Although I had read this novel last October it was a reading group selection this month and so I decided to first listen to its audio edition. I felt...moreAlthough I had read this novel last October it was a reading group selection this month and so I decided to first listen to its audio edition. I felt that Neil Gaiman did an excellent job of narration. His voice is rich and he clearly knows his material and brought his characters vividly to life. On the day of the meeting I also did a brief re-read of my paperback edition.
I felt the novel held up well for a second reading and I found had a deeper appreciation for its themes as well as its strangeness. Although I enjoyed it very much it didn't grip me as much as American Gods though I did wonder if the three Hempstock women could be a form of the Fates or Norns given their work with threads and their seemingly eternal natures.
However, it was less well received by the reading group than I had expected. There was some confusion about whether this was for adults, given the age of its narrator, or more for young adults despite some mature themes.
I finished this delightful story about evil cats this morning as I am still waiting on delivery of second hand edition after I had to return book to l...more I finished this delightful story about evil cats this morning as I am still waiting on delivery of second hand edition after I had to return book to library.
As a cat lover I had a few moments when the text equating cats with Hell and the Devil but then this was humorous enough not to mind too much.
Its narrator did an excellent job of capturing the mock horror flavour of the novel. (less)
As I had not read Northanger Abbey previously I decided it was a good idea to read it before reading Val McDermid's re-imagining for The Austen Projec...moreAs I had not read Northanger Abbey previously I decided it was a good idea to read it before reading Val McDermid's re-imagining for The Austen Project.
I was surprised at the amount of comedy in it as well as the clear satire of the popularity of Gothic novels with young ladies. Austen also often breaks the fourth wall by addressing her reader and advising them of the choices she is making for her heroine. It seems a novel very ripe for updating given the current trend in YA paranormal romance to replace the Gothic novels that enthral Catherine.
I did not quite feel the love story was as powerful as in other of Austen's novels though this perked up towards the end. Very glad that I finally read this. (less)
This is a reading group selection and one of those novels that I could appreciate for its writing style and content - a powerful story of grief and co...moreThis is a reading group selection and one of those novels that I could appreciate for its writing style and content - a powerful story of grief and coming to terms with changes.
The setting of Newfoundland was extremely well realised. Although apparently set in the now (it was written in early 1990s) there was something very timeless about the setting.
There were some very shocking twists, dark comedy.
Still while I could admire it, I didn't engage that much with its characters.
I'll update this review following the group discussion.(less)
I found this a beautifully written tale or rather series of tales around the theme of a Native American drum. The other running theme is death and ber...moreI found this a beautifully written tale or rather series of tales around the theme of a Native American drum. The other running theme is death and bereavement as various characters come to terms with the tragic deaths of sisters and daughters.
Louise Erdrich's descriptions of nature and animals were breath-taking giving a real sense of being in nature even when tucked up reading in an armchair thousands of miles away from her setting. She also deals sensitively with the Native American lore entrusted to her; something she makes clear in her end notes.
This was a reading group selection and while attendance at the group was minimal due to a clashing event for some members, the novel proved a success with two of us while the others did not feel it was a bad book but expressed difficulties in relating to Faye as a character. It did generate a great deal of discussion, which always is a good outcome for a reading group's chosen book. (less)
I found myself enjoying this even though at times I wanted to throttle its narrator, Natasha, over her immature behaviour especially in regards of Sir...moreI found myself enjoying this even though at times I wanted to throttle its narrator, Natasha, over her immature behaviour especially in regards of Sir Bedivere. Her jealousy was so infantile and kicking blokes in the goolies really is a very unattractive quality. Still, she also was extremely possessive of her brother as well, making for a lot of tension between her and his girlfriend, Samantha, who she dubs Slurpy Sammy. I will admit that Sir Bedivere is my favourite of the Arthurian knights and she just seemed unworthy of him. I could not see for the life of me why he was attracted to her. One might expect a diplomat's daughter to be less of a spoiled brat.
Yet despite Natasha I did feel that the author's heart was in the right place in terms of wanting to update the Arthurian legend for a new young adult readership. The fight scenes were well realised and quite brutal in places.
I have bought Book 2 in the series, which is a good indication that I enjoyed this to the point of wanting to see how things continue for Natasha , Arthur and the delightful Sammy, who seems to be taking her notions of evilness from studying episodes of 'Merlin' and then emulating Katie McGrath's Morgana. (less)