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24 April 2016

More Ketchup than Salsa - Confessions of a Tenerife Barman
Joe Cawley
Joe Cawley
Publication Date
December 2013
travel, memoirs 

Description (from Amazon)

When Joe and his girlfriend Joy decide to trade in their life on a cold Lancashire fish market to run a bar in the Tenerife sunshine, they anticipate a paradise of sea, sand and siestas. Little did they expect their foreign fantasy to turn out to be about as exotic as a wet Monday morning.
Amidst a host of eccentric locals, homesickness and the occasional cockroach infestation, pint-pulling novices Joe and Joy struggle with the expat culture and learn that, although the skies might be bluer, the grass is definitely not always greener. 
An hilarious travelogue exposing the wild and wacky characters of an expat community in a familiar holiday destination, More Ketchup than Salsa is full of humor and is a must-read travel memoir for anybody who has ever dreamed about moving abroad, finding a job overseas or even momentarily flirted with the idea of 'doing a Shirley Valentine' in these trying economic times.
My thoughts

I absolutely loved this book. Found it by searching for books on Tenerife. We love Tenerife and had some lovely holidays there. Even before I read this book, I always had a sneaking suspicious if you want to live and work there, it is not always holiday every day.

Joe Cawley is a very skilled writer, and it was so easy to read without every being boring. He comes up with so many witty similes and funny descriptions and anecdotes, it felt often like talking to a good friend and laughing and crying with that friend about their hilarious stories. 

I read it in 2 sittings and it never got boring. There is a second part to the book, and I will get it now. 

17 April 2016

Stephen King
Publication Date
September 1986

Book Description (from Amazon)

It is the children who see - and feel - what makes the town so horribly different. In the storm drains and sewers "It" lurks, taking the shape of every nightmare, each one's deepest dread. As the children grow up and move away, the horror of "It" is buried deep - until they are called back.

My thoughts

King what King does best: horror and small town America. 
'It' is considered as one of his masterpieces, and I can see why. 
This is a very long book, well over 1000 pages - maybe one of the longest  books I read, but in this case I found it was worth it. 

The story is set in the fictional small Maine town Derry. 7 children growing up in Derry in the late 1950's form the 'Loser Club'. The book is set with all of them aged 12. Bill Denbrough stutters, and is haunted deeply by the death of his younger brother George who gets killed when a paper boat he chased down the road drifts into a storm drain. George is found with his arm torn off. Ben Hanscombe is intelligent and a bookworm, and also
 very large. Richie Tozier, bespectacled is know as 'Trashmouth' and his big mouth does get him into trouble. Eddie Kaspbrak is asthmatic and his mother is overprotective to the extreme of him. Stan Uris is Jewish and Mike Hanlon African-American and both are bullied for their background. Beverly Marsh, the only girl, is physically abused by her father. All seven are bullied to the extreme by the sadistic Henry Bowers. Apart from seeking refuge and strength in numbers with the Losers club against Bowers, all seven will discover that they have seen and experienced frightening sightings of evil things and things which they fear most which differs for each of them. And the killing of Bill's brother is not the only child killing. The Loser club becomes to realise that they not only have to defend themselves from Henry Bowers, but also fight 'It' - the evil presence.And they make a pact to return to fight 'It' should the evil ever return.

20 years later, Mike, who is the only one who did not leave Derry, calls them back. He has done research and not only has 'It' returned, but it seems to have been spreading the evil in Derry far longer then just the the 1950's.

The main idea is of course the horror that 'It' represents to each of the children and the whole town for many centuries. What I liked most is (as so often with King's stories) the wonderfully drawn characters. All the individual stories, backgrounds, problems, growing up and taking it into adulthood. They all developed into adults shaped by their childhood (Beverly is with a man who beats her, Eddie is a hypochondriac etc)

The sections of the book switch from 1986/85 and back to 1957/58 twice, but it is in large sub-sections of the book, so it is always very clear where in the timeframe the story is, and the whole story is also slowly revealed that way.