horrific finale!

I don’t want to give anything away but it is pretty disturbing and unpleasant in places so may be its not for the squeamish!

I quite like this novel because it is so gripping and fascinating that you can’t help but want to know how it ends, and you know it’s not going to be a happy ending! The hook is the story of the hidden child who is ultimately going be revealed to the world. In this case, it isnt for the reason you think! It also shows just how easy it is for young confused minds to be brainwashed by someone who is genuinely sincere about how the world works.

At the same time i don’t like it because it is genuinely disturbing in places and the actions by certain characters make you feel very strongly against that person. However, some of the characters are redeemed later on by their actions. I’ll let you guess who!

I give “Little Star” a 9/10 because it is original, thrilling and fascinating, but with a good dose of unpleasantness, disturbia and horror. I recommend it to anyone who doesnt mind something a bit horrific or disturbing! John Ajvide Lindqvist is an excellent writer and i thoroughly enjoyed this book, as i did “Let The Right One In”, and I will definitely keep reading his books!