Normally I wouldn’t put too much credence over installments – especially if it was about paranormal romance – experiences in the past from other novelNormally I wouldn’t put too much credence over installments – especially if it was about paranormal romance – experiences in the past from other novel series were seldom encouraging.
Even after reading Twilight, I was still skeptic about all the hype it was getting (strange really since I finished it in one day). So, when I bought New Moon, I was braced for disappointment.
One thing I can say about Meyer, she sure does know a trick or two.
Let me just say that I was not jumping up and down with the first half or so of New Moon. Though Jacob still made for an interesting character, some aspects of Bella’s attitude felt weird to me. And I just plain missed Edward. In fact, I missed the romance part so much that Victoria’s hand with all the killings, ostensibly to preserve the tension, teetered close to being just plain annoying. I was about ready to give up.
But then, on what felt like the last stretch, Meyer pumps up the suspense. She introduces a whole new coven of vampires with serious powers and hang-ups. And Edward comes back with a vengeance. Ultimately, despite all my pessimism, I found myself crying when he reaffirms his love for Bella (another measure of Meyer’s skill: I always forget that Bella's still just in high school and this is actually supposed to be a teen romance…).
But please! enough with this hysteria. It's verging on the ridiculous. And I hate that it's kinda soured me on the whole series....more
Halfway through this book, I found myself with eyes full of dark circles. That's when I realized that I haven'a larger-than-life, fascinating novel...
Halfway through this book, I found myself with eyes full of dark circles. That's when I realized that I haven't had a full night's sleep since picking up this novel. Which in turn made me wonder at my reluctance towards reading another Colleen McCullough book (my previous book by her was, unfortunately, less than memorable). Suffice to say, after reading The First Man in Rome, I am now more than willing to eat my words and bow at the brilliance of McCullough's writing.
In an attempt to be objective, though, not every part of this story was that engrossing. Some accounts of warfare or political intrigues were too protracted that I just had to skim through it. And the latter part about Saturninus' and Glaucia's machinations just felt like a last-ditch effort by the author to maintain the drama right up to the end. Rome with Marius at the helm of power, proved the most riveting part of the book.
Other than that, I have only good things to say about this novel. The depiction of the Roman Republic was so vivid and gripping. The people, their stories, and the interactions among them were so relatable they can be material for today's soap operas: from the live organism that is the Senate, with all its peculiarities, to the women behind the men, and even the State's enemies – every character of note was given life under the author's succinct prose and witty dialogues. I don't know how she did it, but this gargantuan scope of a lifelike historical fiction is a guaranteed page-tuner....more
Just when you think you’re left with nothing but cynicism from all the difficulties and pain in life, you come across a novAn incredibly moving story…
Just when you think you’re left with nothing but cynicism from all the difficulties and pain in life, you come across a novel such as this and you find yourself marveling yet again…
It’s not so much as a celebration of a woman’s spirit, but a tribute as well to unshakeable hope and the humbling capacity of humans for sacrifice.
Reading this novel, I can’t help but feel thankful that I have not, so far, experienced the kind of oppression that women in Afghanistan ultimately suffered (at least, from my own standpoint, what I could discern as oppression…but who knows…). Between Mariam and Laila, it’s difficult to decide who got it worse. At the surface, it’s the former: born ostracized, poor, and, later, unable to bear children; whilst the latter is almost the complete opposite. But such differences pale in the face of a husband’s despotism and a country’s devastation. One would think that a person can just take so much, and, yet, these two never flagged. They drew strength from one another and from the selves they’re left with after every blow from Fate. And always, there was that conviction to fight to survive, in the hopes of finally waking up to that day where the Afghanistan they knew comes back to them.
All-in-all, this was another provocative story by Hosseini. I have to confess, though, that I loved The Kite Runner more. I don’t take it against this novel—I guess I was unfairly hoping for a repeat performance of a flawless storytelling. Though still very dramatic, it’s not as heart-wrenching-snot-dripping as the first (I’m afraid that’s usually how I rate books). But that’s just one reader’s opinion. This is still a rewarding experience that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend....more
..just so you know...I hated this book for making me cry...
I knew enough to be ready for it. Certainly I don't recall reading any novel about WWII and..just so you know...I hated this book for making me cry...
I knew enough to be ready for it. Certainly I don't recall reading any novel about WWII and the Holocaust without me crying (case in point: Number the Stars, and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay). And still...there I was by the end of the story, reaching for Kleenexes.
