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."
Sweet, short, simple, cliche, cute...what else is there to expect?
It was a quick and simple read. I needed something easy and simple - kind...moreSweet, short, simple, cliche, cute...what else is there to expect?
It was a quick and simple read. I needed something easy and simple - kind of like when you sometimes just want to sit down with a nice romantic drama or comedy, you know? I had saw my favourite local bookshop recommending this book and it sounded cute enough.
The book is about seventeen-year old Hadley who has just missed her flight to London, and is late to her father's second wedding. She remains stuck at the JFK airport and meets a British boy named Oliver, who is sitting in her row. Hadley does not look forward to the wedding and meeting her soon-to-be-stepmother. She and Oliver get to know each other during the long flight but when they reach London, they lose each others. The question is of course - will they meet again?
Even though the title and the summary suggest a romantic story, the focus is more on family drama. Of course, there is romance too though! The whole book is set in a period between twenty-four hours.
I wish I could say more about the book but to be honest, there isn't much to say. If you expect a lot of twists and turns, drama and depth, then no. This is a cute, fluffy and sweet story. It's simple, short and cliched. It's perfect if you need something quick that will make you feel good without overthinking it.(less)
Giving this a 2 stars when I felt it was a 2 1/2 star. Might change to 3 after tomorrows discussion.
Overall. A boring novel. It got interesting at so...moreGiving this a 2 stars when I felt it was a 2 1/2 star. Might change to 3 after tomorrows discussion.
Overall. A boring novel. It got interesting at some points but I found the main character to simply be just unlikeable, especially at the start. Apparently he was to have changed after meeting his "angel" (the girlfriend, an even more unlikeable character) but I beg to differ. (less)
Setting: Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea Author: Born in New Zealand
Mister Pip is a novel set in the tropical island of Papua New Guinea. It is i...moreSetting: Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea Author: Born in New Zealand
Mister Pip is a novel set in the tropical island of Papua New Guinea. It is in the 1990s and the island is struck by a civil war. All the white people have left, except for one - Mr. Watts. Matilda, the main character, narrates the story of how Mr. Watts takes up the task to teach school children. His classes consist of reading out loud Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and the adventures of Mr. Pip fascinate the children. However, not everyone approves of the novel (including Matilda's mother) and the islands inhabitants is affected by cruelty of a civil war.
The book itself is very poetic and beautiful. The descriptions are sometimes gorgeous and Jones also bring about the cultural differences between the islands inhabitants and Mr. Watts. Matilda's voice seem honest and innocent but at the same time, since there is a war going on, you catch glimpses of the horror that is to come. The novel didn't fail in both touching me, making me smile and shocking me and making me want to cry.
This could have been an amazing read and even a 5 star. It had the language, the plot, the characters and everything that a good book need. The reason why I gave it 3 stars however, is because of the inconsistency. The second half of the book felt rushed and different and whilst I'm sure the author did so on purpose, I felt that it was out of place and perhaps too sudden. I'm also a bit critical about the stereotypical views that are brought forward regarding the characters.
Quotable Quotes "I had found a new friend. The surprising thing is where I’d found him - not up a tree or sulking in the shade, or splashing around in one of the hill streams, but in a book. No one had told us kids to look there for a friend. Or that you could slip inside the skin of another. Or travel to another place with marshes, and where, to our ears, the bad people spoke like pirates."
"At night we listened to gunfire. There were no battles. This was the loose gunfire of rambos drunk on jungle juice trying to scare the redskins. They took aim at the stars and blasted up through the tree-tops."
"You cannot pretend to read a book. Your eyes will give you away. So will your breathing. A person entranced by a book simply forgets to breathe. The house can catch alight and a reader deep in a book will not look up until the wall paper is in flames. "
"I suppose it is possible to be all of these things. To sort of fall out of who you are into another, as well as to journey back to some essential sense of self. We only see what we see. He was whatever he needed to be, what we asked him to be. Perhaps there are lives like that—they pour into whatever space we have made ready for them to fill."
"I had discovered that the plainest house can crown a fantasy or daydream. An open window can be tolerated. So can an open door. But I discovered the value of four walls and a roof. Something about containment that at the same time offers escape."
