Tag Archives: scarlett Thomas

The Seed Collectors- Scarlett Thomas


Synopsis (from goodreads)

Aunt Oleander is dead. In the Garden of England her extended family gather to remember her, to tell stories and to rekindle old memories. To each of her nearest and dearest Oleander has left a precious seed pod. But along with it comes a family secret that could open the hardest of hearts but also break the closest ties…

Review

I adored Pop Co. and loved The End of Mr Y, but the Scarlett Thomas books which I’ve read since have been a bit disappointing, not not good, just not as good. So I approached The Seed Collectors with a mixture of excitement and apprehension.

I think with The Seed Collectors Thomas is getting back to the writer I love, the writer who I was excited to see new books by. I think the gap between this book and her last was bigger, and maybe that shows.

It’s still not as good as Pop Co. It took more time to fall into- more like The End of Mr Y- but I ended up loving it all the same.

It wasn’t exactly what I expected, I expected it to mainly be a book about the seeds, but it wasn’t really about the seeds much at all. I suppose you could say it was a story about a family, but that makes it sound boring. This isn’t some ‘normal’ family, everything is screwed up. Plus some of the people are vile, ok all of the people are pretty awful (so if you like to love your characters, this probably isn’t the one for you).

To be completely honest it’s not really very plot driven, but I really enjoyed it all the same and found myself reading it in the same sort of incessant way that I would normally only read a plot driven book in.

4.5/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£5.22)

Paperback (£6.74)

Hardback £13.48)

Other reviews:

Have you reviewed this book? Leave me a link in comments

 

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Bright Young Things- Scarlett Thomas


Synopsis (from Amazon)

Bright Young Things wanted for Big Project.’ They’re in the prime of their lives but our bright young things are all burnt out. Six sparky twenty-somethings just out of university and working dead-end jobs, they are all bored to tears with their lives and looking for a way out. When a mysterious job is advertised in the newspaper, they all apply. What they least expect is to find themselves prisoners on a deserted island. There’s food in the fridge and they have a bedroom each, but there’s no telephone, no television, and no way to escape.

Review

I was a little sceptical about reading Bright Young Things after recent disappointments from Scarlett Thomas. However it was (and still is actually) only 20p for the kindle so I thought why not.

Maybe because I didn’t have the expectations I usually have when it comes to Scarlett Thomas I actually enjoyed it quite a lot.

I wouldn’t call the Bright Young Things bright exactly. They were clever in terms of learning or bookish knowledge if you want, but they were a little nieve about the situation in general. I know it’s not exactly a ‘normal’ situation but they just seemed to treat it like a holiday. Surely if you woke up on a random island, with no idea how you had got there, or why you would try and find out, wouldn’t you? Or try and get away? They only really make the most basic of attempts at either of those things.

I worked out certain twists in the tale quicker than they did too, but I suppose fear could have an effect on that.

It was an enjoyable book however, although it took a while to really get going. The beginning was interesting, and towards the end it ot exciting but in the middle I did get a little bored.

4/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£0.20)

Paperback (£5.75)

Other Reviews:

If you have reviewed this book comment with a link and I will add it here.

4 Comments

Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Mystery

Going Out- Scarlett Thomas


Synopsis (from Amazon)

Luke is twenty-five and allergic to the sun. He is stuck in his bedroom, where the world comes to him through TV, the internet and Julie’s visits. Julie, meanwhile, is brilliant, kind and could be changing the world. Unfortunately she is too terrified of aeroplane crashes, road accidents and potentially life-threatening bacteria to leave her home town. When someone contacts Luke and claims that he can cure him, Luke and Julie have to deal with their fears and face the world outside. With four friends, wellies and a homemade space suit, they set off in a VW Camper van along Britain’s B-roads. It is a journey that might just change their lives.

Review

I very much enjoyed The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas, and her next novel, Pop Co, is one of my favourites. However I was disappointed by Our Tragic Universe. When I saw Going Out in the shops I was excited but I didn’t immediately feel the need to buy it as I had with Our Tragic Universe, not because it didn’t sound interesting, but because I didn’t want another let down.

I can’t exactly say Going Out was a let down, but I think that was more due to the fact that I didn’t go into it expecting something as fantastic as Pop Co. However it certainly didn’t reach p to the levels of Pop Co. or even The End of Mr Y.

It did interest me, but it really took a long time to get going. Most of the time it was just a story of a girl who worked in a pizza place and was scared of everything. I didn’t even feel a particular affinity with her character. The most I can say for it was that there was a certain coming of age novel feel to it.

Once the journey got started I did begin to get interested, mainly because I wanted to see if things would work, or how. Even that though was not that fantastic. It was a little anti-climatic.