First off, The Book Thief is not that different from countless works done about WWII, Hitler, and the Jews (nonfiction or otherwise, descriptive or propagandist). And yet, Zusak was still able to make his story thought-provoking. True, the blatant metaphorical prose of “Death” becomes a bit tiring after a while, what with all the reference to “colors” denoting a soul or the event of death. Also, the curtailing and foreshadowing of events, the shift from future to past to present events, clearly were not an original way of writing. However, the author, in my opinion, ably endeared the characters of Liesel, Hans Hubermann, Rudy, and Max to the readers. The tragedy that befell Himmel Street is exactly what it is—a tragedy. In spite of the heaps of premonitions by the author, I don't think anyone (who cares enough to care) will ever be truly able to ready himself for that scene.
For me, the best parts of the novel were those that showed the depth of Hans' inner strength and compassion, both as a father to a traumatized orphaned girl, and a German seething against the bonds of growing Nazi Germany, and the depiction of Max's lyrical side as he finds succor and friendship for a Jew under a German roof. These two characters carry the weight of the story. I dare anyone not to be touched by them.
For a story mostly focused on the viewpoint of a young girl and her antics as a book thief, this can hardly be considered a novel for children (unless one were to censor and paraphrase some parts). It deals with a heavy subject matter, and is even intermittently graphic. Despite the attempt of “Death” to make light and symbolic his travail as a collector of souls, his sporadic quips on the oddity and wonder of humans, this novel is grave at the least; depressing at most. Still...I highly recommend it....more
The fact that I finished this book in one day probably indicates that I enjoyed it. Indeed, the only novelsSharp, candid, and surprisingly poignant...
The fact that I finished this book in one day probably indicates that I enjoyed it. Indeed, the only novels that I recall where I truly laughed my head off were from chick-lits, trivial as that may sound. But, really, Burroughs has managed to be disarmingly droll while being frightfully honest and self-deprecating. I can't attest if that's from being gay, the result of coming from a dysfunctional family, or perhaps from working in advertising (in New York, no less).
What made this story interesting for me was the way he narrated his excruciating battle with alcoholism, that even someone who doesn't suffer from that ailment can actually empathize with him. Definitely he refrained from being too long-winded about it, avoiding the pitfall of letting his story become boring or monotonous--his cracks about himself, his fellow addicts, down to the closet case that is his boss, openly drew chuckles from me. There was enough balance of falling into bouts of introspection as well as allowing the story to progress via the lively dialogues with the equally captivating secondary characters--the tragedy that is Pighead, the complexity and apparent exceptionality that is Foster, and the oddity namely Greer, among others. A guilty enjoyment for me as well was the encounter with the German advertising client who unwittingly provokes the imagination of Augusten to spout Nazi stereotypes.
Unexpected, though, was the striking insight into repressed emotions and the ability of a person to love another despite seemingly insurmountable flaws. Augusten's relationships perfectly capture what I think is a quintessentially urban tendency of people nowadays to tirelessly compensate for what they think they are missing in life. In a way, this novel shows how cheerless that condition is, and, at the same time, be unafraid of what is, after all, a price for being human.
Augusten's narration of what his childhood was, the blatant abandonment he experienced from his parents, the perversion done to him as a teenager, makes the reader in turns awed and morbidly fascinated with the man that he has become. There were times our protagonist was readily aware of his shortcomings--from keeping up with the AA meetings to juggling his relationships with Pighead and Foster--and if those weren't uncomfortable enough, the reader is also made cognizant of his glaring denials about how he was living his life, pre- and post-rehab.
I highly recommend this novel. Whether one is seeking an understanding of alcoholism, or simply in want of a refreshing, entertaining read--granted it's peeking into the "memoirs" of a self-confessed mess--this story will take you from laughs to sadness, hope to sorrow. (and back again). Without a doubt, this work proves that Burroughs is an Original....more
This is certainly a provocative novel. From the gargantuan appetite of Bonaparte for chickens, the ethereal mystery that is the Empress Josephine, theThis is certainly a provocative novel. From the gargantuan appetite of Bonaparte for chickens, the ethereal mystery that is the Empress Josephine, the transience of Venice (recall Calvino's Invisible Cities [and no it's not because he's Italian...but hey...]), to the fantastical experiences of Henri and Villanelle, Winterson's novel reveals an incredible world in every chapter. In a way, it made me wonder if such things were indeed experienced in the Napoleonic years--in the back of my mind, I know that Patrick's eagle-eye (with its apparently helpless tendency to zone in on naked bodies), and Villanelle's webbed feet and her once-literally-taken-then-rescued heart are flights of fancy. But even so, Winterson's narrative has that indecipherable mesh of fact and unrealism that a reader can actually think, why not?.
