Book Review: Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks

What it’s about?

A gentle Eastern European immigrant arrives in New York City after his family and his life have been torn apart by his country’s civil war. A man who loves to bowl rolls a perfect game – and then another and then another and then many more in a row until he winds up ESPN’s newest celebrity, and he must decide if the combination of perfection and celebrity has ruined the thing he loves. An eccentric billionaire and his faithful executive assistant venture into America looking for acquisitions and discover a down and out motel, romance and a bit of real life. These are just some of the tales Tom Hanks tells in this first collection of his short stories. They are surprising, intelligent, heart-warming, and, for the millions and millions of Tom Hanks fans, an absolute must-have.

 

My thoughts

When I saw that Tom Hanks had written a book of short stories I knew I had to have it as I do love his movies and in interviews he always seems like such a nice man.

With some recurring characters throughout these are an eclectic selection of enjoyable stories all featuring, at some point, typewriters.  The book was at the top end of what I’d usually spend on a book (£15) but the overall presentation with the images of typewriters (and it’s Tom Hanks) made it worth it…but would I read them again, probably not.

Three Exhausting Weeks – selfish woman tries to change the man she’s dating (this male character could easily be TH).

Christmas Eve – war veterans annual reminiscence, very sad!  (Again either could be portrayed by TH).  One of my favourites.

A Junket in the City of Light – Reads like a superstar’s itinerary.  Interesting behind the scenes story.

Our Town Today with Hank Fiset – An Elephant in the Press Room – The first in a series of newspaper column stories.

Welcome to Mars – Father and son take a birthday surf with one learning more about the other than he bargained for.

A Month on Greene Street – New family, new neighbourhood and a telescope.

Alan Bean Plus Four – Space trip story featuring recurring characters from Three Exhausting Weeks, didn’t really get it!

Our Town Today with Hank Fiset – At Loose in the Big Apple – Does what it says on the tin, mini reviews from New York.  Hank Fiset is definitely TH!

Who’s Who? – What’s in a name? Young actress tries to make it in NYC, what will she do for the price of fame!

A Special Weekend – Really sweet road trip story of a mum and her son on his birthday.

These are the Meditations of My Heart – Probably the story that mostly features typewriters and lots of them.  Sounds boring but is actually really nice.

Our Town Today with Hank Fiset – Back From Back in Time – Another newspaper column but how time flies!

The Past is Important to Us – I think this was my favourite of all! A time travelling story and a chance encounter, which again could easily have TH cast as the main man.

Stay With Us – My least favourite.  Reads as a screenplay – nah!

Go See Costas – An immigrant, a stowaway and what happens when they arrive in America.  Hard to date but it had a 50s feel to it but I really don’t know.  A good story!

Our Town Today with Hank Fiset – Your Evangelista, Esperanza – Let’s talk cwoffee!Set featured image

Steve Wong is Perfect – Those recurring characters are back again, this time with a bowling theme!

Hope you liked my one line mini reviews/round up of the stories featured.  Overall some really lovely and well-written stories that’s a must read for all Tom Hanks fans.

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Author links: Facebook | Twitter

Small print for info
Source: ARC & Purchased
No of pages: 416
Publisher: William Heinemann

Book Review: The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain

The Red NotebookWhat’s it about?

Bookseller Laurent Letellier comes across an abandoned handbag on a Parisian street, and feels impelled to return it to its owner. The bag contains no money, phone or contact information. But a small red notebook with handwritten thoughts and jottings reveals a person that Laurent would very much like to meet. Without even a name to go on, and only a few of her possessions to help him, how is he to find one woman in a city of millions?

 

My thoughts

I’d seen quite a lot of positive feedback for this book on social media over the past six weeks  so when I was given a WH Smith voucher for Easter from my daughter this is the book I chose. There’s been lots of tweets with #therednotebook and #inmyhandbag hashtags to promote the book so I was really looking forward to reading it.

At only 159 pages this is a book that needed to and does get straight into the action; no mincing about, the story starts with the theft of the bag and how Laurent finds it. In the first few pages I find myself really liking Laurent and his sense of doing what’s right.. Although I can appreciate if you hadn’t have warmed to Laurent in the first few pages then I can see how you could come to question his motives and how you might feel that they were circumspect; poking around Laure’s flat etc.

This book is romantic and thoughtful without being slushy and fluffy. Is succinctly written but still full of feeling and emotion and didn’t leave me feeling short changed and I will be sad to leave these well developed characters even though I only knew them for a short time. The book on the whole very much reminded me of the Sandra Bullock movie While You Were Sleeping.

I really enjoyed this and contemplated giving it 4* on Goodreads but then I thought what could the author have done to make it better and there wasn’t anything and also would I read it again? yes, so I gave it 5*.

Do get the book Paperback | Kindle

Connect with the author Antoine Laurain via his website

Book Review: Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

breakfast_at_tiffanysWhat’s it about?

