I really enjoyed this book. I loved the way that the author combined a history of books and printing, alchemy and suspense into a very entertaining no...moreI really enjoyed this book. I loved the way that the author combined a history of books and printing, alchemy and suspense into a very entertaining novel. I found the historical information fascinating and I really felt like I learned something from the book. The author has clearly done his research and I think that’s so important when you’re writing about a specific subject. It’s blatantly obvious when an author hasn’t researched thoroughly enough the subject they’re writing about but this wasn’t the case with Everett. On top of this, there is nothing I love more than a book about books and this one didn’t disappoint.
I really liked the main characters, Keith and Maddie, and enjoyed the chemistry between them. There was something about them that made them instantly likeable and it was interesting to watch their relationship develop throughout the book. The plot was well paced and I liked the way that the chapters were alternated between their story and the story of the people that were plotting against them. I also liked the twists in the story and wasn’t expecting them. This was a fun read that flowed well and kept me interested throughout. I’m looking forward to reading his other books, which I haven’t yet managed to get around to reading, but will be trying to do so soon!(less)
Matt is a connoisseur of literature and uses his knowledge to advise clients of his wife’s interior design business of the books they MUST have on the...moreMatt is a connoisseur of literature and uses his knowledge to advise clients of his wife’s interior design business of the books they MUST have on their shelves. He’s working for his wife’s business because he failed as a novelist and this is his way of continuing to interact with literature. This causes friction with his wife, Cee, as he is no longer the carefree artist he was when they married and she now wonders whether it was worth the problems it caused with her parents, who thought Matt had married her for the money. When Matt meets Claudia, the wife of his new client, he quickly falls for her to the point of obsession…
I was torn over whether I liked Matt or not. On the one hand, he's a player. A huge player. Yet somehow that wasn't enough for me to dislike him. I loved his passion - about everything. Let it not be said that he doesn't completely throw himself into a project - whether that be books or a woman. I get the feeling that he's one of those people that will pretty much get away with anything because they have the intelligence and the charm to talk their way out of any situation. Normally, that kind of thing doesn't appeal to me but for some reason I liked it in him.
The thing I love aboout this book is that it combines my love of books with my love of mysteries and thrillers so not only was I interested in the plot, I was also interested in the smaller details of the books that the protagonist was recommending to his clients and the books that he was discussing with other characters. This extra little bit of pull meant that I still found the book interesting, even in the slower parts.
Not that there are many slower parts - the plot continues to push forward at a good pace throughout the book and, as is usual with mysteries and thrillers, once I thought I had the story figured out, it changed again with another twist.
The final paragraph was a great conclusion to the story and, without saying too much for fear of spoilers, I will say that it definitely kept me turning the pages.(less)
Although I am an avid reader and consider myself pretty well-read, I constantly look at other reviews and wish that I had the insight that others seem...moreAlthough I am an avid reader and consider myself pretty well-read, I constantly look at other reviews and wish that I had the insight that others seem to have. Granted, many of the reviews that I look at are from people who have studied literature at college and/or university, but there are many people who just seem to know what they're talking about. More than I do, anyway. So I decided to start to rectify that and this book came with recommendations from friends.
This book really does start with the basics. I consider myself to be at a pretty low level, a lay reader I guess, and I was able to understand all of this book. I read another book - How Fiction Works - last year, and I found it to be pretty jargon-full, but this book isn't that at all. Add to that the humour that runs through the writing and this made for a pretty good read.
The sections are well structured and flow easily and he uses examples throughout. Whilst I haven't read everything that he used, it didn't impact my understanding of the points he was raising. The style was pretty informal and it didn't feel like professorial writing at all (except for the few times he actually mentioned that this was how professors think). There's also a reading list at the back which I'm sure I will work my way through!
Now to attempt to use what I've learned... I get the feeling that I will be coming back to this book as a reference for a while!(less)
I wasn't really sure what to expect from this book. I haven't studied English Literature since I was at school and was looking for something that wasn...moreI wasn't really sure what to expect from this book. I haven't studied English Literature since I was at school and was looking for something that wasn't overly academic but would give me a better understanding of the novel.
I was impressed with this book as it did just that. Wood clearly knows what he's talking about and his enthusiasm for reading is clear throughout the book. There isn't overuse of jargon and so the book was perfect for me as a non-academic. There is good use of references to other sources and the novels mentioned as examples are nicely varied. The references are clearly noted in a bibliography at the end of the book and so this is a good source if you're looking to do some further reading.
Whilst this is a fairly short book and therefore doesn't encompass everything, there are many aspects covered including narration, detail, character, language and more. There are also a couple of sections dedicated to Flaubert and his use of free indirect style.
I found this to be a good resource and starting point for literary theory. It will certainly make me think a little more about what I'm reading and has made me want to read more about the workings of the novel.(less)