It's so good! It's the kind of book in which I get fully engaged with the character that I miss her when the book is finished. I love the way the authIt's so good! It's the kind of book in which I get fully engaged with the character that I miss her when the book is finished. I love the way the author makes the character lovable. I don't know really how to explain it. With Good in Bed, I had many times where I disliked the main character for her character flaws and weaknesses. I judged her. In Colour, I never ever felt that way. I wanted to help the other characters understand the protaganist and not judge her. The novel swallows you into itself, so that you're part of it, not a spectator. And the story, or at least the main character, is fresh and original so that you want to keep reading.
It would make an excellent book club book because there's so much to discuss -- I could even use it in school, because there's no sex or swearing or anything, but it's 'clean' in a way that I didn't even notice it was until I actually thought about it, which is very welcome and rare. ...more
I was so engrossed in this book I read it in an afternoon. If I were still a teenager, this would be the book I'd read over and over.
I hate this book. I was so engrossed in this book I read it in an afternoon. If I were still a teenager, this would be the book I'd read over and over.
I hate this book.
Why? I mean, if it was so engrossing that I couldn't put it down, why do I hate it? Because Jane Hayes, the main character, is me except that she gets to live out my fantasy and gets the happy ending only found in Austen novels.
Jane is in her early 30s, in a job she likes but does not love, convinced she must embrace her spinsterhood. So far, so good. I relate completely. Her secret vice is Pride and Prejudice (more the BBC movie than the novel) and she is in love with Mr. Darcy. For me, it's more Rhett Butler, but the implication is there. A great-aunt spots this fantasy and bequeaths to Jane a three-week stay at Austenland, a resort in England where people live like characters in an Austen novel. I have always thought I was born in the wrong century; this vacation would be a dream for me. Jane gets to live out her fantasy and deal with her obsession of Mr. Darcy. I get to read about it.
Okay, differences: Jane is beautiful; she turns heads. At the beginning each chapter, a synopsis is given of each of Jane's ex-boyfriends. There are 13. Plus her "first love" (at age four) and three other "Guys". If I were the main character, there couldn't be so many chapters; only First Love, Boyfriend #6, Guy Between #6 and 7, #7, #10, and maybe Guy After #12 would work in my story (read the book: you'll get how sad that is). Jane makes out with the gardner, attracts the men at Pembroke...it's all very ideal.
Without the same finesse and fine writing of Austen, (this book really qualifies as chicklit, not fine literature) Shannon Hale does echo an Austen-like story. Underlying commentary on the absurdity of relationships and women's fantasy loves are clear. But the end is so inevitable and apparent you hope for a surprise twist. She gets her guy in the end, just like in Pride and Prejudice.
So why do I hate it? Jane Hayes goes to Austenland hoping to rid herself of the dream that one day she'll meet her Mr. Darcy and be swept off her feet. I really hoped this book would put to rest the romantic ideal I and many other women harbour. That finally there would be a book where the heroine found happiness without a man. Instead, this book perpetuates the dream. To a 'tee'.
An excellent blend of chiclit and serious literature. The book is not a "light read" but is disguised as one, with the way it encompasses topics of tyAn excellent blend of chiclit and serious literature. The book is not a "light read" but is disguised as one, with the way it encompasses topics of typical chic lit fiction (love, adultery, dull marriages, girl friends, midlife crisis, dysfunctional families) with profound insight and realism -- no sugar coating, but no hyperbolic drama, either. The combination of three women, very different but intimately bound together, makes for a good read. Even though my own journey is so different from theirs, there were many times when the descriptions used to identify their situations spoke exactly to something I have felt. The author is spot on with her characters and their emotions. And she explains them thoroughly but concisely.
There's so much material in this book, it would be perfect for discussion groups....more
I expected this book to be very dark and dismal, but I found it to be poetic, romantic, real, and enthralling. It is a mesmerizing story that makes yoI expected this book to be very dark and dismal, but I found it to be poetic, romantic, real, and enthralling. It is a mesmerizing story that makes you wish it won't ever end. (I did like the first half better than the second half, though.)...more
I think my students would like this book better than I do. They want books where things happen, books with action. This book reminds me of Danielle StI think my students would like this book better than I do. They want books where things happen, books with action. This book reminds me of Danielle Steel books, where things go well, then disaster strikes, then things go well, then disaster strikes, etc. I want books that have more depth -- there seemed to be a bit of discussion in the book about whether life happens by human ambition or the will of God, but I don't know that the book came out on either side. It's a long book, and not that good, but it's easy enough reading if you can stick it out -- and stomach some of the gruesome descriptions of rape, violence, and sex (I did say it was like Danielle Steel
An advantage to the recaps and plot summaries throughout the book is that you can pick it up and put it down frequently.
Also seemed like the author was more interested in telling about medieval life than moving the plot along. For example, there's almost three pages dedicated to a bear-baiting event that has absolutely no relevance on the plot. I skipped it.
