I picked up this book at a Books ETC in London, so the cover picture up there is from Amazon UK, although the link is to Amazon.com. I bought it becauI picked up this book at a Books ETC in London, so the cover picture up there is from Amazon UK, although the link is to Amazon.com. I bought it because the review on the top was from JK Rowling. It wasn’t until I was well into it that I realized that it was written in the forties. That matters not, of course, and I was struck by how timeless the story was.
It’s told in first perosn, by Cassandra. At first she is still childish, depsite having finished school and watches the events around her somewhat naively. As she wishes for something exciting to happen in a life that at first seems fantastic (living in a castle!) and turns out to be quite woeful (her family is broke, her writer father hasn’t written in years.).
When the unexpected happens, and two eligable gentlemen walk into their lives the true Austen-esque themes come into play. Cassandra, though, is well-read and notes how much see and her sister seem to be living the lives of one of Austen’s heroines, with some marked differences.
As Cassandra grows up through the year she writes about in her diary, the reader sees the change in her. The book is so richly detailed that every character’s story is well-told, from her father to the hired boy (who hasn’t been paid in years) who is absolutely devoted to Cassandra. Deeper themes of religion, selfishness, love and even a commentary on the difference between the US and England are woven into the narrative. te In the end, i can’t recommend this book enough. I won’t spoil the ending, but I have to say I didn’t even mind that Cassandra turned out more like Austen than one of Austen’s heroines.
My third time reading this book I am struck by how gorgeous the May Day and Midsummer's Eve scenes are. The glory of nature and England; the fire, the mixture of cultures and histories. I absolutely love it. ...more
This is the book I received in the Book Swap. It’s by the same author as the book Chocolat and set in the same village.
I enjoyed the book as a bit ofThis is the book I received in the Book Swap. It’s by the same author as the book Chocolat and set in the same village.
I enjoyed the book as a bit of a light read. The main character, Jay, was interesting to me and different from other characters I have seen. I loved the contrast between London, the small English time where he spent his childhood and the French village that he came to.
The appearance of his old friend Joe as an “out-of-body” traveller was interesting, but not as clunky as it could have been, and I liked it. The village characters are all quirky and interesting, and I felt a real pang when it was talked about how many villagers want to modernize their villages for tourism. Realistic, but sad.
Harris’s prose is spectacular, and it’s worth the read just for that. Her images are vivid and luscious. The two real peeves I have about the novel are these:
The narratives done from the point of view of the wine was inconsistent, and in my opinion, unnecessary. I appreciate the exploration of new techniques, but I think an editor should have cut that at some point. I also think Jay’s romance with Marise was too sudden. She goes from reclusive to in his bed very quickly. I appreciate the off-camera talks that they must have had, but those would have been nice to see.
I love Woolf. To the Lighthouse is probably one of my favorite books ever. The Voyage out is not quite what I was expecting. It’s written in a narratiI love Woolf. To the Lighthouse is probably one of my favorite books ever. The Voyage out is not quite what I was expecting. It’s written in a narrative-style reminiscent of the typical novel of the period, and not quite what I had grown to expect from Woolf. The prose was fantastic, and she manages to capture little ideas and emotions that are generally not dealt with in books. For instance, at one point the main character feels irritated with the actions of all of those around her, merely because she is lost in thought and does not want to be interrupted. Who hasn’t felt that?
I think my problem with the book may be the fact that the back cover synopsis of the Barnes and Noble Classics edition did not feel at all like the book. In a nutshell it said “Helen notices Rachel is growing up when her engagement to Terrence Hewet starts to go badly”. Well, when you take into account Hewet doesn’t even show up ’til midway through the book and they’re not engaged until mid-way through and Helen is less mature than her niece and…well, not so much Barnes and Noble synopsis-folks.
The nature of the feminine struggle, more explicitly dealt with in A Room of One’s own, is prominent in this book. Woolf deftly portrays views on either side of the debate, and whilst to the modern reader the fact that the lives of men and women are disparate is slightly absurd, this novel makes one realize how real the struggle really was.
Plus, there’s a passage with one woman bragging about her knitting.
**spoiler alert** I first read this book in my sophomore year of high school, after my Chemistry teacher lent it to me and bought it for myself this w**spoiler alert** I first read this book in my sophomore year of high school, after my Chemistry teacher lent it to me and bought it for myself this week after being reminded of it by the new movie Enchanted. Very far removed from Card’s Ender series this book still shows his calling cards especially in the beginning when the reader is introduced to Ivan, a precocious ten-year-old. The rest of the story, though, bears little resemblance to the space-based world of the other tales. Card explores a different world in this tale, the fantasy what-if of: “What if Sleeping Beauty was awakened in Russia in 1992?”
