Long Lost Review: The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennet

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The Uncommon Reader

Alan Bennett.

A deliciously funny novella that celebrates the pleasure of reading. When the Queen in pursuit of her wandering corgis stumbles upon a mobile library she feels duty bound to borrow a book. Aided by Norman, a young man from the palace kitchen who frequents the library, the Queen is transformed as she discovers the liberating pleasures of the written word.

The author of the Tony Award winner The History Boys, Alan Bennett is one of Britain’s best-loved literary voices. With The Uncommon Reader, he brings us a playful homage to the written word, imagining a world in which literature becomes a subversive bridge between powerbrokers and commoners. By turns cheeky and charming, the novella features the Queen herself as its protagonist. When her yapping corgis lead her to a mobile library, Her Majesty develops a new obsession with reading. She finds herself devouring works by a tantalizing range of authors, from the Brontë sisters to Jean Genet. With a young member of the palace kitchen staff guiding her choices, it’s not long before the Queen begins to develop a new perspective on the world – one that alarms her closest advisers and tempts her to make bold new decisions. Brimming with the mischievous wit that has garnered acclaim for Bennett on both sides of the Atlantic, The Uncommon Reader is a delightful celebration of books and writers, and the readers who sustain them. 

Taken from book blurb

So I only recall brief snippets of this book but I remember being charmed. If only because the protagonist is the current, Queen of England. As the blurb states, the story follows the Queen as she stumbles upon a mobile library and from there develops a love of the written word. Dear old Lizzie makes her way through the classics as well as modern literature.

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Long Lost Review: Chart Throb by Ben Elton

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Chart Throb

by Ben Elton.

Ben Elton is about to put the “real” back into Reality TV in his biting satire of one of today’s most popular cultural phenomena — the TV talent show.

95,000 hopefuls. Three judges. Just one winner.

And that’s Colin Simms, the genius behind the show.

Colin always wins, because Colin writes the rules. But this year, as he sits smugly in judgment on the mingers, clingers and blingers whom he has pre-selected in his carefully scripted “search” for a star, he has no idea that the rules are changing. The “real” is about to be put back into “reality” television, and Colin and his fellow judges (the nation’s favourite mum and the other bloke) are about to become ex-factors themselves.

From the best-selling author of The First CasualtyPopcorn, and Dead Famous comes Chart Throb. One winner. A whole bunch of losers.

Taken from book blurb

I have extremely vague memories of this book, however I always remember it fondly. While I could not tell you much about the plot, I do remember one character arch that has stuck with me ever since I put the book down.

Alert – Spoilers Ahead

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Long Lost Review: The Fall (2006)

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The Fall

Directed by: Tarsem Singh

In a hospital on the outskirts of 1920s Los Angeles, an injured stuntman begins to tell a fellow patient, a little girl with a broken arm, a fantastic story of five mythical heroes. Thanks to his fractured state of mind and her vivid imagination, the line between fiction and reality blurs as the tale advances.

Taken from IMDB

I’m changing it up a bit this month, so instead of a book, it’s an amazing movie that I don’t think enough people know about. The Fall is a visually stunning film that blurs the lines between cinema, story, truth, and lies – I absolutely loved this movie and just need to share my love for it.

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Long Lost Review: Snakes Among Sweet Flowers by Jason Huffman-Black

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Snakes Among Sweet Flowers

Jason Huffman-Black.

Two-time ex-con Camden Sanders has decided that Hog Mountain—an isolated community on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia—is the perfect place to continue running small scams without the threat of more prison time. But there are a few problems with this plan. One is the neighbourly citizens of Hog Mountain thwarting his dirty dealings at every turn with their kindness. Another is Jackson Rhodes, a closeted Hog Mountain police officer who can see right through Cam’s good ol’ boy act and plans to catch him red-handed despite the attraction they both can feel. But the biggest problem of all is that Cam’s past is threatening to catch up with him, and it could mean trouble for more than just himself.

Taken from book blurb

Okay so I had always intended to review this book because I loved it. When I first read Snakes Among Sweet Flowers, it was a highlight of the year and I gave it a re-read last year and it stood the test of time because I still loved it.

I am a big sucker for stories that feature down trodden, poor, or struggling characters. I do not know why I love them so much but I really enjoy seeing characters suffer (omg I am terrible) but still manage to fall in love. I especially love the stories where the problems of a character aren’t magically fixed by falling in love, they just have someone else to share the struggles.

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Long Lost Review: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O’Malley

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Scott Pilgrim, Volume 1: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life

Bryan Lee O’Malley.