Characters have some dimension, but not much. And if one dies, another character quickly fills those shoes so you don't miss the dead person. Certainly this is a book of pop fiction, not literature....more
Typical Dickens -- some social commentary, great caricature characters, intertwined events not revealed until the end; all the greatness (even the usuTypical Dickens -- some social commentary, great caricature characters, intertwined events not revealed until the end; all the greatness (even the usual trait-names).
Unlike some of his other books, though, there is no absolute main character. No-nonsense Barnaby marries Gradgrind's daughter Louisa, who agrees to the loveless marriage to help her brother Tom pay his gambling debts. An abandoned child, a mysterious old woman, a nosy "upperclass" servant, slurring carnies, a bankrobbery, romance and intrigue...hilarity and seriousness all rolled together....more
Not as amazing as I'd hoped, but still very enjoyable. Because the book is a series of letters written back and forth between characters, the plot movNot as amazing as I'd hoped, but still very enjoyable. Because the book is a series of letters written back and forth between characters, the plot moves along very quickly and in short sections, which make the book very readable -- a good summer, relaxing kind.
Whenever I pick up a book that mentions WWII, I think, "Oh, I don't want to read another WWII story!" And yet they keep surprising me with another aspect or face to the war that I'd not known before (eg The Book Thief) and this one is no different. I'd no idea about these islands between England and France that were occupied and basically ignored by the English because they couldn't defend them and the Island at the same time. The book is light but serious at the same time. Unfortunately the end is a bit too neat and Hollywood, but the rest of the book is worthwhile. I'd call it "cute."...more
It's like Harry Potter but in one volume and with ghosts instead of witches and wizards.
Bod lives in the Graveyard and has a ghost couple as parents aIt's like Harry Potter but in one volume and with ghosts instead of witches and wizards.
Bod lives in the Graveyard and has a ghost couple as parents and a nonliving, not-dead guardian. He has the privilege of the graveyard -- which means he learns how to do a lot of tricks that ghosts do -- but has to stay in the graveyard in case the man who killed his family comes back to kill Bod.
Each chapter is its own short story, but together they develop and tell an overarching story. It's well written, with details and ideas realistic enough that you think it could actually be true (in a suspended reality). There are some "scary" parts that may not be suitable for young children....more
About a skater who is the son of a pregnant teen who finds out first hand what it means to have a child at a young age. I like the dialogue and quips aAbout a skater who is the son of a pregnant teen who finds out first hand what it means to have a child at a young age. I like the dialogue and quips and the writing style. Suitable for teens more than adults....more
I've read a number of historical fictions for this time period (King Henry VIII era), but never one from the PoV of Thomas Cromwell.Read it in a week!
I've read a number of historical fictions for this time period (King Henry VIII era), but never one from the PoV of Thomas Cromwell. Usually he is painted as a power-hungry, conniving villain. This version casts him as a very intelligent, kind but very focussed man.
It took about fifty pages for me to acclimatize to the narrative style -- present tense with flashbacks, very little expository narration, and most "he" pronouns assuming Cromwell as their unspoken antecedent, plus subtle shifts in scenes -- but I loved it once I caught on. Many subtle references connecting to Shakespeare plays; witty humour; plain logical explanations in favour of reforming the Church. Likable characters, too, if you can keep them straight.
Really fascinating to read this book juxtaposed with a book like The Other Boleyn Girl to see what events and actions are similar and which are unique.
Best read in larger chunks, rather than fragments....more
Great writing, heartbreaking story. What am I supposed to do with this story, now that I have read it? The first half of the book, I read in dread as iGreat writing, heartbreaking story. What am I supposed to do with this story, now that I have read it? The first half of the book, I read in dread as it sets up the story and slowly tells you the difficult story of its main characters' meeting. I began the second half with hope. I ended the story with tears....more
4.5 stars I really enjoyed this one. Nothing terribly specific, I just know I liked it because I never switched to the radio instead, I was sorry when4.5 stars I really enjoyed this one. Nothing terribly specific, I just know I liked it because I never switched to the radio instead, I was sorry when I arrived home, and I was always happy to get back in the car. (I listened to it in the car, if that's not obvious.) Good humour, interesting characters -- Annie and Tucker. It was light compared to most of the stories I've been reading, but not frivolous or sex/love-crazed. There was some real discussion about life and meaning and such. Could have done without the stupid therapist Malcolm, though. He was infuriating. Why did she keep seeing him? (I know the book explains it, but I didn't buy it.) In this audio, I liked that there were different readers for the three different characters. It certainly helped remember whose POV I was getting....more
Five stars for the excellent writing: conveying much by saying little. I appreciate that in an author.
It's a love story, if the cover doesn't give thaFive stars for the excellent writing: conveying much by saying little. I appreciate that in an author.
It's a love story, if the cover doesn't give that away. A novella, very short and I was able to read it on a round trip to T.O. (though I could have done it on one-way if I'd tried), so it has characteristics more similar to a short story than a novel. Poignant and touching without layers of story, but characters who still have some complexity....more