The Strange Library

THE STRANGE LIBRARY

BY HARUKI MURAKAMI

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I bought this book the day after I got made redundant from my library job. For twelve years I thought I had worked in a strange library – but thankfully not as dark and sinister as Murkami’s one!

‘The Strange Library’ is a fully illustrated and beautifully designed book. I loved the nostalgic old school library ticket on the front cover and the tagline on the back cover which simply read; “All I did was go to the library to borrow a book.” I’m a real library lover and can be a bit of a geek about it so although I have only ever managed to dip in and out of Murakami, I sensed I might like this! The illustrations inside enhanced this psychedelic tale providing a unique visual enjoyment alongside the text. I found the drawings, some of which are marbled papers and old pages from books found in The London Library, to be simultaneously odd and fun.

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But what’s it about? Well that is a good question! A small boy goes to the public library to borrow a book, once there he is taken to an underground reading room by a cruel old man. There he is locked in a cell by a “Sheep-man” and is instructed to memorise two large books to secure his freedom otherwise his brains will get eaten and Continue reading

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The Mystery of The Blue Train

blue train

THE MYSTERY OF THE BLUE TRAIN

BY AGATHA CHRISTIE

I’m going through a bit of stress with my job at present and so I thought it was time to revisit the great Hercule Poirot! Curling up with an Agatha Christie is for me a comfort to rival curling up with a bowl of chocolate ice cream. I chose The Mystery of The Blue Train as it’s one of my favourites, due in part to its setting in my beloved Nice and Monte Carlo but also due to the great sleuth being on magnificent form.

As the luxurious Blue Train rolls into Nice, Ruth Kettering is found dead in her compartment. She has been killed by a heavy, disfiguring blow and what’s more her precious rubies are missing. Estranged husband Derek is chief suspect from the off, yet as always Poirot is unconvinced and all is not as obvious as it seems.

Poirot is at his clever and most playful best in this story. Using his charms and ingenuity to extract the truth and assemble the facts from a glorious cast of characters. The luxurious surroundings of the famous Negresco Hotel and the Monte Carlo Tennis Club make you want to linger over this story rather than tear through it to find out whodunnit. Poirot’s use of an eerie re-enactment of Mrs Kettering’s last journey in the final chapters produces a most unexpected and satisfying twist.

Absolutely delightful to meet Hercule Poirot once again.

SOUTHSEA BOOKWORM RATING: 8/10

Earth is the loneliest planet of all*

the humas

THE HUMANS BY MATT HAIG

The Humans is quite simply one of those novels that you wish you had written. Remarkably inventive, heart-warming, very funny and gripping right up to the last page. Matt Haig’s fifth book is really something special.

One Friday night Professor Andrew Martin is found walking naked through the streets of Cambridge. He feels lost amongst his new species. He is repulsed by human food, clothes, their appearance – and even by his wife and teenage son. In fact he hates everyone and everything except his dog, Newton.

But as he sets about the tasks that he has been sent to Earth to complete, he gradually starts to change his mind about the human race. Haig uses this fantastic story to explore what it is to love and be human and all that is weird and wonderful about that. Like looking at our planet through an outer body experience (from outer space). Continue reading