This site contains more than 850 reviews, mainly of books ranging from the classics to current bestsellers, but also some recent “art house” films. I’ve also begun to display some of my travel photographs of unusual scenes which caught my eye.
Jon Gunnar’s Sun Voyage sculpture on the shore at Reykjavik
To find a specific book or film which I have reviewed, use “search” to key in a title or author. You can also search for any topic of interest.
Each review is on a separate “blog post” giving you the chance to provide feedback if you wish. If you tap on the title at the beginning of the review, or the image which may be at the end of it, you will access Amazon which provides more details of purchase.
At the end of each full review, you can link to the one added before or after it, in date order.
This new site is still under construction, so features should be improved or added continually.
If you tap on the three short horizontal bars at the top of the screen, you will find all the items on this page classified as follows:
Books: History – Biography – English fiction – French Fiction – Other fiction (includes translated into English) – Short stories
DVDs: Films – Drama (includes play scripts) – Documentaries.
By tapping on your chosen category e.g. French fiction, you can find a listing of books or films for each one in reverse date order of review.
n.b. these categories are in the process of being revised.
Sculpture on Poet’s Hill at Turaida Castle, Gauja National Park, Latvia
Why did I create this site?
After years of avid reading, I found myself recommending an author, but unable to recall which of her or his books I had read. If I could identify a novel, the most I could say about the plot was along the lines of “it was about a psychologist or perhaps he was a psychiatrist who became obsessed with one of his patients who had been convicted or maybe just suspected of murdering someone or something like that….” If I could remember the bare bones of the plot, the ending was a complete blank.
So, had I wasted what amounted to years of my life reading? Was it justified by saying I had in the process learned a lot about human nature, different ways of living and places I would never otherwise visit, all without the pain of having to suffer or make mistakes (as characters in novels usually do) in person?
In 2010 I made a resolution to write a review of every book as soon as I had finished it. So far, to my surprise, this has proved the only resolution I have managed to keep! I wanted to convey a sense of what a book is about, and my reactions to it and overall evaluation, sometimes compared with what professional critics and other reviewers have thought, without giving away too much about the plot.
I soon began to include as well reviews of films – dramas and documentaries – available as DVDs on Amazon, and French literature, with reviews in English since to attempt this in French would only lead to embarrassing errors.
My main aim is to share views and ideas on: novels from the classics to the latest bestsellers, including the work of authors from around the world, written in English and French, or translated into English from other languages; non-fiction, mostly history, biography and current affairs; films or television dramas available on DVD.
I’ve discovered that the hardest thing about writing a review is avoiding “spoilers”. The only consolation is that I have noticed many professional reviewers don’t worry about this and simply summarise the plot with comments, an approach I try to avoid.
Having created almost 1000 reviews, and received some mostly very positive feedback on Amazon and Goodreads, I have decided to present them together on this separate website as well, with an opportunity for further comment.
In future, I hope to add pieces of creative writing.