This is the story of Briony, whose imagination at fourteen years old changed the lives of her sister Cecilia and Robbie for ever. As she grows older BThis is the story of Briony, whose imagination at fourteen years old changed the lives of her sister Cecilia and Robbie for ever. As she grows older Briony realizes the mistake that she has made, but it seems too late. She wants to make amends, but after all that they went through because of her will Cecilia and Robbie forgive her?
I had high hopes for this book but I have to say that I was disappointed. The story was slow and at times it just dragged on and on. The first thing that bothered me was the jumping back and forth in time. I found it confusing that sometimes I would be reading a part thinking the story continues, then I would realize that it is actually recounting the same scene I have just read but from the point of view of a different character. The long passages were very tedious, it goes into in-depth descriptions of objects which I found irrelevant and did nothing to enhance the story. Apart from feeling bad for Robbie and mad at Briony, I could not connect with the characters at all and this was a big downside because I like characters that come to life. The only part of the book that I can say I enjoyed reading is the second part, where Robbie is on his way back from the war. This was the only time I felt the story was suspenseful and it got me interested, however once I got through this part it went back to being slow and I struggled to finish it. The last part of the book just seemed like blurbing, I could not understand what message the author wanted to get across by this ending. By the end I realized that in fact there is not much to the story. I truly don't understand what is the hype about this book.
I was surprised with myself because I rarely ever feel this way about a book, and although I won't say that I hated it, I really didn't like this one. After reading this book I now want to watch the movie. I have not yet watched a movie which I liked better than the book, maybe this will be a first? ...more
It has been a while since I read the third book in this series but finally managed to get to the fourth. Since the last book was a little disappointinIt has been a while since I read the third book in this series but finally managed to get to the fourth. Since the last book was a little disappointing I was somewhat reluctant to continue reading it, but at the same time I really wanted to know what happens next.
In the fourth book of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, a new angle is introduced. We are back on Earth, yes the same one that has been demolished by the Vogons in the first book, where seven years later everything is back to normal except everyone one thinks that they suffered from a mass delusion that Earth was destroyed. The other thing that nobody seems to be able to explain is that all the dolphins have gone missing. This time the story revolves mostly on Arthur, which manages to find the love of his life, Fenchurch, and their relationship develops into something that he has never experienced before. Together, Arthur and Fenchurch embark on a mission to find God's last message to his creation.
The first thing I noticed about this book is that it's completely different. Unlike the first three books, there is not much traveling in space going on and the focus is mainly on Arthur, which might be referred to as the most boring in the cast of characters. Overall the story is not bad, but nothing very exciting happens either and to be honest I was expecting more action. As usual there are some funny parts to it, this is after all what Adams is famous for, but again nothing like the first two books. This book might have been slightly better than the previous one in that it is generally less silly, and it does have a good ending when God's last message to his creation is revealed. That was quite hilarious and probably the best part of the book!
I am now looking forward to reading the last book in this trilogy of five (I always loved this phrase) to see how it all ends. I am really hoping though that Adams put something good together in the same way that the first two books were good!...more
I was looking forward to read the last book in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and find out how it all ended for the characters, but most of allI was looking forward to read the last book in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and find out how it all ended for the characters, but most of all I was hoping that it will be on the same level as the first two books in the series, creative, hilarious and fun to read. Unfortunately it wasn't much of that at all.
Fenchurch disappeared in hyperspace and Arthur has been traveling through all possible dimension for a place similar to Earth until he settles on an Earthlike, albeit a little primitive, planet where he makes a huge success as a sandwich maker. Arthur's fate is not to live serene though, and thanks to Ford and his newly found teenage daughter Random, his world is turned upside down once again. Random is his daughter by Trillian and it turns out that she's just as confused as Arthur, especially because of the fact that her mother dropped her here because she simply doesn't have time to take care of her. In the meantime Ford discovers that a huge corporation has bought out The Hitchhiker's Guide and developed a new version with the power to destroy the universe. Naturally he feels that he must stop this insanity.