"Dreams are nervy things—all it takes is for one stern word to be spoken in their direction and they shrivel up and die. "
"We were young. Everyone was young in those days. That’s the main complaint you hear from people who are getting old. You stop seeing young people. You begin to wonder if there are any left and whether there were only young people when you were young." (less)
This has got to be the most depressing novel I have ever read.
I spoke to several friends who have seen the film and they told me that the film was so...moreThis has got to be the most depressing novel I have ever read.
I spoke to several friends who have seen the film and they told me that the film was so depressing that they didn't even want to touch the book it was based upon. My feelings are very similar except in reverse. This book is so depressing that I don't even want to see the film that is based upon it. It's a shame because one of the ways that I discovered this book was when Precious received two Oscars awards.
Push is about the 16-year old illiterate Black girl, Precious. Since she can remember, she's been subjected to rape and abuse by her father and mother and has been neglected by everyone around her. Whilst carrying her second child (with her father), she is directed to a new school program, where she is inspired and determined by the teacher and the class to find her way, learn to read and write and actually live the life she is suppose to live. The book deals with many themes such as incest/rape, abuse, HIV, literacy, social attitudes and races and etc.
What intrigued me the most from the start wasn't however the overwhelming plot but actually the language. The book is written in a language as if it is spoken directly in Precious mind. It is colloquial and filled with grammar and spelling mistakes. The words are raw and straight forwards and it all makes it feel so much more real and harsh. There are also journal entries and poems that she writes as a form of communication and as a way to express herself and learn to write.
I really don't know what else to say about this. The book overwhelmed me. Sometimes, particularly in the beginning, it became too much. The scenes were too horrible and sad and I had to put down the novels several times and just stare at it, breathe and take it all in. I couldn't understand how it all could happen. I still don't understand how this can happen. This book isn't based on a real story but the fact remains that some parts of this life is always real to someone in this world and it just makes me want to cry.
"Listen baby, Muver love you. Muver not dumb. Listen baby: ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ.
Thas the alphabet. Twenty- six letters in all. Them letters make up words. Them words everything."
"I'm gonna break through or somebody gonna break through to me - I'm gonna learn, catch up, be normal, change my seat to the front of the class."
"I big, I talk, I eats, I cooks, I laugh, watch TV, do what my muver say. But I can see when the picture come back I don’t exist. Don’t nobody want me. Don’t nobody need me. I know who I am. I know who they say I am – vampire sucking the system’s blood. Ugly black grease to be wipe away, punish, kilt, changed, finded a job for. I wanna say I am somebody. I wanna say it on subway, TV, movie, LOUD. I see the pink faces in suits look over top of my head. I watch myself disappear in their eyes, their tesses. I talk loud but still I don’t exist."
"Ms. Rain say write our fantasy of ourselves. How we would be if life was perfect. I tell you one thing right now, I would be light skinned, thereby treated right and loved by boyz. Light even more important than being skinny; you see them light-skinned girls that’s big an’ fat, they got boyfriends."
I'm glad I was recommended this novel because it's not the kind of book I would usually pick...moreSetting: Botswana
Read for the 'Read The World' challenge.
I'm glad I was recommended this novel because it's not the kind of book I would usually pick up. I'm not a big fan of mysteries or detective novels but this was different. It's quirky and fun, yet at the same time still keeps up with some heavier themes. The chapters are short and kind of like vignettes which makes it all very easy to read. It does however also makes things jumbled and slightly deviating. One moment, you're reading about one thing and the next, it's a completely different scene and mood. Most detective novels have a general storyline with a mystery plot to be solved in the end but this one consists of many, several small ones instead. There is one mystery which is touched up on from the beginning and then brought back in the end though.
I also love the setting and the descriptions of Botswana. It makes it sound so beautiful and exotic. Whenever there is a mention of Kalahari, I want to go "YAY" because I've always been fascinated by Kalahari.
Good? Yes. But nothing above the average. I wouldn't however mind reading the other books in the series someday.
"You can go through life and make new friends every year - every month practically - but there was never any substitute for those friendships of childhood that survive into adult years. Those are the ones in which we are bound to one another with hoops of steel."
