What I’ve been reading – Watership Down by Richard Adams

Watership Down (Watership Down, #1)Watership Down by Richard Adams

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve loved this book for years. My favourite parts are mostly about the Black Rabbit of Inle and El-Ahrairah, and Fiver’s visions. Also adore Bigwig’s fight with Woundwort. This book is so emotionally involving, I found it almost draining and too much to process as a kid. Probably easier for an adult to handle.

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What I’ve been reading – The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger

The Catcher in the RyeThe Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Hands up, I’m a biased reader, I abhor Salinger. This is where I started and it was all downhill from then on. I detest judgemental adolescents, casual homophobia and the whole damn precious affected consciously-erudite cutie-hipster Glass clan. Well, clan isn’t near pejorative enough. Infestation?

Blee yuk no.

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What I’ve been reading – No Place Like by Gene Kemp

No Place LikeNo Place Like by Gene Kemp
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Pete is no more than flotsam bobbing aimlessly on the waves, when he fails his ‘O’ levels/GCSEs and heads off to the local community college. Because that’s what kids in his situation do, and he doesn’t have any better ideas. He’s letting life happen to him. But gradually he begins to get his bearings, identify positive influences and helpful people, make a few friends, get a few ideas about things he might actually like and want to do.

It takes longer for him to spot the malign influences, the folks to avoid. Still longer to understand that not all wrong ‘uns can be harmlessly evaded, and confrontation isn’t always optional.

It’s a pivotal point in adolescent life, but Pete takes those first steps, gets a grip on who he might be or become. All without lasting hurt or mortal wound. But for a light, sweet YA novel, it’s amazing how clear it is that that’s partially his own efforts, and partially the merest luck and chance.

This is really beautifully written, simple and clear, economical, precise and extremely funny. The character of Pete’s dad is especially immortal and hilarious, and there are moments of his character’s contributions to the tale that are as funny as anything in Wodehouse.

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Dinky Hocker Shoots Smack by M.E. Kerr – book review

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Dinky Hocker Shoots Smack!Dinky Hocker Shoots Smack! by M.E. Kerr

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great book. I adore Dinky, for declining to be brainwashed and cooperative like a good little robot. And also for her name. And Natalia, for… well, it’s hard to say. She’s certainly a sweetie, but a bit too willing to collude in her own oppression. It’s difficult not to have a certain affection for her, though. Tucker OTOH is just annoying, and John too.

I can’t believe Kerr is the same author who wrote When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, though. Wow.*
*Well, she isn’t, that’s all. On checking, that was all just in my head, which explains a lot! It did seem an odd conjunction of styles and subjects.

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‘Crazy Vanilla’ by Barbara Wersba – Book Review

Crazy VanillaCrazy Vanilla by Barbara Wersba

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I expected a little more from this than I actually got – it felt as if at any moment a profound epiphany might appear, but that promise was never quite made good. Still, I did enjoy it. The best thing was reading about Tyler’s love of nature and animals, which felt deeply real. His opinions and reading about the anthropomorphization of animals in human culture was especially interesting – more so than his personal relationships, really. I found his issues with his older brother’s sexuality a bit tacked-on and not really credible. Still a worthwhile read though.

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