Monday, 30 May 2011

The Distant Echo begins in the 1970s in St Andrews, Scotland as four students are returning home from a party in the early hours of the morning and stumble upon the body of a dying woman. One of them is a medical student and tries to revive her whilst another runs to get help from the police. By the time the police arrive the woman is dead, and instead of the group of friends being viewed as witnesses the police and the local community consider them suspects in the murder.

The book explores the consequences of this night on the lives of the four friends and the suspicions and innuendos that hang over them. For the first two thirds the book is more of a character study than a traditional 'who dunnit' type mystery as it is more interested in examining the consequences of the crime than simply discovering who committed it. However when in the final section of the book the identity of the murderer begins to unravel it came as a great surprise that I didn't see coming!

Recommended for fans of British mysteries, especially those who like to have well developed characters along with the intrigue.


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Monday, 16 May 2011

eAudio Books

We have a range of eAudio books available that you can browse, borrow and download from home, or anywhere else you have internet access. You can then listen to the books on your computer or transfer them to your MP3 player.

There are mysteries, general fiction, memoirs, self help books and more. Below are a few highlights.

Cloudstreet by Tim Winton. The miniseries based on this book is set to screen on Showtime on the 22nd of May.

It tells the story of two rural families who move to the city to flee catastrophe. The book follows their lives over twenty years. The book is touching and hilarious.

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

This bestseller explores a woman's journey across three countries as she seeks pleasure, devotion and balance.

The Art of Meditation by Matthieu Ricard

This book clearly explains what meditation is, how it can be done and what it can acheive.

You can also keep up to date with what eAudio books are available by subscribing to our e Newsletter. To subscribe fill in your details in the 'join our mailing list' box on the right hand side of this screen.


Thursday, 5 May 2011

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

I adored Jonathan Franzen's previous novel The Corrections and therefore eagerly read his latest Freedom. It covers similar territory, focusing on a middle class family to explore contemporary American anxieties and dysfunctions, although I found it more cynical and scathing than I remember The Corrections to be. In the case of Freedom it specifically addresses post 9/11 America, divisions between the left and right, the war in Iraq and also celebrity culture.

The book focuses on the Berglund family - Walter, Patty and their two children as well as their college friend Richard Katz. The Berglund's are a middle class, left wing, inner-city family. We are told from the beginning that they are not what they seem. Whilst on the surface they see to have it all, as the book unfolds we quickly discover that they are unhappy and dissatisfied and not living up to the image they attempt to portray. Patty, for example, begins the book seeming to be an almost ideal mother - kind to all the neighbours, baking cakes and remembering everyone's birthdays. But just below the surface is a very competitive, sarcastic and depressed woman. Her son Joey starts living with the Republican neighbours, and Walter (the 'leftist', and 'greenest' of them all) becomes embroiled in a big coal scandal.

Freedom is a wonderfully written, very clever novel with interesting comments to make about the world we live in. It is also very funny. However, whilst I enjoyed this book and admired it the one thing that stopped me from loving it even more was the feeling that Franzen didn't seem to like these characters that he had created. Whilst they are certainly flawed I felt that a different writer would have nevertheless portrayed them with compassion. Their hopes, disappointments and compromises were things that most of us could probably sympathise with.