Where do I begin with this book? This series seems to dwindle with every book. The first two books were excellent, but from the third onwards all I have been hoping for is that the next book will be better, but the last book didn't cut it either. I struggled to get though the first part but hung in there, simply because I always want to finish a book once I start it, no matter how bad it is. The second half got better, there was some sort of plot to follow and that raised my hopes a little, until I reached the end and all I could say was, "That's all?" What a dreary ending for these poor characters! Not very impressive. My other complaint about this book and the series in general is how Zaphod was chucked out of the story never to be heard of again. He was my favorite character in the first books and accounted for most of the wittiness, if there was one question I could ask Adams it would be why did he have to get rid of Zaphod!
I am glad I managed to finish this series, and I must sadly say that I won't be missing it either. If you've read the other books in this series, then you definitely have to read this one simply to close off the series, however don't set your expectations too high, and if you do end up liking it then that's a plus for you....more
I recently joined Booksneeze and this is the first book I chose to review. I am always interested to learn about the history and politics of other couI recently joined Booksneeze and this is the first book I chose to review. I am always interested to learn about the history and politics of other countries, so this was a perfect pick for me.
A Century Turns: New Hopes, New Fears deals with the last twenty years of American history. In this book, William J. Bennett writes about the events that shaped America as well as the rest of the world. From presidential elections, the fall of communism, the wars that America was involved in, the terrorist attack of 9/11, the execution of Saddam Hussein and many more, to the election of the first black president and the new hopes and fears that America faces today.
Although this may sound like a dull topic to many, there was not one moment when I was reading this book that I thought it was boring or slow. I have learned so much about American politics from this book, especially the time before Bill Clinton since I must admit that I did not know a lot about before. Being that I'm not American myself, it was very interesting to see the point of view on local and international events coming from an American. I had no idea who the author was before I read this book, however you can tell without a doubt that he is biased towards the Republicans. Having said that though I was pleased that he writes about the good and the bad of both the Democratic and Republican parties. Something else I enjoyed about this book is that it is full of facts and references, where I often found myself checking the references on certain topics for further reading.
I would say that this book is not for everyone, however if you're even slightly interested in American history and politics, you definitely need to read this one! ...more
I have had this book sitting on my shelf for a long time and I finally decided to pick it up. I am usually not a fan of short stories because I feel yI have had this book sitting on my shelf for a long time and I finally decided to pick it up. I am usually not a fan of short stories because I feel you don't have enough time to connect with the characters, but since these were novellas and a little longer than what is considered to be a short story it sounded promising. I ended up really liking Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, sort of liking Apt Pupil, and not liking The Body and The Breathing Method much.
Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption ~ This is the first time I have read anything by Stephen King that wasn't a horror story, no scary situations and no gory details whatsoever. I'm sure that many people are familiar with the story of Andy Dufresne and how he broke out of prison as it was made into one of the best movies ever. It is told by Red, Andy's prison mate, and it leaves you with a positive message and a sense of respect for Andy which got what he wanted through his patience and determination.
Apt Pupil ~ I had no idea that Stephen King wrote any WWII fiction so this story came as a nice surprise. An American teenager discovers one of the most brutal Nazi war criminals living in his neighborhood under a false name. In turn for his silence he asks the old German to tell him about the atrocities that occurred in the concentration camps, including all the "gooshy" details. The boy's interest however turns into something more dangerous and horrible that unleashes the monster within both characters. The story started out good and kept my interest, but as it progressed it became more twisted and sometimes quite sick too.
The Body ~ This is a coming of age story about four boys that go on an adventure to find the dead body of a boy that was hit by a train. It is told by one of these boys who grew up to be an author and it really captures the process of maturing from childhood to adolescence really well. The premise was good however it seemed to drag on and after a while it got boring, it never seemed to reach a climax. It is not what I would call a bad story but it is just ok. It reminded me a lot of 'The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon', another book by King which I was not too crazy about.
