My Goodreads reviews
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Tempted by the many glowing reviews, I set out on what was a strange reading journey. Some beautiful writing, the rendering of the neighbourhood where the story is set is delightful, the characters wonderfully strange. But the story remained an unsatisfying mystery to me…
Many interesting insights into different cultures and the history of why and how men came to rule, albeit not as often as we think. Educational and thought provoking. I learnt a lot.
I generally prefer biographies to autobiographies, the latter risk being self serving and boring. There is nothing boring about Upton Sinclair’s life, and although he was, of course, rather fond of himself, he was also undoubtedly an interesting man with a vast network and that gift of keen observation (and retention) that all good writers have. A big fan of the Lanny Budd series, it was great to get insights into how and from whom he got so much insight into everything from art to music to people and spies. A most enjoyable read.
The conditions of the meat works are no doubt better, the workers there have more protections, thee are social services in place, minimum wage stipulations, hospitals and half decent policing. But the fundamental struggle, the inherent inequalities and oppression is still there to be fought. It remains to this day a book well worth reading, and not just for Sinclair’s unerring eloquence.
Those who have ever read any of the Flashman series will be familiar with the parts of this book which deals with the main character’s life through world events. The other parts are equally enjoyable. Unfortunately, when the two parts come together at the end, the author can’t resist tying up all the loose ends, quite unnecessarily so.
I loved The Dictators Wife, but this is very different, and equally enjoyable. A multi-layered mystery across years and intersecting family drama and tragedy. It kept me guessing and kept surprising with many twists and turns, some plausible, and some not. Didn’t matter, I read the last third of the book in one evening, just had to know what happened. Only disappointment, like so many mystery authors, Freya felt she needed to tie up all the loose ends, would have been better to leave a bit to our own imagination…
History of Portugal: A Captivating Guide to Portuguese History from Ancient Times to the Present (European Countries)
After a promising start, very disappointing in the end. Portugal’s formation and history through the Middle Ages and beyond were interesting enough, but the last few chapters, covering the last two hundred years, was a huge disappointment. It felt like the author either ran out of puff, interest or knowledge. The 20th century was sparse on detail and lacked context. The Salazar years are given half a page, his atrocities completely overlooked.
author: Sally Young
average rating: 5.00
read at: 2023/08/13
date added: 2023/08/13
As most comprehensive history of post-war media machinations in Australia
I enjoyed Sally Young’s “Paper Emperors,” but this sequel is even better. It covers the post WW2 history of not just Australian media and its almighty proprietors, but how they impacted directly and indirectly on politics and the country at large, culminating in the election of Gough Whitlam, which is where – sadly – the book ends. Throughly researched and meticulously presented, with obvious academic rigour, it is still an easy read. Sally knows her subject material very well, and writes with the confidence of knowledge, and without falling into the trap of showing the disdain that many of the power-hungry men who dominate much of the story, deserve. She wisely leaves that judgement to the reader.
About 50 pages in, and I’m bored, miffed by poor editing and much repetition. Sorry to hear it’s his last long form novel, but life is too short for the next 850 pages that he’s done before, but so much better.
The opening paragraphs had me hooked. Freya Berry’s writing is captivating, alluring and full of the unsaid. The story keeps you guessing, wondering and emphasising with both the narrator and the wicked protagonist without really understanding why. As good an insight into the nature of evil as I have ever read. Or is it? Not for the faint hearted, but highly recommended.
author: Julianne Schultz
average rating: 4.65
read at: 2022/08/07
date added: 2022/08/07
A broad canvas used to paint Australia for what it is and what it isn’t
But also an opportunity missed. The author has done a great job of bringing together all the various strands of the narrative that makes Australia what is is, and especially how it has gone backwards over the last few decades. But she is let down by poor editing, both in some detail and in missing structure; and – as is so often the case with ambitious works such as this – failing to bring it all together to point more strongly to what the answers could be and how to find them. Thus I was left disappointed, wanting more.
A chilling narrative set in the not too distant future of what might just be. Ken Follett at this best, sharp, well researched, clear and concise, outlining a series of event that constitutes a very plausible scenario of how the beginning of the end might look like.