Tom Brown’s Schooldays (Thomas Hughes)

book-coverUnless you’re an Anglophile, you might prefer watching one of the dramatizations of this story. The films tend to have more plot than the book, which is more a series of chronological anecdotes set amidst statements of philosophy than it is a novel. “Character” and “fair play” are much emphasized but remain fuzzy concepts, which rather deflates its moral purpose. Jolly great fun is had by chucking stones at Irish labourers and otherwise tormenting the lower classes. “Fagging”–the practice of young boys having to fetch and carry for the older boys (and yes, that’s where the word comes from)– is an accepted and honoured institution.  [Read more…]

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THE RATS (James Herbert)

61TsFHNfdoL._SL300_I am a simple fool, so no wonder I like this book. And a plot rarely gets simpler than this. Mr Herbert’s first book follows an outbreak of mutated giant rats in London, with most of the (early) action focused around the Docklands. The novel is reasonably short at just under 200 pages and the action proceeds at a rapid pace. There isn’t time to get bored during this! [Read more…]

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