The Breathing Method ~ It is Dr. McCarron's turn to tell a story at an obscure gentlemen's club, and the story he picks is about a young pregnant woman he met earlier in his career who mastered the Lameze breathing method which he suggested. This is a story within a story which turns out to have a horrible ending, in fact the ending of this last novella was what reminded me that I was reading a book by Stephen King, it just seemed like his sort of thing. This is also the shortest and the only novella in this book that has not been made into a movie so far. I did not particularly like this one either, and although the ending was quite suspenseful, it did bore me out a little as a whole.
The part I liked the most from this book was the Afterword, where King includes a background of how this book came to be. I really enjoyed reading this, even though it made me feel a bit bad that I didn't like the stories as much as the author hoped....more
I found the title of this book to be quite interesting and I was curious as to what the Potato Peel Pie was and what it had to do with a literary sociI found the title of this book to be quite interesting and I was curious as to what the Potato Peel Pie was and what it had to do with a literary society. Once I found out this was a book set in post WWII I definitely had to read it, especially since everyone I know raved about it.
It is 1946 and Juliet is searching for a topic for her next book. One day she receives an unexpected letter from Dawsey Adams, a resident of Guernsey who came across a book once owned by Juliet. Dawsey and Juliet start exchanging letters and soon Juliet becomes interested in Guernsey, the German Occupation and the society that Dawsey was a member of. It is not long before other members of the society start corresponding with Juliet, each telling her their experiences of the Occupation. Juliet falls in love with the members of this society and decides to visit Guernsey in an attempt to gather more material for her book. Here she meets some extraordinary people and learns about the hardships that the Occupation brought for the Islanders, and the courage they had to get through it.
I love reading historical fiction about WWII and I definitely recommend this one. It is written in the form of letters, mainly to and from Juliet, which is the main character. I thought this was a great way to portray the views of the different characters and it made their experiences seem more personal. I found myself attached to all the characters, especially Juliet where at times her wit really cracked me up. Although dealing with a topic like WWII and the suffering that the people went through in this time, it is told in a lighthearted and humane way so as to make the book very enjoyable to read. I really didn't want this book to end, but I was pleased with how it ended as I am a sucker for happy endings. Seriously though who doesn't love one? However I must mention that if you are looking for an in-depth book about the German Occupation in Guernsey, this is not it. You have to keep in mind that this is fiction which is pleasantly written and great for a light read, so you should not expect a lot of detail on the Occupation itself.
My favorite quote from this book was made by Isola in one of her letters to Juliet, when I read it I had to stop and laugh - "Men are more interesting in books than they are in real life." I think this holds true not just for men, but characters in books are generally much more interesting than anyone I know! ...more
This is another book where I heard about the movie first, and then discovered that it was based on a book, so quite naturally I had to read it.
This boThis is another book where I heard about the movie first, and then discovered that it was based on a book, so quite naturally I had to read it.
This book is set in post WWII Germany and told by Michael Berg. It starts when he was 15 years old and Hanna Schmitz came into his life. Although Hanna was twice his age, Michael was seduced and immediately fell in love with her. For a period of time they were lovers, and one of the things that Hanna liked was when Michael read to her, until one day Hanna disappeared and left no way for Michael to contact her. Years later when he is a law student, Michael is assigned to a trial and there he unexpectedly sees Hanna again. This time things have changed, she is being trialled as a guard in one of the concentration camps and there is so much about Hanna that Michael doesn't know. As he sits through the trial he tries to understand her motive, until he discovers the secret which is keeping Hanna from defending herself.
I found this to be a very easy and a quick read, and although it is a short novel, the topics it deals with give you a lot to think about. I liked the two main characters in this book, yet I thought that Hanna was much stronger and at first I was a little disappointed when Michael discovered her secret. My initial reaction was that it was impossible for someone to behave that way, but thinking about it made me realize how much it must have meant for Hanna if she was willing to get a harsher sentence to conceal her secret. In the end I was eager to see what happened to Michael and Hanna, but again was disappointed by what she did. I may have been hoping for a happy ending though, and the fact that it did not happen could have something to do with why I was unhappy with Hanna.
