It has taken me much longer to read this than it would normally take me to read a short book. Mainly because I forced myself to read some everyday . bIt has taken me much longer to read this than it would normally take me to read a short book. Mainly because I forced myself to read some everyday . but it was a chore. At times I nearly decided to give up but decided to keep going in the hope that something good was coming . Obviously since I gave it 3 stars[I liked it ] it did get better . The mainly problem at the beginning was it was so boring . Nothing much happened for chapter after chapter , except plenty of sex and the sex itself was boring and samey. About half way through, the political intrigue side started to pick up and actually interested me enough to be a page turner. There is much to like about this book . The world building is interesting and well done, the characters are very well developed and the writing style ,particularly the way people speak is restrained and old fashioned which fits in with the society Manetti is writing about . If it didn't take till halfway through for the plot to get going it could be a 4 star. As it is I have done a turnaround and intend to read the next one ...more
I was given this book by a friend as a brthday present. I think it may not have come to my notice if she hadn't and so I am grateful. It is a very th I was given this book by a friend as a brthday present. I think it may not have come to my notice if she hadn't and so I am grateful. It is a very thoughtful book about two young girls who had been brought up in an Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood in London. After a gay relationship as teenagers they had gone their separate ways and taken very different directions in their life. The death of her father brings Ronit, the daughter of the synagogue 's leader, back to London from her new life in New York. The book explores how much our upbringing affects the choices we make while the two protagoists are forced to confront their fears, hang ups and behaviour in the light of their memories. I found the in depth description of Orthodox Jewish life with it's rules beliefs and social mores facinating. I wonder how much of the doubts and rebellion expressed are autobiographical , describing Alderman's own feelings and struggles as she grew up. The community is portrayed as insular and conservative, uninvolved with the outside world and judgmental towards it and in fact towards it's own people who step out of line. I am sure this is true of any close knit group and I know some people in my own life who have had similar experiences while growing up in a fundamentalist christian church. I love the way Alderman can seperate the faith in God from the sometimes not so nice behaviour of His followers. Each chapter begins with a Jewish prayer or saying and a kind of mini sermon . This sounds rather dreary but actually I loved what was said. I have great respect for Jewish widom and much of what they believe can reveal much of God's character. As in all religions which breed their own fundamentalist enthusiasts , the genuine faith in a real loving God can be marred by the nonessetial rules created by humans and that pad out reality . Sadly in this novel , Alderman describes how this can lead to dishonesty where everyone hides their real self behind a socially acceptable mask. Disobedience is well written and a pleasure to real. It swaps between the first and third person accounts of the two protagenists . It is mentally engaging, gripping me enough to read it in one sitting. It was also emotionally engaging and I found the stories oof particularly Ronit and Dovid desperately sad , but believable and relatable . I like the way the ending is hopeful in allowing for change and a new way of thinking and behaving , yet doesn't wrap everything up in a big happy ending , acknowleging human nature and our stubben refusal to change. I would certainly reccomend this book and would read other books by Naomi Alderson. Finally , I'd like to end with a Jewish prayer with a slight difference "Blessed be God Almighty King of the Universe, who in His wisdom HAS made me a woman and HAS NOT made me a man "...more
I was completely engaged in this book from the moment I picked it up. It's well written , the characters were beautifully drawn and I found them, on tI was completely engaged in this book from the moment I picked it up. It's well written , the characters were beautifully drawn and I found them, on the most part, likable. I liked the way the story jumped from character to character and to before and after the collapse. Slowly, Mandel reveals the links between the characters and drops hints as to their identities in the post apocalyptic world. This world was intriguing and yet believable. It wasn't a story full of action and a clear plot It was instead driven by the characters and their relationships .It did have atmosphere, growth and suspense to keep you turning the pages. There was no really defined ending, no resolution of some problem. However, I found the ending quite satisfying . The story was also intellectually engaging. It raised some serious questions about how I would survive without technology,electricity, civilisation. What would my priorities be and what precious items would I save from the pre collapse world? Would I be prepared to kill if necessary? II love books that make me think in this way. I look forward to sampling some more of Mandel's novels...more
