Margot takes the Bitter Road

I also chose ‘western’ as my next book bingo challenge genre. The only western I have ever read is ‘Lonesome Dove’ by Larry McMurtry and it is an excellent read with depth and wonderful characterisation. So I have been spoilt.

And perhaps I should also have heeded Nicole’s dad and picked a ‘real western’ because the one I chose – ‘The Bitter Road’ by Steven Law was disappointing. The plot revolves around a rodeo team roper, Colt Ballard. His life is falling to pieces and he has lost his confidence. His journey to regaining equilibrium and resolving his personal issues begins at a summer camp for disadvantaged children. Along the way he is assisted by the camp owner, an indian sage and a colleague with whom he falls in love. There is also the requisite bad guy, a rejected ranch hand, who tries to set him up with the help of a crooked marshall.

It’s a rather pedestrian read full of cliches and the writing is very simplistic and felt like it was written by a child.

Not my cup of tea at all.


Maybe Westerns are your cup of tea – check out the Westerns page on our online catalogue.


Various Pets Alive and Dead

A post by Margot.

My third pick on the bingo board was humour genre and I chose Marina Lewycka’s    ‘Various pets alive and dead’.

I have read her first book ‘ A short history of tractors in Ukranian’ and loved it and this one is no less inventive and a good read. The story revolves around a family who lived in a commune in Doncaster for 30 odd years. It’s narrated by most of the family members in turn and follows them as they embark on rather different lifestyles along with various pets.  The son’s foray into the world of venture capitalism, the stock market and city traders is funny and fascinating and would horrify his parents if they knew. His sister is a teacher and lives in a spotless, minimalist new flat. The younger sister, who has Down’s syndrome, wants to leave home and fend for herself.

I like Lewycka’s writing and judging from the acknowledgements at the back of the book,  it was well researched.

Man Booker with Margot

My next foray into the world of genre and book bingo was ‘suspense’ and I chose The Many by Wyl Menmuir.

I didn’t realise it when I picked it but it was longlisted for the Man Booker prize. It’s a well written and unsettling story of an outsider in a fishing village who buys the house of a fisherman who has recently died. His presence and enquiries about the dead man upset the villagers who have not come to terms with their loss. And they know nothing about the outsider who is also coping with his own loss. It was compelling reading with an overriding feeling of unease and supressed grief.

Margot reads V for Vendetta

Margot is a Library Assistant at Thames Library.

My first genre for the book bingo challenge is a graphic novel and I chose this one purely because it reminded me of an old movie!

V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd was written in the  late 1980s and is a story of dystopia with V rescuing Eve, who becomes his protege,  from the thuggish police in a recognisable London. It’s a ‘Big Brother world’ with constant public announcements from ‘Fate’ and the words from a song ‘This Vicious Cabaret’ run through it. It’s very clever with literary references sprinkled  throughout and the only criticism I have is that, like the love and war comics of my youth, the drawings are sometimes a bit confusing.


If V for Vendetta has piqued your interest in the Graphic Novel genre, you can view our graphic novel collection on our online catalogue.