I really did enjoy this, probably a notch under Pride and Predjudice, Im not sure if thats because it was my second Austen and P/P was such a surprise...moreI really did enjoy this, probably a notch under Pride and Predjudice, Im not sure if thats because it was my second Austen and P/P was such a surprise to find I enjoyed so much, or because it had slightly less to it that that one. I have discovered I get a real buzz from reading an historical classic. Its so much more that just the story, its an uncanny insight to another periods customs and morals, written right then and there by someone living in that environment, rather than something written in contemporary times set in the past. Historical fiction is often fascinating too if well researched but I do love picturing the author at work in Regency England. Such a different time. I mean, in all honesty the novel is all froth and bonnets, not a great deal happens apart from 2 sisters fretting In their own different ways over which man they many or may not end up marrying and whether they will be able to secure them a bit of future happiness and stability. Nobody works. Its all tea parties and calling cards. But the dialogue is exquisite and very clever. I loved Mrs Jenings matchmaking. There were several moments where I couldnt help thinking of French and Saunders, the one where Jen is trying to learn her lines for an upcoming Merchant Ivory production.
'Helena Bottom Carter.. Maggie Smith... Me' 'Oh Miss Honeyhives, Miss Honeyhives... ahem ahem, Reverend Bootle I Do Declare' etc etc etc..
I loved the conversations between Lucy and Elinor, both keeping up the pretnence of politeness and friendship, whilst busy weedling information out of each other, Lucy being spiteful and evil and Elinor being quietly superior.
This was my Second Atwood. While cantankerous and bitter old Iris from Blind Assassin will always hold a special place in my heart, Alias Grace came a...moreThis was my Second Atwood. While cantankerous and bitter old Iris from Blind Assassin will always hold a special place in my heart, Alias Grace came a close second. I’m currently basking in post 5 star read satisfaction again. Don’t you love that feeling of being slightly transported and thoughtful caught between your world and the books?
There are a lot of similarities between the books, pleasingly after enjoying BA so much; Atwood’s style was refreshingly familiar. Both have a strong female lead, with an intriguing and mysterious past which you are left to try and unravel as the book goes on. Once again you are teased with thinking you might have solved the mystery only to be led in a different direction and still at the end left to a certain extent to make up your own mind. In this case the central character is Grace Marks, a real life convicted murderess from 18050’s Canada. Atwood says in her afterward that where the facts of the story are known she has used them, which always tends to lend an extra star for me, I love a book or movie that has basis in fact. As with BA, Atwood shifts perspective and point of view between characters to keep things interesting, and intersperses prose with letters between characters and newspaper clippings pertinent to the story. In this case the clippings are real not fictionalised which adds to the feeling of uncovering the past.
Atwood in real life in interviews comes across as smart, sharp, cutting, observant and insightful and this does seem to come across in her work. This is a more or less picked at random paragraph displaying some of her talent in psychological observations, which crop up frequently and so beautifully worded.
“What idiocies has he uttered, in the course of these nightly debaucheries? He can hardly remember. Words of passion and burning love, of how he cannot resist her, which – strange to say – he himself actually believes at the time. During the day, Rachel is a burden, an encumbrance, and he wishes to be rid of her; but at night she’s an altogether different person, and so is he. He too says no when he means yes. He means more, he means further, he means deeper. He would like to make an incision in her – just a small one – so he can taste her blood, whithin in the shadowy darkness of the bedroom seems to him like a normal wish to have. He’s driven by what feels like an uncontrollable desire; but apart from that – apart from himself, at these times, as the sheets toss like waves and he tumbles and wallows and gasps – another part of himself stands with folded arms, fully clothed, ,merely curious, merely observing. How far exactly, will he go? How far in”
As you can see there’s a touch of sex scandal thrown in here and there for good measure! Also there are observations of class differences and conflicts. Interestingly, these are both common factors in Blind Assassin too. I’m hesitant on my next Atwood as im not really a huge fan of the dystopia/fantasy type genre which she seems to do a fair amount of but I think its probably a crime to be an Atwood fan without having read Handmaids Tale so I think that might well be creeping onto my shelves. (less)
*sigh*, pretty words, pretty award winning words... that didnt hold my attention. I really need to impose a self-ban on audio. Even Ralph Fiennes coul...more*sigh*, pretty words, pretty award winning words... that didnt hold my attention. I really need to impose a self-ban on audio. Even Ralph Fiennes couldnt make this interesting for me droning on, most books suffer from at least 1 point lost from me when listened to as opposed to read, so i really need to stop picking them up to pass the time in the car. Drone..drone..drone.
As with a lot of Bookers, you can certianly see why it won accolades for the beauty of its language, for me though that wasnt enough.
