Tag Archives: Sebastian Barry

Deals of the Moment- August 2016 (Part 1)


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. Whenever there are deals of interest I post on here. Links are associate links but money goes back into the blog.

So I’m going to briefly talk about the books I’ve read which are on offer, and those that I have bought myself. Why I liked them/bought them, and what they are about. End links are to the amazon page, any other links are to my reviews.

I have 28 tabs of deals open this month so I’m breaking this post into three parts; this part (part 1) is books I’ve already read, part two (hopefully tomorrow) will be books I own/can borrow but haven’t read yet, and part 3 will be books I’m interested in. My computer is going to the macshop tomorrow (l0ts of little problems) so I will try and get part 3 out on Friday but we will see how it goes.

Please note prices are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.


Still Alice- Lisa Genova

I really enjoyed this rather sad novel told by a narrator who has early onset dementia. It’s very touching, and language wise an easy read but also rather emotionally difficult

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)


Fahrenheit 451- Ray Bradbury

To be honest I didn’t love this classic about book burning, but there were some points which made it worth a read.

You can buy it,,,here (only £1.99)


The Rosie Project- Graeme Simsion

I loved this funny, quirky, sweet book about a clever man who thinks he has found a clever way to find love. It was so much more than I expected

You can buy it…here (only £1.99)


Mockingbird- Kathryn Erkstien

A beautiful book about a girl with Asperger’s whose brother is killed. The normal grief of that situation added to her autism.

Buy it…here (only £1.39)

 


Girl at the Lion D’or- Sebastian Faulks

This book is actually the first in the trilogy which ends with, what is probably Faulks’ most well known novel, Birdsong. It’s probably my least favourite of the trio but it’s a nice little book about a girl who starts working at a slightly seedy hotel. I read the series in the wrong order and it does stand well as a novel on its own.

Buy it…here (only £1.99) Buy the others in the series, Charlotte Grey, and Birdsong, for £4.99 each.


 

The Secret Scripture- Sebastian Barry

Since reading The Secret Scripture I have read a lot of other Sebastian Barry novels, and none are as good as this one, I loved this one. About a woman who has spent most of her life in a mental institution

Buy it…here (£1.09)


Clovenhoof series- Heide Good and Iain M. Grant

Funny, political-ish books about satan being expelled from Heaven and being sent to live in Birmingham. I love these books, I’ve read 1-3 (and the short) and ordered number 4 when I saw it on offer, number 5 is out too, but that’s not on offer.

Buy one, two, three, four (only £0.99 each)


The Elements of Eloquence- Mark Forsyth

I love Mark Forsyth, his books about language are interesting and funny, I recommend them to everyone.

Buy it…here (only £1.19)


The Pact- Jodi Picoult

I love Jodi Picoult, I’ve read all her books. This one is about a boy and a girl who apparently had a suicide pact, or did the boy call the girl?

Buy it…here (£1.99)


Look Who’s Back- Timur Vermes

Hitler wakes up in the modern day. Everything is wrong, he must find his power again. Satirical, funny, a bit on the edge.

Buy it...here (only £0.99)


Middlesex- Jeffrey Eugenides

This is one of my favourite books. A sort of coming of age novel, kind of hard to describe, but there’s a family secret involved and I can’t tell you because that will spoil the story. Just read it

Buy it…here (only £1.99)


 

The Shock of the Fall- Nathan Filler

An incident happened, it effected the whole of one man’s life

Buy it…here (only £1.99)


Eleanor and Park- Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor is the new girl, she’s not fitting in great, but then she meets Park. A nice little love story.

Buy it…here (only £1.99)


The Beach- Alex Garland

I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book about a secret island, and the things that happened there.

Buy it…here (only £1.99)


How to Build A Girl- Caitlin Moran

Yay Caitlin Moran. How to Build a Girl is a little too autobiographical to feel like novel, but I still loved it.

Buy it…here (only £1.99)

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Deals of the Moment- April


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. This in the post where I talk about any books which are of interest.

So I’m going to briefly talk about the books I’ve read which are on offer, and those that I have bought myself. Why I liked them/bought them, and what they are about. End links are to the amazon page, any other links are to my reviews. Amazon links are affiliate links but any money made goes back into the blog (e.g. for giveaways)

Please note prices are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.