"...how sorry she felt for white people, who couldn't do any of this (sit talking with friends and growing melons) and who were always dashing around and worrying themselves over things that were going to happen anyway. What use was it having all the money if you could never sit still or just watch your cattle, and yet they did not know it. Every so often you met a white person who understood, who realized how things really were; but these people were few and far between and the other white people often treated them with suspicion. "
"He looked at her in the darkness, at this woman who was everything to him-mother, Africa, wisdom, understanding, good things to eat, pumpkins, chicken, the white sky across the endless, endless bush, and the giraffe that cried, giving its tears for women to daub on their baskets; O Botswana, my country, my place."
"Some people think of God as a white man … I do not think this is so, because there is no difference between white men and black men; we are all the same; we are just people."
"The only thing that makes me sad is that I shall be leaving Africa when I die. I love Africa, which is my mother and my father. When I am dead, I shall miss the smell of Africa…"
"That is the problem with governments these days. They want to do things all the time; they are always very busy thinking of what things they can do next. That is not what people want. People want to be left alone to look after their cattle."
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)
**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)
Memorable quotes "The appeal of reading, she thought, lay in its indifference: there was something lofty about literature. Books did not care who was r...moreMemorable quotes "The appeal of reading, she thought, lay in its indifference: there was something lofty about literature. Books did not care who was reading them or whether one read them or not. All readers were equal, herself included."
"Authors, she soon decided, were probably best met with in the pages of their novels, and were as much creatures of the reader's imagination as the characters in their books. Nor did they seem to think one had done them a kindness by reading their writings. Rather they had done one the kindness by writing them." (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)
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."
I first heard of this book through TNBBC nearly two years ago and was intrigued by the rather positive reviews...more**spoiler alert** Setting: United States
I first heard of this book through TNBBC nearly two years ago and was intrigued by the rather positive reviews it was receiving. A circus and animal-themed book just didn't seem that interesting to me. I purchased my own copy but like many of the books that I buy, it somehow end up dusting on the bookshelves instead of being read. A year later, I heard that there was a film in the making (and with Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon in the cast!) and decided that it was about time for me to pick it up and read.
I read. I gasped. I flailed. I was on the brink of tears and laughter (but mostly tears) and I was completely taken by the story. I was moved by the characters and the descriptions of the nasty conditions at the Benzini Brothers Circus and absolutely appalled at the gruesome treatment of both animals and workers. You could tell that Gruen is a very avid animal lover. One scene could reflect how sweet and innocent animals could be (I would be lying if I said that I wasn't grinning at the scene where the elephant Rosie was happily chewing food on someone's private vegetable patch or whenever the chimpanzee Bobo's needed a hug and a hand to hold) and the other scene could have you wanting to pull out a character (mostly August) from the pages and simply strangle said character for the awful and terrible animal treatment. On the other page, you would have workers who were working to their very last sweat drop until they were weak or complaining enough to be thrown of the train in the middle of the night. Not to mention, the characters! And love plot (triangle drama, oh my!)!
This book was a fantastic reading experience. I recommend it very much. I'm trying to figure out why I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 (it was a while since I read it) and I can't seem to remember but alas, do give this book a try. Especially if you like general fiction or would like to try something new and more original.
"When you are five, you know your age down to the month. Even in your twenties, you know how old you are. I'm twenty-three you say, or maybe twenty-seven. But then in your thirties, something strange starts to happen. It is a mere hiccup at first, an instant of hesitation. How old are you? Oh, I'm--you start confidently, but then you stop. You were going to say thirty-three, but you are not. You're thirty-five. And then you're bothered, because you wonder if this is the beginning of the end. It is, of course, but it's decades before you admit it."
"Age is a terrible thief. Just when your getting the hang of life, it knocks your legs out from under you and stoops your back. It makes you ache and muddies your head and silently spreads cancer throughout your spouse."
"I stroke her lightly, memorizing her body. I want her to melt into me, like butter on toast. I want to absorb her and walk around for the rest of my days with her encased in my skin. I lie motionless, savoring the feeling of her body against mine. I'm afraid to breathe in case I break the spell."
"Dear God. Not only am I unemployed and homeless, but I also have a pregnant woman, bereaved dog, elephant, and eleven horses to take care of."
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 cha...moreThis 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."(less)