You know those chunky big books called "Stories for boys" which you can always find in second hand book shops and look as if they are about 1930s? WelYou know those chunky big books called "Stories for boys" which you can always find in second hand book shops and look as if they are about 1930s? Well these Skinner books remind me of those ; a kind of adult version. Terribly macho alpha male hero who always gets results , rescues the female and whilst having faint doubts about himself is generally a good sort Even the sex in the story was shown from the male perspective. I did like the book as a sort of guilty junk food of reading but wouldn't want to diet on them all the time. The plot was good, I like the characters and there was enough suspense to make me eager to reach the end to find out what happened. However the downside really did make me wonder whether to give 2 or 3 stars. The writing was very very far from good literature while not quite Mills and Boon . A great amount of superfluous detail got in the way of a smooth writing style and I never forgot I was reading. A really good book sucks you in so completely that you forget you're reading and get carried along by the story. That never happens in this book- on every page something about the writing style or vocabulary made me stop and think "for goodness sake!". In the end I gave it 3 stars as in future I may fancy some junk food again. When I want a quick read that doesn't require much concentration and has a fairly exciting plot I may read the next one of Skinner's mysteries....more
An amazing book !Hosseini gets better and better. This one has become one of my all time favourites. It's hard to say why I found it so good. The writAn amazing book !Hosseini gets better and better. This one has become one of my all time favourites. It's hard to say why I found it so good. The writing is great, there is a bit of social history and Afghanistan culture that I find intriguing but what Hosseini excels at is the character portrayal. The story is about the characters;their relationships,their growth, their struggles and each one is completely believable. I love the way it is told from the viewpoint of many different characters which makes it very difficult to demonize one character. Each have their own motives,their own sense of morality. It is heartbreaking at times but always beautiful, thought provoking but always gripping- a book to keep and treasure.
"I have lived a long time Mr Markos and one thing I have come to see is that one is well served by a degree of both humility and charity when judging the inner workings of another person's heart"...more
This is an account of over a year Theroux spent exploring China in the 1980s.He writes a very detailed account of every landscape,meal and conversatioThis is an account of over a year Theroux spent exploring China in the 1980s.He writes a very detailed account of every landscape,meal and conversation he had during that time [not quite but it sometimes feels that way!]. Theroux is not afraid to ask intrusive questions of anyone he meets and has a certain lack of tact about what subject to address ie, nothing stops him.He did find,however, that while the Chinese simply didn't answer if they didn't want to they were very open and candid in talking about Chinese politics and history. Theroux is a great writer and makes the whole thing very interesting.He has a way with words,frequent humour and his style flows easily.I know many people dislike his attitude towards other nationalities,finding him superior and condescending and that this spoils the whole experience for them. I do agree to an extent and I was annoyed at times by his know-it-all manner and patronising behavior. However I did manage to separate the book from the author's personality.A good travel book should not only inform you about a country but make you want to be there and this book achieved that for me. It also whetted my appetite to learn more and left me more knowledgeable about Chinese geography, history. politics and people than I was previously. About two thirds of the way through I started to struggle to finish. There's only so many very similar train journeys,followed by stop offs at cities or towns that my brain could endure and at this point the endless detail became tedious and everything merged into a boring sameness.I confess I skipped bits to reach the end and complete the book.For this reason it was a 3 star read rather than 4. I do wonder if Theroux has written a travel book about North America were he is as rude and condescending about Americans as he is about all other nationalities.If so I guess I don't mind;its simply his style.If not though, He really must have a superiority complex! ...more
I found this book in my bookshelves rather bizarrely. I had no idea it was there or how I came by it.I don't remember borrowing it or buying it or beiI found this book in my bookshelves rather bizarrely. I had no idea it was there or how I came by it.I don't remember borrowing it or buying it or being given it so I reckon it was a gift from the book fairy!:)
I knew I was going to love it almost immediately.Steinbeck is a master of language and his prose is intelligent,entertaining and full of wit. It recounts his travels across America in a pickup truck with a camper van on the back.Although I learnt quite a bit about America in the late 50s/early 60s I learnt more about Steinbeck himself. I think by the end of the book I am a little in love with him. Much of the book is about the inside of his mind;his theories, his thoughts and opinions and wondering s. And what a mind it is!
Having read other travel books by equally intelligent and observant Americans one huge and glaring difference to me is Steinbeck's attitude. He sees the best in everyone and has such an open and non judgmental attitude to all people that put me to shame. The only time this was less evident was in the deep south where he describes a horrific racist incident in New Orleans and then his judgment was sorrowful and uncomprehending.
My own favorite bits of the book are 1Charley, his blue/grey french gentleman poodle. His descriptions of Charleys are humorous and made me want to meet him
2 His encounter with the potato pickers, and the itinerant actor.
3 His philosophical musings about differences between states
Thank you book fairy for the gift.I feel I have got to know a wonderful man and am enriched in my own heart as a consequence. Now what other treasures have you left for me?