Thursday, 29 July 2010

David Long – The Little Book of the London Underground

I picked this book up at the London Transport Museum shop in London recently as I have a long held fascination with the underground. The book is a potted history of the underground, packed full of interesting facts and information. It covers pretty much everything from the first attempts at building the underground through to wartime usage, abandoned stations and the underground in popular culture. Of course, because it covers such a large subject in a small book it is not able to go into much detail, but it gives a good overview on the subject.

It is written in a light and entertaining style. Its easy to dip in and out of and I think would be of interest to those with a passing interest in the underground right through to those with a keener interest looking for a good starting point.

It has certainly re-ignited my interest in the subject and I will be going back and continuing to read another book on the subject which I started reading some time ago but didn’t get round to finishing at the time. I will be looking out for books on abandoned stations as these are of particular interest to me. I also found the wartime usage chapter very interesting and will be looking to read further on that as well at some point.

I enjoyed the Little Book of the London Underground and would certainly recommed it.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Charlie Higson - The Enemy

Some kind of plague has struck, affecting everyone over fourteen. Some die, others turn into zombie type creatures that want to kill and eat the living children. The story follows a group of kids from the Camden area of London approximately one year after the plague happened. They have set up home in a supermarket and survive by scavenging for food in the surrounding area. When they hear that central London is safer and that another group of kids have set up home in Buckingham Palace where they are able to grow food and keep animals they decide to make the journey across London to try and build a better live for themselves.

I saw this book advertised on T.V. back when it was first released and I really liked the sound of it. Anything post-apocalypse and you immediately have my interest. I didn't realise at first that it is a children's book, so I was disappointed when I found out. It still sounded good though and there is a warning on the back that it contains strong language and violence so that was a good sign!

The story has a large cast of main and supporting characters that are well written and believable. The plot was gripping with lots of tension and atmosphere. One thing I particularly liked is that the author is not afraid to kill off major characters. I like that in a book, it adds tension and mystery because if a character gets into a dangerous situation you don't know if they are going to survive or not.

I have a niggle with the book. This is that the zombies are referred to as "mothers" and "fathers" (as opposed to men and women) which really grated on my nerves. Having read the extract from the sequel at the back of the book I now know the reason for this, but that doesn't make it any less irritating.

Having said that it had very little impact on my enjoyment of the book which overall I thoroughly enjoyed. It was also fairly easy to forget that it is a children's book, I think it's a book that would be enjoyed by anyone that is into zombies and / or post apocalypse regardless of age. There is quite a lot of violence in the book so some parents may want to read it first before letting younger children loose on it. The swearing was minimal, the only swearword I recall seeing was "bastards". Most of the time the actual word is avoided and replaced with something like "Akkie swore loudly" and I would think that most kids know more swearwords than their parents would like to admit anyway!

So overall I really enjoyed this book and recommend it. I am looking forward to reading the sequel when it is released later in the year.

Monday, 26 July 2010

John Harvey – Far Cry

In 1995 Heather Pierce went missing while on holiday in Cornwall. Thirteen years later her mother has remarried and has another daughter, Beatrice who is approaching her 10th birthday. When Beatrice goes missing DI Will Grayson is assigned to the case. Is there a connection between the disappearances? On top of this a local paedophile has recently been released from prison and DI Grayson is concerned that he is likely to re-offend.

I haven’t summed up the plot very well but hopefully you get the gist. I like the way in which the different plot strands intertwine throughout this book. The Main ones are the 1995 disappearance of Heather, the present day disappearance of Beatrice and the local paedophile. There are also a few smaller ones as well. It’s not as complicated as I’ve managed to make it sound though!

I really enjoyed this book. The pace was just right and the different parts of the story linked together well. The characters were well written and the story interesting and engaging. The book is reasonably long but it only took me a few days to read it. I had not read any John Harvey before but will certainly be looking to read more of his books in the future.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Marco Perella – Adventures of a no Name Actor

Marco Perella is a successful actor who has had roles in many films and television shows but he is not a famous actor as his roles are normally smaller supporting roles such as “Highway Patrol Man”. He lives in Texas with his family and most of his acting work is done in his home state which is a contributing factor to why he has not become famous as in order to get leading roles you pretty much have to live in LA (or be prepared to travel there a lot).

The memoirs were entertaining and gave a good, if a little brief, insight into the world of film and television acting. I liked the way that the book was written and the anecdotes about meeting with famous actors. I also enjoyed the insight into the process of film making from the auditions through the filming.