If one were to place emphasis on the themes of physical and emotional casualties brought by war for both the conqueror and the conquered, the intricacies of romantic love, the dialectics of power and blind submission, and the propensity of humans to take refuge in myriad disguises (to the extent they inevitably fall for it themselves), it is evident that this novel, for all its fanciful undertones, touches on very real human issues that would long remain contemporary.
Despite the obvious literary bent of The Passion though, I thought that Winterson sometimes tried a bit too hard in being allegorical. In addition, some parts became overly contemplative and/or philosophical for me that it was at times discomfiting, at most, exasperating. Hence, the 3 stars. But that's just me. In fairness, however, I can readily say that I enjoyed the interactions of, and the dialogues between, the characters. Those were certainly stimulating. All in all, this was a memorable novel, not that great but hardly ignominious. Rather than discourage, I'm hoping to read another of her novels and have a more positive reaction to it....more
Okay, so I'm thinking that maybe half this book is filled with nothing but sex--wild, tender, drawn-out, quick, no-nonsense sex. And yes, I'd admit thOkay, so I'm thinking that maybe half this book is filled with nothing but sex--wild, tender, drawn-out, quick, no-nonsense sex. And yes, I'd admit that I grew a little tired of it after a while. Without a doubt it teteers perilously towards erotica.
In the risk of being stoned by feminists, I confess that I found Seth Mackey's near-obsession with Raine thrilling. I mean, really...what woman in her right mind would say no to that kind of man?? It didn't hurt that he's also intelligent, drily outrageous, and possessed of a rusty kind of heroism he didn't know he possessed. And Raine is that indecently gorgeous woman you SO want to hate out of envy but just can't 'cause she's actually very likeable (damn her!)--her adorable unselfconsciousness, her grace and level-headedness is the perfect counterpart to Seth's volatile character.
Chock-full of suspense and riddled with drama and wrenching human turmoil all around, Behind Closed Doors is one of the few contemporary risque reads I've really enjoyed....more
Anyone who has read Jane Eyre will be more than ready to assert that there is more to this novel than just a protrthis is what a romance should be...
Anyone who has read Jane Eyre will be more than ready to assert that there is more to this novel than just a protracted love story. There's the issue of class boundaries, faith and religious zealotry, self-realization, the circumstance of women in Victorian times, marriage, and so on. But being a self-confessed simpering romantic, I have no choice but to focus on my favorite theme.
I loved Jane most whenever she's in the company of Mr Rochester, or even when she's just thinking about him. Somehow, for me, she becomes quite fervent, feels more human and behaves more womanly. More importantly, I loved the fact that the author fully expressed in words the love the Mr Rochester himself feels for our eccentric heroine--so passionate, in fact, that I think some readers may gag at the "syrupy-ness" of his avowals.
Case in point:
"...Every atom of your flesh is as dear to me as my own: in pain and sickness it would still be dear. Your mind is my treasure, and if it were broken, it would be my treasure still:...in your quiet moments you should have no watcher and no nurse but me; and I could hang over you with untiring tenderness..."
"...I have touched you, heard you, felt the comfort of your presence--the sweetness of your consolation: I cannot give up these joys, I have little left in myself--I must have you...My soul demands you; it will be satisfied, or it will take deadly vengeance on its frame."
Silly as it may sound, these lines were quite thrilling for me. In fact, I feel a sort of regret that such emotion from a male character is rarely encountered in romance novels nowadays.
Though a bit rough for me to begin with, Jane Eyre, as both the novel and the woman, became engaging as the story progressed. Dark, emotional, often dialectic, at times drily humorous, this story is sure to be remembered for a long while....more
honestly i had reservations about picking up this book, poetry and me not really being the closest of buddies. then of coursequirky yet sentimental...
honestly i had reservations about picking up this book, poetry and me not really being the closest of buddies. then of course the fact that this was supposedly meant for toddlers and such (disdainful much??).
it wasn't long before i was shown the depths of my arrogance. hopefully never again...(but who knows).
okay. to the point. i ADORED this book.
a lot of the poetry here are funny (not outright hilarious, more like plain goofy), and yet come to think of it, still some of those are actually quite sad, with undertones about life and life experiences we take for granted. like the "Snowman", "Invention", "What's in the Sack?", "I Won't Hatch!", "The Garden", "The Little Blue Engine", and even the subtly poignant "Love".
whether you actively seek a moral in any of the poems or just want to go for some light reading, this book (in my opinion) is sure to leave you with a wistful feeling. exactly about what...well, i can't say. but i loved it. and for me that's more than okay....more