I will still read Scarlett Thomas’ latest offering, Bright Young Things, but I have a feeling she has passed her peak.

3/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£5.39)

Kindle (£5.12)

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It’s Giveaway Time


Ooh yay it’s time for the literary blog hop giveaway! The last time Leeswammes hosted this hop was my first giveaway, and I’ve done a couple more since.

Anyway onto the giveaway.

I will be giving away a copy of Scarlett Thomas’ Pop Co. which was my favourite book last year. Entry is open to anyone so long as The Book Depository does free shipping to your country.

Entry is is easy just fill in the form below:

Also have a look at all the other giveaways in the hop.

  1. Leeswammes
  2. Devouring Texts
  3. The Book Whisperer
  4. Seaside Book Nook
  5. The Scarlet Letter (US only)
  6. Rikki’s Teleidoscope
  7. Bibliosue
  8. Curled Up With a Good Book and a Cup of Tea
  9. The Book Diva’s Reads
  10. Gaskella
  11. Lucybird’s Book Blog
  12. Kim’s Bookish Place
  13. The Book Garden
  14. Under My Apple Tree
  15. Helen Smith
  16. Sam Still Reading
  17. Nishita’s Rants and Raves
  18. Ephemeral Digest
  19. Bookworm with a View
  20. The Parrish Lantern
  21. Dolce Bellezza
  22. Lena Sledge Blog
  23. Book Clutter
  24. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer (US only)
  25. The Blue Bookcase
  26. Book Journey (US only)
  27. The House of the Seven Tails (US only)
  28. In One Eye, Out the Other (US only)
  29. Read, Write & Live
  30. Fresh Ink Books
  1. Living, Learning, and Loving Life (US only)
  2. Bibliophile By the Sea
  3. Laurie Here Reading & Writing Reviews
  4. Amy’s Book World (US only)
  5. Teadevotee
  6. Joy’s Book Blog
  7. Word Crushes (US only)
  8. Thinking About Loud!
  9. Kinna Reads
  10. Sweeping Me
  11. Minding Spot (US only)
  12. Babies, Books, and Signs (US only)
  13. Lisa Beth Darling
  14. Tony’s Reading List
  15. SusieBookworm (US only)
  16. Tell Me A Story
  17. Close Encounters with the Night Kind
  18. Nerfreader
  19. Mevrouw Kinderboek (Netherlands, Belgium)
  20. Boekblogger (Netherlands)
  21. In Spring it is the Dawn
  22. No Page Left Behind
  23. Elle Lit

Good Luck.

Edit: Some people have been having trouble with the form. I think I have fixed the problem so please use it in the first instance but if it doesn’t submit via comments. I’m adding old comments to my form personally so don’t feel the need to re-enter.

28 Comments

Filed under Blog Hop, general, Giveaway

Our Tragic Universe- Scarlett Thomas


Synopsis (from Amazon)

If Kelsey Newman’s theory about the end of the time is true, we are all going to live forever. But for Meg – locked in a dead-end relationship and with a deadline looming for a book that she can’t write – this thought fills her with dread. Stuck in a labyrinth of her own devising, Meg knows that there must be a way out. And a wild beast living on the Devonshire moors, a ship in a bottle, the science of time and a knitting pattern for the shape of the universe all have a crucial part to play in Meg’s release.Review

I don’t know why I am always surprised at how strange Scarlett Thomas noves are, you would think that after reading two, and thinking the synopsis of a third makes it sound like it too will be strange would lead me to expect it, but apparently not. In some ways Our Tragic Universe is more normal than The End of Mr Y, in some other ways it’s more strange. As with Pop Co. there is a little more sense of reality in Our Tragic Universe, the majority of what happens is pretty normal stuff that you could expect from general fiction, relationships, work, you know pretty everyday stuff- and that’s not really something I expect much from Scarlett Thomas. There are some strange happenings but they are explained away, more or less. Really what was strange about this book was that it didn’t really have a plot, sure stuff happened but nothing was really resolved, I suppose you could say it was like real life in that sense.

Thinking on it though I think maybe Scarlett Thomas was trying to make a point, I felt the same about P’op Co. and I am beggining to think it may be a similar theme throughout her novels, it makes me want to re-read The End of Mr Y to see if there might be some message that I missed first time. In Our Tragic Universe the over riding message seems to be about the process of writing, there were a number of times when I felt that Meg may actually be Scarlett, the way she made points about what she wanted her writing to be- but how she struggled with that. There was a lot of content about storyless stories, which is what Our Tragic Universe seemed to be itself, but it also talked about how can a story be storyless, and in some ways Our Tragic Universe did have plot points, just not a real overriding plot.
I’m still not entirely sure what I thought of it, I thinki I liked it, but maybe I just liked how it got me trying to puzzle it out, rather than liking the book itself.
Has anyone else out there read this? I’ve never seen another review and I’d like to see other takes on it.

