I rated here the book as four stars but the real rate is 3.5 stars. Isabel Allende tells the story ( and really she is a storyteller) about the lives a...moreI rated here the book as four stars but the real rate is 3.5 stars. Isabel Allende tells the story ( and really she is a storyteller) about the lives and loves and troubles of a family in a country in South America. Although the story is beautifully written (although the images sometimes are a little bit forced, but maybe that is just my dutch translation), I didn't feel it was a superb book. Here's why. The caracters are two-dimensional. Reading the book I could guess where the story was going and the main reason is that the caracters are to logical. In given her caracters limited space to move beyond the expected Isabel Allende isn't doing her story a favour and that's a real pity because otherwise I really enjoyed escaping in the book for a couple of hours. A good book that could have been great. The magic aspect is seen throughout the book, especially in the character of Clara the clairvoyant. Magic is treated as commonplace and very real. Only in magic realism can a mother bathe her daughter or give food to the poor just as easily as predict the future and move things with her mind. Only in magic realism can a Senator vehemently oppose Marxism within the walls of Congress as well as shrink daily due to a curse. (less)
What an unusual concept for book, this story of a man obsessed by capturing the ultimate perfume. I'm not sure what to think of this book. It was defi...moreWhat an unusual concept for book, this story of a man obsessed by capturing the ultimate perfume. I'm not sure what to think of this book. It was definitely interesting in its vivid description of Paris and various places in France. The imagery that the author used was fantastic and really made you feel as if you were there. I did not really enjoy the story and plot. I didn't really think it was that entertaining even with the crazy ending.(less)
Like water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. English translation from Spanish. This delicious story of love, family, fate and food is enthralling. Esqu...moreLike water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. English translation from Spanish. This delicious story of love, family, fate and food is enthralling. Esquivel, a Mexican resident, does a brilliant job on this her first novel. This book tells a tale of Tita who is unable to marry her true love due to unjust family tradition.The story develops to reveal the pain suffered by Tita in struggling to live without her soulmate and having to live with in oppression due to her old fashioned mother.Narrated in the third person this story is fairly comprehensible although it moves quickly so reading it more than once allows for better understanding. This book is outstanding as it is unique, the journey of unrequited love is captivating. The Mexican setting is easy to visualise because of the detail used in describing the food and people.the story is set at the time of the Mexican Revolution(1910 to 1920) which adds to the atmosphere of the book. Tita as the main character is likeable as she is an interesting, lively character with extreme talent for cooking. Tita deserves a lot of sympathy in the story as she is the victim. One of Tita's two sisters, Rosaura, is the quiet , shy type. She became a bother to the plot , she was placed in a bad situation but she is not an evil person.Gertrudis, Tita's other sister is a free spirited soul who rebels against all restrictions. Gertrudis brings an element of shock or surprise to the story which makes her likeable. The male lead and love interest of Tita, Pedro is highly passionate but acts at times submissive as he is not strong enough to stop circumstances. The villain of the story is arguably Mama Elena. As the mother of the three girls, this tyrant woman is dislikeable as she ruins the lives of nearly every character. Esquivel has created such a believable character in this bitter selfish woman. I liked this book! It was filled with emotions, you could taste, smell, feel and see the characters lives unfolding. I liked the magical touch too. The truth is that I would like a different end to this book, but I have ti live with the author decided to write.(less)
Product Description The Woman in White (1859-60) is the first and greatest "Sensation Novel." Walter Hartright's mysterious midnight encounter with the...moreProduct Description The Woman in White (1859-60) is the first and greatest "Sensation Novel." Walter Hartright's mysterious midnight encounter with the woman in white draws him into a vortex of crime, poison, kidnapping, and international intrigue. This new critical edition is the first to use the original manuscript of the novel. John Sutherland examines Collins's contribution to Victorian fiction, traces his practices as a creator of plot, and provides a chronology of the novel's complicated events.
