Book Review – Cat and Mouse by Gunter Grass

Cat and Mouse is the book Gunter Grass wrote immediately after The Tin Drum and shares this book’s setting of Danzig during WWII.

The narrator is a boy / youth / young man called Pilenz who is besotted with the ‘hero’ of the book Joachim Mahlke, who has a prominent Adam’s Apple and a prominent appendage. The former attracts a cat who believes it to be a mouse (hence the title) and the latter attracts Mahlke’s commander’s wife, even though Mahlke is supposedly devoutly religious. Well, I’m not sure either of these two storylines are too believable, but I moved on.

A lot of the time, especially in the first part of the book, is spent swimming to, sitting on, and diving around a sunken Polish minesweeper Rybitwa that becomes a second home for Mahlke. The relationships between the two boys and their friends are well described before Mahlke leaves to become a highly successful tank commander on the Eastern front. Pilenz remains around Danzig but Mahlke returns at the end of the book.

Book Review – Day of the Triffids

This is the classic catastrophe novel of the 20th Century and I appreciate the ending where there seems to be little room for optimism for the human race. There’s no cavalry coming to the rescue here, everyone on Earth is either dead, blind, or going back to basics for the rest of their lives. It’s quite a scary novel in that it made me think what I would do in this situation and how I would cope and now that we have both Covid and the spectre of Climate Change to deal with, it’s a very apt time to read the book.

As for the triffids, well they’re mobile plants with stingers and carnivorous appetites, so you would think with so few humans around and no other predators that they’d take over the world. Your only chance of survival is to go to a small island and get rid of the triffids from the island, which is what some of the humans have done in the book.

Book Review – Old World Landowners

Afanasy Ivanovich and Pulkheria Ivanovich are the old world landowners of the title living in the Russian countryside. The narrator describes their existence as he saw it when he was their guest. This is a wonderful story and provides the reader with an opportunity to experience Russian peasant life in the 1800s.

The book describes the servants and the cooks and the housemaids and the wealth of food that was always available due to the abundance of fruit and vegetables from their land. The landowners eating habits are incredible, the snacks both before and after main meals, the dumplings, the biscuits, the mushrooms, all consumed without fuss. I felt hungry after reading these paragraphs.

I also appreciated the dialogue between the old couple, a couple who’ve been together many years and can argue and disagree with the other without any lasting damage to their relationship.

Book Review – Day of the Triffids

This is the classic catastrophe novel of the 20th Century and I appreciate the ending where there seems to be little room for optimism for the human race. There’s no cavalry coming to the rescue here, everyone on Earth is either dead, blind, or going back to basics for the rest of their lives. It’s quite a scary novel in that it made me think what I would do in this situation and how I would cope and now that we have both Covid and the spectre of Climate Change to deal with, it’s a very apt time to read the book.

As for the triffids, well they’re mobile plants with stingers and carnivorous appetites, so you would think with so few humans around and no other predators that they’d take over the world. Your only chance of survival is to go to a small island and get rid of the triffids from the island, which is what some of the humans have done in the book.

Book Review – Old World Landowners

Afanasy Ivanovich and Pulkheria Ivanovich are the old world landowners of the title living in the Russian countryside. The narrator describes their existence as he saw it when he was their guest. This is a wonderful story and provides the reader with an opportunity to experience Russian peasant life in the 1800s.

The book describes the servants and the cooks and the housemaids and the wealth of food that was always available due to the abundance of fruit and vegetables from their land. The landowners eating habits are incredible, the snacks both before and after main meals, the dumplings, the biscuits, the mushrooms, all consumed without fuss. I felt hungry after reading these paragraphs.

I also appreciated the dialogue between the old couple, a couple who’ve been together many years and can argue and disagree with the other without any lasting damage to their relationship.

Book Review – The Overcoat – Nikolai Gogol

Acacky Acackyevich has a worn out coat that can’t be saved by his local tailor, so Acacky scrimps and saves to purchase a new overcoat. Everyone admires his coat and he even goes to a party in an upscale part of St Petersburg and leaves his coat on a rack while he enjoys himself, though he misses his coat, but it’s stolen on the way home.

What does Acacky do, well you’ll have to read the book to find out.

This is funny and sad in almost equal measure, because Acacky doesn’t have an interesting life and his overcoat means more to him than any material possession should do. His life is dull and is only enlivened when he feels the new coat on his shoulders.

Office Life

Office Life is a book. It is the story of 5 Days in the life of an English office

There’s lots of banter and insults flying around. One person goes to the wrong place for the weekend and another has horrible personal habits. Some characters are quiet and others aren’t.

The main character undergoes a transformation after losing a race and feels better for it although he is loathe to admit it. However, he does become the unlikely hero when he finds some information that will help save his company.

Office Life is available here at a reduced price of $0.99 from 24th November to 1st December.

She’s Coming For You

She’d loved animals her whole life.

When her friends expressed their sadness that no one was hunting the hunters of animals, she decided to rectify the situation. She was the ideal candidate. In her normal job, as a soldier behind enemy lines, she’d killed animal abusers when given the chance and the animals were given some respite from their ordeals.

Now she was not undercover. She was on holiday, travelling on the trains in Spain and Portugal.

There were no colleagues to back her up. She would have to take risks.

She doesn’t keep a diary of the deaths, but does like to write about the history of the places she has visited. This makes her seem like a normal human being – even when she isn’t.

Let the hunt begin here

The book is at a discount between 20th November and 27th November

Office Life

Office Life is a book. It is the story of 5 Days in the life of an English office

There’s lots of banter and insults flying around. One person goes to the wrong place for the weekend and another has horrible personal habits. Some characters are quiet and others aren’t.

The main character undergoes a transformation after losing a race and feels better for it although he is loathe to admit it. However, he does become the unlikely hero when he finds some information that will help save his company.

Office Life is available here at a reduced price of $0.99 from 24th November to 1st December.

Book Review – The Overcoat – Nikolai Gogol

Acacky Acackyevich has a worn out coat that can’t be saved by his local tailor, so Acacky scrimps and saves to purchase a new overcoat. Everyone admires his coat and he even goes to a party in an upscale part of St Petersburg and leaves his coat on a rack while he enjoys himself, though he misses his coat, but it’s stolen on the way home.

What does Acacky do, well you’ll have to read the book to find out.

This is funny and sad in almost equal measure, because Acacky doesn’t have an interesting life and his overcoat means more to him than any material possession should do. His life is dull and is only enlivened when he feels the new coat on his shoulders.