Ordinary Thunderstorms, by William Boyd

9781408802854Ordinary Thunderstorms is a novel which certainly isn’t lacking in momentum, wasting little time in diving into its fast paced narrative. With an assortment of colourful characters, drawn from all parts of London society, this is quite a different read compared to Boyd’s other novels. Though any thriller faces the potential of being labeled as being somewhat commercialised, Ordinary Thunderstorms is still absorbingly fast paced, varied and highly gripping. 


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The Time Traveller, by H. G. Wells

A short yet delightful classic, written with all the civility expected of a victorian gentlemen, The Time Machine is science fiction at one of its earliest beginnings. Though the novel could certainly have been longer, there are still enough philosophical thoughts and strange imaginings to provide an enjoyable few hours of entertainment.


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TransAtlantic, by Colum McCann


Human nature transcends time, ever offering violence upon the innocent, cruelty bred from war. Following a number of timelines and characters, Transatlantic explores the strifes of humanity, which echo on throughout history.

McCann’s subtle links and recurring themes underlying his plot certainly make for an interesting read. As the novel progresses, what at first appear seemingly unrelated stories become delicately intertwined, passing down through generations. TransAtlantic delves through history, shedding light on the unchanging nature of life for all our past ancestors, from violence to love, and hope to woe. Under the backdrop of an ever aggrieved Ireland and the fragile promise of America, McCann skillfully relates the hardships of humanity from a variety of characters, whose lives merge into one another’s in the slightest of ways.  

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The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Murakami 


Recently unemployed, Toru Okada spends his time cooking, ironing shirts and napping. For a protagonist, he is rather quiet. However, when the sudden disappearance of his cat coincides with a plethora of peculiar phone calls, his life takes a serious turn for the strange.

From the ordinary to the fantastical, the known to the unknown, Murakami spins an odd yet compelling tale. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is a story laced with thought provoking philosophies and mysterious imaginings. With a cacophony of characters, each bearing their own absorbing tales, some truly violent and unsettling, but all imbued with the strange nature that Murakami is famous for, there is ever a new surprise waiting to be revealed.

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The White Tiger, by Aravind Adiga 

Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2008, The White Tiger tells the sorry truth about life for the vast population of India living in poverty. Through the relaxed and often humorous voice of its irreverent narrator, Balram Halwai, or ‘The White Tiger’ as he so aptly names himself, this novel traces the powerful and shocking revelations that shake one man’s very existence to the core.

From corrupt politicians and policeman, to the unrelenting nature of work for any who are even lucky enough to find it, The White Tiger looks beneath the shining buildings and growing economy seen by the rest of the world. As history has often shown, prosperity feeds off of poverty, a terrible aspect to life, but one which is certainly apparent in the brutal caste system of India.


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The Marble Collector, by Cecelia Ahern 

41qOJGK32EL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_ (1)Ahern’s twelfth novel, The Marble Collector is overall a light but enjoyable read. Ahern skillfully interlinks differing timelines and narratives, maintaining a level of intrigue throughout. What I found to be of particular enjoyment was her reflections on an Irish family living in near poverty during the 1970s. Ahern lends an interesting insight into a typical family filled with boys, where fighting and violence is abundant, but ever underlined with love.
The impressive levels of detail into marbles within the novel is also surprisingly interesting. In place of the modern-age technologically driven children’s toys, is a world of beautiful simplicity, offering a myriad of games, collections and enjoyment. From bloodies to Czech bullets, it’ll soon have you rooting through old drawers and putting those glass balls to some use other than a potential ‘Home Alone’ burglar trap.


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American Gods, by Neil Gaiman 

This is a strange but immersing novel, which pushes the limits of reality in a mesmerising way. Gaiman’s style is certainly fast paced, flitting from one peculiar yet absorbing scene to another. Whilst at first it is somewhat of a struggle to keep up, the very atmosphere of the novel keeps you yearning for more.

As is often a point of inspiration for Gaiman’s works, Norse mythology plays a prominent role in American Gods, alongside a plethora of historical myths from across the ages. This will leave any historically inclined readers eager for more. Gaiman intermixes the modern with the mythological in a truly compelling way, leaving no doubt that a God should be wolfing down a hamburger at a roadside restaurant, or conjuring a storm before the unseeing eyes of humanity. He lends a plaintive sincerity concerning the mythical and other-worldly that is both simultaneously confusing and compelling.


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