I think I expected more from this book, probably because of all the hype surrounding the movie that was released in 2008, which I haven't seen yet because as always I like to read the book first. All in all however it was still worth reading and I think it would make a great book for discussion, it is surely good food for thought. ...more
I normally do not read a lot of young adult fiction, but in the past year I have come across a ton of young adult books which I want to read. So thisI normally do not read a lot of young adult fiction, but in the past year I have come across a ton of young adult books which I want to read. So this year I have decided to include more books from this genre, and that started when I was at the airport in London waiting for my flight back home. As usual I went to the bookstore to pick up a book or two, as is my custom, and Need was one of the books I got. I couldn't wait to read it, so I started it as soon as I got home.
Zara's world comes to a halt when her father suddenly dies. To help her move on, her mother decides to send her to live with her grandmother in Maine, and although Zara loves her grandmother she is not too thrilled about leaving her home in Charleston. Once in Maine things do not seem too bad however, her first day at school went relatively well and it did not take her long to find new friends in Issie, Devyn and the very handsome Nick. Except one thing is still bothering her. Back when she was at home she thought that a guy was stalking her, and it looks like moving to Maine did not get rid of him. On her mission to find out who's following her, Zara makes a surprising discovery, one that is completely new to her, but what is more surprising is that it is not so new to the people around her.
I have read this book a couple of weeks ago and I still have mixed feelings about it. I liked the plot in general, but I think the story could have been developed in a better way instead of being cut so short. It feels like I barely had time to get to know the characters and their surroundings and before I knew it the story was over. Most of the time it is quite predictable and you can see what is going to happen early on. Once that happens it makes it a little frustrating that you have to wait a good amount of pages for it to be revealed. The characters are mostly likable, even though I may have wanted to yell at Zara a few times, I liked the way that she views everything around her. I also liked the bubbly Issie, but I can see where she may come across as annoying to some. In fact I missed Issie and Devyn when they got out of the picture for a while, but just when I started to wonder what happened to them they were introduced back in. My favorite character was without a doubt Zara's grandmother Betty, I thought her humor made the book more enjoyable. Having a grandma like her would be amazing. The other thing I wasn't a big fan of was the short sentences which occurred so often, such as "I pull away. He lets go. I walk over to the door." I don't get the point of having such sentences, or how they're supposed to enhance your experience when reading, I personally find these very tedious.
One thing that this book definitely did though, is make me want to read more young adult / urban fantasy books. Oh to be lost in a completely different world, one with faeries, werewolves, and young love! Isn't it so awesome! ...more
I have been meaning to read something by Bill Bryson for a while now and I finally picked this up from the library. Being that I'm more familiar withI have been meaning to read something by Bill Bryson for a while now and I finally picked this up from the library. Being that I'm more familiar with England, I chose this one first, although his titles all sound so tempting.
Before writing this book, Bill Bryson had been living in England for a number of years when he decided to move back home to the U.S. However before he left he decided that he needed to take a farewell trip around Britain, which he then chronicled in Notes From A Small Island. Bryson starts his trip in Dover, where he arrives by boat from Calais, just like he did the first time he came to Britain, and travels up North as far as Scotland. During his tour, he stops at various small towns and cities where he often stays at shabby hotels, visits museums, galleries, and historic sites, as well as go to the local pubs and restaurants. His insight on each of these is often hilarious.
From the very beginning this book was laugh out loud funny and he can poke fun at pretty much anything, good job I was reading this at home. It was especially interesting to read about places that I have been to myself, and most of the time realized that the things he was saying were so true. Although I must say that I was quite disappointed about his views on Oxford, since I have been there many times and love it. Sometimes it seemed that he got a little whiny, and I found his attitude towards people serving him in restaurants was often snotty, but I chalked it up to being away from his family and home for so long. I guess that is my excuse for not wanting to believe that he is that kind of person. The biggest downfall of this book is that it made me want to pack my suitcase and go to England to visit all these places, even the ones which Bryson didn't like!