What I find amazing in this book is the incredible mix of Russian folklore, Jewish and Christian history, contemporary politics and just good story telling. The classic Russian arch-nemesis, Baba Yaga is after the kingdom of the gorgeous princess Katerina. Ivan, who just happens to be a scholar of ancient tongues, understands her proto-slavic, and is taken back to her time, 900 AD, to become her husband.
A modern athlete, but not suited for medieval living, he works hard to fit in with her time while also wishing to go home. He is not immediately attached to his fiancée either, and they do not really fall in love until he brings her back to the US in 1992 where his family emigrated. They make the plans needed to attempt to defeat Baba Yaga’s army with the help of his mother (a witch, which he only finds out when Katerina recognizes it)
Although some of this feels a bit contrived, within the novel it works well, is woven together with just a hint of mystery at the end to imply that there is more under the surface that the reader is not allowed to know. It may be the case that Card himself didn’t know, but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. I love this book for it’s wonderful mix of fairy tale and modernity and highly recommend it....more
I picked this book up the other day, buying a copy for a friend for Christmas and then buying one for myself, just to read it.
It focuses mainly on WesI picked this book up the other day, buying a copy for a friend for Christmas and then buying one for myself, just to read it.
It focuses mainly on West Coast sororities, at big schools which I don’t doubt are party schools in the first place. The book follows four girls, three in the same sorority and one in another, through a year of school. Throughout the narrative, the author cites different accounts and studies also having to do with sorority life. It seems to be a well-researched and in-depth description of sorority life.
Except… not much of it rang a bell with me. I’m a sorority girl, yes. I party more than some college students, maybe. I have chapter once a week, ritual, recruitment. There’s girl drama, of course, but… we don’t haze. We have eight girls tops in the house, not a hundred. We dn’t turn people down because they’re not tall and blue-eyed, or if they’re disabled. We have girls of many nationalities, we have girls that don’t drink.
Even the one sorority on campus that probably most closely resembles the ones in the book has girls that I adore; that work hard in school and aren’t necessarily just party girls. And, really, the service, co-ed, fraternity that I pledged this year had more work for only pledges to do, and more that could be seen as “hazing” than my sorority did.
So while I am sure that the book is a good investigation into many sororities, I did not find that it is a good generalization of all Greek life. So, don’t judge us all by Legally Blonde, or this book either....more
I technically started this book in September, but I set it aside for a while and didn’t finish it until last week. Towards the end I had to force myseI technically started this book in September, but I set it aside for a while and didn’t finish it until last week. Towards the end I had to force myself to read fifty pages a day just to finish it. That said, it’s not a completely horrible book, but I was not a fan.
Too many of the occurrences were amazingly contrived. For instance, the main character, Lucy Snowe moves to an entirely different country and yet still manages to run into her godmother and, in a completely different fashion, a little girl for whom her godmother cared for ten years apart? No, don’t think so.
Also, Brontë’s prose, while brilliant, is very often preach-y. A big thing she seemed passionate about in this book was the differences between Catholicism and Protestantism. But this was not too well-woven into the story. Long passages devoted to it exist instead, just barely tied onto the characters.
I liked the main character, but thought her final relationship was a bit disappointing. She ends up with a man who has tormented her for most of the book, in a very condescending way. She seems to end up with him because she is sympathetic to his past and he buys her a school.
Still, it’s got some interesting characters, but not one I’d read again....more
Called “A portrait of Harper Lee” by the author, I would call this: “A portrait of Harper Lee, but not the details people really care about”, but thatCalled “A portrait of Harper Lee” by the author, I would call this: “A portrait of Harper Lee, but not the details people really care about”, but that’s me. Honestly, it seems to be a little bit more about Truman Capote than his friend Nelle Harper Lee. Personally, I would have liked to spend a little less time in the novel talking about her time helping Capote with “In Cold Blood” I also thought that there was too much talk about the people that surrounded Lee.
I was interested in the little details about the similarities between Lee’s childhood and the world of Maycomb she portrays in the novel; and the looks into the reasons that she did not write a second novel, but I also somewhat disapprove of the fact that the book was written directly against Harper Lee’s wishes....more
’m not too into non-fiction, not gonna lie, but I decided to read this as soon as I saw it, because as many know, I am addicted to Starbucks. This boo’m not too into non-fiction, not gonna lie, but I decided to read this as soon as I saw it, because as many know, I am addicted to Starbucks. This book was very interesting, and I learned a lot about the history of coffee and about the company which was mainly why I bought it. It was clear in reading it that the author, a journalist, set out rather biasedly to speak against Starbucks, but was not really able to succeed.
Yes, there were a few things to speak negatively about, free trade, expensive coffee, paying mostly for milk and so on. However, he had to admit the differences between Starbucks and other chains such as McDonald’s and other things that were mostly ambiguous. It definitely would not stop me from getting Starbucks and it was educational as well....more