What I needed: a novel with fluffy romances, cute dogs, awesome friends, lives you wished you also had, predictable plots, easy language and most of a...moreWhat I needed: a novel with fluffy romances, cute dogs, awesome friends, lives you wished you also had, predictable plots, easy language and most of all, a feel-good story that just does not require too much brainpower. This definitely delivered.
Minus for using brands and labels as adjectives. Plus for many mischievous and cute dogs. Bonus for all the Doctor Who references.
Honestly, I never ever thought I would ever read the following line in a book: "Your sperm would have to have a TARDIS to make a baby this month."
Saw this in a bookshop and got so excited. MUST READ IT.
Well, now I have read it. I'm not yet sure how I feel about it. Was it a disappoi...moreSaw this in a bookshop and got so excited. MUST READ IT.
Well, now I have read it. I'm not yet sure how I feel about it. Was it a disappointment? Yes, I suppose, but I still liked it. I don't know. I really don't know. It was definitely worth reading but I can't place my thoughts and opinions on it. (less)
I loved re-reading this. I feel so tagged now to see the last part of the film tonight. Deathly Hallows could very well be one of my absolute favourit...moreI loved re-reading this. I feel so tagged now to see the last part of the film tonight. Deathly Hallows could very well be one of my absolute favourites from the whole series, if only Ginny was a very minor character.(less)
**spoiler alert** I'm very sad to say that this was a big disappointment. I guess I had too high expectations but then again, who can blame me? It's a...more**spoiler alert** I'm very sad to say that this was a big disappointment. I guess I had too high expectations but then again, who can blame me? It's a London-based (one of my big passions) book containing short stories written by a well-known contemporary female Nobel Prize winner. Why yes, I was excited.
The first story, 'Debbie and Julie', and the story 'In Defence Of The Underground' are the only stories that I actually enjoyed and the only reason why I'm giving this two stars instead of one. The main reason being the imagery of the first one (a young girl giving birth underneath a shelter with the company of a homeless and hungry dog, on a cold rainy London night) and the description and the praise of the London underground in the latter.
I found the rest to be to boring and simple - kind of like listening to mindless chatter on a family reunion or sitting through a tiring lecture. Sure, there was drama, some stories even had a twist, some even made me smile (especially the one at the Casualty department in a hospital because oh, how I've seen that scene so many, many times) and Lessing sure knows her way around beautiful language but it wasn't enough. It didn't deliver. I wanted more. I wanted it to be as if each story in this book was a passionately written love letter to London and its streets, people, bridges, shops, umbrellas, and all that comes with it. Perhaps however this is what Lessing saw. Or perhaps I didn't read it to carefully or maybe I'm just being hopelessly romantic.
If you're a people person who likes to observe people in cities; then you will like this. If you want a book where you can feel yourself roaming around the streets in London and observe the buildings around you; then this is not for you. (less)
While reading this, I was thinking of writing a long, detailed review about everything I loved and enjoyed and flailed over i...moreSetting: Barcelona, Spain
While reading this, I was thinking of writing a long, detailed review about everything I loved and enjoyed and flailed over in this book.
I am however left speechless and simply awed. I don't know what to say, really. I love the unique and individual characters, the compelling plot, the original story, the beautiful setting, the haunting imagery, the detailed language and everything else in between.
Definitely a book for book lovers!
I also find it very amusing but nevertheless pleasing that I received this book from a swap at a local library just a few days before the World Book Day and the start of the challenge Read The World.
"Once, in my father's bookshop, I heard a regular customer say that few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart. Those first images, the echo of words we think we have left behind, accompany us throughout our lives and sculpt a palace in our memory to which, sooner or later—no matter how many books we read, how many worlds we discover, or how much we learn or forget—we will return."
"Fools talk, cowards are silent, wise men listen."