It’s New York in the 1940s, where the martinis flow from cocktail hour till breakfast at Tiffany’s. And nice girls don’t, except, of course, for Holly Golightly: glittering socialite traveller, generally upwards, sometimes sideways and once in a while – down. Pursued by to Salvatore ‘Sally’ Tomato, the Mafia sugar-daddy doing life in Sing Sing and ‘Rusty’ Trawler, the blue-chinned, cuff-shooting millionaire man about women about town, Holly is a fragile eyeful of tawny hair and turned-up nose, a heart-breaker, a perplexer, a traveller, a tease. She is irrepressibly ‘top banana in the shock deparment’, and one of the shining flowers of American fiction.

My thoughts

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is one of my all time favourite movies; full of glamour and quirkiness and so I’d put off reading the book for a long time. There’s always that sense of anticpation of disappointment and of how different it will be, which I guess can work both ways.

I hadn’t realised that it’s actually a short story at only 87 pages so  I actually read it in 2 sittings. The book is quite different to the movie; the essence of the book is there and the general plot is the same but is often planned out in different scenes.

Book Holly is certainly a darker character and not necessarily a nice one; she comes across as an IT girl and is definitely a goldigger making her living by visits to the powder room ahem!! and visiting a mobster in prison.

“Leave it to me: I’m always top banana in the shock department.”

However, movie Holly is somewhat flaky and likes to talk in riddles, which initially comes across as scatty nonsense although look deeper and there is some kind of sense there. Neither version of Holly seem to care about they treat other people, in essence using older unattractive men for money; the exception being Fred her brother, he’s the one person I think she really cares about.

“You’re wrong. She is a phony. But on the other hand you’re right. She isn’t a phony because she’s a real phony. She believes all this crap she believes. You can’t talk her out of it.”

The book ending is quite different to the movie and I actually preferred the romantic movie ending. This is supposed to be a love story but there isn’t much romantisicm at all.

Overall, I was a little disappointed by the book and enjoyed the cinematic experience of the story a lot more. For me , this is one instance where I prefer the movie to the book. However, if you’ve not read the book or seen the movie and it interests you, go straight to the movie. If I’d have read the book first I wouldn’t have got to the movie.

This version contains 3 other short stories: House of Flowers, A Diamond Guitar and A Christmas Memory – I didn’t read these this time but may come back to them at another time.

Get the book Paperback

Discover more about the author Truman Capote

 

Book Review: The Perfect Murder by Peter James

The Perfect MurderWhat’s it about?2012 WBN LogoBBC 2014

Victor Smiley and his wife Joan have been married for nearly twenty years. Victor secretly loathes Joan more and more each day. Joan is bored by Victor, and his snoring drives her mad. Their marriage has reached a crisis point . . .

Victor decides there is only one way to get Joan out of his life for ever, but he’s about to get a nasty surprise. As it turns out, Victor’s not the only one with murder in mind . . .

My thoughts

Here’s another quick read that I’ve read as part of my World Book Night reading challenge and this is another keeper!

As the blurb suggests the Smileys’ are an unhappily married couple but rather than seperate they’re working out ways to bump each other off.  This is a great short story and throughout you’ll be thinking who will get rid of who first and how!

I found this to be well written and James manages to create the required tension needed in just a few chapters and within a short space of time to move the plot along and keep you guessing.

Yeah it’s quite simple and a bit predictable but it’s amusing how they were both plotting against each other and their views of each other had me smirking to myself.

On and there’s a lot of sex in this which won’t be for everyone but I recommend to anyone who enjoys a murder mystery with an interesting twist!

Buy the book Kindle | Paperback

Connect with the author Peter James

Twitter | Website | Facebook

See the play – The Perfect Murder Comes To The Stage

Book Review: A Roald Dahl Selection by Roald Dahl

A Roald Dahl SelectionWhat’s it about?BBC 20142012 WBN Logo

A Roald Dahl Selection includeas nine stories by one of the outstanding storytellers of our time.

A crazy bet – the perfect murder? – painful memories of school…his plots hold us gripped until the final unexpected twist.

My thoughts

As part of my World Book Night reading challenge I should have been reading Short Stories by Roald Dahl – unfortunately this was produced especially for the WBN and therefore not available to buy so I came across this collection instead.

Having recently read another book of short stories that I didn’t enjoy so much I was a bit dubious about reading another. But as this was part of a reading challenge I felt compelled too.

This collection of 9 stories includes the following:

Man from the South, Lamb to the Slaughter, The Landlady, The Champion of the World, Galloping Foxley, Mrs Bixby and the Colonel’s Coat, Skin, The Ratcatcher, The Hitchhiker.  My favourites being Lamb to the Slaughter and The Landlady but all were equally as good!

Cleverly written, they’re all about some kind of greed or wrong-doing and are just a little bit wicked. A great opening story will have you hooked from the first few pages and this continues throughout the whole book. Each story has an interesting and gripping premise which draws you in from the first few pages and then delivers an unexpected twist every time and this is why Roald Dahl was brilliant at stuff like Tales of the Unexpected – a master of his craft.

I have to say that I really enjoyed all of these stories and so they’ve restored my faith in the short story and I would recommend for readers 13+, fans of Roald Dahl and anyone who likes a wicked twist!

Buy the book Hardback

Visit Roald Dahl’s  website | museum