If you are in any way part of the Lord of the Rings fandom, I implore you to go to a bookstore and pick this book up. Alan Lee is a brilliantly talent...moreIf you are in any way part of the Lord of the Rings fandom, I implore you to go to a bookstore and pick this book up. Alan Lee is a brilliantly talented artist and his influence on the film franchise is undeniable.
In this beautiful book, Alan Lee explains some of the sketches curated for the films and books, delving into the choices made and the developments on set.
The curation of this book is astounding; each piece of art is an important and memorable part of the film, or something that you didn’t even notice, such as the detailed architecture of a building, that would be sorely missed if it wasn’t there. There is nothing quite like seeing the original sketches that led to some of the most iconic sets of the films and reading about how and why they were created a certain way.
As I said, if you are in any way interested in art or the Lord of the Rings series of books or films, you need this book in your life. This is undoubtedly going to be something that I keep in my collection and flip through from time to time just admire the detailed illustrations and marvel at the creation of Middle Earth.
Plus, there’s a foreword by Sir Ian McKellen, so you can’t beat that!(less)
With only 100 pages (including title pages and a sample chapter of another book), this is a really quick and fast-paced murder mystery story.
The cove...moreWith only 100 pages (including title pages and a sample chapter of another book), this is a really quick and fast-paced murder mystery story.
The cover is slightly misleading because it does take place over several days but the main characte, Henry, has a condition that means he is only awake for one hour of each day which makes for some interesting predicaments.
The plot was exciting but there were certain aspects that were a little farfetched to me, but I think that the whole 'citizen finding the killer before the police' motif is a pretty common thing in murder mysteries so I can forgive the author that.
Overall some of the interactions between the characters were hilarious, especially with the cat, and the plot itself was full of twists and turns that I really wasn't expecting. It is in no way the best mystery I've ever read but for the length and the concept of the protagonist's condition I think it was quite original in some ways so I would recommend it.(less)
The one review on Goodreads that I read didn’t give me much hope for this book and I am sad to say that I pretty much agree with everything that revie...moreThe one review on Goodreads that I read didn’t give me much hope for this book and I am sad to say that I pretty much agree with everything that reviewer said.
I was interested in learning about how someone in the baking industry becomes such a well-loved television personality but what I got was a repetitive, tabloid-style rambling about how this newspaper said this and this completely unrelated person said that. I don’t usually say too many bad things about books but with this one, I’m sorry A.S.Dagnell, but this just fell completely short for me.
There were long sections recounting the history of other television chefs or hotels Hollywood has worked for, that just seemed out of place and unnecessary, but saying that, at least I believed that those sections were fact. A lot of this book is made up of quotes from other sources and the repition (of sometimes complete word-for-word sentences) was just distracting and irritating to say the least.
I am still interested in Paul Hollywood and the real story behind his baking career but I wouldn’t recommend this as an accurate representation of a real person. The author obviously hadn’t spoken to Paul Hollywood himself and so the information was weak and watered down, with too many of the author’s opinions expressed in the writing for it to be a worthwhile biography unfortunately.(less)
I know nothing at all about kawaii art so read this on ebook through Scribd. It is basically a collection of kawaii artists, a little information abou...moreI know nothing at all about kawaii art so read this on ebook through Scribd. It is basically a collection of kawaii artists, a little information about the artists and then images of the art itself. I enjoyed this, don't get me wrong, but I just found that the information was more about where the artist lives rather than their background or inspirations so that was a little disappointing.(less)
This was a fun little collection of stories that had me thinking despite how few words were on each page. To be honest I mostly appreciate the illustr...moreThis was a fun little collection of stories that had me thinking despite how few words were on each page. To be honest I mostly appreciate the illustrations that were included and preferred them to the stories themselves but I'd love to check out the other books in this series.(less)
This short book tells the story of the title character, Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, and his dreams of perfecting the art of flying. I went into this...moreThis short book tells the story of the title character, Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, and his dreams of perfecting the art of flying. I went into this not knowing any more than that and I was quite surprised that I like it so much. It is by no means a perfect book but the discussions of want vs. need and the pursuit of art over survival were really interesting to me and I think although the words on the page were very specifically about the flight of a seagull, the implied themes were thought-provoking. The only thing that put me off slightly was that at some points it could get preachy, not outright mentioning any specific religion, but the idea was implied.
The photographs included that accompany the story are a little bland to me, though I know that a lot of people like them. I found that they were a little grainy and uninteresting. Though they supported the story well, I would love to see an addition with maybe some abstract illustrations or something just to see how this affects the reading experience.
Overall I would recommend that you give this short book a go. It definitely won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but I for one really enjoyed how evocative it was and how it portrayed the idea of perfecting a skill.(less)
I went into this novel not knowing what to expect but there is something magical about the way Elif Shafak writes characters, times and ideas.
Starting...moreI went into this novel not knowing what to expect but there is something magical about the way Elif Shafak writes characters, times and ideas.
Starting with the writing, each of the different perspectives, which switch in each short chapter, were written in a slightly different style making the transitions between characters easily distinguishable from each other and giving each character a unique personality. Some of the chapters were quite hard-hitting, especially those from the perspective of Baybars, Kimya and Desert Rose, but these were contrasted with the lighter and more tranquil perspectives of Rumi and Shams. Ella’s chapters created a stark contrast between her story in 2008 and the story of all of the characters in the 1200s, whilst also mirroring and influencing the plot of both sides in some ways. The fact that Ella is reading the same story as the reader of The Forty Rules of Love makes you connect even more to the characters. The relationships that unfold happen in a very natural way and I appreciated the skill that went into the development of each one.
