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)
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)
I have very conflicting feelings about this book, especially Katniss, but overall it was truly exciting and I definitely enjoyed it very much. Looking...moreI have very conflicting feelings about this book, especially Katniss, but overall it was truly exciting and I definitely enjoyed it very much. Looking forward to reading the next.(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 wish I could give this collection of poetry the review that it deserves but truthfully, I find myself unable to write about it adequately enough. Th...moreI wish I could give this collection of poetry the review that it deserves but truthfully, I find myself unable to write about it adequately enough. The book is so good. It's not often I read poetry and it is even less so that I find myself drawn into it. With this, each poem drew me in. Each line felt like a story of its own and more often than not, I found myself reading a poem further in and reminisicing a poem that I had read earlier in the collection and wondering how connected they were. I love the style of writing; it is powerful, emotional and chilling. His words are filled with details and anyone who knows me well, know that I absolutely love that.
I would write more but I'm just going to leave this review now with my favourite parts (as well as one complete but short poem):
"Tell me about the dream where we pull the bodies out of the lake and dress them in warm clothes again. How it was late, and no one could sleep, the horses running until they forget that they are horses. It's not like a tree where the roots have to end somewhere, it's more like a song on a policeman's radio, how we rolled up the carpet so we could dance, and the days were bright red, and every time we kissed there was another apple to slice into pieces. Look at the light through the windowpane. That means it's noon, that means we're inconsolable. Tell me how all this, and love too, will ruin us. These, our bodies, possessed by light. Tell me we'll never get used to it.” ---- Scheherazade
"We made a graveyard// out of the bone white afternoon."
"When we were little we made houses out of // cardboard boxes. We can do anything. It's not because // our hearts are large, they're not, it's what we // struggle with. The attempt to say Come over. Bring // your friends. It's a potluck, I'm making pork chops, I'm making // those long noodles you love so much."
"Can you see the plot like dotted lines across the room?"
"I'm battling monsters, I'm pulling you out of the burning buildings // and you say I'll give you anything but you never come through."
"These are the dreams we should be having. I shouldn't have to // clean them up like this."
"A man takes his sadness down to the river and throws it in the river // but then he's still left // with the river. A man takes his sadness and throws it away // but then he's still left with his hands."
"Is that too much to expect? That I would name the stars // for you? That I would take you there? The splash // of my tongue melting you like a sugar cube?"
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)
"Have been unavoidably detained by the world. Expect us when you see us."
"I am the most miserable person who ever lived," he said.......moreMemorable 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." (less)
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 a...moreAt 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. (less)
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."