PositiveThe Sunday Times (UK)Haig brings fresh impetus to these ideas ... [Haig\'s] experiences lend depth to Nora’s emotional turmoil and journey back from the brink. He also has an appealingly dry wit ... The novel is not entirely successful, though. Nora learns many life lessons over the course of the story, and Haig rarely misses an opportunity to spell them out. He can be platitudinous at times, and his didactic approach occasionally undermines the novel’s appeal. It would be better if he trusted the reader more to draw their own conclusions from Nora’s adventures ... Nevertheless, The Midnight Library is a beguiling read, filled with warmth and humour, and a vibrant celebration of the power of books to change lives.
RaveThe Times (UK)Macdonald mines a rich seam of scientific research and field observation, and the essays are packed with detail ... This might make the book sound like a miscellany, but it’s far more than that. Running through it is the grim knowledge that many species have already disappeared. Above all Macdonald wants to emphasise the natural world’s autonomy from us and to question our assumptions about it. She writes that \'none of us sees animals clearly\', but her beautifully written essays go a long way to improving our perception.
A K Benjamin
PositiveThe Times... a disorientating read at times, but the fracturing of the narrative comes to mirror the disintegration of his mind and makes for a disturbing but absorbing account of mental illness.
RaveThe Times (UK)\"... [Dyer\'s] brilliant descriptions of the film’s key scenes leave us in little doubt that the relentless action and the twists and turns of the plot are viscerally rewarding ... Dyer’s wry humour is everywhere evident, as when he describes Eastwood’s trademark squint (\'Eastwood has basically squinted his way through five decades of superstardom\'), or when, as an aside, he wonders if the castle has a well-stocked stationery cupboard. \'There is never a dull moment in Where Eagles Dare,\' he writes, and nor is there in this book.\
MixedThe TimesLanier’s tone is often tongue-in-cheek and he occasionally comes across as glib. He writes that we should act like cats (independent-minded) on the internet rather than like obedient, unquestioning dogs. But his underlying message is serious. In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the book is a timely reminder that even if we can’t bring ourselves to leave social media altogether, we should always think critically about how it works.
RaveThe Times (UK)His interviews with both the famous and the unsung are wonderful ... Theroux also writes perceptively about authors he admires, such as Graham Greene and Georges Simenon. Although there are one or two essays here that struggle to justify their inclusion, overall the book is evidence of both the breadth of Theroux’s interests and his skill in bringing them to life.
PositiveThe TimesKevin Toolis has witnessed a lot of death and many of its consequences ... Toolis contends that what he calls the Western Death Machine has sanitised death, with the bureaucracy of the hospitals and the undertakers removing the living from close contact with the dead, leaving us unable to face up to our own mortality. We should, therefore, be more like the Irish. Some of his conclusions might appear clichéd ('if you never know death then you never know life'), but this is a powerful and immensely moving narrative.