Thursday, 30 June 2011

June Book Review

I remember the days when I used to read loads. Where have they gone to? What am I doing now that stops me from reading as much as I used to? Maybe I am reading as much as I did last year, it just doesn’t feel like it?

Either way, there’s only 2 books up for review this month. Hurray.

Needles & Pearls – Gil McNeil
I read the first book in this series a while back. I hope my review didn’t come off as disparaging because it wasn’t meant to, it’s just that there’s not too much I can say about this kind of book. I could relay the plot to you but if I did that then it wouldn’t be worth you reading it and I’m not saying that’s it not worth reading, it’s a really lovely book, I just can’t say much about it.

McNeil has succeeded where so many fail – she’s written characters that are likeable. Ok, they’re a little one dimensional but they’re likeable and sometimes all you want from a book is a little entertainment and light reading. These books hit the spot and I have to say, that having finished this one I kind of wanted to know when the next one would be available to read.

The Testament of Gideon Mack – James Robertson
This guy's been sitting on my shelf for quite some time and I thought it was time he had his turn in the limelight. You know when you read a book and you can’t believe you let it sit on the shelf for so long? This is how I felt about this one.

The Testament of Gideon Mack begins with a foreword from a publisher, who explains the back story – Mack was a priest in a small village in Scotland who fell into the Black Jaws, a local river, disappeared for 3 days and emerged a changed man, claiming that he’d been hanging out with the devil. Then he went into the hills and was never seen again. Shortly afterwards a manuscript was found which details his life and how he came to meet the Devil – hence his testament.

It’s odd to read a book when you already know how it ends but Robertson has managed to create a character which is engaging but at the same time a bit of a loser in life. He’s also managed to deal with some tricky questions about religion and belief but with a sleight of hand that doesn’t weigh down on you.

Mack is a Minister who doesn’t know if he believes in God – is this a problem? Is it impossible that he met and spent time with the Devil? In the end it’s up to you to decide what happened but in a sense that’s not the real question – if he believed that it happened then surely that’s all that’s important.

This book also contains one of my favourite quotes ever and chimed in with something I say all the time;

“My time in Leith had taught me that it was possible to be a Christian without involving Christ very much.”

Loved it.

Also finished this month (by the skin of my teeth) my 6th classic of the year – Tess of the d’Urbervilles – but that’s getting a post all of its own.


Book of the month?

The Testament of Gideon Mack. It’s a difficult task to write a book that’s enjoyable to read but also makes you question difficult topics. Hats off to Mr Robinson.


  1. You're still beating me in reading speed by about 3 books to one! That Gideon Mack one sounds a bit of a thought provoker but if it's ENJOYABLE too I'll look out for it! (Not sure I normally enjoy having my thoughts provoked!!) x

  2. Interested to hear about Tess...I need to read more too. My new pad is lacking internet quite significantly so this may happen...or I'll just be lesson planning

  3. I'm having a mental struggle to remember if I've read Gideon Mack or not. The plot sounds really familiar but I wonder if I've just read the back of the book in the library or something? I'll have to pick it up and see.


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