QI Books

I’ve read a few QI books and they are interesting whilst still being easy reads. I’ve not read either of the two on offer so I will probably buy them

You can buy The Second Book of General Ignorance…here (only £2.29) or the Book of Advanced Banter…here (also only £2.29)


Clovenhoof- Heide Goody and Iain Grant

This is the first book in the Clovenhoof series (I’ve read Pigeonwings too). It’s about the devil being banished too earth. Rather funny. The boyfriend has compared it to Good Omens (which I haven’t read yet)

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)


Middlesex- Jeffrey Eugenides

Middlesex is one of those books that people have to read to really get. It is a must read, I loved it. It’s about Cal, and how she finds out she’s a hermaphrodite.

You can buy it…here. (only £2.99)


The Etymologicon- Mark Forsyth

I don’t know why these books about language are so frequently reduced because they are really good. Interesting, funny, conversational. The Etymologicon is probably the best of the group

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)


The Winter Guest- Pam Jenoff

I’ve read a few of Pam Jenoff‘s war books recently so I’m quite interested in The Winter Guest. It’s about two sisters during WW2 who shelter an injured enemy paratrooper.

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)


The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band

This one is on The Rory List which is why I’m thinking of buying it, although I’m shying away because apparently it’s rather graphic. It’s an autobiography of Mötley Crüe.

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)


The House at Riverton- Kate Morton

I like the gothic type atmosphere in Kate Morton books. The House at Riverton is about the circumstances around a poet’s suicide.

You can buy it…here (only £1.69)


The Pact- Jodi Picoult

I really like Picoult books, they always make me think. The Pact is about two teenagers who make a pact to commit suicide together, but only one dies and the other is arrested for her murder.

You can buy it…here (only £1.49)


Books By Sebastian Barry.

I’ve read and loved Sebastian Barry’s The Secret Scripture, if you’re going to buy one of the Barry books I would recommend this one. I’ve also read The Temporary Gentleman and A Long Long Way which are good but not fantastic. On Canaan’s Side is the only one on special offer which I haven’t read, and I may buy it in my quest to find something as good as The Secret Scripture.

Buy The Secret Scripture… here (only £2.59)

Buy A Long, Long Way… here (only £2.59)

Buy The Temporary Gentleman… here (only £2.29)

Buy On Canaan’s Side… here (only £1.69)

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The Temporary Gentleman- Sebastian Barry


Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge from the publisher (via netgalley) in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis (from amazon)

Jack McNulty is a ‘temporary gentleman’, an Irishman whose commission in the British army in the Second World War was never permanent. In 1957, sitting in his lodgings in Accra, he urgently sets out to write his story. He feels he cannot take one step further, or even hardly a breath, without looking back at all that has befallen him.

He is an ordinary man, both petty and heroic, but he has seen extraordinary things. He has worked

and wandered around the world – as a soldier, an engineer, a UN observer – trying to follow his childhood ambition to better himself. And he has had a strange and tumultuous marriage. Mai Kirwan was a great beauty of Sligo in the 1920s, a vivid mind, but an elusive and mysterious figure too. Jack married her, and shared his life with her, but in time she slipped from his grasp.

Review

Every time I read a Sebastian Barry novel I hope that it will be as good as The Secret Scripture. So far I have been disappointed. Although I have still generally enjoyed and had an appreciation for his work it just hasn’t met up.

I’ve put a little note on my goodreads review of this (where I sometimes make a note before I write a full review) which says simply “That was rather… anti climatic…“. Which is true. The whole way through it seemed that something dramatic was promised in the future, in fact it was part of what made me keep wanting to read- to find out what it was. Something happened (in a way) but it was more of a consistent event rather than one dramatic thing, and it was only a the end that I realised that it was what Jack was referring to.

The book had two parts. A story of what was happening now, and a story of Jack looking back at what had happened before. The looking back bit was what made up the bulk of the story, and the most interesting bit, although at times it was rather too brief about events. In a way that was because we only saw things through Jack’s eyes, so when things were happening at home when he was not there we only saw what Jack was told or the snippets of what Jack saw. We didn’t see what was really going on. In a way that was rather frustrating, because some of the most interesting things seemed to come about when Jack wasn’t there, but at the same time it gave us a good insight into what Jack was feeling.

Mai was undoubtedly the most interesting character. It might have been better to see things through her eyes. Jack seemed to have very little real understanding of her. He saw her as a beauty, and as somewhat untouchable- or out of his league. There was a certain disappointment with the way she went from being when he met her as a young woman to being who she was when she was his wife. The two people seemed completely different. It was almost as if she gave up on her dreams in order to be his wife, although I am not sure if it was that so much as the effects that certain events had on her. I would really like to know. That’s one thing which was rather unsatisfying, we could never get any answers when it came to Mai…maybe that will come in a later book- after all there are a lot of books related to the McNaultys already.

