Posts Tagged ‘Book’

You’ve been transported to the setting of the last book you read. Where are you? (via Novelicious)

England! At a boy’s grammar school called St Oswald’s!

I recently read “Gentlemen and Players” by Joanne Harris.

Image found via Novelicious on Facebook

I have just finished reading “Gentlemen and Players” by Joanne Harris.

“Gentlemen and Players” by Joanne Harris (via Goodreads)

The blurb reads:

“For generations, privileged young men have attended St. Oswald’s Grammar School for Boys, groomed for success by the likes of Roy Straitley, the eccentric Classics teacher who has been a fixture there for more than thirty years. This year, however, the wind of unwelcome change is blowing, and Straitley is finally, reluctantly, contemplating retirement. As the new term gets under way, a number of incidents befall students and faculty alike, beginning as small annoyances but soon escalating in both number and consequence. St. Oswald’s is unraveling, and only Straitley stands in the way of its ruin. But he faces a formidable opponent with a bitter grudge and a master strategy that has been meticulously planned to the final, deadly move.”

It’s a great book with many twists and it keeps you guessing for ages!

It follows a young lad who becomes obsessed with St Oswald’s Grammar School for Boys and enters this world so different to what lies outside. The reader also get to see the school from the viewpoint of the teacher, Roy Straitley, who knows the workings of the school better than anyone, and who prides himself on knowing the things that make the staff and boys tick.

As the novel progresses, it is clear that what started as a innocent desire for something different has turned into something dangerous and more disturbing than anything else that has happened in the school. It jumps back and forth through time, which makes it a little bit confusing at times but simply adds to the mystery and the tension!

You feel an empathy with the youngster who wants a life that is beyond his reach, and who wants to break the rules. You also feel sorry for Straitley, who just wants to reach his century of teaching at the school but faces so much opposition when unfortunate events start to occur.

I love how this book keeps you wondering who is the person causing all the incidents and scandals to happen, and questioning who could have such a strong motive for wanting to harm the school, its reputation, and the staff and pupils inside. You have to keep reading because there are so many little hints and little details which are important to keep track of. The ending is pure brilliance! I’m not going to spoil it, but there’s a great plot twist!

I love this book, and give it 8/10 because it’s so gripping and the characters are so fascinatingly ordinary! You might think a book about a boy’s school would be boring but it’s the everyday normality which makes this novel so interesting, especially when things start going wrong! It’s worth a read, especially if you like suspense and mystery, and love Joanne Harris!

At the London Book Fair last week, I went to the Literary Translation Centre for Finest Foreign Literature at the Fair: The 2014 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. This session discussed the books in the IFFP shortlist, which was announced on 8th April during the Fair. Points that were made included:

  • There are 3 women’s titles in the 2014 shortlist, but they have taken their time to get into English and were originally published a while ago.
  • Good books last, even if they cover a popular or recent theme/topic.
  • Books have to succeed as an artefact in their own right.

The shortlist consists of the following titles:

  • The Iraqi Christ, by Hassan Blasim, translated from the Arabic by Jonathan Wright (Comma Press)

The Iraqi Christ Hassan Blasim Translated from Arabic by Jonathan Wright

  • A Man in Love, by Karl Ove Knausgaard, translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett (Harvill Secker)

A Man in Love Karl Ove Knausgård Translated from Norwegian by Don Bartlett

  • A Meal in Winter, by Hubert Mingarelli, translated from the French by Sam Taylor (Portobello Books)

A Meal in Winter Hubert Mingarelli Translated from French by Sam Taylor

  • The Mussel Feast, by Birgit Vanderbeke, translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch (Peirene Press)

The Mussel Feast Birgit Vanderbeke Translated from German by Jamie Bulloch

  • Revenge, by Yōko Ogawa, translated from the Japanese by Stephen Snyder (Harvill Secker)

Revenge Yoko Ogawa Translated from the Japanese by Stephen Snyder

  • Strange Weather in Tokyo, by Hiromi Kawakami and translated from the Japanese by Allison Markin Powell (Portobello)

Strange Weather in Tokyo Hiromi Kawakami Translated from Japanese by Allison Markin Powell

In previous years I have been inspired to read the books on the list, and this year I will attempt to read as many of these as I can. The winner will be announced on the 22nd May!

For more information, check out Booktrust‘s website.