"In my world death was like a nameless and incomprehensible hand, a door-to-door salesman who took away mothers, beggars or ninety-year-old neighbours, like a hellish lottery. But I couldn't absorb the idea that death could actually walk by my side, with a human face and a heart that was poisoned with hatred, that death could be dressed in a uniform or a raincoat, queue up at a cinema, laugh in bars, or take his children out for a walk to Ciudadela Park in the morning, and then, in the afternoon, make someone disappear in the dungeons of Montjuic Castle or in a common grave with no name or ceremony. Going over all this in my mind, it occurred to me that perhaps the papier-mache world that I accepted as real was only a stage setting. Much like the arrival of Spanish trains, in those stolen years you never knew when the end of childhood was due."
"Someone said that the moment you stop to think about whether you love someone, you’ve already stopped loving that person forever."
"I told her how, until that moment, I had not understood that this was a story about lonely people, about absence and loss, and that was why I had taken refuge in it until it became confused with my own life, like someone who has escaped into the pages of a novel because those whom he needs to love seem nothing more than ghosts inhabiting the mind of a stranger. "
"As it unfolded, the structure of the story began to remind me of one of those Russian dolls that contain innumerable diminishing replicas of themselves inside. Step by step the narrative split into a thousand stories, as if it had entered a gallery of mirrors, its identity fragmented into endless reflections. "
"I looked at the group of human remains that languished in the corner and smiled at them. It occurred to me that their very presence was testimony to the moral emptiness of the universe and the mechanical brutality with which it destroys the parts it no longer needs."
"People tend to complicate their own lives, as if living weren't already complicated enough."
"Destiny is usually just around the corner. Like a thief, a hooker, or a lottery vendor: its three most common personifications. But what destiny does not do is home visits. You have to go for it."
"But in good time you'll see that sometimes what matters isn't what one gives but what one gives up."
"Love does not traffic in a marketplace, nor use a huckster's scales. Its joy, like the joy of the intellect, is to feel itself alive. The aim of Love is to love: no more, and no less. You were my enemy: such an enemy as no man ever had. I had given you all my life, and to gratify the lowest and most contemptible of all human passions, hatred and vanity and greed, you had thrown it away. In less than three years you had entirely ruined me in every point of view. For my own sake there was nothing for me to do but to love you."
This is another book that I wish I could have given 3½ star to because I'm not sure whether to give it a 3 or a 4.
De Profundis is the 50 000-word letter (yes, imagine writing that by hand with ink.) that Oscar Wilde wrote to his lover Lord Alfred Douglas, whilst in prison. Some say it is a love letter, other says it is not. It's not the relationship between them that makes the "love letter or not" debatable - because there is no denying that Wilde loved Douglas - it's the fact that most of the time, Wilde portrays Douglas as a - how should I put this - douchebag.
The letter begins with a very detailed account of how Wilde was put into prison in the first place. He describes detailed and with his own words the moments between him and Douglas and everything that lead to to the trial. I thought this part was the most interesting. I'm not that fond of autobiographies and memoirs but I've always been interested in Oscar Wilde (or anything else LGTB-related for that matter) and hearing Wilde put everything into his own words and describing, to Douglas, how he was to blame for the misery and downfall of Wilde, and still loving the man, was very fascinating. Like always, his language is beautiful and there are lots of wit and aphorism. He writes about how much he loved Douglas and the things he had done for him yet at the same time, condemns him for behaving so selfish and rude.
What makes me hesitate about giving it a four star instead of a three is the middle part of the letter when Wilde all of the sudden goes into deep contemplation and comparison between religion, Christ and artists. I find religion interesting too but those pages were simply put, boring. The third half of the book becomes better however when he goes back to talk about Douglas actions and the philosophy of life. It's filled with emotions and you can tell that there is a lot of misery, sorrow and grief. One of my favourite passages that describe the sorrow very well and at the same time shows the beauty is this:
"Of course to one so modern as I am, `Enfant de mon siècle,’ merely to look at the world will be always lovely. I tremble with pleasure when I think that on the very day of my leaving prison both the laburnum and the lilac will be blooming in the gardens, and that I shall see the wind stir into restless beauty the swaying gold of the one, and make the other toss the pale purple of its plumes, so that all the air shall be Arabia for me. Linnaeus fell on his knees and wept for joy when he saw for the first time the long heath of some English upland made yellow with the tawny aromatic brooms of the common furze; and I know that for me, to whom flowers are part of desire, there are tears waiting in the petals of some rose. It has always been so with me from my boyhood. There is not a single colour hidden away in the chalice of a flower, or the curve of a shell, to which, by some subtle sympathy with the very soul of things, my nature does not answer. Like Gautier, I have always been one of those ‘pour qui le monde visible existe.’"