All in all I really enjoyed reading this book and I am already planning on which Bryson book to read next! ...more
This was the first book that I have won from participating in a giveaway! I had been wanting to read this one for a long time, so when I received theThis was the first book that I have won from participating in a giveaway! I had been wanting to read this one for a long time, so when I received the email to tell me that I won Water for Elephants I was thrilled.
The story is told from two different perspectives, that of 93 year old Jacob, and the same Jacob at the age of 22. In 1931, the young Jacob finds himself unexpectedly joining a traveling circus after a family tragedy leads him to quit school. There he meets Marlena, the equestrian on the show, and as time goes by their affection for each other keeps growing. However Marlena is already married to August, the animal trainer who is a certified paranoid schizophrenic. The time he spends with the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth is further complicated due to the struggle circuses everywhere were going through because of the great depression, which made Uncle Al, the ruthless owner of the circus even more difficult to deal with. Now at 93, Jacob cannot grasp the idea that he is getting old and he can't believe this old man's body is his, neither can he accept the fact that he has to live in an assisted living home. One day a visiting circus arrives, and while eagerly waiting for his family to take him to the circus, his memories are triggered and the younger Jacob takes over to tell the story.
Most of the time when I start a book it takes a couple of chapters to actually decide if I am liking it or not, however I liked Water for Elephants from the very start! It was an easy and enjoyable read, and although it might be considered as chick lit this book is very well researched and gives you just enough detail to make you feel like you know what it's all about. The characters just come to life, I loved the young Jacob and Marlena, and felt so bad for the older Jacob. In this book, even the animals are given a personality, especially Rosie the elephant who was definitely a favorite of mine because of the fact that she has more human characteristics than some of the other characters. In the end it turned out to be very moving, with a pleasant surprise included as well. It made me so happy to know that Jacob found a way to be content again.
The book finished with a note and a conversation with Sara Gruen. I really enjoy reading these as it gives you an insight on the author's thoughts, and what was the idea behind the story. In fact I was really impressed to learn that most things in this book are based on real life events. I would have never thought! ...more
I first heard about The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas as a movie and thought it was one to watch. I later found out that it is based on a book and that gI first heard about The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas as a movie and thought it was one to watch. I later found out that it is based on a book and that got me even more interested. I normally prefer to read the book first so I held off from watching the movie until I read it.
Bruno is the nine year old son of a Commandant in Nazi Germany. Due to his father's job his family is moved from their home in Berlin to Auschwitz. Bruno does not understand why they have to move and he certainly doesn't like it. Their new home is not as nice as the one in Berlin and he misses his three best friends for life, besides there is nothing to do here and he has no friends to play with. From his bedroom window he can see lots of other kids at the other side of the fence, all wearing striped pyjamas, but he is not allowed to go over there and play with them. One day Bruno is out exploring when he finds Shmuel, a boy from the other side of the fence. Bruno and Shmuel become friends, and from this friendship Bruno starts to discover what is really going on around him.
This is easily the saddest book I have read this year and what made it worse was the innocence of the two boys who really didn't understand the meaning behind the concentration camp or why they were supposed to be enemies. Throughout the book you encounter little hints of what goes on at the other side and how the Jews were treated, which the nine year old Bruno does not seem to apprehend but you obviously do. However nothing prepared me for the ending. Since I know that this book is geared towards young adults, I think I was naive as to how bad it could get and I was really shocked. I never thought a book could do that to me! The only thing that bothered me about this book is that sometimes the writing was mediocre. This was mostly due to long sentences that had no punctuation and never seemed to end. However, since I was so wrapped up in the story I was able to overlook this and it didn't hinder me from enjoying the book any less.
