As I am (still) woefully behind on my review writing, today I am bringing you another two mini reviews, in one post, of two more short reads I enjoyed as part of the Novellas in November 2020 reading event.
First up we have the classic adventure tale, The Man Who Would Be King by Rudyard Kipling, which was first published in 1888, before his more famous The Jungle Book and Just So Stories, and before my most recent read of his: Kim. It was originally part of a collection of stories called The Phantom Rickshaw and other Eerie Tales, that sounds exactly up my street, so after enjoying this I will be looking out for it!
But back to The Man Who Would Be King. This short, eerie tale transported me back in time to hear the disastrous expedition of two British fortune-seekers and their foolhardy search for the lost tribes of the Himalayan mountains. It got off to a slightly off-tangent start, with a train journey and a journalist (who would return later to witness the terrible outcome), but once the story proper started I was gripped. Polishing it off in one night: kept up past my bedtime to know the end and it gave me goose bumps when it arrived! I daren’t say more in case I spoil it for you.
Needless to say I really enjoyed The Man Who Would Be King and I look forward to reading more of Kipling’s eerie short stories in the future. Good read ⭐⭐
The next novella I read was the super-short non-fiction, The Berlin Wall: A Very Brief History by Mark Black, the third of Black’s brief histories to do with WWII that I have read. I previously read instalments on D-Day and Stalin.
Before reading this, I only really knew the very basics about the infamous wall that was erected in 1961, to split the Soviet and Allied halves of Germany’s capitol, Berlin, and which fell in 1989 (when I was one-year-old). So it was really interesting to read more into the rise, duration and fall of the physical and ideological barrier that divided Berlin/Germany for 28 years.
This is another clear, fast paced and concise history, which is broken down into bite-size chapters on: who built it and its impact; the two Germanys; border crossings; its fall; aftermath; ensuing reunification; and what happened to the remains of it. This style made this a very easy read and helpful for a reader, who knew little to nothing to learn quickly the main events and essential facts; but if you have read or know a fair bit about West Germany and the Wall then I doubt you will learn anything new from this.
Overall, I thought The Berlin Wall: A Very Brief History was another quick and concise history, like previous instalments in Black’s bite-size series,. While not in-depth, this was a good starting point for a subject I knew little to nothing about before. Okay read ⭐
Now I’d love to hear from you: What do you think of this pair of books? Have you read either of them? Any recommendations what I could next?