Christmas Haul #1. (In fact the only book I got for Christmas this year) from a dear friend.
What a great book this is to read in winter. I remember rChristmas Haul #1. (In fact the only book I got for Christmas this year) from a dear friend.
What a great book this is to read in winter. I remember reading Crime and Punishment in June one year, and it really didn't work for me sweltering in the Cumbrian sunshine (no irony at all) whilst reading about sledges zipping across St Petersburg.
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Wharton's writing is sublime with fantastic description and tension throughout. Poor Ethan Frome. Boohiss Zeena. Lovely Mattie Silver....more
If you like scifi and love books and cats, you won't go wrong with this book. Fed-up with Scandinavian Crime, I asked hubby for a recommendation, andIf you like scifi and love books and cats, you won't go wrong with this book. Fed-up with Scandinavian Crime, I asked hubby for a recommendation, and this was what he handed me.
This story follows the main character, Stark, as he journeys from his own Neighbourhood of 'The City', called Colour, (reminiscent of Jasper Fforde's "Shades of Grey"), through other Neighbourhoods such as 'Red', (think 'Mad Max') and 'Cat', (a neighbourhood inhabited by cats). Stark is sent on a mission that takes him to other locales and this is the meat of the plot. I would have quite happily had Stark staying in the City, as it was a very interesting place, but then it would have been a different book. As it stands, the plot is tricky, but a successful denouement ties it all together in a sound fashion.
I was surprised to find out that the author was a Brit, as much of the language seemed quite American. Perhaps this was on the editor's(') behest? Dunno.
Anyhoo, a good read. Am back on the crime now, for my new bookclub. Glad of the diversion, though. ...more
Been waiting to read this book for a couple of months after requesting it from the library. Was initially inspired to read it by RadioRead this book.
Been waiting to read this book for a couple of months after requesting it from the library. Was initially inspired to read it by Radio 4's 'Book Club' and dallied with the idea of buying it, but after reading the blurb in a bookshop, I decided borrowing it would be the most authentic option. After all that, I saw it in a charity shop in Forest Hill for £1 and had to get it.
What a refreshing read. James argues that there are three traits that make someone immune to the emotional distress brought about by Selfish Capitalism, and these are; vivacity, authenticity and playfulness. It also helps if you live in a non-English speaking world.
Buy what you need rather than what you want. Enjoy motherhood and spend time with small children. Try to do activities which give you 'flow'.
It finishes with an imaginative chapter with some brave ideas. The one I liked best was the idea to nationalise estate agents.
I liked the characters, although at the start of the novel I thought they would be too brattish, their 1970s teen**spoiler alert** I loved this book.
I liked the characters, although at the start of the novel I thought they would be too brattish, their 1970s teen culture too crass, but Coupland (deftly in my opinion) moved us along from this period and the characters developed. Sort of. And now it gets tricky, so here's the SPOILER ALERT.
Cut to the end, and the book is about truth; making a difference; looking wider. I happened to read the second half of this book on Guide camp. The lack of meaning in the Rabbit Lane Group's lives and the consequences of their navel-gazing resonated with me. Guides (and me as a leader) take a promise, a promise that has recently been altered. It now goes:
"I promise that I will do my best, To be true to myself and develop my beliefs To serve the Queen and my community, To help other people And to keep the Guide Law"
It seems as though all the Group, (save Wendy, perhaps), are living a life devoid of these aims. At least Wendy is helping other people (albeit for the wrong reasons, and therefore not being true to herself). Also whilst reading it, my husband's grandfather lost his battle with cancer and dementia. This death also focussed my mind and chimed with the book in respect to using the limited time we have on this earth to good effect: not just for ourselves, but for our communities, both locally and looking wider, into a global community. Our environment is precious and in a precarious state and we cannot afford to exploit it continually.
Is my generation doing its best to push agendas towards making the future a better place? Or are we lining our friends' (and our own) pockets at the cost of the earth and poorer communities miles away?
So, yes, this book doesn't get many favourable reviews, but I loved every minute. I was hooked and tried to read more whenever I could. It was my first Coupland book and I'll visit his mindscape again. ...more
Took me a while to get into this one - only when I did a bit of digging about the author did I realise to expect the unexpected. I felt vey disappointTook me a while to get into this one - only when I did a bit of digging about the author did I realise to expect the unexpected. I felt vey disappointed with the final storyline involving the priest - I could have done with a bit more retributiion, but that would have got in the way of the aim of the book - to create an equitable, practicable society of women....more
A rare re-read for me: spurred-on after reading 'Suite Francais' by Irene N_, which is set in France just before and during the second world war. I waA rare re-read for me: spurred-on after reading 'Suite Francais' by Irene N_, which is set in France just before and during the second world war. I was immersed by the situation of the French people under imminent threat of, and then ensuing German occupation. The only other book I'd read of covering this epoch was 'Arch of Triumph', when I was a teenager at University, and so I decided to reacquaint myself with it.
What a great, but at some points slow and sticky read this is. Very evocative. Lots of rain, calvados, high living, philosophising. I now don't think I actually finished it the first time round, as the ending was a surprise.
Themes that really struck me: the plight of the refugee. Being a skilled person, making a living as one can, always on the underbelly of society and without a huge chance of bettering one's situation. Ravic is charming and clever, and his plight is unfortunately still recognisable today all over the world: I don't think I appreciated this aspect of the book the first time round.
Another theme is the benefit of hindsight. 'Suite Francais' was written in 1941, by a Russian emigree author who wasn't fully aware of the holocaust and the extent of totalitarianism within the Third Reich. It has a much more innocent approach to the German occupation. 'Arch of Triumph', by contrast, was written in 1946, by a German in exile, whose sister was killed by the regime for denouncing the war-effort. Ravic displays an awareness of what will happen to him and others like him from having already escaped a concentration camp.
Paris is the unifying factor for both 'Arch of Triumph' and 'Suite Francais', but the characters found in the two novels would never (knowingly) mix in the same circles, so perhaps this partly explains the different attitudes to the German occupation. In fact there are very few French characters in 'Arch of Triumph'.
Glad to have finished it, as it did induce a heck of a lot of melancholia. Look forward to reading it again in a decade or two. ...more