I really enjoyed the way that some of the chapters gave hints as to what was going to happen and, in many ways, the novel begins with the ending meaning that although there are few surprises, the way things unfold is sometimes entirely unexpected.
Some of the things that I loved about this book are the way it questioned a woman’s role in society, in both time periods, exploring the idea of identifying as a wife, a mother, a prostitute, a lover. The whole novel was extremely thought provoking and although I myself am not a religious person, the way that this book presented different aspects and views of religion did not isolate me from the ideas discussed. At points it was incredibly dense with philosophical and spiritual ideas but it never dragged and was immensely thought-provoking to read. Usually, at least for me, when a book is mostly character based, it can get quite slow, but even writing notes as I was going, this book was quick to get through and kept me wanting more from beginning to end.
I cannot express enough how much I enjoyed this book and I am looking forward to attending the university lectures and discussing this brilliant novels with others. There are many questions that I will continue to ponder and will hopefully figure out with time and future rereading, such as why does every chapter start with the letter ‘B’? as well as more philosophical ideas.
I would thoroughly recommend this to anyone who likes to be exposed to new cultures and ideas and I am looking forward to reading more by this amazing author.(less)
The idea and the title of this book drew me in straight away and I have to say that the format of the novel made for a really quick and interesting re...moreThe idea and the title of this book drew me in straight away and I have to say that the format of the novel made for a really quick and interesting read. The story is told through interviews conducted by police officers and they interview the villagers of Silver Hill throughout the events that take place. The pages themselves are printed to look like they have been taken from a binder and there are even images of additional information that has been attached with paper-clips to the pages. I really liked this design choice as it made it all feel a lot more realistic and authentic.
I have never read any Chinese fiction before and I have to say that this book did a really great job of building the setting and the people in a way that made it feel like China to me. This is a story of modernisation and the development of rural locations, people’s attitudes towards change and people’s ability to cope with modern technologies. It gave an interesting insight into what it must be like for someone living in a rural isolated area to suddenly be given an education, new buildings, new businesses and access to computers.
I think that the author, Xiaolu Guo, did an amazing job of showing the different opinions of the villagers in a non-biased way and although this book is fiction, I could imagine that this is how it would be in reality. As a reader, you can see that Xiaolu Guo has experienced both rural China and modern Western countries. The English used in this novel is quite simple but I think it gives a level of realism to the story and the characters as the characters are supposed to be speaking Chinese, so these files would in fact be a translation.
I think that this book brings up a lot of ideas about modernisation and the importance of community in a way that was not preaching for either side but showed a realistic view of what could happen. Overall I really enjoyed this book and would be interested in reading more by this author. The writing style was simple and fast-paced and the idea and format of the story is something that I have never experienced before so I am excited to see what else this author has to offer.(less)
I have been putting off reading this book for about two years now. The hype surrounding it really made me avoid it for a long time but now the third b...moreI have been putting off reading this book for about two years now. The hype surrounding it really made me avoid it for a long time but now the third book in this companion series is coming out soon and I thought it might be safe to try the first one because I have been interested in trying out more contemporary YA fiction.
The characters were immediately endearing; Anna was an honest and realistic character that reminded me a lot of Cath from Fangirl, and Etienne, for some reason, reminded me of Augustus Waters from The Fault in Our Stars. I loved their sense of humour and their relationship (despite the cheating that went on). The cheating did kind of annoy me but it felt like the situation that played out was done very realistically so I do not blame the author for doing that. It is something that usually only gets talked about in more dramatic novels where there are victims, whereas the way it was handled in this book was more based on relationships breaking down naturally.
The writing style drew me in straight away and made for a really fast-paced novel. The descriptions of the setting in Paris were beautiful and made me want to visit France.
Overall I am really glad that I picked this book up and am looking forward to reading Lola and the Boy Next Door at some point. (less)
You cannot deny the brilliance of Shirley Jackson's ability to create atmosphere; this modern classic was oozing creepiness and a dark foreboding that...moreYou cannot deny the brilliance of Shirley Jackson's ability to create atmosphere; this modern classic was oozing creepiness and a dark foreboding that really sets the reader on edge, expecting paranormal things to happen, expecting the characters to react in certain ways.
The characters were all strange, all a little difficult to like, though Luke added a touch of humour that really balanced the creepy aspects well.
Although I enjoyed this, there is definitely something lacking for me that I think could be resolved with a reread at some point, mostly because of the ambiguity in some of the plot and also the characters. This is in no way a negative as I think this genre of novel can benefit greatly from ambiguity but I think it is one that I will love even more a second time around.
Overall this was a fun atmospheric read and although I can't say what exactly happens, I liked that most of the 'horror' came from completely normal people and it was all psychological rather than a ghost story which could have been cheesy. I would recommend this book! It's an accessible modern classic which keeps you gripped from beginning to end and I think a lot of people would enjoy it!(less)
This is obviously a children's book, written in 1938, so the writing style is suitable for a much younger age group than me but it was still enjoyable...moreThis is obviously a children's book, written in 1938, so the writing style is suitable for a much younger age group than me but it was still enjoyable. Nothing about this book was complicated; it is very much a fun adventure story with penguins in it. Although I enjoyed the story, I didn't find it as gripping as I would have liked but I still think that it is worth a read as it is a less-talked-about children's classic.(less)