(It’s a long time since I read this so please forgive slightly vague summary… ) A teenage Holly Sykes runs away from home, and in a slightly odd conversation with an old woman, becomes a part of an eternal conflict between magical forces of good and evil. Throughout her life she is drawn into their battles, as she (and many other characters) also just lives her normal life.
I read Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell a few years ago and was enthralled. The masterful skill of weaving the different stories within one book, making them link together and above all making each and every one of them completely and utterly compelling astounded me. Here, Mitchell attempts the same sort of thing but, disappointingly, to lesser effect. I found myself ploughing through some of the stories in order to get to the plot bits, rather than actually enjoying them. Arguably, it is showing that the magic bits are just a part of a whole life; we’re giving the boring, normal and human bits as well, but I feel like such a masterful storyteller could have made them a bit more interesting.
Peggy and her father flee what she is told is the dying world to make a survival home in a hut in the middle of the wilderness. They exist there for years, their last traces of civilisation gradually dying, with Peggy obeying her father and exploring the natural world. In the future, Peggy tries to piece together her real life from the lies that she was told…
This book is a big deal. It’s title is fantastic. The premise could be interesting. But really, I found it all rather disappointing. Sure, it was quite a clever depiction of the negative power of a parent over a child, and a child’s stunted development. But really, I could see what was coming a mile off, and found it all rather sordid and disappointing. There was certainly something missing from making this book work.
I’m going to hospital very soon to have a baby! One of the things they recommend you take (and of course I would anyway) is books, for if you’re waiting around or trying to distract yourself. I’ve picked two books that I think will be good – but would like suggestions for a third!
In the past I’ve been in hospital once, and for some reason I decided that reading my way through early detective fiction was the way to go. I went through lots of Edgar Allen Poe’s stories, and some Sherlock Holmes. Which was all good and enjoyable, but I think I need something a bit more sustained and escapist for my next stint! I have often even on holiday set myself challenges of books that have turned out to be a bit more of a chore than an easy read… here are my choices so far!
SO I just discovered that my first ever blog post was on the 12th June 2014. I had thought it was later but never mind. I have been blogging for over a year! It took me a few months of considering before I took the plunge, but I can remember starting to write and an excitement and enjoyment starting to bubble inside me. It’s been an incredible adventure and I am constantly excited about what is happening next.
Here are five of the things I love about writing this book blog:
It has long been a dream of mine to be a part of a book club… and after a couple of failed attempts, now I am. One of my cousin’s friends posted on Facebook talking about her London book club, I asked to join, and I did. And it’s great!
If you’re not already a part of one, here are five quick reasons to find and join a book club:
Picking books for someone else is difficult! Usually I don’t give someone a book I’ve not read myself unless it’s my Mum and I really want to read it after her. But these are some of the books that look great that came out this year that I want to read, and that I don’t think you could go far wrong with. You’ll at least look like you know what’s going on with books.
When Theo Decker survives the terrorist attack on an art museum that kills his mother, he takes with him The Goldfinch, a famous and invaluable painting. His life then unfolds in segments, profoundly impacted by the strong characters that he’s around, such as his con-man drunken father, emotionally stunted Andy, trustworthy Hobie, frantic Boris and wonderful Pippa. Unable to escape his past despite forays into drugs and crime, the painting becomes a secret that seems necessary to his survival. But this too catapults him into betrayal, violence and the European criminal underworld. He writes his memoirs as a way to try to piece it all together.
This was a strange book! As perhaps the summary suggests, there are so many strands, segments and themes to it – and it’s so long – that it’s hard to form a cohesive thought about this book. Plus of course, it won a Pulitzer Prize. So it must be good. Right?
Fifteen-year-old Kafka Tamura runs away from home trying to escape his father and an Oedipal prophecy, with a plan to find and live in a library, which happens remarkably easily. Meanwhile a sidelined Mr Nakata talks to cats on the quest to find a lost one, but finds himself drawn into strange and terrifying circumstances.
I really, really enjoy Murakami’s writing. After hearing of him for years I embarked on his 1Q84 trilogy in my summer holiday last year, and I was spellbound. Those novels and this take place in our world but are filled with fantastical fantasy elements that blend in beautifully, creating a surreal atmosphere where the rules are never quite defined.
Whether you’re fleeing the memory of last night’s match or just trying to drown out the sound of any football at all here are five fantastic immersive books to take your mind off things.
These are repeatedly-read books that have managed to transport me to new worlds and fix their place within my favourites. In no particular order.
I joined my local library last week – and got a bit overexcited. Books are on loan for three weeks so we’ll see how I go getting through these. Expect reviews coming soon – I’ve started with Hilary Mantel, A Place of Greater Safety; then there’s Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore and Iris Murdoch, The Sea, The Sea.
I always think libraries are magical. As if I can walk in, sign up, then walk out with an armful of books!