3 Comments

Filed under Contempory, Fiction review

Review of the Year (part 2- Best fiction of the year)


This year I’ve decided to make my criteria for books which I can nominate as my favourite reads of the year a little stricter. Last year the books had to have been given a score of 4.5/5 or above but this year it has to be a score of 5/5.  There are still quite a lot of contenders so I think I must have overall enjoyed my reading more this year.

The Contenders

Pop Co.- Scarlett Thomas

The Perks of Being a Wallflower- Steven Chbosky

The Elegance of the Hedgehog- Muriel Barbery

Room- Emma Donoghue

Kafka on the Shore- Haruki Murakami

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- J.K Rowling

This is hard. I’ve loved all these books but for completely different reasons, so to compare them is not easy. I’m going to straight off strike out Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows because it was a re-read.

The Winner is……

Pop. Co- Scarlett Thomas.

This wins because it was the one which stuck with me for the longest time, and it was the book I spent most of my year saying had been my favourite book of the year, even after I had given other books a 5/5 rating. Plus it made me think about things that other books hadn’t- both to do with the main subject and not. Because this book won I will reproduce the entire review here

Synopsis (from Amazon)

Alice Butler has been receiving some odd messages – all anonymous, all written in code. Are they from someone at PopCo, the profit-hungry corporation she works for? Or from Alice’s long lost father? Or has someone else been on her trail? The solution, she is sure, will involve the code-breaking skills she learned from her grandparents and the key she’s been wearing round her neck since she was ten. “PopCo” is a grown-up adventure of family secrets, puzzles, big business and the power of numbers.

Review

Wow. Just wow. I love, love, loved this book. It’s probably the best I’ve read so far this year. From the synopsis I had been unsure, and in fact almost bought it a few times before finding something I thought sounded better to read . In the end I mainly bought it because I had really enjoyed the End of Mr Y which is by the same author.

This is really a book which made me think, about corporations, and things we ignore but encounter every day. It talked of how corporations trick people, and how tose in marketing seem to be worth more than those who actually make products- and that’s just one issue it talks about. It doesn’t feel preachy though, it really does just make you think about things in a different way. It made me interested in alternative medicine, and veganism- and they weren’t even key themes!

It wasn’t perfect though. Some of the stuff about codes and maths really went over my head. Although I don’t think it was completely necessary to understand that it would have added something to my enjoyment. There was also a couple of adult scenes which I didn’t think were needed (I didn’t mind them being there though) which might put some people off, but there weren’t as many, or as graphic as in The End of Mr. Y.

5/5

I would also like to give a special mention to The Elegance of the Hedgehog because I went from finding it difficult to absolutely loving it and wanting everyone else to read it.

Part 1

Part 3- best non-fiction

Part 4- disappointing fiction

Part 5- disappointing non-fiction

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Filed under Fiction review, general

Pop Co.- Scarlett Thomas


Cover of "PopCo"

Cover of PopCo

Synopsis (from Amazon)

Alice Butler has been receiving some odd messages – all anonymous, all written in code. Are they from someone at PopCo, the profit-hungry corporation she works for? Or from Alice’s long lost father? Or has someone else been on her trail? The solution, she is sure, will involve the code-breaking skills she learned from her grandparents and the key she’s been wearing round her neck since she was ten. “PopCo” is a grown-up adventure of family secrets, puzzles, big business and the power of numbers.

Review

Wow. Just wow. I love, love, loved this book. It’s probably the best I’ve read so far this year. From the synopsis I had been unsure, and in fact almost bought it a few times before finding something I thought sounded better to read . In the end I mainly bought it because I had really enjoyed the End of Mr Y which is by the same author.

This is really a book which made me think, about corporations, and things we ignore but encounter every day. It talked of how corporations trick people, and how tose in marketing seem to be worth more than those who actually make products- and that’s just one issue it talks about. It doesn’t feel preachy though, it really does just make you think about things in a different way. It made me interested in alternative medicine, and veganism- and they weren’t even key themes!

It wasn’t perfect though. Some of the stuff about codes and maths really went over my head. Although I don’t think it was completely necessary to understand that it would have added something to my enjoyment. There was also a couple of adult scenes which I didn’t think were needed (I didn’t mind them being there though) which might put some people off, but there weren’t as many, or as graphic as in The End of Mr. Y.

5/5

10 Comments

Filed under Contempory, Fiction review