The last 100pages and several other bits and pieces warranted a definate 4. This was my first Dickens and I loved his character observation and humoro...moreThe last 100pages and several other bits and pieces warranted a definate 4. This was my first Dickens and I loved his character observation and humorous style..however the book was seriously incohesive in the middle, jumping about without enough plot to keep you going, there was a definate considerate to bin it half way through, but im glad i stuck it out to the final gripping scenes. And to say ive read the book that starts with 'It was the best of times it was the worst of times.. ' and ends with 'Its a far far better thing...'. Actually writing that Ive suddenly realised what he possibly meant with the opening line. Bloody horrific murderous times, yet brought about a social upheval resulting after a long long time in a better French Society.(less)
What to say, what to say ... such a complex novel overall. It intrigued me to be inside the head of a central character whos not particularly likeable...moreWhat to say, what to say ... such a complex novel overall. It intrigued me to be inside the head of a central character whos not particularly likeable. Charles is egotistical, obsessive, possessive and at time phychotic. There are times you want to shout at him. And parts of the book seem totally implausible. But its written so well, the mood and setting are fantastic, its introspective, reflective, phychological and surprisingly full of page turning drama. I came to feel a certain affection for deluded old Charles in the end and theres something for everyone to think about with the monsters in our minds. (less)
Bloody Brick-Tastic! Possibly the best book I've ever read, certainly the longest. 1243 pages of action, revenge, retribution, planning, plotting, sec...moreBloody Brick-Tastic! Possibly the best book I've ever read, certainly the longest. 1243 pages of action, revenge, retribution, planning, plotting, secrets, affairs, Parisian glamour and romance. The pace barely lets up, its pretty much a page turner all the way through, and the second half has plenty of OMG moments. I never would have attempted something so daunting seeming if it wasn't recommended by GR friends, i seriously thought it would have to be one of the stuffiest old books going. Wrong, wrong wrong!... read it!(less)
Im still reeling from it. No matter what you think you know about the Holocaust, or seen in newsreels, it never fails to shock...more What i liked about it
Im still reeling from it. No matter what you think you know about the Holocaust, or seen in newsreels, it never fails to shock at the sheer scale of it. To say the Jews were treated far worse than livestock is an understatement, I can't even begin to describe their treatment. Like 'The Pianist' this is brought to home even more chillingly when its an account of actual individuals and their testimonies of what happened, what they had to do to survive and who they lost. Being a good Jew was never going to help you survive, and luck had nothing to do with it, those few that did, did so by some act of cunning and ingeniousness and in this case with the help of Oscar Schindler, who whilst maintaining a front of needing them to produce goods for the war effort and through spending millions on bribes, managed to protect about a 1000 Jews, a very small portion of the millions who would perish even then it was only possible by them being his prisoners and an incredible amount of subterfuge and daring acts. He was himself arrested 3 times and had to risk his story not being believed by the allies when the war ended. The book is very well written and based entirely on the evidence and interviews of the survivors. The author states in the preface that being a novelist he was more comfortable with that style of writing and so it is written essentially as a historical biography but fleshed out a little to give more of an impression of how events took place and what it was like, with conversations written as they would have occurred as dialoge rather than as recollections. To me a well written book (or movie) that is based in fact automatically gains a bonus star and this ones is something that was compulsive reading. It should be taught in schools. Its incredible to think my parents would have been teenagers when the worst of this was happening not that far away. Its just mind-boggling to think that it could have in what we imagine to be a civilsed nation. The thing is you only have to look as far as Guantanamo Bay to see how easily de-humanisation of people can begin to happen on our own doorsteps if it is not checked. I must admit it does also give you a sense of how damned lucky you are to have been born where you were and at what time. The Polish Jews were persecuted by the Poles before the war, and if they survived it, were 'liberated' to become citizens of a Soviet State. Nice one!..Ok..OK..so we all now about the holocaust but back to the book, I highly recommend it!, extremely well written, factual, and not overly-dramatised. The events were so shocking there was no need for it.
What I didnt like 'likes' and odd word for this book, it grips you, it makes you think and it makes you feel - deeply. But its not for the faint hearted, be prepared for holocaust nightmares!. Ive also read reviews from people who found it too dry and historical and not the novel they were hoping for. To me this enhanced it, I didnt find it in the least bit dry but i love a great biography. So if your searching for a great Novel in the traditional sense of the word then it may not be for you.
