Category: Book Reviews

What is a Kicker? my review of Kicker by Grey Hoover

Kicker - by Grey Hoover
Kicker – by Grey Hoover

I just finished reading Kicker by Grey Hoover; about Kickers, the men who ‘kicked’ cargo out of freight aircraft in the Far East during WWII. Its a very interesting book and left me speechless in places. Here is my review:

It is with great pleasure that I review the biography Kicker, and it’s not often I can say that!

I pride myself on knowing a lot about WWII but I knew nothing about ‘Kickers,’ the brave men who kicked the supplies out of American transport aircraft in the Far East Theatre, during the War.

Into this chaotic, dangerous and inhospitable world comes Private Sam Huber. He applied himself to the task at hand without complaint and soaks up the help of veterans around him and the exotic sights that surround him.

The book is full of lovely vignettes of life in places like Calcutta and Casablanca and contains some of the most harrowing scenes I have yet come across in any war book. Continue reading “What is a Kicker? my review of Kicker by Grey Hoover”

Two Book Reviews – The Sparrow and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

I have been in Spain for almost 3 weeks – just soaking up the sun really and doing what I do best – philosophy. Okay, okay so I know the saying: a philosopher is someone who has abandoned (left?) their community. But I rarely get time to think properly so it was nice to have some time. Plus Spain at this time of year is gorgeous and …. NOT RAINING.

I did manage to squeeze in some reading: The Lost Road by Tolkien (well, by Chris Tolkien as much as John, but nevertheless an interesting take on Atlantis), A Spanish/English Dictionary and phrase book (yep- I plan to retire there so I have to learn), The Sparrow and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

Not sure if I will get both the latter reviews down tonight but I want to say something so I will give it a go.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson

I must admit, I have a big problem with this book. I have many smaller problems and I will start with those: first of all I found myself on page 5 and still not really engaged. I was no wiser what the premise of the story was until around page 100! I had to keep rereading the back cover to remind myself why I had got suckered into trying it. Basically loads of people had recommended and of course it sells very well, so being an author, I wanted to see what this guy had got. I soldiered on but when I came to a bit which said (and I am writing this from memory because I simply don’t want to open the book again): ‘She pulled him down to her breasts. Then she asked him if he wanted to stay the night.’ I threw the book down in disgust. “Women just don’t say that!” I shouted at my apartment walls. There was much worse to come and while the main protagonist’s mistress was a dominatrix editor and super-stunning (apparently) she seemed to be a docile sop in bed. I just couldn’t buy it. I had to literally force myself to read on because several times I felt sick at the stupid misogyny that seemed to fester within these dark pages. Every woman in the book seemed to either suffer an extremely unpleasant and violent death or cause one. I was nervous for Lisbeth – the eponymous character of the book’s title, thinking that she too would meet some awful, sticky end and I won’t give the plot away by revealing her fate. I also found that I guessed the main ‘twist’ in the tail of the story by page 120, although I was partly wrong. I was close enough to make reading the rest rather pointless but I soldiered on just so that I would qualify to write a review. How can I criticise if I haven’t read? Continue reading “Two Book Reviews – The Sparrow and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

Flowers for Algernon

I finally got to read this wonderful little novel (read the novel and not the novella – my friend Gary informs me that the longer one is better) on holiday and I have been pondering it before writing anything about it. I also saw the film afterwards so I comment on that later:

Flowers for Algernon – The Novel

I must say this is the ideal book for the beach. Not only does it start off with very simple text: simple words and short sentences, but it is broken up into bite-sized chunks about half-page long. It couldn’t be easier. If you haven’t read the book you will not know that this is because the text mainly consists of diary entries by Charly Gordon, an American with learning difficulties and subnormal intelligence who is about to undergo an operation to make him clever. I have to say right away that it is a very touching book and in no way prejudiced or insensitive. Indeed its subject matter is a great source of pathos and humour and treated with great care by its author Daniel Keyes. Continue reading “Flowers for Algernon”