This was the kind of book that I wished would never end and that would go on and on and on. It made me wish that I belonged in its world, that the chaThis was the kind of book that I wished would never end and that would go on and on and on. It made me wish that I belonged in its world, that the characters where my friends to, that I could regularly go and join the Society over a cup of tea. It also made me wish that I was more familiar with some of the works mentioned. Although the literature mentioned is perhaps not as antique or how should we say - only known by very literate people, as in 84 Charing Cross Road by Helen Hanff (I loved that book too but I hardly recognized any of the books mentioned) - and I did sympathize and recognize most, there was still lots of books yet to be discovered by me (perhaps that's a good thing...book hunt!).
The letter-exchanged style of form was very cleverly chosen and perfect for the story. Without it, I feel it wouldn't have given the same sense of community and belonging. At first, it was confusing and it took time to learn all the characters, but after a while, the names started to melt in and be recognized.
I loved the characters without doubt (well, maybe not the "bad" ones but what's good without some bad?). They each had their own flair and trait. I was very pleased to see that there was also a positively-portrayed gay character as it's not that easy to come by (most of the time, it's too stereotyped!). It was nice that you got most of the characters personal history as well.
Beside the joy and light-hearted nature of the book with all its humour and love for books and the Channel Islands, it also deals with heavy subjects as well. It is after all also about the German Occupation in WWII. The Totd's slaves was in most particular heart-wrenching to read about. On the other hand, what I really admired was how everyone was not treated as simply one-sided (i.e. either you're this or that). The villains weren't just merely villains - they were friends and they were victims, and the same thing went to the other side. It gave everything an objective but a very complicated perspective on things.
I could go on and on but I'm just going to leave it at this: 1) I need to visit Guernsey someday in my life (and join a similar book club!) 2) I need to write more letters and 3) READ IT!!!
"I can't think of anything lonelier than spending the rest of my life with someone I can't talk to, or worse, someone I can't be silent with"
"Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers."
"At the start, we tried to be calm and objective, but that soon fell away, and the purpose of the speakers was to goad the listeners into wanting to read the book themselves. Once two members had read the same book, they could argue, which was our great delight. We read books, talked books, argued over books, and become dearer and dearer to one another. . .we could almost forget, now and then, the darkness outside."
"It seems to me the less he said, the more beauty he made."
"Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books."
"That's what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you to another book, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book. It's geometrically progressive - all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment."...more
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 mI 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? ...more
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 favouritI 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....more
While reading this, I was thinking of writing a long, detailed review about everything I loved and enjoyed and flailed over iSetting: 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."
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. HoweI 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....more
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 sWhen 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"...more
Speaking with the Angel is an anthology, edited by Nick Hornby, which contains a collection of witty, original and clever short stories, written by seSpeaking 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....more
At first, I wasn't exactly looking forward to reading this book. Sure, it sounded interesting and very intriguing. It was after all a book based on aAt first, I wasn't exactly looking forward to reading this book. Sure, it sounded interesting and very intriguing. It was after all a book based on a true story, a memoir, about a young Jewish boy, growing up in a poor society that has been divided by religion and culture. It also features a forbidden love story between a Jewish girl and a Christian boy.
I get easily emotional and affected you see. And as a defence mechanism, I avoid things that would make me sad. Not the kind of sad as in I'll be crying but the kind of sad in which my heart will ache, my thoughts will race and I'll think about others around me.
The beginning of this book was not very special. It introduced the story, the family and the street. I read it slowly and slowly. It was a good story but nothing special but I continued to read and next thing I know, I am hooked. I cannot put it down for the characters have taken a toll of me and I want to know what will happen. How will this all end? I cannot see a resolution. Can they? So I read until past midnight. I read until I finished it and had that familiar feeling of ecstatic exhaustion of when you've finished a book that truly gave a good reading experience and touched you.
Some things affected me, particularly the behaviour of certain characters - they made me think of my own family and that's what I also found special. Even though the characters portrayed are from completely different worlds, setting, time and religion, I could still feel and see the similarities that still go on in this world and I could sympathize and empathize for characters. For example, the portrayal of the mother and her sad and unfortunate life made me go to my own mother and give her a hug. I don't think some characters have brought such a strong reaction from me in...well, a while.
In overall, the book brought up several big themes. It dealt with the dysfunction of a poor family in which the mother is repressed and forced to try make the best of living for her children whilst their father spend the majority of his small salary at the pub. There was the hint of that American dream, that idea of a trip to a large nation that would change their lives for good. There was war, but not from the viewpoint of a solider fighting for his life, but from the people, separated by an invisible barrier, waiting on the edge to find out the news whether their loved ones is in the grave or not. There is the girl who studies all day in order to gain admission to a school, only to have her dream shattered by her own patronizing and hard father. There is the girl who daydreams and wishes for the couture, elegant and luxury life on the other side of the town and despises anyone to interrupt her daze. There's the constant whispering and gossiping of women in a small shop. There is that young couple who believes their forbidden and dangerous union will change the world.
But the most central thing; the segregation, prejudice and division of two religion living right across each others, strengthen by differences, clashes and contentment but reduced by war, poverty and a common thing.
And above all, the narrator, a lost little growing boy who only wishes to please others and himself and who is aware of consequences but oblivious to the reasons. ...more
"Have been unavoidably detained by the world. Expect us when you see us."
"I am the most miserable person who ever lived," he said....Memorable quotes
"Have been unavoidably detained by the world. Expect us when you see us."
"I am the most miserable person who ever lived," he said.... "You are young, and in love," said Primus. "Every young man in your position is the most miserable young man who ever lived."
"He stared up at the stars: and it seemed to him then that they were dancers, stately and graceful, perfomrming a dance almost infinite in its complexity. He imagined he could see the very faces of the stars; pale, they were, and smiling gently, as if they had spent so much time above the world, watching the scrambling and the joy and the pain of the people below them, that they could not help being amused every time another little human believed itself the center of its world, as each of us does."
"Adventures are all very well in their place, but there's a lot to be said for regular meals and freedom from pain." ...more
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 aWhat 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."
The "letter exchange" form isn't really a style that I am fond of but this was an excellent read. You could tell that a lot of letters were missing buThe "letter exchange" form isn't really a style that I am fond of but this was an excellent read. You could tell that a lot of letters were missing but it still managed to convey the great story about the friendship that Helene Hanff developed with Frank Doel and the rest of the team at Marks & Co. I didn't recognize many of the works that they mentioned but it made me curious and I also loved how enthusiastic Hanff was about the books.
I'm unsure whether I should read the continuing sequel The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street which is the story of when Hanff finally goes to visit literature England. Skimming through it, I can see that there is a lot of descriptions about her travels and surroundings but at the same time, the format (mixture of diary/journal and novel) isn't very appealing so I still haven't decided. ...more