How to use this website & why I created it

This site contains more than 1000 reviews, mainly of books ranging from the classics to current bestsellers, but also some recent “art house”  films. The photographs capture  unusual scenes which caught my eye.

40 Sun Voyager sculpture Reykjavik

 Jon Gunnar’s  Sun Voyage sculpture on the shore at Reykjavik

Use “search” to key in a title,  author or any topic of interest.

When the chosen review appears, you need to tap on the review title to read it in full.

Each review is on a separate “blog post” giving you the chance to provide feedback if you wish. For reviews made before January 2019, 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.

If you tap on the three short horizontal bars at the top of this screen, you will find items classified  as:

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.

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Sculpture on Poet’s Hill at Turaida Castle, Gauja National Park, Latvia

Why did I create this site?

After years of avid reading, I often wanted to recommend a book or an author, but  only had a jumbled memory of what I had read. If I could remember a book title , the most I could say about the plot was along the lines of “it’s about a psychologist or perhaps he was a psychiatrist who becomes obsessed with one of his patients who has been convicted or maybe just suspected of  murdering someone or something like that….” If I could recall the bare bones of the plot, the ending was a complete blank.

So, had I wasted literally years of my life reading?  Could I justify this by saying I had learned a lot about human nature, different ways of living and places I would never otherwise visit, all without the pain of actually having to suffer or make mistakes, as characters in novels usually do) ?

In 2010 I decided 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, sometimes compared with what professional critics and other reviewers have thought, without giving away too much about the plot.

Mostly, I read fiction, biographies,  modern history, politics and current affairs. I soon began to include  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.

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  received some mostly very positive feedback on Amazon and Goodreads, I decided to present most of them  on this site as well, with an opportunity for further comment.  They now total more than 1000 titles. I’m not sure what that says about how I spend my time…..

I had planned to add pieces of creative writing but at present I’m preoccupied with what was meant to be a Brexit diary and has inevitably turned into “Journal of Another Plague Year – 20:20 vision” leading to “Taking Stock – 2021” as the outcomes of coronavirus and Brexit become apparent.