22 December 2013

One Sentence Reviews

Here are eight books I have read recently that I have yet to comment on I have placed them in rough order of how much I liked them. Best to worst.

Knulp by Hermann Hesse
Another sad, beautiful Hesse musing on life and death.

Empty Mansions by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr.
A brilliant non-fiction tale of a copper heiress who chose to spend the last 20 years of her life in a hospital despite owning four mansions.

Gerald and Elizabeth by DE Stevenson
Two parts Stevensonian romance, one part Nevil Shutian nose to the grindstone success story, one part Wilkie Collinsonian clear my name with the help of letters and anecdotes.

A Touch of Mistletoe by Barbara Comyns
Kept waiting for Vicky to stop being so damn poor in this enjoyable autobiographical novella.

Minnie's Room by Mollie Panter-Downes
Definitely worth a read, but not as good has her wartime stories in Goodnight, Mrs. Craven.

Nest of Vipers by Tod Claymore
Old fashioned, green covered Penguin mystery with all the plot and logic leaps characteristics of the genre.

Smut by Alan Bennett
I don't need to read about perverted grannies.

Mrs Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn
Better than Emma Tennant's lame attempt to fictionalize QEII making an escape, but miles away from the brilliance of Alan Bennett's The Uncommon Reader.


  1. The grandpas can shoulder some blame in part 2 of Smut, surely? Still, that made me smile. Have a wonderful Christmas, Thomas - and all the best for a magnificent New Year (and, I seem to recall, lots of lovely new bookshelves to fill?).

  2. You've got me wanting to get a copy of Empty Mansions before I go on my 2014 self-imposed buying ban! But, you've also got me a tad nervous about potentially not liking my copy of Mrs. Queen...

    Just listened to The Readers (as therapy for too much holiday car travel last week) and now must own Empty Mansions...

  3. I read Empty Mansions over Thansksgiving and loved it -- think I'll put it on the list for my new nonfiction book group next year, as soon as the waiting list becomes reasonable. And I could not get into Mrs. Queen Takes the Train at all. I had the audio in the car and could not get through the first chapter.

  4. "I don't need to read about perverted grannies."


  5. Like Heather, I particularly enjoyed the Bennet review although, given the title, one is tempted to ask "what else were you expecting?"

  6. I want to read Empty Mansions!

  7. Vicki: You are probably right, but I don't remember one thing about the second story in Smut. Further proof it wasn't a successful read for me.

    Susan: Empty Mansions is a great read, but I am not sure I feel the need to own it. I lent it out quite quickly and I almost never lend books these days.

    Karen: One thing I liked about Mrs Queen is that the author has much better command of royal history and protocol than most books of this type, but then it went of the rails in so many ways...

    Heather: Hee indeed. Although I feel I need therapy after reading it.

    David: I am not sure what I was expecting on the smut front in Smut.

    JoAnn: I think you would love it.


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