I was planning on continuing this review but now I am left speechless again and I think I will, after all, give this a four star. Here are several memorable quotes however to read and admire.
"I made art a philosophy, and philosophy an art: I altered the minds of men, and the colour of things: I awoke the imagination of my century so that it created myth and legend around me: I summed up all things in a phrase, all existence in an epigram: whatever I touched I made beautiful."
"To regret one's own experiences is to arrest one's own development. To deny one's own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one's own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul."
"Most people are other people. Their thoughts are some one else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation. "
"We are the zanies of sorrow. We are clowns whose hearts are broken."
"There is no room for Love and Hate in the same soul. They cannot live together in that fair cavern house. Love is fed by imagination, by which we become wiser than we know, better than we feel, nobler than we are: by which we can see Life as a whole: by which, and by which alone, we can understand others in their real as in their ideal relations. Only what is fine, and finely conceived, can feel Love. But anything will feed Hate."
"After my terrible sentence, when the prison dress was on me, and the prison house closed, I sat amidst the ruins of my wonderful life, crushed by anguish, bewildered with terror, dazed through pain. But I would not hate you. Every day I said to myself: 'I must keep love in my heart today, else how shall I live through the day?'"
"The most terrible thing about it is not that it breaks one's heart — hearts are made to be broken — but that it turns one's heart to stone."
"Suffering is one very long moment. We cannot divide it by seasons. We can only record its moods, and chronicle their return. With us time itself does not progress. It revolves. It seems to circle round one centre of pain."
"Morality did not help me. I am one of those who are made for exceptions, not for laws. But while I see that there is nothing wrong in what one does, I see that there is something wrong in what one becomes."
This was sadly a disappointment :( I just didn't find it entertaining or enjoyable enough. Although I am aware that all the chit-chat is very much E.M...moreThis was sadly a disappointment :( I just didn't find it entertaining or enjoyable enough. Although I am aware that all the chit-chat is very much E.M Forster's style, and I love his novel Maurice and would still very much like to read more of his work, it didn't feel like it did well in this. The only character that I found likeable was in fact George. The middle section was enjoyable and I especially enjoyed the moments between Lucy and George or the scene with Cecil, George and Lucy as well as that water-bath scene but overall, it wasn't enough. I thought that I might give this a three star in the end but I wasn't too impressed by the ending. (less)
Memorable Quotes "I'm a good person. In most ways. But I'm beginning to think that being a good person in most ways doesn't count for anything very muc...moreMemorable Quotes "I'm a good person. In most ways. But I'm beginning to think that being a good person in most ways doesn't count for anything very much, if you're a bad person in one way."
"It seems to me now that the plain state of being human is dramatic enough for anyone; you don't need to be a heroin addict or a performance poet to experience extremity. You just have to love someone." (less)
I knew I would love this book because A) the story and B) Jane Austen. I didn't expect however to love it as much as I did. It completely astonished m...moreI knew I would love this book because A) the story and B) Jane Austen. I didn't expect however to love it as much as I did. It completely astonished me.
At first, it was a bit slow. The characters were introduced, the important plotlines were brought forwards and everything was what, who, when and why. I had no idea who belonged to who and who was related to who but at least I recognized the heroine (Anne Elliot) and the hero (Captain Frederick Wentworth) and I already knew, having seen the film adaptation, who Mr. Elliot would turn out to be.
What I really loved about this novel was how real it felt and all the romance. Even though Anne was the one to have rejected Wentworth from the beginning, it was obvious that she was the victim of persuasion and was in fact heartbroken. Wentworth appearance and behaviour in the novel several years later felt also genuine; he was, despite all the years between them, angry, hurt and was putting on an impression of 'moving on'.