I have now watched the movie right after reading the book. I must say that I was very pleased with how true to the original story they kept and it was just as good as the book, which is rarely something I would say for movies based on books. Of course there were some minor details in the book that were missing in the movie, that always annoys me a little because it's those details that make the story more real, but I'm glad that they didn't spoil it. ...more
After reading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, which I really loved, I decided to pick up another Austen novel and chose Mansfield Park because I hAfter reading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, which I really loved, I decided to pick up another Austen novel and chose Mansfield Park because I had read that it is different from her more popular books.
In this novel, the ten year old Fanny Price is taken from her poor parents' home to live at Mansfield Park and be brought up with her rich cousins. Here the difference in class becomes very apparent, her cousins feel superior to her so they ignore her most of the time, however her cousin Edmund is different and he becomes Fanny's only friend. While her uncle is away in Antigua, the Crawford's arrive in the neighborhood and as they become closer to the family the story unravels into a moral and social dilemma.
It started a little slow and halfway through the book I was still waiting for something to happen, it just seemed to dwell on the day-to-day lives of the Bertrams and the Crawfords, without giving much importance to Fanny. I found some of the characters in this book to be really hateful, I especially hated Mrs. Norris and how she treated Fanny, taking credit where it was not deserved and spoiling Fanny's cousins. At times I just wanted to talk some sense into their heads to stop being so selfish. The two characters that I liked from the very beginning were Fanny for how sensible she was and Edmund for how kind he was to his cousin when everyone else pretty much ignored her, and as the story developed I also started liking Sir Thomas Bertram more and more. The last two hundred pages is when the story started to get really interesting. I really wanted Henry Crawford to be successful in his quest, I believed that Fanny changed him. I certainly was not expecting the ending, it seemed that the character's lives were too dull for such things to happen to them so it came as a surprise to me, and although I was disappointed in some of them I was also very happy with how it ended. At the end of the the book I realized that the time spent getting to know the characters in the beginning was well worth it because it gives you a better understanding of their actions.
I love the detail that Jane Austen puts into her characters, it makes you feel like you know these people and you're part of the story. Although Mansfield Park is not as edgy as Pride and Prejudice, it's still a great classic and I would recommend it to any classics or Jane Austen fan....more
I forgot where I got to know about this book, but I do remember that as soon as I read what it is about I was interested in it right away. A couple ofI forgot where I got to know about this book, but I do remember that as soon as I read what it is about I was interested in it right away. A couple of months later I was at the airport waiting for my flight back home, and as I always do I stopped at the bookstore. As soon as I went in, the first thing I saw was a huge pile of The White Tiger books, so I obviously had to get it.
Balram Halwai is an Indian entrepreneur. When he hears that Premier Wen Jiabao of China is going to visit his country, Balram decides to tell him about the life in India that he will no doubt not be told about on his visit. That is the life of an entrepreneur coming from a lower caste. In his letter, Balram tells Premier Jiabao about his childhood in poverty, his life in Delhi as a servant to Mr Ashok, how he became a wanted man, and ultimately an entrepreneur in Bangalore.
The journey of Balram to become an entrepreneur brings out the extreme difference between the poor and the rich in India. I found Balram to be quite an interesting character. He hated the people that were corrupt and immoral, and did whatever it takes to get what they wanted, but in the end he too became one of these people. However, the sad thing is that it doesn't seems that there was a clean way of getting out of the rooster coop he was in, there are simply no opportunities for someone that is born in 'the darkness' to free himself. I think this is the message that the author wanted to get across, and he did it by first getting the reader's empathy for Balram, so when his actions become unspeakable you still feel for him and believe that he had to do what he did to gain his freedom. What I thought was quite unsettling was his views on white people, and it makes me wonder if that is a common belief amongst these people. This was an easy and fast read, sometimes being satirical too, even though the topic is not a light one and it raised many questions while I was reading it.
This is the first book I have read about this topic, and although I have watched the movie 'Slumdog Millionaire', I didn't quite understand what it meant to belong to a lower caste in India before I read this book. Of course I also remind myself that this is fiction, but it seems that this has become such a popular topic to write about lately that it feels like these authors want to get a message across. ...more