Archive > January 2014

A White Trail

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A White Trail: A Journey into the Heart of Pakistan's Religious Minorities, Khalid Haroon, book reviewWhen Pakistan was divided during Partition, it became a nation frantically seeking identity through religion. However it was also a country where religious minorities still existed because people would not leave their hearth and home believing that their neighbours would remain their friends and life would continue as before. But Pakistan was not what it had been and the minority faiths began to find themselves more and more marginalised and many were forced to take Muslim names so that they could go around publicly without drawing attention to themselves. 45 year old Shazia Waleed, for instance, a Hindu convert to Islam working for a prominent global NGO was Sandhya Gupta before her parents were murdered in 1981. Journalist Haroon Khalid courageously embarked on a series of articles about these communities and how they were managing to survive.


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Someone Else’s Skin

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Someone Else's Skin, Sarah Hilary, book reviewI read a lot of crime fiction. As much as I enjoy it, there is a set formula that most books follow:
Murder.
Flawed hero with loyal sidekick investigate murder.
Plot twists, usually comprising more murders, a few red herrings and (increasingly often) some X-rated sex and/or violence to spice things up.
Flawed hero solves murder(s), quite often with threat to life or property of loyal sidekick.

Sarah Hilary’s Someone Else’s Skin offers the jaded crime fiction fan something a little different. While we still have the flawed hero (DCI Marnie Rome, a detective still suffering from the murder of her parents several years previously) and loyal sidekick (DS Noah Jake), there is actually no murder.


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After Dead

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After Dead: What Came Next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse, Charlaine Harris, book reviewEarlier this year I read and reviewed the final novel in Charlaine Harris’s popular Sookie Stackhouse series, Dead Ever After.I concluded that I was unhappy with the rushed and forced feel to the ending, although I had suspected that was where she was heading after the previous novel. After that, I looked forward to the publication of After Dead: What Came Next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse with a kind of desperation, hoping that not only would it give me one last shot of the characters and stories I had grown to love, but also that it would provide a comfortable closure which had been missing from Dead Ever After.


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Colossus

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Colossus, Alexander Cole, book reviewBabylon, 323BC. The great general Alexander of Macedon has conquered much of the known world, and finds himself with a huge army and a court of followers from across his new empire. Some of the men would follow Alexander to the ends of the Earth, while many others complain of not having seen their homes in years and worry that their leader is becoming soft and perfumed like the people they have conquered. The general ignores the griping of his army, seeking instead his next challenge; what of the rich city of Carthage, which stands ripe for the taking?

As he plots his next move, a war elephant – a new and powerful weapon that makes a grand spectacle on the battlefield – sets out on a rampage around the army’s camp.


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The Invention of Wings

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The Invention of Wings,  Sue Monk Kidd, book reviewWhat is the worst thing that you have ever received as a birthday present? Some dreadful knitwear that you have been obliged to wear when visiting the person who burdened you with it? Perhaps something dull or mundane or embarrassing which showed an utter misunderstanding of you as a person? Something ugly that you have had to put out on display to avoid hurting the feelings of the giver, despite hating it? Spare a thought then for Sarah Grimké. For her eleventh birthday, she received another person as her present, complete with a gaudy bow tied around her neck.

The year is 1803 and the place Charleston, South Carolina. Sarah is a younger daughter in the wealthy and prominent Grimké plantation family, a family that owns nearly twenty domestic slaves just to keep their elaborate household running.


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Death Comes to Pemberley

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Death Comes to Pemberley, P. D. James, book reviewAll of Pemberley is getting ready for the annual Lady Anne Ball, and all seems to be going as planned. That is, until the carriage with Elizabeth’s sister Lydia shows up. She’s all in a tizzy, going on about gunshots in the woods and begging someone to find her husband, fearing for his life. When the search party finds Wickham, he is alive. However, he’s covered in blood and standing above the body of his best friend, Captain Denny. So begins the mystery of the murder of Captain Denny, which will certainly bring scandal on Pemberley and the Darcys, and might end up with Wickham hanging from the gallows. This is Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James.

There have been many attempted sequels and prequels to Jane Austen’s novels, with varying degrees of success.


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