Too Cute for words and v clever. Perhaps a little less poo talk might have been a good plan. The last part was a bit traumatic, poor little mite. Did...moreToo Cute for words and v clever. Perhaps a little less poo talk might have been a good plan. The last part was a bit traumatic, poor little mite. Did bring a lump to my throat, and that doesn't happen too often with me and books.(less)
Cutting commentary on morals and 19th Century class system, hypocracy and society by a man infamous for his own fall from grace
What i liked about it Wi...moreCutting commentary on morals and 19th Century class system, hypocracy and society by a man infamous for his own fall from grace
What i liked about it Wildes Acerbic Wit - theres so many lines you would have heard before - "Theres only one thing worse than being talked about and that not being talked about" for example. Hes at his best commenting on social situations and society in general. Theres some great cameo characterisation, Great Ladies and eccentric Duchesses. Plenty to make you smile and admire Wildes brilliance. I really had no idea of the plot before reading amazingly enough - quite an interesting concept. I really wasnt prepared for the Macabre Gothing Horror story it turned into - that took me by surprise a bit, it made a nice change from dinner party conversation after dinner party conversation.
What I didnt like Wildes Acerbic Wit - you can have too much of a good thing. You can only take so much of Lord Henryisms page after page, no matter how witty. The prose is overly descriptive, nice at times, but does he have to describe in infitate detail every single piece of luxurious furnishings. Overkill. Almost without exception all the main characters are thoroughly dislikable - wicked and horridly snobbish, whether it was satire or not i dont know but they didnt give a hoot for anything that happened to anyone not of their rank.(less)
Loved it, The language was breathtaking at times. Not a fast read, it seemed to take forever to do 500p, but so worth it though. Great to have a feist...moreLoved it, The language was breathtaking at times. Not a fast read, it seemed to take forever to do 500p, but so worth it though. Great to have a feisty strong willed yet humble and socially sound female lead in a Victorian novel. Why didnt i get into classics earlier?! (less)
Its taken me the best part of 3 weeks to get through 550p or so, not really a criticism of the book, just the way it turned out. Actually i have rathe...moreIts taken me the best part of 3 weeks to get through 550p or so, not really a criticism of the book, just the way it turned out. Actually i have rather enjoyed having it as my companion for all that time. There were some beautiful passages - presumably in many cases close to how people actually spoke in those days, what a different world. Often compared to Pride and Predjudice, i think its a little unfair to do so. Personaly for the Romance if pressed id give my vote to Austen, but this book had a social conscience and a political message to put across that to me gave it more 'umph' than a fluffy love story. I did find the Northern dialect speak a little fraustrating, and im English so i could picture it a little, but it grated a tiny bit for me. I was pleased that the main representative of the Working Classes changed thoughout the book and became less narrow minded in just the same way as the Mill owner and thus was more a meeting in the middle than on having been the out and out wrong doer come good. Theres a couple of really great secondary characters in there that i really loved. From the odd bit of humour thrown in with Mr Bell, i think i might give Cranford a bash as i beleive its a more light hearted book. Definately enjoyed this one though.(less)
Im not going to rate it - it wouldnt be fair, i just dont think i was in the right frame of mind for the work involved and didnt persevere. slopes off...moreIm not going to rate it - it wouldnt be fair, i just dont think i was in the right frame of mind for the work involved and didnt persevere. slopes off guiltily knowing probably missing something amazing and being a fully fledged book-snob. When so many people tell you its better the third time around, you think to yourself ..theres so much else for me to get stuck into i havnt got the patience for a first time let alone a third. psst - i only picked it cos i liked the title.(less)
Complex and full of literary brilliance but unfortunately mostly nonsense to the lay (i.e me) mind in terms of a cohesive storyline. One point for enj...moreComplex and full of literary brilliance but unfortunately mostly nonsense to the lay (i.e me) mind in terms of a cohesive storyline. One point for enjoyment, one more for the undoubted technical wordmanship - there were some enjoyable moments, but even the abridged audio-book which id hoped might make it a bit less painful proved to be a struggle. Oh well - crossed it off.(less)
Totally absorbing, it requires patience and at times can be a little too impenetrable with its great Theological debates and tracts of Latin - which f...moreTotally absorbing, it requires patience and at times can be a little too impenetrable with its great Theological debates and tracts of Latin - which for me lost it a star (whilst at the same time being in awe of the Authors knowledge of the period and subject). Despite requiring effort in parts though, in a way the richness and complexity of the backround Eco creates for the mysterious monastery shrouded in mists at the top of a mountain devoutly preserving religious texts and scriptures is part of what sucks you in - I felt completely transported to that time and place. The Inquisition scene was terrifying, and reminded my of The Crucible. And the Murder Mystery plot is completely unpredictable and keeps you guessing until the end. (note: accompany with Enigma on the stereo and imagine Sean Connery as your lead Character and your set for a great journey if you give it the time!) - off to watch the film again.....(less)