Scott Pilgrim’s life is totally sweet. He’s 23 years old, he’s in a rockband, he’s “between jobs” and he’s dating a cute high school girl. Nothing could possibly go wrong, unless a seriously mind-blowing, dangerously fashionable, rollerblading delivery girl named Ramona Flowers starts cruising through his dreams and sailing by him at parties. Will Scott’s awesome life get turned upside-down? Will he have to face Ramona’s seven evil ex-boyfriends in battle? The short answer is yes. The long answer is Scott Pilgrim, Volume 1: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life 

Taken from book blurb

Just throwing it out there, I read the first few books of this before watching the movie. My memories of the book though are coloured extensively by the movie. It doesn’t help that I’m a fan of everything Edgar Wright does so when I say extensively coloured, I mean extensively coloured. Most of my memories of the book relate to the film 😅

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Long Lost Review: Taronga by Victor Kelleher

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Taronga

Victor Kelleher.

Two years after the Last Days, Australia has become a dangerous place, and a battle-ground for survival.Ben, who has a telepathic ability to control animals, leads a hazardous existence in the bush west of the Blue Mountains. Hopeful of a less brutal life, he escapes to Sydney – only to be further disillusioned. Then, at the heart of the city he comes upon Taronga Zoo, which has been strangely unaffected by the general chaos. Or has it? Is it an island of safety in the midst of so much danger? Or is it really the most sinister place of all?

Taken from book blurb

I read Taronga while I was in high school and thought it was amazing. The book is a post-apocalyptic survival novel that literally takes place in Sydney’s Taronga zoo. People set up a safe haven within the zoos walls and use the animals to protect their people. As you can see from the cover, the tigers play a large part.

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LLR: Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat

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Captive Prince

C.S. Pacat.

Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the rightful heir to the throne of Akielos, but when his half brother seizes power, Damen is captured, stripped of his identity, and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave.

Beautiful, manipulative and deadly, his new master Prince Laurent epitomises the worst of the decadent court at Vere. But in the lethal web of Veretian politics, nothing is as it seems, and when Damen is caught up in a dangerous play for the throne, he must form an alliance with Laurent to survive and save his country.

For Damen, there is just one rule: he must never reveal his true identity. Because the one man Damen needs is the one man who has more reason to hate him than anyone else . . .

Taken from book blurb

Okay, so I have been promising myself that I would write a blog post dedicated to this book or the Captive Prince series as a whole… and I haven’t. So it looks like this is the perfect opportunity to force myself to write about how much I enjoyed this book.

I really enjoyed this book.

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LLR: The Invisible Ring by Anne Bishop

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The Invisible Ring (The Black Jewels #4)

by Anne Bishop.


Jared is a Red-Jewelled Warlord bound as a pleasure slave by the Ring of Obedience. After suffering nine years of torment as a slave, he murdered his owner and escaped — only to be caught and sold into slavery once again. The notorious queen who has purchased him, known as the Gray Lady, may not be what she seems. Soon, Jared faces a difficult choice: his freedom, or his honour.

When I first read The Black Jewels series I was in high school and I was hooked. I loved the dynamics of the book, the dark world, and the gender politics surrounding the story. I LOVED seeing such strong female characters and I LOVED how they were treated by the men in stories.

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LLR: The Philosophy Gym by Stephen Law

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The Philosophy Gym: 25 Short Adventures in Thinking

by Stephen Law.

From Descartes to designer babies, The Philosophy Gym poses questions about some of history’s most important philosophical issues, ranging in difficulty from pretty easy to very challenging. He brings new perspectives to age-old conundrums while also tackling modern-day dilemmas — some for the first time. Begin your warm up by contemplating whether a pickled sheep can truly be considered art, or dive right in and tackle the existence of God. In this radically new way of looking at philosophy, Stephen Law illustrates the problem with a story, then lets the argument battle it out in clear, easily digestible and intelligent prose. This perfect little mental health club is sure to give each reader’s mind a great workout. 

On my very first trip out of Australia, I encountered this book in an airport bookstore. I remember reading the blurb and being hooked. I unfortunately did not purchase this book but was so very lucky that my local library had a copy of another of Law’s books, The Philosophy Files. Years later, armed with my own credit card, The Philosophy Gym was one of the first books I bought.

While I had always been somewhat questioning in what I was told, The Philosophy Files and Gym opened my mind to a lot of established philosophical concepts and theorises. My mind was opened with the possibilities and unanswerable questions of the universe – and because of this book I quickly devoured so many more books about Philosophy.

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LLR: The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey

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The Adventures of Captain Underpants

by Dav Pilkey.

George and Harold have created the greatest superhero in the history of their elementary school–and now they’re going to bring him to life! Meet Captain Underpants! His true identity is so secret, even HE doesn’t know who he is!

Acclaimed author and Caldecott Honor illustrator Dav Pilkey provides young readers with the adventure of a lifetime in this outrageously funny, action-packed, easy-to-read chapter book. With hilarious pictures on every page, THE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS is great for both beginning and chapter-book readers. And like Dav’s other best-selling books of humor, it is sure to provide even the most reluctant readers with hours of fun.

I know I’ve talked a lot of Captain Underpants game recently but I have just fallen back in love with this series. I read these as a child and was inspired by the fun and cartoon style of the book. I won’t say it inspired a life long love of reading (because it was already there) but I will say it made reading so much fun!

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