Another thing I loved was Anne. At first, she was seen as a weak and lonely character, so often pushed behind everyone and not cared of. I disliked her father and sister so much for their arrogance and Anne was the one who was getting older, still not married and was described as average and plain-looking. However, throughout the novel she developed and her strong traits and determination began to unfold and we got to see that she is in fact a very fine and strong woman. I liked how most of the story was seen through her eyes. She observed others around her and her thoughts and assumptions was what we had to expect on, whether they were right or wrong and that felt very real. After all, surely many of us have tried to analyse a simple look or saying of someone who we adore.
The real doing for me was the climax or the 'happy ending' per say. I fell completely head over heels at how it was brought up. Wentworth may have been a strong, powerful, rich naval captain who had fought successfully in the Napoleonic Wars but in the end, we got to see his emotional side, how sensitive he was, how much he completely adored Anne and how Anne brought him to a blithering emotional state. Chapter 23 is one of my absolute favourite chapters. I just loved it and it was so much better than how Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett finally got together in Pride and Prejudice (which I love just as much). It made my heart swell with joy. It left me, at 3am, feeling like a giddy 13 year old girl and what is better than falling asleep, with a big happy smile on your face? (less)
When I picked up this novel, I was young, curious and bored. The cover looked promising for it was colourful and it suggested humor and romance. The s...moreWhen I picked up this novel, I was young, curious and bored. The cover looked promising for it was colourful and it suggested humor and romance. The summary looked fairly interesting as well. So I decided to give it a read and I enjoyed the reading experience very much.
It is like a typical romantic comedy movie except that it is a book. Amy Jenkins write quirky and fun. There were several one-liners that made me laugh out loud. The story is a bit cliche - A London girl falls for a big movie star and then needs to deal with all its consequences - but then again, that is nice.
Because sometimes, we all need a bit of cliche. Sometimes, we all need something fluffy and warm and funny, something that we know will probably never happen so easily but is still a heck of a lot of fun to read.
Memorable quotes that I like "How bad does it have to be before you do something about it?"
"They say you’re meant to live everyday as if it were your last, which I’ve always thought was daft, since no one would ever pay the gas bill if that was the case, but what if it were your first?"
"Oh I believe in loving cats and dogs and children and parents – sometimes – but I don’t believe in romantic love. Of course, there’s the momentary rush of hormones and chemicals that encourages us to mate, but it’s biology – it’s no more inherently mystical than the nicotine in that cigarette you’re smoking"(less)
I had seen half of the film. I had heard about the author. So, by the time when I was suppose to read this novel, I knew a bit of what to expect. Howe...moreI had seen half of the film. I had heard about the author. So, by the time when I was suppose to read this novel, I knew a bit of what to expect. However, the novel surprised me. I had never read "funny" novels and I wondered how it would be. I found the novel entertaining, fun and touching. I loved the style with all the witty lines, the pure thought of people, the random details, the repetitive questioning from Marcus's mother. Each character introduced in the story had their story, their personality, their style and it was visible and clear. As the story progressed and developed, I found myself involved and hoping and frustrated and I absolutely loved this. For being the first novel that I read of Nick Hornby, this was indeed very promising.(less)
Speaking with the Angel is an anthology, edited by Nick Hornby, which contains a collection of witty, original and clever short stories, written by se...moreSpeaking with the Angel is an anthology, edited by Nick Hornby, which contains a collection of witty, original and clever short stories, written by several contemporary authors. The stories are all written in the first narrative but are all also different - here you get to read from the point of view of a prime minister, a prison cook, a teenage boy, a dog, a homophobic man and many more. Each short story captures a story on its own. Each style and register is different and suitable for its plot. There is humor in seriousness and there is bitterness in love. All in all, I was deeply impressed by how each author managed to tell all these smart stories in such an effective way. By the end of each, I felt as if I had read a whole novel instead and I enjoyed it very much.(less)