Jackz (tsunami_puppet) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

11-14: A biography, a fantasy classic, intellectual homecoming & ghost-written mystery

11. The Hairy Bikers - Blood, Sweat & Tyres - Si King and Dave Myers
Pages: 357
Blurb:Si King and Dave Myers, AKA The Hairy Bikers, have travelled an interesting road. Born in the north of England, both Si and Dave had their childhood challenges. For Si, being bullied as the fat kid in class was part of his daily school routine. For Dave, his life changed when he became a carer for his mother. But through these challenges of the early years came a love of really good food.
And it was food that brought Si and Dave together. Their eyes met over a curry and a pint on the set of a Catherine Cookson drama, and they knew they would be firm and fast friends for life.
From deserts to desserts, potholes to pot roasts, the nation's favourite cooking duo reveal what's made their friendship such a special and lasting one. They've eaten their way around the world a good few times, but have never lost sight of what matters: great friends, great family and great food.
So get ready for the ride of their lives...
Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. I love The Hairy Bikers (literally one of the only cooks' whose recipes you can say work!) and was really intrigued as to how the two of them got together. Both have overcome such hardship, it was incredible to realise that they have never played on any of it and have just got on with life. The book was in the style of both so tricky to tell if ghost-written or not. I loved the alternating chapters, picking up where the Bikers' story left off, while bringing in the personal too. Really worth a read if you are fans of either.

12. A Game of Thrones - George RR Martin
Pages: 802
Blurb: As Warden of the North, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must...and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty.
The old gods have no power in the south, Stark's family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne.
Thoughts: Well I couldn't really not like this as a fan of the GoT TV series. This is highly readable but still at times a slog. I enjoyed how much the first series matched to this book and was pleased to be surprised at bits I had forgotten. This will definitely be a series I will continue to read, albeit at a slow pace.

13. Homecoming - Bernhard Schlink
Pages: 339
Blurb: When thirteen-year-old Peter discovers an old manuscript in his family home it instantly captivates him. The manuscript tells the compelling story of a German soldier's homecoming after escaping from a POW camp, but the document is incomplete, and Peter is destined not to know the ending.
Years later, the adult Peter rediscovers the text and goes in search of the missing pages - but far from unearthing an ending, he finds himself at the beginning of a quest that leads him across Europe to New York City, to the mystery of his father's disappearance, a love story, and the question of his own identity...
Thoughts: I like Schlink's books as I feel they make you feel intellectual without feeling inadequate. Although my lack of knowledge of both law and mythology hindered me slightly while reading this. I really enjoyed this book, largely as I had no idea where the story was leading. I don't know when the realisation hit with the big reveal, but it was as if Schlink had been building to it and had gotten into your subconscious to reveal that you had always know the truth but not admitted it. A very modern German novel, highly recommended to anyone with an interest in post-German thought.

14. The Mystery of Three Quarters - Sophie Hannah as Agatha Christie
Pages: 384 (Total: 5220)
Blurb: Returning home after lunch, Hercule Poirot finds an angry woman waiting outside his front door. She demands to know why Poirot has sent her a letter accusing her of the murder of Barnabus Pandy, a man she has neither heard of nor ever met.
Poirot has also never heard of a Barnabus Pandy, and has accused nobody of murder. Shaken, he goes inside, only to find that he has a visitor waiting for him - a man who claims to have received a letter from Poirot that morning, accusing him of the murder of the same Barnabus Pandy.
How many more letters have been sent? Who sent them, and why? More importantly, who is Barnabus Pandy, is he dead, and, if so, was he murdered? And can Poirot find out the answers without putting more lives in danger?
Thoughts: An enjoyable book, in the vein of some of Christie's more far-fetched mysteries. Cannot help but feel that the culprit could have been better developed. In all, a smidge rushed.
Tags: autobiography, british, contemporary, crime fiction, dark fantasy, dragons, european, fantasy, food, historical mysteries, modern classic, murder mystery, mystery, non-fiction, television, war

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