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3rd March 2017
  • Donald and growing up 1st February 2017 Margaret Hawkes ¬† Last week the script writers and producers were at work at the White House. The star of the show was to be a former reality TV show presenter and star. The intended audience, from whom approval was sought was the American populace. And the stage? Ah, this is where the audacity of the producers knew no bounds. The stage was to be the world. There was to be self choreography, all liberals and left of centre political supporters would take to the streets to join in a communal act of protest with a global dimension. And the American President would ... Read more...
  • The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain 31st December 2016 Margaret Hawkes A novella. Not my choice, but I hope to join a reading group which will be discussing this book. There are two cities called Paris, the city that gets all the headlines, the city of Charlie Hebdo, of the Bataclan attacks. The city where Francois Hollande prances around, a vain peacock, and where Marie le Pen aims to replace M. Holland. And the other city called Paris, where the Seine sweeps through gently, the city of light, the city of culture, with cafes and small shops, a city where beauty and culture are appreciated. Are they really the same place? Laurent ... Read more...
  • This Happy Breed 31st October 2016 Margaret Hawkes A play by Noel Coward at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford. October 2016 Thoroughly enjoyable. A story of the suburban classes, and perhaps this is where its greatest charm lies. Of course, the Gibbons may be a suburban family living in a standard semi, that strata of society which so many of us inhabit. The squeezed middle as it is sometimes called. But the house was large enough to house 3 teenagers, one grandmother and one aunt as well as Ethel and Frank. Five bedrooms? Plus, there was a maid. Quite a large establishment – not the standard 1930's three bedroom ... Read more...
  • The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman 7th February 2016 Margaret Hawkes There are several categories of books, serious books that you are supposed to read, dreary books that are so dire that they are never finished, great books which live with you and change your life, page turning books which leave you wanting for more, not always great literature, but very enjoyable. The Invisible Library falls into the latter category. This Who can resist a book where science fiction meets fantasy, where there are dragons and vampires, magic and science, and a Victorian world exists in an alternative universe. This is an extremely enjoyable read, so much so that I have acquired ... Read more...
  • The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman 27th January 2016 Margaret Hawkes There are several categories of books, serious books that you are supposed to read, dreary books that are so dire that they are never finished, great books which live with you and change your life, page turning books which leave you wanting for more, not always great literature, but very enjoyable. The Invisible Library falls into the latter category. Who can resist a book where science fiction meets fantasy, where there are dragons and vampires, magic and science, and a Victorian world exists in an alternative universe. This is an extremely enjoyable read, so much so that I have acquired the ... Read more...
  • Putting the Mass back into Christmas 6th December 2015 Margaret Hawkes One day, two different meetings. The first meeting is at work and one topic under discussion is the team Christmas card. The earnest young men I work with were very concerned that the word Christmas should not be used as it might cause offence. What about Season's Greetings? A compromise will be reached, my suggestion is that the team Christmas card, which will be sent to our colleagues in Europe should say Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in several languages. Christmas will appear on our Christmas card. And it will not cause offence. But the forces of religious fundamentalism ... Read more...
  • A Time for Silence by Thorne Moore 24th July 2015 Margaret Hawkes Oh dear. I read this book. I did not give up. But I read it hot on the heels of two very competent story tellers, Jodie Picoult and Julie Berry. In contrast the style was pedestrian and without surprise. No intellectual effort required. A book of clichés, the romance that will fail, the hard unbending Chapel mentality, the intertwining of two stories, then and now, the discovery of what really happened – except this was not too well handled. Not great literature, but then Chic Lit seldom is. Read more...
  • All the truth that is in me by Julie Berry 24th July 2015 Margaret Hawkes I loved the way the story is told in this book. The book begins We came here by ship, you and I. I was a baby on my mother's knee, and you were a lisping, curly-headed boy playing at your mother's feet all through that weary voyage. Watching us, our mothers got on so well together that our fathers chose adjacent farm plots a mile from town, on the western fringe of a Roswell Station that was much smaller, then. I remember my mother telling tales of the trip when I was young. Now she never speaks of it at all. She said I spent the ... Read more...
  • Default Title 24th July 2015 Margaret Hawkes Last week the news broke that the adultery website Ashley Madison had been hacked and its subscribers' details would be revealed unless certain demands were met. Large proportion of the population had little sympathy with the plight of those who were threatened with exposure. The revelations would be embarrassing to all concerned, and possible several marriages would fail. But for any woman who came from a more "conservative" background, such an outing may well be a death sentence. Should the clientele of Ashley Madison be afforded the same protection in law as anyone else? In the Hanging, the same question is ... Read more...
  • Strange weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami 27th January 2015 Margaret Hawkes s What a strange story. A story of the romance between a high school teacher and a former pupil. A story of the relationship between two drinking partners and their love of food. A story of how a friendship between two lonely single people blossoms into a very touching romance. And a story of our mortality. Forget about the vaporous flights of fancy of Bridget Jones. Tsukiko is a Japanese woman fast approaching 40. The Japanese career has consumed Tsukiko's life. Throughout the book, we do not meet any of her friends, the girlfriends that support single women. The closest thing ... Read more...

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