Louisa May Alcott wrote many books, but "Little Women" retains a special place in the heart of American literature. Her warmly realistic stories, sens...moreLouisa May Alcott wrote many books, but "Little Women" retains a special place in the heart of American literature. Her warmly realistic stories, sense of comedy and tragedy, and insights into human nature make the romance, humor and sweet stories of "Little Women" come alive. The story of four sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy is one that will forever be a part of American liteary culture. Set in the mid-1800s in a small New England town, Louisa May Alcott invites the reader into the home of these four sisters as they deal with the struggles of having a father off fighting in the Civil War, having to mature and grow up supporting themselves with little jobs here and there and finding out about the joys of love, children, and the sadness of death. This coming of age novel follows Jo mainly as she is faced with the day to day choices that will help her sisters and mother make it through the harsh New England winters. My nana gave this book to me and I hope to continue on the tradtion of passing this book on. It's a wonderful book to be shared by mothers and daughter and granddaughters alike since it shows the true spirit of women. (less)
From Publishers Weekly Christopher Boone, the autistic 15-year-old narrator of this revelatory novel, relaxes by groaning and doing math problems in hi...moreFrom Publishers Weekly Christopher Boone, the autistic 15-year-old narrator of this revelatory novel, relaxes by groaning and doing math problems in his head, eats red-but not yellow or brown-foods and screams when he is touched. Strange as he may seem, other people are far more of a conundrum to him, for he lacks the intuitive "theory of mind" by which most of us sense what's going on in other people's heads. When his neighbor's poodle is killed and Christopher is falsely accused of the crime, he decides that he will take a page from Sherlock Holmes (one of his favorite characters) and track down the killer. As the mystery leads him to the secrets of his parents' broken marriage and then into an odyssey to find his place in the world, he must fall back on deductive logic to navigate the emotional complexities of a social world that remains a closed book to him. In the hands of first-time novelist Haddon, Christopher is a fascinating case study and, above all, a sympathetic boy: not closed off, as the stereotype would have it, but too open-overwhelmed by sensations, bereft of the filters through which normal people screen their surroundings. Christopher can only make sense of the chaos of stimuli by imposing arbitrary patterns ("4 yellow cars in a row made it a Black Day, which is a day when I don't speak to anyone and sit on my own reading books and don't eat my lunch and Take No Risks"). His literal-minded observations make for a kind of poetic sensibility and a poignant evocation of character. Though Christopher insists, "This will not be a funny book. I cannot tell jokes because I do not understand them," the novel brims with touching, ironic humor. The result is an eye-opening work in a unique and compelling literary voice. (less)
Well I am done with the re-read of this book. Yes I read it as a teenager and I loved it as I did the firs time. I have an uncle in Sacramento that sa...moreWell I am done with the re-read of this book. Yes I read it as a teenager and I loved it as I did the firs time. I have an uncle in Sacramento that says that it's good to read a book a couple of times in different parts of our life. Rebecca", the book that gave Daphne du Maurier immortality, has all the features of the novel of its time. Balancing on the thin, invisible line between plain romance and deep psychological analysis, it is engrossing, for me to the point of sacrificing sleep. Rebecca" is a great classic, full of suspence, with great characters. It is definitely worth reading even as the only book by du Maurier, to get acquainted with her style, and it is a very good novel for a long, winter evening, virtually moving the reader to the British countryside at the beginning of the twentieth century. Although the novel certainly aged, it did so gracefully, retaining all its charm. (less)
Corelli's Mandolin is a light and witty story that still manages to be infused with the weight of myth.Set on the Greek island of Cephallonia, the rea...moreCorelli's Mandolin is a light and witty story that still manages to be infused with the weight of myth.Set on the Greek island of Cephallonia, the reader is thrust into the 'literally' lush, emotionally rich, sharply humorous, painfully tragic story of the beautiful Pelagia. This spirited young woman lives with her father, the village physician and self-appointed historian. This is the tale of the small town on Cephallonia, Pelagia's life, her two great loves (one a beautiful young Greek fisherman whom the war ravages, and the other a somewhat shy, sweet Italian army captain who plays Antonia, his mandolin), and the Second World War in the Balkans (which include Greece). I loved this book and will blatantly quote the Washington Post, "(It) brims with all the grand topics of literature - love and death, heroism and skullduggery, humor and pathos, not to mention art and religion. A good old-fashioned novel." This is a wonderful curl-up-in-bed-for-a-few-hours-and-be-transported novel. (less)
It sounded like a good book when I bought it, but didn't enjoy it.
It seems that most people really love this book, but I hated it. I only give it two...moreIt sounded like a good book when I bought it, but didn't enjoy it.
It seems that most people really love this book, but I hated it. I only give it two stars because various passages of the book were interesting. I enjoyed those few pieces but as a whole I wanted to toss it in the trash. The book seemed to drag on and on.
I was not able to care about any of the characters, I found them all self absorbed and immature. I could neither really love or hate them, they seemed too fake to me. Without the story invoking feeling I couldn't get into it. (less)
The story was quite amazing, if a bit implausible (a geisha plucked out of the deep countryside? a Japanese girl with blue eyes?). The characters are...moreThe story was quite amazing, if a bit implausible (a geisha plucked out of the deep countryside? a Japanese girl with blue eyes?). The characters are great, although the description of the skills she had to learn to become a geisha were somehow less developed than descriptions of the hardship of life in Gion. Some episodes that describe how geisha entertain were good, but the gleeful enymity between main character Sayuri and Hatsumomo is neither explained nor properly developed - and then, just when you think that the evil relationship is quite central to he book, Hatsumomo is discarded and all but forgotten as a character two thirds into the book. The ending of the book is one of the worst I've read, it even makes "Ransom" look like a masterpiece in terms of how it is concluded - while that book was not as good, the ending certainly was a stunner (albeit a bit pointless). (less)
The Grapes of Wrath is phenomenal not for the unforgetable cross-country trek of the Joad family in the post-depression years, but for the essence of...moreThe Grapes of Wrath is phenomenal not for the unforgetable cross-country trek of the Joad family in the post-depression years, but for the essence of humanity which Steinbeck so perfectly captures in every chapter. Steinbeck demonstrates how people who are just barely getting by on what they have sometimes have more to give to their fellow man than the wealthiest citizens our society has to offer. He draws a vivid picture of struggle during hard times for the most disenfanchized Americans, yet shows the emotional side of poverty and disolutionment, and reveals how genuin humanity can often be most prevalent amidst the most inhumane of living conditions. Few novels portray the Hunger of the human spirit with more compassion and talent than Grapes. This was Steinbecks strong suit. Say what you will about his leftist, "Socialist", leanings, I believe Poore said it best; "Steinbeck didn't need the Nobel Prize the Nobel judges needed him." Poore concluded: "His place in [U.S.:] literature is secure. And it lives on in the works of innumerable writers who learned from him how to present the forgotten man unforgettably." And this, Steinbecks masterpeaice, remains their blueprint. (less)