3.5/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£5.39)

Hardback (£12.23)

Paperback- pre-order (£7.59)

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A Long, Long Way- Sebastian Barry


Image from Amazon

Sorry about the delay in this post. I intended to finish it last night but came home with a stinking cold which made me want to do nothing more energetic than sitting on the sofa staring blindly at the TV.

Synopsis (from Amazon)

One of the most vivid and realised characters of recent fiction, Willie Dunne is the innocent hero of Sebastian Barry’s highly acclaimed novel. Leaving Dublin to fight for the Allied cause as a member of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, he finds himself caught between the war playing out on foreign fields and that festering at home, waiting to erupt with the Easter Rising. Profoundly moving, intimate and epic, A Long Long Way charts and evokes a terrible coming of age, one too often written out of history.

Review

Note: I finished this book the day before I went on holiday, and have read 4 other books since so this review may be a little sketchy.

As far as first world war stories go this one was fairly typical. Guy goes to war, people die, you know the drift. There was the added element of the hero coming from Ireland, but to be honest that element wasn’t very well explored. Willie was rather politically unaware which meant he had little to debate when it came to joining up, or being in the army in general. There were a couple of points where he seemed to have some sort of moral dilemma but they weren’t very well explored and given little page time.
As far as a war story you could do worse, but there are also plenty you should read first. As far as Sebastian Barry goes he has written better (my favourite of what I have read being The Secret Scripture). If you want a war novel with an Irish outlook however I imagine there could well be a better one out there.

3/5

Buy it:
Kindle (£4.85)
Paperback (£5.11)
Hardback (£12.74)

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The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty- Sebastian Barry


Synopsis (from Amazon)

Following the end of the First World War, Eneas McNulty joins the British-led Royal Irish Constabulary. With all those around him becoming soldiers of a different kind, however, it proves to be the defining decision of his life when, having witnessed the murder of a fellow RIC policeman, he is wrongly accused of identifying the executioners. With a sentence of death passed over him he is forced to flee Sligo, his friends, family and beloved girl, Viv. What follows is the story of this flight, his subsequent wanderings, and the haunting pull of home that always afflicts him. Tender, witty, troubling and tragic, The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty tells the secret history of a lost man.
Review
I really enjoyed The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry and the small mentions of Eneas McNulty within that story had me intregued. When I found out that there was a book about Eneas I was quite excited to read it. Unfortunately I found The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty didn’t meet up to my expectations. It didn’t have half the draw of The Secret Scripture and even the parts that I did find interesting were far too brief. There were enough interesting bits to keep me going right to the end of the book but by the end I was mainly just waiting to finish the story. There were many elements that could have been exciting or moving but they just didn’t quite meet up. I did find some sections moving but they were over all too briefly.
I found the writing a little inconsistent, at the beginning it was written as if Eneas himself was speaking- although it was written in the third person, it was a pretty stereotypical Irish voice, but after a while it became less Irish and it seemed less like it was Eneas speaking.
I still found the bits about Roseanne (the protagonist of The Secret Scripture) intriguing, so I might have been somewhat interested in reading The Secret Scripture if I had read The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty first but I think based on my enjoyment of this book I wouldn’t have actually read it.
2/5

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The Secret Scripture- Sebastian Barry


The Secret Scripture

Image via Wikipedia

Synopsis (from Amazon)

Nearing her one-hundredth birthday, Roseanne McNulty faces an uncertain future, as the Roscommon Regional Mental hospital where she’s spent the best part of her adult life prepares for closure. Over the weeks leading up to this upheaval, she talks often with her psychiatrist Dr. Grene, and their relationship intensifies and complicates. Told through their respective journals, the story that emerges is at once shocking and deeply beautiful. Refracted through the haze of memory and retelling, Roseanne’s story becomes an alternative, secret history of Ireland’s changing character and the story of a life blighted by terrible mistreatment and ignorance, and yet marked still by love and passion and hope.

Review

I seem to find books I struggle with become more rewarding, and this was the case with this one. I found it difficult to get into, almost giving up at one point. But something kept me going and by halfway I was hooked. I know little about the history of Ireland and I found this and interesting way to find out. I began to really feel for the characters, I think I liked Dr. Grene the best, but can’t really say why, I think maybe he just he seemed the most real. And I wanted to punch the priest so many times (is that a bad thing to say?!) (highlight for spoiler) he really seemed to have it in for Roseanne, and for no real reason, and he seemed to have a part to play in everything that went wrong for her. Generally though the thing that disappointed me was that I worked out the twist (which comes towards the end) really early on, possibly that was because of the synopsis on the back of the book, I would recommend not reading that bit

4/5

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Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Historical, Psychology (fiction)