PositiveThe GuardianDartnell is an eloquent, conversational guide to these daunting aeons of time. He writes of land masses swelling and bursting \'like a huge zit\', and global warming \'triggered by a great methane flatulence of the oceans\'... He adds, in one of many maddeningly intriguing, throwaway footnotes, that humanmade global warming might prevent the next ice age, which sounds perversely hopeful, in a way. I’d like to read a whole book by Dartnell on that subject. All in good time …
RaveThe GuardianThere’s no two ways about it, this is a baffling book. Part thriller, sometimes veering wildly towards fantasy, with a heavy dash of romcom and a sardonic kind of farce, it defies convention ... I was hooked from the opening pages ... While the beginning of the novel is a shockingly funny and satisfying story of one woman’s illness, the latter part is confusing and very odd. Perhaps that is Barrett’s point—that life is ridiculous and uncategorisable and doesn’t wrap up with any neat answers. Is Eleanor possessed, or mad, or the only sane person in town? Is her lover a killer? Is there really a disembodied hand scuttling around seeking its revenge? After reading this book, you’ll be none the wiser, but read it you should; it’s laugh-out-loud horrible and perfectly nuts—you’ll never find anything like it again.
RaveThe GuardianAre you a concerned citizen of the modern world? Do you ever worry that algorithms are stealing your data? Do you secretly have little idea what algorithms and data actually are? Then Hello World is for you ... This book illustrates why good science writers are essential. \'We have a tendency to overtrust anything we don’t understand,\' Fry says. And if we don’t understand it, those difficult questions will be answered by those who do – pharmaceutical companies, malign governments and the like. It’s time to pull back the curtain on the algorithms that shape our lives. Because, as Fry says, \'the future doesn’t just happen. We create it.\'
MixedThe GuardianThere may be truth in this memoir, but not in the traditional sense. But then, her writing is anything but traditional ... The Daley-Ward in the book reinvents herself several times; her story involves drugs, depression, sex work and modelling. She has devised a form that combines first and third person, poetry and prose, upside-down printing, and wincingly honest streams-of-consciousness about sexuality and physicality that sometimes make for difficult reading ... Some readers will be put off by the start-stop nature of this extraordinary narrative. Others will be thrilled by its honesty.
RaveThe GuardianA jolly romp through London in the blitz sounds like an unlikely idea for a novel, but Dear Mrs Bird is full of poignant moments that cut through the froth of its narrator’s voice ... And though at times the book seems like an Evelyn Waugh pastiche crossed with a Radio 4 comedy drama, complete with hilarious misunderstandings and some dodgy dialogue, Emmy is truly charming. When her upper lip finally wobbles, the reader’s will, too ... along the way she shows some grown-up insights as well as true grit ... In the end, the novel’s spirit is madly winning.
PositiveThe Guardian\"[The Book\'s] Mini-biographies paint powerful pictures ... She Has Her Mother’s Laugh is packed full of learning, and years of work. Some of the science around genetic diseases is a little hard to follow, and readers may find the story of Zimmer’s own genome to be too much like navel gazing... But the book offers clear insights into a fast-moving area, and asks big questions.\
RaveThe Guardian\"This lively study explains how embracing embarrassing conversations or exposing situations can improve your life ... She offers several convincing examples ...
Dahl is exceptionally good at describing emotions and the visceral physical sensations that often accompany them, and on the whole her personal anecdotes and her more scientific investigations are pertinent and penetrating. Cringeworthy offers several sensible pointers for readers, perhaps on trains, who would like to overcome awkwardness. But the most passionate advice is to be \'grateful for this odd little emotion and the power it has to connect us … There will always be awkwardness, and the only way to keep it from isolating us is if we start cringing together.\'\
RaveThe GuardianThe literature of sex and the single woman has been in the doldrums since Carrie got married and Bridget had her baby, so three cheers for this warts-and-all portrait of a woman trying to find her place in the world and in her own nuclear family now she is all grown up ... This is a novel about how to step up when your smug married friend suddenly gets divorced, or when your annoying mum really needs you; about 'being there' for people when you don’t even know where 'there' is. It has hope, in spades.
RaveThe GuardianIf this novel is part Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and part We Need to Talk About Kevin, it also contains shades of Lord of the Flies. For this, young Iris is the perfect narrator. She is stroppily resentful of the attention Tilly receives, but fiercely protective of her big sister ... This is a fascinating novel, at once challenging and compassionate, thrilling and thoughtful. It asks tough questions about what happens to people who don’t fit predetermined patterns, and what it means to be normal.